Genesis 39:2

Joseph had quite the scam going.

When I was in high school, I was in the theatrical production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. At the time, I thought that this jacket that Jacob gave to Joseph must have been some fancy-schmancy duster-looking thing with patterns and colors that would have made Timothy Leary’s head explode on sight.

But it was just a jacket. More accurately, a tunic. Here, I’ll give you the Bible translation verbatim.

“Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made for him a long tunic. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.”

I imagine they even had a pow-wow when they saw Jacob give Joe the jacket and became incensed.

“Hey Reuben,” said Levi. “Did you see the jacket Dad gave Joe?”

“Nope,” Rueben said as he was bundling sheafs of grain (Note: That last sentence is important, as you will see.) “Is it nice?”

Who freakin’ cares if it’s nice or not?” Levi shouted. “Point is, Dad never gave me a jacket. Dad ever give you a jacket?”

“No! Now that you are making far bigger a deal out of this than it deserves, Dad never did give me a jacket. What about you Zeb?”

“Nope,” said Zebulon as he filed horse hooves.

“What about you Asher?” Asher was milking goats at the time and poked his head out from under a goat’s utter.

“Nah,” he said, dribbling goat milk on his face as he wiped his brow. “Dad never gave me nothing but these goats so’s I’d milk’em,” he said and went back to milking goats.

 

That’s it. Joe’s brother’s hated him because their dad had given him a jacket because, one assumes, Jacob was more surprised than anyone that his boys could still swim and get Rachel pregnant, considering he was over 100 years old by the time Joe was born. Of course, Joe, in his naivete, didn’t realize his bothers hated him so much and this got him in a whole heap of trouble.

One day, Joe goes to his brothers and says “Dudes! You’re not gonna believe this dream I had. Alright, so check it … [the following is the account verbatim from my Bible. That first part was mine] There we were, binding sheaves [a sheaf is a strand of grain to bundle with other strands] when suddenly, my sheaf rose to an upright position, and your sheaves formed a ring around my sheaf and bowed down to it. Isn’t that wild?![That last sentence is mine. And by the way, in 2019, I’d be willing to bet money that all this talk about rings around sheafs would have never gotten into the made-for-TV movie and it gets more graphic later].”

And this just set Joe’s brothers off even more.

“Are you really gonna make yourself king over us and impose your rule on us?!” Joe’s brothers asked him, infuriated. Now they hated him even more all because the little flake told them about a dream. And Joe, like little brothers are wont to do, wanted to antagonize his older brothers more so he went to them the next morning and told them about another dream he’d had with this sheep-shit-eating grin on his face.

“Dudes!” Joe said. “I had another dream. This time, the sun, the moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me! Isn’t that crazy?”

Enraged, Joe’s brothers were “wrought up against him,” which I don’t really understand but I assume it means Joe’s brothers had had enough. Meanwhile, Jacob took Joe aside and said, “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?” But Joe just grinned that smug grin again and skipped off to watch Asher milk goats. Now, the Bible doesn’t explicitly implicate Jacob’s intentions with what he did next, so I’m left to infer that, jacket or no jacket, Jacob had had enough of Joe’s shenanigans himself. A few days later, the brothers were out in the fields tending to Jacob’s flock and Jacob told Joe to get off his dream-interpreting ass and go out and help them. Then a man ran into Joe on the way to the fields (maybe a spy Jacob sent out to make sure Joe was indeed headed out and not just going off to make fun of Asher and throw buckets of fresh-squeezed sheep’s milk on him? We’ll never know.) Joe’s brothers, seeing him coming, plotted to kill the little “master dreamer” (It is distinctly possible a malicious interpretation of this afterthought of a phrase, which indeed comes straight out of the Bible, translated by a sexually frustrated monk who, century’s later, deeply regretted his decision to follow his “calling” explains its inclusion in the text and is the root of every dogmatic religious prohibition of masturbation hence forth, but that’s just whimsical speculation on my part.) But Reuben, Joe’s eldest brother, had a spark of elder brotherly sympathy for Joe and insisted they not kill him but instead just toss him in an empty grain silo. So, this they did, but not before stripping him of the jacket that started all this nonsense in the first place. And, as I have said before, Joe’s brothers were a cold-blooded gang because you know what they did after they tossed Joe in the grain silo? They sat down and had lunch.

As they ate, some other traders were passing on the road to Egypt with some Chapstick and Hubba Bubba to sell at the market there when Judah, I guess feeling another twinge of guilt for their brother that they had just flung into a grain silo, told his brothers he thought they should go ahead and just sell Joe to the traders to they could take him down to Egypt to sell him into slavery.

“I mean, he is our brother after all,” Judah said.

So, this they did. They sold Joe to the passing traders for 20 pieces of silver and Reuben went back to the silo to get Joe. But while the commerce was going on, a different band of traders had passed by and heard Joe beating the inside of the silo and took him out themselves and went on to Egypt. So, when Reuben got there, he found Joe gone! So, he goes back to his brothers and tells them Joe was nowhere to be found and pulls an Incredible Hulk and tears off his shirt in frustration. At this point, Joe’s brothers were skilled in deception and, thinking quickly, they grabbed Joe’s jacket and went down to where Asher was milking goats and slaughtered one of them (Asher didn’t mind, One less goat to milk) and smeared the blood all over Joe’s jacket and took the jacket to Jacob to tell him cockamamie story. Since Jacob was an old, dottering fool with one foot in the grave at this point, he started crying and wailing and gnashing his teeth and stripped naked, cut some leg holes in a potato sack and wore it like a diaper and prayed for death (which was like 9 minutes later because Jacob was 180 years old.)

When I first started writing this post, I thought about just glossing over these events and the ones after because once Joseph gets to Egypt, the whole story reads like Keystone Kops routine. Then I read it again and decided it was pretty good and warranted a blog post. What happens when Joseph gets to Egypt though is like The Kids in the Hall meets Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in a Monty Python production (which completely explains Life of Brian.)

Advertisements

Riding the Cyclone (Another watershed moment)

The tired, old “Webster’s dictionary defines such and such as …” is such a cliché that I can’t believe people use it anymore. It is such a cliché, in fact, that my using it right now is going to be retro-cool! Like a man-bun or a Millenial wearing a fedora. And I got my definition from Google, not Webster’s, like the kids do.

Recently joining a Facebook TBI group has been a mixed bag. I have some experience with 14 years living with a TBI and almost 7 as recovering alcoholic, so emotional maintenance and regulation is by now old hat for me. I try to assure some members that suffered their TBI very recently that this journey, this saga, this Homeric odyssey (see what I did there?) is a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to allow yourself months and years and decades to adjust to this new normal. Well, Homer’s Jupiter must have been watching me and decided that I needed to be taken down a couple pegs because in rapid succession, he (or is it He? Not to be confused with Him , but do you capitalize a pronoun to apply to a Roman god [or is it God?] or is that a grammatical trope reserved for the Judeo-Christian God [I have to capitalize that “God” because I was raised Catholic and my father occasional reads this blog and Da didn’t raise no fools]) dealt me a 1-2 punch of emotional fragility that I could only ride out like Dorothy’s tornado.

Except this wasn’t a tornado. It was a cyclone, and the Google definition of cyclone (I didn’t lose you I hope) is “a system of winds rotating inward to an area of low atmospheric pressure; a depression”

It’s right there in the definition: a depression. I have been on an SNRI for a couple months now and it seems to be helping with the aftermath of my ex-girlfriend dumping me and me having to go on the family dole until I get some financial quagmires resolved in order to pay for a new apartment on my own and the 4 grand of expenses that go along with moving into a new apartment. But the first month went relatively well. Moving sucks and I hope to never, ever have to do it again because I’m not 23 years old but 43 years old and geographic mobility is pretty low on my list of priorities right now. But I worked out a custody agreement with my ex over the Golden Retriever we got as a puppy together. I originally wanted to give him away to a family of our choosing via some websites I had found but she wasn’t having it. After recalling all the research I’ve read that says people who live alone are much happier if they have a pet, and my new place and my stack of duckets not being big enough to get the Russian Tortoise I have wanted for years, I acquiesced after a couple weeks. Prudent move on my part, especially given incidents like the ones I’m going to tell you about.

 

In the interests of brevity, I’m gonna post the Facebook post I shared in the new TBI group. Here it is:

Hi all. So I have something I need to vent about and then I have a question about depression and anti-depressants.

 I had a really hard week, and for reasons that *were not* as a bad as I took them. Sunday I went out on a date with a woman I met online and it was just kind of a blah date. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pleasant conversation and of course we both did the “we should do this again” thing before we parted company. Then she texted me 2 days later and said she enjoyed meeting me but that we weren’t compatible but she was sure I would meet that ”special someone” (word of advice: Don’t ever use that phrase if you’re trying to give someone the brush off. Ugh) Relieved, I texted her back and said I agreed with her, there just wasn’t a spark there and to take care. She then texts me *crucifying* me for *everything* from my dress to my conversation skills to my teeth (!) and she wasn’t interested in hearing any reply beacuse she wouldn’t read it as I would just be defensive and combative. So, me being me, I replied a very snide, snarky reply and then hardly slept that night. Then I broke down in the supply closet at work, doubled over in tears, the next day because of the things she had said to me. I mean most people would just shrug it off, right? Then I spoke to a resident at the facility and she assured me that it wasn’t me and given what I had told her (which was nearly everything about this brief romance) that it sounded like this woman might be more than a little unstable and I should be thankful I dodged that bullet. Suddently, I was perfectly okay again.

 Until last night when I had an epiphany. I have lived alone many times in my life and never had an issue with it. The reason why I never had an issue with it is because I was a drunk and the bottle was a great roommate. Now, with almost 7 years sober under my belt, it occurred to me yesterday afternoon that the reason I was dreading being home alone was because the loneliness, the hulking black elephant of loneliness I knew was coming. So, instead I went to an AA meeting, only I got there 30 minutes early and the other person at the meeting house said the meeting would most likely be canceled anyway for a reason I won’t go into. So, after determining that there were no other meetings in town I could get to last night, once again, I broke down into uncontrollable crying for 10 minutes. Luckily, my parents lived in the same neighborhood so I went over there and they talked me off the ledge.

 I take Cymbalta for mild depression, but this wasn’t mild. This was a lot worse over 2 things that were not a big deal! I hate taking an anti-depressant in the first place but most of the time, it seems to work.

 I guess my question is how prevalant is depression among TBI survivors? I mean shit, my TBI was 13 years ago for God’s sake. Why did I get so upset over 2 things that were pretty minor, all things considered? Should I up my dosage? Try something else? Like I said, I hate taking “happy pills” but they do seem to make a difference, just not in these 2 instances.

 Ugh. Okay, end of rant. Carry on.

 Now, this is a closed group on Facebook, meaning outsiders don’t get to see what members post. But suffice to say that everyone in the group was so supportive and understanding and it was truly an occasion of overwhelming humility for me. Not just because of the meat grinder that this woman put my ego through. Not just because of warm blanket of inclusion I felt in getting support from total strangers (a phenomenon I have felt before on Facebook) This was different. This had the exact same feeling as walking into an AA meeting. Suddenly and overwhelmingly, I felt these people got it. Got me. All the haughty, slightly-overconfident self- assurance I’ve enjoyed lately because of my choice to work with other TBI and spinal cord injury survivors was thankfully shattered into a million pieces. At the same time, I have been overwhelmed with the sense of duty and obligation I feel towards other TBI survivors to get my new blog up and running because I want to provide my community of recovering alcoholics and TBI survivors with a completely informal, working-man’s sort of sanctuary they can go to and share in the lessons I have learned in my journeys and share their own. I want an interactive element on the new site other like comments and probably a Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn element where my fellow alcohlics an TBI survivors can interact with each other safely and free of judgement.

In keeping with the new normal way of doing things I have adopted in sobriety, I am choosing the positive spin on these episodes and soldiering on. I really hope some of you, dear readers, come with me.

TBI, writing and circling the wagons

Recently I joined a Facebook support group for TBI survivors. Over the last week, I’ve been reading the posts regularly and its eye-opening how many TBI survivors there are out there in the world. I got so excited when I was accepted to the group that I almost immediately started posting links to this blog. But I never really gave a thorough explanation of who I was and why I and, notably, this blog should be in a group focused on positivity and encouragement for TBI survivors. I mean let’s be honest, this blog can be pretty dark at times, especially when I write a post about Him. But we’ll get to that.

See, I’ve lived 14 years with an ABI. I should note that it is simply inexplicable to me why there is a distinction made between an Acquired Brain Injury and Traumatic Brain injury. I mean, aren’t all brain injuries acquired? In fact, they are and this is the web site that proves it.

It escapes me why there is a distinction made between and acquired brain injury and a traumatic brain injury. I guess because the word “traumatic” gets your attention, by God. Anyway, this post isn’t about the minutiae of all that. It’s about writing and my journey. This blog has always been about my journey living with a TBI for almost 14 years and being a recovering alcoholic for almost 7 years. It has served as an important safety valve for me because I have been putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it is these days) for a long time. Until, that is, I suffered my TBI in 2005. Then the wheels fell of the wagon.

When I had my first neuropsychiatric evaluation done a few months after the craniotomy to remove two abscesses from my brain, it was determined that I was markedly deficient in every category on the test, yielding an IQ that was drastically lower than before I got sick. I then embarked on an 8-year bender through the tunnel of alcoholism that lead me to my parents’ door where my then-girlfriend had deposited all my stuff and told my parents to deal with me because she was done. My parents presented me with two options. I could go to rehab or I was on my own. And, as I always say, the stinkin’ thinkin’ of my already-damaged alcoholic brain led me to actually ponder this decision for a moment. Here were these two people, who had taken a very big gamble two years before by cutting off contact with me because they couldn’t watch me continue to spiral down to my bottom, willing to foot the bill for me to dry out and get better, and then there was the option of … what? I didn’t know. So, defeated, my father and left shortly thereafter for a treatment facility where I spent the next 28 days. You can read a little about that experience here .

After I got out of rehab, I moved into a ¾ house where, a few months after I moved in, I enrolled in the veterinary technician class at a local community college. One afternoon, I was having serious doubts about whether I should have taken on such a heavy burden when suddenly, I had a vision. That vision took the form of a persona I’ve come to call, simply, Him. He represents the part of my psyche that takes my TBI, my alcoholism, my insecurities, fears, anxiety and dread and tosses them all in a blender and basically pours me a tall, cold glass of suck. He shows up when I go over to the Dark Side and the reality of my alcoholism becomes very, very real. Any recovering alcoholic will testify that it’s this torturous state of mind where we can’t drink but we can’t not drink because the suffering of this reality is just a little too overwhelming. And the people who have racked up any amount of time sober, whether it’s a week, a month, a year or multiples of years, will, to a man, tell you that this state of mind passes but while you’re in it, good freakin’ luck pal, cuz you’re on your own.

If you have read this blog and this post in particular this far, I salute you because this is where I start telling you things you might not already know. My ability to write somehow made it through the bacterial meningitis I suffered 14 years ago and, I have been told and kinda think so myself, made it better.

At the present time, my mom is working on her half of the book we are writing together about this whole, long sordid affair starting with the phone call she received one day about my then-fiance taking me to the hospital. We still don’t really know what the manuscript is going to look like when we are done but we do know we’re going to self-publish it. And I personally know that revisiting this painful time in all of our lives (because when you suffer a TBI and/or horrible alcoholism, it effects everyone close to you. It took me awhile to even acknowledge that, which kind of explains at least part of the alcoholism in the first place.) We also know that my memories of the past are so mixed up and discombobulated sometimes that we’re gonna have to have a disclaimer right at the start of the book that absolves me of any responsibility to anyone at all ever who may remember things differently because they are probably right and I’m probably wrong. That’s not the point. The point is what I write is my perception of how things went down; it’s testament to how sick I was.

But really, that’s only one of the points of writing the book. If I have learned anything from suffering a TBI, it’s that the reality that the rest of the world experiences is often very different from the way my mind perceives it. Hell, I spent at least 20 minutes in a broom closet at work yesterday weeping uncontrollably about something anybody else would have just shrugged off and gotten on with their lives. I honestly couldn’t tell you why I was so upset about something that later took 5 minutes of conversation with a friend to resolve in my mind. But it did. Sometimes, all the Zymbalta in the world ain’t enough to keep the demons at bay.

My contribution to the book is my world. It is reality according to me when really, He was doing the talking. And anybody who has suffered a TBI will know exactly what I am talking about.

Meanwhile, I trudge through the grunt work of my own project. By the end of the year and hopefully sooner, I will launch a knew website with an adjunct podcast and YouTube channel that will hopefully be of some value to others who have suffered a TBI and/or alcoholism. The TBI portion will include everything from TEDtalks to articles to books and podcasts I have catalogued so I can share them with other people who have suffered a TBI. The alcoholism portion I’ve still got some work to do fleshing out but will include personal journal entries as well as input from other alcoholics (with their permission of course) and what I have learned leading a sober life thus far. He will appear all across the website because He was my first proof that I could still write. And He also represents, in different manifestations and different forms, the Dark Side of every other recovering alcoholic and addict who faces the specter of battling addiction every day. The third component of the Blog-to-be-Named-Later will focus on meditation. For reasons I won’t go into here but you can read about here.

I have been a practicing Zen Buddhist for 6 years and meditating every day, often more than once per day, has opened my eyes in so many ways to the beauties of this world that only be experienced sober.

So, members of the TBI Facebook group I joined a couple weeks ago, I hope that explains my story better than just posting links to this blog. Sorry about that. I just got a little excited. Please poke around this blog as not everything is all TBIish serious. I’m a pretty good writer I think, that’s my one special thing as Dirk Diggler would say. There’s some pretty good stuff here. At least, I think so.

 

Genesis 34:1

Good morning!

I’m not saying that as a salutation or because I actual mean it. I’m saying it in place of “Jesus Christ” or “Goddamn!” because those phrases wouldn’t fit a series of Bible analyses because they’d be too literal. Plus, I’ve taken to using “Good morning” in place of “Good God” or “Goddammit” in an effort to anesthetize my mouth as I’ve become middle-aged and I aim for my blogging voice to be more user-friendly in general. Hence …

Good morning! “A revenge is a dish best served cold-blooded bedlam-style” is the best description of the havoc wreaked on Hamor and his son Shechem in Chapter 34. After reading this story, to say the nation of Israel had a chip on its shoulder the size of Gibraltar may be a tad hyperbolic, but not by much. Chapter 34 deals with not only the loose sexual norms of the Old Testament but also makes you realize two things: 1) Horny knuckle draggers with most of their brains below their belts who still somehow earn their peers’ respect have been around for thousands of years and 2) On the cover of every Old Testament ever published since Gutenberg invented the printing press should just be a big phallus. I mean, protecting their sister’s honor with a good solid ass kicking would have been a proportional response, but Simeon and Levi and the rest of Jacob’s boys took it to a whole different level. Check this out.
In Chapter 34 (Named The Rape of Dinah so you’re pulled in and intrigued, although this is hardly the first case of sexual deviancy in the Bible thus far. Even if you take out the incest, you’ve still got the polyamory and there is a whole lot of “ and then Horace took Brenda for his wife” which essentially means exactly what you think it means and it doesn’t mean Horace and Brenda had a destination wedding in Aruba) Jacob’s daughter Dinah goes out for a walk one day to visit some of her girlfriends when Shechem, Hamor the Hivite’s son (I include this factoid because Genesis’ author includes it. I have no idea if there is any significance to Hamor being a Hivite except than at one point, the Hivites’ do get the shaft from the Hebrew God [Joshua 3:10] so maybe this is literary license to give the reader the head’s up that Hivite’s are school in the summer time anyway) rapes her, but then (I just love this) and only then decides she is so hot that he actual wants to make her his wife and “endeavors to win her affection.” Pretty backasswards way to go about doin’ that Shechem, but alright. So he goes to his dad and sends him off to talk to Jacob, but then thinks better of it and decides he should probably go to talk to Jacob himself considering he already raped the guy’s daughter and the least he could do is do a little groveling himself. Jacob’s sons are out working in the fields when Shechem and Hamor go to Jacob to plea their case. Shechem even offers to pay Jacob as high a “bridal price” as he sets because old boy really has a thing for Dinah which, if you really want put some psychoanalysis on it, is remarkable since a man having his way with a young maiden and then wanting nothing to do with her post-coitus is and has been part and parcel for a good chunk of human evolution right up to the present day. But Shechem is smitten with the girl and so Hamor steps in and tries to schmooze Jacob.
“Listen, my son has his mind set on your daughter and this can work out well for both of us. You let him marry your daughter and I’ll give you some daughters your boys can um, ‘marry,’ and you can live among us, maybe buy some of my land, and we’ll just forget about all this rape stuff. Sound good?”
But when Jacob’s other sons get wind of what happened they are furious and so, behind Jacob’s back, come up with a plan of their own that they think would be a proper execution of justice and bring a suggestion to Hamor.
‘We could not do such a thing as to give our sister to an uncircumcised man. That would be disgraceful to us [Dinah’s brothers do not, I should interject here, present Hamor and Shechem with any feasible circumstances in which the fact that Shechem does not, in fact, have part of his penis removed would be made known to anybody other than the parties already mentioned and therefore come to bear on her brothers’ honor but can you really blame them for trying this ruse? I mean, so far, the hapless Hamor is just covering for his rapist son who wants to make good on the fact that he did already rape the woman he now wants to marry, so I’m betting that Shechem isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer to begin with and he doesn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. A gift horse that already gave, as it were.] We could not give out sister to an uncircumcised man, so here’s what’s gonna happen. You and your son and all your other menfolk in town agree to be circumcised. Then, with God as our witness, we will settle in your town and take …er… buy some of your land and we’ll eat and drink and be one big happy clan.”
Here’s where it gets bizarre even for the Old Testament. Not only does this proposition seem perfectly fair to Hamor and Shechem, but the two go back and have a meeting with the town council who also think it’s a reasonable request because Jacob and his sons apparently have a lot of livestock that they would all share in and because Shechem “was deeply in love with Jacob’s daughter. Moreover, he was more highly respected than anyone else in his clan.”[Italics added by me]
One wonders who the other guys in the town council were that Shechem the Rapist is the most highly respected guy they can find. Frankly, if Shechem is the best his clan has to offer, I don’t feel the least bit bad about what Jacob’s sons cooked up for them. So the town council and all the other men agree and Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s two oldest brothers, cut off part of the penis of every man in town. Then, on the third day when everybody is still in agonizing pain because they just had part of their adult penises chopped off, Jacob’s other sons slaughtered the lot of them.

I’ll say that again. They killed all of them only after they chopped off part of their penises. That’s some Keyser Soze crap right there.

“Then the other sons of Jacob followed up the slaughter and sacked the city in reprisal for their sister Dinah’s defilement. They seized their flocks, herds, and asses and whatever was in the city and in the country around. They carried off all their wealth, their women, their children and took for loot whatever was in their houses.” Then Jacob goes to his sons exasperated and says “You numbskulls. Now everybody in this city hates us and if they come at us, we’re toast! Did you think about that, like, at all?!”
Simeon and Levi just looked at each other and shrugged.
“Our sister’s no whore.”

As Jacob walked away from his sons, God taps him on the shoulder and tells him to take his whole operation to Bethel and build an altar to Him there because of the hooskow with Esau. He bailed him out of. So Jacob packs up shop and moves his whole production to Bethel and “then, as they set out, a terror from God fell upon the towns round about so that no one pursued the sons of Jacob.”
No mention of what the “terror” was. None. Dust storm? Hurricane? Roving band of stark raving mad cannibal Hivites? We’ll never know. To quote from The Usual Suspects, just like that … their gone.
On to Chapter 37. And friends, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Him (Reunion)

“What, you’re crying already?” He is sitting in the chair Da’s friend gave me to put in my living room. I’m sitting on the couch and Zimmer the Golden Retriever is snoozing beside me. Poor guy. He had a long day. Started with the first trip to the dog park of the year in all its muddiness, then a bath at day care and 6 hours romping with dogs. My man is pooped. It’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night and I’m a newly-single 43-year-old man sitting here on my couch in my lower-middle income apartment writing a blog post. Poor me. Poor me. Pour me …

“Another drink?” He says as He pulls a brand-new midnight blue flask with black trim out of His pocket and unscrews the lid. “You should really think about it this time. Because this …thing you’re doing with your mom is gonna hurt.”

He’s referring to a conversation I just had with my mother 15 minutes ago. We were talking about finally writing the book about my almost 14 years living with a traumatic brain injury and almost 7 years sober.

“Ah ah ahhhh,” He says, Maker’s Mark still swirling around his tongue. “Not 7 years yet buddy boy. And you know how your precious Program feels about counting your chickens before they hatch.” He lights an American Spirit cigarette and draws on it deeply.

“Go outside on the balcony if you’re gonna do that,” I say. “I’m not smoking in the apartment.”

“Yes, but I am,” He says and smiles wickedly. “Take your new rules for your new place you had to get because Kim kicked your ass to the curb because you bloody made her want to drink and stick’em all where the sun don’t shine. M’kay?”

We lock stares, Him smiling, me definitely not.

“That’s not why she broke up-“

“Please. Just say she dumped you, because that’s what happened.”

“Fine. That’s not why she dumped me,” I say. “It was a lot more complicated than that.”

“True, it was more complicated than that,” He says and pulls the coffee table over to the chair. He then kicks off the reading glasses and Blogging for Dummies and Squarespace for Dummies book and the Bluetooth speaker and crosses His outstretched legs. “She dumped you because there was a whole host of things about you she couldn’t stand and very few reasons to keep your sorry ass around.”

I come forward to sit directly across from Him. Sighing deeply through clenched teeth, I take a deep meditative breath. “No, she said the age gap is too big and we’re just at different places in our lives.”

“Right!” He said, pulling on the flask again. “Your place is you are a freakin’ janitor and her place is financially stable and she was tired of carrying your broke ass all the time.” He says. “Can’t say I blame her, can you? She decided to cut her losses and send you on your way. Let your parents worry about supporting you instead of her.”

I resist the almost overwhelming desire to grab Him by the collar and toss Him off my 3rd floor balcony. True, He’d just be there sitting in the chair when I turned around (fictional figments of the imagination are peculiar that way) but it would be momentarily satisfying.

“You need to leave. I have work to do,” I say and put my laptop back on my lap.

“Watcha doin’?” He says peering at the screen (He’s sitting next to me now. Told you he was nimble.)

“I’m reading over the first draft of the manuscript we’ve written so far,”

He raises his eyebrows. “Wow,” He says and claps my thigh. “I didn’t know you guys had started without me!”

“Trust me, you’ll get your chance,” I say as I read.

“My chance? You mean I get to be in it?”

“Well, you are the reason I discovered I could still write even better than I could before I got sick.”

“Ha! I’ll be the judge of that!”

“Yes, actually you will, because you only exist because I created you. And I’m gonna need you. So I have to get you out of the closet, dust you off and we’ll go skipping hand in hand back to 14 years ago when I really started my journey of living with a Traumatic Brain Injury and my affliction of addiction and how my parents and my sponsor and Alcoholics Anonymous and Zen Buddhism and my friends in the Program all saved my life.”

“Saved your life up until now, you mean,” He said and put His arm around me. “Considering how you felt tonight before you wrote this post, I’d lay even money that this book you’re gonna write with your mom is gonna take a hefty toll on you. Lonely nights like this one are going to get more frequent and honestly, I don’t think you have it in you. To revisit all the pain, the suffering, the isolation, it’s gonna be too rough on you pal. And let’s be frank. You don’t have the grit to relive it all again. And you certainly don’t have what you need to go toe to toe in a rematch with me. I’ll emotionally and mentally beat you black and blue,” He gloats as He shakes us both side to side.

“But, if it means I can draw you back in and make you go back out and start drinking again, I’ll be happy to contribute anyway I can!” He says as He stands up heads towards the door. “And you needn’t worry.”

“About what? Where are you going?” I asked.

He smiles as His eyes flare a fierce yellow. “I’ll bring the booze.”

Posted in Him

Him (Reunion)

“What, you’re crying already?” He is sitting in the chair Da’s friend gave me to put in my living room. I’m sitting on the couch and Zimmer the Golden Retriever is snoozing beside me. Poor guy. He had a long day. Started with the first trip to the dog park of the year in all its muddiness, then a bath at day care and 6 hours romping with dogs. My man is pooped. It’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night and I’m a newly-single 43-year-old man sitting here on my couch and my lower-middle income apartment writing a blog post. Poor me. Poor me. Pour me …

“Another drink?” He says as He pulls a brand-new midnight blue flask with black trim out of His pocket and unscrews the lid. “You should really think about it this time. Because this …thing you’re doing with your mom is gonna hurt.”

He’s referring to a conversation I just had with my mother 15 minutes ago. We were talking about finally writing the book about my almost 14 years living with a traumatic brain injury and almost 7 years sober.

“Ah ah ahhhh,” He says, Maker’s Mark still swirling around his tongue. “Not 7 years yet buddy boy. And you know how your precious Program feels about counting your chickens before they hatch.” He lights an American Spirit cigarette and draws on it deeply.

“Go outside on the balcony if you’re gonna do that,” I say. “I’m not smoking in the apartment.”

“Yes, but I am,” He says and smiles wickedly. “Take your new rules for your new place you had to get because Kim kicked your ass to the curb because you bloody made her want to drink and stick’em all where the sun don’t shine. M’kay?”

We lock stares, Him smiling, me definitely not.

“That’s not why she broke up-“

“Please. Just say she dumped you, because that’s what happened.”

“Fine. That’s not why she dumped me,” I say. “It was a lot more complicated than that.”

“True, it was more complicated than that,” He says and pulls the coffee table over to the chair. He then kicks off the reading glasses and Blogging for Dummies and Squarespace for Dummies book and the Bluetooth Speaker and crosses His outstretched legs. “She dumped you because there was a whole host of things about you she couldn’t stand and very few reasons to keep your sorry ass around.”

I come forward to sit directly across from Him. Sighing deeply through clenched teeth, I take a deep meditative breath. “No, she said the age gap is too big and we’re just at different places in our lives.”

“Right!” He said, pulling on the flask again. “Your place is you are a freakin’ janitor and her place is financially stable and she was tired of carrying your broke ass all the time.” He says. “Can’t say I blame her, can you? She decided to cut her losses and send you on your way. Let your parents worry about supporting you instead of her.”

I resist the almost overwhelming desire to grab Him by the collar and toss Him off my 3rd floor balcony. True, He’d just be there sitting in the chair when I turned around (fictional figments of the imagination are peculiar that way) but it would be momentarily satisfying.

“You need to leave. I have work to do,” I say and put my laptop back on my lap.

“Watcha doin’?” He says peering at the screen (He’s sitting next to me now. Told he was nimble.)

“I’m reading over the first draft of the manuscript we’ve written so far,”

He raises his eyebrows. “Wow,” he says and claps my thigh. “I didn’t know you guys had started without me!”

“Trust me, you’ll get your chance,” I say as I read.

“My chance? You mean I get to be in it?”

“Well, you are the reason I discovered I could still write even better than I could before I got sick.”

“Ha! I’ll be the judge of that!”

“Yes, actually you will, because you only exist because I created you. And I’m gonna need you. So I have to get you out of the closet, dust you off and we’ll go skipping hand in hand back to 14 years ago when I really started my journey of living with a Traumatic Brain Injury and my affliction of addiction and how my parents and my sponsor and Alcoholics Anonymous and Zen Buddhism and my friends in the Program all saved my life.

“Saved your life up until now, you mean,” He said and put His arm around me. “Considering how you felt tonight before you wrote this post, I’d lay even money that this book you’re gonna write with your mom is gonna take a hefty toll on you. Lonely nights like this one are going to get more frequent and honestly, I don’t think you have it in you. To revisit all the pain, the suffering, the isolation, it’s gonna be too rough on you pal. And let’s be frank. You don’t have the grit to relive it all again. And you certainly don’t have what you need to go toe to toe in a rematch with me. I’ll emotionally and mentally beat you black and blue,” He gloats as he shakes us both side to side.

“But, if it means I can draw you back in and make you go back out and start drinking again, I’ll be happy to contribute anyway I can!” He says as He stands up heads towards the door. “And you needn’t worry.”

“About what? Where are you going?” I asked.

He smiles as His eyes flare a fierce yellow. “I’ll bring the booze.”

Genesis 25:19

For a superior being, you would think God would have made a better match-maker. Sarah didn’t even give birth to Isaac until she was too old to have kids anymore and Isaac’s wife Rebekah was sterile. So, once again, God had to do the deed and “made” Rebekah pregnant (not to say that there was anything carnal about Rebekah becoming pregnant but the fact that God certainly does intervene when duty calls [I’m thinking of the virgin Mary here] is telling. I don’t know of any other cases when God did this, but I’m still only on Genesis and I’m detecting a pattern. And by the way, so far, the Bible never insinuates that maybe the father’s boys can’t swim. It’s always the woman’s fault. The seed of the Bible’s patriarchal worldview is already starting to poke it’s head through like the baby alien in Alien.)

 

Rebekah complains that the two fruits of her womb were having an MMA fight inside her and God told her that she had two nations fighting inside her and that the younger one would surpass the older one in prominence. Sure enough, when she gave birth to twins, the one that came out first was a hirsute little goblin and the one that came out next was “gripping the older one’s heel,” (Wow. Imagine two Aliens coming out of you and the second one is gripping the heel of the first one!) So, the first one, bearing the name Esau, was quite the outdoorsman and a skillful hunter and his little brother Jacob was a total homebody. So of course Isaac preferred Esau because he could teach him to hunt and make fires and stuff but Rebekah preferred Jacob because he stuck around the tent and kept her company and learned how to cook and clean. So when the boys got older, Jacob was making a stew and Esau came in from hunting all day and he was famished so he asked Jake if he could have some stew. He didn’t even know what was in the stew; he just growled “Let me have some of that red stuff you got in that pot. I’m starving [Writer’s note: I swear that is exactly the verbiage from my Bible.] Jacob did some quick thinking on his feet (and, no doubt, sized up the dim, hairy brute that was his brother) and said, “First give me your birthright in exchange for it.” Birthright meant the right to be recognized as the firstborn and Esau was so dense (and, apparently, hungry) that he grunted “What good is any birthright gonna do me? I’m hungry now.” Jacob made him promise, so Esau said “Fine. You get my birthright. Now gimme some grub.” And he ate some stew, drank some water and went on his way.

 

As my Bible says, the furry Esau cared little about his hairiness or birthright, but he should have cared about both because in the next chapter, in a twist of fate, his mane led to his downfall. When Isaac got so old he could barely see, he calls his favorite Esau to him and tells him to go out and kill him some dinner and cook him an appetizing meal so Isaac could give Esau a “special blessing.” Isaac must not have been paying a whole lot of attention as the boys grew up because Esau didn’t know how to make an appetizing meal because he couldn’t cook. That was Jacob’s bag. And Rebekah was listening to the whole thing because, on the sly, she told Jacob to go and get her some baby goats so she could make Isaac’s dinner and Jacob could go present it to him and get the special blessing.

“But Mom, Esau’s way hairier than me. What if Dad tries to put his hands on me while he’s giving me this ‘special blessing,’ he said with brow furrowed. “He’ll totally know its me.”

“Just get me the damn asses, junior” Rebekah says. So, while Esau’s out getting some game for his old man, Jacob goes and gets the goats and Rebekah makes dinner. Then she dresses up Jacob in Esau’s clothes and superglues the bloody, hairy skins of the goats she just killed to Jacob’s body and Jacob, looking at his mother with goat blood dripping down his face and arms, thought “Lady, this is never gonna work” but goes off to Isaac anyway.

And, Bob’s your uncle, it does work and blind old Isaac unwittingly gives Jacob his super secret extra special blessing to also be fruitful and multiply. Then Esau comes in with the game he caught for his Dad and prepares an extra special dinner for him and takes it to him. But Isaac just ate and he’s laid back in his recliner with his unbuckled belt and says, “Wait, didn’t I just give you my super secret extra special blessing to be fruitful and multiply?” Esau parts the hair in front of his eyes and says,

“Um, no,” says Esau. “But if you’re full, do you mind if I get down on some of that stew?” Then Isaac realizes it was Jacob the whole time but insists that the matter is now out of his hands.

“I blessed him! Now he must remain blessed!” Isaac whined.

But Esau persisted. “Dude! Just bless me too! How hard can it be?!”

Isaac persisted. Apparently, Isaac was pretty full of himself to think that Daddy’s only got one blessing to go around.

“Your brother came here by a ruse and carried off your blessing!”

Esau, nonplussed by the whole affair at this point, breaks down into bitter sobbing and exclaims “He has now supplanted me twice. First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing,” he weeps. “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?!”

Isaac replies “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned him all his kinsmen as his slaves. Besides, I have enriched him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you son?”

Esau tries one last ditch plea. “Have you only one blessing father? Bless me too!” But Isaac clams up and Esau weeps bitterly and vows that once the old man dies, his brother is toast. Then, when Rebekah gets wind of Esau’s plan to ice his brother (how she came upon this knowledge we don’t know because Esau thought it, he didn’t say it) she pulls Jacob aside and says “Look, Esau’s pretty pissed about this. Go stay with my brother in Haran until he cools off and I’ll bring you back. Must I lose both of you in a single day?”

What the hell do you care Rebekah? You orchestrated this whole “I’ll get Isaac to bless Jacob and he will be fruitful and multiply and Esau can suck eggs” ploy in the first place. And now you feel some buyer’s remorse about it? Please.

So Jacob goes off to Haran, And I don’t know about you, but this supposedly holy patriarchal family of Abraham is pretty shady and guess what? It gets worse. But we will save that for another post.

 

Genesis 10:8

When I think of writers that are going to make me laugh out loud (not to be confused with LOL) I think of guys like Chuck Klosterman. I never knew Moses and his boys were going to be among the most fun to read (although David Cross did warn me of this once.

The title of this post doesn’t encapsulate the scope of the content because honestly, there’s a whole lot of geography and family ties and talk about sheep and wells and feasts that spans the literature that I covered for this post. I stopped around Chapter 30 because I was gut laughing so hard I had to stop.

Nimrod.

That’s where I picked up for this post. Genesis 10:1 details the litany of nations that came out of the whole Noah/Ark/Animals/Flood fiasco, which I’m not going to go into because all the humor and figurative meaning and cultural significance have been thoroughly wrung out of that story. I picked up where they start to tick off all the descendants of Noah and among them was his son Ham (I know. A Jew named Ham. Noah’s big middle finger to God I guess.) Ham had a son named Cush, who had a son named Nimrod, who was the first “potentate” on earth, which Biblestudytools.com says meant “a ruler or monarch.”

 

Verse 9 says he was a “mighty hunter by the grace of the Lord, hence the saying “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter by the grace of the Lord.”

And we’ve all heard that old chestnut, haven’t we?

Then there’s Chapter 16, which details the birth of Abraham’s son Ishmael from whom the Arabs claim descendance. Chapter 17 relates how God promised Abram (his name before he changed it to Abraham. My bible says he did it because He was making “Abraham the father of a host of nations.” Yeah, I don’t get it either) that he would be this father if and only if he cut off part of his penis; that would be the mark of the covenant between God and Abram (wait, sorry. Abraham.) Which I’m struggling with because you would think that if God is going to make Abraham the father and father figure of all these nations, the very absolute last thing He would choose to alter would be the very thing that Abraham is definitely going to need if he’s going to make that happen, right? God then goes on to talk about Ishmael again, in pretty flattering terms at that, going on about how fruitful Ishmael is gonna be and he’ll have his own 12 chieftains throughout the world and so on but He maintains that his covenant (again, commemorated by the biggest anatomical oxymoron I can think of) will be with Abraham (no longer Abram.)

I mentioned in the last post how educational Bible study can be, right? Check this out. In Genesis 18:11, we learn that at this point, Abraham and his old lady Sarah “were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.” I would have never guessed that the phrase “she’s having her period” was actually a biblical reference, but there you go. And Sarah herself is pretty surprised herself because she was eavesdropping on God and Abraham and she busts out laughing when He gets to the descendants part.

“’Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?’ But the Lord said to Abraham “Why did Sarah laugh and say ‘Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?’ Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?’”

He’s got a point there. And in Verse 15, Sarah mutters under her breath “I didn’t laugh.” But Abraham counters, “Yeah, you freakin’ did,” very possibly pondering the kind of God they were dealing with and weeping for the future and with good reason. I mean, yes, God promised Abraham he was going to be fruitful and multiply but now, because Sarah threw a monkey in the wrench of their dealings with Him. He was gonna mess with Abe first and see just what how far he would go to please Him.

Really, Abe had two entities that he was trying to please and still maintain some sort of independence (an affliction that, really, has plagued a heathy mass of men since time immemorial.) First there was God, but then Abe had his wife to please too. Thankfully in this case (unlike, say, almost every other case of interpersonal relations of every gender normative couple every single day since) she was pretty straight forward about what she wanted. In Chapter 21, after the birth of Isaac, Sarah got real pissy about Abe’s concubine Hagar (Ishmael’s mom) still lurking around like she owned the place just because she had borne Abe’s first son. She notices Ishmael and Isaac playing Jacks or Hooves or Rocks or whatever little boys played back then and suddenly and without warning, lost her freakin’ mind.

“Drive out that slave and her son!” Sarah screamed at Abe. “No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!”

Abe was understandably pretty shocked, not to mention confused, but God took him aside and reassured him that he should go ahead and kick Hagar and Ishmael out and He would take care of them (I guess you could trace all of Islam back to Sarah having a bee in her bonnet about how loose sexual norms were back then)

A couple chapters later, God decides, pretty abruptly actually, that now is the time to confront Abe and test his mettle in light of the chuckling incident. It happens right at the start of Chapter 22 with God, trying to catch Abe by surprise, comes out from behind a mountain or a cloud or whatever and shouts “Abraham!”

Ol’Abe apparently had the foresight to know this was coming because he dropped his shovel and immediately stood at attention.

“Ready!” he shouted.

God, although mildly surprised that Abe was anticipating this, doesn’t miss a beat and tells Abe to go to Moriah (which I guess was just down the road or street or river) and bring a knife and some kindling and, like Christopher Walken, calmly tells Abe he’s going to sacrifice his only legit son Isaac to prove his devotion to God.

Shit just got real.

So while Abe is, once again, considering all the other deities he could have chosen and wondering why on earth he decided to stick with the Supreme Being that apparently now had a vendetta, gritted his teeth and built a sacrificial altar. Poor, oblivious Isaac sweetly asked his dad, “Where are the sheep we’re gonna put on the altar?” Abe looked at his son sideways and wondered if the old, withered Sarah might just have another son she could squeeze out of her, then remembered the only reason he had Isaac in the first place was because … and you get the rest. God tells Abe to in fact not sacrifice Isaac after all and that he’s proven his devotion, etc. Not long after, Abe, who has lived to a “ripe old age” (another instance where I learned that a saying we use even to this day has biblical roots. The English vernacular would be a lot less rich without the Bible and Shakespeare to draw from) finally kicks the bucket after 175 years and the second part of the book of Genesis is over.

But there’s plenty of juicy stories to come, starting with a big dumb ox of a guy who’s hair was his downfall.

I’ll repeat that.

Hair plays a very significant role in the chapter to come.

Long, beautiful hair.
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen.
Shoulder length or longer.
Here, baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it.

Esau’s hair.

Genesis 3:5

First, a little mental housekeeping.

I just looked up 5 guys involved with this group of scholars/public speakers I’ve been following lately known collectively as the Intellectual Dark Web. It’s this group of men who meet publicly on stage and on each other’s podcasts and discuss all manner of ideas from spirituality to technology to sociology. One guy, Joe Rogan, who has one of the most successful podcasts in the short history of podcasts, isn’t exactly a “member” of the I.D.W., but he has had all of them on his podcast. Want to know what they all have common?

 

They all are about 5-10 years older than me with the exception of Dave Rubin who’s actually a year younger than me, which would kinda explain why he was trying to so hard to get Jordan Peterson to get hammered with him on his podcast The Rubin Report. Now, I am not comparing myself to any of these guys because I am a lowly janitor who would consider himself lucky as all get out if I had even 100 visitors to my blog in one day and if anyone more than my mother and her friends listened to my forthcoming podcast. The only reason I bring these guys up at all is if I take where I am in my life and my intentions of podcasting/blogging/YouTubing, I am right on schedule as far as the age at which I want to be taken seriously and my project to be known by anyone outside of my friends and loved ones.

 

So I feel pretty good about the fact that I’m just getting started with getting my brand out there (and I hate even saying “getting my brand out there” because I don’t have a “brand.” I just have myself, my experiences, a talent or two and a whole lot of mileage with the “trial by fire” model.) And this blog is the incubator for that brand, so let’s get to it.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m tackling The Bible with a mildly irreverent, genuinely inquisitive and irreverently genuine understanding of a text that has seen every translation and interpretation you can imagine. It’s like my own little book club in which the members discuss only one book and the members are the late Mike Royko, Dave Barry, the Buddha, George Carlin, Pope Innocent V and Dr. Phil and they are at a table discussing the moral and psychoanalytical ramifications of the Book of Sirach. Personally, I was shocked to even learn there was a Pope Innocent V and I certainly didn’t know there was four Pope Innocents before him and another five after him. I also didn’t know that Innocent I was the son of Pope Anastasius I. This fact alone is a noodle scratcher, but Wikipedia maintains that this is one of the few cases where a son succeeded his father as the Pope, which is bananas because they were popes. I grew up Catholic and I had no idea that popes weren’t forbidden to marry until 1123 A.D. I guess in the first thousand years or so, Catholics projected they should be spreading the message of Jesus to everyone they could and what better tactic to recruit more people to Catholicism than making some of those folks yourself?)

Naturally, the first book I read was the book of Genesis. It’s pretty commonly accepted that Moses wrote some or all of the first five books of the Bible (that’s Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy to you non-Bible scholars [Writing these posts about the Bible is such smart idea because if nothing else I can put Bible Scholar on my resume]) There’s a lot of passages in the volume I want to play around with but there’s one in particular that speaks, well, volumes about the plasticity of the concept of God.

In this passage, the talking snake that is commonly taken for Satan (although, I guess there could be some other supernatural being the snakes represents. I mean, I dabbled in some Greek mythology when I was an adolescent and Mars, the Roman god of war was a pretty ornery mammajamma and the Greek half-Giant Antaeus (https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-13-biggest-assholes-in-greek-mythology-1454132475) was a stone cold pyscho who literally made people’s skulls into hats, but for our purposes we’ll go with Satan) is rapping with Eve and tells her that God is really just a jealous twit and she should totally eat the apple of knowledge because “your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”

Wait, what? So, if Eve eats the apple and talks Adam into having a bite or two, they will be like gods? I know I just referenced a couple old school deities in that last paragraph, but this is the Hebrew Old Testament. I would think that Moses would want to swing his readers away from even considering the existence of other deities. Imagine you’re Moses and your sitting with back against a rock wall and you’re thinking about how best to write the story of the creation of the world so people could read it and have at the very least some mythological explanation of how there are people in the first place (because let’s be honest, this is 4000 years ago. People were practically still monkeys. They’d believe anything anyone wrote down because, well, the vast majority of them couldn’t write themselves so the guy who wrote it down in the first place must be wicked smart. He could probably even do the trick where it looks like you pulled the top of your thumb off). In fact, I came across a page that goes into specific detail about all the references to gods other than God in the Old Testament. It was written by Gerald McDermott an author I knew nothing about prior to this post but I will most definitely be using on deep background for this Bible study because he has way more of a right to put his thoughts about theology out there than I do. He also has a lot of letters after his name which means he’s way smarter than me

But to my original point, the Hebrews had just left Egypt and all its gods like Ra the sun god and Mut the mother goddess (a rather unfortunate name for a mother goddess if you ask me) and the pharaohs who were themselves thought to be gods. Then you had the Greek gods like Zeus and Hera and Apollo creeping in from the north and who knows what other deities bouncing around the ancient world. And this cat Moses had the hutzpah to tell all the other Jews “Look, there’s only one God and he only talks to me and he told me to tell you about these people Adam and Eve who started humanity in this idyllic place a little north of here but they ate this apple that they weren’t supposed to eat and now the rest of us are hosed for eternity. You dig?”

So, in researching this the first post in my Bible study, I’ve learned things already. Moses not only acknowledged other gods, but also asserted that the Hebrew God was the only god and is if that weren’t enough, wrote four more books about how great he was and how great the nation of Israel was and would continue to be if they just made a regular practice of giving props to God (not gods,) cutting off part of their penises and not eating pork chops. It was, quite literally a Revelation.

There is one other passage later in the chapter that I think really gets down to brass tacks what kind of God (not god) we’re dealing with. After the whole apple/talking snake/holy-crap-we’re-both-naked fiasco, God grudgingly makes Adam and Eve some leather clothes like their members of an S & M cult and “expelled the man and settled him east of Eden; and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

I really, really wish I knew anything about graphic design because just that image shows you how straight up cold-blooded the Hebrew God was. Not only did he send Adam and Eve east of Eden to till the soil for their food, but he put a team of half-pint winged thugs around the perimeter and a fiery revolving sword behind them to make 100% sure they can’t get back in.

Damn it feels good to be a Gangster.

Damn it feels good to be a Gangster.

Expect Delays (No Longer!)

Man, I hate when that happens.

I write a blog post and I publish it and in my heart and soul I’m thinking “Ha! Okay, now that that one is outta the way, it’s going to churn out regular blog posts from here on out!”

And then like a month goes by and life happens and I move into a new apartment and my town experiences the worst blizzard it has seen since the Innuits wore short pants and it snows more and Zimmer the dog has a torn ACL scare and it snows more and I have to call my printer manufacturer to set up my printer again and it snows more and Mary from work asks me to play piano in the musical production the residents are putting on at work and gives me 3 pieces of sheet music to learn only one of those pieces was written as a duet for two pianists at the same keyboard so I have to buy new sheet music and it snows more and my boss needs me to work a bunch of Saturday shifts and I agree because I am poor and it snows more and …

You get the idea. Suddenly it’s a month later and I haven’t written the blog post that was supposed to come a mere day or so after the last one.

And so it goes.

So, let’s try that again shall we?

I’m going to begin blogging on a regular basis. On this blog. Y’see, the name and concept of the new blog is so good, at least I think so, that I figure I need to incorporate blogging into my routine with this blog so that when the new one (along with, eventually I hope, a contingent podcast and YouTube channel) goes live, I’m already in the practice of doing it regularly. This has always been an issue for me because there’s a lot of things I’ve wanted to incorporate into a daily routine that I simply couldn’t because an existing part of my daily routine as recently as a few months ago was worrying about whether or not I had done something wrong or undesirable in Kim’s house that would push her further and further away from me. As it turns out, I was and I did and now I’m living in a one-bedroom apartment with part-time custody of my dog.

 

The strange thing is, the whole experience with Kim seems like a blur one moment and a long trudge down the road to my abysmal failure to be an adequate partner the next. Now, mind you, my assessment of being an “adequate partner” means an adequate partner to Kim. Back living by myself, I’m back to just being my own partner, which I’m hella good at. But I did learn some valuable lessons during my time living with Kim. The first is my personal well-being is paramount and there are things I need to do to reach a state of equilibrium in order to maintain that well-being. Beyond obvious ones like the gym and meditation and time with the Z (After I had proposed we give away to a loving home, I then realized a couple weeks later that I love the 70-pound adorable nitwit and also know about the multiple studies that affirm that many people stave off the often overwhelming burden of loneliness that comes with living alone by having a pet,) the other is writing. I have always known this and I always forget and then I write for awhile and that reminds me of how much I need it. Any artist knows this. Just like any artist knows that if you grow lax in your practice, it slides up onto your leg like a serpent and burrows into your head and begins eating your brain while you wonder about that strange tickle in your ear.

So, in order to really invest in blogging to the point where it becomes as much a part of my routine as meditation or the gym, I decided to start with a subject that was light and playful. And I can think of no other subject matter as light and playful as The Bible.

There is no other fodder more rife with opportunity for an irreverent, jolly fellow like myself to play with than the Bible. I’ll be clear. I’m talking the whole Bible. Growing up Catholic, I was drenched in the New Testament. But when was the last time you heard anybody riff on the Book of Judges or really delve into the underlying meanings of the book of Esther? Never, that’s when. I intend to comment on these things as well as Samuel, Samuel 2, Daniel, Joel and Amos (didn’t even know about those books, did you? Well, you’re gonna!)

This will be my experiment in writing more often and constructing better copy to prep myself for the new blog on a new platform with a cohesive message entitled …

Hee hee hee. Silly rabbit. Can’t tell you yet. But it’s coming. Finally. As Red says in Shawshank, Andy needed a new project. The meager momentum I gathered when I lived with Kim was derailed. Well guess what? The train’s back on the tracks kids. I’m also engaging with a new project with my Mom. She has been gently poking the bear of writing an essay or book or novella or hell, I don’t know, Do-It-Yourself manual, about our respective parts in my journey back to world in the last 13 years since my Traumatic Brain Injury and then getting sober. We will be publishing it ourselves, so no editor can mess with the format, which will be kinda all over the place. It will include her experience of me in the hospital, her thoughts on prayer, personal journal entries and things of that nature. My half will be replete with references to Him, the persona I created to represent the dark side of my psyche that routinely tells me that I’m nothing but a no-account alcoholic with a brain injury that messed him up something fierce, as well as accounts of the 4 jobs I went through to get to be a janitor at the very same facility I started my rehab at after my surgery, the process of getting sober and on and on.

It’s going to be a helluva ride and I’m looking forward to it.

So yeah, the new blog/podcast/YouTube channel and the book to be named later.

As Paul Newman said in The Color of Money, I’m back.