Friday, September 24, 2010

Demagogic Seeds

This post over at USU SHAFT spawned a random memory from my past.

Back in 1985, I attended a Mormon fireside in one of the North Logan, Utah stakes where some music "expert" talked about how the evil music industry used reel-to-reel recorders for evil and other such nonsense, reasoning that because they had the ability to play the tape backwards, it allowed them to create or manipulate this so called "back-masking".  He used several examples including the infamous Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" to prove his point.  (See videos posted at USU SHAFT)


The Akai GX-4000D,
one of my many tools
I used for Evil.
When he ran the tape backward the first time, I personally
couldn't hear anything in it.  However, before he played it again, he made sure to read to us what it was suppose to say. Then, while he was playing it, he would lip-sink to it to make sure the suggestion registered.  I thought it was a stretch but many in the audience gasped in horror during the demonstration.

I lost a friend that night because I just happened to own a reel-to-reel recorder.  Never mind that the model I had was incapable of reverse playback, it didn't matter, he berated me in front of everyone, then got in his car and left.  He was my next door neighbor.  He had driven me there; he was my only ride home.  I was left to ponder his and the speaker's words with frustrations and shame on that long, cold, dark and lonely walk home.  For a few months after that, he continued his efforts to embarrass and shame me in front of other peers at school and church.  The bridge was burned.  No matter how nice he was to me later in life, I never gave him any more of my time.

Looking back, that whole thing reminds me of something...  ah yes,  Alma 32:28-43, where Alma compares the word to a seed.  Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.  I'm not going to get into a detailed word for word analysis, instead I'm going to simply state my own cynical and biased summary of it which is:  Plant that seed whatever it is, and nourish it with your own misguided beliefs, fears and prejudices, and it will grow into whatever irrational zealotry you want it to be.  And no, I don't care if you believe that that is a gross misinterpretation.  It doesn't really matter.  As scripture, it makes as about as much sense to me as JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings".

But, I digress.

That night at the fireside, the words of a religious demagogue with his fears and prejudices were planted in the mind of my former friend.   The words appealed to his ego so he nourished them until they bore fruit to which he based his faith upon.  The result, conflict where there never was before and would never have been at all.  So, is that a good seed or a bad seed?   It's hard to say because for him it was a sweet fruit, for the rest of us, it was rotten. 

I think too many Mormons are oblivious to the fears and prejudices they use to nourish the word because of how easy it is to get caught up in the fears and prejudices of the people they trust.  It's not hard to see such fruits in the Mormon church when it comes to pretty much anything involving homosexuality.  Fear, fear and more fear.

When I got to college, I was able to escape much of that stupidity, but my fear of rejection had been amplified that night.  Sadly, I still don't have it all out of my system.  I still get paranoid that I'm going to be rejected for something stupid like, for instance, being gay.  I really don't need to go on anymore about what those demagogic lunatics, Mormon or otherwise, have to say about homosexuality. And since I never know what new shit they are going to stir up, I'm constantly playing it safe, especially around the ultra-religious people I have to work with everyday.

Nonetheless, I get the urge to want to poke them a bit to get the rejection over with quicker rather than tip toe around all of the time.  I really get tired of holding back my life to make sure someone else's life remains comfortable.  I'm tired of nourishing myself with my own fears and prejudices just to protect someone else from facing theirs.  I want to move on and put all these people behind me for good.  But, I don't do it.  I don't poke them.  I'm too afraid to be alone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

sorry

Sigh.

I need to apologize for my post on Saturday.  I'm still wondering if I should delete it or not. I guess it could stand as an example as to why I shouldn't write things off the cuff.

My "friend" doesn't deserve to be bad mouthed that way.  Just because I had a problem with him that day, doesn't give me the right to slander his character and I wasn't being completely rational either.

The truth is, having a place to go and a person to keep me occupied, no matter how narcissistic, kept me out of my head long enough to let the suicidal feelings pass. I was at least rational enough to realize that.

But, I'm still in a dilemma.

You see, there are two issues I'm dealing with.  My occasional depression with its  suicidal feelings and my increased health problems with my heart, which have made the depression worsen.  Neither one happens at any predictable schedule.  Neither one will put me in any immediate danger.  The real danger is going to be when they both hit at the same time.  If that happens, I will not be willing to seek medical attention when my heart lapses in to fibrillation.  And if it doesn't kick out within 24 hours, I'll be killing myself with the inevitable stroke or strokes.  This scared the shit out of me.  There is a chance that I can kill myself, or rather allow myself to die, if such conditions align.

This realization hit me last evening while I was out walking in the dark, on a deserted beach, many miles away from a road or any sign of life other than the birds and mosquitoes.  At that point, I knew my depression had lifted because I realized that I was now in a position where if my heart went into fibrillation, I wouldn't have the strength to walk the 5 miles back to my car, passing out in the process of trying.  I also wouldn't be discovered for days if at all, at which point the strokes would have killed my brain by then and my body would have been carried out to sea when the tide came in.  That too, scared the shit out me.  I almost started running back to my car completely freaked out because I no longer wanted to die.

I have no idea what to do about it.  Depression makes me irrational and I don't realize it until after it's passed, at which point I'm glad I don't do what I had been thinking of doing while depressed because during the depression, the irrational seems completely rational.

As for being alone?  I don't know what to do about that either.  It's not as if I know anyone who I can share those long, isolated, no moonlight, walks on the beach with.  FUCK!   It's statements like that that trigger me to get depressed!  God DAMMIT!  fuck this shit!  And fuck my life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today used to be my Birthday

Without trying to sound dramatic, today is my birthday and I'm just waiting for it to get the hell over with it.  I HATE being alone on days like these.  Sure, there is an expectation of what I think a birthday should or could be, a happy celebration of my birth, but birthdays are also like the holidays to me, empty and void of genuine well wishing from most people.  There are a few exceptions, VERY FEW, and those few are the only ones that keep me here.  It's too bad they are all thousands of miles away.

I can understand everyone wishing me a "Happy Birthday". It's expected and many do mean well.  But they don't stop there.  They have to rub it in with things like this:

"I hope you're having a fabulous day, filled with lots of happiness, friends and/or family with you!"
"Hope your livin' it up today. Have a good one."
"I hope you get to go do something fun to celebrate the day."
"Hope you do something fun"

Etc.

Everyone expects birthdays to be a special day where you get to do something special, and I'm one of them.  But its specialness is really a stupid idea that I need to let go of, because here is the cold hard reality:

It's no different from any other busy, late summer day.  And today was typical of what happens.

I had asked some other "friends" if they would like to do something today for my birthday but, either they were already at some other event (that I was not invited to) and couldn't hang out, or they just didn't want to do anything.   So I was just going to find something to do on my own.  I was feeling the depression start to hit me early this week so that was not helping it.

So, this morning I woke up groggy and frustrated from a restless night caused by an unbearably stressful and mindless job.  Immediately I got a call from a "friend" who wanted to drive out to The OC* and watch the Red Knights motorcycle procession honoring the fire fighters killed on this day in 2001.   That sounded interesting so I agreed to go.

On the way, I told him that it was my birthday today.  He was surprised and actually thought I was joking. I wasn't surprised that he would do that.  You see, this person doesn't really pay much attention to the thoughts, feelings or lives of other people.  If it's not about him, it doesn't matter.  When he called me -- and he calls me often -- he was merely just bored and looking for something or someone to entertain him.  I've known him for 5 years.  I have to tell him every year that it's my birthday.  I don't expect him to care.  But he will at least buy me dinner, because by his own definition, it's expected.  He'll just do it.  I'm not manipulating him, I'm just taking advantage of his predictability.  But it comes at a cost.

We get to The OC* and I have to listen to him complain about... oh, I don't know.  Who gives a shit anyway?  I stopped listening to him after the fifth time he mentioned how he regretted wearing a black t-shirt in the heat... the whole time.  I finally told him to either walk in the nearest shop and buy a white t-shirt, (there being a shop every 100 feet for the next two miles of the boardwalk) or shut the fuck up.  After a little back and forth about how he would never do that etc. he finally stopped complaining.   But it doesn't stop there. His excessive narcissism kicks in and he as to express himself on every little thing he thinks, sees or does.  And I'm expected to listen with deep interest and even laugh at his non jokes.  Also, I must be prepared to be outwardly and aggressively dismissed, sometimes quite rudely if I dare express anything that interests me and doesn't interest him.  No, I'm not exaggerating here.  And No, I'm not pretending to care about his interests either.  I pretty much ignore him but he really thinks I care, even if I tell him I don't!   He really is that narcissistic!

There is nothing as depressing as being surrounded by people and still feel utterly alone.  But, being out in the sun on a crowded boardwalk with an asshole is better than the alternative, which is sitting at home contemplating ways to kill myself.  I resist going home because to do that is to face my loneliness head on and I just don't want to lose myself in the suicidal thinking.  It's best to stay distracted for now, at least until it passes.

Anyway, because of his incessant boredom and his need to be doing something, we end up missing the processional anyway.   The only reason he wanted to go.  Typical.

Now, I'm sitting at home writing this while debating if this should be deleted or posted.  The day will be over in a few hours.  And I'm starting to feel like I might make it.  I don't know.  I was in the hospital again a few weeks ago because of my heart.  Is this the life I'm to have from here on out?  When is my heart going to kill me so I don't have kill myself?

* The OC I'm referring to here is Ocean City, Maryland. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mormons and their Missionaries

The Heretic, over at Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, posted a fun story about distracting Mormon missionaries.

Ever since becoming a heretic myself, I have been looking forward to new opportunities to distract missionaries.  So far I haven't had much success living out in the middle of nowhere.

But this summer, over the July 4th holiday, I ran into a couple of Elders setting up a display in Alexandria, VA.  One Elder was so distracted by me that he was watching me rather than paying attention to the fact that the folded-poster he was setting up was upside down.  At which point I started to fumble for my camera.

I was standing about 30 feet away when I finally took a picture but unfortunately, in the mean time, the other Elder noticed and had him correct it.  Bummer, it would have been awesome, a picture of a Mormon missionary watching me as he was setting up a poster upside down.  I was tempted to walk over there and ask him to recreate the scene for me so I could take a picture.

Lesson learned.  Never put away camera!

They were sort of giving each other "high fives" for whatever reason as they noticed me take their picture.  I was with two other somewhat regular looking gay guys who both looked like tourists, but I stood out, I was wearing knee high boots.  I would like to think he was enamored with my boots.  Many people are.  I mean I totally understand if he was as I can totally relate.

When I was a missionary in New Zealand back in the early 91, I found myself distracted, ...erm VERY distracted by guys in those one piece motorcycle leathers with matching boots and helmet as they zipped down the road on their matching sport bikes.  I HAD to watch them!  I could not look away!  Every time they went buy I twisted my body around in the car seat to continue watching!  It's just one of those things.  Leather clad male bodies drive me wild!  My companion, however, was in his own world. Staring down the road.  Lost in his own head somewhere thinking about his girlfriend at home or the fact he was leaving the mission in about a month anyway. He had no idea.

Anyway, here's the picture I finally got:
July 3, 2010: Alexandria, VA


So young, so earnest, so na├»ve.   Those were the days.  I'm glad they're over.  

And here is a shot of me in my boots:
Yeah I know, I'm not quite ready to show my face on this blog yet.  But that is a picture of me...and my boots!  (It takes me about 7 minutes to lace them up.)

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