Cancer Diaries: What is That Creeping Behind Me?

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Angels represent refined earthly wants and desires, and that allows writers to slap “pure” in front of just about any word to heighten its sense of value and universality.

Truths…those absolutes that play out the same way, over and over in life.  Not everyone is going to pay taxes, so that cuts the cliche down to 50%, and really, Michael Jackson is still alive in so many of our hearts, music turned into data or perilously preserved in vinyl grooves, so is even death a certainty?

Legacies…memories with the brain’s Play button pressed in someone’s head, somewhere, right this minute. Since I just wrote it, I’m thinking about seeing him a few nights ago, on a Motown tribute concert, singing Billie Jean, all those sequins refracting light, the one glove, and of course, those dance moves. Because you just wrote it, you’re thinking about him right now too, but maybe you don’t like his music, maybe you think him having Mr. Bubbles the chimp for a pet was inhumane, but MJ left many marks.

MJ…I hear it, I think Michael Jordan. Just my most popular internal search result. The man was the flat out the best to ever play the game. His competitive spirit the thing that should be envied, from playing baseball and gambling, to out-dunking Dominique back when the NBA mattered.

Add up those first 4 paragraphs, you obviously reach the sum of MFJ, the author of this blog, me, physically being consumed by cancer, an unknown quantity of numbered days remaining, who values the one sole truth of love being the answer, and wanting to leave that mark on someone in this world.

I mean clearly, that’s the inside picture from my exact thought process- as one word suggests the next in sequence, albeit my order. A progression where I am denying a very important certainty, we all die. The difference is- I know my time is just about up. Doctors tell me this and the searing pain in my chest remind me there just might be some veracity in their claims, proving they are indeed fortune tellers. Tomorrow there might be a radical discovery curing all malignancies, because a team of doctors have been in the Amazon (which, in this rare case, is NOT a vast place of consumerism, where you can buy Shoestring Theories), find that the feces from a rare moth larvae pulls the plug on this unchecked cellular aggression. That or God is sick of my fucking ‘Cancer Diaries’ blogs.

Bingo Michael.  Enough is enough. I mean, I have given you the PERFECT opening to reignite the halcyon days of Tinderfish, OurTinderTime.com, – that collection comedic genius- that was pure (<- see what I did there?) sophomoric humor at its most sublime. So, you’re going to wrap this blog up, and go edit your Tinder profile:

Ladies, I respect your honesty: that you are not on an app that brings people together based on solely on attraction to fuck and have one-night stands. That somewhere in those right swipes, love blooms. I really want that too, but I have terminal cancer. Do you think we might be able to wave that rule you have  though, because I’m dying – and I know Vanessa Williams is on the money, because I want to Save the Best for Last too.

Enough God, I will not stoop to that level or shut up about my illness. I mean, you’re the one who writes this story line, so at least let me fill in the some of the blanks. That people in similar situations can share exactly how some of this feels, that type of sharing is vital.

I’ve become obsessed with my phlegm. Is that a fleck of red in there? Is that some of my once healthy lung? What exactly is happening on my insides and more importantly, this- you gave me so many shots at dying before- is a shitty way to take me out. I mean it-why did you waste all the time from even my last overdose in 2014 to now. It could have just ended then. My guardian angels would have gotten some extra time off, or re-assigned to someone who had enough to offer he wasn’t just killed off 2 years later.

I am angry. I am sad. Both because I am scared.

I shouldn’t be mad, I should be celebrating life. But I’m in my own panic.

I’m sick of this.

I can’t fall asleep because I might not wake up.

And well, I have more shit to accomplish.

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I’m invested in Star Wars– I have to make it to 8 & 9. Give me that. A legacy. That humor deflects, it never changes the truth. The greatest truth in life- love, for my fellow human being- that is pure. That is joy, to help another human being, to unknowingly pull someone back from the edge so that one day, their faith outweighs their fears, and something beautiful is created.

Never stop living Michael. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t become paralyzed. Be grateful. Be kind. There’s work to be done.

Peace & Love,
-MFJ

Junkie Hunters

Tonight’s episode of the Fraudulent Files: Halfway House Edition will be delayed for a night or two, but in its place is everyone’s favorite human herding show, Junkie Hunters. Tonight’s episode: Adapt and Overcome

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The sun has set on another day in South Florida, darkness creeps across the parking lot of New Beginnings One More Time as my partner, Reverend Franklin and I, Stu Prentiss, map out the areas of the concrete wild where we will hunt junkies.

“Rev, I am thinking we go to the traps on South Federal in Lake Worth. I heard Gina is there, and I got a hot tip as to exactly where she is staying.”
“Sounds good Stu. To the recovery van.”
“You have your Square to run the credit cards?”
“Check.”
“Expense money to buy a cap or two?”
“Check.”
“We have to hurry, I’ve got an appointment to finish my sleeve at 9:30.”
“Where are the Red Bulls and tell me you have the vape juice.”
“This isn’t my first rodeo Rev.”
“That’s what your mom said last night.”

We set out on a night full of revelry, and fat referral fees. It feels really good to help people get into recovery, whether it’s the first, second or third time this year. We go the New Sun Gate, and I can only imagine how hideous the Old Sun Gate must have been. I wish they would just embrace the trap life, offer the Cobain, Winehouse, Houston, Staley, etc suites. Instead it’s fucking Elvis, who to be fair, knew his way around a prescription cabinet.

This used to be a much more simple process, just sneak up on any one of hundreds of dumpsters, and tranquilize the junkie looking for free donuts. We throw them into the van, transport them to the inpatient rehab, and sign them up for Obamacare, especially Cigna. So we have had to do a lot more surveillance, finding the higher class of junkie.

“I totally just punned it Rev!”
“That’s what your mom said last night.”

There’s a lot of junkies running around, but once again, Obama has ruined everything. Apparently he doesn’t care about recovery. Now we have to use varying degrees of ethics and morality, so that we can be the impetus of change in these heroin addicts lives. Just yesterday I picked up a girl at an NA meeting, and discreetly slipped a cap and needle into her purse. placed an anonymous call to her halfway manager so that she got thrown out, thus right now we are in a position to 12-Step her right now.The greater good!

7:27PM
“I’m going up to her room. Mic check 1,2, recovery!”
“Read you loud and clear. Let’s make a fucking difference.”

I go to the second floor, the Marilyn Monroe suite. Shit, there’s Red.
“Yo Stu. What’s good? You need more caps?”
“Not now Red. We’re filming this intervention. Don’t worry, I’ll edit you out.”

I knock on the door. “Gina, It’s me Stu Prentiss. I heard you’re in trouble. I want to help.”

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After some banter, I ask her for her insurance card.
“I don’t have insurance.”
“Oh, ok, clearly you don’t want help then.”
“But I do.”
“It’s about surrender Gina, and willingness. But I’ll give you $20 for a blow job.”

Time lapses.
“Where’s Gina?”
“She has no insurance. You didn’t hear that?”
“No, it was like the mic malfunctioned.”
“Well, let’s freestyle pick. There has to be someone close by that is still on their parents’ insurance.”
“Let’s go to Burger King. Watch the bathrooms/”
“Always a solid plan Rev.”

8:15PM
We spot an ideal candidate. Well dressed, yet an aura of griminess surrounds her. She goes to the bathroom, and I wait outside the door. Another dirty, disheveled junkie heads to the men’s room, giving me a dirty look. Fucking junkies with no insurance. Take a Puerto Rican shower for fuck’s sake.

As she open’s the door, I hit her right in the neck with a tranq dart. We use Special K. I know someone in the program who works at a veterinarian’s office, and gets us good deals on all sorts of  equine injections. Tren is my favorite. We Weekend at Bernie’s her to the recovery van.

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Now’s the moment of truth- I go through her purse. It’s like we just unlocked a secret vault. She has a matching Michael Kors wallet, a great sign. We take the cash, we don’t want her relapsing with all that money. Good lord, her wallet is loaded with credit cards. What is this girl doing in Lake Worth?

“We can’t have her giving her Back Amex to a dealer. Let’s save her from that path. Her parents will thank us.”
“It never fails to amaze me the amount of empathy and foresight you have Stu.”
“Well, I am a Prentiss. Granted, the disowned one, but Daddy will take me back into the fold.”

Then we see it, a Blue Cross PPO card.So shiny.So…money.
Her name is Leslie, and she’s in a huge K hole from the looks of her. We drop her at New Beginnings One More Time.

And just in time. I have to get my skull sleeve finished.
“What an awesome night. It feels fucking awesome to help.”
“God is good.”

9:36AM
My cell phone is ringing. Why did I download that nuclear siren ringtone? My recovery timer tells me I have 7 months, 11 days, 22 minutes of clean time.
“Hello?”
“Stu, what the fuck man? That chick Leslie you dropped off last night. Her Dad is an FBI agent. She doesn’t use drugs. The only thing in her system was ketamine.”
“Hmmm…I can see your predicament, cut her loose to save face, or maybe you use that therapist degree and talk to her about denial. It ain’t no river in Egypt.”
“Stu, we are fucked. She kept screaming about charges and fraud.You and the Rev are fucked. Kidnapping.”
“Did the billing go through?”
“No.”
“Charge it to her Black card.”
No sooner than the word card left my lips than more door is broken down.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I was helping her. My fucking arm doesn’t bend that…” SNAP!

Producer note: We will be searching for a new recovery duo to fill the vacancy of Stu and the Rev. All junkie hunters are welcome to come by for an interview between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00PM.

The Fraudulent Files

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South Florida is hyped as a recovery mecca. In recovery, one gets well. I can’t explain how much I’ve changed for the better. I use the word recovered, because I worked the steps. I work 10, 11, & 12 daily to the best of my ability. I was exhausted from being a selfish ass hole for so many years. I was tired of hurting people by destroying myself and doing anything to feed the beast.

I’m far from perfect, but I try pretty fuckin hard to be a stand up guy. Those who know me can attest to it. I will help you if you ask. I know what it’s like to be all alone, or at least so shut off from God, friends and family, that it’s literally me floating in a vacuum while the world streams past. I wanted to get well. So I picked a man to sponsor me that was the type of human being I wanted to become.

Apparently not everyone values gratitude, grace, and altruism like I do. That, I attribute to God putting my sponsor in my life. I love to have a good time, and in my wallet there’s a joker, and my medallion. It reminds me of balance, it tells me life is about truly living and having a good time. I want my sponsees to get the gifts the steps gave me, that shift in perspective that allows me to show compassion to any human being I encounter, to handle “life on life’s terms” (don’t get me started again on that phrase) by not turning the world inside out so that I can step into the center of things. I’m just not that important.

When I am deadly serious it is when sponsoring someone and working steps with them. When I went through mine, it was a lesson- in so many ways, but it taught me how to be a sponsor. I happen to have worked mine old school, and last I checked, that worked or we wouldn’t have the plethora anonymous groups we have today. I am not saying I am a great sponsor, but I am qualified, I am most definitely a card carrying member. I’m proud of that.

Now then- If not pictured below, take the rest of this with a grain of salt. If its truth resonates with you, and doesn’t piss you off, let’s try and tighten up on those who constantly put others in danger. If you’re angry and not pictured below, sorry, the truth sets some free, and pisses others off.

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Addiction is selfishness. If you are still selfish, you are not helping others. If you offer a hand to someone and have the other out for some sort of payment, you’re not practicing altruism. If you say shit like, people who pick up multiple white chips should be shunned, I have to ask what program are you following. That guy, Bill W., might not have had chips, but had AA been around, he would have picked up multiple white chips. Being that he founded it, well, fuck you. Maybe you don’t understand addiction. That’s not for me to say- I can however comment on actions.

I have a lot of friends, one’s by your logic, I should have shunned. Fuck, I should have turned my back on myself a long time ago. God doesn’t shun anyone. If you’re bigger than God, drop some knowledge on me please. In the interim, I’m going to drop facts on you. Anyone who is a friend of one of my friends, is mine by default. When I get a phone call in the morning about actions, hurtful, self-centered actions, I get pissed. There’s this problem down here- maybe you’ve heard, a lot of people are dying.

As a person, I cannot save anyone. I can offer my help in anyway if that person is willing to get help. I don’t judge sincerity, I just do what I can. I’m a junkie, so I’m pretty good at smelling bullshit. When someone puts their trust in you to help out a friend, and you go from her sleeping on your couch to threatening homelessness over her head if she doesn’t fuck you, well…

That you know she is vulnerable, and you take advantage of that, yeah…That you know she is getting high, and use that against her, to sleep in your bed so you can get laid again, dude… you are all that is wrong with “recovery.” What if this girl, who was so uncomfortable, she slept in her car rather than be inside your place, what if she had overdosed while out there, alone? Her choice right? Yes, it is. There’s this thing though, I learned it from the steps, personal accountability.

It’s not about the other person’s actions, it’s “what did I do?” Step 4 shit, if you’re ignorant to the program. Apparently you did miss that. Recovery isn’t a feeding ground to sleep with girls so you feel just a little better about yourself. Human beings are not self-esteem nourishment, that’s an inside job, accomplished when you reconnect with God and maintain that connection. Worse, you work for recovery communities. Maybe they should market the fact a girl had to leave a halfway because you hit on her repeatedly, and wouldn’t leave it alone. People look up to you as a member of the recovery community? You don’t represent recovery in any way. It’s a fucking disgrace.

Worst of all, you sponsor men. Bad sponsorship kills. Literally. Please stop sponsoring people. That I haven’t said fuck 1000 times in this blog is a miracle. Step 10, make sure to promptly admit you’re wrong. You owe some serious amends to people. You need to get well or get out of the recovery community.

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I’m done.

And This Is What Happens When Greed Masquerades As Help

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I remember the feeling of desperation I felt when I was told I couldn’t get into DAF unless I had $6000, because that’s just what I would spend it on. Any glimmer of hope I had, evaporated when the lady told me that, I had no where else to go, and for some reason, Florida does not believe in homeless shelters. Then she saw that I had used, and I got into detox.

One man’s desperation need not reflect another’s, we all have our journey, but we are all sick when we go into any rehab facility. I literally had to drag myself into DAF. The most spartan place ever, the place I hated because it made me look at the devil in the mirror. I swear the vultures circled that place all the time, not just over the admission building. If an addict doesn’t go to that place, a non-profit rehab (WTF? Those exist?), there are plenty down here willing to treat the sick and suffering, if they have insurance of course. If not, many will help you get some Obamacare in your life. Make no mistake, these vultures don’t have wings, just steroid inflated, tattoo covered arms and the slightest hint of brown sugar from the vape cloud they emerge from.

Time to turn your attention to this- Cigna Tired of Getting Pissed On (Ok, not the real title of the Palm Beach Post’s story, but it should be.) I am pretty sure in some of my rants on “Recovery”  and Delray Beach I mentioned this fact that greed is going to fuck it up for someone who really needs help. Why is it so hard to do the right thing? To get paid for legitimate services, not gouge the fuck out of insurance companies (I hate them too, because well, they are as greedy as fuck too) by aligning with diagnostic companies to perform $3000 urinalyses? So, now, someone who overdoses and is saved, wants to get into a treatment center might get denied. a $10 dipstick test and some awareness is all you really need to know if someone is high. We smell our own kind and sure as shit know when someone is fucked up.

Heads up California- you’re next as these scumbags leave Florida for the next opportunity to rape and pillage on the backs of an addict’s insurance coverage. So to all you fake-ass mother fuckers talking this recovery game to parents in New Jersey, bring it. Before the IRS and FBI bring it. Before you get sodomized in a prison cell for your straight fraudulence, please, tell me what a difference you’ve made, while you date 3 female clients secretly, in between trips to the gym and tattoo parlor, and how steroids are ok because they certainly aren’t mood altering, get all built because in the end, you’re still insecure little boys, in the end you haven’t discovered the true gifts of a close relationship with God.

Help to help. I don’t want to see it on your Facebook pages, because maybe I know someone who lived with you- who saw you with a different girl 3 nights a week, who cried like a bitch when one of them left, who gave Suboxone and Xanax to your sponsee (killer combo by the way), yet you have the fucking gall to trumpet how awesome you are as an interventionist, how you made this big difference for people. Maybe humbly thank God for that opportunity to help another human being. Maybe not date her out of the rehab you got her into, take her out on her insurance money your buddy got for getting her in and gave you another kickback.

In case you haven’t noticed, and maybe you haven’t because you one upped Jesus, walking on air, so there’s a lot of us you never see, but a lot of people who were here have passed on to the next phase of life. On to another “pillar” of recovery – again, very similar circumstances, you took from her what you wanted, she trusted you, you promised her the world and threw her out with the trash, because the next one you rescued had a better ass. Well, the lesser ass isn’t decaying, she’s just ashes in the ocean. She made her choices sure. We’re supposed to be the ones who get people clean. that guide them through the steps, to give back what was given to us, not overcharged to Cigna.

It’s not about people, places and things, because those are in abundance down here. It’s about neutrality. Things people through the steps should know, should live. Selfless. Altruism. This shit turns my stomach.

Karma, its debts always are collected upon.

-MFJ

Next on Blurred Clarity – Costumed Slumlords

No Shit, ‘Life Happens’

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This chicken is my neighbor apparently. She did eventually cross the road, not to get to the other side, but to avoid a discussion with me on past lives and reincarnation. In particular, the question, “What did you do to live as a free range chicken in the 21st century?” I can’t be sure, but I think I saw a tear flow down her beak as she went clucking and pecking into the light of a rising summer sun.

There’s something I hear a lot in the rooms of recovery, “Life happens,” or its even worse sibling, “life shows up.” Really? Only a selfish addict would pretend life periodically visits us. It always seems to preface tales of present day problems. It annoys me. Life has been going on the whole time. For me, so many joyous times streamed by, now just dusty memories I couldn’t appreciate or downright missed, due to being enveloped by narcotic fog. Now that I am recovered, I embrace every day. I love that life is always happening.

Good and bad, I don’t use those terms. Life is a continual experience, a series of intersections, where we meet others. Some hitch and we take them along for the ride. How long they’ll be in the car depends on their destination. Enjoy the moments, the laughs, the opportunities to see the biggest ball of aluminum foil, and be sad to see them get out of the car. Some are with us the whole way, become part of our family not defined by blood, but by having my back no matter what and vice versa.
Others collide with us like a Silver Alert senior, hitting us out of nowhere, landing the car in the shop. While that vehicle is being fixed, we can get out and explore a new town if we choose. It’s a sit down in a diner, more lives mix, if I’m aware of the surroundings, if I get out and do. A great conversation with a stranger who is now a friend, every experience a teachable moment, a chance to pick up the tab for the less fortunate.

Too many sit in the waiting room, focused on the dents and scraped paint. They look at the estimate, and stress out. Recovery and steps are insurance, and God is a pretty good level of coverage. He’s got that bill. No deductible because we’ve already paid that.

Enough metaphors. Experience life. Being grateful makes me appreciate the small things that others do not have. Every morning I wake up in an awesome house. I have shelter while others walk the streets, looking for a safe place to rest their heads. Funny part is, I came back from Pittsburgh with nowhere to go. Weeks prior, I met a lady at my book signing, a complete stranger, that became a friend. Hmm…sounds familiar, no? She got me into the house. While it was stressful, I never doubted I’d have a place to live.

Life has been happening for a long time. Acts of kindness are everywhere, I endeavor to pay attention and help others. Moments of pain, times of trouble, I feel the emotions of those moments and absorb the lessons. They make me a better man. I don’t cry about those things, I cherish them. I grow from them rather than sit in the body shop of life, reading a 3-year-old issue of Time Magazine. Yeah one more metaphor.

Peace and love,
MFJ

What Needs Left Unsaid

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But I will contradict that right now. and spell it out to the sick and suffering. I get it, you are in a place where hope only exists a few frames in a dream you’ll never remember. Your eyes open and the race is on to swindle money by any means necessary, because that sickness is creeping up your spine. A simple sneeze induces a panic attack. You know the life you’re living is killing you painfully slow. You can give up you know.

I heard that talk a lot, friends and family desparate to see me put down the needle. I know they were worried sick as I self-destructed. Enduring mental torture, waiting for that most random of calls, the one the cements my status- “We’re sorry to tell you your ________ died tonight.” Shocked and confused people offer up the almost cliche response, “at least _________ is at peace now.”

I thank God that call never came. That tonight, my parents rest well, unafraid. I am the person everyone expected to die.the most hopeless of addicts. I got close, dangerously close, too many times. My last breaths before the Narcan hit must have held an unspoken prayer-  “Not yet God.”

Did you hear Philip Seymour Hoffman died last year? Another casualty via a speedball. If you have morbid curiosity, here’s a list of famous dead drug addicts. Want a more detailed one? Here you go. Yet more Americans die from overdoses than are killed in auto accidents. You don’t know their names, unless they hit you personally. Every 12-step program has the 12th tradition regarding anonimity. I’m in CA, but I can’t say anyone else there is.

I got to go home a few weeks ago, to Washington PA. The small, mostly rural county experienced 25 overdoses in 2 days…3 people died. To say this is sobering news is a terrible pun. Read the frightening article about it from the Washington Post- national news WashPA. Just not what you want.

Heroin starts life as a poppy. Pods are slit and opium seeps out. Opium has morphine in it, and that is taken out. From there it’s simple to make heroin, a chemical 4-5 times as strong as morphine. The supply of heroin is dependent on the poppy harvests from places like Afghanistan, Burma and now Mexico and Columbia. What if you could make a drug 100 times as powerful as morphine, and start with 2 easily aquired chemicals? Because you’re a greedy drug lord, you hire a chemist and he makes a kilo of fentanyl, which is actually the equivalent of 25 kilos of heroin. Wow.

In my first attempt at a memoir, Long Sleeved Summers, I laughed at the idea when people told me good bags were being cut with fentanyl. I write in there something like, if that happened, there would be tons of dead junkies. Cue Alanis Morrisette.

Just because it isn’t front page news, the person isn’t famous, or what ever, no one seems to give a shit that people are dying everywhere.I see words like “epidemic” followed by generic numbers, maybe a picture of a sobbing family member asking why. The answer is we’re stuck in that sickness, we are animals, dope is our sole nourishment and we cannot starve to death. We won’t. Until something suspends it, interupts it or ends it once and for all.

Makes the countries that give out pharmaceutical heroin look brilliant. Say what you want, but they aren’t dying. Maybe the sadder point is no one gives a fuck. Unless it stings personally, to someone “important,” life in the junkie world goes on. Fentanyl is not to be fucked around with, shooting blues and D’s is like O’douls vs moon shine. Take care of each other out there, because there are plenty of people who do give a fuck.

So to all the non-famous people dying out there, you’re remembered. People love you. You probably see that now, there isn’t anymore hurt you can cause, it’s a morbid peace that is instilled by your passing. I know a couple people are up there watching me type all this out, trying to keep my emotions in check, but when someone is close to your heart, that bond is never broken.

To the people who’ve lost loved ones, leave a comment, so we can get to know them. No one dies in vain, but they should never be just a digit in a statistic. My lost addicts, up there in the ether, I remember you daily. So I will go first:

A song on the radio, right Aftab, Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” always hits my ears at the right time. It’s fantasy football season and I just don’t care. You won it all that year I think. Truth is I never checked after you switched roles. You’ll always be my brother.

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Status Updates

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Let’s see, Shoestring Theories is number 2269 in memoirs on Kindles…51289 in print, with zero marketing.  Get to Amazon.com and buy that already! I have a marketer. I have about a million ideas on how to do it, and my life is moving too fast to catch a breath, let alone harness and develop an idea. Reality is I am kind of sick of me, and I am slow to communicate. So I have rested up, after an awesome trip home, where I was reunited with friends and family I hadn’t seen in at least 4 1/2 years. What’s humbling about the whole experience is the love and support, from people I screwed over, trusts I abused, and welcomes I wore microns thin, so much so that ants fell straight through.

That all said, one of the more satisfying things I have just launched from the shoreline of concepts into the ever-deepening ocean of pen to paper status, or data to hard drive, is getting Mind Shrapnel up and running. After all, I have plenty of time for that. For the few of you I am talking to, have patience, I need to get my plan together and then spend some time with other creative people who write with purpose. One is a guy I met at a halfway back a long, long time ago, who stayed clean this whole time while I took a path that melted GPS circuitry just enough to detour me everywhere but my destination. Since I was just home in the Burgh, detours may be a running theme for a minute or two.

The other person, whether she realizes it or not, is helping me get through writer’s block, and I am going to put it out here as a serial blog, a back and forth prose type thing between two strangers going through similar relationship issues. The cool thing about it is the fact that there is no direction, I write one, she writes one back, not an answer, but drawing some inspiration from the previous writer’s words. Confusing, maybe, but I’m launching that tomorrow I am thinking.

Which brings me to what I was really going to write about, status.

  •  adj. conferring or believed to confer elevated status
  • n. the position of an individual in relation to another or others, especially in regard to social or professional standing.

It’s weird living in South Florida. People spend $600,000 on a swimming pool and backyard kitchen. People are judged by material things. They travel the globe to experience life, but only the places with a Ritz-fucking Carlton, because well, you can’t get too in touch with reality. Certainly native people, living in conditions beyond ghastly would just fuck up that wanderlust. I’m thinking of opening a restaurant where I only serve a party of 4 max. $20,000 per couple. Maybe dredge up my infamous, once a year, heart attack inducing hot dog of pure gluttony…the one that is wrapped in bacon, then deep-fried. Except before I batter dip it, it needs stuffed with foie gras, then topped with Kobe beef chili, Cheez Whiz, creme fraiche (to class it back up after using  the Whiz) and homemade Fritos, the corn picked by some illegal immigrant, stone ground by a family member of the illegal…I’ve said too much.

Point is, this journey in life, where all I want is to get to downtown, but I am stuck in Carnegie for 3 hours, I’ve gained perspective. I’ve tried to fill up the void in my heart, that place where understanding is realized, with a mental mishmash of artificial joys. We are shown happiness is a killer body, so women starve themselves when they were gorgeous in the first place. If you’re not hot, defined by fashion, tv, pop music and movies, well then, you must be a terrible person. I have news for you though, I don’t need to see your pelvis, I don’t want it cutting me if something ever happens. People die chasing a lie. I don’t give two shits who made your purse, how much your shoes cost, or where you got your ‘work’ done. I’m not going to shoot steroids to get big. and destroy my kidneys eating 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

I chased it all. I get it. I’ve had a lot in my life before too. I’ve had beautiful women who feel ugly, I’ve met flawless people who are disgustingly arrogant and hollow. I’ve been well off, had a bunch of stuff. Yet, nothing changed, that hole inside didn’t fill, it got torn wider. Over and over, I chased artificial happiness, in women, in cars, in nice clothes, and most certainly heroin. For me, the selfish, asset chasing, emotion erasing dick head almost killed me. The whiny bitch boy who cried about what he didn’t have turpentined his surroundings into an empty canvas, where my problems were the sole focus. Yes, I made a noun a verb. Artistic license.

I endeavor to be selfless daily. It starts with being grateful for another sunrise, another breath, the ability to have all my senses function, to have an army of love behind me, and more importantly, inside me. I don’t need to impress anyone with a shirt that costs more than a family of four spends on food for a week. Shit is made out of cotton, that logo means dick all. In fact, given the fact some 7-year-old in Paraguay made it at the end of his 14 hour, $0.75 shift, that would make me a supporter of greed, a cog keeping the system churning and ultimately, retarded because I’d believe a tiny embroidered square makes me a better human being than the next guy in his plain white t-shirt.

When I am grateful, I see what others don’t have, and when opportunity to help rings the doorbell, the door is already open. That not only keeps me clean and sober, it keeps me full of joy.

Peace and Love,
MFJ