Deep Philosophical Bullshit

Get out your pens, because you can’t make a mistake and there will be a test after all is said and done.

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In a word, authenticity. Existentialism at its core means we determine our thoughts, actions in this crazy, mixed-up world. Left out of the above picture is Jean-Paul Sarte, the man credited with first coining the word and philosophy of existentialism. You’ll probably recognize him from his likeness on the Haitian flag…

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That was a joke. He’s not on the flag. I also don’t think he has any Haitian features. These blogs are getting harder to write, but that word, authentic, it’s a word that can be so inspiring or vile, but either way, the adherence should be respected. Like it or not, but that serial killer who can’t get away from wearing pink chiffon dresses with fishnet stockings who only goes after bearded guys who smoke pipes, well, he stays true and fits neatly into his jigsaw piece in the puzzle of life.

All the above though should be read, at least one per author. This lesson of we make ourselves, it plays out a crazy story line in my life. My surroundings, my traumas, my broken heart never made me put a needle in my arm. A funny thing happened though when I read another loosely existential book, the Big Book, it dawned on me that my essence where all cultivated by my actions. There was no blame game. even though I tried my damnedest to create a herd of scapegoats.

I was incapable of facing my problems head on, to quote Nietzsche:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Now I feel like that nothingness, and I don’t know what to do. I used to sum up my life in a single sentence, I was a heroin-addicted pharmacist, who spent a year in federal prison and couldn’t stop until 12 years later when I tried to kill myself and found rehab in the aftermath. 
December 18th, 2015 I hit the milestone of 18 months without using. A lot went into making that happen, too many God/guardian angel interventions (all are recounted though in Shoestring Theories, my memoir, available by clicking the title in fact 🙂 ), lots of coincidences, which I define as  acts of God where he keeps his anonymity in tact, an amazing list of friends and more than anything, becoming an authentic human being. I got honest with myself, another human being and God. That 10-ton bag of bullshit I had been lugging around with me was gone, and let me tell you how much easier it is to walk around without that weighing me down. Life just got better.
I was blessed with the great fortune of waking up today, of getting enough pain killers in my system so I can actually write an entire blog in one sitting and not curling up into the fetal position, just another thing to be grateful for. I’m surrounded by people that love me. I get these phone calls daily, from friends who are in complete shock when they hear why just exactly I am feeling like an abyss these days. I’m dying. And what can you possibly reply to that statement?
I don’t want to be that hushed whisper that’s on the other foot- it used to be ‘he’s a junkie.’ Now it’s, ‘Can you believe Mike’s cancer is going to kill him?’ Authenticity, til the end. I’m not changing, I am still grateful for every morning my ryrs open, for when I have an appetite there’s food to eat, for Holly providing a roof over my head, for the chance to talk to someone and be as much of a help as I can. I’m still the Mike that sent his Michigan State Spartans fan the joke: what does MSU football and marijuana have in common?  Both are green and get smoked in bowls. I told him I am willing my Big Book to him, signed even, because he goes to a fellowship that uses a different set of books.
I know it’s hard on my family. A family who prayed for years that I quit shooting heroin and just find happiness. Well, family, I have. As tough as it is to write any of this, I am peaceful, I am joyous. To all my friends whose support never dies down (terrible pun, shoot me, that’s even worse, I’m shutting down this parenthetical now), I’m grateful you all, even you Eugene. To the man that help forge the man writing this blog, that inspired me to write more with his compliments, Greg, I love you. To Eli, the man who gave me my 1-year medallion, we’re NOT watching the Steelers playoffs. To any of you I call friends, and there are so many of you, I love all of you.
And for shit’s sake, I’m not dead yet. I’m taking every precious second God is giving me. I’m going to be greedy. And of all the shit we put a value on, platinum, gold, silver, Pat C’s mom, diamonds, cars, brand name clothes, all of that stuff added together will never be as valuable as life is. Take that from this blog. The rest, I’ll get back to you all on it.
BONUS: Mike’s Reading List of the Pictured
The Stranger – Camus
The Metamorphosis- Kafka
Being and Nothingness- Sarte
Shoestring Theories- Janflone
Beyond Good and Evil- Nietzsche
The Sickness Unto Death-  Søren Kierkegaard
Notes From Underground- Dostoyevsky
Just thank you all for praying for me, thinking of me, liking me, loving me, just knowing me. God willing, I’ll be around for a long while.
Peace and Love,
-MFJ

Knives Need A Good Honing

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About a ten days ago I had this post I started, about being thankful all 365 days a year, and not just the one lore tells us of, where the Indians, seeing we were going to bite it, decided to kill those weird birds that always hung around, the ones who never laid an egg, who had scrotums dangling from their beaks. Once a year the most irrelevant, tasteless fowl takes center stage on a dinner table.

Truth be told I’m Italian and much more thankful for the lasagna on the dinner buffet. Yet here it is, Pearl Harbor Day, and I’m just getting around to writing something about being grateful. I’m doing it from a hospital bed. I have had a benign tissue disorder get bumped up into something that has metastasized into my lungs. I sit here waiting for my biopsy results to come in, to see what this hunk of flesh in my chest is made up of, is it bone, muscle, fat, parts of my twin I imagine would have been named Stanley, the one I partially digested in utero or a little bit of everything? How cool would it be if it were just Swedish fish goo?

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That’s me, and my trophy I claimed at the hospital.Most improved satisfaction. The first night I was here, I was scared. 5 people waited with me in the ER. Every day I’ve been here I’ve had company. I’m still scared. Words like metastatic get thrown around, or the simple fact having a ten pound tumor removed is going to be in medical terms, “one hell of surgery,” it would be easy to say to myself I’ve had a great run at this thing called life.

Some things just aren’t meant to be. Love is not enough. Bad things happen to good people. Pick a cliche and run with it. While I had hoped my tumor would have been featured during this past weekend’s closing of Art Basel, there’s always next year.

Some things can’t be rushed. The most important, soul fulfilling things march along at their own pace, on an unseen timeline that only comes into focus in retrospect. I’m thankful though, right this second, I’m going to get through this. Moments like this, I am incredibly grateful to have lived out my life exactly as I have. I am loved.

The suicidal junkie of 18 months ago, the one so alone my shadow was a stranger us gone now. The world had no use for me, or so I thought. Moments of clarity caused full scale shifts in perspective, I had no use for the world. I was a selfish taker, never giving back  to anyone. Now there’s a guest list to see me here.

I’ve become someone just true to myself. I embrace my talents, use them to make a person laugh, to view life from a different plane of view. I encourage others to do the same and am so excited for upcoming Mind Shrapnel projects. As for cancer, I don’t fear that one either.

I’ve got time to leave some more marks on the publishing world, and a few people I can allow to rule the Mind Shrapnel  empire after I’m gone. Point is, I could die tomorrow and not worry the most minuscule bit about things left undone. I accomplished something huge, I got clean, I became recovered. Those people coming to sees me, baking and texting me, I want in their lives 18 months ago. Everyone one of them can tell you who I am. Until the day I step away from gravity, I will always have my integrity in check. Accomplishing that is the ultimate blessing and god gave me that chance- to be someone instead of a something.

Peace and Love,
-MFJ

I Promised I Wouldn’t Cry

I love my vintage pictures, thinking everyone knows this. Some are of human anatomy, others abandoned buildings, typewriters, medical equipment, prisoners, asylum dwellers and  carnivals. This page is filled with famous woman from the 1920’s-60’s. Someone asked me the fascination with all these dated things, and I didn’t have to even think about the answer:
               “Without it, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have this moment, right now.”
Granted, when applied to me, and my perceptions, it is way more complicated than that. I like old glamour, beauty wasn’t so complicated, and ridiculous physical ideals weren’t being set for women to chase. It’s all good until you love someone with a body image problem and they starve themselves to death. Photoshop and the airbrushers, graphic artists that use them to create perfect curves, complexions etc to sell more magazines and consumer goods should be brought up on charges.

Chasing beauty is noble, but I can tell you sure as shit beauty isn’t on the cover of Cosmo, or O magazine for that matter…Oprah zingers….a weakness of mine…and her’s since Hostess made a comeback. Hypocrite…yeah, yeah, I am, but only if again we look at beauty as all this exterior showy shit. What’s sexy? Confidence, peace of mind, humor and humility.

A year ago, things were much different for me. I was ugly, I was as low as I thought humanly possible to go, and then dug a little bit deeper. 362 days ago I embraced suicide, completely devoid of the slightest bit of hope. and I prayed to God to come home to heaven because I could not do another second of life. God, or at least how I get him, is a funny fucker, and man can he set up a story, to make that moment writers call a plot twist, and movie reviewers label “Shocking,” “you never see that coming,” etc.

By the way Shoestring Theories available in 2 weeks…
Sad depressing poetry, available now: Loco Motive(s)

So I googled, poorly- grace pics.

W._G._Grace,_cricketer,_by_Herbert_Rose_Barraud #originalhipster
Apparently that’s an Irish cricket God named WG Grace. Vintage though. even without the word in my search. I also got this:

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After flashing back to Ms. Jones’ roles in Conan and James Bond, I am thinking inspirational grace quotes or memes would have been more search engine friendly and yielded better results. But I learned something, even if I have no idea how cricket works.

That said:

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. – Aeschylus.

God, I understand the lesson. Finally. I lived through June 7th, 2014-Solely by the grace of God. On June 18th, 2014, I crawled into a state run rehab. The list of interventions by angels, spirits, and God in just between those 11 days absolutely floors me. Those God moments were impossible to ignore, and they kept coming, and through that grace, I was blessed to have that psychic change, a spiritual awakening and I worked my butt off to gain peace.

Also this:

Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason. -Pope Francis

I am not lucky. I used to think that. I used to curse waking up, now I know luck isn’t involved. I’m where I need to be, and the past brought me here. I am blessed. I have something I must share. God gave me something precious. For that I am grateful, for that I am humble.

Peace, Love
MFJ

Tinderholics Anonymous, aka TA

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The first step in getting well is to realize you are sick. I am betting more than half saw the TA and thought Tits and Ass. I know I did, that’s why I just wrote it.

Step 1: Admitted we were powerless over Tinder and right swiping, and that when Tinder prevented unlimited swipes unless we paid $2.99 a month, our lives became unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves, i.e. greedy cellphone companies only providing 4GB of data could return us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn off our Tinder notifications and our will to the care of God as we understood him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless mental inventory of all the dates we’ve had.

Step 5: Admitted to God, ourselves, and someone else even more addicted to Tinder, the exact nature of our wrongs, in words, pictures and videos.

Step 6: We were kind of ready to have God remove some of these defects of character.

Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove fraudulent pictures from profiles and also some of our shortcomings. (I guess premature ejaculation qualifies)

Step 8: Made a list of all dates we harmed and became willing to make amends to most of them.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such dates wherever possible, except when to do so would interfere with their current Tinder matches, damage their self-esteem, or friends, siblings, parents whatever the case may be.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory of chats, pics, videos, etc and when we were wrong got around to admitting it the next morning over french toast or eggs.

Step 11: Sought through prayer, meditation and Google, to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His clever pick up lines, and the power to know which person will think we are being funny and not an ass hole.

Step 12: Having had  a spiritual experience (no, last Friday night was not one) as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message that eventually STD’s and babies are going to happen, so chill, to Tinderholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs (No, don’t be hooking up with married people for fuck’s sake, it means in our daily actions).

Step 13: (Currently being hotly debated in undisclosed pool hall in South Florida).

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See the difference? Where as the still sick and suffering Tinder user drug out a tired, sophomoric joke at best, Uranus, and prefaced it with destruction, well…It is no wonder he was told “Bye Felicia.” Yes, a terrible, lonely bye to you moron. That type of selfish self-seeking behaviour reflects poorly on the men of this program. Ladies, after working the steps, we can come up with clever lines, even on a 3G connection from a carrier I’ve never heard of, this is proof positive.

Here’s some experience, strength and hope from a founding member of TA, Bill W:

First of all, it’s a sheer coincidence, the name thing, my last name is Wiener. Go ahead and laugh. Get it out of your systems. Done? When I was younger, we used to actually go out to bars, laundry mats and Whole Foods or Fresh Markets (healthier store=healthier, wealthier ladies). Laundry mats could mean anything, but most of the time college girls and or strippers. You had to look good in reality, have some confidence, and think on your feet, not Google some cheesy fucking pick up line. This is my sponsee by the way:

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My first Tinder was in September of 2014, a year after my divorce. She spoke entirely in something I would learn were called emojis. Gone were the days of 🙂 and 😦 or my favorite, 😉 – now I had to determine what raindrops on a cat meant. There’s so many of these damned things. It’s madness. When we met, I must have totally misinterpreted her emojis, because she was actually dressed in a cat costume and wanted me to throw her into the ocean for a bath. When she used the beach as a litter box, I bailed. Still waiting for my amends Catherine, if that even is your real name.

I did fall in love, twice in fact, but who can blame me:

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Neither ended well. Leslie attempted to run me over  after I failed to ‘rescue’ a rabid racoon, which is one of her passions (along with scooter tuning, vinyl, fish tacos, reading and hooking up), because I said racoons, especially rabies infested ones with children, are not suitable pets and gave up after becoming trapped in a dumpster and almost losing my finger and life to rabies. Yet she was ok with me calling her a fucking lunatic for not taking me to the hospital, instead putting bologna on the wounds.

Devon was indeed free for the first hour, and $200/hour afterwards. Her pimp, Lil’ Smoothie told me at gunpoint that Devon only works in 3 hour shifts, or I needed to sign up for five iPhone 6’s. I choose. I tried the Pretty Woman thing. It failed.

When I first noticed it was becoming a problem, was when I went to Jungle Island solely to get pictures of me and some lemurs, and a baby tiger, to upload my profile. Also to Tinder in Miami. My thumb blistered in 6 minutes. After meeting Poison, who I met after the lemur huggin me pic went live, and talking her into getting a room at the Clevelander because the lemur’s mate was jealous and peed on me, so I needed a shower anyway, coincidence, no such thing as that and all, come over and let’s see what happens.

Then a week later, after seeing women with guns, and Machu Picchu in their profiles, I decided to fly to Peru, sit atop an llama, overlooking MP, and firing an AK-47 into the mountainside, while a crowd of Peruvians cheers me on throwing Lucumas and small bags of cocaine at me. Viva la Wiener was the chant. And would be the only information on my profile, beside a horse and a rooster emojis.

As the matches and messages kept coming, I found myself having dates not just on weekends, but now every other day, and then 7 days a week. Anyone who wanted to pretend we were going out to get to know each other was unmatched, because I couldn’t afford dinners out. Coffee and desserts? You already are 40 pounds heavier than your pictures for fuck’s sake.

I needed something to change. I couldn’t stop. That’s when my smartphone got stolen.

A man came up to me at a local coffee shop in Delray, back then called Spot. I was sobbing uncontrollably, my thumb spasming after not having swiped in a few hours. No calendar, no way to remember who was who and who was meeting me when and where.

“From the way your thumb is all callused, and the way it’s twitching, I am thinking you might be a Tinderholic.”

“A what?”

“Let me tell you a story. I met a mom on Tinder – by the way, I changed my birthday on Facebook, so Tinder would say I was 7 years younger. 34 is the perfect age. I matched up with a 43-yr-old lady called Lola, who had a 22-year-old daughter. Long story short, I slept with them both, separately sadly, and woke up with the clap and wondering which gave me it. What I thought would be a legendary story, turned out to be a trip to the doctor for STD screening. Turns out I picked up herpes too. After all of that, I wanted to go back and have a threesome with them, and I did, but not until after I met Brittany, a real life hooker from Dixie Highway in Lake Worth, who another friend had verified had crabs. That’s not the giving about I’m talking about. That was my rock bottom.”

Surely that couldn’t happen to me…could it? I don’t have health insurance. That’s when I gave up.

Today I have a new Samsung Galaxy 6S Edge. TInder is not installed. Instead I have Plenty of Fish.There’s days when I curse their limitations saved for “Upgraded Users” which costs $3.99 a month. But I remember to stay grateful. That I am not doing breakfast with Raniqua and late-lunch with Sky, maybe I can upgrade. It’s a gift. As I walk up to celebrate one year, to be presented my glow in the dark condom, I can’t help but remember how it was before TA.

Today I try to remember:

Peace of mind is worth far more than a piece of ass.

5/13/15

-MFJ

21st Century Promises

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We will be amazed before we are even halfway through. We will have a bank account at a smaller bank, because they overlook our irresponsibility in the noblevlight of ‘sticking it to the corporate machine.’ We will have a new smartphone, perhaps even the newst Galaxy and actually pay the bill, on time or even before the due date.

With said smartphone, situations that used to baffle us can be Googled, and we will intuitively know which search result to choose. We will not regret our past, and we can always peek at it via our Facebook timelines. We will comprehend the word serenity, and if not, use our unlimited 4G data plan to Google it’s meaning, maybe stream a Trent Shelton video even, to gain an understanding.

People will like our selfies and self-pity and self-seeking will slip away, as we click like on our friends pictures as well. In fact, we may open Instagram accounts, as simply as linking another social media account, one in good standing, that has not been blocked for pictures of drugs and/or paraphenalia we thought made us cool.

We will find we have the time to like the same pictures on our newly created Instagrams, and discover the various cool filters, fostering our inner creativity, applying it to photography instead of the next junkie stunt.  Our whole attitude and outlook (not that Outlook, we had email in the 90’s) on life will change. We will know God made all this technology and use all of it, even Tinder, to get closer to Him. When someone cancels on us for a first date, we know God is doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves, i.e. the other person thinks we are oddities that should be shipped off to Addict Island, ironically debuting on Bravo next month.

We will not engage in pointless debates, like #blackstormtrooper, because our time is better spent helping others and clearing our wreckage, not adding to it.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.  I did this whole blog from my phone in 10 minutes and signed up for 3 months of Spotify Premium for $0.99 using my credit card.

Peace, love, and gratitude
-MFJ

Present Day Unmanageability

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Recovery forces perspective, that glass half full stuff, call me an optimist today. 5 months ago finding food, a safe place to sleep, figuring out how I could scrape enough money from the ashes of bridges I melted down so I wouldn’t be dope sick, contemplating falling into on coming traffic, praying to die, all this was my unmanageability that stood in for my reality.

Presently, nothing shakes my God-given peace. Still, my days aren’t all rosy.

I ran through my 3 GB of 4G LTE in a week.
I can’t find a lighter to light my cigarette, so I have to use the toaster
Cursing Comcast for going out for 5 minutes while I try to watch American Horror Story.
Publix being out of Krispy Kreme Chocolate Pies. (Really, really upsetting)
My pants don’t fit, unless I want to look like a hipster.
If only I had some fresh cilantro, this guac would be perfect.
Had to make 2 trips to the bank because I needed 2 forms of ID, since apparently a defunct food stamp card doesn’t count as a major credit card.
Opened a ketchup packet on each end because I was distracted by reading a text, squeezed it, all over myself…this isn’t the raunchy humor sight, take that shit to The Cultural Oasis
Trying to decide what to buy from Sloan’s — Fudge, brownies, chocolate covered everything, etc.
Figuring out how to get to work on Sundays, and having to decide which of 6 people I should ask.

By the way, I went with the turtle brownie, it was the best $3.71 I’ve spent, and I am  slipping into a diabetic coma.

I am pretty sure these are the 9th Step promises in action, you gain weight because you can afford to buy sweets. Trust me, I was amazed with the brownie far before I was even close to halfway through. Life is simple today. When a lady tries to buy overpriced french fries and doesn’t have the $3 for it, I don’t miss the opportunity if I can help. I laugh, I smile.

And the best part, I am thankful. I had the chance to speak at a treatment center. Mind you, there’s 31,262 in Palm Beach County. Might be off on the number, but Google is broken from too much candy. I have spoken a lot over the years, this was the first time clean. It was an unbelievable thing, but in case my thick-headed nature got in the way, l get one of those moments, the stuff God pulls to say, “See, you’re on the right path.”

I said I was from a small town south of Pittsburgh, PA called Washington. and when it came time for the 15 guys to share, one says, “I’m from a small town south of Pittsburgh, PA called Washington.” If the entire thing wasn’t rewarding enough just in the action itself, there’s God, sitting up there chuckling to himself, and I am pretty sure he wasn’t reading Ebola is So Passe. Tie-in.

I’ve gained peace and contentment, an act of grace by that Comedian hanging out in the ether I am not letting go of it. I nurture it every single day, so it gets even better. So God and I talk a lot these days, and that’s the only way I have ever gained a minute sober.

Peace,
MFJ

You Are Doing It Really Wrong

Pretty sure when it comes to wasting time, which today for me is in short supply, I love nothing more than browsing memes, always good for a laugh, and no doubt speaks to lack of vision as to the creators’ probably noble intentions of making a pretty much world wide web. When starting anexperiment involving most of humankind, sorry North Koreans, Chinese, you will miss out once again on aimless ramblings, things I like to call insights, regarding nothing right now, hopefully something comes to me as I idly tap keys and form sentences on autopilot, since my head is wrapped around something crazy. Guess I could talk about that, lest one particular reader gets a big head, but I was talking to a few people recently about randomness. We like to call it by different names, serendipity, fate, destiny when positive, and bad, even tragic luck, shit happens when bad. My one wish for everyone on this planet is to feel inside the type of indescribable peace that has laid down roots in my heart. Being grateful, paying attention to the world around me, versus thinking everything revolves around me, my intentions and wants, produces opportunity. Every single day. I wrote in the preface to my now at the editor memoir, Shoestring Theories, my story isn’t a how-to book on recovery, that was published back in 1939. Get a copy. Get the app version if you feel books are so pre-Kindle, but maybe it is a story that can resonate as a little bit of hope. So, back a few blogs ago, I wrote a paragraph about my ideal woman, which reads like this:

She would have a beautiful soul. She would be battle-tested, treasuring the losses for the wisdom gained more than the spoils of victory. She would be peaceful, seeing splendor in a miniscule moment, a splash of rain of a flower petal, yet she has a yearning to get out and explore the world. She would have eyes that connect to her heart and a smile that makes the worst day turn out perfect. She would have a quiet confidence; she would demand respect and respond in kind. She would know there is nothing random, that something out there in the ether has a dream life in store for her as long as she stays true to love and is grateful for the simple things. She can admit her wrongs and strive to do right. My ideal woman knows herself, loves who she is, makes her weaknesses strengths, and gets life is about kindness, helping out other human beings wherever possible. Not for acclaim, but joy. A helping hand’s worth  is beyond a fool’s gold.

I realize this is akin to a flashback episode of a TV series, where new material is scant, where creativity hits the brick wall. But it’s not. It kind of gives me chills. The original, written on 9/22, is here in case someone is doubting the coincidences rampant in that description. While this is pretty much a way of saying things to someone without saying them, it speaks to life being really amazing if my focus is clear and my intentions pure. Roll the dice, take a chance? Maybe acting on a situation, but the randomness of this moment, from this U2 song playing (yeah, you have to work for it) to the see the world confidence, allows clarity to enjoy the moment and make today beautiful when I pay attention and follow a spiritual path.

Do that & You’re doing it right.

Peace
MFJ