Owing a debt

Mother is the name of God

Podcast Version

Him: Why do you stay in contact with her and people like him?
Me: I owe them a debt. Anyone that shows a kindness to my family, I owe a debt.

My head’s quiet again.

That’s more than I can say about the state of the nation, what with a pandemic, murder hornets, cannibal rats, state-sponsored murder, and now race riots.

The thing is: I get it. As my buddy from my gym said, you never get over the anger. And what’s the anger all about? Inequity.

It’s bullshit that Alison died so young, so close to her dream of finally – finally – getting a family. Bullshit.

I said earlier that I couldn’t watch the whole video. I stopped when Floyd cried out for his mother.

That broke my heart. As a regular, run-of-the-mill-normal human being, it broke my heart. That someone could die for no fucking reason whatsoever.

And what crushed it to powder was the thought that in the darkest moments of his life, my son will cry out for me. Because he didn’t know Alison.

And I’m half the person she was. You see, Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of children.

Except for mine, that is. Fuckballs.

I counted the days. Alison lived exactly 13,893 days. HALF of what she was promised. What we were promised. The inequity makes my blood boil.

Alison and George are gone now, for no good reason whatsoever. So, I understand the rage.

But there’s another facet to the rage. And that’s the debt.

In 1847 – after the Trail of Tears – the Choctaw heard about the starving Irish during their potato famine and somehow, managed to scrape together and send $170 (about $5,000 today) to help these people strangers.

For every bit of inequity – where one isn’t given what one’s owed – there’s a flip side. There’s grace; that’s when you’re given something you didn’t earn.

When Alison was sick, the grace I saw, humbled me. To those people that helped us, my family owes them a debt. That’s it.

We owe them a debt.

The Choctaw owed the Irish no debt but they paid a value to someone in need. And 173 years later, the descendants of those with the debt paid back some of it.

I think I hold a special place of contempt in my heart for those in mixed-race relationships – particularly white male and Asian female relationships – where the white male doesn’t realize the debt he owes the African-American community.

Like the the officer that murdered Mr. Floyd, who is married to a Laotian woman.

That officer doesn’t realize the debt his family owes to the black community, that was regularly lynched for just looking at a white woman, and had to go to court to gain us all the right to marry any one of any race we wanted.

I was able to legally marry Alison because a white man named Loving – of all things – wanted to marry a black woman, named Mildred. My family would not exist but for Mildred and Loving. The debt every interracial couple owes to them cannot be overstated.

If you’re white and in a mixed-race relationship and you don’t feel any rage over what happened to Mr. Floyd and don’t recognize the debt you owe to that community then I gotta point it out to you now.

You owe them a debt.

But rage against inequity works both ways.

Chauvin’s wife just announced that she was divorcing him.

Podcast Version
Location: 95th and Broadway
Mood: angry
Music: so sick of being so lonely; miss all my family (Spotify)
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Mixed Signals

Don’t give up your back

Just a little distraction from the state of affairs in the world right now.

(Earlier in May)

Him: Where are you right now?
Me: In my head again.
Him: Past, present, or future?
Me: Past. Like always.
Him: You’ve gotta shake that off, Logan. Life is forward.
Me: Fear is forward.

I didn’t drink at all for the past few days. Mainly because I’ve been taking painkillers like popcorn causea my foot and now knee (long story).

But, it’s allowed me to think a lot more clearly. Plus, I’ve had some help from some old, and unexpected, friends.

One was the Sexologist/Jill McDevitt who posted this picture recently.

Life’s been giving me a lotta mixed-signals lately and her pic helped me decide which one to listen to. It helped that I saw it after the 24th.

Oh, if you were ever wondering, she got hitched to a really nice fella and they moved on over to sunny California.

At a time when she was struggling, Jill still managed to send Alison and me a little something to help us back when Alison was sick.

Anyone that was kind to my family, I owe a debt to.

Jill’s always been one of the kindest people I’ve had the good fortune to meet. You can keep up with her here.

The other is an old, but younger, friend of mine, who found out a few things about me recently.

Me: I could teach you stuff but it’ll make you different. People don’t like different. So, you have to learn to hide a lotta things.
Him: I already see how different everything is now. Things make more sense. I want to understand.
Me: (nodding) Then I’ll help you understand. But be careful. Understanding things doesn’t always make things better, it can make some things worse. Ignorance does have it’s benefits. But I’ll show you, if you really want. And if, one day, you find out something terrible about me, I hope you remember that I told you that I’d done terrible things before and forgive me. (sighing) Everyone wants to be forgiven for the shitty things they’ve done.

The last was the old friend from above.

Him: What is it you always say, Logan? “Don’t give up your back?” If you’re in the past, what are you doing but giving up your back?
Me: It’s the same old story. Trying to figure out what’s signal and what’s noise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, icing my knee
Mood: hungry
Music: here we are and we’re still counting stars (Spotify)
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Cleaning the darkness around us

Magic Soap

Her: Did…did you just wash the fruit with hand soap?
Me: Yeah. It’s fine.
Her: It’s not! You can’t do that!

People are often horrified when they see me wash fruits and vegetables – all fruits and vegetables – with my foaming hand soap. What they don’t know is that I use castile soap, which is made from vegetables and safe to use on pretty much everything.

If you’ve ever been out at a store, you’ve probably seen the most famous one, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. I tend to buy the peppermint one.

Bronner had an interesting and tragic life.

He was a jew born in Germany and, when the Nazis took power, he implored his family to leave with him to America. But his parents felt they were German – Jewish Germans but still Germans. They refused to believe that they were in danger in their own home country so he left alone.

The last he heard from them was a single postcard from his father that simply read:

You were right. – Your loving father.

His parents were murdered by a country they loved that didn’t love them back.

What a terrible thing, to realize that a country – or anything – you love, not only doesn’t love you back, instead, wishes you and your family harm.

I’ve always been fascinated by bright things that emerge, directly or indirectly, from dark origins. The hope is always that some good can come from something awful and tragic.

It’s the hope, at least.

Random thought for a random day.

I hope you all stay safe. And I hope you’re all loved by someone or something that you love.

Me: Honestly, it’s fine. You gotta trust me on this.

Podcast Version
Location: my kitchen, popping painkillers
Mood: contemplative
Music: tell me if you love me or not (Spotify)
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What’s the difference between 3rd Degree Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter?

Murder vs. Manslaughter

While writing this, they just announced a curfew for NYC. This is yet another first for me in a year of firsts.

Madness.

The subject of George Floyd is one that I write about carefully and respectfully. A man was killed for absolutely no rational reason. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

That, and I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds of the video as it made me too sick. It literally sickened me.

Instead, I pause my usual talk of nuthin and nonsense to provide you with some legal definitions; none of which should be considered legal advice. OK…

Murder
There are four types of murder. The classifications of “degrees” varies across jurisdictions, but generally speaking:

1. First Degree Murder
This is intentional killing with premeditation and usually involves things like poisoning, stalking and trapping, lying in wait, etc.
Example: Someone sits down and decides that he’s gonna kill his old boss on Thursday and he does just that.

2. Second Degree Murder
This can be called, “Intent to inflict serious bodily harm” murder
Example: I just wanted to break your legs with this here baseball bat but you up and died.

3. Third degree murder
When I took the bar, I thought of this as the “I don’t give a shit,” murder. It’s hallmarks are “a wanton indifference to human life,” coupled with, “an unreasonable risk to human life.” The old legal term of this is “depraved-heart” murder, which I always secretly liked as a name because it really captures the essence of what it is – it requires a depraved heart. Note that some jurisdictions call this second degree murder – so it goes back-and-forth.
Example: Idiot teenagers throwing frozen turkeys off an overpass, killing a woman. This is an insane, but true, example.

4. Felony murder
This is first-degree murder under federal law and varies under local law. I actually explained this a while ago in another entry.
If you’re looking for something to do during lockdown, watch Heat because it’s frequently brought up in law schools as one of the best examples of felony murder.

Involuntary Manslaughter
This is the negligent and unintentional killing of another person.

The *classic* bar examination question – it literally shows up every single year – is a fact pattern where the test-taker has to make a judgement call if something is Third Degree/Depraved-Heart Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter.

(Seriously, every year – if you’re a law student reading this, you gotta know this and be able to distinguish between the two, cold.)

In both third-degree/depraved-heart murder and involuntary manslaughter, there is an unintentional killing.

The distinction is that the former requires recklessness; the latter requires negligence. It’s a question of degrees and needs an arbiter of facts. The difference between recklessness and negligence is a whole other topic.

Feel free to send this people posting nonsense about murder, versus manslaughter, versus whatnot.

/PSA

Back to the usual nuthin and nonsense tomorrow.

Podcast Version
Location: in the sun again
Mood: sober and not-too-bad
Music: You’re such a fool, but so am I (Spotify)
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Iceland has no mosquitoes

Organizing knives

Me: HOLY SHIT!
Him: Hey, hey, easy, easy, it’s just me.

Iceland’s the only developed place on the planet with no mosquitoes. It’s a quirk of time, luck, fate, and position that brought them to that unique distinction.

In a lotta ways, we’re no different. I tell people that we’re only given about 27,000 days total here. It’s not enough time. What we do with those days makes us who we are – slowly, inexorably, irreversibly.

Minute changes in our life make us who we are until we’re calcified, one way or another.

This was a long and strange weekend, which I’m still trying to sort out in my head. But, by the time you read this, it’ll be June. So, my head’s a lot clearer.

I don’t feel as rough as I have lately, but I also don’t really feel like myself. I’m changing again. I feel it. And I have some new old friends to come with.

On that note, for the second time in less than a year, I opened a door to find someone sitting on my white couch, waiting for me.

This time, though, I’d actually given him the key back when I had COVID. In fact, I went through alla the people that have access to my apartment and got rid of everyone who shouldn’t have a key and kept those that should.

You’d be surprised at how many people I trust with this – and who.

(years ago)
Alison: Logan! Why did I find a knife taped to the back of the toilet?!
Me: Oh, I have, uh, knives hidden everywhere in the house?
Her: What. Is. Wrong with you?
Me: Ok, take a seat. It all started when I brought a yoghurt to kindergarten and Sister Mary…

One thing that I did this past weekend was finally find all the knives I’ve always had hidden around the house.

This was kismet.

Me: (putting on a shirt) Dude, you’re lucky I reorganized alla my knives. Did you shut the door immediately when you came in? I’ve got two mosquitoes somewhere in the house.
Him: Oh man, then I’m screwed, they love me.
Me: So, what happened last night that brought you here today?
Him: Oh man, it was a crazy night. So…
Me: Wait, let’s get some coffee first. You know where that is.

On a slightly more serious note, another one of my buddies is concerned about looters because they hit just a block from his pad.

That whole situation is something else that I’m trying to sort out in my head.  Everything.

As for my buddy, he and wife are both trained and armed, though.

So, I’m not quite as worried for him.

 

Note: If you and your child have been to my house, they were always hidden no lower than my chest, so your kids were never in harm’s way.

Podcast Version
Location: my room, surrounded by sharp instruments
Mood: sober since the 25th; until he showed up, that is…
Music: no one listens to me (Spotify)
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Travelogue: COVID-NYC

The Sweet Caress

Had a completely sleepless night. This always worries me because I dunno if it’s a one-off thing or it’s the start of the madness.

A buddy of mine stopped by a couple of times; we kept social distancing.

Some time this week, either I injured myself rolling with Chad recently or I have insect/spider bite on my foot. This is part of why I had a sleepless night.

Regardless, I can’t walk because my foot looks like a sausage.

Doesn’t matter much, I suppose. I lent Chad my scooter for the week so I’m stuck at home regardless.

But I did manage to head downtown for a bit before that to be a tourist in my own city again so here are some pics.

And now I try and figure out if I should lie in bed all day to heal my foot, or get up in the hopes that I’ll sleep tonight.

Her: What are your plans for the day?
Me: (shrugging)The usual, emotional and physical pain, soothed by the sweet caress of rum. You?

It’s fine.

I got likes from strangers and love on the internet

Location: my empty apartment, surrounded by painkillers
Mood: less sober
Music: I can’t get out my head. It’s all because, all because (Spotify)
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On Children

And Now I’m Here

I wrote the stuff below the video way back in March 2013, not soon after Alison lost another pregnancy.

It was the start of all the horror we went through, long before the cancer. I don’t tell you everything because I’m not sure you’d believe it all. I mean, I barely believe it all, myself.

But, I’ve been chatting with two friends lately and I remembered that I never posted it because I didn’t want to bum myself out further. Or her.

The last line of the poem’s been in my head lately; on a parent (the bow) needing to be stable so that the child (the arrow) can fly as far and as high as possible.

I hope I’m enough to give the boy flight. Suppose only time will tell.

Saw him briefly this past Sunday, which I probably needed more than he. There’s more but that’s all I wanna share right now.

Me: Are you surprised?
Him: Yes, papa! I thought it was just Auntie that was coming and now you’re here.
Me: (nodding) And now I’m here. Lemme go wash up so I can give you a big hug.
Him: OK! You have to wash for 20 seconds.
Me: (laughing) Will do.

Been thinking a lot about family lately, for reasons I’d rather not get into.

My old boss told me once, when he was expecting his first child, that when men and women reach their 30s or so, they feel an incredible urge to start a family.

He’s right. Although, for me, I was a few years behind that curve.

But I feel it now; Life itself telling me that it’s time to grow up and be an adult because there are adult things I need to do. Things that need to be done.

One of my favourite poems I’ve quoted from before is Kahlil Gibran’s, On Children.

Like he says in the poem, I feel Life longing for itself and I can’t pretend not to hear anymore.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Here’s hoping…

I wrote the earlier entry about On Children when I was mad at my dad.

I regret every argument I ever had with him and miss him terribly. There are some things that time doesn’t make any better.

Podcast Version
Location: my empty apartment, now with even more rum. And popcorn.
Mood: sober again
Music: Trust levels went way down (Spotify)
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Some of us are trees

Keeping it up

When you see a tree, you’re looking at a zombie. Essentially, 99% of a tree is dead, only 1% of it’s actually alive.

In some ways, that’s me. I respirate, ambulate, defecate, urinate, and – occasionally – fornicate.

But being alive and living are two slightly different things.

The people that met me after May 24th, 2017 only see what’s left of me, after I was hollowed out. In that sense, it’s a shame. I used to be a fully-functioning human being.

Used to be great fun at cocktail parties.

Me: What’s your name, darling?
Random woman: I’m not your darling.
Me: Not with that attitude, you’re not.
Her: (laughs)

Speaking of attitudes, I just need to keep this up until the kid’s ready to be in the world alone. Figure trees have been able to do this for eons, I just have make about 5,000 days.

Piece of cake.

Him: I wish I met her.
Me: Sorry, man. I’m not the best company these days.
Him: Actually, I enjoy your company.
Me: I always wonder if there was anything else I coulda done.
Him: I don’t think so. (thinking) You loved her. In that sense, she was lucky. You both were.
Me: (nodding) Yeah.

Podcast Version
Location: my empty apartment
Mood: sub-optimal
Music: no music today
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Getting strangled at home

Ups and downs

Five years ago – heck, last year – if you had told me that (a) the country would be in lockdown, and (b) the only person I would be seeing with any regularity during this time was my coach, Chad Vazquez, I woulda thought you were insane.

Yet, here we are.

He had his first online private BJJ lesson in my pad the other day. I think it went well.

Note that he’s been coming by from time-to-time for over a month now to train and eat with zero signs of illness.

So, I’m guessing the antibodies are doing something.

Somehow, I don’t think anyone in the video is really sorry. It’s fine.

It’s nice to cook for someone besides myself. TBH, if he weren’t here, I’d probably just survive on rum and peanut butter.

Me: Can you clean up again? I’ll make tacos.
Him: Awesome! Yup.

Then again, all relationships have their ups and downs.

Me: Did you just pour the rest of your beer down the sink?
Him: Yeah, I figure we’re switching to rum, so…
Me: Are we made of money?!

As the week goes on, I feel a mixture of anxiety, sadness, and hope. The 24th is coming up and somehow, I feel as if I would have survived another year if I make it to the 25th.

I realize how ridiculous it is; it’s only something in my head.

But, as Zimbardo noted, the mind is a formidable jailer.

You gotta be tired of being locked up for the past 60 days.

I’ve been trapped alone in the basement of my brain for almost five years.

 

Podcast Version
Location: my empty apartment, surrounded by empty rum bottles
Mood: sotted
Music: can’t shake my hunger for strawberries and cigarettes (Spotify)
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Waiting to find out

A Human Shield

When Alison was pregnant, she sat me down one day.

Her: I need you to promise me something.
Me: Sure, what?
Her: If the baby and I are ever in danger, I need you to promise me that you’ll save him first.
Me: (laughing) Why can’t I do both?
Her: I’m serious. He’s more important than both of us. Promise me.

Mentioned to a friend the other day that when you hear something completely true, your very soul hears it.

I’ve been watching Ryan Reynolds ever since Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place and saw almost everything he’s been in since. He’s just a funny dude.

But he was on Letterman once talking about the birth of his daughter and said about his wife, Blake:

I used to say to [her], “I would take a bullet for you. I could never love anything as much as I love you.” I would say that to my wife. And the second I looked in that baby’s eyes, I knew in that exact moment that if we were ever under attack, I would use my wife as a human shield to protect that baby.

I remember thinking that, in all the years of hearing him on stuff, that’s the first time, I believed he meant that as pure truth. And this was before my son was born.

Mt. Saint Helens erupted forty years ago on May 18, 1980. I was seven.

There was a photographer there that day named Robert Landsberg. He was taking pictures when the eruption happened and he realized, too late, that the wall of gas and pulverized stone was coming right at him and that he wouldn’t survive.

So, he took as many pictures of the ash very thing that he knew would end his life, and, at the last moment, “he rewound the film back into its case, put his camera in his backpack, and then laid himself on top of the backpack in an attempt to protect its contents.”

And then he waited to die.

They found his body and camera afterward and developed the film. That’s his camera above.

That’s the story I thought of when Alison asked me if I would do that for her. I understood what she was asking.

There are some people that think they live. Some that wait to die. And some that wait to serve those things and people they love more than themselves.

We don’t get to pick. Life itself shows us which one we are.

The guard dies. It does not surrender

Me: (nodding) I promise.

Podcast Version: Waiting to Find Out
Location: my empty apartment, covered in machinery and metal dust
Mood: waiting to breathe
Music: it’s all better now, wait for me, (Spotify)
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