Church

Atheists have as strong a belief system as anyone

Linus: Do you ever pray?
Lucy: That’s kind of a personal question, isn’t it? Are you trying to start an argument? I suppose you think you’re somebody pretty smart, don’t you? I suppose you think. . .
Linus, turning to Charlie Brown: You’re right . . . religion is a very touchy subject.”

Had a disturbing discourse the other day.

An atheist woman I know was annoyed to find that a friend was a Muslim. Religion, she noted was a bad thing. Her friend was smart, couldn’t she see how stupid religion was? Her god wouldn’t make horrible demands, kill people and do bad things, she said.

But let’s follow the bouncing ball of logic:

How does she know that God doesn’t kill people and do, what we would think, are bad things?

Because if she had a god he would not do such things.

But then, that makes her her own god.

The god of her mind hasn’t fashioned her in his image so much as she has fashioned him into her’s. Therefore her god, or lack thereof, can never be greater than herself at her best.

That is dangerous because people fail themselves all the time (I know I do). And if your god comes from within instead of without, I submit that you are headed for some grave times when misfortune does come.

And it comes – man, does it come.

Everyone falls to their knees at some point because, life is cruel.

Now, I’m totally ok with the fact that I could be wrong about everything I believe; my religion is all about that (Matthew 26:41) but it bothers me that atheists are often so smugly certain that I am wrong.

I’ve actually never met more narrow-minded people than atheists (I’m not saying all atheists but most). This one, for example, has completely cut off communication with me because she disagrees with me.

And for those that say atheism isn’t a religion, I submit that it is because: we both believe in something beyond our abilities to prove.

I cannot prove to you there is a god but you cannot prove to me there isn’t.

It’s the zealots of any religion that drive people crazy. Those that are so certain that they are right that they just don’t want to hear any other possibility. She’s a zealot for atheism because, she’d rather tune out someone rather concede she might be wrong.

I do believe in God.

To believe otherwise would mean that I’m solely in charge of my life. And that’s far too much responsibility.

As Martin Luther said to his friend, Pray, and let God worry.

I respect what you believe, regardless if you are atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, whatnot.

I worry enough as it is.

Location: still in front of a stack of papers
Mood: bored
Music: worry, worry, super-scurry; call the troops out in a hurry

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One foot

I’m head over heels with one foot in the past

A buddy gave me a bunch of LPs and 45s to sell on ebay and I took a break from studying to go through it. The 45 for this song was in the bunch and stopped me cold. I took a picture of it for my last post.

Loved this song when I was a kid. I was 11.

I was fat and had a huge crush on a girl named Yvonne.

Another girl named Grace tormented me endlessly.

Teddy and Alex beat me up regularly.

Philip was my best friend.

I believed that the house across the street was haunted and had just started to read 1984.

I remember so much.

I’m becoming that guy that spends his life with one foot in the past.

Location: @11:11AM, barred from the Harvard Club because I’m wearing jeans
Mood: busy
Music: now just how long will it last

Traditions I can trace

Loud music is the antidote when you’re fuzzy-headed

Thanks to modern chemistry, I’ve been sleeping again this week. I’m really fuzzy-headed right now. Not a good thing considering that I’ve got a two-day, sixteen hour exam at the end of this month – don’t ask.

So to wake myself up, I blare old music at all hours of the day.

I remember when I was younger, I used to put my LPs and 45s on (if you can’t relate to this, please know that I hate you) and do the same in my parents’ basement.

Heard that way back when records were made of wax, you could re-record new music by just cutting new grooves into them.

I’d like to do that with some parts of my life.

Other parts, I’d like to play
over

and
over
again.

Location: @1PM, catching the A train downtown
Mood: busy
Music: one open mind this is my four leaf clover

About time

Sometimes I do something good

Had that date finally.

Me: So what do you think?
Her: (after thinking) You did good.
Me: (laughing) I suppose it’s about time I did.

Location: @2PM, waiting in the doctor’s office,
Mood: touched
Music: I know now that I’m way down on your line

St. Val

What makes a date a date? Food?

Got a date for St. Val’s day tomorrow. I’ve been on dates before, yes, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

Did you ever read Miss Manners? I’ve got lots of issues (admittedly) but poor manners isn’t one of them. On that note, here’s her view on what a date is comprised of:

There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted. — Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior

Think I’ve got the entertainment and food part down.

If I manage to get some sleep the night before, I might be normal enough to work in some affection.

Who am I kidding? I’ll settle for the food and entertainment.

Location: Yonkers, New York
Mood: curious
Music: every time I try to make it right, it all comes down on me

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Friends

Your friends bring out different parts of you

Went to see my college friends again last night. We don’t get together as often as, I think, we would like.

Life gets in the way.

Heard once that JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and a third writer were all close friends and when the third writer died (Charles Williams?), CS Lewis said something along the lines of “When he died, I thought, ‘at least I’ll have more of JRR, but in fact I had less,'” meaning that, when the third friend died, CS Lewis found that the third friend brought out things in Tolkien that CS couldn’t.

In any case, I see my friends individually but when we all get together, it’s a different dynamic. I see things in my friends’ faces and hear voices from over a decade ago.

And it’s good seeing my old friends again.

I haven’t seen me in years.

Location: @3AM, taking the train home
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Good times, bad times, give me some of that

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Laugh it up

It’s easy to go broke dating in NYC

Went to a comedy club recently with the blue-jean eyed girl.

It was good, it included Gabriel Iglesias from Last Comic Standing, who was great.

But what a scam – basically, it’s a $20 cover, two drink minimum ($24) with an automatic 18% gratuity. For two people with just a plate of appetizers, it worked out to be $150.

Counting cab rides, subway rides, and daily miscellany, the day would have easily been $200+.

All I can say is, man, there’s no quicker way to go broke than just trying to entertain yourself in the big city so that you don’t go postal.

That’s why I spend Sunday through Thursday eating cold sandwiches and drinking tap water.

Mmm…tap water…

Location: @6AM, yawning on a futon
Mood: busy
Music: I shouldn’t have done it, and it won’t forgive me

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Love and Pride

Met up with the Ex one last time

I’m tired – my insomnia’s returned. I’m running about at half-speed and, more stressing, half-wit.

Saw my ex again a few days ago. She came by to pick up one last thing she left here. It was actually pleasant. She and I both managed to crack a smile or two.

Told her that I was seeing someone. Nothing yet, I said, more the chance that it could be something.

She nodded and slowly smiled and said that she hoped it worked out for me.

I believe her.

She also said that I should get a handle on my insomnia because it was a major problem in our relationship. The irony of her comment was that it kept me up all night despite a massive amount of chemicals.

But the other thing that kept my past girlfriends and me from being happy, I realized, was pride. Admittedly, it was usually mine. It’s a horrid sin.

Our respective pride has not served my ex nor me well.

Regardless of who I end up, I’ve decided to choose her over my pride.

Pride enables you to say, But at least I was right, to an empty room.

And I tell you from experience that there’s no more deafening an echo than that.

Location: in front of a nice warm cup of espresso
Mood: busy
Music: love is stronger than…it’ll serve you longer than pride

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Cowboys

Aren’t most friendships finite?

I’ve been stuck here for a bit. Don’t ask. But it reminds me of something from a while ago.

One of my closest friends in college was a guy named Crawford who was a god at meeting women – he was (a) good-looking, (b) charming and (c) shameless. We had a blast for two years.

He told me a story once. He said that real cowboys were hired, maybe five to eight at a time, in one state to drive cattle to the other end of the country. This bunch of guys was thrown together for months at a time and, during this time, they were each others’ friends, doctors, entertainers, cooks and guardian angels. They needed to keep each other sane and safe to get the job done.

And once the job was done, they separated. No emails, faxes, phone calls, letters. Just onto the next job.

The question Crawford posed to me was: were they truly friends? Is there such thing as friendship when there’s a finite ending?

What about when two lovers separate – was there any love really there?

My answer to all is yes.

Because at some point everything ends. Life will take everything and everyone you love. There is nothing you can touch that you won’t lose at some point down the line.

Five months, fifty years, the time doesn’t make it any more or less real.

I take solace in that.

At some point, these people I loved, once loved me. It’s sad when relationships end but goodbyes are always sad.

Crawford and I both moved here to the big city. We met up once but then I never saw him again.

He was a good friend.

Location: @ 7:10 AM, taking the east side local
Mood: optimistic
Music: Its such a shame, Always ends the same