From the Archives: Thanksgiving 2013 and 2008

Being Thankful on Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow; the wife’s already left to see her family.

Her: What’d you have for dinner?
Me: The usual, chili and rum. Oh, and some pretzels.

One of these days, I’ll write something better for Thanksgiving than what I did in 2008. But I still think it’s one of my best, for whatever that’s worth. I read it myself every so often to remind myself for all there is to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving 2008
The world is ridiculously unfair, but if you can read this post, chances are high it’s ridiculously unfair in your favor.

Back on Monday.

Location: getting dressed for the gym
Mood: tired
Music: I like to reminisce about a time I’ve never had
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Leigh Sakoda

Apologies, I interrupt our usual nuthin for a quick something.

If you’ve been reading this for any amount of time, y’know that real names are verboten. Unless there’s a good reason.

This was Lee – Leigh Sakoda, actually. She wasn’t a close friend, or a dear friend. She was, however, someone that I spoke to every day for two years at my old gig. And never will again. That means something to me.

Wish I dropped her a line like I said I would. That means something to me too.

Since I got no scratch right now to send her way, putting this up for now, to remind me to do it when I do.

In my head, she looked like that pic above, always smiling. The world’s lost a good soul.

Back to the usual nonsense tomorrow.

Nite, Lee.

Location: 2 hours ago, stabbing someone in the throat in the UWS
Mood: still pensive
Music: to everything there is a purpose

The purpose of life is…

Location: 18:30 yest, watching geese in the Hudson
Mood: grateful
Music: hold on, hold on let me get the words out before I burst

Lake in Central Park

Let’s play a game; finish this sentence and then I’ll see you on the other side of this quick post:

The purpose of life is ______________.

———-

Got an email the other day from out of the blue from someone I dated.

…and i know this is random, but for what it’s worth, thank you for never having sex with me, when we were seeing each other. i wish i could expand on that further, but something tells me that i don’t really have to, i know you understand.

Also got an email and $40 from 0utre cause I sent her slim coin for a paring knife a few years back when I had some spare scratch.

I took that paring knife with me everywhere. I won’t ever forget your kindness to me then and now, may we meet someday so I can return the kindness once again in person in a more human manner. Kindest Regards.

Finally, someone else wrote me and said,

Logan, you don’t know me – well, that’s not completely true. I met you once and you mentioned the blog so I read you. And keep reading. The funny thing is that I find myself saying things that you said in your blog in conversations with other people. And I wanted to say thanks because you make me think of good things. Most things I read don’t.

———-

Everyone finishes that sentence differently. Here’s the thing – how you finish that sentence shapes how you live your life (or vice versa).

Consider how differently these guys live their lives:

  • The purpose of life is to have a good time.
  • The purpose of life to become closer to God.
  • The purpose of life is to raise good members of society.
  • The purpose of life it to get what you can, when you can.
  • The purpose of life is to live for the moment.

My answer?

Well, suppose that’s a post for another time. Do wanna say that it was very different not that long ago when I was friends with the Devil and didn’t have to unwrap my food. In fact, it was onea the above.

Which one? That too’s a post for a different time, yeah?

But I wanna say thanks to the girlie I dated, Outre and my anonymous fan. Cause y’make me think that maybe I’m on the right path to fulfilling my true purpose.

YASYCTAI: Finish the sentence. Honestly (and tell me in the comment). Extra half-point: ask the person y’love to… (1 min/2.5 pts)

Christmas 2008 – Good Things

Location: on a beige couch
Mood: still sick
Music: a cold winter’s night that was so deep

Tell myself that I write in a mix of hardboiled and the Economist but with a lotta slice-a-life descriptions a la A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Yes, it’s a girl’s book but it’s also a book about NYC and the people in it. Some of the clearest pictures of my city are between those lines. One Xmas scene stays in my mind – in it, a tree butcher has a contest to give away the trees he can’t sell: if you can catch a tree without falling, it’s yours. When he prepares to throw his nicest tree, a small, poor girl and her little brother ask for the chance to catch it.

It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world, he thinks when he sees them. I submit that this is true. But I also submit that the good things, when we have them, mean that much more.

Wish I were a better writer to say what I wanna say sometimes. It’s like the difference between seeing the Grand Canyon and seeing a postcard of the Grand Canyon. But lemme try anyway:

The good things pull you through the dark times. Heartgirl and a Friseur Frau sent me Xmas cards and my brother sent me another postcard of the California sun. They’re all on my refrigerator door.

Guess sometimes, a postcard of the Grand Canyon’s enough to get you through. It’s the little things that pull y’through, yeah?

So, regardless of your religion, faith, or background, lemme give you a little wish in my really simple, ineloquent, Queens, NY manner; it’s a post card of what I’d say if I were a better writer and not the Oprah-ish writer a friend thinks I am:

I wish you good things.

PS – for those of you that asked, here’s a pic of me with a beard, courtesy of Nadya R. Happy Christmas.

———-

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” his soul agonized, “why don’t I just give ’em the tree, say Merry Christmas and let ’em go? What’s the tree to me? I can’t sell it no more this year and it won’t keep till next year.” The kids watched him solemnly as he stood there in his moment of thought. “But then,” he rationalized, “if I did that, all the others would expect to get ’em handed to ’em. And next year, nobody a-tall would buy a tree off of me. They’d all wait to get ’em handed to ’em on a silver plate. I ain’t a big enough man to give this tree away for nothin’. No, I ain’t big enough. I ain’t big enough to do a thing like that. I gotta think of myself and my own kids.” He finally came to his conclusion. “Oh, what the hell! Them two kids is gotta live in this world. They got to get used to it. They got to learn to give and to take punishment. And by Jesus, it ain’t give but take, take, take all the time in this God-damned world.” As he threw the tree with all his strength, his heart wailed out, “It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world!”

When some of the older boys pulled the tree away, they found Francie and her brother standing upright, hand in hand. Blood was coming from scratches on Neeley’s face. He looked more like a baby than ever with his bewildered blue eyes and the fairness of his skin made more noticeable because of the clear red blood. But they were smiling. Had they not won the biggest tree in the neighborhood? Some of the boys hollered “Hooray!” A few adults clapped. The tree man eulogized them by screaming,

“And now get the hell out of here with your tree, you lousy bastards.”

Francie had heard swearing since she had heard words. Obscenity and profanity had no meaning as such among those people. They were emotional expressions of inarticulate people with small vocabularies; they made a kind of dialect. The phrases could mean many things according to the expression and tone used in saying them. So now, when Francie heard themselves called lousy bastards, she smiled tremulously at the kind man. She knew that he was really saying, “Goodbye–God bless you.”

YASYCTAI: Do something nice today for someone just cause… (10 mins/1 pt)

Potential

Location: On a corduroy couch
Mood: sick
Music: Maybe I’ll sleep when I am dead But now it’s like the night is taking sides


Her
: Algebra – pretty much any math.
Me: I’m a terrible Asian; math was never a fun class for me. Mine were English and history. Some science was cool too – like when we dissected owl pellets. (pause) Did you ever have a trapper keeper?
Her: Yes.
Me: (thinking) Man, they sucked. Didn’t trap or keep a damn thing.

Think I’m sick. Not sure. But quite possibly.

It’s been a really productive week. Trying to wrap up business issues before the end of the year.

For what seems to be the third year in a row, I’ve not been able to really enjoy my favorite time of year; from the day before Thanksgiving to the day after New Year’s.

Wish I were clearheaded. Always cloudy cause I’m sick, I’m beat, or I’m bending time. Sometimes all three at once. Then my mind wanders.

Me: What if I’m not smart at all? What if I just remember things – stupid things. Things that’re only good for games shows and cocktail conversations? Smart people don’t get their life savings stolen. My brother and sister’re smart – I joke a lot that I get by on my charm. (pause) But what if that’s true?

Her: (thinking) I think you’re smart.

At least 50% of the time I don’t sleep, lie awake wondering. Everyone thinks I’ve got all this potential. But it’s almost 2009. I’m another year closer to getting my ticket punched.

When I don’t sleep, lie awake wondering about things that I’m afraid to put out in the aether.

YASYCTAI: Read a novel. A good one. (eight days/2 pts)

Thanksgiving 2008/Your dumb luck

Colin: American girls would seriously dig me with my cute British accent.
Tony: You don’t have a cute British accent.
Colin: Yes I do! I’m going to America!
Tony: Colin, you’re a lonely, ugly, _____. You must accept it.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve got running water. You might even have a water softener. And, despite the countless articles that note that tap water’s probably cleaner and better for the environment than bottled water, you’ve probably got somea that too. Little more than half the world has tap water.

While we’re on the topic of the world, the axiom’s that 1% of the world has a college education. Dunno if that’s true (in the US, it’s about 27%). And you probably got a mobile phone, a fridge, and a tv. Hold that thought.

On a distantly related note, I got ill, viscerally ill, hearing about the 13-year old girl in Somlia that was recently raped by five-men. And cause she reported the incident, she was buried alive up to her head in a stadium of 1,000 men per Islamic law. She screamed for her life as she was slowly stoned to death. They dug her up when they thought she was dead. But she lived. So they finished her with more rocks.

As if that wasn’t ______up enough, an eight year-old boy that tried to save her was shot to death. The kicker’s that the men that raped her were not arrested.

Lemme get to the point: the world is horribly, ridiculously unfair. You’d agree with me, yeah?

But – and hear me out – I submit that the world is ridiculously unfair in our favor. Can’t speak for you so lemme talk about me:

That’s all just in the last two years.

Someone wrote me once, how do you not be broken? After two months, I think the answer comes in two-steps:

  1. Be grateful. The kinda grateful you are if someone paid your tab just cause they could. Cause, that, in essence, is what you got. You got to live in a place where you got enough time to read the random musing of a nobody like me. And water’s a twist of a faucet away. Where life, most likely, has value.
  2. Pay it back. You owe the aether something for your largess. Something. What that is, I dunno. As for how? Dunno that either. Sorry. I’m not that bright and get by mostly on fading looks and charm. But I suspect God’s given you some gift. Start there, I guess.

Now you might think this is some sorta pinko commie, holiday post. It’s not. The first step above is so you’re not onea those miserable people that bitch about everything all of time. So annoying. The second step above is so you’re not onea those miserable people that are happy for nothing all of time. Almost as annoying.

This isn’t so you can save the world, though that’d be nice. Rather – and I know this sounds strange coming from a barely sober nobody holding a tumbler fulla rum as I write this – it’s to save yourself.

Cause I read/know some of you. And I hear how angry and sad some (not all) of you are and, just cause you read me, figured I’d pay some of it back this way.

The saying goes that Wisdom is seeing things as they are. I disagree. Wisdom is the seeing things for what they can be.

Don’t accept when people tell you that everything sucks. They’re lying to you. Things suck, yeah, but you don’t gotta accept it.

Andy Warhol once said that They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. That sounds about right.

And I’m not saying don’t stuff yourself silly over the holiday, and enjoy it. I know I will. Quite the opposite; enjoy it more knowing that you’re among the lucky. The blessed. Your dumb luck. Said it before, God gave me everything. The thing is that I know it. And that’s why I’m not broken.

After you’ve had your holiday, try and make it a little less unfair. Ideally, yeah, do it cause the world’s broken and you got a moral obligation to pay somea the extra you were given back. But if not for nothing else, if for no one else, do it for yourself – to make yourself a little less broken.

Cause, maybe if you do that, you can see things for what they can be.

Colin: Never. I am Colin. God of sex. I’m just on the wrong continent, that’s all.

Location: in my black chair, staring at this screen
Mood: hopeful
Music: I’ll give you anything you need
YASYCTAI: Somehow return of that luck you have to the aether. (Lifetime / 4 pts – 5 if you let us know what you did)

In front of you

Location: at the rents, in front of the tube
Mood: restless
Music: get your plane ride on time I know your part’ll go fine


Her
: (sadly in Chinese) God doesn’t care about me any more. I’m too old. 86.

Me: That’s not true. He’s the one who put me in front of you.

Saw an old friend for dinner last night. We hadn’t talked in ages; last I saw him he was going off to an unpaid internship at Yeah! Local, now he’s now the senior VP at a major internet marketing firm.

We talked shop and it was like talking to an adult after being surrounded by kids all day. Like Sheridan and somea the others, he believes in me more than I do, I think.

Man, I gotta get outta what I’m doing and back into my old life.

On the way there, heard an old Chinese lady yelling over and over again, “CHINATOWN!” on 37th and Lex. She reminded me of my grandma. So I went over and told her in my crappy Chinese that I’d get her there. She was visiting an old friend in a hospital nearby and got lost. Took her arm, walked her to the right stop, and waited for the bus with her.

Me: (to driver) Hey man, this nice little lady needs to get to Chinatown. Can you make sure she gets off on Bowery and Bayard? (driver nods and smiles broadly at her)
Her: (to me in Chinese) Thank you – your Chinese’s not as bad as you think.

Me: (laughing) Nonsense. But I’ll let my dad know you said so. Told you – God put me in front of you.

Hopped off the bus and made it over to the Shelburne. Afterwards, walked from there to Columbus Circle, just cause I can’t sleep anyway. Thought about my mom – if she got lost, I’d hope someone’d help her get home.

Speaking of home, Heartgirl’s on a plane back as I write this. Was only two weeks but I missed her terribly.

YASYCTAI: Help someone old. Cause you’d want someone to do it for your ma. (20 mins/1 pts)

YASYCTAI (2) / Kaizen

Location: a yellow bed
Mood: contemplative
Music: with a roof right over our heads We’ll share the shelter

Got a call today to be part of a panel discussing online media. Strange but what else is new?

Kaizen is a business concept that says continual (little) improvement is the path to success. Until 2007, GM was the largest car manufacturer in the world and Toyota was the one playing catch-up.

Cut or keep? – Suppose GM had 1 million screws. It’s philosophy was to use those same screws in all their cars to save scratch. Toyota, however, would continually improve the designs of the screws a little bit, tossing the older screws out. It hurt a little financially every year but they did it.

Partly due to that and other reasons, GM is now a relic. Just like it’s screws, it refused to chuck the old cause it didn’t wanna go through the painful changes. GM’s watching Toyota’s red lights now.

The danger is to see life – yourself, your friends, your habits – as they once were. Not as they are now. It’s not easy, seeing things and people for what they really are.

My YASYCTAI are the little things that I wanna do, or have done, to try to make myself better. To see life in a different way.

I put them up cause you might wanna do it too. Or not.

The points? They mean whatever you want, although at 100 points, always figured I was making some sorta progress.

In a related matter, I’m slowing winding down my business – planning to start drinking Dec 31 and finish up around February. Of 2010.

YASYCTAI: Honestly, are you seeing that person the way s/he used to be or the way s/he is now? Cut or keep? (90 mins/2 pts)

Aether Apologies

Location: the basement of my brain again
Mood: pensive
Music: sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one


Her
: Why do you always get so mad when I apologize?
Me: Cause you should only ever apologize for what you do, not who you are. You should never apologize for being what you are.

People used to believe in this thing called aether, which was an unseen gas that was supposed to envelop everything in the universe. No such thing but the literary concept of it still exists.

Heartgirl went on a date not that long ago and said the guy immediately apologized for being Indian. That irritated me so much.

I’m acutely aware of people apologizing for who they are. And when you put that out into the world, into the aether, it’s hard to kill it. The moment you let out a breath of, I’m not good enough because of what I am, or I’m so XXXX, it’s so very dangerous. Cause you can never be tall enough, thin enough, smart enough. And you are what you believe you are.

It’s subtle isn’t it? The idea that you’re not worthy of your three feet of space in this world. Here’s the thing, you gotta be. If you’re not, the world’ll roll right over you. Then again…

Her: I thought you said you weren’t broken.
Me: Maybe I’m just bruised.
Her: That makes me sad.
Me: Don’t be. It’s why I have the rum.

PCD’s…gone from this blog, per her request. But she said we’d stay in each other’s Venn Diagrams. I hope that’s true. Cause I could never tell if her eyes were grey or blue and would like to know.

I hear Caligirl’s laughter my head – wondering for a second if she’s right and I’m all just hot breath and lies. I gotta believe I’m not. Gotta.

Otherwise, I know the world’ll roll right over me. So I gotta believe I’m not. I just gotta.