Goodnight, Luciano

I don’t understand why

Haven’t heard from the Devil in months. That worries me because he’s one of the few people in the world I think of as a friend.

How odd, to have a friend you call the Devil.

We’re friends because we see the world in the same way.

Me: Why me?
Him: (shrugging) Because you can separate signal from noise.
Me: So?
Him: As you get older, you’re realize that most people can’t.

On July 14th, I felt compelled to reach out to this fella named Luciano Anthony.

What a name. Picture a super-built, really good-looking guy that was brilliant and you’d be picturing Luciano. He looked like a dude named Luciano Anthony.

(I also just found out that he went by Luciano Bianco as well – I only ever knew him as Luciano Anthony).

We were never close but he always said hi to me at the gym and was never anything but the nicest fella. He was covered in tats so I immediately made some judgments about him. All wrong.

He had a masters degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins and worked as a science engineer. He did woodwork on the side.

Quiet and thoughtful, he was a beast on the mats. I remembered that I liked rolling with him because he always kept his gear clean.

Anywho, Luciano posted something random that night. It seemed out of sorts for what I knew of him.

I’m so fucking clever, you see.

So, I wrote him. I was probably drinking.

He was struggling with some demons. As a friend of the Devil, I know demons. In fact, I knew these particular demons he was struggling with. They’re old hated companions of mine as well.

Him:  (afterwards) Sorry if that’s too straightforward. Don’t have much family or friends so I tend to word vomit.
Me: No. That’s fine. When I say I understand, I really do. And more.

The last thing I said to him was, “I get it. If you’re in heed [sic] of someone to vent to, lemme know.”

That was it. Even though I knew something was wrong, I thought, I did my part. I reached out. I patted myself on the back. And I went back to my life. And I didn’t reach out to him again.

He killed himself exactly a week later. I didn’t know until today.

In ironies of ironies, I just wrote about depression and suicide in my last entry.

In the past four years, I’ve known six – now seven – people that died; I loved two of them completely. Luciano was the only one that took his own life.

I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t follow-up.

I get it. What could I have done? With him, with Alison? But what’s the point of hearing signal if nothing changes, if it doesn’t make a fucking difference anyway?

His mom posted that he died on Facebook. That’s how I found out. Fucking hell. No parent should have to do anything like that.

Like I said, a mother’s love for her child is like nothing else.

I think the same thing I always think whenever I hear about someone as good and as talented as Luciano dying – doubly so when it’s suicide – why?

For all my cleverness, I’ll never understand why. I suppose I don’t really want to. He was only 29. To me, that’s just a kid. What a fucking waste of a good soul.

Goodnight, Luciano. I’m so sorry you suffered and felt like you had to go.

I hope you found your peace.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
1-800-273-8255

Podcast Link
Location: Pier 84, talking about Luciano with Chad
Mood: not good
Music: Didn’t get to sleep that night till the morning came (Spotify)
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The Call of the Void

Marley’s Chains

Co-Worker: I thought you were afraid of heights.
Me: I am. Kinda.
Her: Well, you seem fine.
Me: I hide it well.

I’m afraid of heights.

But not in the way you might imagine. There’s particular type of suicidal thought called the “Call of the Void” where, at a very high height, some people feel an incredible urge to jump, even though they don’t wanna.

It’s part of the original siren’s song.

When I was younger, I avoided open heights on the reg because the urge was so strong. It’s part of why I lived in basements and ground floors for essentially my entire life.

This fella named Rudolf Diesel invented the, well, diesel engine. But, he was so convinced that it would be failure that he killed himself. He jumped from a ship into the sea, unable to resist his siren’s song.

Not soon after he killed himself, his engine became the standard of Europe and of most of the trucks here in the US. If only he ignored the song for just a little bit longer.

I’m not – at all – suicidal right now. But I remember hearing my siren’s song a lot, throughout the years. It was partly Diesel’s story that kept me from jumping.

The idea that, maybe it’ll be somehow  ok if I hold out for just a little bit longer, keeps me going.

I bring this up because I saw a buddy recently and he was in a funk.

Him: It was like the start of a depression. But, not depression.
Me: I call that “bummed.” It’s a feeling of general boredom, sadness, and hopelessness all in one. I feel it too. You have to be careful it doesn’t snowball into a full depression.
Him: Yeah. I feel it.

Funny, I always feel it, like Jacob Marley’s chains.

Link by link, and yard by yard…

Podcast Link
Location: outside, feeling the sun on my face, if just for a bit
Mood: So. Damn. Hot.
Music: It’s like a part of me must love it (Spotify)
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IDGAF

Why is that so much to ask?

Me: You wanna hear something true? I care about both of you deeply. But – honest to fuck – if someone told me that I could get Alison back by killing you two, or anyone, for that matter, I would do it without hesitation. I would feel bad about it, yeah. But I would be at your doorstep within the hour to cut you clean and cut you deep. Alison would hate me forever, but I would do it. There is no sin I would not commit to get her back. (sighing) But I don’t have that option. So, (raising glass) cheers…

The last time I got audited was twelve years ago for about $25K.

Got audited again this past week. Happy birthday to me.

Essentially, NYS wants to know how come I went from reporting $XXX,XXX in income in years past to $X,XXX (AGI) for the last couple of years.

Honest to god, my first instinct was to write them a letter that just said:

My wife and father died exactly 90 days apart in 2017 from some medical bullshit while other assholes get to live their shitty meaningless lives.

I spent the last three years trying not to kill myself cause of the injustice of it all. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck. Fuck you. Fuck everyone. Tell me what you think I owe you and send me a goddamn bill. I don’t give a shit.

Sincerely,

Logan Go Fuck Yourself Lo

I actually wrote something along those lines. Just with less restraint. I subsequently toned it down.

Logically, I know that some innocent bureaucrat that has no interest in hurting me will be on the receiving end of my vitriol but, I’m the eggshell plaintiff. And I don’t care.

Plus, now, I had to find her goddamn death certificate.

There is nothing more hateful or rage-inducing than having to look for – and, ultimately, find –  something that you despise with every fiber in your body. I keep it in a case, on the bottom drawer, in a folder, in a folder, in yet another folder.

It’s as if it’s radioactive and will kill me if there aren’t enough layers between us.

That’s probably not too far from the truth.

In the past, I used to go to the gym to get out my anger and frustration. I don’t have that option any longer. So, I sit here and quietly seethe, holding a piece of paper that tells me to go fuck myself because my family’s gone and we’re shit outta luck for a happy ending.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The silence part, that is. Cause, right now, I can scream to my heart’s content.

Always a silver lining, yeah?

Speaking of my gym, I think the last time I got hit with some pure truth was when I spoke to someone out there about Alison dying. He lost someone that he loved with all his soul as well.

I asked him if it ever got better.

Him: You never stop being angry. I’m angry right now thinking about it – and that was years ago.

We’re surrounded by bullshit 24/7 – our president is 24/7 bullshit – so that’s more true than ever. My Facebook feed is fulla people clearly ok with consuming and vomiting up Trump’s daily bullshit.

I don’t know how they live.

The thing with the truth is, when you hear you hear something that you know is true, your soul hears it. You feel it. In three years, what my friend said about the person he loved and lost was and remains one of the purest true things I’ve heard felt yet in my life.

Well, that and when my son said I had a big head.

When a toddler tells you that you have a big head – and your wife said the same – it’s probably true.

I’m sorry. I’m tired. I’m tired of so many things. I’m mostly tired of being surrounded by bullshit. I am craving some truth and peace.

I just want some goddamn truth and peace. And kindness.

Why is that so much to ask?

(c) Alyson McClaran

Sir(s);

The reason for my lowered income is that I find myself unable to work full-time any longer.

This is because my wife and father both died in 2017 and I find it difficult to care about anything. Including this audit, frankly.

Attached, please find her death certificate and a copy of my bank statements…

Podcast Version: IDGAF
Location: the basement of my brain again
Mood: blindingly white hot rage
Music: my best friend caught you creeping. You blamed it all on the alcohol (Spotify)
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My PG-13 life

At least I get to live it


The Gymgirl gave me an (unintentional) black eye the other day in my gym class.

Gymgirl: Do you need ice?
Me: God, yes.

In a nutshell, her foot went into my eye and nose. It was decidedly unpleasant.

Gym owner: You’re fine. You’re not even bleeding…wait, nevermind, you’re bleeding.
Me: Oh, good, that’s a relief.

I’m literally getting my ass kicked by all the women I know in life.

Which leads me to believe that Life itself is a woman because, I’m definitely getting my ass kicked by her.

The nurse that Alison liked the most during IVF called me the other day.

Nurse: It literally took me a week to get up the nerve to call you.
Me: I’m so glad you did. Alison adored you.
Her: (exhales) Thank you. I wasn’t sure how you’d be speaking to me.
Me: Yeah, I get it.

It was mostly admin stuff. But I was glad to hear her voice.

She left me a voicemail before but my voicemail transcribes messages to me so the last time I actually heard her voice, I was with Alison. And we were happy. Then everything went to shit.

Dunno why I always remind you of that. I should assume you know already.

Anywho, I often wonder if it’s fair to the Gymgirl that she’s with someone like me. I come with so much baggage.

Like my friend Somena once said, the key to a good relationship is to find someone whose baggage matches yours.

But I’m not sure I could bear knowing anyone with baggage that matches mine. And I’m grateful that the Gymgirl doesn’t have matching baggage. Suppose she is too.

Another group of friends were talking about television and movies the other day and I told them that I’m not sure I can handle anything beyond PG-13 these days.

Had to have a talk with another friend that didn’t understand why I was so upset by something he said. Casual things that people say mean different things to people like me.

Cause everything reminds me of something I don’t wanna be reminded of.

Wish everything were easier. But life itself isn’t easy so I’m SOL.

Then again, I get the chance to live it so I shouldn’t complain.

Me: Oh man, I missed you so much!
Son: I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding) You have your priorities.
Him: I missed you. I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding)

Location: bhavachakra
Mood: Groundhog-dayed
Music: I’ll let you in on something big. I am not a white teeth teen
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Halloween 2018

The Nightmare Before New Year’s Day


It’s Halloween.

Thought about my first Halloween with Alison the other day. It was exactly 10 years ago today. That’s her shoulder in the pic at the bottom of this entry. She dyed her hair brown.

When everything went down in 2015, I remember thinking a lot about the movie title, The Nightmare before Christmas. That’s exactly what it was.

Can’t properly express to you the depth of the sadness and anxiety we all felt then. Probably for the best.

I remember hearing ages ago that Vincent Price was supposed to be Santa in the film but his wife passed away and he was “so grief-stricken that the director felt he sounded too sad for Santa.”

Man, I totally get that. I was a zombie for years while Alison was sick and continued after she passed. I was a shadow of myself.

Halloween fills me with a dread. Cause it’s the start of the holiday season.

My son was supposed to be born around Halloween but he wasn’t so Alison took a walk around the neighborhood that day.

She took these pictures in this entry.

She was so happy that day. She was in love, pregnant, and about to be a mother. Everything she ever wanted. And it all turned to shit a week later.

I worried for a while that the boy would feel my grief but I wear my painted faces in front of him to hide it as best I can.

Time’ll tell if it worked.

In any case, today, I’m going to dress up the boy and myself for Halloween. The Gymgirl’s coming too.

At the end of the day, I’ll take off my costume but I’ll keep my painted face on until New Year’s Day, so the kid doesn’t know how much I hate the holidays.

And I do so hate the holidays. Dunno if that’ll ever change.

Location: 2015, in my head
Mood: crestfallen
Music: Painted faces, fill the places I can’t reach
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Anthony Bourdain: I am certain of nothing

I know that I know nothing

Me: (handing her a pack) Pick a toothbrush.
Woman: (picks one) Wait…where are all the others?
Me: In use.
Her: Do you label the toothbrushes?
Me: I’ve got enough to deal with – you all have to remember which toothbrush is yours.

Made some Soleier the other day. It’s a pickled hard-boiled egg and I did it because of Anthony Bourdain’s Cologne episode of Parts Unknown, where he eats it in a bar.

Gymgirl had never seen any episodes of Parts Unknown, but, when Alison was trying to get pregnant, she and I watched a ton of episodes. In some way, we were trapped at home but it was our escape. When she got sick, we saw a few episodes here and there.

So I put on the Cologne and Senegal episodes for the Gymgirl; Alison worked a lot in Senegal and I think she woulda loved watching it.

In the Senegal episode, towards the end, Bourdain said that he had a tatoo that read paraphrase of a Greek/Latin phrase I’ve always liked, scio me nihil scire: I know that I know nothing.

He said, I am certain of nothing.

Don’t think it’s any major surprise to anyone, but I spent most of the time after Alison passed trying to think of ways to end my life with two major goals: (a) ensure my son got the maximum amount of money but only when he was old enough to use it responsibly, and (b) ensure he would not be the one to find my body.

I’m ok now, in case you’re worried.

Dispassionately speaking, those two things kept my mind racing for days…weeks? Months? I’m not sure. Was drinking a lot. Spent my time in the company of strangers trying to forget things.

Eventually, I sobered up, both literally and figuratively. Without getting too into it, essentially bureaucracy saved my life: There were certain things I was waiting for in order to accomplish goal but by the time I got what I needed, I was already feeling less depressed and more just normal, heart-breaking, sadness.

But there were many nights when I was pretty cloudy and thought about just ending it all. But those two things and my OCD kept me from making that final cut.

Me:  Do you ever daydream about, like, a fancy car?
Friend: Sure, I guess.
Me: That’s how I think about dying. I dream about it. It’s not real, per se, it’s just something I think about.
Him: Do you think you’d ever do it?
Me: No. But I think about it.

I wouldn’t be here if not for the kid. Alison was always worried because I often had bouts of depression.

Alison: Wouldn’t you stay just to keep me company?
Me: It’s never as easy as that.
Alison: Why can’t it be?

Ah, if only everyone could stay in the world because someone wanted them, desperately, to stay.

But suicidal depression doesn’t make a lotta sense, especially to the suicidally depressed. Even at my worst, I was pretty high-functioning; I knew suicidal people that weren’t even close. Bourdain was clearly high-functioning.

Two years ago, told you that I had two other atomic bombs in my life besides Alison and the cancer. My father was dying of cancer too; that I eventually told you.

My So-Called Thermonuclear Life

But the third was that one of my favorite cousins tried to kill himself in the middle of everything happening with my dad and Alison.

I remember getting that call and thinking that my life was as insane as it could ever be.

He survived, though. Alison and my dad didn’t. But that doesn’t make suicide any less dangerous. It’s as deadly as cancer because it kills you just the same.

Just snap outta it.

I’ve said that before to people that were suidically depressed, before I knew any better. It puts the blame on them – they’re doing this to themselves. But, as I said, that’s not how depression works.

No normal person wakes up dreaming of ways to end their lives. It’s the opposite of normal.

I know I’m not normal. Perhaps that’s part of why I don’t think I’d ever do it.  Because I know I’m not ok.

Never met Bourdain but I like to think that it was a momentary – and awful – lapse of reason that made him end his life. He had a kid and I doubt that, if he was thinking clearly, he’d ever hurt his daughter like that. Maybe in that last moment, he had some clarity and wanted to stay.

Then again, I’m certain of nothing. Except that I love Alison and her boy.  If only love was enough for things like this.

As long as the boy is here, I’ll stay to keep him company. He shocked me with this conversation today and made me cry.

Me:  (absentmindedly) I miss your mama.
Boy: (nodding) I miss mama too.

Think Bourdain’s daughter’s name is Ariane. Always thought that was such a pretty name.

Location: Last week, Bermuda
Mood: tired
Music: I’m sick of sitting ’round here

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1,000 times an hour

Promises made, promises broken

Watercolor view of the UES, NY,

Nurse: Do you have her password?

Without getting too deep into it, the past week has been the most difficult week at home since November. And we’ve had some awful weeks in the past three months.

My insomnia makes this surreal experience all the more surreal. What little is in color is watercolored and runs together before fading to grey again.

The doc wants us to bring her back to the hospital but she was so distraught and confused the last two times that I feel it’ll only be worse a third time.

Ultimately, I have to make that decision and it is to keep her at home, however difficult that is.

Marriage is such an odd thing. You meet a stranger one night and, a little while later, you become family. To the point where I make decisions for her instead of her own parents, who have been totally supportive of all the choices I’ve made.

I have tremendous respect for them. Her mom is about the nicest person I know and her father – a war hero – is someone I would like to call a friend regardless of the reason why.

We got married five years ago this month. I told them I would always keep her safe.

I’m failing that promise right now. Keep thinking there must be something else I can do.

But there isn’t. There’s only the waiting.

The last time we were in the hospital, the nurse wanted to make sure I was family so she asked for the password I gave them when I admitted her.

It’s the same three words I’ve been saying 1,000 times an hour, every waking hour, since the beginning of November.

Me: Yes. It’s: “Please be ok.”

\’

Location: hell
Mood: struggling
Music: Skies turn to the usual grey

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You can’t be afraid if you laugh

If only something was enough

Old Fashioned with Rye

Met up with RE Mike the other night at a bar in midtown. Had myself an Old Fashioned with Rye and met some folks.

The usual summer swing.

Church in Manhattan

Lately, the press is all about Robin Williams’ suicide. There’s a number of a things going around that somehow glamorizes the whole notion of suicide in general, which bothers me no end.

Years ago, I wrote about a much less well-known comedian named Richard Jeni doing the same thing.

Felt then, as I feel now, what a colossal waste.

And the other time I wrote about suicide was with another comedian named Richard Gethard, who’s thankfully still alive.

I like Richard Gethard. I liked Richard Jeni. And I grew up watching Robin Williams – remember seeing him first appear as Mork on Happy Days back when it first came out. They made me laugh.

Stephen Colbert once said that, “If you are laughing, you can’t be afraid.” That’s one of the truest statements there are. I suppose that it’s why the people that have some of the saddest experiences laugh the hardest. It’s the only way they survive.

Sometimes, though, I think people just get tired of being afraid. And sometimes it’s not enough.

If I could have wished them something, woulda wished them something that was enough.

————-

Here’s a really good page on suicide, including the main question, “Are you thinking of committing suicide?”

Location: prepping for travel
Mood: disappointed
Music: Oh how can I survive? Will I make this drop this dive?
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Two Scenarios

Hope you had a better weekend than me

It was not a good weekend. Without getting too much into it, there’s something about disappointment that’s particularly hard to bear.

Suppose I give you – totally randomly – $100 but there are two scenarios:

Scenario 1
You don’t know me and I just randomly hand you $100 and tell you that I give out $100 to anyone I like that day and you’re that person. How do you feel?

Scenario 2
You don’t know me and I just randomly hand you $100 and tell you that I just gave out $100,000 to the first guy I met, $10,000 to the second, $1,000 to the third and now $100 to you. How do you feel?

You feel different, don’t you? In Scenario 1, you’re elated. In Scenario 2, it’s a lot less so.

The funny thing is that the baseline transaction – me giving, you getting $100, unearned – is exactly the same.

What we expect of the world shapes our perceptions of what happens to us and those circumstances make things happy or sad.

It was not a good weekend.

————–

On a slightly positive note, just put up my Facebook page for A Great First Date and already have close to 200 likes.

If you’re on Facebook, consider giving me a like?

 

Location: chained to my desk with a broken computer
Mood: deflated
Music: I’ve been thinking about you. How are you doing these days?
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Embracing the Randomness

Last night, met up with my friend Ben – who writes Conceived and Composed, that clever pic above is his – and my other buddy, PB.

Got together to down some rum and $0.10 wings downtown. Always tell myself to limit myself to a half dozen. Never happens. We chatted about photography and life: re the former, I picked up a new shooter; re the latter, work is heating up, finally.

Am at an age now where I think I’m able to ride out most storms. The stuff that’s been going on with the Rutgers kid committing suicide got to me, like all the stories do – depression is something I think most insomniacs have dealt with and the response has been the It’s Gets Better campaign, which I’ve always believed was the case. Because it does get better.

Anywho, after stuffing ourselves with wings and booze, we discovered that a relative’s of Ben’s owns the local banh mi shop so we had to stop in there too after our greasefest. Piggies we are.

Unlike a lotta places in the world where people gotta do the terrible things to just survive, here we get randomness to enjoy. But only if we decide to do it.

———-

Installment two of my dating/relationship This Modern Love column on Techorati is up today.

Speakinga which, gonna have to change my posting schedule to Monday and Wednesday for this here blog so I’m not super swamped. See you Monday, yeah?

Location: home, trying to get work done
Mood: hungry
Music: I’m surrounded you know, it’s all around me
YASYCTAI: Embrace the randomness. (3 hrs/1 pt)
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