Monday, March 27, 2006

Where Do the Children Play?

Something is so very wrong in this world that I'm almost sick. Front page of the Seattle Times: a man in his early twenties kills seven in a shooting at a house party. Further down: Cops discover plan by four junior high students to go on a shooting spree at school. I continue reading: terrorism.

I know that the experts will attribute such behavior to violent video games, or drugs or school bullying. Others reactionaries will say that teaching evolution or taking prayer out of schools explains it. And even further, entertainers will make movies such a V for Vendetta in a an effort to intellectually justify such atrocities. We will all talk about it, maybe argue about it at the office, around the dinner table, or on the porch, but tomorrow and the next day and the day after that the same damn things will happen and still we'll have excuses and fantasy explanations.

I don't know if I'm qualified to answer questions about people's behavior and maybe I don't have to. After all it is Sunday morning, I'm entitled to relax in my kitchen with a cup of coffee, a bowl of Grapenuts cereal while pretending to live in Middle Earth, right? I'm just an ordinary citizen. Those guys with beards and degrees hanging on their walls should take care of it.

Something isn't quite right in the world today and we all know it and we all pretend it's ok. The robots will save us. Christ will return. Diversity training...

Ha. Diversity training.

I don't have answers and that is what makes me feel so sick. But who can't see that what we are doing isn't working? How long must we pussy foot around with political correctness and sensitivity training? When will we acknowledge evil? I think that at least is a first step.

I've got suggestions from there.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I Do Not Bite My Thumb At You, Sir, but I Bite my Thumb

Stop looking inward, please. Look outside. Look up; at the sky, at the stars, out over the bays and woods and rolling hills. Don’t dwell on that incessant voice in your head. Listen to the songs of birds and the wind through trees. Sit on the dock or at a park bench and listen to people’s conversations as they walk by. Look outside of yourself and you’ll find that the world is absolutely filled with strange and wonderful miracles.

Stop trying to be powerful, please. Power is the ability to move mountains, to walk on water, to die and rise again. Your black leather jacket with political slogans sewn on the sleeves does not make you powerful. Being bi-sexual does not make you powerful. Living like a parasite, drawing the energy from others to fuel your own self promotion is not power. It is sad.

Power does not come from within. I can’t wait for this popular philosophy to go out of fashion. The thing that is abundant inside so many people--that is oozing out of every pore in their body--is insecurity. So many people, in this city at least, draw their strength from the scene, a world of make believe; of hierarchy and mating rituals. But how much more strength they would have if they realized that they were really participating in something rather more spectacular than being popular at the night clubs but were the adored children of God!

Everything seems to be tangled up inside people and we keep tripping over the mess. I want to smack these people, then I want to hug them. Walk outside of yourself, in the fields. It is hard to trip in an open field.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Black Robe: a mighty wizard who roams the woods showing his magic blue book to those that will look. He seduces women and walks on air.

I graduated college. Everyone was wearing black robes and funny square hats. After the commencement ceremony everyone poured out of the gymnasium and families circled their graduates telling them that they were on the road to success--that they were going to give Einstein and Hegel a run for their money. I chuckled to myself. Then my family found me and told me to pose near a wooded area and say cheese.

Here is a picture of Jessi and me. I am a college graduate with a hot girlfriend. Life is good.

Friday, March 17, 2006


I lean back in my desk chair here in the kitchen, a beard three days old growing on my wind chapped face and a glass of cheap red wine sitting next to me on the dinner table. Job applications, job search strategy guides and a few phone numbers written in a scrawl on grease stained napkins, are in a heap at the base of my wine glass. In my iTunes library, Roy Orbison sings “Uptown” and I drift off--in dreams--to penthouse number three. Seconds later or hours, the phone rings, startling me from sleep.

“Hello?” I curse myself in the darkness, wishing, for once, I’d answer the phone with a declarative sentence.

“Ramandu,” I hear a woman’s voice say, “this is an opinion poll. I am not selling anything. Will you answer a few questions for me?”

The house is dark. There doesn’t seem to be anything better to do.

“Sure.” I have a new friend.

She asks me about my TV watching habits and I’m proud to answer: I don’t have that habit. The conversation is short and sweet--yes and no question and then good-bye. I hang up with a certain satisfaction. I’m not alone. I’m part of the collective. My opinions matter. Democracy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Allied Victory

As of Friday at 4 PM PST, Generals have claimed an allied victory over enemy.

For years the enemy has dug themselves into the trenches, bombarding us with books and term papers, but now in a long expected turn of events, have successfully been burned out of their holes. The victory comes on the heals of a decisive blow from our mobile infantry unit (me), cutting off enemy advancement in a move that Generals are hailing as “brilliant strategy”. The attack included handing in a term paper and giving an oral presentation.

On a darker note, reports though sketchy, hint at a form of torture that have left allied troops disoriented and anxious. Speculations have risen that the torture involved seating prisoners in a semi-circle where they were told that their forefatherswere butchers and pigs--exclusively the white or christian forefathers.

Some families of soldiers have reported the symptom of post-traumatic-stress-syndrome in their returning loved ones. Such symptoms include: complete loss of rationalism, a change in sexual orientation, dread locks, alcoholism, and frequent out burst of hate speech directed towards the Republican Party, especially Dick Chaney.

Though some soldiers may have difficulty adjusting to a world in which bongo drums are not part of their daily routine, the vast majority are predicted to adjust normally.

These years of struggle have shaped us into men. The tedium of battle has been rough and challenged our faith, our pride, and our libido, but from this day hence forth, I pronounce a new age; one in which we take control of our own financial destinies; working for the betterment of a real world; a concrete reality where work contributes to a real economy and not a theoretical one. F@ck grades. We are men! The enemy no longer controls our lives--we are free!

Saturday will be remembered as G-day. The day I graduate.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Once, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight years after the birth of a man who said he was God and after conquering death, flew into heaven, I referred a friend to Seafirst Bank. The people at the bank gave me a savings bond in appreciation. A fifty dollar savings bond which until the far distant and futuristic August 2005, was a worthless slip of paper.

As an eighteen year old bus boy, I’d day-dream about toys with fifty dollar price tags, cursing the years ahead of me. Slowly at first, but accelerating, the years have washed by and I’d forgotten all about that bus boy and his saving bond fantasies, forgotten about that historical date.

Recently, I’ve been broke and have learned that poverty isn’t romantic unless you are rich.

I’ve been wandering through desert streets--dusty and sun chapped, nearly naked from poverty. I collapsed in the dirt of an old mining town. “Matt, Matt.” A stately voice called. “Use the force Matt. Go to Degaba.”

“Ben!” but he was gone.

“Ben, Bon…Beno,” I repeated in that almost inaudible whispering voice one uses when solving puzzles. Of course Matt, the bond! The savings bond!

The bond, apparently, had a will of it’s own calling to me not in August 2005 when I was living like an obese feline, but now, in March of a different year, when my urine stained potato sack wardrobe was nearly obscenely illegal.

I walked in to Bank of America. Seafirst bank doesn’t even exist in this future. I approached a strikingly beautiful man in a polished suit, inquiring him about cashing a bond. He directed me to follow him to his office, or umm, cubicle, where he pushed buttons on his keyboard in a way that made no sense at all to me. Hitting those F-keys and other buttons that I myself, being a writer not a banker, have never hit.

“Mr. Matt,”

“Please sir, call me Doctor,” I interrupted.

“Doctor, there seems to be a problem with the reference number on this bond. Please, I’ll be right back.”

“Make it so,” I said in a tone that started out commanding and finished on a note of panic as I noticed a blob of ketchup on my potato sack. I’d eaten ketchup packets from the cafeteria before my visit to the bank but I dare not let the men at the bank know that.

I was left alone in the plexi-glass cubicle when I felt two deliciously soft milky hands groping at my chest and neck and hair. I turned to see a blonde woman in a red spaghetti strap dress. Her lips were huge.

Matt, open your eyes. God has a plan for you. You sitting in this chair, in this cubicle, in this bank, in this city, in this year…it is the will of God. Look around, the answers are all around you, Matt. This is part of the Divine plan. Oh, matt, your so sexy, you should be a powerful banker….

The pretty man walked back in and I found myself hugging myself, my potato sack hanging off one shoulder.

“Uh, Doctor?”

I’d not be made a fool!

“Here you are Doctor Matt, two twenties and a ten. Good day to you sir.”

And so the story of the bond comes to a close. The words of the woman in red resonate in my mind. Things put in action today lead to unexpected places in the future and that life is full of such paths and mysteries. The story of an eighteen year old kid with a savings bond ends in a cubicle seven years later, in a city the boy never dreamed of living.