Tot Finder Gonna Find You

There is too much.
Too much to pay attention to.
Too much capable of distracting you from what you were paying attention to.
Prioritize all you like- something is going to interrupt it.
There’s so much happening. To you, to people you love, to other people you’ve never met, others you’ll never meet. 
There is too much information, coming from all directions. There is information you want, which is not always easy to find. It’s tricky to pick through the haystack, to find what is real.
The information you don’t want, is impossible *not* to find.
There is so much deceit. How do you know what is real? How are we to distinguish between what is a lie, and what is just perpetuation of incorrect “facts”? Left unchecked, that game of telephone can have serious repercussions.
My dad once told me that the “guy on the Tot Finder sticker” would come and find me in the night, if I was bad, and he would know where to find me, because the sticker was on my window.
There is too much blissful ignorance. There is too much angry ignorance. There are too many people who are right.
There are too many things to pay attention to.
Easy access to “All The Information” is a poison injection, because a good majority of that information is misinformation.
There is too little research.
Too little empathy.
Too little self-reflection.
Too little interest in the human condition.
Too little realization that we can choose what to believe, and discuss our beliefs with others, but we can also choose to ask questions about what we believe.
There is too little question asking. What did you read/hear? When was it published/said? Who said it? How did they come to this conclusion? Why is this meaningful to you? Can I find out if this is legit or not? Should I spread this information? Will I sound insensitive or exclusionary or reductive? Does it benefit anyone, to spread this information? Could there be an agenda behind it, where the validity would come into question?
There are so many questions.
There are too many statements.
There has been so much advancement in communication and research, that the truth is indistinguishable from fiction.
We are literally living in a science fiction novel.
Which came first: the science fiction, or the dystopian reality?
Or did the novel serve as a guidebook for what “could work”?
What happens beyond the novel?
What happens after the dystopia has found its end? What happens to the society after that? Will we see it? Will our love for advancement be our own end?
There are so many questions I have.
Is it ironic that I’m posting them on social media?
Like and share, or the guy from the Tot Finder sticker will come and kidnap you in the night.

-jg

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“Write.”

I told myself I was going to write more often, if I left my job last January.

I left my job last January, and have definitely written more than I had expected. By quitting my job, I was able to exceed my own expectations. What a country we live in.
Just kidding, this country sucks, and is getting steadily worse. Not steadily at all, actually. It’s more of a sporadic jerking off motion, with a really dry and calloused hand. With sand in it. Or like, those boxing gloves that get dipped in glue and glass.
I always go on descriptive tangents. Maybe that’s my thing. Or writing exactly as I’m talking to myself in my mind. It helps me, but then other people are like “keep writing, we love you!” which gets confusing. I talk about weird things, such as talking about things.
I wrote a list of things I wanted to do today. Writing that list wasn’t on the list, though it should have been. I avoided it for longer than some of the actual items on the list. I do that sometimes. I’ll put something on the list, that I’ve already done, and just check it off. It makes me feel accomplished, and reminds me to always count my victories, even if they happened before you started counting. Anyway, about that list. Writing this piece was on there. It just said “write” because I’m tired of trying to make myself sound like I’m doing something. Before, I was saying “write something” or “do some writing” and it just seemed like too much work.
The neighbors (the kids) are outside, screaming. Not yelling – I mean the scream that sounds like a gym whistle. I think only kids and horror movie women can do it. I used to be able to, and I remember I used to sneak up on my siblings and scream the gym whistle scream directly into their ear. That was always good for a backhand. That’s what you have to expect when you surprise someone with your funny funny joke. They just reach out and swing on the nearest thing, which is you, because you brought the joke to them just now. Instant karma, they say. I’ll take it, because I still feel like I won.

Another time you just want to beat the shit out of whatever is at arm’s length? When you hit your tailbone. That is a pain that can’t even be legal. Every time I hit my tailbone, I wonder how I survived it. It’s a complicated response. But it’s intense, and powerful. And you know what? I have a story about that very thing.

In high school, you’re not allowed to wear anything you want to wear, unless it looks like the non-existent school uniforms the school board is definitely against. Our district doesn’t enforce uniforms, but they’re narrowing it down naturally. When I was in high school last century, things were a bit more relaxed, but still very stupid. I wore a really cool tank top that had whales and turtles on it, and I loved that shirt, and it covered my bra straps on both sides, and it didn’t show any cleavage, and it didn’t show my stomach or my back or my hips, or anything else that may distract the boys from learning. Despite all of those great reasons to rock that shirt, the principal pulled me into his office to chat about it. When I look back on it, I picture him pulling me in with a cane by my neck, like in Laurel and Hardy. But this wasn’t funny, it was just stupid, like I said before. He didn’t like the shirt, and it needed to be changed, or covered up, because the print of the whales and turtles *got wider around the breast area* and drew attention to them. After explaining to him the very obvious fact that the shirt was not printed to be stretched and still maintain the same size print, I asked if I could leave, because I felt uncomfortable with his conversation. For those of you who went to school with me, and remember the principal back then, you’ll know how uncomfortable he was to be around. I walked out of his office, and felt like I had gotten away with something somehow, and started to prance like a moron down the hallway.
In the midst of my victory lap, I missed the “wet motherfucking floor, moron” sign, and was met with a sudden return to reality. I slipped and landed directly on my ass, which apparently makes you need to quickly inhale as deeply as you can, probably in an effort to just pass out. With that, at least for me, comes the squeezing shut of your eyelids, and the clenching of every muscle that has juice left in it. I saw stars. Luckily, I also saw that nobody had witnessed my fall, since I was also wearing a skirt, and my pride was hiding in a nearby locker.
I slithered into the women’s bathroom, and stood on a toilet across from the sinks. I had to assess the damage. I should have thought about the very likely instance that someone would walk in and see me mooning myself in the mirror, but the thought hadn’t occurred to me, since my gray matter was still settling. The girl felt bad for me, which -my mistake- I thought meant she would keep quiet about it, and not go get a teacher for help. There are a lot of fun times in high school, but that was not one of them. That was one of the times you block out, but it’s always the first thing I think of when I hit my tailbone.
Aren’t you glad you know that? The things that go on in my head… they’re your problem now.
I think people are obsessed with facts nowadays. Everyone has a device that can give them the facts if they want ‘em, and there’s all kinds of ways to get the facts. People don’t believe anything anyone says anymore, unless they have the facts to back it up, which I think says a lot about society. Before we had newspapers and internet and broadcast journalism, people relied on the word of others, to determine what was going on in the world. Now, you need facts and you better cite a source THEY agree with, because your source might not be getting the facts, so how can you trust them??
People want to know everything, which is something I love, but people don’t need to know all the facts, because that means there is nothing to discover or explore anymore, there is no variation on existence, and there is nothing to improve or change with the times. It means there is complete trust in those facts alone, but no trust in people themselves. Nobody wants to know how people feel or what people think anymore, only what the facts are.

When my kids are in school, it’s their duty to try. Put forth an effort. I don’t expect you to get 100% correct all the time, because life is not like that at all. It sets a false expectation for them, that they can possibly be right all the time. But definitely respect your teachers as people with deadlines and responsibility to 100 little asshole students for 8 hours every day.

I feel that it’s far more important to know how to deal with people, rather than know how to recite facts. There is not a single job or career or placeholder in society that doesn’t need to know how to deal with people, because everyone is a person outside of their job. They live a real life, where they pay bills to someone, and they buy clothes, and they stress over relatives and health and making a life. Everyone has something to deal with, and there is almost always another person on the other end of it. It isn’t always the facts that get us through those situations. We need to value our social intelligence, and not just the facts. We need to teach it in school and at home. We need to teach our friends and our enemies. We need to teach our neighbors and our strangers. We need to make sure we don’t lost touch with humanity.

In the era of the electronic device, we are inventing new ways to speak, that are limiting our vocal interaction altogether; we shorten words to one syllable, we speak acronyms, we use emojis in the exact same way we used to use hieroglyphics. We spend our lives looking at a screen, instead of each other.
How many armed robbers or street rapists will be interested in facts and statistics, do you think?  What’s that plan look like?
Robber: “Gimme all your money, or you’re fuckin dead!”
You: “Listen, 44% of street attacks end in a minimum of serious injury to the attacker, with another 13% of attackers actually being killed themselves.”
You can’t rely on facts at that point; you’re going to need to know how to deal with that shit. So stop trying to get the facts all the damn time. You need social intelligence.

It’s 11:28, which means my kids will be down here in 33 minutes, asking if I called them. They just want food. I’m a butler to them. I just live here, and clean up after them, and do what they need, and get shit for them. I’m literally a maid. I should at least be like Mary Poppins. She was a bitch, but they respected her, because they knew they were fucked without her. My kids apparently don’t know that.
My son just said I have a definitive style of drawing, and I thought that was important enough to switch topics. He asked what my book was called. I didn’t tell him. He asked if I needed someone to design the cover, and I said no. He asked if I was going to do my “regular thing” myself, and then pantomimed scribbling some lines on paper. “The squiggly lines that never touch, and create a maze, and then you just do block lettering in the middle?”
“Is that my thing?” I ask.
“Yeah. I’d say.”
I never thought much of it, because I never considered it “drawing” by definition. Leave it to me, to have “my thing” be something that goes against its artistic definition.

-jg

Signs, Symbols, Metaphors, Clairvoyance

I don’t remember always being clairvoyant, but I’ve been told quite often as an adult, that I’m “scary psychic.” Of course, I’m not actually psychic, but I do have a sharp intuition, and a heightened awareness of my surroundings, and I pride myself on being highly observant. I had the luxury of attending Psychology and Sociology classes in high school and college, in addition to the independent study hours I’ve racked up for free, and live by some mundane philosophies where society is concerned. I’ve been called Liberal, Conservative, Communist, Socialist, Progressive, and crazy. I have loved men and women. I have connected closely with people of other races. I own a fire arm. I believe in free education. I believe in the death penalty. I believe in equal pay and consideration in the work place. I would fight any day for the rights of those around me, because I believe we all have a duty to each other, to take responsibility in our happiness. If you want to live a happy long life, don’t cause waves. There isn’t enough of a focus on how our actions affect others, and that is the key to a happy life. If we are good to each other, and not selfish for the things we can own, there is less of a need for things like the death penalty. But we are not there yet, and religious persecution is still a deadly business, and people are still being sold and traded and raped and killed and abandoned and poisoned and disenfranchised, and women still don’t have equal rights. If you love the wrong person, you don’t have equal rights either; even if you are a white, college educated male in his mid 20s, you are not entitled to those rights if you love another man. We are far from where I thought we would be. There is no way we could have predicted that we would be here. My ideals don’t come anywhere near the reality that is alive around us, and it’s getting increasingly tricky to know what is going to come next. The best we can do, is prepare ourselves, educate, strengthen, and care for ourselves and each other.
When I have moments of clairvoyance, I tend to act like it’s a magic trick, when I know it’s just me being highly observant and my intuition being sharp, as I mentioned before. But sometimes, I question whether it isn’t magic? I’ve predicted deaths, births, and even a specific old man (in a crowd of people) being rushed to the hospital. It’s never something I brag about, and I don’t do it on command, or anything like that. Sometimes, I don’t even like when I’m “right” about things I’ve said. It gets creepy, and sometimes I think I jinx myself into bad luck situations with my jinxer mouth.
The first time I really remember seeing into the future, was when I was about 10 years old. My brother was at a baseball game, at a school in another town, and my sister and I went walking on the trails in the woods behind the school. We walked up to a small clearing with a boulder in the middle of it, and a Walkman* was just sitting there on the boulder, all unsupervised. We both paused, my sister and me, because we had obviously never encountered a better surprise than this before (we totally did one time after, though). Before approaching the rock, we decided what tape would be awesome to find in there, and since it was 1991, I said “Dr. Feelgood” by the incomparable Motley Crue. I don’t remember what my sister said, but it doesn’t matter, because it was “Dr. Feelgood.” I opened the Walkman, and I said “What the fuck!” I couldn’t believe I had told the future! And it was about a tape I wanted! And a Walkman!
If you’re wondering how that ended, my dad saw me (happy and had to extinguish the happiness as quickly as possible) and was like “Hey, what did you steal this, or something?” and I was like “No way. I found it.” And he didn’t believe me, so he took it and probably found the rightful owner, I bet.
If you’re wondering about that time we found a better surprise than that, it was in Florida, when I was I think 15 years old. My dad took us to Universal Studios somehow, and he was dicking around in a gift shop for the free A/C for like 75 minutes. My sister and I stood outside by one of those planted trees with the potted soil that is waist-high on a grown man, and I leaned against the cement pot, and found this huge wad of money. It was an insane amount of cash just sitting in that dirt, because it probably fell out of some asshole’s pocket when he didn’t deserve it anymore. I’m talking like, $500.  So, because I knew I would never be able to spend one cent of it without my dad finding out and accusing me of mugging someone since I’m Oliver fucking Twist now, I gave my dad the money.
I didn’t want to.
I handed over the money, and he said “Hey, what’s this?” I don’t know, maybe I stole a lot when I was really little, and he was just working off patterns. But he wasn’t nice, even though I did the “right thing” whatever that was. He found the rightful owner right after that, I bet.
That wasn’t a clairvoyance story, but I guess you could say it was a signs story. That was part of the title of this chapter, too. Look at the top of the page. See? Told you.
Anyway, it was a sign that my dad would never believe anything I said, so I might as well just never say anything to him again. That’s a metaphor for life, and a symbol of forgetting what you were saying in an effort to bring the title back into the whole thing.
So, I work off symbols and I look for meaning where there is none. I get told that a lot. I think too deeply about things. “You’re going to cause something to happen because you’re thinking about it so much!” I swear that is something I have been told. One place where I’m really crazy, is advertising. I listen to radio commercials, and I say “Who wrote that fuckin jingle?” Seriously. “How did they cast the singer for that jingle they wrote, and how did nobody object to how annoying and underproduced it sounds?” I think about the commercials for kids’ toys and snacks, and I picture the casting for those kids, and what the green room must be like. Essentially, they have to get to know the other kids on a weird level, because they have to be familiar with them, but not too familiar, because it’s just a commercial and you’ll forget about them in two weeks. When the producers talk shit about the kids – because you know they do – I wonder what they say? I would love to hear some of that hot mic feed. I hate print advertising, especially logos, because I always think they’ve included some secret message in there, and I make a whole side story about the company, in order to justify it. I can’t say for sure that some of it might not be true.
People say “Stop thinking too much into things.”
And then I see 14 posts on facebook about “45 Company logos that you didn’t know had hidden meanings!” How am I supposed to think everything is the polished end result we see on television, and nothing more? That’s why I go looking for shit. Because sometimes I find it.
That’s another reason why I look like I’m psychic: because I dig on everything. I’m not always successful, but the more you dig, the more times you hit success, and when you start to rack up the sheer numbers, you look as though you experience more “hits” than the average person, and therefore, you must be clairvoyant.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t predict the near future quite a bit, and have no explanation for how it happened. It goes beyond the common predictions of the next song that will play on the radio, or knowing when someone would call. I know what people are going to say next, so often it’s become almost boring and annoying to my family. I solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzle before any letters are shown, I shout out the correct response to Final Jeopardy before the clue is even given, I tell them I know what they’re going to ask/say in many situations, and am usually correct.
If you pay attention to the universe closely, it gives you clues, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks. In that way, I can be clairvoyant. But I think anybody could do that. I just make it look really impressive.

-jg

*a walkman is like an ipod, but it had batteries that you could change out, and you could put tapes in it, or listen to the radio on it.

Last Day of School 2017

(It’s important to know, that this blog did not exist when this particular piece was written. Hence, the title.)

It’s so unfair – to everyone without kids –  that I have a son and a daughter, who provide me with a constant, free, endless stream of hysterical material. I feel like I’m cheating, almost, because I can heft up this book with a bunch of stuff about them, and know that I will never reach the bottom of that money pit. I won’t do that, though. I’ll talk about myself, for you.
As I type this, there are sirens going off in my neighborhood. This is not a rarity here, in fact, it may be a daily occurrence. That may not sound like a lot, but please keep in mind that this city is pitifully small for a “city.” I think the sirens are going off today, because it is the last day of school. Great. And the local police have a fetish for letting their sirens wail for school functions, which is what leads me to believe that this is no different. Today is the last day of school. Great.
My kids had a “half-day” today, which means I was much more inconvenienced than any normal day during the year. My son just graduated 8th grade, from a school that doesn’t have 8th grade graduation. No sirens for this one, but he wouldn’t have wanted to hear them anyway. Navigating the parking lot at the Junior High is like trying to drive a car where all 4 tires are bald and over-inflated, and you have no brakes, and the cars keep changing, and everyone is on cocaine. I’ve only ever seen that 2 other times, but believe me, this is exactly like that. Some parents drive like it’s their very first time in that parking lot, parking in the driveway to exit (facing the wrong way, in fact). Some parents know the deal, and park far far away, by the unused school buses, waiting for their child to come to them. That’s me. I don’t mess around with the flow of traffic. It’s too risky for everyone but me. The kid comes to me, and I cut everyone off to get out, because it’s the last time I’ll ever got to that stupid parking lot again.  All of that happened after I had picked up my daughter at the Senior High, where I sat on a bench in front of the school for 20 minutes before realizing she had gone out another door and was waiting at the car.  This school parking lot navigation stuff….not for me.
As you may know, my kids aren’t known for helping around the house. They never do. Even when bribed and threatened. I can’t even blackmail them yet. I actually wrote a piece earlier today, about how much they never help, but want to feel like they have done something. After I wrote that, I started making dinner. It was an excellent dinner, and it was perfectly executed, for my cooking style (I don’t use recipes or measurements, and I never taste my food while cooking). I put 3 plates on the table, one for each of the kids, and one for myself. I yelled up the stairs for them. No response. I called through the vent to the second floor. No response. I yelled “Feed bag’s out!” which is what usually gets them, regardless of how quietly I say it. No response. I hear them moving around and talking in normal volumes, but they are oblivious to my existence, because they don’t know it’s time for dinner.
The only time I usually see my kids, is at meal time. They come downstairs for breakfast, and go back upstairs. They come down at exactly 12:01, but they’ll say “Did you call us? No? Oh, look it’s time for lunch!”  Same thing after lunch: they’re back upstairs until dinner. I don’t exist to them, unless there is food involved. So, I didn’t feel too badly that I sat at the table and ate my dinner without them. When they think about food, they’ll come downstairs, and their food will be cold. They won’t say they missed the time spent with Mom at dinner. They’ll moan and complain about having to reheat their food because I “didn’t even come get us!”

-jg

-jg