“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