When we shall hear the rain and wind blog dark December?

Hello and good morning, everyone.

It’s not only Thursday—and thus time for my “weekly” blog post, which goes back to when I was writing this blog only one day of the week and working on fiction every other morning.  It’s also the first day of June in 2023 (and thus, inescapably, also the first Thursday of June).  So, we begin a new month.

Before the end of this month, we will have the Solstice—the summer one in the northern hemisphere and the winter one in the southern hemisphere.  After that, officially, the season either of summer or of winter will begin, and the days, having reached either a maximum or minimum of the sine curve of their “daylight” length, will begin to head in the other direction.

Of course, the change will be very gradual at first, since the derivative of a sine curve—its rate of change—is a cosine curve, and where a sine is either at a maximum or a minimum, the cosine is at zero, albeit only instantaneously.  It’s at the equinox that the rate of change hits a maximum (or, technically it could also be a minimum, but when we’re discussing absolute rates of change, a minimum and a maximum are interchangeable, |x| being a positive number at any time, and all).  Anyway, that’s enough of that minimal review of the rates of change of seasons and the nature of sine curves and cosine curves.

Sines and cosines are well-behaved curves, at least.  Tangents and secants and so on are not so well-behaved, at least if by “well-behaved” you mean, “staying between a specified range of the y-axis instead of tending towards infinity in multiple places on that axis”.  Of course, a sine or cosine do go to infinity in both directions on the x-axis, come to think of it.  I don’t think I’ve considered it quite the way ever before.

Wow, talk about going off on a tangent*.

Anyway, not much else is new currently, not that I was just discussing anything new other than my new way of looking at the infinities of sine curves and, of course, the new month, which isn’t really all that new when you get right down to it.  Is June named for Jupiter (i.e. Juno)?  I should look that up.

…Okay, I did, and reminded myself that Juno was the Roman name for the goddess equivalent to Hera, the wife of Zeus/Jupiter, so it’s indirectly related to Jupiter, not directly.  That was an embarrassing mix-up of names and ideas in my head.  Good thing I didn’t write it down and publish it for everyone to see!

Of course, July and August are named after Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus (née Octavian).  Then we have months that used to be named for their ordinal place in the calendar:  September (7), October (8), November (9), December (10), but I guess they all got shifted over two spaces at some point after they were originally named, though I don’t recall quite when and why that happened, and that isn’t something in which I’m interested enough right now to look it up.

I don’t know why I’m writing about this sort of stuff today.  I’m just following whatever random—or at least stochastic—impulse occurs based on the preceding thought or statement or whatever.  It’s not as though there’s any reason for me to do anything different.

I had a brief moment or two of “inspiration” yesterday evening, during which, on the train heading back to the house, I wrote a poem/song lyrics on the notepad function of my smartphone.  Having been written by me, it’s a very gloomy sort of poem/song, and I don’t have even an inkling of a melody for it.  I just felt a bit of a dip in my mood, even relative to baseline, and decided to express that the way I sometimes used to do.  That’s how I wrote what turned into the lyrics of my song Come Back Again, and something related to it was responsible for Catechism and Breaking Me Down, though the latter two were semi-deliberately written as song lyrics from the start.

A little later, I was watching someone on YouTube reacting to the “unplugged” performance of a few Nirvana songs, and I decided to look up the chords to Come As You Are; I downloaded a PDF of those.  It’s not a very complicated song, but it sounds quite good.  Kurt Cobain had a way of writing melodies that were unlike anything just about anyone else ever wrote.  Though, I also like his/their performance of The Man Who Sold The World, which is originally a David Bowie song.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bowie’s version of it, though.  I should have looked up the chords to that; maybe I will today.

But, of course, the odds of me ever doing anything with such chords, let alone writing a tune to and making a new song of my own seem vanishingly small.  Right now—by which I mean “now in general” not “now this very moment”—I’m just meandering through each day rather thoughtlessly, certainly pointlessly, with no goal or aspiration or anything of the sort.  There isn’t any point to anything I do.

I do really miss my kids.  I miss everyone else, too—my old friends, my immediate and more distant family, living and dead, all those people—but especially my kids.  I’m very lonely, but I’m also very socially withdrawn and incapable/incompetent.  I don’t think it’s at all possible for me to seek out and meet with or connect with anyone, new or old, in the world—except for my kids.

If they wanted to meet with me, I would do it.  I don’t even think it would be a struggle.  As far as everyone and everything else goes, though…well, I’ve lost my communication/connection hardware and software or whatever, or maybe I just didn’t get the updates, and so my system is hopelessly outdated, and when I even think about such things, the application crashes.

That’s a pretty weird couple of metaphors.

Anyway, I’m not capable of reaching out to people, other than through here, even when I want to do it.  I’m also not capable of trying to take care of myself (medically, psychologically, whatever), or take care of any other proactive business of life.  Life isn’t my domain anymore, I think.  Nevertheless, I can’t be darkly cool and quote the Bhagavad Gita like Oppenheimer:  “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”  It would probably be more appropriate for me to say something like, “I am become Drizzle, the dampener of spirits.”

That was sort of the subject of the poem/song I wrote yesterday.  But most people don’t like to drink watered-down spirits—though I do, sometimes.  I also like watered down soda, I’ve come to realize.  Go figure.

Anyway, that’s enough of all that.  I think it’s time to head off to go to the train, thence to the office.  If I get there early enough, maybe I’ll play some guitar.  I doubt it.


sine and cosinetwistedanddistorted


What should I title this blog post? Wait, I know…

Well, yesterday was seriously painful, in the literal sense and also in a more figurative sense, though the figurative pain was at least partially due to the literal pain.  I tried various postural and furniture-based changes, altered and/or tried some exercises, all sorts of things.  It’s hard to tell whether any of them did any good.  It’s also hard to tell—assuming that some or all of them did any good—which one(s) did the good, and how to tease it out.  This is, of course, why in a proper, scientific exploration of such things, one would try to change only one variable at a time, holding all the others constant.

However, when one is in soul-grinding pain while still trying to do one’s job, one tends to be willing to split away from pure scientific rigor.  At least, I am.  And I’m as committed to the notion of scientific rigor as anyone I know.

I slept reasonably well last night—for me, anyway—only waking up at about two in the morning, and being able to get back to sleep for another 35 minutes or so starting at 3:15.  That may not sound like much, but for me, it’s comparatively restful.

I also went rather off the script with respect to food yesterday.  I decided, since I was feeling so much like crap as to be barely distinguishable, I would just eat what I felt like eating, when I felt like eating it.  So, I did.  Mind you, there wasn’t all that much available, but I did order a pizza and so on, and even got a Mountain Dew® with it, something I haven’t had in certainly over a year, but probably far longer.

I’m likely to relax my dietary restrictions today as well—I really don’t feel great, but I can’t quite tell if I’m going to have another day like the previous few or several—but then, since I have this weekend off, I’m going to go back, much more strictly, to some food regulation, so to speak.  It’s easier when one doesn’t have much to do.

And, yes, I do have tomorrow off, so I won’t be writing a blog post.  I guess, technically, Monday is Memorial Day, which I only realized quite recently, but we generally work on Memorial Day at our office.  It’s a good day for sales and all that, though we often close early.  Of course, the buses and trains will be on a “Sunday” schedule, which is a minor pain, but they are on lower schedules on Saturdays, as well, and I’ve gone in to the office the last two Saturdays without difficulty.  Still, I do find myself tempted just to call out on Monday, at least if I don’t feel much better than I’ve been feeling.

Actually, if I don’t feel much better soon—at least back to my ordinary baseline, however unpleasant that both is and makes me—I feel I should call out from everything, permanently.  I’ve been back on my historically best-working antidepressant for about four or five weeks now, if my reckoning is correct (it’s not very careful, so I could be off).  It doesn’t seem to be making a huge difference, but it’s possible that it’s making some difference.  I certainly did, for a few days, pick up my guitar(s) a bit.  But then—now—I haven’t played or wanted to play for several days.

Some of that is pain related, and a lot of it is depression related, and it’s also just a feeling of pointlessness about playing.  I had thought about working on a cover of Ashes to Ashes, as I’d mentioned here (I think), a sort of sequel to my own cover of A Space Oddity, as Ashes to Ashes was for David Bowie.  But at least for right now, I don’t see that happening.

I don’t see much happening.  The farthest ahead I can really think is laundry on Sunday—will the washer and dryer be clear for me in the morning or not—and then whether or not I’m still going to be in pain on Monday, Memorial Day.  After that, as Paul McCartney sang in You Never Give Me Your Money (and I sang in my “bad cover” thereof), I “see no future…”  Though I will pay rent on the first.  I may even pay it slightly early, because it takes a load of tension away, since then I don’t have to worry that I’m going to forget.  That’s about it.  That’s as exciting as life is for me, which is to say, it’s not very.

I don’t know what would help put the wind back in my sails, or if that’s even possible—what might renew my interest in writing fiction, or playing music, or even writing and making songs.  I don’t really have anyone that I hang out with, since I only really socialize at work—but, then again, I don’t know that I would want to hang out with much of anyone I could possibly encounter near me.  I don’t have much in common with most humans, and that fact seems to become more overpowering all the time.

It would be nice to do some good in the world again, and to have a friend or similar that actually shares interests, but it seems unlikely.  Most people I’ve encountered—or so it feels—seem to want to take advantage, or else find me too unpleasant to stay friends with (I can’t blame them), or have their own stuff going on.  And, frankly, I’m rotten at socializing anyway, even with people I like.

Even on-line socializing, which I briefly did a bit of in the past, has become tense and unpleasant for me most of the time.  Leaving comments—whether on a video or a blog, or whatever, let alone replying to a tweet or a Facebook post—fills me almost immediately with a good deal of tension and anxiety.  I fear that someone will engage with my comment and I’ll have to get involved in some kind of discussion or argument, or else willfully ignore it, which will feel rude.

I know, it’s  a trap of my own making, or at least of my own nature.  I certainly can’t blame the other people.  But that doesn’t make it cease to be a trap.

Ah, well, it really doesn’t matter.  When I’m in a lot of pain, I’m not interested in socializing, anyway.

And now, I need to start heading for the bus stop, so I’m going to wrap this up for today.  I won’t write a post tomorrow, and if I don’t write one Monday, it will mean either that I decided (or needed) to take that day off, or something else has prevented me from writing.  I guess, if I don’t write any more posts at all after that, you’ll be able to infer at least that something relatively drastic happened.

But if I return no later than Tuesday…well, you’ll know that I’ve returned, at least for the moment.  I’m not sure which outcome I prefer.

Anyway, have a good holiday weekend, those of you who live in the US and are celebrating.

Be fire with fire. Threaten the threat’ner, and outface the brow of blogging horror.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday again.  It feels as though it ought to be Friday—some Friday in 2029, or 2929, or 20,299 or something, given how horribly long this week feels as though it has lasted.

I’ve rarely felt as unpleasant as I do this week.  First of all, as you know, despite medication and my attempts to improving my schedule and lifestyle, my depression has been very bad, and it doesn’t really seem to be improving.  Also, my pain has just been awful this week.

Yesterday I felt as if everything from my left shoulder blade on down was being eaten away by Drano™ or something similar from the inside out.  Then it spread out a bit.  It’s not much better now, though it’s not as severe as at its worst.  I don’t know what has set it off.  I’ve tried not to do stupid things, physically.  I’ve tried using knee braces and ankle braces and shoe inserts, but those quickly seemed just to make things worse (annoyingly).  I’ve tried various different brands and types of shoes.  And, of course, I’ve slightly but frequently overdosed on naproxen and aspirin and acetaminophen, which don’t help me feel much better.

There have been several times that I’ve been tempted just to grab a double fistful of aspirin and/or acetaminophen and just gulp them down—I only have about ten or twelve naproxen left in the little bottle on my desk, so I could add them to the meal, but they probably wouldn’t make much difference.  However, I know that the process of dying from even a large overdose of such combinations would be extremely drawn out, and I would probably have bad nausea and vomiting and the like as part of it.  It would be hard to tolerate without seeking some kind of help, and certainly without being obvious and intrusive to other people.  I hate nausea probably more than most anything else (I doubt this is unusual, given the nature of nausea and the purpose it serves).

I have to admit that I have harkened back with some nostalgia to the time when I had prescription opioids of one kind or another.  The side-effects and the dependency on those is annoying—so annoying that I weaned myself off the meds on my own—but at least they definitely work, for a while, to alleviate pain.

I’m getting very tired of pain.  That’s an unusual reaction, isn’t it?  Ha ha.

Seriously, though, I’ve been in chronic pain for a little more than twenty years now, and it’s not really getting better, or stabilizing, and although I’m still alive despite it—obviously—it cannot be said that I’m getting used to it, other than to say that it’s become almost a part of my identity by now, which is a horrifying and infuriating thought.

I keep thinking of a line from the movie Dragonslayer, when the wizard, Ulrich, says, “When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain.  It grows decrepit…crippled…pitiful.  Spiteful!”  I can definitely sympathize with the dragon’s wish to burn the entire countryside, the entire world, out of frustration and rage and hatred because of constant pain—though I have no interest in burning and eating young virgins.  Is that the dragon equivalent of veal or lamb?  I don’t know.

I’ve tried many massagers (and I used my seat and feet massagers about five times yesterday at the office, to little or no avail), and patches, and creams, and ointments, and stretches, and exercises, and of course, medicines.  I’ve tried herbal things, and I’ve changed chairs, and I’ve changed the way I sleep.  I’m not a person who gives up easily; I tend always to be willing to check things out and experiment.  But there is a reason that opioids exist, despite the fact that they can be abused by those who suffer from psychological as well as physical pain:  they work.  What’s more, unlike the various OTC meds, when necessary, their doses can be increased without causing inescapable and catastrophic organ failure and a lingering, horrible death.

Even when one does die from opioids, it’s liable to be more peaceful than dying from too much Tylenol.  That is a terrible spectacle, involving total liver failure and all the dreadful, slow, wretched, painful ordeals that brings to the body.  NSAIDs, including aspirin, are not much better.  I suppose if one has a sudden, severe GI bleed from aspirin, it can be relatively quick, but it is likely to be messy, and extremely unpleasant, with nausea and pain as well as vomiting and/or defecating blood.

It’s somewhat ironic that the main cause of my disgrace and loss of career and what little was left of my life was born of my desire to try to help other people who have chronic pain—people who might not have the resources I had—to get their pain treated with the best medicines we had, however flawed they may be, in a society that looks at everyone* who picks up a prescription for an opiate or opioid as a disgusting, weak, criminal, degenerate drug addict who doesn’t really have any serious pain.  Only people with terminal cancer get a pass on treating their pain, even though, ironically, their course is usually much shorter.  It’s okay to treat your pain if you’re dying—which it ought to be, of course—but if you have to keep on living with your pain, and to keep on trying to make a living, then treating your pain makes humans see you as just a disgusting lowlife, which makes no sense at all.

Even those on the floors of hospitals taking care of patients with, for instance, sickle cell disease sometimes have the temerity to sneeringly refer to “drug-seeking” behavior in their patients.  As if they would not seek drugs for pain if I were to take a large baseball bat or sledge hammer and smash their major limb joints into powder for them, which is much of what the experience of a sick cell crisis can feel like.

Believe me, it was sometimes tempting to do such a thing.  Okay, it was often tempting.  See above about the whole “burning the countryside” thing.

Was I naïve about the pain treatment practice?  Of course I was.  I don’t tend to look for ulterior motives in people unless and until it’s glaringly obviously that I need to do so, and I don’t generally even try to understand hidden motivations and machinations of humans, who rarely seem to understand their own minds.  But even the book promulgated by the Florida Department of Health (or lack thereof) said—correctly—that there is no way accurately to test the degree of a person’s pain, and the general guideline is to take patients at their word unless and until there is a clear and good reason not to do so.  They actually sent this book out to all the doctors in the state who worked in that business.

Patients, in other words, should be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Too bad our justice system doesn’t have a principle like that to apply to it.  Oh, wait!  It supposedly does.  However, that really only applies to those who are wealthy enough to hire private defense attorneys (a rather obscene notion if you think about it).  It certainly doesn’t apply to the average person, certainly not to a person who has to use public defenders because he cannot afford an attorney, a person who hasn’t saved any money because his own life is in disarray from chronic pain, and because he doesn’t have a clue about money management or life management, or the ability to focus on them, and ends up giving much of what he earns away, and having the rest of it taken from him, because humans tend to take advantage of people like him, who are very smart and capable in some ways, but who are so very bad at taking care of themselves, and who find it hard to understand people who use others and take advantage of others and set them up to take a fall, and so on.

Again, see above about the burning of the countryside and/or the planet.  Doing that becomes more and more attractive with every moment.  Not just humans, but every life form on Earth is unworthy of existence, frankly.  At least, that’s how I often feel.  There is no innocent form of life.  Even green plants compete ruthlessly, choking each other, jockeying for the light and for water and all that stuff.  It’s all ugly and disgusting, even when it’s beautiful and amazing.

Anyway, that’s that.  I don’t even really know what I’ve written, other than general vague impressions, though of course, I will reread it as I edit it before posting.  I hate the universe at the moment, though not as much as I hate myself.  But I’m still grateful to those of you who read this blog, and so, to you especially, I hope you have a good day.



*This includes doctors, as I knew from repetitive experience.

A hump is just a dip when viewed from the other direction

It’s Wednesday, now.

At some level, I feel as though that’s all that’s worth writing about today.  But of course, if people only wrote what was worth writing about, most of the material online—including the online versions of venerable print media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the various other big newspapers and magazines in all their incarnations, and many books—would never exist.  While that often seems like it might be a good thing overall, when I think of the matter soberly, I think that’s probably not true.

While it is true that, especially in the era of anti-social media, much of what is written in the world is at best noise, at worst anti-information, I suspect that reducing the overall amount of it wouldn’t improve the net amount of good or useful stuff.  It would just shrink everything in proportion.

I suspect that most of everything that’s ever been written or said (or drawn or sung or what have you) is probably forgettable and pointless.  But the way the forgettable is sifted from the memorable is…by memory.  I don’t just mean storage, obviously.  Somewhere out there, I’m sure one can find some stored version of a significant fraction of all that’s been written, for instance, in the twentieth century and later, and even on back into, say, the sixteenth century, though we’ve lost more of the latter, I’m sure.  Nevertheless, back then, when writing was not as easy as it is nowadays, there was probably a greater pre-writing filter.  But even so, it’s only a tiny fraction of the stuff then written that survives, in recollection and in use, to the modern day.

For instance, I’ve read at least one play by Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare, and although it was good, it wasn’t great.  But, then again, not all of Shakespeare’s stuff was truly great.  Some of it survives just because it was Shakespeare.  But the truly great Shakespeare stuff—well, wow!  There’s a reason people are still reading it after four hundred years, and even still making movies of it.  It may be that even greater writers’ works have been lost entirely, but that doesn’t seem as likely as the possibility that the work of more mediocre writers has been lost.

Anyway, I don’t know just at what I’m getting.  Certainly, I don’t expect that my own thoughts or writings will survive me.  They probably won’t even survive as long as I will, which is a rather sad thought, and one that I hope is wrong.  Still, I don’t really expect that I’ll be some newer instantiation of the old Herman Melville, Moby Dick situation, in which a work is barely noticed during the author’s life, but is later considered one of the greatest works of its era’s literature (especially if you leave out all the trivia about whaling…of which, by the way, there is very little in my writing).

Even if it turns out that my fiction and/or my non-fiction writings not only survive me but endure into the centuries of the future, it’s not as though it will do me any good.  I’ll be dead either way, and the world will almost certainly be better off—and certainly no worse off—for that fact, even if it happens today or tomorrow.

Of course, today I’m going in to the office, because it’s payroll day, and so I need to be there no matter what.  Though yesterday, during the part of the day when I was feeling most depressed and stressed and despondent and miserable—you know, most of the day—I considered just not showing up, not coming in, not doing anything ever again.  I’m not really much more enthusiastic this morning, but I don’t like to leave people in the lurch, not when I’ve allowed them to depend on me even to a minor degree.

Of course, letting people down in the long run is something at which I seem to be exceptionally skilled—or perhaps “talented” is a better word.  I certainly seem to have a knack for disappointing the people I love the most.  I suppose that I may also have a knack for disappointing people about whom I don’t give a flying shit, but, well, in that case it doesn’t exactly weigh on me much.  Let strangers and would-be users be disappointed in me.  I don’t really care.  I’m disappointed in myself, too, but I don’t like myself anyway, so I don’t really care what that asshole thinks about how much I’ve let him down.

But I do feel horrible about having let down my parents and my ex-wife, and especially my children.  Many of my strongest feelings and memories are those of loss and horror when those people have found that I was not worth keeping around in their lives…not too close, anyway.  I can’t actually blame them; it’s hard to live with someone who has chronic pain and dysthymia, let alone (apparently) some form of neurodevelopmental disorder.  But, of course, I disappointed and alienated people before the chronic pain, and sometimes when the dysthymia was not fully active and/or hadn’t dipped down into its many occasions of full-blown depression.  As for the other, well, if it’s there, it’s always been there and always will be there.  I don’t know how much it’s contributed to me being an allergen to people (metaphorically), and it’s a bit of a moot point, since there’s not much I can do about it.

Anyway, I’m very tired.  I don’t even know what I’ve written this morning, or why, but I have to go in to the office because it’s payroll day.  We’ve had a prosperous and productive few weeks, but for me that just tends to mean that things have been busier and I’ve had more work to do, and—worse—there has been more noise and chaos and more interruption in routine work.  This doesn’t help much when I’m already frankly veering even more than usual toward violent self-destruction.

But I can’t do anything much about that except try to continue and try not to inconvenience and be a bother and a detriment to the people around me if I can help it.  That’s about as high as my aspirations go anymore, and I don’t think I succeed at many of even those not-so-lofty goals very often.

Oh, well.  I hope this will all be over soon.  I need this all to be over soon.  I want everything (from my point of view) to be over soon.  I can’t tolerate it all much anymore.  At least it feels that way, though who knows what my breaking point actually is?  I’ve felt many times before that I was approaching it, but it hasn’t happened yet.

It has to be there, though.  I’m finite, I’m mortal, so there is a point at which I will no longer be able to endure, and I will finally and catastrophically and permanently break.  I’m kind of looking forward to it.

What would a moribundt cake taste like?

It’s Tuesday now, in case you weren’t aware of that fact.  I’m feeling less perky this morning than I was yesterday, which I guess isn’t all that odd.  I’m also not sure what to write today—even more so than usual.

I’m rather tired, both mentally and physically.  Yesterday during the early part of the day I had a fair amount of energy, but then in the afternoon, sometime a bit after three, I think, my mood just crashed.  I felt physically fine; my pain wasn’t worse than usual, and was probably slightly better than average.  But I just felt the wind go out of my sails and lost nearly all my motivation.  I’m not sure why.  It was while I was drinking a Coke Zero®, which I don’t usually drink, but I doubt that it was the cause.

Possibly part of it was that my coworker had shown me some pictures from his daughter’s christening, and it reminded me of some baby pictures of my daughter and son, and so I pulled those up on my phone and showed a few to him.  Then, having opened that particular Pandora Brand™ can of worms, I looked through a lot of other pictures of my kids on my phone, and was reminded how much I have missed of their lives and how much I miss them, and how I’m probably never going to see them in person again.

I’m a surprisingly sentimental person, but I don’t think anyone else at the office is ever able to tell when I’m feeling so.  I’m not sure much of anyone around me is ever able to tell when I’m feeling down.  It’s frustrating, as I’ve written here before.

It’s rather as if one were in the process of drowning, coughing up water, waving, hoarsely calling out for help, and all people from the shore or the pool-side—very nearby, more than capable of tossing a life preserver or something similar—do is say thing things like, “That’s a good sidestroke you have”, and they mean it with complete sincerity.  They’re not teasing or taunting.  They’re not trying to be cruel, and they’re not knowingly being callous.  They honestly don’t seem able to tell that I’m about to drown…even people who’ve known me all my life.

Or perhaps they figure I just want to drown, and they don’t think it’s their place, or their right, to intervene.  I certainly sometimes make arguments and diatribes that might make it seem as if I’ve arrived at a desire to die because of some philosophical thought process; I’m well-read and I’m good at making sophistic arguments, so apparently it comes across as convincing, as a well-thought-out and definitive personal statement of rational, or at least reasoned, intent.  But all I’m really doing is trying to express how absolutely morose and hopeless I feel.  Such moods, however, are apparently rather opaque, whether on my face or in my speech or my behavior, and perhaps even in my writing.

Honestly, yesterday afternoon, I fantasized about finding the nearest pawn shop, of which there are many near where I live, and buying a gun and shooting myself.  I tried to imagine the process of doing it, and I didn’t feel hesitant.  I was very depersonalized, as I think the term is.  I felt that I could have cut off some of my own fingers with minimal difficulty.  I also felt that, even in the office, if someone had handed me a loaded pistol—especially if it were a nice, single-action revolver—I could have put it in my mouth, pointed it toward my soft palate, and pulled the trigger.

At that stage, what would have stopped me would have been mostly the issues of mess and rudeness.  It would be better to go find one of the areas of south Florida—there are many—where there basically are just lots of plants growing (and oodles of arthropods), such as along the train tracks but between stops, and do it there.

Anyway, obviously I didn’t have a gun, and I didn’t do that stuff yesterday, unless I’m a ghost who is able to write a blog.  I do sometimes feel like I’m undead, as I’ve said before on this blog, but that’s not a literal thing.  I don’t think ghosts or zombies or any of the rest of such things actually exist, at least not in any supernatural sense.

I wish I could find some situation or circumstance where I could readily do something that would be good, that would maybe save some people’s lives or something, but would kill me.  Stepping in front of a child that was about to be shot or something like that might be good.  And, of course, I would wish that I would have the will, the courage, to carry out the act.

That’s always a worry.  Oh, well.  Life sucks.

I at least got a relatively good walk in last night.  I arrived at the destination train station and walked to the nearby bus stop and waited for the bus to arrive, but the app didn’t even show the usual real-time update on its position.  How quickly we become spoiled by such things!  So I watched as the arrival time of the bus came and passed and then five more minutes, and then five minutes after that, with no sign—in person or on the app—of the bus.  So I gave up, after wasting half an hour, and walked the five miles back to the house.

I considered stopping at McDonald’s© on the way, but decided I didn’t want anything from that particular fast food shoppe.  One of the great things about not eating during the day is that, by the time it’s time to eat for dinner, I don’t really feel hungry.  And, weirdly enough, walking the five miles back to the house was easier after not having eaten than it ever was after I had eaten, in the past.  This makes sense, biologically.  All my system’s resources were available for moving and walking; none were diverted to digestion, and I certainly have more than enough stored energy for the trek.

Unfortunately, since I’d foregone the fast food€, I needed to stop at a convenience store¥ and get something for dinner, but the one I chose didn’t have much that I wanted, so I had to settle, and had a relatively small and not terribly good dinner, at about ten o’clock at night.  Oh well.  Life, as I say, sucks∞.  Frankly, I think it would be nice just to stop eating entirely.  I may see if I can work my way toward that.

Anyway, this morning, my dips—the exercise, I mean—were noticeably easier than just a few days ago, which is always nice.  It would be nice to die with a lean but toned body, though I suppose it hardly matters.

And, now, I’m really going to have to head toward the bus stop, because I hate getting there when other people are already there if I can help it.  I hope you have a better day than I have, no matter how good a day I may be surprised to haveΩ.

[P.S.  Later in the morning:  The train announcement by the conductor includes the sentence, “We would like to remind you that safety and security are our top priorities.”  This is clearly false.  If those were their top priorities, the train would never run at all, and no one would be allowed on it.  Thus it would be as safe and secure as was possible…and the train would be utterly useless.  Safety and security can never truly be top priorities, at least not in any simple-minded sense, and even sensible safety is often not prioritized in any rational way.  I know people who fret over whether someone with a minor cold touched something of theirs, but who habitually drive over the speed limit, fail to signal, fail to come to complete stops, and not don’t pay full attention to what they are doing when driving.  It’s maddening.  People are idiots; life is idiotic.  I do not hold myself as an exception to those last two statements.]

Wheels keep turning, unless they’ve gone flat–then things fall over

Well, in case it wasn’t obvious, I did not write a blog post yesterday, as I suspected might happen—or not happen, I guess.  I toyed with the idea of just quickly getting onto my blog account and writing a note that I was off from work and trying to rest, but even that took too much mental and physical energy.  So, sorry if anyone was worried.  I did mention on Wednesday that I thought I might take the next day off, so hopefully no one was too concerned.

I’m still pretty tired overall, but nothing like I was on Wednesday.  By the afternoon, I was really feeling confused and slow and still having those annoying little out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye flashes of movement that I thought were cockroaches (if they looked like they were nearby) or cats (if they looked more distant).  It’s a strange pairing, because I like cats, but have at best a mixed attitude toward roaches.  Oh, well, who knoweth the mysteries of the mind, with its vigour?

Anyway, I got back to the house Wednesday night—not early, but not later than the previous few days, at least—and I took two Benadryl and some Aleve and Tylenol (because it’s easier to rest when one’s pain is at least blunted) and I soon fell asleep, by 11 or so, I think.  I only woke up a few times during the night, but was able to get back to sleep because of the lingering effects of the Diphenhydramine, and only really woke up at about 5:30 in the morning, which is quite late for me.  But I also lazed about and dozed when I could during the day, so I did make up for some of my deficit, though as experts will tell us, one doesn’t truly make up for lost sleep.  One just works one’s way asymptotically toward the baseline one was “supposed” to maintain.

One also cannot build up a surplus of sleep, more’s the pity.

It was a fairly uneventful day, which shouldn’t be too surprising.  At one point I had the thought that I would try riding the bike to the train station today (though yesterday, today was tomorrow), but at a slow pace, to see if that helped avoid triggering a pain exacerbation.  I went out to look at the bike and saw that the front tire had gone surprisingly flat in the week or so since I’d ridden it last.  Still, I wasn’t worried.  I had my handy-dandy USB charged tire air pump, which works like a dream.

I got the pump out and attached it, and it seemed to be a bit slow inflating—then, I heard a weird little noise, and it stopped inflating, and the pressure readout dropped, and soon it became clear that there was a rupture somewhere.

I don’t know how it ruptured from sitting in the back of the house for roughly a week and then being inflated after losing air.  It’s very annoying.

Anyway, I quickly looked into how one repairs flats on bike tires and so on, and decided to order some same-day deliveries of replacement inner tubes (more than one because, if I was going to bother doing it, I might as well keep some spares), and a tire lever thingy, or whatever those are called, and also some stuff called “slime” that works a bit like “Fix a flat” I guess.  But by the time it arrived, I was by no means inclined to try to use it.  I’m still tired, and though I rested, my motivation, my will to live, and most importantly, my capacity to deal with the little, artificial tasks of life really are still all but nonexistent.

Oh, and another thing happened that was interesting.  I had ordered some food for delivery, and was making my way out front to wait for it, and found that my scooter—which had been moved without permission by the others who live in the house when they had what I guess was a Mother’s Day party on Sunday night, which was rather loud—which had clearly not been on the best level spot, had fallen over on its right side.  I’m not sure how it happened, but again, it had been moved to a less stable spot than I had put it in.  Now this is not some cute little scooter, easily returned to an upright position.  This is a 650 cc Honda Silverwing, and is essentially a motorcycle without a manual transmission.  I haven’t ridden it for a while because its tires have a slow leak and it’s a pain to have to inflate them and worse to replace them, and the battery has died, but anyway, it’s what it is.

I wasn’t even sure if I could lift it back up, but I tried, and I was able to do it—probably unwisely, given my failed back surgery syndrome—and then jockeyed it back into a better spot with some difficulty, as the front tire is low.  Hopefully, no one touches it again.  As it is, some of the paneling is cracked from the fall.

It’s little things like this that just wear me down steadily and surely.  There’s no upside to having to deal with them (obviously) and there’s no counter-balancing bunch of relatively good things in life to make up for them, or to re-energize me after I’ve gotten stressed out by dealing with them.  I know they aren’t major issues or crises, but that’s even part of the problem.  One feels motivated and even energized to deal with major issues when they happen—or else, one doesn’t feel too chagrined if one is overpowered by major issues and has to seek help.

But dealing with the minutiae of daily life is just mind-numbingly irritating, and there is no compensatory satisfaction to doing them, no reward other than just being able to get past them—which is preferable to the alternative, or else I wouldn’t bother, but is not even transiently satisfying.  It’s just the slight and temporary relief of a kind of psychological pain, which will inevitably return.

I wish meditation didn’t give me so much trouble with my depression, which it seems to do.  It would be nice to get past the sense of self and the dukkha of life.  Maybe I should try fasting or something, if I can work my way up to doing that.  Trouble is, as I think I’ve pointed out before, food is at least a slightly reliable source of minor, temporary pleasure.  But I’m overweight, anyway, so food mightn’t be a bad thing to eschew (get it?) for a while.

Maybe I’ll do that, if I can.  I’ll let you know.  Meanwhile, it’s about time to leave and head for the bus.  Thanks for letting me indulge in venting my thoughts here, those of you who read them.  It’s the only outlet I have, so unfortunately, it bears the brunt of a lot of tedious dreariness.  I try at least to be mildly funny when I can.

I’m not sure if I succeed at that very often.  But it’s one of those things about life; you have to laugh when you can, or else you’ll just cry.

A ledge on the edge of a bottomless pit

Well, I got almost no sleep last night, to the point where calling it “last night” feels very odd and surreal, since my consciousness has been continuous—more or less—since yesterday morning.

I think I dozed for about twenty minutes, total, over the course of the night, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating, though when it comes to subjective experience, it’s always difficult to be entirely certain of all the details.  In any case, I just wanted you to know that, if I’m even more bizarre and erratic than usual, that’s at least part of the reason why.  I know that I’m misinterpreting many of the things that I see out of the corner of my eye, currently, experiencing visual illusions that border on being hallucinations.

I really don’t know what I’m going to do.  I apologize for always dumping all my negative crap on here, no doubt alienating many potential readers, but I literally have no one else with whom I can talk about things like this.  I certainly don’t want to converse about this with anyone who is still willing to talk to me at all, because my unguarded thoughts are poisonous, even to me, and all the more so to anyone else.

It was partly a good and partly not so good day at work yesterday.  Of course, I was very busy, but for the most part I kept up with things and even kept a positive demeanor (for me, anyway).  However, there was overflow of work well into lunch hour, so I didn’t get much break, and didn’t get a chance to rest my back.  So that’s not in very good shape now.

More than one usually sensible person tried to push to get deals in situations where it wasn’t really ideal, and we supposedly have criteria to guide us on this, but the boss doesn’t stick with his own rules consistently.  When you do that, people will tend to try to push around the rules, since they recognize that they aren’t absolute.  And I end up being the only gatekeeper on these things, or the main one.

So I have to be the official asshole of the office, I have to be the bad guy—which should be fine, considering my love of villains, but it really is not.  It also feels futile, because I’m always being overridden, and I have no power or authority to put my foot down against the owner of the business.  So I just get angry and frustrated, partly just because of the inconsistency.  And when I say that I’m angry and frustrated, I don’t mean it in a lighthearted way.  I get really angry, but since I’m not easily able to express or release my emotions even at the best of times, they just churn inside me, and I hate myself because I get so hatefully angry.  I feel that I want just to burn everything down, to destroy it all.  But of course, I won’t do that because I have no right to do that, so instead I’m inclined to destroy my things and to harm myself, psychologically and physically.

I do it, sometimes.  I’m frankly surprised that my guitars are not in pieces yet.

Then, at the end of the day yesterday, a person in the office with whom I get along as well as anyone ended up staying quite late trying to close a relatively annoying deal, and of course, I have to verify and then process and record the deal, so it’s not as though I can leave until everyone else is done.  The boss waited, since he was driving this coworker to the train station, and he offered to take me there as well, but I was too wound up to want that.  I wanted to walk to the train—it’s only a mile, anyway.

But I was so angry and so stressed out, anyway, somehow even more so because it was someone I like, and toward whom I don’t want to feel the towering rage and frustration that I know people can’t quite even tell is happening—though they know I’m upset.  Why would I not be?  I live farther away than almost anyone else in the office, and I have to leave last, because I’m the one who processes and records and locks up.  Also, it’s just annoying as hell that people flout the schedule that we nominally have, since it’s a schedule we have had all along, and it hasn’t changed.

But again, it’s one of those things where, if a rule or a schedule isn’t enforced, people in general don’t take it seriously.  They think they can do whatever they want, or at least they push, they test, they see how far they can go outside the boundaries of the supposed rules, and eventually the rules might just as well never have existed.  And I get so mad, and when I get so mad at someone I actually like it makes it worse, and I really hate myself that it gets me so upset.  I hate feeling that way.  But I don’t seem to be able not to feel that way, not for as long as I’m trying to keep going, anyway.  I would have to give up completely in some sense not to care, not to let it bother me.

So, I didn’t get back to the house until just before nine last night, and one would think that I would be able to get to sleep after such a stressful afternoon and evening, but that was not the case.

I was thinking to myself at the office as I waited for that last deal finally to finish, that I have to be at the office today (which was tomorrow, yesterday), and I need to be there through this Saturday, since my coworker who can do some of the things I do won’t be around.  But after that, there will be at least two weeks in which I am inessential, and in which, if anything happened to me, there would be time and situational setting for the office to adjust to me being gone.

The only real problem would be payroll.  If I have a complete breakdown, and if I crash and burn, as I actually hope or at least wish I would do, then it will be minimally disruptive otherwise, and as for payroll, well—it’s not like I’m the only person in the world who can keep track of sales and commissions and splitting of deals, and keep track of who is paid by the hour versus (or in addition to) commission, and note when people arrive and leave if they’re hourly, and scan written records to keep for future use, and download phone recordings to the local hard drive, and update the sales board numbers on the fly in his head, and keep track of whether we need to order more coffee or more sugar or more paper towels or toilet paper or coffee cups and to order them.

I may well be the only one with an MD (and a supposedly very high IQ) who is doing such things for a small sales office, but that, I guess, is what happens when one is quite smart but has a chronic mood disorder, and chronic pain, and (probably) a neurodevelopmental disorder.  Such a person cannot manage the nonsense that living in the world of humans entails, cannot maintain a sensible and successful lifestyle without people close to him who can help him do that.  So one ends up where one ends up—ultimately, the grave, of course, but in the meantime, there are many ledges on the way down to the pit.

And, of course, now I’m on my own, living in a single room (with attached bathroom) in a house in south Florida, and I’m not up to maintaining even a scooter or a car, irritated even by having to deal with a bicycle, especially when it seems to make my back and hips and legs worse when I ride, which is maddening, because otherwise I kind of enjoy riding it.

Anyway, I’m shrinking inward, and my mind is shriveling, and I think I’m on my way out, one way or another.  If I had any purpose, if I had any meaning in my life, I probably could endure indefinitely—I have a fairly deep well of persistence or stubbornness.  It doesn’t work to my advantage, though.  It just leads me to keep torturing myself, chipping away at myself, eroding myself, grinding me into dust.

The whole process is taking too long.  Anyway, I should get going and head for the bus…because that’s what I do, I guess, I just keep going…I keep going until I break.  But I am breaking; I’m in the process.  I don’t think it will be long now.

A session of digression but without a confession

Hello, everyone.  It’s Monday morning, and I’m still at the house, sitting on the piano bench—the only piece of furniture I use for sitting, though I almost never play the keyboard anymore—and writing this blog post on my laptop.  Last week, every post was written on my phone.  Also last week, my posts didn’t get as many views or “likes” as they usually do.  At least, that’s my impression, and I wonder if writing on my phone contributed to the outcome.  I haven’t actually done an empirical, side-by-side comparison of the numbers, so I could easily be wrong about the posts’ popularity.  Perhaps it’s more a sign of my emotional state than the state of the world.  As Radiohead so aptly sang in There There, “Just ‘cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.”  Or, as I like to say, “Just because you inferred it doesn’t mean it was implied”.

Still, this is my own blog, so I suppose I can allow myself to proceed from my subjective point of view.

I’m not looking forward to this week.  My coworker with whom I share some of my duties is out today and tomorrow, and I’m also going to be working this coming Saturday after having worked this last Saturday, since said coworker was/will be out of town.  I had already had a week of terrible sleep, even for me, which didn’t help.  I did take a bit of rest yesterday, though I had to do my laundry.  But a lot of the resting was simply me being wiped out due to the fact that I had some form of (presumably food-borne) enteritis, so I didn’t feel well at all, despite taking some loperamide*.  That illness, at least, appears mostly to have run its course, for which I am grateful.  It’s not pleasant to try to commute while fighting a lower GI issue, but it’s not as though I can stay out of work today with my coworker out.

Sorry, I know all this trivia about my day to day life is probably both boring and depressing.  What can I say?  I’m a depressing and boring person.

Yesterday, between trips to the bathroom, I picked up the Les Paul guitar that my former housemate built, because I wanted to practice some more on that David Bowie song I mentioned last week.  As with most songs, it sounded even better on the Les Paul.  It’s the best sounding instrument—of any kind (which includes cellos, pianos, guitars, violins, and keyboards in general**)—that’s I’ve had the privilege to play.  He did an amazing job with it.  The red Strat he made is also excellent, and I love it, but the Les Paul is almost miraculous in its tone.

It was remarkably dusty, but that didn’t bother me too much.  I’m not one to polish or tweak or maintain things, except when using them, and then only to the extent that it’s necessary in order to use them.  My brain just doesn’t work in such a way that, for instance, I would ever notice or care that a car I owned could use a car wash, or that my room was cluttered, or that my desk was cluttered, or whatever.

Cars and the like are merely things one uses for a purpose, as far as I’m concerned.  And I’m actually quite happy that I seem to have been spared the whole social hierarchy, showing off, keeping up with the Joneses, owning things as status symbols, and so on, kind of mentality.  I’m not intimidated by so-called superiors, and it usually doesn’t occur to me that I ought to be so.  I’m also not disdainful of so-called subordinates, and I am provisionally convinced that this is the correct attitude.

Of course, all this sounds a bit like a species of showing off in its own right, I guess.  I don’t mean it that way (though I am glad of it, as I said).  I just recognize now that perhaps some of the things that have always been true about me, and which I guess are different from the way many other people are, may in fact be related to ASD if I do indeed meet the criteria for that.  I have never been a person who cared about owning the latest popular brand of sneakers when I was a kid, or a particular brand of clothes or jacket or whatnot—I honestly couldn’t even understand why people cared about such things.

I did like some things that I thought looked cool, or neat, or interesting sometimes, and I still do.  I also had a jacket, on the left breast of which were pinned dozens upon dozens of buttons depicting the band, The Police, because I was fairly obsessed with them and bought every such button I encountered.  But I am not and have never been the sort of person who would have put racing stripes or LEDs on a motorcycle, or tried to get bright chrome doo-dads for a car.  A car is just a tool.

So is a guitar (or a piano or a cello).  These are wonderful tools, and I care more about them than I do about cars, because their purpose is to make music, which is much more aesthetically pleasing than just being able to get places quickly and easily while sitting on my fat bottom.  Even so, what matters in a guitar, say, is the sound.  I honestly don’t really give a flying f-ck at a tiny little rat’s a-s if it looks shiny or fancy or whatever***.

I don’t know how I got started on that big and pointless digression.  I suppose I’ll be able to see the route when I go back to edit this, though I still might be mystified by it.  At least it fills the page, so to speak.  And it isn’t even late enough that I would normally have left for the bus stop, which is good, because it’s raining a bit, and even with the bus shelter roof, the rain tends to get little splatters on the laptop screen if I write there.  I definitely write much faster on the laptop, though at least doing the phone stuff last week doesn’t seem to have hurt my thumbs too much.

I have to work up my courage to go in to work, though.  I just need to survive until Saturday, at least, because I don’t want to leave everyone at the office in the lurch.  After that, it’ll be two weeks in a row where I won’t be working on Saturday (to make up for two weekends on), and so there won’t be any time when my presence is essential—well, except for payroll, I guess, but I can’t be too tied down by that.  Having to prepare the payroll for people is not by itself an adequate reason to continue living, not indefinitely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever found an adequate reason, even during the times when I was reasonably mentally stable.  I just didn’t much think about it, not in any serious way.  When you’re not feeling depressed and/or stressed, you don’t really need a reason to continue, you just coast along on the surface of biological drives and follow the local path-of-least-action.  At least, I do.  But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a noteworthy interval of not being depressed and/or stressed, and unfortunately, when depressed, time seems to take much longer to pass than do the times in between.

Probably, reading my blog posts feels like that sometimes.  Meaning that the time is much longer, more wearing, than other times.  Apologies for that.  I hope you have a good week, nonetheless.  And to all you mothers**** out there, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday.

*Look it up if you don’t know what it is.  It’s an excellent product.

**I’ve also briefly played a saxophone—a cheap one bought from a flea market.  It made a lovely sound, and I enjoyed diddling around on it and making absurdly loud but cool noises, and it was easier to play than I expected it to be, but I lost interest pretty quickly.  I like to sing and play, and you can’t do that with the saxophone.  I do, in retrospect, regret that I had never even thought to try to work out and play the sax riff from Baker Street.  What a missed opportunity!

***Though I do grant that the guitars my former housemate made are lovely.

****And I don’t mean that as “half a word”.

Interior decoration in a derelict ruin

Okay…Wednesday, morning, smartphone, my room, starting before leaving for the bus, all that tedious nonsense.

There, that’s out of the way.

I’m really not doing too well, even for me.  Yesterday was quite stressful, for internal and external reasons, though some of the external reasons mean it was a good day for the office.  Meanwhile, I banged my own head (deliberately) so hard and so often that I got a headache, on top of a worse-than-usual day for back pain and sleep the night before.

Near the end of the day, I took to whacking the back of my hand with a heavyish metal tool.  My boss, who knows that sometimes I will thump my legs and sides and things when they are in pain and spasm, asked me, “Is that where it hurts?”

I replied, after a moment, “It is, now.”. He laughed, but I’m not sure he quite got my point or why I was doing what I was doing.  It was an attempt to distract myself not just from other physical pain, but from stress and anger and the overwhelming sensory chaos of the room by inducing pain.  It works for a moment at a time, and this method doesn’t tend to leave marks, other than some bruises at times.  There are other ways that last longer, but they leave marks, some of which can last a long time…some of which, even, are more or less permanent.

I’m trying.  I’m still taking Saint John’s Wort, and I know at a personal and professional level that it’s too soon to expect any major results, but I fear it’s making me feel worse.  I suppose if it at least triggers something, even something catastrophic, that’s better than my present status as some sort of specter* or ringwraith or phantom‒an undead, but without a purpose.

I’m not a zombie; they tend to be mindless, and in a sense, are far less tortured figures than an undead that is aware of itself, that retains a mind and a personality, but is unable to grow or obtain new life.

I’m trying to treat my allergies and respiratory issues, and studying and working on some breathing techniques that seem to be good, but it feels like rearranging the furniture in a house where the roof has already fallen in, the windows are all broken, there’s no light or water or heat, and winter is coming.  I wish I could just lie on the (figurative) sofa and let the cold take me.

I don’t actually have a sofa, though.  Shame.

If I were my patient‒as I’ve said before, I think‒I would consider referring myself for inpatient psychiatric treatment**, but since this particular patient doesn’t have insurance and lives in a state, in a nation, with shitty, shitty mental healthcare, especially for those who are not wealthy, the options are not great.

Better just to let go.

Hang on, I need to go to the bus stop.


Okay, I’m at the bus stop now.

My back is really feeling tight and sore today.  It’s very irritating.  I’m trying to do the things that will help it, such as particular stretches and exercises and whatnot.  I’m not riding the bike, I’m using my shoe inserts and knee and ankle braces, all that.  I have roll-ons and creams and the like that are supposed to help, and I take a rather large (and probably toxic) quantity of OTC analgesics/anti-inflammatories.  I even have a semi-portable massage chair at the office, which I bought, and a foot massager I was given as a gift to go along with it.

Nothing is working very well.

The trouble is, there’s no reason to assume that there actually is an answer or remedy for certain kinds of pain.  We have not been honed by nature with a figurative eye toward having a long, healthy, satisfying life, free of severe physical and psychological pain.  We’ve been honed by nature to be able to survive long enough to reproduce successfully and keep our offspring alive until they can fend for themselves.

The thing about chronic pain, both physical and psychological, is that they are invisible to evolution (more or less) because they tend to develop after the age and time of reproduction has passed.  Pain is useful in the short term, especially when we’re young, because it makes us avoid and fix (when we can) damage that might take us out of the gene pool.  Ditto for fear‒assuming that all these things are present in appropriate or relatively moderate levels, of course.

But the functions that work to improve reproductive success when younger, or at least don’t harm it, can persist and worsen and become pathological as time passes, but that won’t reduce the presence of any genes for these functions.  And, of course, the prevalence and levels of most attributes follow a roughly bell-curve distribution in a population.  Most people cluster near the local mean of any given trait, but there are always outliers, and with enough people, there will be individuals who are outliers in more than one, even independently varying trait.

And then, of course, there can be traits that are good for one thing but bad in another way, and which persist or are selected for because the short-term, reproductive good outweighs the downside from the “viewpoint” of natural selection.  The sickle cell trait confers relative resistance to malaria, but having two copies of it can consign one to a truly hellish existence.

Similarly, it may be that attributes that tend to associate with high intelligence‒systematizing ability, certain kinds of imagination, inventiveness, ability to solve certain kinds of problems, certain kinds of intense focus, and so on that can be extremely useful for any group and for individuals, and lead to reproductive success and more general success, especially in modern society‒may lead, when aggregated together in the right way in some individuals, to autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and/or a tendency toward depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

Who knows?

The bus is coming soon.  I’ve gotta go.  In more ways than one, I really feel like I really need just to go.

*I’m often torn about the spelling of this word.  I prefer the “old-world” spelling with the “tre” rather than the “ter”, but I worry that it comes across as pretentious.

**Because prescribing a large dose of fentanyl and phenobarbital and digoxin and Valium would be frowned upon by medical and legal “authorities”.  And I don’t have access to such things now.

There are numerous dimensional axes to reality; it’s probably best not to grind just one of them at a time

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, and again, I’m beginning this post on my smartphone while still sitting in my room at the house.  I know that’s not very exciting news, but it’s one of the more noteworthy things in my day-to-day existence.  To quote my own song, albeit ironically, “Don’t you wish that you were me?”

I wish I had more interesting things to discuss here.  Goodness knows there are always many “interesting” things going on in the world, depending on your point of view.  But that’s the nub of the rub: interestingness* is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Many of the things that seem to intrigue other people seem dull to me.  And some controversial subjects about which I do have interest and at least some opinions are being addressed by others, to the degree that I really don’t have a whole lot to add.

I suppose the subject of mental health is near and dear** to me.  I do become irritated when the public argumentation about things like “mass shootings” using “assault” weapons becomes divided into poles of:  focus on restricting access to assault weapons versus focus on mental health issues, as though only one of the two matters could be addressed at any time by any government or political party.  But surely, these are semi-orthogonal questions, and both are worthy of discussion.

Now, I’ll grant you that, when it comes to deaths among civilians related to firearms in the US, more than half‒and sometimes as many two thirds‒are suicides, so here, mental health is truly a major concern.  I have personal experience with this danger; I used to target shoot recreationally, and owned a few pistols, but when I was deeply depressed, my therapist asked, rather pointedly, that I turn my guns over to her for safe-keeping, which I did.  Once I was doing better, she returned them, but later, after I had back-slid, I did come one sixth of the way to killing myself with one of them.

But all this isn’t really relevant to the so-called mass shootings, which actually make up a tiny (but slightly growing) fraction of even gun-related homicides.  Weirdly enough, it’s not a simple, one-dimensional question.  There are many things happening all at once, and some of them are independent variables, and some are dependent, and some are partially dependent, and the causal relationship from one to the other(s) can often be difficult to ascertain at a superficial glance.

Complex issues are rarely best understood via an “us versus them”, tribal approach, which rapidly tends to descend into ad hominem attacks and other manipulative, rhetorical, self-deceptive and counterproductive tactics.  Reality doesn’t actually take sides in general, and more importantly, it does not make exceptions even for people who are honestly and innocently mistaken.  The safest approach to dealing with it is to try to understand it as objectively and thoroughly as possible, without political bias or other tribal nonsense.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that fashion was a form of ugliness so repulsive that it had to be changed every six months.  Politics is in some ways slightly more durable…but only slightly.  The overarching trends can be important‒to humans and their victims and beneficiaries, anyway‒but the momentary fads and fashions and personality cults are so much candy floss, and they have essentially no relevance to the greater universe***.  Humans are tiny, pathetically self-important newcomers on the surface of one planet among hundreds of billions‒perhaps trillions‒in this galaxy alone.  Everyone needs to get over him- or herself‒or whatever pronoun-self an individual prefers.

I have thoughts and “opinions” about various subjects, about some of which I have reasonable knowledge and expertise, but one thing I notice very much is that almost every subject of controversy is more complicated than humans seem to tend to want to think.  That’s partly just down to primatology; humans approach many questions not from a position of dedicated, disciplined, rigorous, and self-critical seekers of truth, but as rival flanges of baboons, or rival groups within a flange of baboons.  They often behave not as if they actually seek to understand the nature of reality to the best of their abilities, but as monkeys throwing feces at other monkeys to gain or maintain a position in a dominance hierarchy****.

It would be nice if people could actually try to address the very real problems of adult mental health, which is still underappreciated and in an even poorer state than healthcare in general, instead of using it as a distraction from the orthogonal question of why there are an increasing number of “mass shootings” and whether restricting access to “assault weapons” would do more good than harm, and by what measures.

An honest discussion***** of serious topics should recognize that finding the truth is not a zero-sum contest but, ideally, a mutual exchange to mutual benefit.  No one has all the facts in hand at any given time, and probably no one ever will have all the facts, but to try always to gain more facts, more knowledge, seems to be a useful guideline.

But if you see someone who disagrees with you, even about an issue that you consider important, as merely an enemy, then you make yourself into an enemy, too‒not just of the person who disagrees with you, but of anyone who seeks objective knowledge and understanding of the world.

*This feels like it’s not really a proper word, but the alternatives that come to my mind seem worse.

**Perhaps something like “anti-dear” would be more accurate; a quantity with the same absolute value as “dear”, but on the other side of zero.

***Except as they might influence whether the creatures of the Earth ever truly initiate, as David Deutsch called it, The Beginning of Infinity.

****It’s in encounters with such tendencies that I find myself sympathetic with Lord Foul’s disgusted statement, “…yet in their pride they dare to name themselves earthfriends, servants of peace.  They are too blind to perceive their own arrogance…”

*****Note that I do not say “debate”.  I generally consider debate a poor means by which to seek truth, since the process tends to become merely a contest, a display of skill, where rhetoric and charisma become more important than actual facts, reasons, and explanations, and thus the spectacle devolves into mere chest-thumping by hubris-addicted apes.  Regrettably, the very courts of law take this approach, and thus we have the mortifying spectacle of a prominent murder trial pivoting on the mildly clever couplet, “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit”.  If anyone saw and heard that and was not filled with abysmal despair regarding the criminal justice system, I don’t know what you’re missing, or what I’m missing.