Angst Chapter One: Race

When considering the heightened racial rhetoric raised after the death of George Floyd, I’m once again facing down stereotypes that are applied to me, a middle-aged American white guy. Luckily, my thoughts, demeanor, attitude, and spirituality have crystallized during the past few years, and I’m much more comfortable doing a deep dive into my heart.

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The Dog Children

No, your dog is not “your child.” Keeping a pet, you are a steward of another lifeform. Such pets as dogs and cats, however, come with clear sets of do’s and don’ts. You can fool yourself about selfless time spent caring for them, but such frivolity involves very little self-sacrifice, and even less personal risk.

Raising a human child necessitates a complete and persistent internal evaluation of your values, habits, and ability to love another unconditionally; this while allowing the child to grow and adopt her own values, habits, and ability to love. None of this comes with any guarantee of an obvious “reward.” You must therefore understand the value of reliving the discoveries of life with your child.

Often, I hear others loudly proclaim how expensive having a child is, and how they value their freedom to pursue their happiness by choosing not to have human children. “This is my child,” they say, proudly stroking their furry companion. Their proclaimed pursuit of happiness seems to involve short-term hedonistic pursuits that present few intellectual and spiritual challenges. They are satisfied that a superficial tail wag is “love” affirming their role as a “parent” as they drunkenly swipe through their vacation photos.

I shudder to think how this “dog is my child” bodes for future generations of humans as this pseudo-parent lifestyle becomes more overtly affirmed by others who share this “dog-as-child” philosophy, and who actually express sympathy for those who have chosen to perpetuate the human species. This absurd viewpoint saddens me. They have been fooled by themselves and the tainted zeitgeist.

These self-proclaimed parents are perpetual Dog Children. Beware their tail wag.

Bed Bugs and the Making of a Feline Hero (The Old Draft I Now Have an Ending For)

A few days ago, my wife found a bed bug. This threw her into a panic. Me too. The only bed bug stories are horror stories.

We made an appointment with a bed bug specialist for the next day. We had to bag all of our clothing and linens to throw them in high heat dryers for an hour. We had to lock up (herd) our several cats in the basement.

Plus, not forget to safely transport my daughter’s hamster to my father-in-law’s place. Continue reading

Watch: Final Open Mic at The Thirsty Soul

I accepted the invitation to host with a heavy heart. The Thirsty Soul was closing, and it was the last open mic night. I was the first guest performer and the last host. I met many talented people. Some were just peeking their heads out into the world to share themselves for a night. Others were jumping from open mic to open mic in the city. And some, like myself, were reliably present each week.

This particular open mic was sparsely populated: It was Bongo Billy, Pete, and I. With an empty Red Room, I hooked into the Bluetooth and Bongo Billy and I jammed to the Alley Cat and Mama Don’t Allow It. I unremarkably rolled into the last Facebook stream and acted out my best open mic night host impression and belted out some tunes, followed by the others.

The furniture tapped their legs. The chandelier shrugged. The sound system reminded me how much it dislikes acoustic guitar pickups. And so it was. With Pete’s Taylor in arms, I eeked out Redneck Vacation and finished up with my final performance of Chinese Buffet in the lush, comfy, New Orleans-styled parlor to the applause of a small circle of friends.