Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Useless Twit,

You should imagine yourself Here:

Awfully high up, isn't it? Now imagine, dream, if you will, stepping to the edge, and plunging below. Open your eyes.

Live the dream.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Absurdity

So I've heard that when they made Rocky III that the film company made this huge bronze statue of Stallone as Rocky Balboa. They didn't make some kind of fucking plaster cast and paint it. They made a solid bronze heavy-as-fuck statue, and when they were done filming they just left the damn thing in Philly. It's still fucking there, can you believe that?

I think about that a lot. I went to the world's biggest skillet, I met a man who wore the most t-shirts at one time, and I've seen a house-- a couple's fucking house-- that was built as a giant cat toy.

The thing that I've realized in all my travels is that people are goddamn ridiculous. I mean, one could argue that it's some kind of art. I mean, there was that Colossus in Rhodes. There's something to be said for creating something that's a big "fuck you" to everyone else, but let's face it, is there anyone alive that's jealous of the world's biggest skillet? Could anyone be anything other than mildly amused? I swear, it's the most bizarre form of cultural masturbation that's ever been created.

My folks used to take me to all these damnable things on these big endless road trips to nowhere. I suppose you could say that's how this all really started. We'd go cross-country and we'd stop at every single one of these fucking items and it was summer in the great plains and a billion degrees outside and the station wagon would overheat so we had to blast the heat instead of the AC and I'd sweat for two thousand miles straight.

I've moved on, but some memories last a lifetime. Last year I was driving out to LA when my car broke down somewhere in Kansas. The heat radiated off the asphalt and I thought about all that wasted time and the fucking station wagon and the big fucking skillet and I just lost it. I walked fifty miles to the world's biggest ball of twine and at 3:00AM I set the fucking thing ablaze. I watched the thing turn to ash and I literally felt the ghosts of wasted hours released like a thousand souls from hell escaping the lake of fire. Next I took an arc welder to that goddamn frying pan. I took a hammer to the world's largest thermometer. You know they had a foam replica of Stonehenge in Virginia? It took me all night to hack that down with a machete.

Actually, there's also the world's heaviest ball of twine, largest built by one person, largest built by a community. Well, there were. Fucking twine!

So then I find out about this latest one. They've got it in some airplane hangar and there's engineers working around the clock on it. Fucking engineers! People who spent years in college learning math that would make our heads explode, and they're using it for shit like this! They have National Guard on patrol around the hangar. There's millions invested into this project. The funny thing is, though, try as I might, I couldn't think of a way to destroy it, so late at night I dressed up all in black, cut the fence, evaded the guards and entered the hangar. Fucking thing was massive. I saw my reflection in it, distorted by its curvature, or maybe I was looking at my soul, distorted by my past torment, or my destruction of childhood memories or any other of the myriad of possibilities in regards to my recent vendetta. I was past the point of no return, though, and began cutting through the support beams. As it tore its way out of the hangar anarchy overtook the place and I went out the same way I came in, totally satisfied that I had marred the greatest yet of all these spectacles.

You're giving me a look like you're wondering why I'm telling you all of this. At first, well, at first I didn't think you'd understand, or that you'd try to stop me from going this time or have me committed. I believed that when I left last week, but now I'm hoping I was wrong. Darling, I love you. You've made me about as happy as I've ever been in my life and it's only getting better, and I want you to know I'm done. I knocked loose the world's largest ball-bearing and watched it roll into a lake. It was the largest, most useless thing in the history of mankind, and I sent it to the bottom of a lake, and now the world's biggest sandwich or pancake or whatever isn't going to make a bit of difference to me. I'm cured, don't you see?

Please, please don't leave me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dear You Filthy Filthmonger,

Look inside...

Try to find something relevant.

The Dusty Emperor of Nothing


I’m here today because I think I’m about to lose my job. I’ve worked as a nurse in the downtown hospital for the last five years. It’s a great job. I like seeing people and helping people and even when they’re bitchy and pushy I just love all the interaction. And they like me. I’m really good at my job. Anyway, I started dating this girl recently and I don’t really have time for work anymore. Her name is Vicky and she’s really great. We met at a grocery store three blocks from where I live. She goes there every Wednesday at three in the afternoon after she gets off from work. We were both looking for avocados and I asked her if she knew how to tell if they were ripe. She wasn’t familiar so I told her how to hold it and squeeze it for firmness and she laughed and said that if it was a pick-up line it was working. We went on a date two nights later and had sex for hours after that. We’ve been seeing each other for the last three weeks. I really like her. She’s got a way with people. Kind of like me at my job, but different somehow. Better. Like she’s happy to see you and genuinely interested in everything you say, like she’s hearing everything for the first time. It’s kind of intimidating. A lot of the time I don’t feel as interesting as she thinks I am. I think sometimes that she’s pretending I’m interesting and really I’m not and that maybe she does this with everybody. Maybe she doesn’t think anybody’s interesting at all. Or maybe it’s just me that’s not interesting and she’s miserable and trying to get away. I don’t know. Anyway, like I said, I’m worried about my job. I haven’t really been in the last few days, but I’ve had a lot of things I had to do. Two weeks ago Thursday Vicky said that she was going to be at work until five and then downtown at the gym until six-thirty, but when I was walking home from downtown at four I saw her sitting at a cafĂ© with a few girls I didn’t know. I can’t figure out why she would lie about what she was doing. If I can’t trust her about what she says she’s going to do then what else is she lying about? She’s such a great person and I’m so happy and I don’t want anything to wreck it, so I called into work the next day and faked a cough. They don’t really care; there’s tons of nurses. I knew her schedule and waited a few minutes after she left before I followed her. I was just going to make sure that she was actually going to work like she said, but since she didn’t lie about work before I decided to wait around to see if she also went to Yoga after. She always does Yoga on Fridays after work because she says it helps her entire weekend remain focused. That all happened right on schedule, but instead of coming home right away she stopped and talked with the instructor for fifteen minutes after class. They were laughing and I just knew it was about me. About my job or the way I dress or how my penis doesn’t quite measure up to what she’s had before. I couldn’t believe they were talking about me like that, and laughing. When she came to my place later I was so angry I could barely stand to be in the same room with her, but I couldn’t leave because I didn’t trust her to be alone. We barely spoke that night. I apologized the next morning. Told her it was something I ate. That I’d had too much coffee and that my patients at work were dying left and right. She smiled and hugged me and we kissed. I love her so much. She’s perfect in every way. When she left for work I was as happy as the first time we’d met. But I had to know. I followed her again. And the next day. I gradually quit calling into work. I just didn’t go. I had to make sure we were always happy. I watched her yesterday at a bus stop while she waited. She sat next to an old man with a cane who kept looking down the street in the direction the bus would come. They weren’t talking, but I’m sure he was thinking that this girl deserves a better boyfriend than whatever she’s got right now. What in the hell would make him think something like that? Anyway, I guess I haven’t talked much about what I came here for today. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna lose my job. Anybody have any advice?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Crust-Covered Neerdowell

I almost mistook this man for you:

But on a second glance, I realized he was far more healthy and vibrant.

~The Red-Haired Monk of Excess


He wakes up with the sun. He does his morning exercises and wipes the sweat off his brow with a clean towel. He showers, and washes his face. The water is lukewarm, but manages to steam the mirror. He dries off and walks past it without looking. He cleans the floors of his temple, first sweeping, and then wiping the wood down with a towel. He prepares his rice porridge, and sits down to eat. Finishing that, he returns to the temple, unrolls a bamboo mat, and begins his meditation.

Life is suffering
Suffering is caused by desire

He stares at the wall, at the white rectangle where the television used to hang. He does not try to remember the black square, or the bright, flashing images it used to display. He is sitting in between scratches on the floor, where he tried to move a couch too heavy for him into position. He does not think about the way the leather stuck to his skin on a hot day, or the weight of the thing, or the way the corners dug into his fingers as he struggled to get it into place.

Life is suffering
Suffering is caused by desire
There is a cessation to desire
This cessation can be reached by the Eight-Fold Path

There is no dust on the white walls of his temple, only white spots where items used to hang. He notices a stray hair lying in front of him; a tiny coarse reminder that he has neglected his personal appearance. He reaches to his face but is stopped by the wild, tangled underbrush hanging from his chin. He remembers that he last shaved almost a year ago. He remembers that he has given up the use of the mirror. He remembers the thing that lies behind it.

Life is suffering
Suffering is caused by desire

It's still there when he opens up the medicine cabinet. The metal spoon is dull and tarnished, and is marred with a black cross-hatching at the bottom. The lighter is still fueled and begs to be transformed into mad, dancing flame. The baggie sits there, untouched but still promising that which he swore he had abandoned. The needle promises pain and pleasure.

Suffering is caused by desire

The powder melts into the spoon and is absorbed. The needle stings and the veins in his arm burn like whiskey on the throat. The machines are only a couple molecules thick, but they think; they know. They travel with the current of his life essence and into the capillaries of his brain. When they release their small electric charges. He is no longer in his temple, but in the memories they are designed to resurrect.

He is sitting on the couch with her, stroking her long, black hair. The television paints her in a pale, unearthly glow, and makes her seem as something entirely supernatural. He pulls her close against him and kisses the nape of her neck. She leans into it and quietly moans. They enter the bedroom. She pushes him onto the mattress and slowly pulls his shirt over his head. She grabs the back of his neck and pulls him into a kiss. Her tongue slides into his mouth, and her grip is inescapable.

An hour later she is lying in his arms. Her sweat smells sweet and inviting. She says she wants to stay like this forever. He says he never wants to let her go.

Bright light envelops his world. He wakes up on the floor. The couch is gone. The television is gone. The bed is gone. Only shapes remain; ghosts of a better time. She is gone, and has left nothing. He weeps, and his tears fall hard on the freshly cleaned floor, and he screams out the Four Noble Truths.

Life is Suffering
Life is Suffering
Life is Suffering
Life is Suffering

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Dust-Covered Vagabond,

I know this looks a bit foreign,

but as you are already a monk you should know others that could give you a hand in identifying it.

The Dusty Emperor of Nothing

Looks Like

“Why are you so sad, Naomi?” asked Robert as he stood in the doorway of their bedroom.
“I’m not sad,” she said, “I’m just thinking.”
Naomi had been lying back on the bed, but now sat up to continue strapping on her faux leather sandals. Robert entered the room and crossed to the dresser where he sifted through a large pile of change spread across the top. He stood with a hunch as he fidgeted through the coins, picking out each quarter like a prize and putting it in his pocket. Naomi stood up from the bed and walked into the closet next to the dresser. She began pulling the hanging clothes across their support bar, spending a moment to inspect each one before sliding it behind her.
“Just because I’m not talking doesn’t mean I’m sad, you know,” said Naomi between the metallic scratch of sliding hangers.
“I know, I know,” said Robert, his fingers milling absently through the shiny metal pile, “I don’t think I meant that, I mean, I don’t think…well, I think I meant that you looked a little sad.”
Naomi continued sliding the hangers across the bar, each sound followed by a moment’s hesitation.
“I’m almost ready to go,” said Robert as he checked himself in the mirror above the dresser, “are you…what are you doing in there?”
“I’m looking for something to where on top of this,” said Naomi, “but I don’t know what.”
“Alright,” said Robert, “well, I’m ready to go, so whenever you’re ready.”
“I thought you said you were almost ready to go,” replied Naomi, “I thought I had a second.”
“You still do, I’m just telling you that I’m ready,” said Robert as he walked out into the hallway.
Robert walked to the front door and sat down to put on his scuffy, brown loafers. He tied each one tightly, securing each with a double knot. Naomi walked out of the bedroom just as he was finishing.
“What do you think?” she asked as she twirled in front of him in a green cotton cardigan.
“You look wonderful, “he said pulling her in tightly.
“I feel wonderful.”
“Hey, I got it right this time!”
Naomi pushed him away playfully. “You just don’t know all my faces yet. If you’re not sure don’t guess, just ask.”
“Okay,” he said, chuckling, “are we ready?”
She nodded and they swept out into the night air. The streets were bright from the cascade of recent rainfall. The weather had passed, but the residue remained. The pavement glimmered under the street lamps as they passed through the city’s empty avenue. Heavy iron grates had been pulled over the skinny storefronts, each plastered with the night’s entertainment. Dim lights flickered over doorways nestled deep in dark alcoves. Lights flickered on an off on third and fourth floors, life buzzing above the dormant belly of the street.
They took rights and lefts and covered crosswalks and waited on stoplights. They looked in store windows and laughed at mannequins and expensive jewelry. They walked past theaters and discos and boarded-up buildings until they finally came to a stop. Robert held the door for Naomi as they entered Obo’s China House Buffet. They waited in line behind several customers and smelled the sweet air wafting over from the buffet. Robert pointed to a hanging on the wall beside the clerk and the cash register ahead of them.
“Look, see that? That’s what you looked like! Just like that! Don’t you think she looks a little sad?”
Naomi stopped and stared. Her eyebrows furrowed over a serious gaze and her lips pursed neatly together.
“No, that’s not a sad face. She’s just thinking about something. Thinking about some man or some woman who’s going to change her life forever. She’s waiting for that person to ask her if she’s ready and when they do she’ll get herself together and they’ll go out and they’ll make it. She's excited.”
The clerk tapped his finger against the counter at Naomi and Robert.
“Are you two ready?”