Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Absolutely Nothing

Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Chops"
because that was the name of his dog
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and a gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed a lot
And the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him in bed at night
And was always there to do it

Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Autumn"
because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new paint
And the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
And the girl around the corner laughed
when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed a lot
And his father never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad
when he cried for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle's Creed went
And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around the corner
wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at three a.m. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen.

Absolutely Nothing by Osoanon Nimuss from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Monday, March 18, 2013

10,000 Page Views

Not much to say in this post...except that when I started blogging, less than a year ago...I never thought I would have 1,000 page views, let alone 10,000.

So this is just me blowing that little paper horn that people use for New Years, in celebration of a mini milestone.

So thanks for all the reads, people of the internet!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

1600 Penn

So for those that have explored the minds, they have come to learn that there are very few Network Television Shows, that have yet to be watched.

But regardless of that...I had yet to see an episode of "1600 Penn".

I have seen lots of bad reviews for it...and the ads were pretty terrible...but what else is one to do on a boring afternoon?

So I started watching.

Nine episodes later:

I laughed.
I cried.
I enjoyed myself.
And I quite seriously have no idea where the last three hours went.

The show is fun.

Sure, some of the story lines are stolen from shows like "The West Wing" (Thanks Donna Moss and Josh Lyman for some great years), but that doesn't take away from a decent comedy.

And with shows like The Office (awesome) and 30 Rock (eh) going into retirement, maybe this can be a good placeholder for Thursday nights?

If only I didn't have three other hours of programming to watch that night already.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Status Update

By Chris Jones | ESPN The Magazine
The Fix - Chris Jones
Illustration by Mark MatchoRebecca Marino has a seemingly envious job and life that she's choosing not to lead.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's March 18 One Day One Game issue.
YOU PROBABLY HADN'T heard much about Rebecca Marino, at least not until she decided she wasn't going to be that Rebecca Marino anymore. The 22-year-old Canadian tennis pro has announced she's leaving the game again, having already taken a seven-month hiatus and mounting the briefest of comebacks, citing in part the twin devils on her shoulders: depression and idiots on the Internet. Before she held her mid-February conference call to talk about her second departure and her mental illness, she deleted her Twitter and Facebook accounts because she knew what was coming and that it would do her no good. "Social media has taken its toll on me," she said.
In some ways, Marino's story is a small one: Lots of young people decide they've taken the wrong path in life and try to correct it. They go back to school or change their majors or quit their internships. But what makes Marino's story larger is its counterintuitiveness, the seemingly envious job and existence she is choosing not to lead. She was a good player, once ranked as high as 38th in the world, with an overpowering serve and forehand. (After she faced Venus Williams during the second round of the 2010 U.S. Open, Williams said: "Now I know what it's like to play myself.") When someone is blessed and gifted enough even to approach that kind of spotlight, we assume she is going to try to reach the center of it. That's the natural order of things. Nobody chooses to stay in the dark.
Unless the dark is the only place that feels safe. I've also battled depression, and I believe I know what or at least how Marino is thinking. I've thought a lot about giving up my job and vanishing -- if I'm being honest, I've occasionally thought about vanishing in bigger ways too. When I'm in a good place, it seems insane to me that I've ever thought that way. My job is a dream job; my life is a dream life. But depression's worst trick is its powers of distortion. It takes the good and makes it nearly invisible, and it takes the bad and amplifies it. People with depression also have long memories for hurt. Stings linger and layer.
"With professional athletes," Marino told The New York Times, "people put them on a pedestal sometimes, and they forget that they're actually a person still." For someone like her, social media -- where she was berated for her weight or by gamblers who lost when she lost -- isn't the wound. Depression is the wound. But social media is the infection that makes it worse, and there are only so many ways to resist it.
You can choose to become callused and awful like me, the monstrous result of my finally having followed the easy advice and grown a thicker skin. An anonymous stranger on Twitter recently said that he'd like to see me "eat a shotgun." Not that long ago, I would have gone after that guy with all the rage I could muster, which would have been plenty. Instead, I made a joke about it. Later, a (real-life) friend mentioned the exchange and how messed up it was -- not just that someone publicly hoped I would kill myself, which is really something if you stop and think about it, but that I'd laughed it off. My friend was right. I don't like that I can't feel anything anymore, my newly flatlined self. And if my tiny spotlight has changed me this much, imagine the horrors that a larger one could do.
Rebecca Marino did that imagining, and it led her to make a different choice from mine: She decided it was better to try to change her world than herself. She doesn't yet know what she'll do instead, but she's talked about going back to school or applying for different jobs, quiet jobs, anonymous jobs, such as a cashier or restaurant hostess. Then at least the strangers in her life will always have faces.
I understand her decision. In fact, I envy her in a lot of ways because she's rescuing the best parts of herself before it's too late. A thick skin doesn't seem like something you would want someone you love to have. You would want them to be able to feel fully. You would want them to be warm and open, affected by the people and lives being lived around them. You would want them to have a big heart and for them to be able to keep it safe, even if that meant they had to hide it away in the dark.