I USED TO HAVE AN ANT FARM
Snippets of dialogue occasionally pop into my head
one guy will make a statement, another
will respond and the duo will go
back and forth in some half-formed, half-rational
it comes to me in almost a half conscious fever
dream and just plays out it
on this one particular night eleventh hour
work night I'm sitting bored in front of my computer
waiting for the night to wrap up when the
one guy in my head declares,
“I used to have an ant farm.”
The second guy responds with a broad question,
as if he were a vaudeville straight man, asking,
He never responds with anything like, “why are you telling me this?”
Or, “tell me more about your ant farm.” His reaction
is always just blunt, broad, damn nigh scripted
queries like, “what happened?”
The first guy answers back simply, “they died,”
and the conversation is over.
They all kind of go that way and I'm
left to do what I will with the result.
The work night is over and I embark on a couple of
needed days off.. In the space of those days one
friend informs me she's had what appears to be
another mini-stroke. I tell her she needs to seek medical
help, knowing in advance she probably won't
Another friend writes and tells me he's been diagnosed
with a “slight case” of liver cancer and I know from
past family experience there are no “slight cases”
of liver cancer.
Saturday marks the beginning of my work week.
My wife is off with her mother, shopping and doing
all the other things they do---her usual Saturday.
As the time comes when I usually head off to work
I haven't heard from her all day
Usually it's endless phone tag and before I head out I
call to touch base
She tells me she's sitting in the waiting room of
a 24 hour medical clinic
after suffering sudden, out-of-nowhere
pains in her arms and shoulder
no, she tells me, it's probably not an emergency
no, her mother concurs, we don't think it's a
and I drive to work, thinking,
I used to have an ant farm
I used to have an ant farm
I used to have an ant farm.....
It hit me last night, going through my old blogs, that I haven't done a new blog since, what? Back in October? Mostly it's general derailment....this injury has slowed me down and made every aspect of my life suffer....my personal life, my mobility, my painting, my website, video production, music----you name it----my whole life has kind of hit a wall.
Now----with the ordeal almost in my rear view mirror (Praise the Lord and pass the Regranex!), I can start working toward getting shit back on track.
Still and all, it's not that I've been idle. I actually started work on a number of politically-oriented blogs (four, to be exact) that I've all but given up on. Part of it is the terminal nature of current events---you have to strike while the iron is hot or forget about it. If you run out of steam it's over. Part of it is the sad wisdom that I'm like your favorite alcoholic relative that starts ranting and raving incoherently at the Thanksgiving table---nobody likes it when I get political. Not that I can help it---I've just become THAT GUY that breaks out into vitriol and invective at the drop of a hat---and despite the fact that the last overtly political blog I did was the most highly-viewed one I ever did, I put my finger out into the wind, licking it beforehand for whatever reason they do that on all the old cartoons, and no, just, no, just no.....you don't wanna know.
The writing and other nonsense continues, though, and the future is ripe with promise---in the coming days, you'll see the S.E. Apocalypse Krew's album, RISE, finally be released----I'm also going to be firing out new blogs----quickest arriving will be a jam on one of my favorite novels ever, Joseph Heller's overlooked SOMETHING HAPPENED.
OH---YEAH----in addition to all of this, the 20th anniversary of “The Abbey of the Lemur” has passed unceremoniously, largely due to the injury in question....but don't expect this to remain the status quo. I'm working, as we eyeball each other, feeble reader, on the rough screenplay for a feature-length TAOTL documentary that will be the final word on our run of infamy. Don't touch that dial!
Speaking of politics (at least in the broader sense of the word, which is what I prefer to deal with), working in a newsroom brings all kinds of interesting tidbits down the transom. Sure, a lot of it makes me want to retch and throw rocks, but what can I say about that? Your favorite Autistic, alcoholic relative strikes again.
But on to the tidbit in question, which did indeed make me want to retch and throw rocks. From our people in DC, more or less verbatim: A new report shows the Opioid Epidemic costs the U.S. Economy billions of dollars every year. It goes on to say that the human price of this crisis is devastating (and it's nice to see some acknowledgment, here, that there's a “human price”), but there's an economic price as well. A new report from the American Action Forum (a DC-based advocacy group that promotes center-right public policy) says nearly a million people were unemployed because of opioid addiction in 2015, and the numbers would seem to only be getting worse.
Translation: Just say no to drugs, kids----because if you do drugs, you're depriving our sainted Oligarchy of exploitable labor, and that hurts the Bottom Line.
And don't get me wrong, here----when it comes to the abuse of and/or addiction to opioids, I agree, say no. But I feel like I got a peek into the worst workings of the work machine with this faceful of an Alan Greenspan wet dream.......
Speaking of such icky business, a friend shared an article from the NEW YORKER last night (Yeah----I know----yawn!----Wearing my affiliation with NYC's Unbearables on my sleeve, there) that talked about the downside of what's now referred to as “The Gig Economy”. It was actually a pretty good read-----much of it centered around ride-share giant Lyft and their promotion involving a driver who gives birth on the job. I'm just gonna link to the article, because the writer, Jia Tolentino, says it better than I will.
Again, this whole notion of a “Gig Economy” is kind of a Neoliberal spank bank feature----picture an entire workforce of at-will contractors gigging away in some variety of part-time servitude, without benefits. Welcome to the future.
I got into a minor flap with one cat, who, as far as I can tell, is getting fat off sales commissions, when I bluntly wrote, “it all needs to come down.” He responded, “what the hell does that even mean?”
If you're one of the lucky few who are making out like a bandit in the Gig Economy, I haven't got time to explain it to you. Sorry---diplomacy was never my strong suit.
'Kay----getting off my proletarian high horse for now.
It's nice to see the angry public response to the whole Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal-----yeah, sorry—--I had about a month's jump on it from the rest of you because Lee Camp and Jimmy Dore broke it all the way back then. (Yeah—--I know----”RUSSIA BOT!!!!”---Suck my nuts, ya goddamn lemming) Forbes apparently wrote about it back in November, favorably. Think about that.
Anyway, thanks for finally getting pissed over something you should get pissed about, as opposed to all the silly hype over Russian Troll farms----nothing's sadder than watching sincere Hashtag Resistance-types working themselves into a frenzy while the neoliberals move the goalposts all over the field with shifting charges designed to foment a new cold war, fueled largely by abject fear and wishful thinking. Y'all have made conspiracy theories mainstream and acceptable. Kudos.
A lot of folks are (understandably) dealing Facebook out. I'm still here....I guess the dividing line between you and me is that, from 9/11, Bush and the Patriot Act on out, I always assumed my shit was being looked at anyway. Why this is new or shocking to any of you is a mystery to me.
So, until Big Brother or his surgical equivalent come knocking on my door (and it'd have to be a real slow day for me to be of interest), you all know where to find me.
Yeah. Tolja nobody likes it when I do this.
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST:
ANDI SEXGANG-Achilles in the Eurozone
ALICE COOPER-Love it to Death