THREE DUMB QUESTIONS

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Trick Questions.”

So, why haven’t you done anything bloggy lately?

That’s a complicated question. I’ve been sulky and I’m complicated. What I’ve been sulky about is pretty dumb and not worth mentioning to a Pulitzer Prize winning figment of my imagination such as yourself. I hope to have something else up besides our interview in the next couple of days.

Speaking of complicated, when was the last time you were really angry with your children? And none of that Atticus Finch stuff, pal. Our readers demand honesty. 

Funny you should mention that. I Just re-read The Shining for the first time in years—-

Way to dodge the question there, Donald Trump. Nice combover, by the way. What’s next an angry rant about teh ebil meccicans?

Nobody likes a smartass, dude. Even a handsome and brilliant smartass such as yourself. Mind your manners. You kiss your mama with that mouth? Anyway, I was reading The Shining and two things struck me. 1) Christ, it’s like a teenage girl wrote some of this prose in between writing her One Direction fanfic, and (2) I understand Jack Torrence a lot more now. It’s because all fathers can have a certain wrathful impulse towards their kids ,I think. I’ve never touched one of my kids for the entirety of their young lives. Still, I’ve had moments “Christ, can’t you stop?????” See, those thoughts scare you to death. You think you’re a bad dad.

Ah. You’re admitting to some self doubt. You must really be having a tough time lately. 

You’re an asshole. I need a better class of imaginary interviewer.

Since I am only an overly romanticized version of yourself, blah blah blah, insert psychiatric mumbo jumbo here, that makes YOU the asshole.

Who’d you blow to get that Pulitzer?

Who did you blow to get that Pulitzer?

I don’t have a Pulitzer! Forget it, next question.

Last question. Are you happy? 

What does that mean?

What does it mean to you?

It could mean anything. Who is happy, really?

Only unhappy people say stuff like that. Misery loves company.

I wouldn’t say that I’m miserable exactly. I’m not inordinately unhappy.

What are you then?

Lonely.

How can you say that? You have a full life.

I can’t help it. I’m lonely. It hurts.

We all hurt, Will. Part of life.

Yeah, a shitty part. I don’t want to talk anymore.

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SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wicked Witch.”

I first encountered true evil when I was a child. Our family doctor was a sweet and funny man. I often misbehaved on him, trying to run away from shots and the like, and those efforts inevitabley ended up with my poor father or mother having to run me down. I think at a point it became just playing to me but the man was never cross. My antics tended to tickle him more than anything.

He had a beautiful daughter who would sometimes come over to his office. I always minded for her. She use to bring me cookies. She had a way with all the children. The doctor didn’t trust banks (having been through the Depression) and he kept his money in a safe at his house. Soon, this information got around to the wrong people.

One night, he was beaten and robbed. His daughter was murdered in their kitchen, stabbed to death. Our small community exploded. The criminals were eventually successfully prosecuted but it didn’t matter: the girl was still dead and the doctor was never the same.

Greed. That’s what it had been about. One of the worst evils in the world — the wanting and lust for money. The love of it makes people mad, destroys lives and whole civilizations. People are enabled by wanting and people can do most anything.

People do most anything. You see that every day.

I’m not different. I’ve done much for which I’m not proud. I’ve hurt people who really cared about me, felt justified in doing it, or haven’t cared at all. Not caring was easy. Drugs and alcohol are good for that. It’s a narcissistic disease that divorces you from any reality except your own.

One day, my mother was dying. I kissed her goodbye at the hospital, went home and put my emotionally distraught child to bed. I’ll never forget my boy crying in my lap, begging me not to let his grandmother died, crying until he finally went to sleep. I tucked him in, went into the bathroom and chopped up a pick-me-up which I snorted in no short order.

That’d when it hit me: you’re a fucking junkie. I tried to tell myself that I was dealing with pain from old injuries (some of that was true), that it was the stress of trying to balance the job I was doing with the pressures of life (some of that was also true), and that it kept my own demons at bay (all bullshit).

You make up the sweetest sounding stuff in the world but at the end of the day an excuse is still just an excuse. I was what I was because I was weak and I’d forgotten how to actually deal with life. It was easier to be fried. And I learned you can do more evil to yourself than anybody else.

I think a good rule of thumb is to first, do no harm. To yourself and to anybody else. I try to be a good man and try to live an honorable life. I fail at times but I still try. Trying helps you rise above the ten million evils you might encounter everyday.

It doesn’t hurt to try, anyways.

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