Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Year Zero... Part 2"

It's the last Friday of the month... and with it, the second installment of "a feature within a feature".

A semi-personal reflection on the present...

Part 2 of a “feature within a feature”.

Time runs out

No matter how much of it you have, no matter how hard you try to give it structure and order and meaning, time runs out. However cluttered or empty your to do list, how early or late you start, eventually... time calls you a fucking idiot.

It’s not that time waits for no man, it’s that time mocks man. For the atheist, time is God... a deity without pleasing... taking from him everything until that day when either God or time, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time. For the true believer, time is the Devil... the adversary of their souls... opposing every righteous plan until that day when time or God, depending on your view, takes from you that last, most precious thing... the rest of your time.

But in the end, the atheist and the true believer are left to lie down in the same dirt together, each ultimately sharing the other’s fate. Because in the end, and having been both... I know that they, whether they accept it or not... are both the same.

Looking forward

Who wants more than the man with nothing? Yeah, a real Zen riddle. Who wants more? Maybe it’s the man with everything.

The man with little tends to see only what’s in front of him... next meal, next beer, next crap. His desires are as simple as his needs... a place to live, food to eat, and the means with which to have them. It’s only when he has the options of choice that things complicate, and the clutter of his own mind begins to slow his ability to respond to the most rudimentary questions, like, “Do I wear the black shirt or the white?” and, "Do I have sausage or bacon with my toast and jam?” Screw the real questions that could be asked and answered with all the energy wasted on thoughts of Cheerios vs. Frosted Flakes, Chevron vs. Shell, or Twitter vs. Facebook. Life is graded pass/fail for no other reason than so few of its students could afford the tuition, so most of us just drop out with the hope to one day get our GED.

The man with everything, having everything to lose, can’t afford the one luxury of the one thing he cannot buy... the time for looking back. Because to maintain all that he has acquired, the man with everything can only move forward, always... like the shark he has become. To “…swim, and eat, and make little sharks” is the limit of his life. And the irony that attached itself to him like the remora on the shark’s back is that if he stops moving forward, like the shark, he will die.

Looking back

The man with nothing, changes. Not the nothing of living in a cardboard box and eating used burgers from a dumpster... but the nothing of a bled-out soul. As in a, “…the only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open” kind of nothing. Unable to look forward, because you’re not yet done being emptied of the sludge that passes for blood in your veins... Unable to look back, because that part of your life is dead, and has begun to smell like three-day road kill in the breakdown lane of the I-5 between Bakersfield and Fresno.

And because of this, you wait… with your eyes fixed on the wounds that you pray will free you from the putrefaction of the only thing you can remember doing for so long, that you can know nothing else...

Looking back.

If past is prologue, then what the fuck is this?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday On Friday - "At A Loss For Words"

“Where have you been all my life?”

I always wanted to ask you that question. For so long I was afraid... afraid of your reaction, afraid of your words, afraid if I asked you would just send me away... alone. Every word inside me wanting to blurt out at once without benefit of punctuation or breath... every thought, ill-formed and badly defined, needing expression, but lacking the capacity.

Because I am at a loss for words.

“Come closer, I need to see your face.”

I waited so long for this moment to arrive... the childish reasons, the stupid hesitation... now eyes grown dim with the passing of time. I knew your face once, when I was much younger... every lineless curve, not yet aged with the character of years, so full of promise... and I left you behind. And while I was distracted by every passing urgent need, you never forgot.

And now, I am at a loss for words.

“What was I even thinking?”

Going my way... playing at being a man, making decisions like a child... and questioning every one. Thinking didn't help... never could. What you could have shown me. Thinking what was distant and unseen would be better than what was right in front of me. More than youth is wasted on the young... sometimes it’s the wasted future, and the dreams, the fucking dreams... all dry to the touch and dusty with the years, and ready to blow away. Wishing that the past was now, and I had just followed my heart when it was all so temporarily clear,
and I was temporarily insane.

Would you forgive me if I am at a loss for words?

“Tell me it’s not too late.”

How often I would have asked that question, but you weren’t there because I sent you away. You said you understood, and I was glad at the time. The sooner I could be forgotten by you, the better it would be for me. I had unimportant things to do, and had to be about them and soon... because you had expectations and commitment is never for the young... until you’re old, and it’s too late. Reality called, and it wants my life back.

And it reminds me that I am at a loss for words.

“I was wrong.”

There, I said it. I want you back and I had to say it, finally, like you needed it... like I wanted you to know back when there was only us. But you moved on, and the words were gone.

And I am at a loss.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday On Friday - "Side Effects May Include..."

Are you taking prescription medications? If you are, you may want to read this article as soon as possible. Your life may depend on it.

Bill Friday is on vacation. Please enjoy this blast from Friday past.

No one likes to feel stupid. That's probably why the furniture with the funny names from Ikea comes with assembly instructions in 47 different languages. Probably why, if you've ever stood in line at the pharmacy inside Kaiser-Permanente, you know that the most thoroughly explained part of your managed care experience is the two minutes you spent listening to the pharmacist tell you what to do - and not do - with your prescription. If Heath Ledger had spent two minutes with the pharmacist at Kaiser instead of several private physicians spread out over three continents, he might still be with us today.

As cautious drinkers know not to mix the grape with the grain, and post-Belushi nug smugglers know not to combine heroin and cocaine, so now every actor from Manhattan to Manhattan Beach knows OxyContin and Vicodin, Valium and Xanax, Restoril and Unisom don't mix.

And don't think you're safe just because you haven't formed the habit of mixing your meds. A whole slew of "safe when used as directed", FDA approved medications - target-marketed toward YOU - are being sold and sold and sold again through incredibly innovative radio and television ad campaigns. You've seen them. You've sung along to them.

Catchy, sure. But maybe also a little misleading.

What follow is a little "advertising between-the-lines". The things you won't hear when Side Effects May Include...

(cue music intro)
"We're not gonna take it... NO!, we ain't gonna take it!... We're not gonna take it... ANYMORE!"

(up-beat female announcer)

"Introducing YAZ, the first birth control pill marketed exclusively for the viewers of the mindless reality programs Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardassians. YAZ contains the same hormones as regular birth control pills, but with MORE of the exciting reality generation side effects than any other oral contraceptive.

"Use YAZ according to directions and you too may experience... symptoms of a MASSIVE HEART ATTACK... symptoms of FUGU POISONING... symptoms of a STROKE... symptoms of BOWEL and LIVER CANCER... and, of course, symptoms of CLINICAL DEPRESSION!

"Ask your doctor if sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden headache, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech or balance is right for you. If stomach pain, chest pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, breast pain, loss of scalp hair, vaginal itching or discharge is right for you, then YAZ is right for you. Check it out for yourself at or ask someone who's nearly died from it."

(cue music outro)

"We're not gonna take it... NO!, we ain't gonna take it!... We're not gonna..."

(celebrity voice impersonation of Michael Clarke Duncan)

"Men, you've tried, craigslist, J-Date, even E-Harmony, but still haven't found... the woman of your dreams. With increased competition on Internet dating sites, and the growing Federal restrictions making on-line purchases of Rohypnol more and more difficult, we at the Flunitrazepam Advocacy Group believe it's time to take chemical romance in a whole new direction.

"Introducing... ROPINIROLE. Once used exclusively to treat the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome, ROPINIROLE is the only FDA approved medication proven to cause increased sexual urges in double-blind, clinical trials. Women taking ROPINIROLE have been shown to regularly engage in obsessive/compulsive high risk behaviors such as A PATHOLOGICAL URGE TO GAMBLE... INCREASED SEXUAL URGES... HYPERSEXUALITY... other UNUSUAL URGES AND BEHAVIORS.

"With more and more clinical evidence becoming available daily, we at the Flunitrazepam Advocacy Group believe that ROPINIROLE, when used as directed, has the potential to become the Roofie of the new millennium.

"If you want to know if ROPINIROLE is right for you or your partner, or if you would like information on how to become a distributor of ROPINIROLE in your area, log on to to find out more.

"ROPINIROLE. Much more than medicine... it's a new way of life."

Finally, the mother of all Side Effects May Include... warnings, courtesy of NOZULLA.


"At Gene Enterprises, we've harnessed the power of the human gene so you can say good-bye to your allergies forever with new NOZULLA. NOZULLA may cause the following symptoms:

"Itchy rashes... Full body hair loss... Projectile vomiting... Gigantic eyeball... The condition known as "hot dog fingers"... Children born with the head of a golden retriever... Seeing the dead... Bone liquefication... Possession by the Prince of Darkness... Tail growth... Elderly pregnancy...

Now enjoy the video one (okay, fifty) more time(s).