Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Peanut Butter and Bacon Cookies (Gluten Free)

I'd happily roll myself in this while attempting to eat every bite.


Face it, bacon makes everything better and there is nothing quite like that salty, crispy manna from heaven to punch up the most mundane of flavors. When bacon collides with peanut butter, the results are unbelievable.

Today, I am starting a new public service, because, well, that's just the kind of guy that I am. You know little old me, I've always got your best interests at heart, just so long as they coincide with mine And so, without further ado, I bring you recipes that are simple, quick and easy; perfect for singles, students, stoners and lazy fucks like me. I know that f bomb was totally unnecessary, but that's okay, we (meaning me) talk a lot of shit  around here. 

My very first recipe for you is simple, easy and gluten free. The fact that it's beyond good is amazing and best of all, you'll only need six ingredients that virtually every single student, stoner and lazy fuck has lying around in their kitchen.

Peanut Butter and Bacon Cookies (Gluten Free)

Preheat your oven to 350

Ingredients

1 cup gluten free peanut butter (I like Skippy, it's damn Skippy!)

1 cup sugar or equivalent 

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract (don't cheap out, use the real stuff; the flavor makes a huge difference)

12 oz bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I usually use a pound, but I eat some of it) 

2 tbsp bacon grease (just recycle some from the bacon pan)

That's it, six ingredients. No flour. There's absolutely nothing else to get between you and your bacon and peanut butter fix.

You can also add other variations, such as chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or whatever else your little heart desires, princess.

Now, mix that shit up. Mix it. Mix it real good.

You're going to need a cookie sheet. Do you even know where it is? Stoners, now is a good time to try and find one. ;)

Drop the dough, by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the cookie tray about two inches apart and then mash the cookies down with a fork, making the pound sign #.

Put the tray in the oven. Don't forget to close the door. Set the timer for ten minutes, pull out the tray and let them cool. 

Repeat, as necessary.

If you want to be all extra fancy, you can dip the cookies in melted chocolate and/or garnish them with mini strips of bacon.  Good stuff.

I had some pics of the process, but can't seem to find them anywhere. Oh, well. Next time I make some of these, I'll take some new pics and update this.

And now for some important stuff (I was going to type shit, but I didn't. You should be really fucking proud of me) that you really need to know about bacon:

Bacon is supposed to be unhealthy:


Yet somehow it's nourishing. I like that explanation better.



There are all kinds of wonderful things that you can do with bacon. Some wonderful examples include apple pie:


Apple Pie recipe is excerpted from Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe cookbook and is available here: http://www.lovelesscafe.com/recipes/bacon-apple-pie/

Baby Formula:
http://www.jdfoods.net/

Breakfast:

The Bacon Weave Breakfast Taco
http://dudefoods.com/the-bacon-weave-breakfast-taco/

Bacon Guinness Chocolate Pancakes
Recipe: http://geekslovebacon.com/bacon-guinness-chocolate-pancakes/

Bacon and Egg Cupcakes
Recipe: http://kirbiecravings.com/2011/09/bacon-egg-breakfast-cups.html

Burgers:

The 'Merica Burger
https://slaters5050.com/

Candles:

http://www.yankeecandle.com/

Mac & Cheese:

Mac And Cheese BaconWeave Taco
http://dudefoods.com/the-double-decker-mac-cheese-stuffed-bacon-weave-taco/

Mouthwash:

http://www.scopemouthwash.com/bacon/

Pie:

Chocolate Bacon Pecan Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream
http://bacontoday.com/chocolate-bacon-pecan-pie-with-chocolate-whipped-cream/

Potato Chips:

I have yet to find these in any store and have no idea what they taste like. I don't think they really exist.

A limited time offering that is only available at Wal-Mart. A can full of true deliciousness.

S'mores:

Bacon S'mores? Yes, Please!
http://dudefoods.com/smores-bacon/

Soap:


Soda:

As if the idea of a bacon soda wasn't weird enough, they also feature flavors such as Buffalo Wing, Sweet Corn, Coffee, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Pumpkin Pie and Ranch Dressing (shudders)
http://www.rocketfizz.com/lesters/

And finally, Tacos:

The Bacon Weave Taco
http://dudefoods.com/bacon-weave-taco/

It's bacon, ffs, how can you go wrong?



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

They Call It Mellow Yellow

The flow of information at our fingertips today is almost beyond comprehension. You can find anything you want or desire on the Internet. And when I say anything, I do mean anything. There are no limits.

It wasn't always like this.

Back when I was a kid, if you wanted information, you became a human search engine. While it was still possible to conduct your search without leaving home, your search was generally limited to antiquated options such as three to five channel television (yes, there really was such a thing), newspapers, magazines and books, usually old-fashioned things once known as encyclopedias. If you needed more than just basic information, you would actually have to leave the house and go to a book store, where you could buy books or you'd have to walk uphill, both ways, barefoot in the snow, to a magical wonderland called the library, where you could find the information that you needed, sometimes involving pre-computer technology such as card catalogs (shudders) and microfilm (pretty cool, actually). Does all of this sound like a giant pain in the ass to you? Let me assure you, it sure as shit was.

In the modern era, having all of this information at your fingertips could enable you to do some great and amazing things.

At the very least, it could keep you from doing some incredibly stupid shit...

It was during the great weed drought of 1983 and it was drier than a ninety year old woman's vagina. No matter how hard you tried, cried, or begged; no matter how much you were willing to spend, there was no pot to be found. It was heartbreaking and cruel; stoners were begging in the streets and selling themselves for seeds and stems. Dealers wouldn't even bother to answer their pagers and you knew, you just fucking knew that those motherfuckers were holding out on you. You could just picture them in your mind's eye, toking away and laughing while their pagers blew up. Everyone was crying the blues, even my first string, all star pot dealer was asking me if I could hook him up. My second string guy was all hustle with no bustle (I'll bet he's still waiting for that fucking phone call) and even my dealer of last resort, the guy who was such an asshole that he was tolerated only in the most desperate of times. You know the guy I'm talking about, the super-sized sleazy dirtball who overcharges, under delivers and always comes up short. The douchebag that leaves you feeling soiled. That motherfucker. The city had become a barren wasteland; it was like pot had completely ceased to exist.

Luckily, my friend Luke and I believed in leaving no stone unturned in our quest for pharmacological relief. I searched hither and yon,while Luke turned the city upside down and inside out in our holy quest for the Lord's herb. I don't recall how or why it came to be, but Luke caught wind of a book titled, "The Anarchist Cookbook," written by a man named William Powell.



"The Anarchist Cookbook," is chock full of fun ideas, directions, instructions and recipes for useful and practical things, such as weapons, booby traps, explosives and homemade drugs, including lsd.

The book actually has an FBI file. Check it out:


Let me state for the record that we never, ever, ever made any of the explosives, or blew up tons of shit in Luke's backyard and we certainly never made napalm, nope, not us, although I'm sure that it would have been a lot of fun. I'd swear my innocence on a stack of fucking Bibles.

However, we did maybe, kind of, sort of, might have tried a few of the drug recipes.

Hell, what we did was pretty tame, compared to some of the lengths that people will go to in order to catch a buzz.

***WARNING - THE FOLLOWING EXPERIMENTS WERE CONDUCTED BY TWO COMPLETELY UNTRAINED MORONS. KIDS, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

No, we didn't try to get high from scorpions. Maybe if we had seen this.


Dude, hold my nuts.

The plan was very simple. Luke's parents were out of town for the weekend and we were going to engineer our own little designer drug factory. The very first thing that we tried to do was to get high from smoking peanut skins (it's a very simple recipe, but very time consuming, cracking and peeling all of the peanuts). I know that sounds stupid and it was. Incredibly stupid. No, that still doesn't do it justice. How about incredibly fucking stupid? Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I can't tell you how incredibly fucking stupid we felt while doing this, but we tried it anyway, mostly because we were incredibly fucking stupid. We were desperate and I wasn't about to sell my body for a buzz. I'm not that cheap of a whore. Cheap? Yes. Whore? Yes again, but I usually hold out for at least a fucking Happy Meal.

Irrefutable Evidence

Getting high with the psychedelic peanut: 

1. Take 1 pound of raw peanuts (not roasted). 
2. Shell them, saving the skins and discarding the shells. 
3. Eat the nuts. 
4. Grind up the skins and smoke them.

We cracked the nuts, shed the skins, ate a bunch of fucking peanuts and then ground the skins, rolling up about eight joints of peanut skins. I fired up the first joint, inhaled and almost immediately coughed a lung across the fucking room. I can still hear the disgustingly wet sound that it made when it hit the wall, or maybe I just shit my pants. It was a loud "splat," okay? With tears streaming down my face and my lungs on fire, I passed the doobie over to Luke, who immediately hacked up his entire respiratory system. It was pretty fucking gross. I still couldn't even form words, but after catching our collective breath, we both agreed it was a pretty smooth smoke. Please watch the video below for a more accurate description of the experience.

Nothing beats a little lung butter...

Somehow, we managed to smoke all eight joints of peanut skins and lived to tell the tale. It was like an endurance contest to see who was the biggest dipshit, neither one of us willing to give up or give in, in front of the other. We waited to see what the effects would be like. We waited and waited and then we fucking waited some more. We tried to convince ourselves that we were stoned. We tried to talk ourselves into being stoned and at one point, Luke even claimed to see a few happy trails, but all that I could see through my still watering eyes was disappointment and a large fucking pile of raw peanut skins.

Being the intrepid drug pioneers (that sounds much nicer than calling ourselves complete fucking morons, doesn't it?) that we were, we smoked the rest of the skins, too. Still nothing. 

You know what they say though, if at first you don't succeed, try something even more incredibly fucking stupid. And so we did. It was almost like we had to. The Lord works in mysterious ways.





The gloves were now off as we moved straight to the hard stuff on our fast and furious road trip to Hell and let me tell you, it wasn't paved with any good fucking intentions, either. Banana peels. No, it wasn't paved with fucking banana peels, you fuckwad, pay attention. In our crazed lust for drugs, we tried the ultimate horror of horrors, one of the most addictive and dangerous substances on Earth. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but yes, yes, fucking yes, we tried to smoke banana peels. I'm even more ashamed to admit the things I've done for a Klondike bar, in the back of an ice cream truck, but let's not go there, the memories are still too fresh and painful. Oh, and don't approach me with a sugar cone, either, it gets bad, very bad. Don't judge me, I was young and incredibly fucking stupid, but now I'm a lot older. I'm still incredibly fucking stupid, but I have a lot more experience at it. It takes a lot of dedication and hard fucking work to be this incredibly fucking stupid. I almost broke into a sweat once, because I had to concentrate really hard and come up with an answer to a yes or no question. Potato is always a handy word to use in situations like that. People and their fucking questions.

The peanut skins turned out to be just another gateway drug. A gateway to broken promises and a life unfulfilled. A one-way trip to a skid row destination. Living in a van down by the river was just a short hop, skip and a jump away.

The night after the great peanut skin doobie debacle, we decided to try the recipe for Bananadine.



Getting Buzzed with Bananas:

1. Obtain 15 pounds of ripe yellow bananas. 
2. Peel all and eat the fruit. Save the peelings. 
3. Scrape all the insides of the peels with a sharp knife. 
4. Put all the scraped material in a large pot and add water. 
5. Boil 3 or 4 hours until it has attained a solid paste consistency.
6. Spread paste onto cookie sheets and dry in oven for about 20 minutes. 

This will result in fine black powder. 

Usually one will feel the effects after smoking three to four cigarettes.

We should have waited for the Internet.

Fifteen fucking pounds of bananas. Seriously? Just a normal, everyday purchase that definitely wouldn't raise any eyebrows, right? We were off to the grocery store like two dumbasses running from the bulls at Pamplona. You know, the ones you see on television or YouTube and you just know they're going to take it in the nuts. Hell, at least it wasn't Jenkem. You might not want to click that...


There was a small issue, it was well after midnight and all of the regular grocery stores were long closed, but not too far away was an XTRA, which is/was a 24 hour grocery store that was only slightly out of the way, meaning that it was way, way out of the way, but we were going to get our fifteen fucking pounds of bananas, like it was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbows that I shit out of my ass. 

We get to the store and throw a quarter in the cart. I've always thought that was a crock of shit. Like I'm really going to walk all the way back to the fucking store to retrieve my quarter. Fucking thieves. I call it the lazy motherfucker tax, with me being the lazy motherfucker.


We walk into the store and are immediately in the produce section, which is a good thing, because that's where we needed to be. It's just a few feet to the display of bananas.

There's another small issue. There are no scales. How the fuck are we supposed to know when we have fifteen fucking pounds of bananas? No matter, we've got visions of banana skins dancing in our heads.




We decided to just pile the cart up with bananas. At twenty-five cents a pound, it's not like we were going to break the bank. We bought every single fucking banana that they had and nothing else. Just a cart full of fucking bananas. No worries, it's normal behavior, right?. Time to check out.

When we first got to the store it was around one am and the place was empty, but somehow in the two minutes that it took for us to load up the cart, every asshole and their brother had decided to go grocery shopping in the middle of the night and of course, there was only one cashier on duty and the line stretched all the way down the fucking aisle. I mean, who the fuck besides a pothead would go grocery shopping in the middle of the night? Apparently, every asshole and their fucking brother, that's who.

People are starting to notice us. For some reason, we're getting some really odd looks from people. For the life of me, I can't imagine why. It's just a few bananas. Can't a person go to the store and buy a few bananas to smoke? Apparently fucking not.

People started asking questions. We told them it was for a fraternity prank. There were no universities anywhere near us, but people will believe anything. They just shook their heads and smiled. People are fucking morons. Looking back, we should have told them it was for some weird monkey buttsex cosplay, but I'm not sure if that was even a thing back then. Cosplay, I mean. I'm pretty sure there's been plenty of monkey buttsex over the years.




It took us an hour to get to the register, where we had to endure more questions from the cashier, with the same, by now, tired old answer of it being a fraternity prank. Turns out we had misjudged a little bit on the weight. We didn't have fifteen pounds of bananas, we had twenty-seven pounds of fucking bananas. Fuck me running. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

We left the store and headed back to Luke's. It was starting to get very late, but we decided to forge ahead. 

We hadn't driven more than two blocks before we were pulled over by the cops. How do you explain twenty-seven pounds of fucking bananas to the cops?

Two officers walked around the car, trying to decide whether they were going to shoot us or not, I guess. They shined their flashlights all around the car and in our eyes, just being general dickheads, when one of them approached the driver's side window and asked Luke for his drivers license, insurance and registration. The other cop came up to my window and asked for my id, shining the flashlight into the backseat and settling its beam upon the bags of bananas.

"What's in the bags?" asked Officer Friendly #2.

"Groceries," I replied.

Officer Friendly #1, "Do you have any illegal drugs or weapons in your possession?"

"No," Luke answered.

"Mind if we take a look inside the car and and make sure there aren't any? We just want to check for everyone's safety."

Luke asked why we were pulled over and the cop mumbled some lame ass excuse. I'll bet they figured they were about to make a nice drug bust. Good luck with that, dumbass.

The cop again asked for permission to search the car, asking if we had something to hide. Luke smirked and told him to go ahead. The cops rifled through the car, making a mess and just being general assholes while leaving the bags of bananas for last. They searched through the bags finding nothing but twenty-seven pounds of fucking bananas.

"I thought you said there were groceries in the bags?" Officer Friendly #2 said.

"There are," I said. "We just bought them at the grocery store."

"But these are bananas," he replied.

Oh, we're talking genius level IQ's, with these two. How special.

"Why yes, they are. Last time I checked, bananas were considered groceries."

"What do you need so many bananas for?" said #2.

"To feed the fucking monkeys," I answered.

"Don't be an asshole," said the asshole cop. "This might still take a while. We need to run your id's and make sure there are no warrants for either of you."

I shut my big fucking mouth.

After harassing us for a few more minutes, the cops sullenly stalked back to their car and we drove off to Luke's house, giggling the entire way.

At least we had step one covered and we were able to move on to step two.

Peel and eat the fruit. Save the peelings.

Yeah, fuck that. Neither one of us was about to go through all of that, but we did consume a few, with the rest of the fruit tossed in the trash.

Step three! Woo-hoo!

Scrape all the insides of the peels with a sharp knife.

Surprisingly, this wasn't as much fun as it sounds. Surprisingly, no emergency room visit was involved. It was very time consuming. Can you imagine the fun and camaraderie that you'll share peeling and scraping twenty-seven pounds of fucking bananas? It was pure fucking bliss, let me tell you.

Step four - Put all the scraped material in a large pot and add water.

That part was pretty painless but the hour was growing late, very late. 

Step five!

Boil 3 or 4 hours until it has attained a solid paste consistency.

Wait... What? No fucking way. I guess we forgot about that part. We watched a movie on VHS and we watched a lot of water boiling. It was a shit ton of fun.

We boiled that shit for three hours and it was good and pasty. Meanwhile, the sun was peeking over the rooftops of the adjacent houses. We had been up all night for no sane reason and we still hadn't attained any result, but there was only one last step to go.

Yippee-ky-yay motherfucker.



Step Six

Spread the paste onto cookie sheets and dry in the oven for about 20 minutes. Twenty minutes. What's another twenty fucking minutes when you've already invested an entire goddamn night to a stupid fucking endeavor?

We spread the shit out onto the cookie sheets and pop them into the oven. By now, it was getting close to 7:00 am and we were both bone ass tired. Of course, Mr. Murphy had to pop his head in the door one more time before calling it a night, so of course, it took a lot longer than twenty fucking minutes to dry that shit out. It was more like forty-five fucking minutes, but who's keeping track? After the shit was dry enough, I pulled the dried peel scrapings out of the oven and put them aside to cool. I think we were both falling asleep at this point. We decided to get some rest and then take our banana peels for a test drive.

Luke went to his room and I crashed out on the bed in his sister's room. We both woke up around one o'clock and we wandered into the kitchen, prepared to smoke some Mellow Yellow.



If ever there was a WTF? moment, this certainly qualified as one of them.

Our shit was gone. All traces of criminal activity had been erased.

WTF? WTF? WTF?

No, seriously, WTF?

Our yellow gold was gone. The sick baby that I had nursed throughout the night had disappeared without a trace. What could I do? It's not like I could call the cops and report that my bananadine was missing. 

I looked at Luke and as long as I live, I'll never forget the words that I said to him, "What the fuck, dude?"

Just as I'll never forget his fucking reply, "Oh shit, dude, I forgot that the maid was coming today and I guess she cleaned everything up. Sorry."

Sorry? He was fucking sorry? That's some fucked up shit, right there. I had spent the entire fucking night laboring relentlessly toward the goal line, my eye on the prize, only to be cheated out of my moment of fucking glory and he was fucking sorry? FUCK! Luke, when you read this I want you to understand something, that is the one and only time that you came close to death at my hands. Admittedly, it wasn't very close, I mean, I'd have had to dig a hole, clean up the evidence and all that fucking jazz. Not to mention the fact that I'd be suspect numero uno and I know that I'd crack and my ass was just too pretty for prison. Besides there's a whole set of rules for that shit (Read - The Rules). Even more importantly, we all know that I'm much too lazy to be bothered with that shit. 

Luke looked at me and I swear to God, he actually asked me, "Do you want to try it again?"

Are you fucking kidding me? I shook my head no. Violently so.

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

"Who? Me? I'll just sit in the fucking corner and smoke my fucking disappointment."

At least I can console myself with this fun fact!


If you like this story, please try this one. Thanks!




Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's The Simple Things That Kill

“It's all very simple. But maybe because it's so simple, it's also hard.” 
― Natsuki Takaya



'They' tell us to appreciate the simple things.

Let's stop right there.

Who the fuck are 'they' and what exactly do 'they' know? Might as well tell me that you're from the government and how you're here to help me. I call bullshit; I've had enough of 'their' fuckery.

It's the simple things that will kill you. Trust me on this, I know better than you do. Seriously.

My shower tried to assassinate me, today. I know, it seems crazy, but it's true. It was like a crazed psycho ninja all hopped up on meth and lsd. I'd swear on a stack of bibles, if I believed in that shit. 

Let me start at the beginning.

I woke to the sound of rain. That sounds pretty ominous, or maybe it was just raining out. Whatever.
How about this? I woke to the sound of rain. I was wet, I was cold and more than a little disoriented. Slowly, memory returned...

Better?

Little did I know that death had been waiting for me, but I managed to escape from that fucker. Eloquent, even. I should write a fucking novel.


I had been in the shower, I knew this much. Pffft... It barely rates being called a shower. I'm a pretty average sized guy, but this thing is so small, I am constantly bumping and banging this or that in my efforts to maintain personal hygiene. It's more like a telephone booth that shoots water at you in an extreme of two temperatures; shrinkage fucking cold or burn your fucking balls off hot. So, I'm in the shower (which is trying to kill me; let's not lose sight of that small detail) and I accidentally knocked down one of my girlfriend's potions and lotions. No big deal, right? I bend down, pick it up and put it back where it belongs.


Simple, right?

Not exactly.

Here's where things go slightly awry and attempted murder ensues.

I bend down to pick up whatever bottle of bullshit that I had knocked over, accidentally hitting the faucet handle and sending the temperature setting of the water to nuclear reactor coolant hot. Fuck me, that shit was hot. As the skin was starting to peel off of my back and ass, I blindly reached my hand up to turn the water temperature back down only to succeed in somehow knocking an entire shelf of shampoo, conditioner and other crap on my cranium. It was like a fucking avalanche of bottles, one right after another, bouncing off my bald ass head. Meanwhile, my hand did manage to connect with the faucet handle and suddenly the water temperature was so cold that icicles were hanging from my balls like stalactites. Not cool. Even better, in my vain attempt to dodge the cascade of conditioner, I lost my balance and stumbled in to the shower door. No fucking bueno. Nope, no fucking bueno at all.


As the door gave way and I became airborne, I had the following thought...

No bueno.

It's a stall shower, but you get my point.


Just like Peter Fucking Pan.


Except... There was no fucking Tinker Bell, no fucking Wendy, no fucking Lost Boys and certainly, no fucking Indians. Fuck, I always had a thing for Tiger Lily.

Muy bueno,
No pirates, no pirate ship and no Captain Hook. There was a second star to the right, however. As a matter of fact, there were a lot of fucking stars that I saw when my head slammed into the bathroom counter. Come to think of it, I think I saw some Heffalumps and Woozles, too.


And that, my friends, is the last thing I remember before waking to the sound of rain.

Fucking glorious, but at least no one found me dead and naked. Thank goodness, for the little things.



Oh wait, those fucking things kill too...

Balls.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lest We Forget

The 9/11 Memorial
Click on the photo to see the full version.

I was in NYC not too long ago and I had a chance to take a look at the new World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial. The new tower awes and inspires; it serves as a monument to the American spirit. The memorial, however, was a different story. What should have been a place meant to pause quiet contemplation was instead massed by throngs of tourists surging forward to get the best selfies and cell phone pics. What really disturbed me were the large groups of Muslim families, all smiles, proudly standing on the site of a perverted Islam's most nefarious deed while they took their family photos.  

Want to see more?
http://phatsfotomat.blogspot.com/2014/11/one-world-trade-center-and-911-memorial.html

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's All You Need

When I first started writing this blog, I promised myself three things:

1          1)      I wouldn’t write about religion.
2
2          2)      I wouldn’t write about politics.
3
           3)      I would only write about things from my own life experiences.

I’ve kept those promises to myself, until now. Starting today, I’m going to break all three of those promises and I’m starting with religion, sort of and I’m going to do it by taking a potshot at one of the most basic tenets of Christianity.

Now, before anyone starts foaming at the mouth, let me sweeten the pot by going on record as an atheist. I don’t believe; I don’t have any faith. If you are a person of faith, don’t worry, I’m not trying to convert you to my point of view. I’m not the evangelical sort. I don’t care what you choose to believe in, that’s your right. I don’t have any problems with people of faith; I just don’t have any myself. I’m not persecuting anyone, so don’t freak out.

So, what’s this potshot all about? Well, it’s a phrase that Christians say all of the time, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Seriously, you guys say that shit all of the time. At least, I hear it a lot. Are you guys trying to tell me something? Well, I have a response for you.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. How is that supposed to work, exactly? You have to admit that it does seem a bit conflicting. Pay attention, my friends, because you’re sending mixed messages here.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Blech. I hate it; can’t freaking stand it. It’s a terrible, horrible phrase and should never be used. Luckily, we can fix it and I’m here to show you how. There’s no need to thank me, I’m here to help! Let’s look at the phrase again. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Well, you know what? That last part, that bit right after the comma, that hate the sin crap? It needs to go. No, seriously. It really needs to go. Don’t worry, Jesus never said it and it’s not in the Bible, so we can feel free to change things up a little. Come on, say it with me, “Love the sinner.” Period. It sends a much more simple and concise message, wouldn't you agree? Plus, you get an added bonus, you don’t have to hate anything or anyone; you’re no longer passing judgment. It’s a beautiful thing, right?

Well, sort of. I still don’t like it, so let’s fix it up a little more. Love the sinner. Hmm… Remember that whole passing judgment thing? You’re still doing it. No worries. I’m here to help, remember? Let’s look at this again and see if we can fix it. Like Bob the freaking Builder, "Yes we can!".

Since we’re no longer judging, why don’t we just go ahead and leave out that last part about ‘the sinner.’ It’s only two words, what’s the big deal? Well, it would leave us with just one word, wouldn’t it?
LOVE
Think about it. Love. It’s a pretty important word, wouldn’t you agree? Plus, it sounds much, much nicer and if you’re incredibly lazy, like me, it takes a lot less effort, because you’re no longer trying to do two things at once. It’s much less confusing and there’s no mixed message. It’s simple and it’s concise as well as elegant and eloquent. One simple word.
LOVE
Yeah, I like that. It’s all you need.


Friday, May 23, 2014

O' Brother, Where Art Thou?

My family moved around a lot, when I was a kid and the longest period of stability that I was to know until I was an adult was the four years that I spent in military school. We were like gypsies, always moving, never putting down roots. By the time that I was twenty-nine, I had lived in seven states, at least twenty-three different cities and gone to four different high schools. I had even lived in some of those cities multiple times over the years. That’s a lot of moving around.
When I was sixteen, my family moved back to Philadelphia, for the fourth time. I don’t remember why, exactly; maybe it was for me to have that long sought stability, maybe it was for me to go to college, or maybe it was just to indulge me. Who knows? I was just happy to be anywhere but Florida and even more importantly, for the first time since fourth grade, I now had my very own bedroom. It might not seem like much, but if you’ve never really had one, it’s a beautiful thing. The only thing that I needed in order for my happiness to be complete was for the moving van to arrive and for my motorcycle to be offloaded. It was spring and the days had been clear and warm; I couldn’t wait to go for a ride.
When that happy day arrived, I set about washing and waxing my baby, to get her ready for her inaugural ride through Philadelphia. As I was finishing up, one of the neighbors from across the street meandered over to introduce himself. As I saw him walking over, I took his measure and was struck with this uncanny sense of déjà vu. I knew this guy from somewhere, although where I didn’t know, His face was eerily familiar and I also felt something else; a vague sense of something wrong. I was instantly on guard.
The guy introduced himself as Michael and we shook hands. As we were talking, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d seen him before, that I knew him from somewhere. Michael looked so familiar and I don’t know what it was about him, but he made me feel very uncomfortable. We chatted for a bit and I told him that we had just moved up from Florida and that I would be starting college, in the fall. I really don’t remember any of the things that he said until he spoke the following words, “Steve, I haven’t been completely honest with you and there’s something important that I have to tell you.”
“Oh shit,” I thought, “I knew there was something wrong. This guy’s gay and he’s hitting on me. Why does this kind of shit always have to happen to me?”
I had no idea just how wrong I could be.
“I’m your brother, Michael,” he confessed. He then pointed back in the direction that he came from and said, “And over there is your sister, Sandy and your mother, Barbara.”
Holy shit! Yeah, I say that a lot.
Maybe I should have mentioned that I’m adopted. By my grandparents. Strange shit and an even stranger story. I’ll get around to telling it, one day.
“Holy shit!” I thought, my mind finally making the connections. “No wonder he looks so familiar, he looks just like me!” And he did. It was uncanny; we could almost have passed for twins. It also explained my uneasiness.
Michael went on to tell me that he hadn’t seen me since I was a toddler and that when the three of them had realized just who the new neighbors were, they had become very excited.
I did not share in their excitement.
How was it even remotely possible that we had moved across the street from these people? The odds had to be billions to one and yet, here it was. There is a special word that I save for occasions such as this one. It was a complete and total mindfuck.To say that I was less than thrilled, would be putting it mildly.
While I recovered from these thrilling revelations, Michael really opened up, telling me how he and Sandy had thought that they would never see me again and that they could hardly believe that it was really me. He told me that they hoped that we could get to know each other, that maybe we could be friends and perhaps, given enough time, we might even learn to be a family.
I looked into his eyes and I saw hope and I saw something else. I think I also saw fear, reflected back at me.
Just for the record, as mentioned above, I am adopted by my grandparents and the events surrounding my adoption literally tore my family apart. There are some serious skeletons, in the old family closet. The story is long, complicated and filled with tales of abuse, attempted murder, abandonment, neglect, foster care, kidnapping and lots of other fun, family activities. I won’t delve deeper into that, not now and not here. I don’t know why I was spared while Michael and Sandy were condemned to their lives, but I’d heard many stories about them, none of them good. Tales of alcoholism, addiction and worse, ran rampant throughout my family. They were said to be nothing but trouble and were not to be trusted.
My parents were never able to give me an adequate explanation as to why they chose just me. The best that I ever got from them was that Michael and Sandy had been exposed to the insanity for too long; they had seen too much and were themselves already exhibiting signs of mental instability. My parents went on to explain that they thought that I was young enough to still have a chance. Their reasoning has never sat well with me, nor has it ever made any sense whatsoever, but they also thought that my life was in extreme danger, at the time. I guess that in the end, they did the best they could and made the best choice they thought possible, when looking at a catalog of bad choices. And sometimes, if it smells like bullshit, that’s because it probably is.
In the end, I too, had nothing but bad choices. Although these people were related to me in a biological sense, they certainly weren’t my family; quite the opposite, they were complete strangers to me and I didn’t owe them anything. And what about my parents? What would they think? How would they feel? Wouldn’t they see this as treason, as the ultimate act of betrayal that it would be? What about me? What about what I was thinking or feeling or even what it was that I wanted? Did this complete and total stranger have any right to intrude upon my life?
I had already made my decision. I did what I thought was best at the time and now, more than thirty years later, I still think that I made the right choice, but for one short-lived moment of regret.
I’m sorry,” I said, “but I can’t.”
In that moment, in those five words, I saw all hope fade from Michael’s eyes, only to be replaced by a depth of unknown loss and sadness the likes of which I had never seen before and rarely since.
“I can’t do this,” I continued. “Not now and maybe not ever. Regardless of the past, this is my family and for better or for worse, this is the only life that I know. I would never do anything to harm my family, Michael. I’m sorry, I truly am.”
The expression that crossed his face has haunted me for years.
Michael started to say something else, but only a sigh escaped his lips as he turned to go. What it was that he wanted to say I will never know; perhaps I’m better off not knowing. It was pitiful, watching him walk away like that, head down, with his hands in his pockets, looking for all the world like a beaten dog. If he would have had a tail, it would have been between his legs as he scurried off. I can’t even begin to tell you how terrible that made he feel and yet, at the same time, I felt so relieved.
After a few minutes, I went back into my own house and told my parents what had happened. They totally freaked out, but calmed down after a bit and they asked me how this had made me feel. For a moment, I was shocked, because my parents had never before asked me how I had felt about anything. You see, in my family, emotion was seen as a sign of weakness; we didn’t have “feelings”. After recovering from my second shock of the day, I told them that I was more than a little freaked out, myself.
Things got a little weird, after that. You know, as if they weren’t weird enough already.
Michael, Sandy and Barbara would sit on their front steps (they lived in adjoining row homes) and just stare at our house. Talk about uncomfortable; I felt like I was being stalked and it was really, really creepy. We started to avoid the front of the house. We kept the shades and curtains drawn on the front windows. We started parking in the alley around back and using the back door, instead of the front one. No one in this house, it seemed, was willing to confront the ghosts of the past.
After a few months of this, my parents asked me if I wanted to move. I couldn’t say yes, fast enough. Hell, I would have gone back to Florida, if they had asked me to. My parents took a lease on this huge, luxury apartment, that was just incredible. They put the house on the market, taking a huge loss, when it sold, but they seemed as eager to get out of there as I was. They never said another word about it. With my parents, when something was over, it was over and you forgot all about it, unless it was something that you did to piss them off; they’d never shut up about stuff like that. I was in my late 30’s and my mother was still bitching about things that I did when I was twelve. Even worse, the woman has been dead for years and I still hear her bitching at me.
Family. What a strange and wonderful thing that can be and what a terrible and tormented thing it can be, as well. Originally, this post was going to be about family; about redemption, forgiveness and second chances, but as I started to write about those very things, the words just stopped flowing and I found myself thinking back to this story instead, but it still ties in. Family has to be more than just blood, or the flesh of my flesh and that of my once beloved. There has to be a bond, something that with the best of people, you feel right away; some sort of connection. You feel connected to your family and accept them as family. I felt no connection to those people; I felt nothing for them, other than pity. Well, they also made me feel pretty creeped out, too.
I thought that I had seen the last of Michael, Sandy and Barbara when we moved away, but little did I know that I would run into all three of them again, a decade later and a thousand miles away, but that’s yet another story.
I know that some of you will think that I was unnecessarily cruel, that day. Some of you will think that I made the wrong decision. All I can say is that time has proven my decision to be the correct one. I know that many people who are adopted long to find their birth parents, for whatever reason and that’s fine. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why someone would want to find the people that didn’t want them, but that’s just how I feel. I don’t judge, I just don’t understand. I’ve never met my biological father. Well, I have, but I haven’t seen him since I was seventeen months old, so I just don’t remember him, which is a good thing. I’ve unwillingly met the rest of my birth family; perhaps things might have worked out differently, if I’d been given a choice. Giving birth to a child doesn’t automatically make you a parent. It’s the people who raise you and love you that matter. That’s what being a parent is.
These many years later, I look back and I feel a little guilty, as I second guess myself. Was I too hasty? Should I have given Michael and Sandy a chance? After all, they had never done anything to me. They were innocent children at the time of my adoption and if anything, Sandy had tried to protect me from my birth parents. From the stories that my own parents told me, she was a hero. All that they were asking for was a chance to get to know their brother. Was I right? Was I wrong? I don’t know and I never will.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention Barbara.
The last I’d heard, Sandy was living on the opposite side of the state from me and Michael fell off the face of the Earth years ago. We had some mutual friends and no one has ever heard from him; he just disappeared. If I wanted to and if he’s still alive, I’m sure that I could track him down, but I’ve never had the desire to look for him. I’ve also heard that Barbara is long in her grave and perhaps that is where this whole matter is best left, in its grave, with all of the other dead things.
Life is really strange, sometimes.
I had a few people proofread this story for me. I was looking for errors in spelling and grammar, as well as any issues with the story itself. Hopefully, everything has been corrected, but any mistakes are mine and mine alone, although I sometimes will intentionally use improper grammar. In the course of this proofreading, I was asked if this story was true and if we really did move across the street from my birth family. Here is what I have to say about this:
All of my stories are true. If I make something up, I will tell you in the story, but every word of these stories are true, unless otherwise noted. The events in this story really happened. We really moved directly across the street from my birth family. The odds against this happening have to be beyond calculation and yet it happened. As I said earlier, it was a complete and total mindfuck.
Questions, questions, I’m so full of freaking questions…
What do you think? Did I make the right choice? Would you have done something differently?
Are you adopted? Have you searched for your birth parents? Did you find them? How did that work out for you? Was it worth it?
Begging and pleading for attention…
As always, comments, questions, criticisms and insults are always welcome and encouraged.
Thanks, for reading and for coming back.