Say the word ‘suicide’ and it feels nasty coming out of your mouth. The implications of the word are terrifying, that someone would hate life so much that they would choose to end it. It can’t be so bad, right? I mean, there is nothing in this world so terrible that it would drive someone to that definitive act, one that cannot be taken back no matter how desperately the survivors wish it was so. In a word: no. It happens every day whether we like it or not.
This blog is a eulogy of sorts, I guess, but I am dedicating it to more than one person. The reason I endeavor to do this is because the theme is universal; we all know someone who has taken their own life and we are left in the wake of their passing scratching our heads, wondering why. There is always a reason, although some choose not to expound upon it by leaving the prerequisite note. Sometimes the reason is simply implied, something we gather from extenuating circumstances.
A few days ago a man I knew from my hometown of DePere, Wisconsin, chose to take his own life. I do not know the manner in which he did it, all I know is that the deed was done. He left behind a girlfriend and two foster children and countless friends. I had not seen him for over two decades yet had spoken with him on the phone about sixteen months ago, regarding the passing of one of his dogs. I’d sent out a group message on Facebook advertising the release of my latest novel and when he got it he took it to be personal in nature and messaged me back that he was down because his dog had died. I could commiserate, having worked with animals for the last fifteen years, and told him to call me anytime, leaving him my number. He didn’t call me that day, but did so a few months later and we talked for almost an hour about various things: companion animals, bands, concerts, people we mutually knew, the city we grew up in etc. I felt good about it afterward, that he had reached out to me, even though he and I had never been what could be construed as ‘good’ friends. Mostly, in high school, we rode to school together with another guy who had a car and we took part in illicit activities that bonded us better than words sometimes can. I don’t know much else about him except that we always got along; he was a nice guy, I can honestly say I don’t think he had any enemies. After high school I left that little town for a big city (big in comparison: Milwaukee) and never saw him again. About five years ago we became friends on Facebook and later the above-mentioned correspondence occurred.
He isn’t the only person I know that has committed suicide. A friend (someone I knew much better in high school, a kid I’d played in a band with) killed himself in 2006, for reasons unknown to me. Not that it should come as a surprise; I hadn’t spoken with him since the early 90’s when I ran into him at a bar in Green Bay and the thing I remember about it was him telling me that I was lucky I got out of there, meaning DePere. Small town life shouldn’t be considered a death sentence, but to him it was, I guess. As with this most recent case I have no idea what his method was, only that it happened. So that is why I say that I dedicate this to more than one person, and what the hell I’ll also dedicate it to myself.
I’ve often fantasized about suicide, being of a creative nature and a man who seems to be in a near constant state of ‘finding’ himself. I am a failed musician, a so far failed writer…I have tried and failed a lot of things in my life but sometimes I feel intrinsically that I would succeed at suicide if I ever so choose to take that route. It takes a certain amount of dedication to carry it out though (and a lot of guts to boot, no matter how ‘cowardly’ the act may seem), and so far (fortunately) I lack the courage.
With that said I am glad that I always find a reason not to do it, and I wish these two men had found that reason as well. But, going further down the rabbit hole, maybe they are happier where they are. I don’t believe we should impose our will on others, making them live when they don’t have the strength to. If someone wants to do it than it is their choice, end of story. Of course I agree with the old saying ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem’ but who are we to place sanctions on people’s lives, who are we to judge?
Coinciding with this man’s suicide (coincidentally?) I am presently reading ‘Heavier Than Heaven’ the biography of Kurt Cobain. I’ve had suicide on my mind as of the past week and it is unpleasant that I should encounter it first hand, via someone I once knew. It always hurts much more when you can put a real face on it, when it was someone you laughed and talked and hung out with, no matter how much time has passed since you’ve seen them. The ghostly image of the obituary photo from 2006 still resonates with me; in fact I came across it last week while digging through a box looking for something else. In the photo he is smiling, happy, but the untold story was the darkness in his heart of a future deed he would perpetrate while all along everyone around him probably thought he was fine.
But all that aside, here is to you guys (I am figuratively raising a glass in a toast) and I hope that wherever you are (be it in an ‘afterlife’ or simply in the ground) that you have finally found peace. Amen.
Category Archives: creative artists
Author photo courtesy of Aline Hernandez…
Having realized that most blogs people read are either about sports, politics, science or how to get others to read your blog I have given up the fantasy that anyone will read this, but I will continue this forum anyway despite such drawbacks. And what the hell, right? Can’t hurt. So without further adieu here is my latest post, announcing my newest book, the Sci/Fi speculative fiction masterpiece ‘Glitch In The Machine’. This book will be available in May as an ebook on Amazon.com, followed by the print edition in the summer of 2014. Here is the hook:
In an era of mandatory health insurance, why are everyone’s claims being denied?
It’s 2025 and America is a shell of it’s former self, staffed by a puppet government run by overseas despots and dictators. Big business has taken over, in particular health insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations and weapons manufactures. The population is now divided between the 99%’ers and the 1%’ers, with food, drug and product testing no longer a part of the government’s social programs. In fact, there are no social programs anymore; government involvement has come to a standstill, defeated by their overlord’s crushing greed. For the 99%’ers this a nightmare world of unregulated food and drugs, one in which they are legally required to have health insurance if they wish to see a doctor, but inevitably will find their health insurance claims are regularly denied because of various ‘technicalities’. Enter Floyd Jasper, a hired killer trained by the 1% wealthy elite to sniff out fraudulent health care claims submitted by the impoverished 99%’ers and initiate a termination sequence…on their lives, that is.
His job, should he choose to accept it (and he did, oh hell yeah) is to mete out justice as he sees fit in a hail of bullets or a well-placed twist of his bone handled ‘killing knife’. He is good at what he does, a veritable one-man extermination machine, but eventually time runs out on his maniacal ways and soon the hunter becomes the hunted.
Accepting aid from a well-endowed, blood thirsty co-worker, they embark on an inquest to find out who wants him dead, only to become immersed in a world of suicide cults, megalomaniacal military leaders, population control demolitions experts and, ultimately, find he is to be groomed as the second coming of ‘Christ’ in a no holds barred, winner takes all battle royal of the classes. The 99%’ers versus the 1%’ers in a version of ‘Occupying Wall Street’ that the world has never known.
At times comically upbeat, at turns tragically brutal, Glitch In The Machine is a roller coaster, whirlwind of a novel that never pauses long enough for the reader to catch their breath. The first person narrative is reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk, and was written from a ‘Vonnegutian’ point of view, intended for audiences who enjoyed his work, as well as that of Anthony Burgess. Glitch In The Machine is Clockwork Orange meets The Terminator with a dash of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Bladerunner thrown in for good measure.
Look for it on Amazon.com as early as May 2014!
Today marks the one-year anniversary of this blog’s inception, and as I made my way through the day I thought I was going to post a nasty, sarcastic, scathing tribute. I’ve relocated from beautiful, sunny, San Diego to cold, rainy, snowy, cold (did I say that twice? Yes, yes I did) Wisconsin for starters, leaving behind a life I miss just about every day. There were many reasons for this move, but none of them seem very good when staring down the barrel of a Midwest winter. And while sitting in my car at a gas station this morning (aggravated, grouchy, out of sorts) my doors automatically locked and when I opened the door the car alarm went off and I couldn’t shut it off. The gas station attendant and his two teeth thought I done had sumthin’ wrong wit me. Then I took the wrong highway and wound up in some cow pasture, trying to get from Whitewater to Madison. Returning to Madison, my GPS lead me to a highway with a bridge out and refused to take orders otherwise to direct me around it. All of this happened after visiting one of my sister’s, a weekend involving a lot of outside activities in forty-degree temperatures and rain. It was no wonder two of her children were sick, I’d thought sarcastically, watching as she made a homemade apple pie while her youngest child continued to hack her lungs out into the batter no matter how many times my sister told her to ‘cover her mouth’. And the auction we attended left plenty to be desired; I told her quite frankly that if this were merely five years ago I would have been giving her ten shades of crap about this ridiculous, redneck activity that her husband (a very nice fellow, by the way) adored so much. In my opinion they couldn’t give that junk away, much less sell it, yet they did. Yes, it was with all this in mind that I was going to write an absolutely wretched piece that would involve nothing but insults and bitching about small towns and the inbred people who inhabit them, not to mention the Midwest, Wisconsin in particular.
But instead I am not going to do that, and here is why: I just read somebody else’s blog post (bluestockings19) and it was such a positive, uplifting message that I’d feel like a douchebag in comparison. I called off the dogs, so to speak, and am instead going to give thanks for my wonderful family and all the things about them that I enjoy and love. For anyone who reads this blog because of my narcissistic, supercilious, often downright haughty nature I most sincerely apologize for the turn of heart and assure you it won’t last. Everything still sucks and I am a grouch who wishes his debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World would sell so I can thumb my nose at decent society, trust me.
Be that as it may, thank you to anyone who has read, ‘liked’, or followed this blog. You have certainly made my year. Peace.
This blog has been about many things over the last year ever since it’s inception: funny and tragic pet sitting stories, personal health issues, rants about bad California drivers, crappy, crazy jobs I’ve had, classic alcoholic writers, pissing and moaning about moving from the west coast back to the Midwest…I’ve covered a lot of ground since I’ve been writing this. The blog was started because of a suggestion made by Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, a literary promotional company. She told me it would be a great way to promote my novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. But the thing is, I’d never quite understood what people read blogs for, and found that the different subject matter I touched upon was hit or miss. Looking around throughout the blog world, I found people wanted sports and news and politics and hard facts, not necessarily silly stories about animals or being inappropriately wasted in a Von’s grocery store and getting into it with the guy outside collecting money for the Salvation Army, subsequently arrested and then getting anally raped in jail by a six foot six black man named Michael Jackson. But be that as it may, I am pressing on. I suppose I could make this entry a rant about how hard it is to push a self-published book to a saturated market where traditionally published authors are fighting to gain ground, about how much money I’ve spent and seen no return on my investment (over $12,000 and counting), or how my novel is actually well written over that of the 299,000 other crappy self-published authors who are churning out zombie novels at a pace that is beyond ridiculous (anyone ever hear of Dave Moody? Hater’s and then his Autumn zombie series? Jesus Christ give me a fucking break (parenthesis within a parenthesis he is NOT self-published)!). Yes, I could go on and on and you (all of my three readers) would think that I am jealous, that I am a bad writer who is blowing off steam making fun of authors who make it onto the bestseller list and don’t have to pay to publish their own work. The fact is you might be right.
So I’ll switch gears here and talk about my latest attempt at publicity: I have my book registered and being presented both in soft cover and ebook at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair, the largest literary event in the known universe. Folks from all over the world (over 300,000, a quarter of them members of the media) gather in Frankfort, Germany to see what the latest and greatest trends in literature are. Who’s going to be the next Stephen King, the next J.K. Rowling? Inquiring minds want to know! Even better, what the hell are those two promoting as we speak (a sequel to The Shining and a thriller, respectively)? Yes, all in all a bonafide HUGE ASS event in which my novel will be stacked amongst thousands of others in the Combined Book Exhibit bookshelves, vying for attention both in print and digital copy. And will I get any attention, this absolutely fantastic book that has so far been virtually ignored? A novel Kirkus Indie reviews called ‘Visually engaging, an irrefutably intoxicating adventure’ and ‘one big, bad-ass book’ by Kat of Bibliobabes.ca, not to mention many readers on Goodreads and Amazon.com. Every time I do a free give away I run out well before the posted closing (but I am not stupid; I’ve found SEVERAL copies immediately for sale on Amazon, listed as ‘autographed’…fucking pricks).
As no one is clamoring for this blog I can say whatever I want here. I can cuss and scream and shout and call you all a bunch of pussy faggots for not buying my book and it doesn’t matter (although I do apologize to my three readers; I am not talking about you). Because in a world full of books we, the unknowns, can only keep competing for your attention and hoping that we eventually get it. That one day it will click and you’ll say to yourself: “Holy shit! His autobiographical stuff is like David Sedaris and his horror fiction is like Stephen King. I love those fucking writers! Where have you been all of my life?”
And the answer would be: right here, sitting in front of this fucking laptop and begging you cocksuckers to at least read a free excerpt (available on my website http://www.edgarswamp.com or at Bookbuzzr (also known as Freado) or on Goodreads). It is literally everywhere. If you looked hard enough you’d find the whole copy for free somewhere (don’t ask me where, but I know it’s out there. I do a lot of stupid things when I’m drunk, just ask my neurologist).
But readers don’t want good books, they want tired crap churned out by hacks who need money to buy fourth homes in Stockholm, Sweden where they can hide inside by the fire and secretly burn journals they kept while in community college in Andover, Michigan where they had unprotected sex with minors and never got caught because their parents where on the board of review and the city council…
Yet I digress. My book is at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair in Frankfort, Germany where I hope someone fucking sees it and picks it up, flips through it and reads something that catches their eye (if indeed I haven’t been scammed by Combined Book Exhibits and the book isn’t really there). And then maybe they’ll contact me through my website and ask to see my next book, ‘Denied’, a futuristic take on the American health care system (available in paper back and ebook in April of 2014). And soon enough people will be willing to pay to read this fucking blog but I’ll continue to give it away for free because I’m such a nice guy. Really, honest. Trust me…and buy my fucking book ($2.99 ebook for fuck’s sake available through Amazon.com). Thank you (and sorry to my three readers!).
In an effort to remain true to this blog’s original plan I am now going to write about previous jobs I held, the crazier and more ridiculous the better. If there are many folks out there who enjoyed the writing of Charles Bukowski, this blog is for you. For those of you who have never heard of him, he was an American writer who found notoriety writing for the L.A. Free Press in the 1960’s, a column called Notes Of Dirty Old Man. He later found fame writing several books about jobs he worked, one called Factotum (later made into a movie starring Matt Dillon) and Post Office. In fact the latter was his first published book, having written it for a publisher named John Martin who believed so strongly in Bukowski’s ability to spin a good yarn that he offered him $200 a week to write so that he could quit his job. Writing about what he knew best (drinking and working for the United States Post Office) he was surprised to see that it did well enough that he was able to publish several more novels (for they were marketed as ‘fiction’) and garnered a rather eclectic audience around the world. He was especially beloved in Europe, but he made a splash in America as well. He wrote the movie ‘Barfly’ (based on his own life) starring Mickey Roarke and Faye Dunnaway.
So that is the new focus of my blog: all the crazy, crappy, preposterous jobs I’ve worked over the course of the last thirty years while pursuing my creative endeavors. Like Bukowski, I am a college dropout and enjoy the occasional beer or ten, but unlike Bukowski I was never a very good fighter yet I was never unwilling to ‘go’ if it indeed became necessary. I also traveled a lot and ended up in some rather compromising situations. I’ll also embellish a bit in some of these tales, as he was known to do. Rest assured they are rooted in reality, but sometimes you have to stretch them a little to get the desired effect. All that said, here is a short one since I’ve already taken up this much of your time: Hotlanta in the summer or Give me Whiskey or give me death, a tribute to Charles Bukowski.
The year was 1994. Kurt Cobain had killed himself in the garage of his Seattle home and the new Woodstock would prove to be a bust, as the grunge generation was a surlier, more unpredictable lot than their predecessors. Artists like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains and Beck were topping the charts while smaller bands like Mudhoney and Monster Magnet were making the rounds, keeping things afloat until they later found fame (Monster Magnet) or they dissolved into an historical footnote (Mudhoney). I was living in a warehouse in an area called Little Five Points in Atlanta, Georgia, having moved there from Raleigh, North Carolina after I got the boot from a band called Motherload. I’d been their lead singer (and chief purchaser of alcohol because they were all nineteen to my twenty-three) but they eventually had enough of my drunken shenanigans and sent me packing after I picked up the lead guitarist during a gig at a packed pool hall in Raleigh and tossed him into the crowd. He was mad because 1) they didn’t catch him, they instead ran out of the way and 2) because his Gibson Les Paul got ruined in the process. I couldn’t really say I blamed them. I was drunk and on drugs most of the time back then, in fact one of my favorite pastimes was driving around the triangle area drinking malt liquor and smoking weed and taking acid and going wherever the wind blew me. Suffice it to say I met a lot of strange people, some of whom thought I was the strange one. Go figure.
In Atlanta I held several jobs, but the first one I worked was selling school supplies for a shady company called Pacific and Atlantic Wholesalers, a telemarketing outfit that violated just about every law you can imagine when it came to consumer fraud (overpriced, crappy merchandise, hidden fees, broken promises regarding free bonus items with every order etc. etc. etc.) run by a man so crooked he made the Enron presidents seem like portraits of American stability. He’d sit behind his desk cleaning automatic weapons and snorting white powder off his desk blotter, every now and then venturing onto the sales floor to holler: “Let’s get a hum going men!” or “I hope you get stuck in traffic and don’t have a forty ounce can to piss in!” if he was upset that we weren’t making enough sales. Sometimes he said even cruder things like: “Shut up bitch or I’ll fill your mouth full of sperm!” or “Shut your pie hole or I’ll fill your corn hole!” Despite all this ranting lunacy the surprising thing was we actually made sales, lots of them. We were cold calling schools all over the greater continental United States and asking to speak with whomever did the purchasing for the school store. When they were put on the phone we then stroked their egos and smooth talked them into buying grosses upon grosses of shit they didn’t need, all of it cheap, easily breakable garbage. Notebooks with bindings that came unglued the first time you opened them up, pens with barely any ink in them that ejected what little there was in a puddle all over the page, pencils that snapped in half if you looked at them funny and so on. Yet we all made sales (some of us to a greater or lesser degree) and some weeks I made enough money to cover all my bills for a month.
It was in the middle of a heat wave in August that the air conditioning went out and, to keep us working, the owner, Cliff, bought us several gallons of whiskey and a quarter ounce of blow, encouraging us to help ourselves. He didn’t have to ask me twice. Within a few hours I wasn’t sure what the hell I was saying to people over the phone, all I knew was that I wasn’t making any sales. When I’d had enough, I snorted another large pile of coke, slammed a giant shot of whiskey, announced I was ‘getting the fuck out of here!’ and got in my car. I don’t remember driving home, all I remember is arriving and getting into it with my drug dealer roommate. I was sick of he and his friends keeping me up at night, partying into the wee hours when I was trying to sleep off a drunk, and I decided this was the time to air things out. Well, one of his thug buddies was there too, and between the two of them they easily restrained me and proceeded to ‘convince’ me that I was in the wrong. They were quite persuasive, let me tell ya, and the next day at work I looked like I’d gone a few rounds with Floyd Mayweather with my hands bound behind my back. To make matters worse the owner called me into his office.
“You left early yesterday,” he scolded, not even mentioning my beaten-to-a-pulp-face; he was too busy using a large hunting knife to shave a mole off his back. “I don’t think you’re taking this job seriously.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Taking the job seriously?” I repeated, trying hard to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. “What’s not to take seriously?”
“You don’t come and go as you please. The manager has to authorize it.”
As I recalled the manager had been under his desk when I left, wearing nothing but black, ankle high socks and muttering something about the impending apocalypse while he drooled over a photo of Ms. July, but I kept that to myself.
“Yes sir,” I muttered, not wanting to argue. What was the point? “It won’t happen again.”
“Damn straight it won’t.”
“You fucking freeloaders,” he said, dismissing me. “That’s the last time I give out free drugs. None of you assholes made any sales.”
“Not even Kennedy, sir?” Kennedy was the only sober person in the bunch; he never drank nor indulged in anything stronger than coffee.
“Kennedy was sick yesterday.”
“Now get out there and get a hum going or I’ll-”
“Fill my mouth full of sperm,” I supplied for him. “Got it sir.” I was tempted to salute but I simply turned and left, wondering why I was stupid enough to keep working there. But when I felt the cold blast of the newly fixed ac, and I got that phone in my hands and spun some magic that landed me a twelve hundred dollar commission, I knew why indeed…
I started this blog ten months ago with the idea of writing funny stories about my pet sitting business, using it as a platform to promote my debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. The stories were meant for entertainment purposes only; I wasn’t trying to impart any kind of message. And then, out of the blue, I came down with a neurological disorder and in the blink of an eye my pet sitting business was gone. Having no other recourse, I moved from lovely San Diego back to my home state of Wisconsin. Here I found work in another field entirely, back breaking labor that exhausts me every day, making me realize how easy my pet sitting business was. My point? This blog will either have to be about my pet sitting exploits of the past or I’ll have to think of something else entirely. No one (I think I can say this without dispute) will want to read a blog about the life and times of a landscaper. Oh, I am certain there are people out there that want tips about landscaping, but there are few who would want to listen to me prattle on and on about dumping and spreading wheelbarrows of mulch on primed beds, of mowing lawns at seventy degree angles and shoveling tons of gravel. But don’t get me wrong, I’m being paid very well for my hard work, it’s just that it gives me a lot of time to reflect on what I had. Like the dog walks, this kind of work gives you a lot of time to think. As I’m busting my ass it is easy to wax nostalgic about those carefree dog walks, those cushy pet sitting jobs. As a pet sitter I’d have my laptop set up at a table overlooking the various yards of the various homes, and inevitably I’d see the gardeners (Hispanic, mostly) toiling away in the yards. Sometimes they would see me and I’d feel a bit foolish, that they were out in the hot sun and I’m in the air-conditioned house with the dogs, sitting on my ass, writing. Of course in my mind what I was doing was very important; I was, after all, writing the novel that was ultimately going to save humanity from itself. But how could I explain that without looking like a douchebag? Instead I smiled politely and would occasionally ask them if they wanted something to drink.
In Wisconsin there are still white people that do gardening, so I must insist that I am not insinuating that I feel I am doing work that is beneath me. I am getting paid top dollar for my efforts (more than I’m getting paid as a writer, but a bit less than I was making as a pet sitter) it is just that it is hard work. The hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. But I still get to work outside, and my family lives in Madison, Wisconsin. And the neurological disorder, the sleep twitch that turned everything in my life upside down? Well, it is unfortunately still a part of my life, albeit a manageable part. Gone are the nights of no sleep while I twitched away like I was being electrocuted with a cattle prod. Now I have medications that keep the twitches at bay, and some nights I don’t have to take any medications at all. After doing a sleep study, involving a polysomnagraph (a sleeping EEG) the neurologist determined that the problem would go away eventually, but he couldn’t say when. For anybody interested in the subject of hypnic jerks there is a blog called ‘The Man Who Cannot Sleep’. Many people post messages there that have suffered or are suffering from this strange sleeping disorder. They offer advice as to what they do to alleviate their problem, also making suggestions as to possible causes. It is very interesting. I had a doctor in San Diego who had apparently never heard of it; because of his misdiagnosing, my problem got worse before it had a chance to get any better, hence my hasty departure from the wonderful sun soaked state of California and back to the unpredictable rain, snow, mosquitoes and humidity of Wisconsin.
So this blog has been intermittent at best, as I no longer have the generous amounts of time I used to have to write. But I have been hard at work on a new novel, getting up an hour early everyday before work so that I can get in a few thousand words. I suppose once I find my focus on what this blog is supposed to be about I’ll retool it and come back bigger and badder than ever. Maybe I’ll even find a subject that people will actually want to read about. Who knows, stranger things have happened!
I haven’t updated this blog since June, might have been May, I’m not quite sure. What started as something I updated every week became more and more sporadic as a health problem took over my life, changed everything, and left me to pick up the pieces. The topic of the blog started to take a turn in late March/early February; what started as funny anecdotes about pet sitting became personal rants about various things. Then there were a few posts about my health issue, how a primary care physician mismanaged it and then nothing…tumbleweeds…less than nothing. My life as I knew it completely changed, forcing me to move from sunny San Diego back to rain-soaked Madison Wisconsin (a fine city in its own right but nonetheless very different from what I’d been accustomed to over the last decade) to live with my parents while I figured things out. Here I am, a man in his mid-forties, and a serious sleep disorder forced me to move back to Wisconsin from California to live in my parent’s basement. It’s almost like the set-up to a bad movie produced by Happy Gilmore Productions (no offence dudes). And the town they live in is cow pastureland, cornfields and dairy farms. I moved from the very edge of the Pacific Ocean and into the heart of cheese country.
There are many things I use to console me: 1) I can now watch the Packers play every week during football season 2) My entire family lives here and I do enjoy their company very much 3) Once I get my shit together I can get the f*ck out of here and go back to California. We’ll see how that works out.
I am writing this on the evening before seeing the neurologist to review the results of my polysomnagraph (a sleeping EEG). This was a test I’d begged my doctor in Encinitas for but he refused me, telling me it was ‘a pain in the ass’ and that he could figure out my problem without tests. Well, thanks to the neurologist here, we know what I am dealing with (preliminary results were phoned to me right after the test) and that it is nothing life threatening, but what a trial it has been! I’ve been hosting a seemingly endless stream of ‘exaggerated hypnic jerks’, sleep starts that every one has but, in my case, EXAGGERATED. Most people will have a few and then fall asleep. Mine go on all night, every night, nonstop. Just when I am on the verge of sleep: POW! A jerk that shakes my whole body (or just moves my hand, foot, arm, leg, neck, back etc.) waking me up. Shit, I’ve been through this a million times. I’m sort of sick of telling the story.
Irony, that lousy bitch, came in the form of my returning to this lovely manure tainted paradise and the problem seemingly going away. All of a sudden I could sleep without twitching, and I was able to reduce the medication I took nightly. I did the sleep study and it showed I was ‘normal’. Five days later and the twitches came back with a vengeance straight out of the bible. Seriously, they were like electric shocks being sent through me at regular intervals (possibly from a cow prod?). And worse yet, the medication was no longer working! Sleeping pills used to shut them down and now it was barely keeping them at bay. I was jittering and jiving the night away until I was forced to get up because sleep was impossible.
The worst part of the whole ordeal (besides leaving my sunny seaside town and my pet-sitting business and my independence) was having to try and get people to understand my problem. Somebody was forever giving me advice on what they did when they couldn’t sleep. I don’t know how many times I had to tell them: it isn’t that I can’t sleep, this isn’t insomnia! I am jerking more than a prepubescent boy who’s just discovered masturbation! This is a physical problem, not a mental one. Of course, the longer it went on, it became a mental problem; I nearly had a nervous breakdown from lack of sleep. Hence why I came to my parents house and am writing this in their basement, hence why I abandoned a successful business in one of the best cities in America to cut grass and weed flowerbeds.
So, this blog can still be about funny pet sitting stories, no problem there, but I am no longer a pet sitter. In fact, as I alluded in the previous paragraph, I’ve been working as a landscaper for my brother in law’s company. I work much harder now and get quite filthy. Inbred chicks at the BP won’t give me a second glance when I come in reeking of organic compost (read: manure) with circles of dirt lining my neck like jewelry. Writing, well, let’s just say I haven’t been doing a great deal of that. My latest novel is stagnating at around two hundred and five pages and promotional activities for my self-published novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World have screeched to a dead halt, with the exception of the video pitch I submitted to greenlightmymovie.com. I’m not sure if that $40 was well spent, but it was an interesting experience.
Tomorrow I find out what my neurologist (actually, not my neurologist after tomorrow; I had to switch health insurance and my new policy no longer covers him) thinks of this on again, off again problem. Maybe he will do me a favor and give me a lethal dose of barbiturates, like they use to euthanize animals. Put me out of my misery, as it were. Or maybe he’ll just shrug his shoulder and say: “Sucks to be you dude.” Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be worth the two hundred + bucks it costs for thirty minutes of his time, and that bit of advice you can take to the bank. Just don’t take it to mine; the check will bounce. Peace.