Safe Harbor

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it under its roof.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

To say that writing this post/essay/rant has been a difficult, torturous journey would be an understatement of vast proportions; in my inimitable great timing, I decided at long last a month or so ago to to start a blog.

During a pandemic.

Shortly after my first few volleys landed somewhere around Neville Island, the country, and later, the world, erupted into violent, vibrant and vast sites of protest concerning the horrifying murder of George Floyd and countless other black Americans, brown Americans, Indigenous People, Hispanics, etc.,. This Tip of the Spear for long overdue Justice, Truth and Equality rightly captivated the entire world. Many of my friends protested, marching, cheering, making signs, writing letters, signing petitions, making phone calls, donating funds for bailout organizations and on and on.

Desperately trying just to make sense of all of this, and to figure out what I personally could do in this moment brought me back to this column. Health concerns prohibit me from a more physical and active role. But I can write. Will this possibly compare to most of the professional commentators, professors, media personalities and the first-hand testimonials of those who have suffered, are suffering, and are fighting, still grieving, freshly earned pain and righteousness coursing through their collective veins, powering their mighty voices into anthems, demands and Truth?

No, I couldn’t compete – or even try to, by confusing my offering towards those. Furthermore, I had been struggling also with how to pare down this topic, to find my niche, or approach – to go small because the overall subject was too daunting, required too much, maybe all that I had, gladly would I lose, just to make a mark, yet I found the sliver of light that I could lay claim to, and from there, I dared to flesh out this concept, the least Dan McCaffrey/Asthma Dan/Sir subject ANY OF YOU – in person, or online – could or would ever expect from me, or to even associate me with such a thing.

Ladies, gentlemen, fur babies, Ghosts, figments of my imagination and the world at large, I give you HOPE.

Yes, HOPE.

For all but the last 2 years of my life, I have lived life on the outside of everything. In my family, I had three sisters, no brothers, and they were all older than me. My male cousins lived too far away to see them often. I was also quite often sick as a child with severe Asthma & Allergies. I missed out on lots of things, from playing with my friends, to Tee-Ball/Little League Games and school. I learned to catch up when I made it back in to said game or class, but it took a lot out of me to do so. I never formed the early bonds that lasted with any group.

In school, I never fit in – I played sports, but not very well; I got good grades, when I was there, or cared, but not consistently; I was never part of any “popular” clique and I was never quite as cool as I hoped to be. I was a Bad Kid in general, which in retrospect looms large, acting up for attention, or reacting poorly to other stimuli.

I did learn by the time I (cough cough) left Central Catholic High School that I was at least skilled enough to move throughout all of these groups, and even more, because I could make people laugh, or be bold and decisive. I learned very early on that people, not just kids, bored easily and entertaining them or getting their attention felt not only good, but rewarded the entertainer with a certain measure of control. I also learned that my immediate and automatic willingness to defend my friends, to stand up for them, rallied people. “What should we do, Dan?” Became such a part of wherever I was, that I realized I had some budding leadership skills. Still, although I could hold the room’s attention, or command it, I could also clear it immediately with such behavior, as a dear friend said about me many years later.

Still, these skills didn’t bring me in, so to speak. I was still on the outside.

Going through the rest of my life, these truths and patterns remained. I sought out jobs and positions where I could be in control of my environment, as much as I could, and personally I became a social butterfly, with more friends than I can count in more bars, restaurants, nightclubs and shops than I could ever fully recall. Most nights were a party of some sort, bar-hopping and visiting people either on my own, or with my girlfriend or friends. I was “On” all the time. I felt good. I was comfortable, and the booze rounded off the edges of self-doubt and partially obscured that I wasn’t really a good fit.

But all of this takes energy, it takes integrity, it takes purity of purpose and it takes a laser-like focus to remain in control – at work – and focused on the Right Things, the proper functioning of the business first and foremost, the success, development and (if possible) the promotion and/or mentorship to staffers the driving force for me. Firstly, for their immediate benefit and gain, then the business, and then anything that remained for me. My success, or happiness, came from overseeing all of it. I didn’t care what credit I received.

Inverting that order at any point in the process, quickly corrupts said process and poisons the relationship. It only takes one mistake. So being separate as the boss is one thing, then being even more separate when you make a serious mistake or YOUR boss makes a similar mistake – these transgressions push you further and further towards the edge, away from The Center.

Now, I’m certainly not talking about Mainstream thought or Moderation. I am referring to the safety of clustering around other individuals who are pushing towards the Center themselves, which is really just a way of going forward – from wherever you start on the board. What’s in the Middle?

Whatever you want it to be. But staying on this track takes time, perseverance, thick skin, drive and Belief. Belief – in whatever you need to hold on to your vision – leads you to Hope. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s not: Whatever you need to believe in, first requires hope that it can be achieved. I am not describing Faith, or anything religious – although that may be what you hope for, to believe in that – but I am talking about the journey. The journey is where we find ourselves, where our role is made manifest not to anyone else, but to ourselves. There are no statues, icons, rites, songs, books or practices involved. This is not dependent on others (but later, they will) or becoming part of something larger; rather, it is simply what you already have.

Put simply, one either wants to live, or one doesn’t. You aren’t down? Fine, here’s the rope. I’ll pull your chair out for you, if you’d like. You want to stick around? The Why and How are up to you. But I will be there when and if you want help. This is part of the chain – realizing it starts with submission towards Hope – and that extension, that asking for assistance, is crucial.

As I said earlier, I never fully fit in everywhere, and for decades, that seemed to serve me well. I was able to get out of situations sometimes before they became too crazy or harmful. I only got pulled in occasionally but I could always retreat back away from the mass forming at the Center and go back towards the rim. It was quiet there, and cold. Lots of space. Easy to get lost. But I tried to stay somewhere near enough the Center to know what’s going on, without risking anything.

The truth of the matter is, it was too hard to keep working towards the Center with so little energy, or fuel. I had no belief. I was sure the journey was pointless, that I would be set upon by some marauders, the victim of some calamity, or simply, well, drop dead. I was fine with this. This absence of belief was due to simply not caring. Nothing propelled me towards more uncertain work, with an uncertain payoff – if I was lucky.

What I learned to live on, to BELIEVE IN, during those times, was, more or less, myself. While consciously and unconsciously separating myself from my co-workers, the various companies I worked for, and even the friends and acquaintances from those jobs, I lost the connections, the threads that kept me from breaking away completely. See, by now, my own Doom & Gloom perspective – “EVERYTHING SUCKS!” – fueled nearly 24/7 from alcohol (drinking, recovery, planning to drink) was permeating my entire life. The girlfriend had enough, and threw me away. The opportunities along the way professionally, although not necessarily the exact right move, were gone. The contacts – also known as “friends,” in my younger days – had all moved on, either growing up and becoming responsible versions of themselves, or simply given up on me.

There were, and are, friends and family who have greatly invested in my welfare, both financially, emotionally and most stunningly, in time; my Amends list is rather heavy, and I will most likely be working on it for the rest of my life – but all of these Failures and Restarts – that I was always so sure would work out, but never did (for actual good reasons, for the most part) simply served to push me further away from them, my CORE. These were the people who lent money for utilities, bought bus passes, gave me countless rides to and from work, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, etc.,. fed me, kept me in clothes, listened to me kvetch, offered advice and insight, hooked me up with a meal, or an introduction, helped me move and everything else.

And all this did – was keep push push pushing me away. The tether from the Center was thinning. It looked like it would snap at any minute, and I would go beyond the known outcome. I could still hear and see most everything from the center – happy, loving people, with jobs that meant something to them, enjoying their relationships with their partners, their families, their friends and co-workers, traveling, going on adventures, getting married, publishing books, touring Europe, making a difference in someone else’s lives.

DId I give them as much credit as I should have? No. Did I begrudge them their success? No, but it rankled me. Did I make as much of an effort as I could have, to remain in their stable, super-connected orbit – with an unknowable amount of mutual friends, common interests and a shared close-geography? No. (I did miss a lot of events due to work that was beyond my control.) Did I follow up the missed party with a gift or call, or even a phone call? No, because I was starting to resent these folks. Didn’t they know I didn’t have a car and couldn’t get there from work by bus, in time?

I knew I was slipping. I didn’t care, basically. I didn’t have any belief, or hope, not in truth, simply the smallest shred of maybe if, or I might …something. I don’t know what.

The day came. I looked at the bottle, the pills, sweating in my soon-to-be-vacated apartment and I reached out to my sister. She sent an Uber. I lived. Doctors were consulted. Plans made. Wild, unimaginable offers of physical, tangible help materialized.

I did the thing. It was Time. I was ready. I said goodbye, Forever, to that living, breathing, pulsating beast with an unslakable hunger and thirst for everything that could be had, and I started working my way back to the Center. I didn’t know that yet, not yet – that would come much later.

I crawled, at first. I used a cane, at times. I was transported. I stumbled around, falling often, unsure where I was or how I was getting there for 2 years. I tried everyone’s patience. I disappointed myself. For everything I did right, I discovered there were things I did worse than before, or didn’t know about. But I kept moving. Even if just internally, the mechanism was cleaning itself, spitting out debris.

I don’t exactly know what specific tumblers clicked, what gears finally meshed, or what words finally found the right ears. This was all fresh and undiscovered territory for me. I knew some of the faces and the places, but the dialect was a bit off and things were, I found, at least, slightly less varnished and shop-worn than I expected; well-used, but well worth keeping.

I didn’t have anything resembling a well-planned out itinerary to arrive there, or here, Now. I still did a lot of things my way, which was always harder than it needs to be, confusing and stupid. Not everyone was a good actor, and some were not actually what they appeared to be. That part didn’t change. People show you who they are, even when they tell you differently, all the time.

I don’t have a central belief about why we are here, any of us, other than to be of a service to others however we can in this life. How and why that works is a deepening commitment and somewhat of an unknown for myself. I can’t sum up why I didn’t drain the bottle and take all of my blood thinners, nor can I explain why I never did any of the seriously dangerous substances that I was offered, or that proliferated around me at times. I just kept thinking that, no matter how much I wanted, to, no, deserved to die, that I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t be reduced to that final failure.

I had one constant that kept me from stopping: My sisters. I knew people would be hurt, miss me, maybe even mourn me, but I couldn’t saddle my sisters with this enormous and painful burden, or to hurt them any more than I already had.

Maybe it was, and is, pure ego that I envisioned what my loss would be, so in a roundabout way my hope to cling to, towards my treacherous and bumbling stumble-crawl towards the Center, revealed my own utter hypocrisy that I should live, that I deserved to live.

The center is better. I can see more of it and the sounds are far more appealing and welcoming. I still don’t know for sure what’s there – but I’m bringing my Own Stuff with me no matter what, and no one is going to take it away from me or fuck with me. I’m not stopping, and I’m not going back.

” The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”

Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Avalon

Scattered Dispatches

““a heck of a lot of things are bound to go wrong in a world as big as this one. And if there’s an answer to why it’s that way – and there ain’t always – why, it’s probably not just one answer by itself, but thousands of answers.”
― Jim Thompson, Pop. 1280

Well, after a brief post-surgical sojourn – alas, still no Soul to be found, and very little brains – I have returned to bless everyone with another half-baked rant.

Our cities are burning. I am okay with that. I have ping-ponged back and forth for decades between believing in changing things from within, thinking that the unholy apparatus of Government & Big Business was far too gargantuan, too complex and too powerful to be defeated outright, to wanting violent and bloody revolution, replete with public executions, nationalization of various businesses and a purge of all churches, temples & mosques (why turn back when you’re that close to the Big Re-Boot).

Usually, my rage would cool and the thought of so many innocent people suffering, either through collateral damage in warfare of some sort, opportunistic jackals opr disruption of services, pulled me back from this ultimate roll of the dice.

I never lost sight of the depth and breadth of the corruption and insidious, seminal Evil that courses through this country and the symbol of depravity, Capitalism. I alternately saw myself as some sort of Communist, Socialist, Democrat, Liberal, Progressive, Leftie, etc.,. At some point I stopped caring about labels and settled on trying to work towards what I felt was right. (In my personal life it was a ridiculous and pathetic series of errors, but now is not the time for that mundane tale of woe.)

I briefly toiled in the pleasantly safe bubble of Conspiracy Theories. Dozens upon dozens of books, mixed in with actual accredited history and politics, slowly took over the remainder of my free time. I more or less stopped reading fiction, consumed by the thought that I was wildly and widely ignorant (correct) and ill-equipped to traverse the ever-broadening, endlessly splintering Media Landscape.

At some point I pulled back, like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. I still enjoyed the odd nutjob story, but I realized my need for Conspiracy Theories were fed by a lack of knowledge, an emotional need no doubt borne out of some other psychic inequity that I could not hope to define, let alone navigate safely, while drinking (most of that realization took considerably larger for me to embrace, of course).

As a corollary to this, my Atheism precluded a belief in any sort of higher being, and I resolved to rid myself of Magical Thinking overall. Where to place my “faith?” I used to say, “I believe in my family and friends,” or “I believe in Art,” statements that were, and remain, true, but are really so deeply ingrained in my they don’t represent a conscious choice; and isn’t that what religion or faith is, or philosophy? A final adult act of choice (sometimes!) away from one’s upbringing,or indoctrination? Even the rejection of such brain-washing represented only half of the necessary equation.

So without a natural inclination towards Science, and a well-documented hang-up with Mathematics, I settled on a sort of Blue-Collar Belief, pounded into me from my Father and yes, even school, and my own inexplicable attraction to the world of current events and politics, in Democracy. Not the 4th-grade salute the flag name the capitals School House Rock perspective, or the no-nothing refusal to be informed or to learn fucking anything refuge of Dumb Guys everywhere (“Both sides are the same,” “I’m not into politics,” or my favorite allegiance to irrelevance, “I don’t vote,”) but neither did I follow the predictable path.

I questioned everything. I purposely sought out contradictory books and articles on the same subjects and events. I learned to look for,and spot the slant, and later, my own implicit biases and bad habits provided yet another opportunity to learn how to parse the News and stay informed.

I relished arguing, posting rants and insulting people. Most of it was pure vitriol and adrenalin. it still is. To this day I sense ignorance and bigotry like a shark, and just like a shark, I will not stop until I’ve fed.

Which brings me to the real thing here. Or what I hope is the real thing. These first several entries have been all over the place, unstructured and sloppy messes of varying degrees; but I vowed for more less transparancy, so if it takes a while for me to get my sea legs back, that’s fine with me.

Burn it all down.

I never wanted to hate all cops. I understand their necessity. I have known and dealt with good cops – and bad cops. In both cases, they were sometimes friends. I gained a great deal of insight into what makes them tick, what their day to day realities were, and what their legacies were: Multiple divorces, domestic disputes of different types, substance abuse, isolation, painful deaths due to poor health. Mental anguish. Untreated PTSD. Incalculable amounts of stress.

They weren’t saints. Some of them were trash.

But what we are seeing now is an escalation of horrendously inadequate training, laughable psychological screening and I believe, a large amount of former soldiers previously deployed overseas in combat zones with enormous physical and emotional problems that really should keep them from serving.

And then there are the Ammosexuals. The proud and out Nazis. The barely controllable Sadists on terrifying power trips. The Old Boys Culture that runs through athletics and fraternities and into the workplace finds its most perfect and dangerous culmination in these jobs where they are essentially an army unto themselves. Bad cops do what they want. Others keep quiet, believing loyalty to be more important that justice. Apathy runs through all of their veins. The so-called “good cops” – who full well know the difference between right and wrong, and work hard every day to do the best job they can – are are too familiar with what goes on. They have the intellectual capacity and, presumably, the strength of character, to speak out, to report, to fight…but don’t. They may be the most reprehensible of them all.

Politicians fear them. Police unions are sometimes more powerful that the district attorney’s office. Or the Mayor. Or Governor. More often, we see the same scenario – capable people unwilling or unable to fight against the unmitigated evil and rampany criminality that permeates the rank of the boys and girls in blue.

The obvious fact that Black people have been hunted and harassed and humiliated and murdered constantly, that LGBQT folks, women, foreigners, etc,. are also relentlessly victimized merely prooves how craven and inhuman these bigots are. The War on Black people is everywhere – the government, the financial sector, Big Business, religion, sport, education, academic – supports all of this.

I am guilty. I have said things I thought were jokes, or harmless. I’ve made assumptions. Been indifferent, hostile to People of Color. Rude. I haven’t even begun to do enough just to exist as a human being in America, 2020.

Which brings me around to the Revolution.

Short of being arrested, I can only support, however I can, full-on dissent. I can’t tell you how to do it. I can’t tell you how to vote, or if you should. I have no moral high ground, I’m not very smart, and my inherent laziness has prevented me from doing something of value to change things. I am not healthy enough to stand let alone march, or run from fascists. Most days I can barely stay awake.

But all of these fascists need to go. Sharpen your knives. Remember, “Guns are for show, knives are for Pros.”

Stand up. Fight. Destroy it all. Jefferson recommended regular uprisings; we are behind.

Catch up.

“Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.”

― J.G. Ballard

A Reckoning

“…So Foul A Sky Clears Not Without a Storm.”

William Shakespeare,
circa 1594-96, published 1623.

As I sit here trying desperately to achieve some sort of calm, of understanding, searching in vain for Order, not even for the World, or my bloody and besmirched country, but myself, it occurs to me that this latest atrocity – the unholy and undeniably EVIL murder of George Floyd, an innocent BLACK MAN supposedly accused of a misdemeanor, may finally be the Tipping Point that brings this Nation to its knees, awash in a cleansing and terrible chaos of retribution, rough justice, recrimination and a re-start.
I’ve been struggling for days to find the words, to temper my rage and disgust into something useful. Honest. That I have sat, paced, shaked and cried and screamed and stared into the void, knowing that I was in that vast conglomeration of well-meaning white people who alternately sign petitions, patronize African-Americans with displays of our store-bought and practiced ‘Wokeness,’ and ostensibly declare that they are in solidarity with People of Color and their reality in this post-colonial experiment in faux-Democracy and Free Market Capitalism – both obvious lies so laughable and scarcely believable grade schoolers instinctively grasp the scam – that it occurs to me,for not the 10,000th time, that everything we have said and done before this, the Civil Rights Act, to Affirmative Action and corporate commitments to Diversity have done nothing to truly address the vast and seemingly inexhaustible well of insane hatred, love of violence, paranoia and guilt that are hot-wired into our collective DNA that fuels our systemic racism.
To assert that we have even begun to look our history in the eye and acknowledge that the New World was seen as tabula rasa, an open playing field for rank exploitation of the abundant natural resources of the land by European Monarchies, to be serviced at first by Indigenous People, and later, as we (perhaps) inadvertently killed off too many of them through attempted genocide & treachery, Africans, is absurd.
I’m not even at reparations.
White America is still unwilling, for the most part, to even put in the time to learn about their own history as taught and mythologized in the various textbooks, entertainment and cultural landscape, let alone an expansive and critical look at the larger reality; the vast free labor that was slavery drove an unprecedented economic engine that not only powered the nascent Southern Aristocrats here and in the Caribbean and Bahamas, but also the “better educated” cities and town of the North, allowing them to accrue incomprehensible wealth through the incomprehensible crime of forced slavery.
That these were free and innocent men, women & children, forced at the point of a gun to throw their lives away for their sadistic, amoral abductors all to create a newer form of feudalism, who had done nothing – as if any human being could ever deserve to be a slave – never occurred to these twisted, power-hungry scum.
I assert little has changed.
I am endeavoring to find my words. Those who know me well, especially in real life, may be surprised at this; I regularly throw out emotional rants devoid of much structure or skill in a mere few moments, all because I need to say something, to get out whatever is pressing me. I am not shy.
I care about my own Real Writing and take more care with it, trying, albeit poorly, I might add, to strike a delicate balance between effectiveness, a strong point of view and hopefully, even if in small dosages, something to think about, or even just something that might resonate with someone else.
Reading saved my life as a child while sick, and for better or worse, books and writing are my everything, so if I can possibly share some of that with someone else, even if its just a joke, stray comment or opinion, even if its just a brief distraction for someone scrolling, I feel of service.
So when I say I have fretted about this entry, its no small admission.
My ability to relate to minorities is limited by my upbringing and white privilege; my empathy has been noted by others, but I can’t claim to know what kind of horrendous, constant shit that African Americans and other People of Color experience. I can ask questions, listen more than anything, and try and be as little a part of the problem as possible.
I’m furious. I’m sad. I can’t stop thinking about this man’s final moments. Harassed, handcuffed and interrogated in public, on the street like a dog. For the POSSIBLE crime of passing a fake $20.00 Bill.
He died for $20.00. $20.00 that wasn’t even “lost” by the store, as the cashier refused to take it. There does not exist a more preposterous reason to call 911.
We only know most of this story. We have video from concerned onlookers – onlookers who may very well have been worried he would be killed – and today, a heavily redacted bit of footage from one of the four co-criminals’ body cam – but exactly what happened between his removal from his car, his questioning against the wall and then when he was laying face-down, his head pressed against the curb while his veteran killer slowly forced the breathe and life from his prone body through placing all of his weight upon the INNOCENT VICTIM GEORGE FLOYD with his knee, has been obscured.
This is what his life boiled down to: An alleged misdemeanor, of a possible attempted crime. Somehow, the cashier felt the need to call 911 to track down this dangerous criminal mastermind.
For $20.00.

So the Country erupts in spectacular if miniscule proportion to the collective crimes just of recent, fresh vintage, and some buildings are set afire. Looting. Trash, detritus – smoke – the all-important Property Values are threatened. Cue the hand-wringing – ‘Why are they burning down their own neighborhoods?’; ‘Why can’t they be peaceful?’; ‘What does this solve?’
Of course, many would vastly prefer that any protests, or complaints of any kind, of standing up, be simple, non-threatening and most of all, accommodating to the delicate sensibilities of the willfully ignorant, culturally bereft hypocrites and “moderate” people of All Parties – be the guiding principle.
Cue the clutching of pearls. Somber, serious Talking Heads preaching Peace, Unity and Patience.
I have long believed that the ever tumescent and intractable love and belief in the right to bear arms was rooted in our Colonial Past. Peace through superior firepower – alongside your land, the beasts of the fields and oh yeah, your way of life. Your right to exist a mere problem to be solved.
Since the rapacious and wholly evil and unquestioned pioneer Villain Hernan Cortes and his fellow conquistadors slaughtered countless Aztecs centuries ago, The Way of The Gun became a central belief among the competing Old World Empires for the prize of the Americas – and the corollary to that is to kill the natives, that they are subhuman. Fit to be slaves, nothing more.
Again, I assert nothing has changed.
White America knows something of their collective guilt, of the 500 years of genocide, oppression and cruelty.
It may lay dormant, located somewhere in the so-called Lizard Brain, the Brain Stem itself, hiding yet serving as a guide and forever reason, of justification – “The natives are getting restless” and for that, more than anything else, they worship the Power of the Gun.

The dam may have finally broken. If anything positive comes of this – far beyond the satisfying yet ultimately inconsequential possible prosecution and imprisonment of the most recent examples of State Sanctioned Murder – our only hope for any sort of Redemption and Renewal would be to see a wave of Reform, or perhaps a “Wave of Mutilation,” yes, ‘That’s the ticket,’ to burn through the palaces and safeholds of the Elite, the multi-generational Corporate Gargoyles who have fed off of, and profited from, the parasitic practices inherent in the banking, educational, religious and cultural enclaves, sowing divisive tactics and unequal social structures among all of the oppressed and suffering people.
Racial injustice and inequality, maintained through the patriarchal system that guarantees Capitalism and rewards bigotry, hatred and paranoia cannot be solved, or fixed, if such a possibility exists, without first dealing with the Original Sin of Slavery.
Nothing will change until this Reckoning is over.

“You can’t have a United states if you are telling some folks that they can’t get on the train. There is a cracking point where society collapses.”

Bruce Springsteen

No Direction Home

So in typical Dan fashion, I hadn’t really thought too much about this format, and what is should be. Despite my maniacial need for information and fervent devotion to READING overall, I’ve never spent much time exploring blogs (or podcasts, for that matter) partly because of my silly technological anxiety stemming from my caveman-like working knowledge regarding computer use. But anyway – I guess I’m looking for a little guidance, some helpful input, if you will. Many of you are seriously avid readers, and even some fellow writers as well, and I want to lean on you for your opinions.

Should I try and center this blog on a general topic? Or can it vary depending on my mood and interests? As a generalist, I have an enormous attachment and fascination with any number of subjects, and while I often assume the mantle of a know-it-all, I am far from an expert on anything.


My initial thoughts are to use this as a baseline communique and rant, a dual dose of Dan, to try and not only cover all of the bases personally but hopefully, somewhat intellectually, or at the very least laced with some humor and attraction. I also really want to write this cold, without much planning and over-thinking, just to get whatever it is I have that day out there. If I’m really lucky something substantive and/or promising will emerge from this ramshackle shot in the dark that I can build on and transform it into something I can monetize; News Flash, I’ve wasted a lot of time on posts that could have been worked on and polished and published SOMEWHERE, and after the GREAT DEBACLE of 2017 when I lost almost all of my Life’s Work, I need to capitalize on this, the only inherent and undeniable gift that I have, this genetically-predisposed love of and facility for words, the willingness and energy to engage on the page, online and in person, to swim in the sea of language and words and all of the abundant differences and possibilities that true conversation and back and forth provides, and hopefully, one day, to an actual fucking physical goddamn BOOK, proof that there is something of value in this damaged, Where’s Dan? head of mine, despite the penchant for Self Destruction, hardcore laziness and a veritable smorgasbord of depression and lack of common sense.

Comments are indeed welcome, and most helpful. But if not, perhaps you’ll at least read whatecer this becomes.


Celtic Words & Fury

I. Manifesto –

I am going to write. And I am going to write – about various topics, until I’m done, until I pass out, until I am distracted, until the next round of sickness, calamity or fortune. Some of what i write will be difficult to read – not just in content or context, but because I am going to fuck up a lot and try not to correct much. As Allen Ginsberg said, “First thought, best thought.” None of this will be in order. Much of it will be pure bullshit; invective, selective memories, biases, secrets, betrayal, and the Truth somewhere in there. Not Objective Truth, but rather, the hidden essence or meaning beneath, behind and in front of the words, some of which I know, and much of what I won’t – as Rummy said, “There are knowns, unknowns and known unknowns,” and if you expect me to be a reliable narrator, fair, or in any way nice, you are mistaken. I can’t guarantee king-hell craziness on the order of the good doctor Thompson, but I hope that at least a small portion of myself shines through the murk, gives you something to think about (hate, love, it’s all the same to me, I’m a Post-Modernist) or laugh along the way. Hold on to your hats, kids, we’re not stopping for piss breaks, so hold onto your bottles when you’re done, we’re driving straight through.


I’m going to start with something basic. Save your questions for the end of the lecture please, and then carefully write them out longhand and deliver them safely to File 13 using whatever is left of the USPS after Fuckface #45 destroys it in a bid to further erode what little remains of the democracy we clong to.

Okay. As some of you know, I recently moved yet again – the details are unimportant, save for the fact that I am a poor houseguest and usually wear out my welcome, and I did so again. Much gratitude and respect to Sean Brooks for sheltering me and extending so much kindness and generosity to me. I recently incurred a slight wound on my foot and it didn’t heal well. After it seemed to get worse, I went to the hospital on the advice of my PCP. (At this point, for those keeping track, Home Base is Aunt Betty’s House. )

She thought it was Cellulitis, and it was. Oh, baby it was all that and more – Staphylococcus .

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So I had a horrifically painful infection that ravaged my leg and it was overridden with blisters. Yay.

And it hurt like a motherfucker.

After some predictable screaming, crying, confronting and standing up to doctors and the incredible aid and support from the phenomenal and patient nurses and MOST of the doctors and adjoining staff I was released back out into the Wild after 11 days. I had minor surgery and remain on antibiotics as my leg heals. I am projected to have a full recovery.

IN THE MEANTIME, Becki has been taking care of me, feeding me, making sure I take my meds, offering a great deal of helpful tips, ideas, suggestions and command to help me better myself. Once again, I am in overflowing with love and gratitude towards my benefactor. As an added bonus, I hope I have brought some timely humor and irreverence to her. Nightly we engage in highly questionable acts of Nostalgia and seriously helpful bouts of coloring for stress relief.

At this time I don’t know what the future holds for me. I am trying to concentrate on improving my physical and mental health. I am 29 days short of 2 years of Sobriety and am very, very proud of that. I always knew that I would one day end up in a church basement. I was just too stubborn and rash to behave accordingly.

My gratitude list is long. You all know who you are. I am most grateful for my life, and the clarity of purpose that I now have. I’m still stumbling around in the dark, trying to find all of the right pieces, but I know that they’re there and the light in the corner is in fact a way out. Being sober is about so much more than not using. Every day I discover something I’ve buried or forgotten, or some event becomes fuller and more vivid to me from my past. I’m trying to take the lessons from these moments as well as the joy and even some of the heartbreak without assaulting myself for my thoughts and self destructive impulses. But I need the entire picture to proceed, and learning to live with the ragged, unfinished and problematic aspects of My Narrative is my goal.

So, I think that’s plenty for now.

Be best,

Asthma Dan