My Affliction

Have you ever suffered with a tooth ache for a really long time? It always begins in the same way-a few sharp pains here and there deep inside your tooth. Gets your attention immediately, but slowly fades off of the radar until unexpectedly reemerging as a more constant, dull ache. Still, with an alieve or two the pain subsides and you can simultaneously experience discomfort yet ignore it for the most part.  A half dozen pills later the pain suddenly ratchets up a few notches. You can't ignore it now! Your tooth aches constantly and the pain intermittently pulses with your heartbeat. It even makes your tongue hurt on the side. Damn! It's NOT going to do anything but get worse now. Reluctantly, you pick up the phone and call the dentist. You know what's next-the dentist is booked solid for a ridiculously long time. You tell the receptionist the pain is pretty bad and you need to be worked in with all possible haste.  "We'll call you if there's an opening" the receptionist assures you.  You hang up the phone. Damn, DAMN!! Twenty-four hours later you're just frickin' miserable. You're gobbling over the counter pain pills like M&Ms and smearing toothache cream all over your tooth. Aside from the bad taste and the burning yet numb feeling it's giving your tongue-the cream's not doing anything and neither are the Alieves, which you can't take anymore for fear of overdosing on.  Night falls and you're laying in bed exhausted from the pain-wishing, PRAYING you could sleep in peace for just 30 or 40 minutes. You can feel the swelling around the tooth, the infection storm is gathering! By 4am you're pacing in the living room, holding your head.  The pain is excruciating. You want to cry.  You can't work in the morning.  There isn't any way in HELL that you're gonna be able to do anything, ANYTHING until that damn tooth is pulled. God, it hurts! The swelling is accelerating now and you can almost swear that you can feel your tooth crackling inside from the nerve ending flaring so much...Not only does your tooth hurt and your tongue...but now you have pain radiating across your jaw and other teeth are starting to hurt. In fact, your head hurts so much you can't tell anymore which tooth hurts and which doesn't...

This, my friends, is a picture perfect example of an affliction.

Webster's dictionary defines it this way:

"The cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, etc.; an instance  of grievous distress; a pain or grief."

Good Ol Webster!  I love the part of definition that says, "grievous distress"!

This blog entry will concern itself with the afflictions in my life-those things that give me the figurative tooth ache in my brain and cause me GRIEVOUS distress.

Numero Uno: Stupid People (aka IDIOTS, MORONS, AND 98% OF EVERYONE ELSE I'm forced to deal with day in and day out.

Ok, let's make a distinction here. There are ignorant people in the world. God bless them, because ignorant just means without the facts. At one time or another we are all IGNORANT. Once an ignorant person is educated with the facts they cease to be ignorant. They become aware. Kinda like Adam and Eve after they munched on the forbidden fruit. Most ignorant people who become aware of the facts progress along in life and put their new found knowledge to good use. They have bettered themselves. There is no shame in being ignorant. There is a great deal of shame in willfully remaining ignorant.

The world also has a good share of mentally challenged folks. These people, by and large, give life everything they've got and they deserve our respect and support. Through no fault of their own they came into this world challenged in ways you and I can barely conceive. They are not "stupid" or "retarded". I've worked with them for 17 years and I can tell you that in attitude and determination and spirit they put most of us to shame.

But then, there ARE THOSE PEOPLE who RICHLY DESERVE the title of STUPID, RETARDED, MORON, and a few other colorful phrases we wont mention here. These are the people who willfully and purposefully afflict my life with their drama, their banality, and their extraordinary capacity for dumb sh#t! I don't know how else to say it.  God, I hate these people. I do! I hate them with a purple passion. I would like to put them all on an island and nuke it.  Then nuke it again just to make sure I got the job done right.  Stupid people really have no purpose in life above and beyond living off of the exasperation of their victims-kinda like a freaky parasite.

I've never known a stupid person who could control their tongue. Never. They must straightway (under penalty of death, I presume) open their mouth and rattle off any, and I mean ANY thought going through their head at any given moment in time, no matter how incredibly inappropriate it may be. It's speculation on my part but I can only suppose that they do this because they feel that their right to free speech supersedes all else, including my feelings or yours. Another possibility may be that said individuals enjoy using the "truth", or their lame interpretation of the truth as a sledge hammer. I don't think that casually remarking how fat someone is is quite what the Bible had in mind when it said that the truth shall set you free.

I've been heavy my entire life. I don't know why, I just have. Maybe my weight is a subconscious choice that I've made somewhere down the line. I don't know.  I don't know who would prefer to be heavy when they could be slim. If losing weight were as easy for me as reading the newspaper I'm sure I would have successfully done it by now.  But it's not. And I'm not. But I'm not blind or ignorant of my shortcomings. Yes, I know I weigh too much! However, I would just like to thank every socially retarded individual in my life who has ever pointed that fact out to me. That's just one prime example of stupid people saying stupid things to me and causing me grievous distress. Why do these people constantly rattle off some cutting remark only to follow it up with a laugh and an elbow to the ribs? Do you see me laughing? Hey, I've heard every "joke" or barb about being fat that's in the book. Trust me, Mr or Ms Obnoxiously socially retarded-it's not that damn funny. Do you think because it's the truth it doesn't hurt? Do you honestly believe that you're being clever? Have I ever-EVER came to you and said, "Damn Joe Blow, your wife is an incredibly talented slut! I can't believe what she does right in front of your eyes and you're just too stupid to see it! HA HA HA! Someone needs to wake the hell up! Ha ha ha! I'm sure that this news would be made much easier to accept if after exposing your wife for the slut she is I gave you a playful poke in the ribs. I mean-really! How would you feel if one day I had just had enough of it and I was as brutally honest and blunt with you as you've been with me?

Here's another note for you socially retarded people-don't tell me things like, "I hate to say this-" or "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but-"  Oh yes! Oh yes you do!  You want to hurt my feelings and then some!  Why?  I don't know. I've never been able to figure out why socially retarded people get such a jolly out of hurting other people. How many times, just how many times have I ever came to you and said-"You know, I know this is gonna hurt your feelings but-" Zero, that's how many! And there's a reason for that. I can count on one hand the people in my life that want me to go there with them. And the people that DO want my honest opinion know that I can give it out of love, not spite, and I don't have to warm them up for 30 minutes telling them how I really hate to say such and such.

Anyways, I'm so sick of socially retarded people saying hurtful, mean things to me and acting like they're either doing me a favor with it or acting like I should take anything and everything they dish out and be happy about it.

Have you ever seen socially retarded people mingling with other socially retarded people?  Very seldom. Why? Because those birds of a feather can't stand the idiocy of being surrounded by people just like them. They have to prey on the easy going, the meek and the mild.

A few other ways socially retarded people make me life miserable-

VERBAL DIARRHEA-Why oh why do socially retarded people force me into conversations that I don't want to have? Why is it that the more I wish NOT to be bothered with the infantile dreck dribbling from their lips, the more they pile it on me? Why is this behavior always at its worst when I'm in a hurry??  Does the phrase, "I have to go now!" mean ANYTHING TO THEM?  What about when I'm busy on my laptop and he/she insists-INSISTS that I listen to some meaningless story? Oh god I hate that! Most 9 year olds tell more captivating stories than the average adult, socially retarded idiot.

WISER THAN THOU-One fairly constant personality trait that the socially retarded possess is his/her ridiculously over-inflated pride in what he/she THINKS he/she knows. We all probably think we know more than we actually do, including me. I'm not afraid to admit it.  But you-! You elevate the belief to an art form!  Oh yes, yes, you are an EXPERT in EVERYTHING! DAMN, if only the world knew that behind your vacant eyes rested a brain mighty enough to save us all you'd probably be crowned king and hailed as the savior. Guess what, Mr. Genius! Did you know that one upping ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I might say really doesn't make that certain member of your body larger? Oh, I'm afraid it's true-you're just stuck with what ya got, regardless of how misguided your beliefs are that if you disagree and lecture long enough you'll be a manly man. So, you know, go find some other way to impress yourself. I already know you're an idiot.  No further proof required, man.

Affliction # 2:  REPETITION

In my line of work repetition is an ugly occupational hazard. A person either develops coping skills or they get a different job. Unfortunately, "coping" with something will only take you so far, regardless of how skilled you are.

Every working night of my life is essentially the same. I know before I walk in the door who's going to say what, who's going to do what and in what order. Aside from the smallest of details, nothing ever changes. What I say and do tonight I will be saying and doing three years from now. It's just a fact of life.

Imagine, if you will, randomly picking a single day at work and then reliving that single day every day for 17 years. That's 6,205 days worth of grinding repetition.  Oh sure, the faces and locations change from time to time but it's the same story told again and again and again and aaaagaaaaiiiinnnnn.....

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not throwing stones or trying to deride the people I work for because clearly, if it were in their power to change things I'm sure they would. I completely understand that. However, that doesn't lesson the "groundhog day" stress. I can't even convey with my simple vocabulary the weariness and the eventual stress that this sort of dogged repetition produces.

I come in the door and I see "individual X" and instantaneously I know that he/she is going to come to me and say this or that. I pray that he/she doesn't but I'm already mentally ticking off the seconds....
c'mon surprise me....
don't say it tonight...just this once...
here he/she comes....
The words are forming....
Oh how NOT surprising! He/She said exactly what I thought he/she would.  Now, I'm responding like I did last night and the night before and the week before and the month before and the year before....
To which he/she is reacting....just like they did last night and the night before and the week before and the month before and the year before and ohhhhhh myyyyyyyyyy GOD-the merry go round keeps on spinning!!!

Sometimes I want to laugh. Sometimes I want to cry. Sometimes I just suck on my pepsi and wish myself to my happy place-until being snapped back into reality by Question/Statement/Protest #2. Some beach, somewhere man, you know??

Repetition has had a powerful effect on me. You might find this a bit strange but its made me much more private and internal.  Used to be I loved company and I could talk a hundred miles a minute about anything you cared to visit about. I still can...I just need sufficient motivation to do it. Anymore, I have a FRICKIN HUGE affinity for SILENCE and SOLITUDE. Let me just sit here quietly for a while. Perhaps I'll type an email or read an online news source or play a game of chess against the computer or listen to Pink Floyd and stare at my lava lamp. Whatever I choose to do just let me do it uninterrupted! When I am once again internally balanced and vibrating in harmony with the universe (Ha!) I will be cheerful, gracious, and accepting of you when you come into my personal bubble. Until then, leave me the HELL alone!!!


Yeah, women! Damn them. In all seriousness, the deeper problem most likely lies within me somewhere, although I don't know exactly what the problem is or how/if it can be fixed. I've had the worst luck with relationships.  Trust and believe it, man! The WORST! I make the guy from American Gigolo seem like...well, a gigolo. I was a very sensitive child born and raised in a very strict and disciplined home life. I was taught to do what mama said, fear God, and respect a woman-nearly in that order. Sensitive children sometimes turn into sensitive teens. I was certainly one of them. My upbringing combined with my own personality traits made me one of those freakish boys who had strong feelings, who generally understood them, and wasn't afraid to express them or talk about them. I could listen to a girl's problems and understand them. Actually, it didn't matter if I understood them or just thought I did.  What most of the girls appreciated is simply that I took the time to listen, period. As far as I know, to the best of my ability I always respected the ladies. I listened to them. I wasn't brash or vulgar and anyone who knew me for any length of time knew that I wasn't going to make unwanted advances and the like. In my mind this code of conduct that I strictly adhered to was being a "gentleman". I thought that was desirable. Unfortunately, the only thing being a gentlemen garnered me was an endless stream of ladies who knew they could talk to me when they felt bad and who seemingly forgot that I lived on the same planet for the rest of the time.

My teen years and early twenties were very lonely. I had friends. In fact, I had a lot of friends and a few very close important friends like most people do. The thing that I didn't have, the thing I wanted more than anything else was a special relationship.  Yeah.  I wanted to be "in love". More importantly, I wanted someone to love me back. I don't think I'm the only one that's had a few lopsided romances.  I knew how those felt, how it hurt and I definitely wanted my relationship to be a two way street. Unfortunately, there's a secret law in the cosmos that states that sometimes we must endure doing without the thing we want the very most.  I would say "because..." and then launch into a deep explanation why, but the truth is, like you, I don't know why. I just know its a law and that those whom it manifests to must abide by it.  That's just the way it is, kiddo!

I was young, however, and I clung to that spoil every kid hears.  "Someday you're going to grow up and meet that special person and fall in love and have kids and a home and yadda, yadda, yadda...white picket fences, etc. Well, I did an overwhelmingly good job at saving myself up for this mysterious woman and the life we'd have together. Sure, it was hard and sure along the way more than a few "opportunities" presented themselves to me but I journeyed on for my someday-to-be dearly beloved. (Oh how she'd be so impressed by my love for her...before I even knew her...!!)

I hit 30 years old.  Not 20, not 25 or 28 but 30 YEARS OLD and one day, I swear-seemingly out of the blue-just as the prophecy went, I met a girl. Not any girl.  A SPECIAL girl. We were nearly inseparable from the start. She was the one I was looking for, for sure.  Oh, how happy we were! I was ecstatic. Wow, just like a fairy tale, man...with a prophecy and everything. I remember telling her many times, "Wow, I can't believe this is all happening...I mean, just like yesterday this all seemed like a far off, romanticized here you are...and here I am and surely the time is now". Well, it wasn't, sadly. But that determination came a bit too late.  There are some things in life you don't get a second chance at. "First times" are one of them. Wow, isn't this great? Not only was I wrong about this particular girl but I just threw out the window a whole 12 years of saving myself up...for the wrong damn girl. All that time. POOF! Gone. It ain't never comin' back as the song goes. That chaps me still. All of that time, all of that wasted time...damn it, and for what? WHAT? What did it get me?

When a snowball starts rolling downhill it only gets bigger...and so did my mistakes.  Sometimes I tried desperately hard to make things fit that just didn't fit. How much time have I wasted trying to force squares into round holes? How many other times did I do things for reasons I simply can't explain to myself or to you?

Oh yeah, women have been my affliction for years. They've vexed my soul and caused me no end of heartache. Actually, I accept most of the responsibility for my troubles. Among other things, I've had false expectations about love, made poor choices for companions, worked at things that either are or are not, and suffered from my chronological age being in conflict with my real world age, the list goes on, much to my regret. On the other hand, what a woman says she wants and what she really wants, I've found, is as far removed from each other as east is from west-and that's a fact, Jack!


I don't ever want to cease being me. It's as simple as that. I'm afraid of the abyss, as my good friend Toni would say.  Yes I am, very afraid! I'm gonna die someday somehow and the thought chills me to the bone. I feel like a bug madly dashing across the floor, hoping against hope that I can find some nook or cranny to hide in before the big foot o death comes stomping down on me and crushes me into black oblivion! Obviously, I can't-but it doesn't keep me from trying or wishing. I have no control when death should come to me or loved ones and it drives me crazy to be so helpless, so out of control.

Everything about death revolts me, especially funerals. God how I frickin HATE funerals. So much sadness and grief. Wakes and viewing of the body before the funeral itself I find nearly barbaric.  How on earth can you enjoy your sandwich or whatever when Uncle Jo's over there in the corner looking like a 220 pound candle? How can you critique how he looks and simultaneously talk about the football game from the night before? The dude is dead! DEAD! He's about to be planted like an ear of corn and never ever be seen again-frozen like he is now like some sorta waxy sculpture slowly dissolving away under the grass.  Oh man, pass me a paper bag cause I gotta breathe!

You may wonder how I can profess to be a Christian and yet still have such a revulsion of death. Easy! Even Jesus himself, who's own mission was to come here and die prayed to his father and said, "Ya know, if there's any way I can avoid this whole dying thing please lay it on me!" The Bible says he became greatly troubled and his sweat became as great drops of blood. Of course, Jesus knew exactly which hand of death he was going to be dealt so he knew he was in for an extended stay at the great house o pain.  Still, you can't convince me that he was uber excited about dying because he wasn't!  Now, I can't compare myself to Jesus but just imagine if HE didn't want to die HOW I MUST FEEL ABOUT IT!

posted under |


CAROL said...

Charlie, once again a very interesting read. You certainly have a gift of intelligence, humor and insight to feelings i'm sure a lot of us have but don't admit it. So keep on telling it like it really is and maybe someone will reconize themselves---love you!!
Aunt Carol

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home



Recent Comments