The blanket crashes over my head like a wave at the beach, engulfing my world in darkness that matches my mood. It's not that I mind being solitary, knowing as I do that the presence of loved ones and others dampens my productivity, but that rationalizing the advantages of being alone does nothing to improve my feelings about this empty house and the ringing in my ears that threatens to drown out the mating calls from hundreds of horny birds right outside my open window.

The forest breeze rustles the hairs on my head, stroking my melancholy. Soon I am supposed to depart the loving embrace of my cedar cabin, bound for distant lands of cosmopolitan hustle and bustle. A plateau teeming with energy and life, but also pollution and never-ending noise. To say that I am excited about the transition would be to claim that the tree is excited about its leaves changing colors in the fall. For there is beauty in change and for certain there will come a time that l delight in the novel sensations that are part and parcel of a new season, but there is also the certainty about deep and persistent sadness that comes from the departure of summer and all of its frolicking good times. 

I wish I could reach my arms out far enough to give my old friends a big hug, and then not let go, but rather bring them in, shrinking them more and more until finally I'm able to compress them into my heart and take them with me wherever the winds of change take me. It would be a never ending mobile party in my chest, thumping along to the four on the floor rhythm that never ends, the rolling bass line of my emotions, the piano riff that can always be summoned when I need a lift to my spirits, the riotous laughter and silly dances, the hands coming together, and the searing cry of the diva when my achievements are most anthemic.

And still it wouldn't be enough, would it? Change is painful because it represents growth, and growth implies aging, and aging implies death. Present is never present enough! Go away past! Ease my yearning for the distemper of my twenties and thirties. Stop me from fading back into the dark depths of back streets where writhing bodies moved as one. Is it still out there for real, not just in the rapidly deteriorating memories of those denizens of the night, but rather out there in the real world? It's not like I don't see the pictures streaming across the screen of my phone, instants documented for the benefit of those of us stuck with the drudgery of adult responsibility, weighing, sucking upon our desire for hedonistic abandon. I go out. I taste it. The taste is dull, not like before. I am compelled to put in the earplugs, a fitting metaphor. To save my ears, I tell myself, so that I can make music. Then I go back home and get to work making, not music, but money. Wealth, for what, since I hardly know what to do with it.

What is the point of this sacrifice? Who is the audience? Is this what they came to see? I suppose I could reject the intrinsic demand for normality, once again grow my hair out, ink my skin, stretch these holes in my ear lobes, throw caution to the wind. Get my freak on, if you will. After all, I have already established myself within the sphere of perpetuation, the intersection of intellect and commerce, the avenues of adulation. Abandoning the norms of the usual expectations put upon purveyors of my particular profession could only enhance my appeal to those that are coveting my rung on the social ranking. How can he get away with it, they ask, wondering about their own capacity for surprise and reinvention. Pondering their fates were they to build up the bravery to, as I have done so many times, tell their bosses to kiss their asses, fantasizing about rebelling against the demands for compliance and kissing of rings under penalty of injurious meetings with representatives from human resources. I could have that life, they fantasize, the excitement raising a coffee-tinged sweat on their brow, all the while not realizing that there is not a that to be had, that in fact all that that is is all fact-less, contemporary post-modernity, surfing on the desire for a return to a simpler time of reckless abandonment, damning the consequences, flooding the senses with serotonin overload, the overflow of empathic embarrassments forever wearing down their fractal path of destruction rolling over the hills of my ego, smoothing it down over the centuries, exposing striations of childhood bruises, chases, consequences and slapped faces, hanging upside down from the chain link fence, crying out for help, laughing and stumbling down the stairs running away from the pain of knowing that it is all going away too soon.

Don't get too comfortable

Death is comfortable. I didn't say dying is comfortable. I imagine that actually perishing is the epitome of un-comfortable. But death, being dead, yeah, that's the ultimate luxury. Not another care in the world to be had. No stress over money, or legacy, or whether you're balancing priorities in your life the right way, and what your kids are up to and what their future will be. That's all over and you can just relax. Comfortably.

Except of course that then it's over. The sum of your life's accomplishments are complete once you're dead. Setting aside for a minute the possibility of being rich and having your money work for humanity after you're gone, setting that aside, once you're dead what you personally can do for anyone else is finished.

I don't know about you, but the thought of never creating anything else for anyone makes me very un-comfortable. Pushing past 40 years old, knowing that half my life is probably gone already gives me a particular kind of anxiety, a sort of gnawing pain deep inside my chest. I'm grieving all the time that I've already wasted being comfortable. Too comfortable. Too dead.

Which brings me to my number one grievance today. Facebook is too fucking comfortable. And I fucking hate it, because it's fucking killing me.

Don't get me wrong, the book of faces is profoundly useful for keeping up with friends and family, and what parties I should be attending. No doubt about that. But nowadays every morning it seems like, I wake up in bed next to my beautiful wife and what do we do? Do we plan world domination? Or even what we have to look forward to today?

Do we fuck? 


Well, not most days, anyway.

What we fucking do is we fucking fire up our fucking iPhones and catch up on our fucking Facebook feeds. Sometimes for a good half hour to an hour. Cause it's comfortable. Having the time to see what inane bullshit our friends and celebrity causes are serving up instead of rushing off to work or whatever else needs to be accomplished is a fucking luxury.

Picture a poor Syrian couple fleeing the mayhem and destruction of the ISIS scourge. He and she and the kids, camping out as refugees in god-forsaken desert along with a hundred thousand of their best friends and family, all shitting and pissing and begging for mercy.

I bet our lovely couple would love to have the luxury of checking Facebook feeds in the morning when they wake up, but no, they have to drag themselves awake to face inevitable suffering and chaos. On a certain level I envy them, not because I want to be them, but because I suspect they're more alive than I am.

Our poor Syrian fuckers, they are present.

They're up to their necks in shit. Everything that they knew and held dear has gone to complete fucking hell, but despite it all they keep going because it's all they know how to do. To stay alive and to stay alive you have to be present.

I used to see all the crazy fucked up shit going on in the world, and all these poor people popping out babies they can't feed, fodder for catastrophe, and I'd get all pissed off and righteous and be like Jesus-fucking-christ, why don't those stupid cunts stops having sex??? Do they really have to rut and have babies in those conditions? Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with those idiots!

I'm the idiot and I hope the universe forgives me for being such a judgmental clueless jackass. Of course they're not going to stop fucking and popping out babies. Cause when you're in the present that's just what happens. You're not comfortable, but so what. The sun's going down, your eight kids finally passed out from heat exhaustion and hunger, your tent smells like shit and smoke, but hey now... there's a blanket and you look into the eyes of your haggard wreck of a wife and goddammit you love her more than you ever did before because she's your rock, and you give each other that come hither look and then she reaches down and grabs you in the way you like it, and there you go, a hit of the sweet sweet drug, the only one that can relieve their pain. And of course nine months later there's even more mouths crying out for a too-dry tit. And now we have even more death and more of everything that is terrible and beautiful and disgusting about humanity, but man! least that shit is living, am I right?

What we do over here. Correction, what most of us do over here, where it's nice and we hire landscapers and maids and get that little ball of fat in our arm removed cause it's ugly, all that stuff that comes with the luxury of being born in the right place and time... all that shit that we do, all that time we consume being consumers, capitalist egotists. All that time.


For what exactly? Why do we get so much time, and do so little with it?

You and I have so much potential. For whatever fucked up chance and circumstance, I'm over here in my beautiful house, with my expensive computers, fretting about my diet stripped of refined sugar, cause I want to live a few extra years and be able to look in the mirror and have my ego be happy with what it sees.

And I'm comfortable.

And I'm dying.

Sure, kind of like everyone else is dying, except maybe worse. Because maybe you don't bear the same psychic burden, but let me tell you that somehow, the same fucked up chance and circumstance that got me here to where I am now? Not only am I failing to live up to my potential for greatness, but every fucking waking minute that I try to be present there is something that manages to remind me, to make me acutely aware of the fact that I'm failing to live up to my potential.

And face it, as much as I want to blame Mark Fucking Zuckerberg and the endless streaming carnival of human folly that is my Facebook feed, as much as you might want to say fuck those silicon valley fuckers and their disruptions! As much as you might want to shift the blame, nah man, you can't honestly do that.

Trying to pawn off that responsibility would be like a junky blaming his drug dealer cause the drugs are too good, too pure.

Being upset cause the drugs got us too high and now we don't want to do something else.

Cause we're too comfortable in this place.

In this bed. In this dirt.

Dying. Ultimately, dead and gone and forgotten.

So the questions remain: How do we change? How do we live more than we are living?

How do we shake out the comfort without destroying everything that gives our lives meaning? Without hurting the relationships that keep us going? The wife. The kids. The close friends. Seriously, despite it all, what about their comfort? Does it count for anything? Do I really want to impose my definition of what makes life worth living on them against their will? It would be fine if they figured it out themselves, but what if they don't?

War & Peace

We live in the most peaceful age in human history. One of the great ironies of this progress is that our deepest worry is no longer death of our body, but death of our soul. We don't live in fear of bullets, starvation or disease. We do fear having lived an inconsequential life: dying without having ever really lived.

I preach the relentless pursuit of excellence and warn against traveling well-sterilized paths. I didn't spend my childhood on a carefully monitored playground, and albeit for reasons out of my control, the Ivy League education, comfortable job, and sensible marriage were never an option. Still, in less than 40 years, I have managed to figure out enough to carve out my little mark in human history. Not only that, but I reproduced too. And despite the post-divorce challenges inherent in being a part-time parent, I have constantly tried to provide my offspring with experiences of true intensity and meaning.

Still, when I look into their eyes, content that they are healthy and relatively happy, I wonder: Will they fall victim to that particular kind of  depression and despair that persecutes those with peaceful, affluent lives? My own childhood was clouded by the specter of global nuclear annihilation. My impatience to get out there and see the world was existential. If I didn't rush, there might not be anything left to see.

My kids don't have the same urgency. Maybe things have been too peaceful for them.

What I Want


❏ knowing my meaningful purpose in life
❏ working towards that purpose instead of ignoring it
❏ positive spiritual beliefs that are uplifting to myself and others
❏ opportunities to help others and make the world better
❏ a thriving career and solid professional reputation
❏ enough money to take care of basic needs and savings
❏ a partner who is stable and loves me unconditionally
❏ plenty of great sex and loving intimacy
❏ a happy, beautiful and peaceful home
❏ kids who are loving, kind and grateful
❏ a large circle of diverse friends that appreciate me for who I am
❏ neighbors that like talking to me and happy to do favors
❏ gratitude from those that I directly take care of on daily basis
❏ freedom to travel to exotic locations
❏ delicious food and lots of good music and dancing
❏ stimulating intellectual conversations and debates
❏ a dog that doesn't roll around in shit
❏ a little bit of spare time to indulge my hobbies
❏ occasional quiet time to enjoy a good book or two

and I guess...

❏ sympathy from my best friends when I don't in fact have it all

I actually have almost all of these things, most of the time. But sometimes the most important ones seem very out of reach. And there's nothing I can do about it except thank the universe for blessing me with the others. Still hurts...

To Hell With the Cold

My relationship with cold weather has grown strained over the years. I don't think the weather has changed much, if anything it's gotten a little warmer right? So the fault must lie with me, as I get older. Winter is just not as fun for me as a grown up as when I was a kid. The advent of cold weather as a kid was exciting; it meant the possibility of snow days off from school, of snowball fights and sledding, and in my teenage years, of extra income from shoveling driveways and sidewalks.

Now? I just shuffled over to the thermostat and checked the temperature. Sixty-two freaking degrees in here. With a tiny grumble, I pressed the button to turn the heat on for the first time this season. You see, my hands are freezing and I've been huddled up in bed for the last few hours not wanting to do anything, despite having plenty to do. I'm starting to wonder if this season gets me depressed. It's almost 11 a.m. and I still have my heavy pajama pants on and double socks, including my extra padded red ones. If I could bear the thought of getting back into bed and curling up in my heavy comforter I totally would do it, but I know that the listlessness would just feed back on itself and make me feel more down about things than is truly justified.

I grew up in New Jersey, so I'm no stranger to long, cold winters. And I live in Georgia now, where the winters are relatively mild but still cold enough to depress my enthusiasm for life. In that light, my stint in Florida was quite a positive experience. Where I resided in Jacksonville Beach, the latitude and proximity to the ocean kept average winter temperatures far away from freezing. At worst, my hands would get very cold from being outside in a stiff breeze while the ambient temperature is in the 40s or 50s. But you could almost always count on the sun heating things up during the day.

I wonder how my kids will react to the cold. Will the relatively mild winters of their youth drive them to seek out cold adventures when they're old enough to decide what to do for fun? Will they eagerly embrace skiing and other winter sports that make me shiver just thinking about them? Taylor already expresses a preference for cold weather and a desire to move "back north" where she was born. I wonder how much they take the warm climes of the South for granted.

I think the worst effect of being cold is how it dampens my creativity. I feel sleepy when I'm cold. I'm not motivated to action. Overcast conditions are prevalent in winter; the gray skies coupled with cold, somewhat humid conditions, are a sure recipe for not wanting to do anything other than laying in bed and wasting time on the Internet. As if to underscore my line of reasoning, I just drifted off into a thought of walking to the kitchen and putting a pot of water to boil for some hot tea. Yea, perhaps that would warm me up and get me going, but the thought involved closing my eyes and then a yawn attacked my consciousness and before I knew it I was dozing off, right here where I sit, not even in a particularly comfortable chair or posture.

I lean over to the right and glance over at the liquid crystal display of my thermostat. The temperature is now 66 degrees, it's getting warmer and my hands are thawing out, perhaps from the warmer room and exercise on the keyboard. My brain is a bit clearer and I'm thinking warmer thoughts. I'm thinking of laying by an open fire and letting its warmth radiate into my face and skin. I'm thinking of the hot sweaty heat that comes along with making love under too many layers of blankets and comforters. I'm thinking, make that dreaming, of the heat that you feel when you've been laying in the tropical sun for more than a few minutes and the last of the water from your dip in the pool evaporates and now the sun's rays are really drilling into your skin and raising your core temperature and making you get a good sweat on. And you press your eyes closed and the color is red because the sun is drilling through your eyelids and illuminating your blood vessels and you start to feel really, really hot.

Yep, I'm warmer now. To hell with the cold, I've got work to do.