The other day I was talking to my wife about my struggles with writing. I wanted to submit some short stories for a publication but I was having trouble coming up with things to write about. She asked me a very sensible question: “What do you want to say to the world?” I thought about it, and only one answer came to mind then, and I still don’t have a better one:
I feel drained, hollowed out. Not all the time, of course, but it’s my default state now. Some days are good, some days are bad, but the common thread through all of them is a bone-deep exhaustion. Not exactly the kind of thing that a reader is dying to pore over. There’s good reason for it, of course, just like there’s a good reason for the depression, the feelings of powerlessness, the nagging question of whether life’s mundane responsibilities like paying bills and worrying about a credit score is worth it due to an occasionally overwhelming existential crisis that’s part and parcel of our every day.
I know, I know. I do like two blog posts in 10 months, then I do 2 in two days. Some people binge drink; some people binge blog. And some people do both, like me!
Anyway, it’s still February, the All-Time Aravan Award Winner for Shittiest Month 1600 years in a row (seriously, it’s so shitty that we cap it at 28 days unless we need to make the calendar still work, then we grudgingly add a 29th every four years and resent the fuck out of extending it), so technically I can get away with a 2017 awards presentation. And if you disagree, the terrible Academy Awards won’t be held until fucking March, so take it up with them if you think I’m too late. So you know what that means.
IT’S TIME FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING 2017 ARAVAN AWARDS, BABY!
Before you get too excited, let me pause and explain what the Aravan Awards are. From the archives:
…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world. Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.” It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.
So I am TOTALLY in!
So sit back, relax, and cheer for your favorite candidates as I google the World’s Shittiest Trophy and use the first image that comes up as the award for this year:
And now, here it is – YOUR 2017 ARAVAN AWARD WINNERS!
I didn’t want to go.
I just wasn’t in the mood, really. I’d been working all day, and would have to do the same tomorrow. The prospect of driving for an hour to go home, then to ride in a car for two hours in order to be surrounded by strangers, followed by disappointing news, then on top of that having to ride all the way back home feeling down – it wasn’t an appetizing thought.
Hell, I was already depressed and anxious enough. Those two feelings tend to follow me almost all of the time, and it always takes at least a little effort to keep them at bay. Some days are worse than others, and on that Thursday they were feeling pretty damn strong. I struggle now and again with, well, a lot of things, and some days are harder than others. The really fun thing about my own particular cocktail of misery is that my depression makes me want to be alone, my anxiety makes me unable to cope with social situations (to the point where I often find myself unable to face the prospect of asking another person to give me food when they are literally being paid to do that very thing and so I’ll skip lunch instead), and – here’s the fun part – being alone makes me more anxious and depressed. It’s a good time.
Fair warning: If the title wasn’t enough to clue you in, this is a post about jackin’ it while getting your insurance company to pay for it. If you have zero desire to find out what it’s really like to provide a sperm sample, it’s completely understandable. If, however, you’ve always wondered if it’s like how they portray it in the movies, or you’re curious to discover what materials are provided for the purpose, read on. I promise to try to make it more funny than gross. Also, the pics may feature adult themes. Not like my junk or anything, but, ya know, fair warning and all that. You might see part of a heavily photoshopped woman’s butt.
Also, a hearty welcome to the new followers I picked up this week! You deserve better, but hey, you didn’t know what you were getting into.
You don’t need me to tell you that 2016 was a very fucked up year. Many beloved famous people died, including people who helped define some of the most widespread cultural touchstones we have, from a princess to a professor to a candymaker to a spider from Mars, along with ground-breaking musicians, one regressive judge, comedians, athletes who defined entire sports and eras, giants on the world political stage, and more besides. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, pets – maybe you lost someone personally in 2016. It was the year that never seemed to quit taking. Seriously, go look a list of the famous people who died last year. I guarantee there are people on there you forgot about, and couldn’t believe you didn’t remember.
Also, there was an election, wherein a thin-skinned pissboy with less substance than an expired McDonald’s coupon became president of a nation whose espoused ideals stand in stark contrast to everything the tragic joke of a man set to lead it embodies.
OK, this whole blog post is coming out way more depressing than I intended. Sorry about that.
I said before here that I detest the fact that we’ve allowed a two-party system to arise and get a chokehold on power in United States government. Of course, I leave the possibility open that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I am, after all, not an expert in political systems, or the intricacies of government, or history, or really any subject at all. I may be an expert in churning out stream-of-consciousness rambling word vomit, but even that’s debatable. I know enough about a lot of things to know I don’t know enough. But I do know enough to have opinions on them, and I am an expert on knowing my blog’s username and password, so I’ll continue putting out these things here.
To be honest, I’m writing this because it’s been a very emotional and shitty couple of weeks. And writing about the potential dissolution of our Republic is actually a way for me to escape my troubles. A few friends of mine encouraged me to write, so I am. My original plan was going to be a Fears and Hope in Donald America post, where I could talk about what I’m afraid of and hopeful for in the next few years. I may do that at some point. Instead, I’m going with a lashing-out of anger because I feel helpless and scared and sometimes yelling at clouds is the only thing I can do because the things I’m actually angry and scared of can’t be targeted or confronted. They just Are.
Anyway, whatever, here we go.
It’s been a couple years since I did this, but I thought that if there was ever a year that deserved to be celebrated by a two-bit writer on a pointless blog, it’s 2016.
OK, wait a second. First aside (and it might be a record coming in on the second sentence – although the chances that I’ve done it before in the first sentence is becoming likelier the more I think about it): it’s been a long-time habit of mine to be self-deprecating and insulting to my abilities and this blog. It’s a tradition, of sorts, mostly because I try to be humble and also that I recognize that, in the world of writing, I’m barely the speck of dirt that will one day invade a pore and give rise to a pimple on the ass of the world’s literary giants. I might not even be that important. Anyway, I recognize that my talents are limited and this blog is rarely updated and barely worth the cost of reading it (opportunity costs, folks. You could be learning about dimorphism or the Egglet-Burke Theory or how to properly season a cast-iron skillet instead of wasting your time here). So I know these things. But I’m going to take a conceit from my favorite gaming-related blog (The Angry GM) and, instead of being self-deprecating (read: honest) about my abilities and this site, I’m going to go the opposite route. For the remainder of this post, I will assert that I am an amazing writer, the GREATEST WRITER, and this site is the most prestigious and exclusive gathering of the greatest distilled thought that millennia of evolution have worked towards in building to that apex of human development, me.
So I’ll basically pretend like I’m almost every other blogger ever.
Yes, this is a political post. I know you’re tired of it. I’m fucking tired of it too. I just can’t get it out of my head, and I have to write it down to get some of this vitriolic poison out of me before what’s left of my brain drowns in it. I’d say skip it, but I don’t want you to, because I think this shit is really fucking important even if my opinions are completely irrelevant to the rest of the world. These are my opinions, though, so I’m gonna let ‘em out, and if you don’t care for them, that’s fine, because many of them are probably terrible. Read the rest of this entry
This blog in general doesn’t contain a lot of personal stuff about me. This is one post that is intended to be very personal. I’m warning you now. This is a good time to go back to whatever else you might enjoy as you kill time at work or in line or wherever you like your distractions.
Anyway, like I said, this blog tends not to have much that is very personal. There is some, here and there, mostly when I’m trying to explain why I’m not updating the site, or when I feel like I need to scream into the void. Some things are very, intensely personal, but I put a façade over them and use the voice of the persona I use when I write here. This emotional distance is a reflex, something I’ve always done, a way to keep myself functioning in a world that is often, to me, a swirling maelstrom of chaos that I’m unable to comprehend or understand without a remove and a wall of sardonic cynicism and sarcasm. And passionate feelings about cupcakes and smoke detectors.