Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Hate Lightning

I was reading the New York Times today in which there was an article about people that had been struck by lightning.  The vast majority of these instances happen in Florida, because if something terrible is going to happen to you, there is a greater chance than not it will happen in Florida.  I believe that just like a carton of orange juice, the sediment of the United States population oozes down Florida, eventually settling in the Greater Miami area.  Every single person involved in a scam runs to Florida and then buys a big gaudy house which cannot be repossessed due to Florida State law.  They then nest up there where they assemble a legal team, listen to dance music, do lots of cocaine, and have intercourse with strippers.  This is why such amazing people like the principal partners of Enron and OJ Simpson settled there after their “troubles”.  Florida has, in general, bad karma moving into town every single day.  Something has to give, and in this case, it’s lightning strikes.

The article painted a terrible story of what happens if you get struck by lightning.  My takeaway from the article was twofold.  One was that it’s best to not run to the beach if storm clouds are gathering.  Second, if you live in The South, anything that appears terrible from the outside is actually a blessing from God.  Please note the following excerpt from the article.   

Cameron Poimboeuf, then 15, was playing Pokemon Go with a friend. As they ran for shelter from an approaching storm, he was hit and his heart stopped. Cassandra Thomas, a pediatric nurse standing on a balcony, saw it happen and raced down nine flights of stairs and across the beach to reach him. She did CPR for about 20 minutes, with the help of an off-duty officer.
Predictions were dire: Cameron would not recover or his brain would be seriously damaged.
But he lived and largely recovered. “It’s hard not to see God in that,” his mother, Karen Poimboeuf, said. Cameron still suffers from invisible wounds, post-traumatic stress disorder, nerve pain, mood swings, sleeplessness and anxiety. His friend also was hit and suffered short-term leg immobility because of the shock to the nerves, but is fine.

To summarize, if a 15 year old kid is playing Pokemon Go with a buddy and gets fried by lightning, it’s “hard not to see God in that”.  Now I would counter by asking what sort of vengeful God strikes a boy playing Pokemon Go almost killing him and leaving him with a scrambled brain and constant nerve pain.  Perhaps Pokemon Go is the reason for this mighty and terrible God’s swift and terrible actions.  Perhaps this boy and his friend were dabbling in “the dark arts” and worshipping a false God in this Pokemon Go situation.  I don’t know anything about Pokemon.  This is because I am a bitter middle aged man with a cold dark heart.  I did look up Pokemon on The Google, and discovered something called a “Squirtle”, which to this point I had assumed was a small woman that performed a fetish act on video.  There is also something called a “Wigglytuff”, which I am certain has something to do with public masturbation while using welding gloves.  That was all I needed to know.  It’s best to steer clear of Pokemon.  Cameron Poimboeuf learned that the hard way.

Yet, it is absolutely fascinating to me that Cameron’s mother thought God had shined a light on Cameron and his deviant Pokemon habit.  Rather than focus on the odds of being struck by lightning in Florida (1 in 960,000), she instead sees the kid surviving as the blessing of God.  To see the lightning strike as random chance but his recovery of the caring hand of the Lord to me seems counter intuitive.  However, I suppose it is best to assemble whatever sort of reality one needs to proceed through life.  If she were to flip it around and think “Cameron was that one in a million person that got struck by lightning from the heavens by an all knowing God focused on swift and irrefutable divine justice.  He is my boy.  I birthed something that Almighty God Himself struck with all his might.”  That’s a bit much to take on when you are living in a place with strip plazas, alligator attacks, ferocious insects, mind numbing humidity, and non-stop soul crushing club music.  The last thing you need on top of that is the Divine Being putting his attention into crushing your kid like a bug.

Maybe I am in some sort of existential crisis.  Does my life have any meaning, purpose or value?  Probably not.  I don’t have God tossing thunderbolts from the heavens at me.  Conversely I also don’t have anything amazing coming together in moments of crisis.  I am punching the clock.  Maybe that Poimboeuf kid was onto something running through the bushes looking for a Squirtle.  I hope not.  I am into making lifestyle changes as needed.  However, I don’t think I want to get hit by lightning as a deviant chasing a Squirtle.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Skyway Drive-In

The Skyway Drive In was perhaps the worst place in the history of cinema to watch a movie.  It was though, without question, an excellent place to drink beer as an underage adult.  This was the primary appeal for most of the bitter end of the Skyway's glorious run as a screening home of first run Hollywood films.  Sure, there were the occasional family or couple attending.  There was nothing like watching a movie in the car with the absolutely awful clip on silver speaker.  For the most part though, it was punks like me walking around the lot drinking like it was a Browns tailgate.

A friend of mine had a Delta Olds 88, which was a car about the size of my first apartment.  That car had two things going for it.  First, it had a pretty good aftermarket car stereo, which played almost exclusively Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, and regrettably Def Leppard.  Second, it had an enormous trunk, which could easily hold an overloaded cooler and two adult men.  Though the prices at the Skyway were certainly reasonable, part of the allure was trying to sneak in for free.  By this time I had already developed a strong set of sales skills and always persuaded someone else to climb into the coffin like trunk.  In retrospect it must have seemed a bit of a tip-off to have two young men in an enormous car ask for two tickets to a movie and the car being wildly weighed down in the trunk.  “What’s in the back son?”  Rock salt sir.

There was a specific area where the “cool” kids parked.  This was the area where that Olds 88 always came to rest.  I never felt like I was a “cool” kid at the time, but there is a perception out there now that I was at least at the outer peripheral of that clique.  I wish someone would have confirmed that with me at the time that I was “in”, as I spent most of those years feeling awkward and painfully unaware of what I was supposed to be doing.  I tried to blend in with the herd.  I generally stood around in the dark learning how to drink beer, making small talk, and trying to see whom else was standing around by the cars in the dark doing the same thing I was.  

The Skyway turned a blind eye to this activity, as I am sure they were barely scraping by as a business.  During the height of my time as a Skyway customer, they made the move from the giant silver speaker that you would attach to your driver’s side window to having the sound broadcast on a low power FM.  While the sonic quality increased from “fucking terrible” to “I can sort of hear it now” with the move to FM, it wasn’t without issues.  While it was good to be able to hear the dialogue from the movie, it was always delayed by a half second.  This made all movies appear as if they were dubbed into English as if everything was a cheap karate movie.  The other issue was people’s car batteries would die out by playing the radio, so it was important to remember to turn the car on once in awhile or at least have a friend nearby with jumper cables.

I didn’t watch any movies at the Skyway.  In fact, the only movie I remember attending was “Blade Runner” which I then failed to recap at all at the family breakfast table the next morning.  Sample conversation:  Mother:  How was the movie?  Me:  It was OK.  Her:  What was it about?  Me:  I don’t know.  Her:  Why don’t you know?  Me:  I don’t know.  (I spent two years responding “I don’t know” to any question asked of me by my parents.)

The Skyway Drive In is most memorable to me for reasons outside of cinema.  I remember a guy named Rick getting accidentally locked into the Olds 88 trunk when the key broke off in the lock.  In case you ever want to know what someone would sound like that got buried alive in a coffin, I can tell you.  It’s not pretty.  Rick freaked the fuck out.  I was pretty helpful as I stood around holding a beer saying, “He’s really freaking out in there.  This isn’t cool.”  I’m a good guy in a crisis that way.  Eventually the back seat of the Olds 88 was removed allowing Rick the emerge from the trunk like a trapped miner, wide eyed and dazed from the experience.  It was quite the buzz at the Skyway, let me tell you.

The other key memory was the time I brushed my two (2) fingers on my right hand on the outside of the panties of a very desirable young woman in the back of a Honda.  She must have had very impaired judgment as the entire episode went from “highly unlikely” to “oh my God, this is happening!” very quickly.  I am not saying I was inexperienced, but my finger technique at the time was very similar to the motion and pressure one would use on a scratch off lottery ticket.  I am now quite certain that this lack of technique, lack of subsequent timely follow up via phone call, and likely strong negative reaction from her friends all but assured me of the ensuing amnesia from her regarding this incident.  I will say this.  Mistakes were made.

It’s a shame that the time of the drive in movie has passed.  A summer night like this would be perfect to load up the car with beer and some of my middle aged friends in the trunk.  The real problem is that I don’t think I have any friends that would climb into a trunk (outside of Leo of course), and there just aren’t any drive ins any longer.  Also having a car with a trunk in the front that is about the size of a laundry hamper might pose an issue.  It’s a shame.  I’d like to finally see Blade Runner.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Bonfire

I knew a guy named Kermit.  A name like “Kermit” suggests either parents with poor long term decision making or perhaps a family history that might best be honored in another way than naming your only child “Kermit”.  Kermit was very tall, very skinny, and had almost no muscle definition of any kind.  He had a moptop of shocking orange hair that grew over his eyes like he was trying to hide in the bushes.  He was painfully shy.  Kermit went on a familiar trajectory from teenage nerd outcast to young adult heavy pot smoking outcast.  By the time I got to know him a little bit, he lived near me in a small rental home with two guys that were variations of Kermit.  One was short and fat and extremely dedicated to video games.  I never heard him speak a complete sentence.  The other guy had a terrible complexion and was 100% focused on heavy metal.  I only heard him speak once when he said “Fuck yes!” when someone put a Black Sabbath record on at a party.    

On a summer night Kermit was really wasted at a party at my place.  There was a bonfire pit in the backyard where almost every party ended.  It is shocking how cozy seven shitty lawn chairs placed around an open pit in an overgrown backyard can become by firelight.  Conversely, nothing is more desolate than a party campsite at 8:15 am with empty bottles and discarded wrappers.  However, I will stress that at night it was a good scene out there.  It had gotten very late, leaving just Kermit and I by the dying fire.  We were almost out of shit talk.  We were almost out of wood.  The option of wandering into the field behind the house to look for wood was as good as signing up for a sprained ankle or poison ivy.  I was ready to wrap it up.  Kermit did not want to let the party to end.  He jerked up out of his chair and said “I’ll get some wood!”.   

Ten minutes later Kermit had returned from his place next door.  In his arms was an end table and a lamp.  He tossed them in the fire.  The backyard changed from a dark orange to a flash of yellow as the lampshade burst into flames.  He cackled wildly and ran back into his house.  “Kermit?  You think this is a good idea?”  He tossed the other end table onto the fire, turned and ran back into his house.  He had made a shift from gleeful abandon to grim determination.  I will admit I got caught up in it.  Kermit had decided he needed to wipe the slate clean.  He systematically went back and forth from the house with all of his flammable possessions.  Mattress, couch, hamper, his dresser, and finally his clothes.  He screamed at the fire with veins bulging on his skinny neck.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had started laughing at the scenario but by this time had become concerned I was witnessing a man make a complete psychotic break.

After his scream, we both stood a distance back from the heat and flames being produced by the mighty fire.  Our shadows danced on the side of the house as the fire popped.  We were both quiet staring into the flames.  “Well, I guess that’s it Kermit.”  We stood there a moment longer.  Kermit raised his head slightly as if an idea had just hit him.  “Nope.  Not yet.”  He pulled off his shirt, stooped down, pulled off his sneakers and then stepped out of his jeans.  He tossed them into the fire.  “That’s it.”  His pale skinny nude body looked especially frail exposed in the fire light.  We both stood there as I tried to figure out what to say.  Kermit sighed.  “Fuck it.”  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Trump "Time To Move Forward"?

I recognize that people have been beaten into submission regarding Trump, his utter incompetence, and the long continuing slog surrounding the Russian involvement in his campaign.  It is hard to keep the appropriate level of outrage up when each day brings another spectacular misstep that exposes our country for the rubes that we have always been.  However, I think it is a good time to draw our attention to the fact that it was an especially demoralizing weekend for the United States.  At the G20 Summit, Trump wandered around like the guy that doesn’t belong at the party.  He was radioactive.  When the big class photo was taken, everyone was cozying up to Merkel while Donald was standing all alone on the far wing.  All the other sensible countries on the planet moved ahead without the United States on climate, creating the G19.  It is clearly evident to everyone on the planet, except 35% plus/minus of our Trump supporting population, that Trump is someone to work around.  Just ignore him.

The exception to this is Putin, who can’t believe his good fortune.  See if you can follow this story line.  Every single person with access to information agrees that Russia meddled in our election, likely swinging it to Trump.  This is not opinion as Trump lost the popular vote and won the electoral college by the slimmest of margins.  Trump, more concerned about “winning” than doing the job to which he was elected, decides to ignore this foreign interference in our election process.  He is one of the last people standing that refuses to say “Russia meddled”.  Trump has his first meeting with Putin.  In that meeting he asks Putin if Russia was involved in hacking and associated behavior surrounding our election process.  Putin says “Nah”.  Trump then says “I asked and he said no.  Time to move on.”  The exact same day, super douche Donald Trump Jr. says “I met with Russians who said they had damaging information on Clinton that could help the campaign.  Oh, and I took Kushner and Manafort with me to the meeting.”  This is at odds with the Trump stance that he might not even know what Russia is much less colluded with them in the election.  Right around the same time as Douche Jr’s story hits, Donald then tweets that “Putin and I discussed forming a cyber security unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded”.  It is literally impossible to make this up.  It's like forming a drug task force with El Chapo.

It is hard to explain why the population is not currently getting torches and pitchforks gathered to storm the castle.  Our largest foreign adversary put great effort into getting Trump elected.  Trump during this election called for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton.  We now know that his son, son in law, and campaign manager all went to a meeting with a Russian with the specific intention of getting harmful intelligence to the Clinton campaign.  We know this as they told us this is what happened.  Trump, after being elected, oddly refused to even want to consider the fact of this Russian interference.  He also oddly refused to offer any negative commentary on Putin/Russia at all and even made moves to drop sanctions.  When the FBI investigated Trump colluding with Russia, Trump fired the head of the FBI.  We know this because he told us that’s why he did it.  Russia has the goal of the United States withdrawing from global politics and weakening Europe.  This is exactly what Trump has done despite it being obviously a terrible move for the United States.  Trump finally has a public face-to-face with Putin and emerges from a meeting that theoretically should have been about not fucking with our election process but instead suggests we should partner on our cybersecurity with the guys that hacked us.  Then Trump tweets that as Putin said he had no idea who hacked us, there is no story there.  It’s time to move on.

I know we are all tired of this, but really?  We can’t get the energy up to do something about this?  Shit, I know that there’s a new Spiderman movie and NASCAR is on, but still…  We can’t all get up off the couch to try and get the train back on track?  Now, before some kook that gets all their information from Info Wars and Fox News Talk Shows hurries in here to scream about “But Obama blah blah blah!  And Clinton blah blah blah!”, just step back.  There is no president in our history that has had anything close to this lunacy associated with them like Trump.  This shit is fucking crazy.  The man gets his information from a cable news TV broadcast, which effectively makes that morning show producer more powerful than most of the presidential cabinet.  He has no idea of what he is doing.  Even when an idea floats into his peanut brain, he has no idea how to execute it.  Now we are steaming towards a North Korea showdown that has two crazy people armed with nuclear weapons facing off.  I would suggest to anyone that is even remotely concerned about their future, this might be a good time to involve yourself in “the process”.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Lucky Coin

He had been so unsettled by the dream that he had forgotten his lucky coin.  In the dream he lived in a small room in a large city.  When he stepped into his room, a snake slithered out of his laundry hamper.  The snake was gold and black, but what was most noteworthy was that it had two heads.  Each head reared back and poised to strike him and he stood paralyzed in fear.  He knew he needed to retreat, but he couldn’t.  His muscles would not respond to his mind’s command.  He stood stiffly awaiting the inevitable bites from the two snake heads.  Suddenly his dog appeared, grabbed the snake and thrashed it.  Blood sprayed around the room, much more blood than should have been possible from a creature that size.  It covered the room, slowly dripping down the walls, pooling around his feet.  His blood soaked dog wagged his tail triumphantly and gazed up at him awaiting approval.

He backed out of the room horrified.  He had to get away.  He slipped down a flight of stairs in panic and left the building.  It was snowing.  It was confusing.  The weather was warm, a nice summer evening.  Yet it was snowing.  The street was an industrial street, completely empty.  A pair of headlights flipped on just out of clear vision.  It was an old van.  The engine came to a rough start.  He could hear the gears shift into drive.  It drove towards him, picking up speed.  The snow flurries serenely fell like a child’s snow globe.  The van came to a screeching stop right in front of him.  A bald man with one arm was in the driver’s seat.  His face showed extensive damage from burns.  The driver glared at him.  The man opened the door and struggled into a cruel looking apparatus for his legs, which were only stumps cut above the knee.  The metal feet of the walking device clicked on the pavement as the man moved towards him with great effort.  The man stopped just short of him.  With his one arm, he reached into his front pocket.  He pulled out a coin and handed it to him.  “Here’s your coin.  You almost forgot it.  You are going to need it.”

The dream had been so real, so richly detailed that it was like an event from the previous day.  He readied himself for work on autopilot struggling to make sense of it.  It consumed his thoughts as he walked out of his house.  He stared into his phone as he walked to the train station, searching Google for dream analysis websites.  Each site contradicted the last.  He struggled to assess meaning to the various symbols from his subconscious.  It was useless.  There was a fortune teller that had a small storefront across the street from the train station.  He thought about what it would be like walking up the stairs to the fortune teller, knowing it would smell like incense.  That would be the smell he would forever associate with how he got suckered by a fortune teller and confirmed that he was a fool.  Still, maybe she knew the answers.

He looked at his phone for the time.  He could call in late to the office.  Blame a delay on the national rail system.  He tried to estimate what the fortune teller would charge him.  It couldn’t be more than $50.  He didn’t carry much cash.  It was rare that he had $50 on him.  He reached into his pocket for his wallet to assess the situation.  This whole thing was a crazy idea, but he was suddenly excited.  This would be an adventure.  His excitement turned to dread.  As he reached into his pocket he noted the lack of a familiar weight.  In the fog of his morning, he had forgotten his lucky coin on the small dish by his night stand.  He stood perfectly still on the bustling sidewalk.  Other commuters brushed past him.  He knew he couldn’t risk the rest of the day without his coin.  He would have to go home to get it.  He was going to need it.