My idea of a 'lot' of snow is permanently skewed.

With all the drifting I'm unsure 'exactly' how much snow there is, but definitely more than 2'. I thought it would be cool having so much snow, but now I'm not so sure. Walking in the snow is impractical except on plowed sidewalks and the roads that have been plowed. Even school being off is not a big deal, last year I would have been thrilled but now it's just... another one. I've only been to school 2 days last week, I'm starting to miss it.

It was pretty surreal last night. 100-150 yards away, the neighborhood faded into white. I would plow the sidewalk some, investigate snow formations, come back and there'd be another inch where I plowed. The snow clicked so much on my hat I could still hear imaginary snowflakes pelting my head as I fell asleep. Yet it wasn't dark; the snow reflected all the light the streetlights gave out. I felt like I was trapped in a small bubble of light, while contained to a narrow track of previous footsteps.

This winter has just been a freak of nature. Nearly 2' in December followed by more than 2' in February? The last time this has happened must have been 100 years ago. This kind of thing is normal in some places, but not the mid-Atlantic.

Oh yeah, it's supposed to snow Tuesday. I can't wait!

Now in the white flames of burning flags we found a world worth dying for...

I was minutes away from suicide, years away from anything that even vaguely resembled truth.
It took a lot to push me to that edge, the edge of that cliff so bleak and so steep that there could be no coming back.
Inside me something ignited, a flame
but not one that produced light and warmth, rather the flame that ignites a fuse, hissing and sizzling in warning.

On the streets of Venice, the fuse was lit. Years of silent animosity and confusion turned to a self hatred so powerful I found myself literally holding the blade that would seal my fate, my hands shaking as it hovered above my forearm, ready to peel back the layers of skin and let out all that I despised about myself. Imagine that: a child, for I am still a child, with such a bright future, a letter of acceptance to a prestigious medical school in one hand and the praise of all the world in the other, throws both away to instead pick up the blade that would carve scars of dried tears on his mother's face.

On the freshly laundered sheets of an Italian hotel chain I lay face down, weeping silently, wishing for a sleep that would cure this fatigue. Self restraint found me though, as for the first time in my life I heard my father apologize and admit to his flaws. He is only human after all, I said to myself, a product of his upbringing. This held me over until a 747 flew me back to the moist tropical air of my own home.

Things weren't the same though. Every day was harder than the last and the thought of tomorrow brought no hope.

For three days I hung myself on the cross, waiting for an answer from a God that had never led me astray. For three days I wondered, "Why have you forsaken me?"

On the third, just as I thought I would never find the strength to take another breath, God sent me an angel. She came to me, in my home, uninvited and unexpected. I didn't know it at the time, but something good was happening for the first time in years - something wholesome, something real, something that was mine, and mine alone.

Weeks went by before I realized that she was indeed sent from heaven. Inside me something changed - every moment became a blessing and every day I looked at the world as though I was seeing it for the first time. She opened my eyes to a world I had never known, a world full of love and kindness and beauty.

Her very face radiated a light and warmth I had rarely felt before. Through her I found an outlet for my frustrations and a mental support for those trying times when the very walls of the world seemed to close in around me.

The day I had to say goodbye came too soon. Tearing myself away from her welcoming smile was the hardest thing I've ever had to do - harder than organic chemistry, harder than the MCAT, harder than getting that 1:06 on the 100 backtroke or facing my parents after a run-in with the police. But it had to be done, it had to end. So I ended it, and moved on with my life happy that I had at least had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful person.

Little does she know how much she changed my life, little does she know how much I still, and always will, love her.

CAUTION: This is a stream of crap, yet I must get it out.

I made a bad life decision a couple of nights ago.  I drank two pints of beer, and after that, really wanted to get home because I needed to pee and sleep.  I had work the next day and I was quite tired.  

It was bad that I had that second beer, there is no doubt of that.  I should have had only one.  In the time that I could have had another beer, I would have been sober from the first one.  I knew that I had to go home and sleep, I knew that I did not have a short drive home and I knew that I don't have a very good tolerance for alcohol.  Yet, I drove home, directly after having two beers.  

I was not drunk, I was tipsy, yet I had to concentrate to drive.  In another way, it was good that I really had to pee because that kept me on edge.  However, I could have really screwed myself up.  I could have made a wrong move and had an accident.  I could have had an accident due to compromised reflexes.  Hell, I could have died.  

None of this happened, I ended up getting home safe, but that fact does not excuse me from anything.  There is a lesson to be had here.  DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE YOU STUPID FUCKER!!!!  Make that time the first time and the last time.  

If this ever happens again, I will not have another alcoholic drink for a very long time.

To learn from one's (or another's*) mistakes, (some*)one must make a mistake first. The challenge is to identify the mistake before it happens, and then try to do the right thing. The hardest part is figuring out the right thing to do.


* Thank you, Glowing Fish.

Dear Future Self, twenty years from now, wherever you may be,

Hi there. It would appear you have me at a disadvantage, since you know me, but I don't know you. To you, I am a little brother. To me, though, you are a dimly-recognized stranger, one of those faces I'm sure I've seen somewhere before, and the name's on the tip of my tongue, but I still can't remember where I met you. I feel proper introductions are in order, but since there's no one around, we might as well dispense with protocol and get comfy. I'll bring the beer.

I'm writing to you from the wee hours of insomnia, and since we've been an insomniac all our life, it wouldn't surprise me if you were still up at this hour. That is, if you're still alive. I'm sure you are. Remember how I made that chilling prediction that we would die at age 76? Probably knocked it down a few years by the smoking, but probably brought it back up by quitting meat and high-fructose corn syrup. Either way, chances are you're still around.

You are 43 years old, going on 44, and we've both been struck with the persistent sense that we might have been happier if we were born in a different decade. Since you still have your memory, I won't belabor the point any further. Suffice it to say that right now, I feel in the right time, but not necessarily the right place. But you probably feel neither.

For me, all this is a little exciting. We grew up in apocalyptic discourses, from Sunday school to all the Time-Life books published in the 70's, to the scruffy liberals you found yourself hanging out with in college, to now, where I'm at, watching the world tumble into a flat spin. All I can do is hang on and think about letting go just long enough to experience the exhilaration of uncertainty.

But we were never very good at dealing with uncertainty. We grew up thinking we would be somebody, but then we learned a whole shitload of theory and understood why the poor can never be rich and the powerless can never be powerful, and why the system is fucked beyond repair and for me to invest anything significant into it beyond what would directly and immediately benefit me and mine would be a waste of resources and time. So we told ourself that we're content with what we have here.

Frankly, I thought my early twenties would turn out different from this, but I always knew what sort of person I would become. Still, I don't feel the least bit confident in guessing what sort of person you are. We are the product of our environment, and whatever agency we exert only is allowed to us by structure. But I'll guess anyway.

You're definitely still alive. You probably have children. You probably are still with your wife, if you chose her carefully and took a long, long time to unlearn all those hyperactive defense mechanisms. You might even be happy, or some close approximation of it. You figured out where you fit into all this mess, and have learned to let go of the strings and fall, with full confidence that you'll land on your feet or die trying.

Or, you might have clung to your fuckedupedness with all your strength, in which case, you definitely don't have a wife, and no children, and are a very bitter and lonely middle-aged man. If that's the case, you're probably not alive. You would have hung yourself at the first grey hair. But the anthropic principle leads me to believe that if you're reading this, you're still alive. Since I can't get any sort of empirical evidence to allow me reasonable certainty of your reading this, I'll just have to take it on faith.

Write me back, if you can. If not, I'll wait.

You, twenty years in the past

For kamamer, who posted this link on his Facebook page. Here you go, Karl:

We met at Halloween. You wore a Jar-Jar Binks face mask and a viking helmet. I was a Tic Tac Toe game. "Meesa takin' Paul Lynde for the block," you said, touching my navel. It scored you points because it was a better line than all the "Xs and Os" stuff I'd been hearing. I still have a picture from that party -- of our off sides, to be sure, but I see the glow of new love, anyway.

On our very next date we played chess. You went all-out with no thought to defense, your only strategy to rush your pawns in for conversion to Queens. I knew right then we'd make a great team -- my brains and your ... enthusiasm!

One night we were in my parent's back yard, holding hands, and in lieu of making a pass you tackled me into the bushes. Soon we were fumbling with zippers and snaps. I still remember the smell of lilacs, grass clippings, and Right Guard.

How far you've come since then! Bold in the sack with nothing out of bounds, never leaving me feeling incomplete. But our relationship is much more than that. It's the way we huddle together under an umbrella and listen to its interception of the rain, the way you can referee arguments with my folks yet never give offense.

I still get a kick whenever you joke about punting the neighbour's poodle over the fence, or when you read movie reviews with a big deep voice like Don LaFontaine.

I know that with my long hours at work I'm like a half time partner but you never make me pay a penalty. We'll make it up this weekend. I'll be off the clock. Meet me in the bushes!

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