I just had the most curious experience. I was reading a story on my computer, editing it for a friend, actually. And you know how, when you're doing something monotonous, you can sometimes tap your fingers or feet to some nameless, silent rhythm in your mind? I was doing that, tapping my left foot, 3/4 time, about 95 beats per minute- one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three... like an old 1950's backbeat, soft and languid and hypnotic, like a waltz.

And my other foot started to get in on the action, picking out the downbeats on a half-time, as a counter to the 3/4 time of my other foot. Tap... tap-tap-tap... tap... tap-tap-tap...

And in my head a single piano line started playing, in perfect time with the beat of my feet. Up and down the scale, in the same repeating pattern.

And I closed my eyes, and the sounds started filling my head, the sound of music I'd never heard before, or music I'd heard before in other songs, taken out of their original context and inserted into my imagination.

And an upright bass began to lightly strum, like someone with timing and soul in the background was plucking the strings.

And a saxophone filled my mind brilliantly, breaking into a haunting and mellow solo, in perfect tune and pitch with the piano and upright bass, the drums in my mind staying in time and throwing in a few fills here and there.

And the sound of pleasant-sounding ladies began to croon, "Want me... don't you want me?... want me... don't you want me?..." over and over, a chorus to lyrics I hadn't yet concieved, while the band played on......

In my head.

And it is now only an echo in my mind, as I write this.

Moby's Porcelain is stuck on loop in the back of my brain and I can't get it out. It's 3:23 AM, I can hear one of my three roommates having sex with his girlfriend. To be honest, I don't hear him, I hear her. Her moaning, each individual "Ah!" louder than the last. Surprisingly this doesn't annoy me, but I think I've just become so desensitized by this point that it doesn't matter anymore.

I've been waiting for a phone call. Of course it's a girl, it always is. Laura. 5'7ish, very soft - almost fluffy - black hair, slim, pale, cute, blue eyes, intelligent. She's been in Colorado for the last week and was going to call me when she got back. We're supposed to go out. She didn't call. I'm not disturbed by this, she never remembers to call, I always end up calling, but I hoped this time she would remember. I'll call her tomorrow between two summer classes I don't want to be taking - Electronic Expression and Internet Studio. I'm taking the former because it's requisite to graduate, the latter because it's requisite for a prescribed elective I want to take.

My check card has gone missing. I can't say I blame it, I wouldn't want to stay in my pocket 24/7 either, but I wish it had waited the last 3 weeks till it expired and my new one arrived. As it is I'll have to wait till the bank finds it convenient to mail me a new one, at least they cancelled the lost.

Somehow in the last 10 minutes I've downloaded 2.5 gigs of a 4.3 gig file over a 1.5 mbit DSL line. To those of you that don't know what this means, I've somehow recieved data at approximately 12-15 times the theoretical maximum speed. This is like going warp nine in a scooner. I want to know how I did it, and I want to repeat it. Wow.

Amid all the rambling and thought there is little time for reflection and even now I don't know what I want. I know the generics, I want a girlfriend - but I don't know who. I like Laura, she's cute, soft, fun, and rather sexy but I haven't known her long. I ran into an old flame I fucked up with so long (2 years) ago and realized just how much I wanted her still. She's taken now, but in the grand scheme of things what are boyfriends if not just another obstacle? Does thinking that make me a bad person? I don't know, and I don't care.

Edit: June, 2007: It amazes me that I was ever this dumb. If she doesn't call when she says she'll call, she's not interested. Jesus H Christ.
Why did I join the US Army?

I'd say my reasons were more feelings than organized thoughts, but I've never been one to question my gut too much. I needed something to start on. I wasn't meant for the go to college, graduate, work life. Things have never been average with my life. It was always extremes.

At the time, I needed basis. I knew I would fuck up schooling, because I have a tendency for indulgence. Sitting in class, study, work, party, it all gets very boring. Although I was always enrolled in AP (Advanced Placement) or GT (Gifted and Talented) classes, but was more content smoking weed and running the streets during High School. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, a breeding ground for crime and poverty. I went to Central High School, a large inner-city school located in the heart of poverty stricken East Little Rock. I'd commonly go to school to pick friends up in the morning. I think I went to one class a day, if I remember right. I was locked up in juvenile and shipped to Utah for a survivalist program halfway through my senior year.

After I got out, shortly after my 18th birthday, I went back to Little Rock. The Little Rock School District was demanding I take an entire year of classes, although I only needed one physics credit. So I got my GED. I got a job working at UPS and moved out into an apartment with my brother. After he left for the University of Arkansas, I got my own place in East Little Rock, on University Ave. After a couple of runins with the police and numerous fights and incidents, I ran out of options. I was fighting viciously with my family, and fucking off my classes at UALR. My uncle, a 6'6" 280lb. man who owns a detail shop, ran in my apartment ready to fight. If I remember correct, he demanded I come work for him. I had already quit UPS. I really had no choice, I didn't want to disown my family, and struggle to make a living as a GED holder, 19 years old in the heart of Little Rock. After a few months I talked to an Army Recruiter, shortly after the War in Iraq erupted. They knew I was smoking weed, doing cocaine, ecstasy, and hanging with drug dealers and gang bangers. The Army was offering me money, benefits, and security, and all I had to do was be the mean motherfucker I already was. I signed the papers after about a month of thinking about it. At this point I had already moved to a nicer neighborhood and severed most of my ties, and my family was attempting to help me get straight, and keep myself out of prison.

My mother and I were still fighting at that point. I went over one night at about 11. She was real mad because I woke her up, and I was mad because she wouldn't listen. Finally, she screamed, "What, what the fuck is so important!", and started walking back to her room.

"Why don't you stop and freaking listen!?",

"WHAT!?", she screamed.

"I joined the Army."

The realization didn't really register on her face. She came into the kitchen and sat down, I remember now how worn and tired she looked, I'd put her through hell most of my life.

"That's fucking great Adam, go get yourself killed." This was her panicked maternal love boiling out, even as she attempted to remain strong.

"What if you get captured and they find out you're Jewish? They'll cut your head off!"

The arguement escalated, I started walking towards the door.

"Don't fucking worry about it then, I'll just leave and you'll have nothing to worry about." I got in my car, and starting heading back to my apartment. I didn't get out of the neighborhood before my cell phone rang.

"Adam, come back."

"Why?" I asked her.

"Just come back." she demanded, and hung up.

I drove back, and sat in my car a second before I went in.

Her and Randy, my stepfather, were sitting in the kitchen. They asked me the normal questions: Why I did it, what were my plans, what would I do about college.

After that, I stopped school, and quit my job, and started getting all my things in order, so I could leave. The Army hooked me up with a diploma mill and I got my high school diploma in like, 2 weeks. After that, I just helped my mom with her business, driving her around and things like that, helping at the office. I left early one foggy morning, headed for Basic Training.

And now my unit, in Korea, is starting to drain into Iraq. But I'm already awaiting promotion and acceptance into Special Forces Selection. Why do I do it? I can't stand the thought of my best friends dying without me. More than that, the spit-polish and disciplined mentallity of the military is not my own. I want to be given a mission and complete it with maximum efficiency and minimum bullshit. If it's an enemy, I will eliminate him. It's nothing complicated. It's basic, primal. I love it, I'm good at it. I'm not a man of politics, but I do believe in thinking good and hard about your decisions. I have decided I support America more than I slander it. If it's foreign internal defense than I will perform. If it's a smash-and-grab extraction, than I will minimize collateral damage and remove the target from his environment. It's nothing complicated, it is as old as civilization. I respect pacifism, but see no place for it but in noble rhetoric. How can you not fight for what you believe in?

I promised I would try to do a better job of this. I tried. May not be better, but here it is, anyway.

So now same-sex marriages are legal in the state that has Boston. I can't spell it, so let's just agree to call it Mass.

I live in Silicon Valley, which is close to San Francisco, which has a large same-sex population. It also has a large population of different sexes.

You know, I was thinking about same sex marriage and I can see how people would get upset by it. It's sort of like saying "the milkman isn't going to come anymore, you have to go to the grocery store." Or even, "You can't get Scooter Pies anymore because the Tastycake company is going out of business." And to some people it's like, "We don't believe in your God so we're doing what we want."

Even worse, to some people it's: "We believe in the same God, and we're still doing this, because he said it's OK."

It's a big change for people who were brought up thinking the world works the way it does because all the good people believe the same things. Then you go and find out some people believe different things about the world. Like knocking down the WTC was really a big US/Israeli conspiracy. Like birth control should be illegal. Like the Bible isn't a historical accounting. Like Jim Henson didn't die of a flesh-eating bacterial infection. Like Jesus is God, or isn't God. Like one of the kings of Ethiopia was the second coming of Christ and we should smoke as much weed as we can. Like light can be slowed to the speed of a bicycle. Like if you go fast enough, you get there before you left.

And you think--what's with you people? Lots of people are thinking this right now: WHAT'S WITH YOU PEOPLE?

In fact, a lot of people who believe in diversity are thinking: WHAT'S WITH YOU PEOPLE, when really, at its root, the definition of diversity is a "what's with me is different than what's with you" sort of thing.

And then there are a whole lot of people who don't believe in diversity; who sort of believe in democracy, which would indicate that everyone should get a vote and things should happen as a result of the vote, which means in general, the majority rules. The majority not being the minority, will be thinking the same way. This is democracy. It has prevailed where other systems, like totaliarianism, or communism have failed. So like Darwin would say, it's survived because it was best equipped to survive. Kind of the way Ford beat Packard and Studebaker.

Like Westinghouse beat Frigidaire and Amana.

So now you have people saying: "why couldn't YOU people just stay in the closet? What are we going to tell our children?" the way people did back before immigrants and slaves in the United States were considered people. Back then, the majority worried, too. The whole world was going to collapse. "If God had wanted us together, he wouldn't have made us different," I heard someone say on the radio, yesterday.

The whole free world seems to revolve around a person's individual right to be outraged in public. And I'm thinking that's not a right. It's neither a God-given right, nor guaranteed by the constitution of the United States, where I live.

"I am outraged," seems to be the cry of people who aren't getting what they want, the theory being corrections should be made to rectify the outrage, and if I'm not big enough for you, consider God. Of course, things are rarely so simple. De-outraging one person outrages another. And so on.

Could it be we simply don't have the right to outrage? Could it be we have the requirement to be accepting? Could it be what outrages us strikes God in an entirely different way?

How many times will you hear today, "I don't have to take this shit," from someone? But what if they do? What if each of us has the God-given right to take THIS from someone else? To accept things because they are.

What if God's grand plan is not that some master religion homogenizes humanity in one big charismatically facist swipe, but rather, that we realize that having people see things differently gives us the sort of perspective people have when they've seen the world, compared to the perspective people have when they've never left Lincoln, Nebraska? That humankind's quest is to find God, and that he's not going to appear one day under the exact same rock we've been looking under for the past 2000 (or 12,000) years.

You know--in some countries they arrange marriages. I wrote an essay about this on E2 and was immediately assaulted by people who had been involved in arranged marriages and felt they were good, couldn't I get my puny western mind around that? They came to love their arranged spouses. It was the way it was. They expected it from childhood and when it happened everything about it was wonderful.

I had to accept it. I didn't have the right to be "outraged" that American citizens were being told whom they could and could not marry by their parents--which by the way--is kind of the way it is in some places in America where arranged marriages are not explicitly practiced, too. I was brought up in a "you will know your true love when you find him/her" culture. Emphasis on the "FIND" part. The whole FINDING is what love story movies are made of. It's the essence of romance. It's "right", right?

But not for a lot of people. It just isn't. I have no right to an opinion on that subject. If I was "outraged" by arranged marriages, it would be ludicrous. Fifty percent of the human population of the earth practices it. Not only would my outrage be misplaced, it would be a worthless waste of energy.

Now same sex marriages are happening. I was brought up in a religion which has gone on record as saying that's an "abomination" and an "affront against God". And we all know that insulting GOD is probably the worst thing a physical creature can do. Face it, when Lucifer insulted God, God invented Hell and tossed him there and changed his name to Satan. And Lucifer was an Archangel. We're just humans. Imagine what kind of hell is reserved for HUMANs who insult God.

So there's all this outrage. People are afraid. Sure, we're open minded. Just not where lots of things are concerned.

Consider this:

Right now in America any two people with complimentary genitals can pull up to the Church of Elvis Chapel drive-through window in Las Vegas and get married without getting out of the car. They can get divorced the next day, but if they stay married by Elvis, and one of them dies, the other one will be considered "next of kin" and so will be admitted to the hospital room of the dying partner. Household funds become communal. The house won't be taken away from the other if one croaks. There are rights.

Now you have some same-sex couple that's been together for 20 years and one dies. The other one has no rights to be with the dying person, despite his/her God-given love.

God. Do you hear me when I pray? Honestly. Does the Pope really have the hot line? Does Billy Graham have a nice fluffy bed waiting for him in the guest house of eternal grace?

Did you ever once say any of those things were true?

I didn't think so.

What has become of us as a people that we wish such sorrow upon others in the name of keeping the milkman visiting our houses? What does it matter to we who are not in same-sex marriages that others are? What will we tell our children? -- How about that some kids who would otherwise have no parents, have two parents of the same sex--and that in our society that happens. How about that just because your mother was a crack whore and your father was a business man from Dallas just visiting Portland for a convention--that you deserve to have two loving parents, anyway? That it's better to be adopted by two people who love you than to grow up in a state-run home and released into society at 18 years old to fend for yourself? How about we just act like it's the way it is--because it is--instead of pretending it's not, like we do now?

How about we just act like we care about the fact that what we do and think--or don't do--hurts people? And that we should just stop hurting people in the name of keeping things the way they are?

You realize, of course, we're playing with fire. Of all the things in the world that have caused trouble, this is the worst--people fighting change.

The whole civil war in the US was fought because of this. An agrarian society that relied on slave labor for its economy fought for stability in the face of an industrial society that began to rely more heavily on machines. Values drifted. A war started between people who were more the same than different.

I posit we're more the same than different. This is another change. Resistance is not only futile, it hurts people. With the hindsight of 100 years we'll be wondering why we thought twice about it.

Because thinking you have the right to hurt people because God is on your side is wrong. Believing you alone have the right to interpret his teachings is wrong. Believing you're better than the most lowly, commonest, least of your brothers, is wrong.

I learned about Jesus as a child, and I remember he said that. I remember that I am not chosen. I am not superior. It's my personal job to take care of everything. I am a steward of your earth. Whatsoever I do to the least of your children, I do to you. I remember what you told me, God.

Could it be, perhaps, that it's the responsibility of the majority, after the big decisions have been made, to care for the minority--not because it's democracy, but because it's the definition of morality?

If it was my daughter, I'd be spending a lot of money on flowers.

Dear Lord do you hear me when I pray?

I knew you did.

Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches the seventeenth perfect game in Major League Baseball history in a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta. Johnson strikes out thirteen in the gem, his game score of 100 falling just five short of the all time record of 105 held by Kerry Wood.

The Big Unit keeps the Atlanta offense off balance all night, striking out second baseman Nick Green followed by pinch hitter Eddie Perez (with a 98 mph fastball) in the bottom of the ninth to seal the deal before a standing, cheering crowd of 23,381. The closest the Braves come to a hit is a slow bouncer to short in the sixth that Alex Cintron handles fairly easily.

The Diamondbacks meanwhile, make sure Randy doesn't get robbed like Pedro Martinez in 1995, scoring a run in the second on a double by Cintron, and again in the seventh on a single by rookie third baseman Chad Tracy.

The 6'10" lefthander throws 107 pitches, 87 of them for strikes, in a game that lasts just 2 hours and 13 minutes. It is the second no-hitter of his career, his first coming on June 2nd, 1990 against the Detroit Tigers. At forty years of age, he is the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game.

Line Score - At Atlanta, May 18, 2004

           123 456 789   R  H  E
Arizona    010 000 100   2  8  0
ATLANTA    000 000 000   0  0  3

Pitchers: ARZ - R. Johnson
          ATL - Hampton
Home Runs: None.
Attendance: 23,381

P.S.: MLB Extra Innings kicks ass.

She was standing with one hand on her hip and her head tilted slightly, with her sweater tied around her waist. She was waiting for me, but she was hungry.

We ate.

We took the light rail to the ampitheater. Either my excitement or hers was contagious, and we chattered the entire way there. Once we arrived, it was fun to look at the people who didn't look like us and think about if our lives would be different if we had different haircuts and showed our midriffs. The show started and we stopped caring about anyone else.

It was a very good show.

As the band was drawing towards its inevitable poppy climax to which we all knew the words, and when her small, adorable body pressed against mine for the eleventeenth time for security and warmth, a particularly emotional chord change perhaps keyed into my subconscious in a way that bypassed years of careful conditioning and self-discipline I've evolved as defense against hurting and being hurt. Maybe it was only her repeated and futile proximity. I suddenly reached out, put my arms around her waist, and held her close to me for ten of the most precious seconds of my entire week. I inhaled through her hair. Her body melted into mine exactly as I had imagined it might. I closed my eyes and funnelled every mote of consciousness I could muster into my sense of touch.

Then she brushed my left hand gently with hers, and rationality returned. Regardless of the antecedent that filled the pronoun she, if she was an ex-girlfriend of a friend who he truly cares for, and if we were both fleeing the midwest in the coming months for semi-permanent residence on opposite sides of the continent, there was no way that she and I could be anything other than friends. Knowing her, that meant there was no way she and I could become any more familiar than we currently were. It didn't matter how she looked at me or how she made me feel. I knew the rules when I first started spending time with her.


I put my hands in my pockets and kept them there until we went home. We pretended nothing happened, because nothing did.

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