So, we’ve come to tattoo #84, and… it’s broken. I got the tattoo last October. Even then, I felt uneasy about it. I wasn’t sure about my lyrics. From the get-go, I wasn’t sure. I’ve only just confirmed my blunder. I should have learned my lesson from Tattoo Crisis 2010, but alas, I’m apparently still quite stupid.
The tattoo is some beautiful words from an Alanis Morissette song, No Pressure Over Cappuccino, which is off of her MTV Unplugged record. It’s a gorgeously written song, particularly a couple of lines toward the end. Unfortunately, the way I used to hear said lines isn’t quite how she wrote them. Of course, once you KNOW the lyrics you can’t hear them any other way. I wasn’t completely stupid, I checked several lyrics sites, but the thing is, the sites don’t agree. Today, alanis.com is pretty sophisticated, with every lyrics sheet from every record. Last year, it was still evolving. If the MTV Unplugged lyrics were there, I missed them. At any rate, off I went! I flew to get words permanently etched into my flesh that may or may not be right… Genius! I should have waited. Then again, I avoid waiting if it’s in my power to do so.
What I heard:
You will learn to lose everything,
we are temporary arrangements
What Alanis wrote:
You will learn to lose everything,
be a temporary arrangement
Either way, the lines have the sad beauty that I love. Either way, they state the transient nature of existence that terrifies me, and drives me. Just, what I have on my arm is a giant fucking stupid typo.
This will not stand, it will be fixed!No comments
So, fuck, I got this tattoo ages ago. I’m finding it really hard to write about, because it asks a question that I was undecided on at the time, but I now know the answer, and it hurts.
The tattoo is from an Alanis Morissette song, That I Would Be Good, which is off her second record, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. People may argue it, but I feel like Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is the best writing she’s ever done. It’s absolutely my favorite Alanis record. I’ve likely said this before, but I figure it’s worth saying again. Too many people for my liking think Jagged Little Pill is her only record, but Alanis Morissette has done a great deal of gorgeous writing over the years, That I Would Be Good is just one example. The song is a beautiful inner-monologue of uncertainty, a running string of questions, fears… That I would be good, even if I did nothing. That I would be good, even if I got the thumbs down. That I would be good, if I got and stayed sick. Her own worries that are true to being human, worries that are in all of us. If one of my worst fears happened, would I still be okay? Anybody with a bit of self-awareness thinks such things, and often enough, our possible “worsts” become reality.
In the last ten years, I’ve experienced (quite literally) every single one of my worsts. I’ve lost people I love, to death and plain old circumstance. I died myself, but apparently didn’t care for it, as it only lasted a few minutes until my heart decided against giving up on me. I quit talking… and so on. Out of everything, losing people I never wanted to lose feels worse than dying but not. I don’t even remember my lights going out, but I feel all the empty places in me, the pain never stops. Sometimes, even after years of being apart, the pain doesn’t so much as dull. When I got this tattoo, I was thinking about someone in particular. I kept hearing Alanis sing…
That I would be good, whether with or without you.
I can’t just say it’s okay, because it’s so not. Being without her, it hurts every moment of every day. It’s been years now, I don’t love her any less, I miss her all the more. I hit kind of a difficult time health-wise, so I pushed her away because I felt like she’d be better off. Though, deep down, I didn’t think she’d go. I don’t think we really are better off apart. I know that together, really together, we can get through anything. We can do anything. I know that when I’m with her, it feels like home.
That’s it for now.1 comment
So, I’m way behind on posting my tattoos. I’m getting them, I’m just not posting the pictures and telling the tales. It’s apathy, not toward the tattoos, but toward writing. Even worse, I’m apathetic toward me, toward the story of me. I’m a boring story, in my head at least. The goal is to write and not give a shit what people think, but that only applies if you like your own ideas, but are scared others won’t. I don’t give a shit what others think of me or my writing, that’s easy. I have that part down. The problem is, I don’t like what’s in my head, so that’s that, world without end, Amen. Being that I write best about me and my experiences, the real honest to Christ, totally raw, brass tacks problem is… I don’t particularly like me, and I absolutely don’t like my experiences. Now, conventional wisdom says, if you don’t like yourself, you can’t possibly be happy in your pursuits, but I find that it’s the other way ’round.
Anyway, I only have observations just now, not solutions.1 comment
Last night, I dreamed I was a refugee from a war-torn Sarajevo of long ago. I set a lonely camp on the side of a deserted road, I hadn’t seen a single human being for what felt like years. Perhaps I was the last? It was oppressive, I was scared. All I had left to eat was a single loaf of bread. Just bread. I built a fire, stoked it high. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I’m cold-cocked by Oprah Winfrey with the butt of an AK-47. Everything went black for a moment, I ended up flat on my back. When I could finally focus my eyes, I realized Oprah was standing over me, holding my bread. She could see the hurt in my eyes, the confusion. I knew because she looked at me apologetically and said, “I didn’t want it to come to this… I LOVE bread.”
I woke up silently screaming.2 comments
First, a confession. I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time a few days ago. From almost the first page you can tell it’s special, Harper Lee is special. If Ms. Lee were a super hero, Go Set a Watchman could be considered her Origin Story, but it’s one nobody need or ought know.
This isn’t really a book review, because Go Set a Watchman isn’t really a book, let alone some sort of sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s brilliant first and ONLY novel. The publisher ought to be really ashamed for even ASKING Ms. Lee for permission to publish, then for actually going through with it, and billing it as “Harper Lee’s new novel.” The “official” story behind its release goes, when Ms. Lee was asked for permission to publish this “newly found novel,” she supposedly said, “…if you think people will enjoy it, go ahead and publish it.” I don’t think the real circumstances were so tidy, but we’ll never know what was truly said, or the tone used to say it. My head and my heart tell me old-age and apathy are why Ms. Lee put pen to paper, allowing Watchman into the world. That it never should have happened becomes obvious all too quickly.
Go Set a Watchman is nothing more than either a first draft of Mockingbird, or more likely (since it IS titled), a failed manuscript of a book that evolved into Mockingbird. You see her spark in Watchman, you see that EVENTUALLY she was going to write something that’s publishable at least, but probably something ultimately beautiful. You see a writer trying to find her voice, testing parts of her craft, attempting techniques and devices, and in that sense Watchman is fascinating. Still, it’s astonishingly flawed, as anything one writes in their early attempts at a novel. It was rejected with cause, and never should have seen the light of day.1 comment
So, it’s 2016, and I’m just now posting something. I’ve been down and I just didn’t feel like writing. Obviously, I didn’t.
Still, I did have a great 35th birthday, a surprise birthday. Dinner with family, friends, some unexpected friends, a tattoo. I still have to send out thank yous. If you’re quietly hating me because you haven’t gotten one yet, it’s on its way… really! I’m just a little… disorganized. I’m working on RE-organizing, but such things take time, like decades, or less, I hope.
At any rate, it’s 2016… Here. we. go.
(Note, I didn’t make any giant promises regarding writing, or anything aside from thank yous. Let’s keep expectations low and aim to deliver big, or not. We’ll see!).3 comments
I knew that, soon enough, I’d get a pro-gun comment on my mass-shootings post. I also knew that when said comment came, I’d have to take it downtown to Chinatown…
A reader commented:
What is the root cause of shootings? Is it all about the tool? Not the actor, nor his motives? I realize that public policy is a blunt instrument which can more easily impact firearm availability than it can change motives, reduce hate, etc. That doesn’t mean that we ought to use public policy to “solve” this issue.
What is a military grade weapon? What is military grade ammo? I could argue that almost everything on the market fits this category. What type of firearm hasn’t been used by the military at one point or another? Any hunting rifle is practically identical to a sniper rifle. Hunting ammo is more lethal than what the military uses, by far. Revolvers were used by the military and police – even in modern times, like the last 50 years. Shotguns are used by the military. Get rid of them too? The military uses non-lethal rounds. So, could a private citizen shot bean-bags from a shotgun to defend himself within his home? I guess not, because both the shotgun and the ammo are military grade.
What is left for people to use to defend themselves? Pellet guns? 22s? Archery? Or should people just call 911 and hope for the best?
But if you want to get rid of the 2nd amendment, which was born from the right to self-defense, then who gets disarmed first? Law abiding citizens will probably be the first ones to turn in their weapons. They won’t want to risk going to jail for gun ownership. Then who is left? What is the plan for them?
Seems like a utopian plan that would be impossible to execute, in my opinion.
To which I replied:
My little aside about my personal feelings toward the 2nd Amendment isn’t the point. The 2nd Amendment isn’t going anywhere, nobody of relevance in politics is suggesting such. It’ll never be abolished, no matter my wants.
I think that we ABSOLUTELY need public policy to combat gun violence, particularly mass-shootings. The Federal Government has avoided the issue for way too long, and people have died because of it. There are many issues that are involved in the prevention of mass-shootings; better treatment of mental illness, better opportunities for higher-education, improved economic opportunities, social issues that will take time to fix. The immediate problem is the tool, as you say, the gun. The motives don’t matter, not right now, because all mass-shootings have the same common thread. Somebody really angry or really mentally-ill was able to easily obtain firearms. The motives and the whys are for psychologists to study, they’re the keys to long-term solutions. Long-term solutions won’t stop the bloodshed that’s happening of late, again and again and again, seven mass-shootings in just the past five months.
We need stricter background checks that REQUIRE psychological evaluation (The Brady Bill was a good idea).
All gun buyers’ finger-prints should be stored in AFIS.
The gun show and online sales loopholes need closed.
Private gun sales should require ATF oversight.
We need a new assault-weapons ban.
I think I have a few more gun violence posts in me, there’s just so much to say…3 comments
So, now we know that the killings in San Bernardino weren’t just our sadly typical mass-shooting, the killings were an act of terrorism. Since it was an act of terrorism, we are hearing calls, particularly from the right, and the far far right, to ban Muslims from America, stop immigration, shut down Mosques, the list goes on. These racist arguments are loud, highly visible, they dominate the news cycles. The right screams, “we have to protect America, keep the foreigners out!” While it’s absolutely true that we have to fight terrorism, the war on terror is very real and very serious, the fact remains that the “act of terror” in San Bernardino, at its core, isn’t any different than America’s previous six mass-shootings. There’s a common denominator among these horrible acts of violence, this common denominator is the real problem, the thing that should receive public outrage and media coverage. This common denominator is, legal access to military-grade guns and ammunition for anyone with the inclination to buy them. It’s easier to buy an assault-rifle in America than it is to buy, say, Sudafed (a key ingredient in cooking crystal meth).
The San Bernardino terrorists didn’t have to smuggle in the rifles and handguns they used to murder fourteen people. There was no chatter with Isis about arms delivery that anybody could have intercepted, no international plot to foil. None of that was a possibility. The killing of fourteen people was illegal, but the purchase of the guns used was not. The motivation behind the San Bernardino attack is really a non-issue if you consider the fact that the attack was made fairly easy to accomplish because the guns used were obtained perfectly legally. Assault-rifles, semi-automatic pistols, extended ammo clips, they’re all legal to purchase, in multiple ways. There are the myriad of gun stores where one can buy any number of guns with minimal background checks and minimal waiting periods. If you feel iffy about a background check, or you want your gun right now, you can go to popular weekend gun shows where gun enthusiasts buy, sell, and trade firearms of any kind with no background checks or waiting periods. It’s also totally legal to buy and sell guns online through, for example, Facebook or craigslist, anything from hunting rifles to AK-47s. You can even legally buy a gun right from your next-door neighbor, if they have one or ten and are aiming to sell. It’s so easy to buy guns of any kind, ammunition in any amount, legally.
Whether it’s a terrorist, someone who’s violently mentally ill, or a bullied high-school kid out for revenge, they all have one thing in common; quick, legal access to just about any type of gun and related gear under the sun. Unfortunately, people like Donald Trump are putting political rhetoric ahead of morality, and public safety. Political candidates know that one tried and true way to win an election is to present scared, disheartened voters with an enemy, then promise to protect them from said enemy. Blaming all our security issues on Muslims and immigrants is a political red herring, it’s an irresponsible, dangerous way to literally scare-up votes. It distracts people from the truly dangerous issue; broken, antiquated gun laws that basically roll-out the red carpet for anyone interested in putting a lot of bullets in a lot of people. We’ve had seven mass-shootings in five months, one of which was terror-related. Terrorists are not American’s biggest problem, not by a mile.
Politics isn’t broken, not really. We have power, we can demand common-sense gun laws, we can demand the reinstatement of the long lapsed assault weapons ban. We can let politicians know that if they don’t DO something to limit gun violence, they won’t BE politicians anymore come election time. We, as a nation, need to tell Donald Trump to fuck off. His hateful rhetoric goes against everything our Founding Fathers believed, and all the ideals on which our great nation was built.
President Obama isn’t “coming for your guns,” nobody wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment (Well, I want to, but that’s neither here nor there), but compromises have to be made. Otherwise, the parade of mass-shootings will continue, not because of international terrorist conspiracies, but because in America, it’s way too easy for the mentally ill and those filled with rage to obtain guns that are specifically designed to kill many people in very little time. Guns that no civilian should have at hand.
Until we recognize the true common denominator in all American mass-shootings, blood will be needlessly shed. It’s time to get angry at the real issue, and not politically manufactured shadows.6 comments