Standing on deck outside my second-floor apartment in little more than my Gamecock lounge pants and smoking last cigarette of my life ’cause I’m not a smoker anyway. Assortment of insects and tree frogs buzz and chirp and peep late night chorus and I’m too briefly reminded of my childhood growing up along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Stars play peek-a-boo from behind wispy yellowish clouds and wink at me from light years away. A light sprinkle falls from the heavens further adding to the beauty of it all. What? Weather system is supposed to be moving through later. Not now. No rain clouds above me and I wonder from where the rain falls. Larry my strange, twisted evergreen friend keeps me hidden from public, yet I can still see everything I want to see through his limbs. Larry’s named after Fine of Three Stooges. Upper limbs are trimmed around telephone wires and Larry’s branches and needles remind me of strange balding Fine hairdo. Tired as hell and my mind drifts from one thing to another as I go from thinking about poor victims of naval yard shooting to my own woes that pale by comparison to those of victims’ families and friends. Makes me want to cry and cry hard, much harder than the rain falls. Not being able to sleep is among worst symptoms of bipolar disorder but tonight it is good that I’m not sleeping ’cause the music I hear is symphony of nature and it is beautiful. Second short stint of smoking coming to an end. Not good to intake any chemicals when sick. Picked up cancer sticks six or so months ago when overwhelmed by personal crises and finally realized all smoking does is make things worse. First bout with addiction to them was during newspaper days when half-pack-a-day habit lasted nearly four times longer than this stint of stupidity. Used a hypnotic tape suggesting swallowing of ashes and the tape worked. Threw the darn things away 15 years ago, figuring I’d never need it again. Quitting for me this time and, well, that’s all I have to say about that except that quitting for others doesn’t work. Found that out making promise to beloved mother, the most beautiful woman in the world hands down. A promise I didn’t keep. Another promise that I didn’t keep and I’m guilty by more than just association. I hide behind Larry’s needles and play child game with distant heavenly bodies in the universe. Somewhere out there on distant pale blue dot twin there’s a one-eyed, dolphin-like creature looking back at me.
Still thinking of heavenly bodies, this time those in our earthly realm, vision of one in particular comes to mind as much for the beauty of her personality as for her stunning beauty outwardly. She’s suffered awful, awful losses of loved ones and is still the most positive person I know. How? How does she stay so positive after having been dealt such cruelty by the hand of fate? Thoughts turn at least momentarily to my own demons and it occurs to me that perhaps I handle adversity poorly because I think too much about myself. I and I. I’m battling the most evil of all evils — negativity and self-loathing — and it is a war to the death that I have no intent of losing. Nor do I intend to enlist anyone in the cause but I’d take volunteers. I WILL win my battle ’cause I have the will to do so. She perseveres and I will persevere, in part, because of what I have learned from her perseverance. Thought it was strange from the time I first saw her scrawl, “Everything is possible thru Him,” in the sand that we are both motivators. She motivates with enthusiasm and positivity and her unyielding belief in Jesus and God. I motivate with sarcasm, cynicism and my unyielding belief in nature. Wonder if they’re not one and the same. She helped me at one of my darkest hours and she very well might never know it, but she knows deep in her soul that she helps people and that is what is most important. Anyway, this ain’t no love letter unless future generations deem it so. We have many great talks on the beach and in one of them she equated a man’s having money with stability. “And he’s stable,” she gushed, after describing her new friend, who is 14 years her senior, which she had pointed out almost immediately, a subconscious acknowledgement that she was self-conscious about it. The man’s a district manager with Amway, a company that reaps huge profits by running a pyramid scheme. Any man who makes his riches at the expense of the poor and gullible is as far from stability as a man can be. A man’s having money is a small part of his being stable. I’ve been through too many garbage relationships in which I was dumped, in large part, because I was broke, and I’m not about to again fall into the inescapable trap of shallowness (choosing a woman because of her appearance while overlooking character flaws). It didn’t matter how nice I was or how hard I was working to any of the women who threw me out like I was yesterday’s news. Screw ‘em. Think of all the underlings (wrongly labeled, perhaps) in Amway who discovered rather quickly that they couldn’t stomach selling their souls and left the crooked corporation prior to making much of a living. Where did their money go? To district managers and other so-called higher-ups in an organization that’s been in court more often than Lindsay Lohan, O.J. Simpson, Robert Downey Jr. & Charlie Sheen (great actors, like them both very much) and Michael Jackson (not so much) combined. Don’t believe me? Google search Amway, Wikipedia. I have a high school classmate, one of the better friends of mine at the time, who was driving a new Cadillac around after grad-ee-a-tion and he was embarrassed to admit for whom he worked — Amway. Still like and respect alot the lady I was rappin’ about in the first place. Excellent person. We all have lapses in judgement. Me? I’ve had those lapses a million times.
Slay that terrible, blood-thirsty dragon, Bo Paper, and let innocence back into life. Woe is I. No reason to feel sorry for self when fellow citizens massacred all across the country and people in Kenya butchered by hyena-like savages of Al Qaeda infamy. I’ve been typecast on some internet sites as a manatee-hugger and a peacenik relic from the sixties of my childhood, yet I’d like to see Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups eradicated by any means necessary. Hard to accept alleged peacefulness of Islam when a look around the globe tells us what religion dominates countries involved in all the wars and skirmishes. Arabs and Jews (nothing personal, Israel) have been fighting since Christ was a corporal; The Bible tells me so. Stick that in your bloodshot eyes, political correctness. Bipolar disorder hardens so many of its victims. Sure does. Dylan sang, “Feel like my soul has turned into steel. Still have the scars the sun will not heal.” Spending hours a day under Ra and sometimes, as Gump would say, there just aren’t enough sharks’ teeth to find. Exactly, Forrest. Gump’s creator Winston Groom is a relative unknown compared to Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks, who adapted Groom’s book for the cinema so beautifully. Come back and tell us Forrest: is it fate or chance that rules the universe? It’s one or the other or neither of the two. Not enough teeth and rocks and not enough sun to heal those scars I was babblin’ about. Alas, Babylon. But it’s time to heal anyway ’cause being accidentally like a martyr doesn’t help anyone move on. Going back in to listen to Zevon again ’cause Zevon taught me to laugh at myself. Came out on the deck in the first place after online argument in which I told a-hole that he was an a-hole after he said dead guy in Atlanta Turner Field suicide was a coward and the loss of his life was no biggie. Told a-hole, “Not necessarily, cat. Mental illness is very real and is a chemical imbalance in the brain and people have more compassion for people with broken arms than they do for people fighting 24-hour-a-day mental issues and symptoms.” Naval yard shooter was mentally ill but mental illness isn’t excuse for violence. Be-otch knew what he was doing, guaranteed. I’ve been living with bipolar disorder for well over decade and my criminal history is a clean slate. It gets tiresome hearing idiots look at friends who are way out of line and idiots say to friends. “You’re bipolar, man.” No, no. Oh no, Yoko Ono. Bipolar disorder is a medical condition to be diagnosed by a doctor. Whole world’s full of idiots and I’m one of ‘em. Swear, y’all, on my given name Rob Hufnagle and my blog pseudonym that I’m done smoking the legal stuff. Put butt out on back of drain spout (poet and I know it and I’m proud of the romanticism of it all; no shame in spilling guts; at least I have guts to spill). Stars are winking and bugs and tree frogs sing. Nature can heal us and what is willpower other than a reflection of our instincts to survive. Life is good. Especially when you live close enough to Poseidon’s realm to hear surf ticking away our idea of time. Never ever give up the late, great, basketball coach Jim Valvano said when dying from cancer. Wish Jim and Uncle Jimmy and dad were still here ’cause the world needs more men like them. Zevon laughed in the face of death and yeah he was scared when he was dying but he laughed. I’m laughing too ’cause I don’t plan on dying for three decades or so. Course nobody in right mind would plan to meet maker any sooner than necessary. Thank you. Danke. Thanks eternally errinspelling for helping me to find the combination to loaded vault, a tough safe to crack. There really are still many, many good people in the world. Some of ‘em are playing hide-and-seek behind trees, too, ’cause they don’t like what they see in society, either. Oh, these magnificent moonless southern nights with light breeze and whistling trees. Larry’s not much for whistling and he hates whittling and I’m so happy he’s my stoic friend. So ugly he’s handsome. Laughing out loud ’cause crickets are chirpin’ and the water is high.