Analysis: Ruby Cassidy and “The World Will Need You”

INTRODUCTION,
This is more the story of how I met Ruby Cassidy, aka “Mystica,” from the Philippines, but I will also be including info on the recording of our album, with main focus on one of the 8 tracks that we wrote and recorded, titled, “The World Will Need You.”

While I am using Ruby’s real name, some other names will be either changed or omitted to protect others; some innocent, some not.


MEETING
For all of my struggles, my life was seemingly going not only nowhere, but maybe swirling down the drain. I had failed at leaving my girlfriend. She poked holes in my condoms, she ended up pregnant, and I was forced into fatherhood against my will.

At the time, I was also going through a great deal of abuse from my main boss, Mark, at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, where I worked as an Administrative Assistant. Most of it was comments about how, “a REAL man would not be doing a woman’s job.” Real class act.

So after work, on my way home to West LA from Sherman Oaks, I would stop at the fringes of Santa Monica to a little club known as Fantasy Island. This club served alcohol and had exotic dancers. Because alcohol was being served, the dancers had to remain clothed.

The club was dark, the music was good, and it was nice to get attention from a pretty lady, even if I had to pay for it, before going home to the yelling and violence that became a mainstay of my future ex-wife’s life.

For anyone wondering, yes I eventually got out of there and away from her in late 1998. But I digress.


THAT FATEFUL NIGHT
I was there one night, just having a drink and watching dancers. At one point, I had looked down and saw the man who plays the magical dwarf of Twin Peaks, hanging out and having a good time. I considered it an omen of sorts, but good or bad have yet to be seen.

Ruby

That’s when a young, 28 year old woman named Ruby approached me and asked me if I wanted a dance. I agreed, so we went to the benches where the guys would sit down, and the ladies dance in front of them. There is a clear NO TOUCHING policy, so nothing wacky was going on.

She seemed nice enough. But I was there to forget my horrible life, so I didn’t put much thought into anything.

After the first dance, she offered me a free second one, so I took it. Money was tight, and I had a very small budget that was just enough for a beer or two, or a dance or two. I wasn’t going broke.

When that dance ended, she sat down and decided that she wanted to talk to me. Okay, fine.

“So, what do you do?”

This is a horrible question for a man to hear, when he’s working as an Administrative Assistant. I didn’t want to talk bout that, and I was really uninterested in allowing the hard reality of my life into this fantasy world.

“I’m a musician.”

She got excited and asked me what I played. I rattled off all the instruments and noted that I’m a songwriter as well.

She told me that she was looking for a musician to write for her album, and asked me for my number. I wrote down my name and number for her before leaving.

Outside the club’s front door, I told myself that it was just another bullshit thing, and nobody is calling me to write music.


THE NEXT DAY
I had barely been awake for a few short hours, when I got a phone call. It was Ruby, asking if she could come over to talk about her music project.

I agreed that we could talk and that we could get together any time in the morning. I didn’t want my whole day tied up waiting for someone.

She came over immediately and brought her lawyer along with her. His name was Rob* and he was a big-shot politician in Canada. They both were asking me questions about my past and current musical endeavours.

At one point, Ruby perked up and asked me a question after I told them that I played guitar. “Do you play electric, or acoustic?” Except, she couldn’t pronounce “acoustic” properly, so it instead sounded like “aqua stick.”

I thought that pronunciation was cute and we moved on. Remember this rather innocuous detail for way later.

While there was no contract signing, we agreed to work together and we got started right away. This would not be the first or last time that I made the mistake of starting work based on nothing more than a handshake.


THE WORLD WILL NEED YOU
I was in my upstairs home studio, playing chords on my home-made guitar and looking for something. Instead of thinking of chord names, I focused on patterns on the neck.

Suddenly, I came up with something that was interesting, at least to me.

Most pop/rock songs will have things in sets of 4. The verse may have four measures, or TWO sets of four measures.

With this song, I had two sets of THREE measures. This gave it an odd feel that was different from having a time signature that is not 4/4.

The verse and intro wrote themselves right there. The chorus was inspired by music I had been listening to while driving somewhere earlier that morning, which was “Women in Love” by Van Halen. That song inspired the overall feel of the song as well.

I called Ruby and told her that I would have a song ready for her to hear in about 20 minutes. She started writing lyrics, and I began recording the drum machine, bass, and a rhythm track on the 4-track. I left the fourth track open to record our rehearsal run-through.

Just as I finished up work on the 4-track, she ran upstairs with paper and pen. I played the tape for her once, and she made some notes on her paper.

After that, I set up the video camera, hit RECORD on the 4-track, and we ran through the song for the first time. She put her lyric sheet on my hi-hats and we ran through the song for the first time.

A comparison between the first run-through and the final product.

The above clip demonstrates a comparison between the first run-through and the final product. In this video, when I am visible, you can see my home-made guitar.

It was an exciting moment, for we felt that we had worked up our flagship song.

We laid back on a futon and played the song again on the speaker system. She said, “That song is so beautiful, I could make love to it right now.”

I replied, “Yea, it’s pretty good.” Her pass at me went completely over my head. So she had me drive her Corvette and instructed me to park at a seedy motel. There, she proceed to clunk me over the head with what she meant earlier. I will leave it at that.


Ruby and Jimmy in Music Connection. My name is in the print.

THE RECORDING STUDIO
Once we had 8 songs together, Ruby found a studio in Hollywood, where we would end up going to record. It was Cazador in Hollywood, run by producer and drummer Jimmy Hunter.

We sat with him as he listened to our demos. He said, “That sounds too much like Lita Ford. You can’t get arrested as Lita Ford these days.” He basically told us that our demos were dated. He would later produce it to have a very 80s sound, so his critiques were odd.

Ruby was paying for everything. She would usually make good money at Fantasy Island. Her boyfriend, Rob*, would give her an allowance of about $30,000 per month. He also provided the Corvette. But she was also seeing the CEO of a company at this time, and he was paying her $40,000 per month to pay him a visit on occasion.

Money was no issue, and this album was going to sound great!


MY FAVORITE MOMENT
Two studio musicians were hired to perform on the album. We had the late Bobby Birch, of Elton John fame, on bass. This was not too long after his tragic accident that ended up destroying him. He was a trooper.

We also had Steve Caton, of Tori Amos fame, taking on the lead guitar duties, as well as some rhythm. If you need a primer on Steve’s past work, here’s the song where he shows his more abstract lead guitar work.

We were about to record another song, “It Must Have Been Good,” when Steve told Jimmy, “I know that Dan is the songwriter and all, but I think he should be represented as a player on the album.”

Jimmy fought the idea and eventually agreed, saying, “Okay, but he has to play your guitar. His home-made guitar looks like shit.” Steve fought back, noting that if we used different guitars, then we’d sound more like a band.

It was Steve’s thinking that got my home-made guitar on the album, and his thoughtful argument that I be represented as a player. He was a paid performer and had NO obligation or duty, and he stood up for me.

I am forever grateful for Steve’s defense.

You can hear my guitar in the intro of the song.

As you can tell, my guitar sounded just fine.

A WEIRD TURN OF EVENTS
Once the album mastering was done, Ruby asked Jimmy if she could “borrow” the master tape. He agreed and let her take it, which is something he would not normally do. My only guess is that she clunked him over the head in the same way as me, if you get my drift.

She then decided that she would NOT be crediting him as the producer on the album. He had said something about her “reneging” on their deal. She would list him on the album as “The Mystic Renegade.”

This is a great example of how she dressed at Fantasy Island.

She also chose a really tacky picture of herself to serve as the album cover. To be completely frank, I felt that it was a horrible choice and most uncalled for as front-facing public artwork. I’m no prude, but even I had the understanding that this might alienate some potential listeners.

She had the CDs and tapes produced, and they looked VERY professional, other than the art work. She had also purchased a list of all of the record labels out there where we could send these.

We spent the entire night packing up Overnight Fed Ex envelopes with CDs, photos, and a cover letter. She probably spent $20,000 doing this.

We called all of the labels after the packages had been delivered, and they all said the same thing. They do not accept unsolicited materials, and all unsolicited materials get thrown in the trash.

Great.

I don’t miss my hair at all.

A BIRTHDAY GIFT
Ruby decided that she wanted to do something special for my birthday, so we went to a photographer and had some photos taken together.

I really don’t know what is more cheesy, between her genie outfit and my ponytail. There is nothing more 90s to me than these photos.

My son’s mother wasn’t too happy about these photos. But her unhappiness was about to be turned into eyes full of greed.


AN INDECENT PROPOSAL
Ruby and Rob* told us that they wanted to become US citizens. They were both Canadian citizens. She had achieved her Canadian citizenship by marrying a wealthy man in Canada.

Their offer, to the point, was that Rob* would marry my son’s mother, and I would marry Ruby. We would have houses next to one another, which he would pay for. He would also give us a monthly salary of $6,000 each.

Free rent and money?

This got my son’s mother very excited. However, I was terrified of the idea, because this is basically defrauding the government. I told my son’s mother that there was no way in hell that we could do this. She eventually gave in.

TOP OF THE WORLD, BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
I had gone back to Fantasy Island, and found that the DJ was playing one of the songs from our album, aptly titled, “Fantasy Island.”

The club owner, Dennis Morgan, loved the song! When he found out that I wrote the music, he was giving me all kinds of “Fantasy Bucks” to spend at the club. I could basically say whatever I wanted, and it would be given to me.

There was even one time where this dancer broke down crying during our dance. She told me that she hated dancing, that she couldn’t do it, and she had to get high to go to work. So I went and talked to Dennis about the idea of having her be one of a team of “cocktail girls” who go around bringing drinks to people.

He loved the idea and took her off the dance floor immediately. The next time I saw her, she was dressed in a half-tuxedo feminine outfit. She was sober, smiling, and very happy. She thanked me, declaring that I not only saved her job, but also saved her life.

This was the kind of power that I had, having written a song that was being played in the club, as well as late-night television commercials.

The world was my oyster. But the oyster was about to get pearl-jacked.

Her boyfriend, Rob*, called me to say that he was bummed that we wouldn’t be able to do their marriage/citizenship thing. I told him that I was really sorry that we couldn’t do that, but that their offer would certainly be able to attract someone who could do this for them.

He changed the subject to talk about Ruby. I told him that I liked working with her. He asked me if there were any moments that stood out as an example of why I liked her.

I told him about the day that she and he came over to my apartment. I said that I found it very endearing how she pronounced “acoustic” as “aqua stick.”

He suddenly said that he had to go, and we hung up. 20 second later, the phone rang again. It was Ruby.

“I heard what you said about me. The ‘aqua stick’ thing. You think I’m stupid? YOU THINK I’M STUPID? I’m NOT stupid! This is the end. We are DONE!”

She hung up the phone.

I was shocked. What just happened? I didn’t say anything mean, and I wasn’t talking down about her.

I had to sit and accept the harsh reality that these people are Narcissistic criminals who only care about themselves and who take whatever they want. Ruby and Rob* weren’t really my friends. They didn’t care about me or my situation.

Had my son’s mother and I taken the up on their marriage/citizenship deal, they would have thrown us under a bus factory. They would have blamed us. And they had money for lawyers. I barely had money for anything beyond home expenses and a few beers at a club.

Needless to say, but I never went back to Fantasy Island again after that remark.

SHOPPING THE CD
I gave it to several people to listen, including music producer Max Norman. I even took it to a music industry event that attendees called “The Concrete Convention.” It normally cost something like $475 to attend, but Megadeth drummer Nick Menza got me in for free. He was a true bro.

I went to this one room, where demos would be evaluated by a panel. There were three people on the panel, and one of them was Simon Cowell. He was using this venue to do a test run to fine-tune his idea for American Idol.

People threw their CDs into a pile. They played the first CD for under ten seconds before stopping it. “Who is responsible for this? A man stood up, and they proceeded to grill him in front of everyone.

At this point, I didn’t want mine to be picked. But eventually, it happened. They listened for almost a full minute before stopping it and asking for the creator to stand. I stood.

Simon said, “Money is obviously no object for you, because this is the most well-produced thing that I’ve heard in this setting.”

He asked me about the band, and I told him that we didn’t have a full band yet; that it was just me, the singer, and some studio musicians.

Then, given the context of American Idol, which is singers with no band, he said the strangest thing to me.

“If there is no band, then what’s the point?” I argued that we made a pro recording so that we could attract and retain top-notch talent for the band. This was a quick and acceptable answer, but I was smart in avoiding telling him the truth about the drama.

Besides, I didn’t care about anything more than getting professional evaluations and opinions. And I got one.

I ran into Simon in the parking lot, and he apologized for being so aggressive. We shook hands and went about our separate ways.

The day, so far as I was concerned, was a success.


THE AFTERMATH
Once I got my professional critique and validation, I considered the project closed. Done. Finished. There would be no more. It would be years before I could listen to the songs again.

Ruby would go back to the Philippines with the master tape and all of her money, to start building her entertainment/drama empire. She would re-work the songs to be more club-themed. Basically, using the vocal track over a weird beat with sirens in the background. It sounded like shit.

I would be left with a professional reel of my work, along with some hard feelings and horrible lessons learned.

I spent the longest time wondering why Ruby would rip me off like that and hurt me in the process. Over time, I came to realize that this is just the kind of person she is, and there is no way to change any of it. There would be no making up or fixing anything.

I never got paid any cash. Maybe she thought that sex was payment enough, but it really wasn’t.

These days, she’s still an “entertainer,” although more along the lines of someone you might see as a guest on Jerry Springer. In some of her latest videos, she begs for money and cries. Her videos get massive down-votes. It seems that being young and pathetic fools people way more than being old and still pathetic.

The above video was posted just two hours ago. I picked it because it is new and it has no crying. It says in Tagalog, “WE THANK FACEMASK BECAUSE WE ALL LOOK THE SAME AND THE SAME BEAUTIFUL! HAHAHA!”

She is very self-conscious about her looks and the damage caused by aging.


IN THE END
Once we had started working together, I felt that we could have been a good music writing team. It could have turned into a solid enterprise.

However, she wasn’t in it for the long haul, and abhors the work that it takes to record an album. So she took the easy way out.

If she is reading this, then she might not be too happy about this and may even ask me to take it down. One of the things that I write about is my own experiences. If she doesn’t like that she looks bad in my story, then she should have thought of that before belittling me and ripping me off.

I would delete this if she paid me for my work, but only after that. I would say that my work on that album was worth US$20,000 at the time, and I would accept that amount today, without interest or inflation.

So if you don’t like this, Ruby, then pay me and I’ll remove the ugly details from the story. Until then, I will never omit the truth about how I was treated. And, for the record, I thought that she was better than all of this. In this regard, I hate being wrong.

In the background: Aqua Stick

Chances are VERY slim that she won’t read this, so it’s mostly a non-issue.

Still, I have a professional reel of my work, and a few lessons learned.

As far as lessons go, I have an old acoustic guitar that I have named “Aqua Stick,” as a reminder that there are horrible people out there who will cause harm to anyone if it works in their favor.

May 6, 2021

I also happened across a tape that is still wrapped in plastic. It’s the only physical piece of media that I have left from this project from 1997.

Beyond that, I have what I thought were good memories, sullied by the horrific nature of the reality of the situation.

It’s the kind of memory where I am glad it happened, and I also regret that it happened. I suppose this conundrum would prompt a smile from Kierkegaard.

I have TWO more things to end this, for you. The album is available on SoundCloud for free streaming, and you can do that HERE.

The last thing is this video, which is bittersweet. The video is from the first time we ran through the song, recording it to the 4-track. However, the audio is from the album; the final product.

It was kind of easy to sync up, since we kept the same tempo. There was one part in the middle that was written in-studio, so you’ll notice that there is no proper video to sync up with that part.

In the end, even though I got taken for a ride, as is usually the case in the life of an Autistic person, I am still very proud of the work I put into this, as the songwriter, guitarist, and production supervisor.

Thanks for listening, watching, and reading.

Video of our first run-through of the song. Audio from the album; the final product. By far superior to anything she has done since in the Philippines.

All That Red Pill Nonsense

INTRODUCTION
Lately, it seems that many people are creating their own “X Pill” cultures. The most popular of them all is the “Red Pill,” which is a harsh reality that stands in direct opposition to the “Blue Pill,” which is a world of delusion that is sometimes willful in nature.


DEFINITION
For ease of writing, I’m going to stick to the tenets of the “Red Pill.” In the movie “The Matrix,” the Red Pill was what Neo ended up choosing to take, when he was offered a Red and Blue pill. Doing this shocked his system back to reality in an abrupt and violent manner. He got the wind knocked out of him. He was dazed, weak, confused, had trouble getting a handle on things, and went through a great deal of struggle and pain to rise above.

The struggle is a major, undeniable element of the story this movie conveys, and it cannot be ignored. If there were no struggle, then Neo would just swallow this Red Pill, magic would happen, and he would instantaneously become the end product of the film, without any fanfare, concern, or dissertation.


THE FAKE RED PILL CROWDS
How can you tell when you’ve encountered a group of people who use this terminology, while missing the point?

Announcement: The first thing to note is that they love to announce that they’ve “been Red-Pilled.” It’s a very convenient and slightly less Narcissistic way of making a declaration to the world, letting them know that you’re not only intelligent, but you are also more intelligent than anyone else in the room.

A Full Understanding: The faux Red Pill individual will assert that they have a full understanding of the topic at-hand. You can rest peacefully at night, knowing that they’ve got this covered.

Arrogance: It migh be subtle, but there is a definite residue of arrogance emitting from their aura.

Lack of Struggle or Pain: I point back to the second and final paragraph of the “Definition” heading. The struggle and pain, as well as uncertainty and a host of other elements, appear to be a big player. They seem to be the point.


A DISCLAIMER
What I am about to write is my story. It is my experience, but is not meant to be utilized as a declaration of deep fact. The truth is that I cannot accurately detail this, but I am going to attempt to do so, to the best of my ability. This struck me like a Mac truck while I was doing dishes, and I dropped everything to write this before it slips away.


AM I HAVING A RED PILL EXPERIENCE?
My story goes all the way back to the day that I was born. I don’t have to give you a long, drawn-out detail of my life.

What I must tell you, however, is that it has been a path of pain. This is not to say that I suffered more than anyone else. In fact, some of the things that cause me pain are things that you may not even recognize, such as being in a room that is a little bit too crowded, or being in a sudden state of major Social Anxiety.

The pain persisted, as I attempted to navigate abusive and other failed romantic relationships, negative employment situations, and more.

Starting in late 2009, I found myself in a unique situation, where it was a personal connection who would be abusing me and exploiting me, and it was not a romantic endeavor, either. They would use my life’s dream of being a professional musician against me.

My dream was effectively turned into a nightmare.

This was brought to a head in mid-2014, after 9 months of emotional and financial abuse at the hands of a cancer scammer, who destroyed my life completely.

When I say that my life was destroyed, I’m talking about friends, acquaintances, and co-workers all believing a horrible rumor about me. Run off of all social networking, this rumor would extend, destroying my job and career, disrupting my reputation, and more. It also initially killed my hope for Humanity.

Years of pain followed, which was punctuated with a variety of life events, including a few deaths, the loss of a major relationship, an Autism diagnosis, a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, and more.

These diagnoses also came with the results of an IQ test, where my numbers showed to be better than I had hoped. It was a strange situation where a psychiatric professional declared my IQ to be “way more than adequate,” as he told me that, “you have no problem with intelligence at all. In fact, if you were in a room of 100 people, you would be smarter than 89 of them.”

Now, consider the scenario where a trained professional gives you this news, and the only thing you can think is, “Well, if I’m so fucking intelligent, then WHY can’t I use that intelligence to fix any of this?”

It’s like getting news that doesn’t matter.

My perception of the world warped, waved, and twisted. The things I used to believe, love, hope, enjoy, crave, and would dream about were dead and gone, without a trace.

I had to spend TWO years getting the nerve to do anything more than drive to the guitar shop on the weekend. I might see a friend on occasion, but I wasn’t having that much fun. I was struggling to appreciate their company, and I do [ more about these amazing people later]. There was a darkness that coated everything.

When my cat died in early 2019, I freaked out and drove over 1,000 miles to move to another state, to a town that I didn’t even know existed until shortly before I started driving. People who live less than an hour from this town also do not know that it exists.

I moved here to die.

Not necessarily a suicide thing. I felt like the way I was in California, I was a husk of my former self, clinging to the life I’d once had and lost. My Blue Pill life.

Rather, my old life needed to die off.

I LOVED my Blue Pill life. There was music, friends, and adventure. Never mind that most of it was a lie. I still enjoyed every minute of it. Every lie they told me. Every time they pretended to care about me. I dug it immensely.

I wasn’t even gone for a year, when a glimmer of hope struck, when I found a former girlfriend online. We’ll call her “Jane Doe.” Jane claimed to love me and we got together.

It was like getting my old Blue Pill life back. It was magical, fascinating, stimulating, and it drove me to want to be the absolute best version of myself possible.

But then, the faux veneer began to peel away. She didn’t love me or care about me, or anything. It was just a case or “mirroring,” where I was showed whatever I wanted to see.

It was a bad simulation that almost cost me my life.

I got the opportunity to pick back up with my old situation, but it had been destroyed. There was no going back.


WHY WRITE ABOUT THIS NOW?
Lately, I’ve had too many people whom I respect and trust say too many important things to me over the past month. It has me wondering whether or not I’m really having a Red Pill experience.

To summarize, I had a life that was full of horrible things, but also had an assortment of illusions that I found comforting.

One day, it all came crashing down, just as it would when one takes the Red Pill.

I spent a long time feeling weak, depressed, unable to function, and very confused. There was a great deal of struggle and pain.

At my lowest, I got a taste of what could be described as what the Blue Pill life used to be about. Then a harsh reality brought me back, like the gravitational pull of a planet.

Over the past month, I’ve been getting some important messages from people I trust. I won’t write what they’ve said or written to me, because those messages are for me, and me alone. They would be meaningless to the ears of anyone else.

And if that is not enough, I am reaching a point in my life where things are about to get really difficult, and it could end up being a life-or-death type of scenario, where I will either sink or swim.


THE DIAGNOSIS
It’s probably coincidental things that I’m recognizing. Human tend to be good at recognizing patterns.

Was this a Red Pill? If it was, then it was given very forcefully, without water, and I almost choked and died on it. I feel like I’m in the galley of a strange ship, struggling to cope with the pain I feel in my eyes as I try to use them for the first time.

I’m not going to get on a high horse and tell everyone that I’ve gotten something figured out. In fact, I’m going to say what most people should admit, which is that I have absolutely no idea what is going on. I have nothing figured out, at all. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and the more stupid I feel.

I would love to say that this is some kind of Red Pill experience, because then I’d have more confidence and certainty about how things are going to turn out for me. That would be such a wonderful thing. However, I don’t really know what it is at the moment. Autism and Major Depressive Disorder appear very real whenever I look at them.

This might be air that I’m breathing. Maybe it’s a simulation where I can actually die. Maybe life really is an illusion caused by death.


ACCEPTANCE
Those other ideas are very fascinating, but I think that I have a good guess of what is happening.

I am beginning to accept the harsh realities of life.

For the longest time, I would get upset about why that girl did what she did, or why that friend would cause me harm. I’d get angry about bosses who hated me, jobs where I got ripped off, and the unjust nature of the world. Bad situations, horrible people, broken promises, and other avatars of shit.

I’d feel badly about myself for unwarranted and unsubstantiated reasons.

But now that I’m working on accepting that the world mostly stinks and only has occasional nuggets of goodness here and there, the weight of those people, situations, and complaints is feeling as if it is beginning to lift.

Maybe this is the side-effect of acceptance.

Or maybe it depends on how you see things. Look at the world as if there is no Red or Blue Pill. If it were a short-cut, then it sucks as one. If it’s a fix-all, then it’s not fixing it all until YOU fix it all first.

Maybe accepting that most of it stinks means that I have free license to laugh at all of it before I toss it in the garbage and move on. No digging in the trash!

Or maybe I’m a character in a hamster’s dream about running in a wheel.

I started out declaring that I don’t really know much about anything. This is still mostly true. But there is one thing that I feel I do know now that I’ve written this.

There are no short cuts, so don’t even bother asking. They’ll just send you the long way.


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Song Analysis: Finger Nine, by DrumWild

This entry is to showcase a song from a collection of songs that I wrote and recorded in 2017. The name of the album was The Year of My Birth [2017]. I had almost called it The Year of My Death [2017] to represent the death of my old self. Good thing I didn’t go that route, as two people close to me died shortly after I started working on it.

There will be a link to stream the entire album for free at the end of this blog entry.

As things go with a collection of songs, some are better than others, and I most definitely have my favorites. Today, I’ll be writing about my favorite track on the album, Finger Nine.


On stage at The Whisky a Go-Go, late 2009, filling in with the band.

ORIGINS
In late 2009, I was hired to fill in last-minute for a band that had a gig at The Whisky on the Sunset Strip. They had paid $600 for the privilege of playing a 25-minute set on the stage, and would have to pay extra fees if they could not perform.

I had originally agreed to do the work for pay. But I liked the songs, and the band had some monthly gigs lined up on their Facebook page, so I decided to forego the pay for this one gig if I could get in on the money for those monthly gigs.

Of course, I would later find out that those gigs listed on Facebook were not real gigs, and were only there to make the band look busy so they could get more gigs. By this point, I had moved into an apartment that the band leader’s parents owned, so I was pretty much “in” the project.

That promise was replaced by another promise, which was joint ownership of a recording studio. I invested money for years, paying half of most supplies and 100% of other supplies, as well as installing my own gear. I would later be told that I “contributed nothing,” and would lose my investment and all of my gear.

The Control Room of the recording studio that I helped build. My total loss is estimated at $10,000.

That is another story unto itself. Today, I’m writing about the singer, Aaron. I will not use his last name, or the last name of anyone else, to protect the guilty.


ABOUT AARON
He was the “singer” of the band, and I use that term loosely. He was unable to improve as a performer, and rejected anything resembling help, since he viewed it as criticism. The owner of the band would taunt and criticize him a lot, so he was conditioned to be weak.

He would proudly refer to himself as “The Nine-Fingered Singer,” as if the number of fingers you have has anything at all to do with singing. Last I heard, he’s now the six-fingered construction worker, but I digress.

He actually quit the band shortly after announcing to all of us that he’s an alcoholic. This was after he was severely late for a rehearsal and had to get a beer first before starting. His announcement went something like this:

“Hey, guys. So, like, I just figured out that I’m an alcoholic so I need you guys to help me out. I decided that I have a three beer limit. I’m warning you ahead of time that I will try to drink more than three. If I go for another beer, you guys have to stand up and fight me.”

Ah, personal responsibility.

After he quit, the band and studio owner, Chester, said horrible things about him. Some of them were homophobic slurs. He accused Aaron’s wife of being a transsexual woman, so there’s also transphobia. Chester had absolutely NOTHING good or nice to say about Aaron.

This makes it all the more curious and funny that Aaron would email me to defend Chester for the song, “Peppered in Salt,” which is also on this album. “Peppered in Salt” was about Chester the studio scammer, and a woman named Kristen who was a cancer scammer who took me for a bunch of money. This album truly pivoted around these two people, who effectively destroyed my life.

In his email, Aaron wrote about how he wanted to “hug” me around the throat until I died.

His death threat was forwarded to the local police at the time, and were also given to the police where I live now. So if anything happens to me, my family, or anyone in my life, Aaron is their primary suspect, and he will be automatically arrested by default.


Single artwork for “Finger Nine” by Junior Martin.

INSPIRATION FOR THE SONG
After Aaron threatened my life for that song, I felt inspired to write a song specifically about him. It’s amazing what can come out of a weak death threat. Of course, he would never say that to anyone’s face.

So with a wimpy-yet-fresh death threat in my mind, I decided to start writing and recording at the same time.

The entire process to write and record this song took about 25 minutes.

The music was inspired by a track that I had heard the night before called “Mexico” by Billy Momo. They’re fantastic. In particular, it was the running bass line that moved me.

“Mexico” by Billy Momo.

The lyrics were inspired by my dealings with Aaron, especially since he was the one who called me to ask if I could fill in for their drummer, who was supposedly flaking out. I would later learn that I was brought in just to mess with him.

A link for the album will be at the end. But here, you can listen to the song “Finger Nine” right now, and then read the lyrics and the story behind them below.


LYRICS, EXPLAINED
“Finger Nine”
by DrumWild
The Year of My Birth [2017]

You hit me up in your time of need
I filled your cup so casually
Cracked a Coors and ditched the wine
All for you, Finger Nine

This is in reference to him contacting me in desperation, because they were supposedly running out of time to find a replacement for drums. I was able to step into their situation very easily and quickly. “Ditch the wine” is a reference to me foregoing payment for the emergency fill-in gig.

Later that week, we did the show
Packin’ ’em deep at The Whisky a Go-Go
Just sign me up, don’t pay the fine
My brother in arms, Finger Nine

This references the venue where we performed, and the band had a decent enough crowd show up, which at the time confirmed to me that I was making a good decision. I would be wrong. Again, referencing that he doesn’t have to pay me. “Brother in arms” is reference to the fact that I was a band member and we were in it together.

After this section, I give the song a “Two Tickets to Paradise” style guitar solo.

The weakest one was the first to go
You couldn’t handle the Bastard Code
We tried to help, but you just stopped tryin’
You shit on us, Finger Nine

As noted previously, Aaron was the weakest member of the band, and he was the first one to quit. He whined a lot about Jesus and some other things, which was odd. I hadn’t pegged him for a whiner, but I should have guessed. The “Bastard Code” was a name Chester had for the “code of ethics” that the band members needed to have in order to be involved. We all tried to help Aaron, but he wussied out. After that, Chester talked shit about him for two months solid.

You couldn’t hold your drink, threw hissy fits
You talked a big game and then you quit
The game is over, you’re out of time
Go fuck yourself, Finger Nine

As noted earlier, Aaron self-diagnosed as an alcoholic. After that, he was a consistent whiner about everything. He would talk about how he was going to improve, and how we were going to do some big shows, but he ended up quitting. I think the rest speaks for itself.

After this, the main guitar solo kicks in. I had to write and record a solo for my guitar lessons with Zoot Horn Rollo, so why not fit it in a song? I got high marks for the solo, and an extra pat on the back for the motif at the end.

Fade out.


IN THE END
I suppose that this is some kind of silver lining for all the crap I had to endure with these people. There are many things that I can say about this experience, but I’d most definitely not call it boring.

I don’t know if I’ll write about any other songs from this collection/album in the future. But it could happen. In the meanwhile, you can stream the entire album for free on SoundCloud. Thanks for reading, and see you soon.

Donkey Kong on the Commodore 64

One of the hobbies that I enjoy involves reviving, maintaining, and using old computers. For the past decade, I have been focusing on a Commodore 64 from 1984.

I got this from an old woman who said it belonged to her husband. As I went through the floppy disks, I figured out that he was part of a group called CSUN, or Commodore System Users Network.

He had all kinds of games and other software. There was some redundancy in his collection, as CSUN would distribute physical floppy disks to every member monthly.

So I went through over 300 floppies and consolidated them for my own convenience and sanity. Plus, it saves room to not have 300 floppies in tow.


Last year, I cleaned up the computer and re-applied thermal grease to the chips, which improved performance, and also fixed a problem where a few of the keyboard keys were not working.

I cleaned a little and added the thermal grease before remembering to clean the rest. The capacitors appear to be relatively new. Replacing the capacitors is a practice known as “recapping.” You can buy complete sets of new capacitors for your Commodore 64, based on ASSY NO., for $6.95.

I don’t know if the system was recapped, but I may recap it myself next year. It’s working fine right now, so no problems.


My favorite things to do with this computer involve keeping a daily journal and playing some of the games. Today , I’m going to write about my favorite game, Donkey Kong.

I’ve played Donkey Kong since it first came out on July 9, 1981. I drove to the arcade and spent at least $50 playing the machine in one day. Needless to say, but the game was new and it took a lot of time to figure it out and learn it.

I have played it on various systems. Today, I have it on the Commodore 64, as well as the Nintendo Wii and GameBoy Advance SP.

With the Commodore 64, there are some bugs and challenges.

One bug is that Mario [known back in the old days as “Jumpman”] will sometimes just fall for no reason, or die with nothing near him. I wonder if this is a sign that there are capacitor issues, but it may not be because the bug isn’t very consistent. It has only happened a handful of times in the past few years.

It has happened only once since replacing the heat grease.

Donkey Kong (Atarisoft) - C64-Wiki

There is a level with conveyor belts, where lots of fire balls try to get Jumpman. Many things are moving on the screen, including Donkey Kong, the girl, the oil barrel on fire, conveyor belts, fire balls, and Mario.

As a result, sometimes there will be some lag as the action on the screen beings to move in slow motion.

There is no feature where you can pause the game or choose a save point.

Finally, you cannot save your high score. This isn’t a bug, and isn’t specific to Donkey Kong. This is how games are on the Commodore 64. So if you want to keep track of your high scores, then you can either write them down or take a photograph.


GAME PLAY
At the start of the game, you can decide where you start. Levels 1-5 are an option. I chose level 5. It is more difficult, but you get to bypass four levels that are relatively easy.

Each level has six screens. There is a girder scene, the cement factory, another girder scene, the elevator scene, another girder scene, and the rivet scene. These are not official names, but represent how they look.

The original arcade game had four screens per level. On a side note, Donkey Kong was the second-ever game to have multiple levels, right after Gorf by Midway.

In this older video of me playing, I start on the first level, so you don’t get to see all of the levels. The cement mixer level shows up later in the game play.

It appears that the first level has only two screens. I haven’t played levels 1-4 for so long that I can’t say for certain how many screens they have.


HIGH SCORE
Yesterday, I got the highest score that I’ve ever achieved on this particular system.

I started out on Level 5, which has six screens. Every level from at least this point forward has six screens. I made it to the first screen of Level 12.

From Level 5 to Level 11, up to the first screen of Level 12, is 42 screens.

Each game starts with 3 Jumpman characters. The player is awarded an “extra” Jumpman at a score of 7,000. There are no other bonuses after this.

After clearing 42 screens through 7 levels, my new high score is 358,100.

This took just over one hour.

In my morning routine, I will usually write a journal entry on the C64 and then play one game of DK. My average score is usually between 70,000 and 120,000.

This new high score is an unusual result for me, so it’s neat that I was able to get a picture of the final screen before it reset and jumped back to the opening screen.


IN THE END
Old computers like this Commodore 64 can take a person like me back to a simpler time.

Before ending this, I should note that I have not really been gaming all that much lately. When I do, it’s on the Commodore 64. Yesterday, I tried playing DK on the Wii and GameBoy Advance SP, and it takes a while to adjust to the faster game play and the controls.

Whatever it is that you love to do, try giving that some attention today or tonight. You’ll be glad you did.

The Price of Autism and Major Depressive Disorder

So many experts seem to get certain things wrong.

I was reminded of this when watching a video that someone sent me. It was Jordan Peterson giving a lecture to a class. He said something that caught my attention.

“The thing about depressed people is that they are depressed about everything.”

This is close, but not true.

What makes depression so difficult is that it’s actually about ABSOLUTELY NOHTING. And it’s not the same as being “bummed out” because something happened, or somebody said something. It’s different from being sad.

Depressed people are not “depressed about everything.” If they were, then they’d be saying that they were depressed about their home, their lives, their jobs, etc. That’s just not how any of this works. But I do see how the likes of Peterson could get it wrong.

Depression is that 800-pound invisible gorilla who sits on your chest and tells you that you’re not going to do anything today. Sometimes I can actually negotiate with this gorilla and do things, but I won’t have a good attitude. Not having a good attitude runs against the expectations of the “normal” people out there.

And sometimes, I might not even know the gorilla is there. I sent an email to someone yesterday who is helping me with some work-related things, and apparently my depression was so visible in the email that he felt compelled to call me and mildly chew me out about my depression, as if I can control it.

He suggested that my depression functions as self-sabotage. Congrats on understanding one of the prices. I don’t set out to sabotage myself. That’s just what ends up happening. I know it happens. Again, there is nothing that I can do about it.

If I could control either of these things, then I’d simply control them and not be spending time with professionals to help with the various issues that are a result of these afflictions. I most definitely wouldn’t be talking with the person who called me after the email if I had control of these things.

These things are the very reason why I am one of his clients. If these things were controllable, then he’d not have a job.

Yes, I know that it’s bad for business, job prospects, or anything else. Anyone who has any semblance of logic in their minds knows this.

I’m Autistic, not retarded, and I use that word in a clinical sense, not in a way that is judgmental or otherwise mocking. Mental retardation is a serious challenge, and yet another situation where they can’t “just stop” it.

I KNOW that it gets in the way. The problem is there isn’t much that I can do about it.


THE CHAIN OF COMMAND
The depression exists and may or may not be independent of Autism. The Autism exacerbates the depression. This, in turn, exacerbates the Autism.

They knock each other about.

Add in a bad situation, such as being unemployed or going through a break-up, and both of these conditions are made worse.

One experience. One major change. One negative conversation. It doesn’t take much to kick off this nuclear reaction.


MASKING
Masking is what I think my caller wants me to do. Unfortunately, it’s not something that I can do.

Besides being HIGHLY unhealthy, masking also takes a great deal of energy to achieve.

How much?

Consider the practice of “small talk,” which happens in the morning at work. A person walks in, sees me, and says, “Hey, DrumWild! How are you today?”

I first have to remember that they are not really asking me how I am doing. They don’t really want to know how I’m doing. It’s more of a PING, like when we used to use dial-up modems to get on the internet. It’s all that noise the modem makes before the connection that lasted about one minute.

It’s an utter waste of time, and I don’t know why people feel the need to do it.

So after I have evaluated this, under the pressure of a person standing there waiting for me to respond, I summon up the lie of, “I’m fine. How are you?” I ask this, knowing that they will not answer the question honestly.

Neurotypicals tend to play this game very well.

A person with Autism and Major Depressive Disorder, on the other hand, does not handle this well at all. Some studies suggest that the mental and emotional energy that it takes for people like me to handle small talk like that, is the same amount of energy that a college student expends when they are studying for a final exam.

And consider, this is JUST THE BEGINNING of the day. Imagine what a workday feels like when you’ve spent all of your energy on idiotic bullshit before you even get started with work.

People are talking, distracting, stopping by to interrupt. Supervisors interrupt to ask how the project is going. Each interruption means that I will need to spend 20-30 minutes properly getting back into the work. And this effort will inevitably be interrupted by someone else.

The world simply isn’t set up for people like me, and the neurotypicals [NTs] don’t care one bit. They view the Autistic worker as immature, broken, stupid, rebellious, and more.


BEING MISUNDERSTOOD
One of the unfortunate hallmarks of being Autistic is that you will be misunderstood. This is guaranteed, and it may very well ruin your life.

As an example, I was working in an office, when a female co-worker came up to me and asked me to help her with her project. I told her, very clearly, “I am under my own deadline for this project right now. I should be done in about a half hour. I can check with you then, and help if you still need it.”

She stomped off in a huff, went straight to our manager’s office, and closed the door hard. A few minutes later, someone from HR came down and went into the office.

Then our manager came out and walked over. He said those dreaded words.

“We need to have a chat. Got a minute?”

I choked back tears, and the boss said, “Why are you doing that? You really need to get a handle on yourself.”

We go in and my co-worker starts in on me. “I asked him for help, and he refused to help me because I’m a lesbian.”

I was then tasked with defending myself against a stupid and baseless charge.

“Nobody’s sexuality ever came up. I told her clearly that I was under my own deadline and that I could check back with her in a half hour and help out then. If I had a problem with her being a lesbian, then I wouldn’t have purchased a $50 ticket to her kitty-cat opera, and she was using work email to solicit this. I don’t give money to people I don’t like.”

I have no doubt that this put me on a list for later downsizing.

I went on.

“My deadline WAS important, but now it has passed and I am in trouble. Apparently, her project wasn’t THAT important and she didn’t need THAT much help, if she had the time to come in here, lie to you, and start this bullshit conversation. So she has just destroyed TWO deadlines instead of just hers. I suspect she wanted to ruin mine because she believed that I ruined hers. This whole situation is garbage.”

Yep. I’m on a list.


THE AUTISTIC MELTDOWN
I’ve had those, sometimes at work. It might have the appearance of a temper tantrum, although it’s far from that. I could try to describe it, but someone was brave enough to have some footage of one of their own Autistic meltdowns, which may be helpful.

If this happens at work, your job will be lost.

If it happens in public, you could get injured, or maybe killed by police. This is why I never call the police, ever, for anything. They’d think that I was on some weird drugs, and kill me.

Adding Major Depressive Disorder to Autism makes it even worse.


IN THE END
None of this is whining, or seeking out sympathy. Rather, it is an attempt to help others understand.

If my Autism or Depression bother you, please understand that they also bother me, and I wish that I could get rid of both of them.

There are many, many times where I wish that I were normal. Looking for work, actual working, social events, or even just going out in public for “fun” are things that I wish I could do.

I See You

I write here because I love to write. This could change, based on some of the viewers I’ve encountered.

Not only do I check out everyone who likes or comments, but I also check out anyone who subscribes. And, yes, I do remove some subscribers.

I’ll get the positives out of the way, since they are in the minority. These are people I may know or those whom I’ve gotten to know, either here or elsewhere. Some read but don’t subscribe or interact, which is fine. They call me and we talk about some of the things that I have written.

I appreciate their support.

I’ve written with a few new subscribers, and that has gone surprisingly well. I appreciate the responses, if any of you are reading now. Thanks.

But then there’s the trouble. Real or perceived, it’s not something that I just let slide.

No photo, and no link: I’ve had some followers like this. They seem a bit sketchy. Since they’re also not interactive, I will remove them from the follow list.

Get rich quick, or get more blog viewers: I have no use for these people, so I will remove them.

Photo, but dead link: Maybe they let their business go, and are sticking around for other reasons. That’s fine, although I keep an eye on users like this.

Animal image, cartoon, or logo: Yes, I have a logo, so it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s something to hide behind. If they seem like real people, then that’s fine. For what it’s worth, I’m not trying to sell you my drumming services. I prefer my logo since I’m an older guy who doesn’t photograph well, so I can relate. I might investigate myself later, just to be sure. /s

Religious icons: So long as you don’t try to convert me, we’re good.

The challenge that I’m facing in all of this is finding real people, instead of corporations or opportunists who want to sell me something. But there are a few who cause me some special concern.

The other day, I got a “like” from a woman. Whenever I get a like, WordPress sends me an email and encourages me to “check out” what they’re doing. I do this with every email that I get.

When I see an image and a name, I automatically develop an expectation of what I am going to see. This particular woman looked like a regular person; nothing outstanding. She wasn’t provocative or attempting to be sexy. I will typically remove those accounts immediately.

So I click on it, and it goes to some guy’s page. He’s selling some things and has a few entries that might not be about sales, at least not directly.

I was confused, so I commented on it that I was confused and asked who it was. He said that she was just a dear friend, and that he was glad that I lead me to his site, and he hoped that I liked his content.

Well, the answer to that remark is NO, I did not like or enjoy your content at all. In fact, I gave it NO consideration at all. WHY? Because I felt deceived. And it would be no different it if were a picture of a man, and a woman used it to get someone to visit.

So I wrote it off as the piece of shit that it is, and carried on.

A day later, I got a like from another regular, everyday woman. So I went to visit the page, and it was the SAME GUY! He apparently has a collection of photos of regular women, and he uses their images and attaches female names to them, in a cover-up to get traffic to his site.

He has an actual logo, that is akin to a Chris Raygun logo. It seems that he has spent a good amount of money on his logo [as I did for mine], so I have no idea why he is not using his expensive logo or other branding.

My guess is that he has no confidence in himself, but more than likely he’s just a shifty liar who is full of shit.

What this guy does not understand is that starting out a relationship with a LIE is a really bad idea. I’m NOT going to stick around, read anything you wrote, or “enjoy” any of it, when we start out with YOU actively choosing to misrepresent yourself.

The worst, for me, was an Autistic blog that started out re-blogging my stuff all the time. I had a run-in with them and removed them from my follow list. They decided to re-follow a handful of times. I’d keep removing them, and they’d keep rejoining.

That’s aggressive, childish, and very unnecessary.

Here’s a hint: If you are NOT wanted somewhere, then it would be a good idea for you to stay away and go elsewhere.

And if you want to re-blog, then I need to understand your goals and directives, and then you need to pay me. I don’t write so that big organizations can take my writings and monetize it for themselves. That makes you a parasite, and I have no need for that. Nobody does. Make your own content and stop stealing from others.

My goals with this page are relatively simple.

  • I write here because I enjoy it. And when I no longer enjoy it, that will end.
  • I am up for positive interactions on the blog with REAL people, not frauds.
  • No fighting or interacting with trolls.
  • I like meeting legitimate, REAL people who are capable of real discussion.
  • I have no use for anyone who is selling things.
  • I have no use for liars, scammers, and those who misrepresent.

I don’t play games or fuck around when it comes to my personal online safety. Real people who have thoughts, ideas, or something to say are always welcome.

The frauds, liars, sharks, scammers, salesmen, and the anonymous can go somewhere else. I have no time or patience for you.

Facebook: The Flaming Garbage Dump

My last stint on Facebook lasted only a few months, if that long.

During that time, I did encounter a few people who were cool. I got their emails and phone numbers. They were the exception, not the rule. All the same, I think it will ultimately be for nothing, and I’ll be forgotten once again, as I should be.

The rest of it was so bad that I have my own philosophy on the Facebook experience that will ensure that I never forget and try to go back again.

There was the woman who almost married me, but ended up marrying someone else. There was the ex-girlfriend who cheated on me with her paperboy and later almost married her half-brother. There was another ex-girlfriend who sounded like she wanted to get together, which is the last thing I want to hear.

There were the guys who believed themselves to be better than me, and who took every opportunity possible to assert this. Their insecurity is bigger than ever.

There were former friends who became hate-filled, terrified Trump voters, who have no room for Humanity in their hearts. There were also those former friends who wanted to be connected, for some reason, yet did not want to spend the time to actually get caught up.

And more often than not, too many of these Midwestern people became hyper-religious and enjoyed asserting their superiority as they shit all over the non-believer.

MY PHILOSOPHY ON FACEBOOK
Facebook is a flaming garbage dump. When you go on Facebook, your past is there, waiting for you, ready to remind you of things that are better left forgotten.

NEVER dig through the garbage. It’s on the curb. Everyone can see you. It gets messy. It stinks. And once you retrieve what you thought you wanted, you later realize that it looks and smells like shit.

Rejection, and Moving On

This applies to a variety of relationships and situations, including romantic endeavors, friendships, professional connections, and more.

Today, I’m talking about online community, and what to do when there is rejection. In this case, it’s YouTube.

I don’t use any social networking, although some might say that YouTube is such. I see YouTube as being primarily a video website, where community is secondary, or possibly even tertiary. All the same, there is a community and participating is something I enjoy doing.


THE RULES
I have a set of rules that I have used for years, when commenting on videos.

  • Stay on-topic.
  • Do not attack others.
  • No foul language.
  • Try to keep it short [VERY difficult for me].
  • Encourage engagement.
  • Ignore trolls.

That’s my basic set of rules, and I do my best to stick to them. Being brief is a challenge sometimes.


WHAT HAPPENED
The other day, I left a comment on a video on a channel to which I subscribe. I had been subscribed to them for over five years, so this was kind of a big deal to me, because I had been an active member of the community.

I was even considering joining their Patreon. More about that later.

During those five years, I would comment, get responses, and even reply to other comments, no problem.

The problem, and this is my educated guess, is that the channel got so big that they hired moderators to delete any comments that might be disruptive to the community. They saw mine, misunderstood it, and deleted it.

Being an Autistic man, one might assume that I’d be used to being misunderstood by now. But no, nobody ever really gets used to that. However, I am accepting it as how things are for me, and it makes it all the more valuable to me when someone actually DOES get me.


WHY THIS MATTERS
Regardless of how it got deleted, who deleted it, or even whatever weak reason they may have, the bottom line is that it was still deleted.

What this does is removes me from participating in the community conversation regarding the topic of the video. I don’t watch things willy-nilly, and don’t go subscribing to just anyone.


WHAT I DID
The comment I left was on a video that was maybe 15 minutes old, which means that people are going to be showing up and commenting more, when compared to an older video.

So after about ten minutes, I went back to see if I had gotten any responses. I was hoping to engage a few fellow subscribers. Given how things are, I will take any social interaction that I can get.

They way I have my YouTube settings, when I go back to a video like this, my comment will appear at the top. This time, I did not see it, so I went to my history and clicked on Comments. It wasn’t in the list.

What I did was first go back to the video in question. I didn’t make a stink or kick up any dust about it.

I just clicked “Unsubscribe” and quietly moved on.

A NEW ATTITUDE ABOUT LIFE
If someone doesn’t like me, then I won’t be sad about it or try to force them to like me. I won’t get depressed or otherwise sad about it. I won’t get angry about it. I won’t ruminate on the situation and wonder what went wrong.

I used to do things like that, quite frequently. It made life very depressing, stressful, and messy.

If a potential employer doesn’t like me, then I move on.

If a musician doesn’t like me, then I move on.

If a woman doesn’t adore me, then I move on.

If a friend is being abusive, then I move on.

If someone doesn’t respond to an email, then I move on.

THE RECURRING THEME
I trust that everyone reading this is intelligent enough to spot the recurring theme. Moving on is how you regain your power, dignity, and self-respect. Letting go of the experience leaves your hands open for receiving new experiencse, which may or may not work out. If they work out, then great.

If they do not work out, then… well, you know.


A WORD ABOUT PATREON AND PREMIUM MEMBERSHIPS
This is something that I typically will not do, because of a past experience.

I had become a Premium member for a guy who does an internet radio show. I had listened to him since 1988 on regular radio. So by 2016, I was a long-standing regular who had participated in the community over the decades.

I had just paid $120 for a one year Premium package, when the host announced a birthday party. They were selling tickets, and I decided that going to this birthday party would be cool. I had gone to his first-ever listener party, and was the first person to get an autographed photo, so I was more than a little invested in this.

But I messed up.

When I had signed up for the Premium service, I joined using my PERSONAL email address and paid with a credit card. However, when I bought a ticket for the birthday party, I used my PayPal, which is attached to my BUSINESS email address. Attendance of the birthday party was $25.

This set off red flags for them, and they wrote to tell me that I’d not be let into the party.

To summarize, I had been a fan for 28 years. In the short span of just THREE calendar days, I spend $120 on a Premium membership, $25 on a birthday party ticket, and then was unceremoniously kicked out of the entire thing, while being called a “troll.”


IN THE END
I invest in no one but myself. For my entire life, I’ve been the kind of person to do for others all the time, all while believing that doing for myself would be Narcissism. The truth is that it would be Narcissism only if I were doing for myself AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS.

I don’t do things at the expense of others, so it’s fine to love myself and invest in myself.

Whether it’s a radio show or a YouTube channel, I never give money. The second I do, it seems that I am shown the end of the road and I am left feeling ripped off.

Not anymore.

Participating in a community of any kind is a rare opportunity for me, and I show respect for that opportunity by following the rules as closely as possible, and being the kind of person who will be thoughtful and engaging.

When the leadership of that community shows disrespect by unceremoniously deleting a comment that does not break TOS and is not offensive, or they are inflexible with certain rules when an honest mistake is made [like the birthday party], then I move on.

Done.

The world is full of so many people, situations, and opportunities, that it makes absolutely NO sense to stick around and continue to either engage or support anyone or any group that doesn’t want you around.

Quietly leaving and not looking back is how I regain my self-respect after being disrespected by a community leader.

NEXT!

The Babbling Brook

INTRODUCTION
This story goes all the way back to sixth grade. Actually, it may go back even further, although I can fill that in with one sentence.

When I was in first grade, I wanted to be a drummer, but my family could not afford to buy drums, so my only option was to play my dad’s trumpet.

There.

I was still playing trumpet in sixth grade, but I wanted something more. Something better suited for me. Drums! That’s what I really wanted, more than anything.

My school had constructed a special building specifically for band. I spent most of 5th grade playing on the cement foundation of the building. But by sixth grade, the building was up and operational.

While other kids in my class played during recess, I spent my time standing at one of the walls of the band building. There was this window, and I would watch as the band rehearsed.

A riser near the window was where the drum set was located. I so wished to hear the drums better, but I would try to be happy listening through the window.

One day, the drummer opened the window. He was a 7th grader named Brook. His feet were at my eye level, so I’d watch his feet move, and occasionally look upward to watch his hands. He appeared so happy playing the drums.

That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a drummer. Hell, I wanted to be Brook, because to me he was a really cool person.

FRIENDSHIP STARTS
The next year was 7th grade for me. What made 7th grade special was that Brook got held back. This gave us the opportunity to become friends. So I would start talking with him about drumming.

Next thing you know, he would invite me to his house for lunch, which was directly across the street from school. He would put a bunch of french fries in the french fry maker, which was fancy to me.

During the lunch hour, we would listen to records featuring The Cavalier Cadets, The Phantom Regiment, and other bad-ass drum corps. We might tool around with skateboards a little bit.

We would also play that magical drum set that he had. It was so cool. He’d show me things on the drums, and be very encouraging.

Then we’d go back to school and have band class. I had told the teacher at the beginning of the year that I wanted to transition to drums. In junior high and high school, the school provided the gear, so all I had to do was show up and do it.

School band, 8th grade [1978-79]: I am on the Premier quad toms, far left. Brook is on the Roto trip toms, far right. Our positioning in the photo would later become a point of great irony for me.

A FRIEND’S HELP
One day, we ran over to Brook’s house. He had something exciting that he wanted to show me. As soon as we set foot into the front door, I saw it in the living room.

A brand new Ludwig Vistalite drum set. It was blue, and see-through!!! He had all new cymbals. He sat down and played a few things as I stood in the front of the kit to hear it really good.

It sounded amazing.

Then he asked if I wanted to play it. I did, and I sat down to play it. The whole thing felt amazing. It’s like that first bite of chocolate cake, which is so good that you can never replicate it.

I asked him if I could buy his old drum set and maybe get a deal. He said that he would ask his mom.

The next day, he told me that his mom had “already sold” the drum set. I was heart-broken. At least Christmas was coming up, and I had told my mom that I really wanted a drum set, so I had that going for me.

Christmas 1977: My first real drum set.

When Christmas came, I woke up to a big surprise. There it was: Brook’s old drum set!!! Mom had bought it, and took it to a music store to get new heads and a little splash cymbal installed in the bass drum.

There were no crash cymbals, no hi-hat, and not even a bass drum pedal. I would kick it with my foot. But I didn’t care. I would save up and add to it as I could.

Brook would help me out in other ways.

1983: First year of college, with a girlfriend. That hat was ALWAYS with me.

When he got tired of his skateboard, I got it. When he got tired of his bike and got a new one, I got his old bike.

I even got his old leather hat, when he got tired of it. I wore that hat throughout junior high school, into high school, and even in college. I wore that hat until someone stole it in 1985.


FRIENDS DRIFT APART
When we got to 9th grade, Brook quit band. I had all but forgotten that he was a year older than me, so I never thought that he’d quit band because he got his drivers license.

Of course, Brook had a VERY privileged life, where he got whatever he wanted. So his parents got him a really cool car. No, I did not inherit his car once he got tired of it, but that would be a logical guess.

Once he got his license and car, and had quit band, we really didn’t find ways to keep connected.

As I look back, it seems that Brook was eternally doing things, getting tired of them, and moving on. So I could only guess that he had left me, along with all of the things I had in my life, which he had previously abandoned as well.

So we really lost touch by the end of 9th grade, in the summer of 1979.


SOME BRIEF CONTACT
In the early 90s, I was thinking of him, so I called his old house. His parents were still there and they gave me his phone number.

I called him. He was working for an auto manufacturer and wasn’t all that happy with life. In fact, he sounded as if life had beaten him down. I guess life turned out differently because he was no longer living at home and being given everything he ever wanted.

It was the only time that I would talk to him before Facebook.

MEETING ON FACEBOOK, 40 YEARS LATER
When I returned to Facebook in April 2019, I decided to look for people I had known. I had these huge dreams where people would be excited to see me, and we’d talk about the old days for a while, before getting caught up with the latest.

So I found Brook on Facebook. I looked through a few of his pictures, and it seemed that he was doing well.

Finding Brook inspired me at a time when I was dealing with my own depression and other personal difficulties. At the time, I was working on practicing gratitude, so I had an idea.

It wasn’t a great idea, as it turns out.

The idea was that I would write something on Facebook about gratitude, and thank someone who made a difference in my life. And I decided to start with Brook.

I wrote a piece that thanked him for his inspiration and support. It was short, and wasn’t anything embarrassing.

Eventually, he commented on it.

“You achieved all that you achieved by yourself.”

What? No, I did not achieve it all by myself. Many people along the way showed me things, taught me, helped me, or guided me on the path during the early years to help me.

I replied to him with something like that. He responded, “You did it all yourself.”

We had this back-and-forth a few more times. I told him that I was attempting gratitude and being grateful to those who inspired and helped me. Again, he said that I did it all by myself.


FINDING THE HARD TRUTH, AND RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM
I decided to investigate and figure out why he was being so cold and mean about this. So I went to his profile.

He had become a Trump supporter. Before that, he was a hard-core Republican who bought into Rugged Individualism.

Rugged Individualism is a mythology that has been sold in America for the past 100 years by Republicans. The idea is that if you work hard enough, then Meritocracy will ensure that you earn what you are worth.

Even worse, the idea is that no matter how poor one might be, you can still lift yourself up by your bootstraps and rise above.

This idea is flawed because it ignores the place of privilege where we start, or don’t start. In our case, Brook had a FANTASTIC wealth of opportunities as a young person. Every time he wanted to try something, he got that opportunity.

By comparison, had I given up on drums, I would have been the one responsible for investing in anything else that I did. That’s how it went when I wanted to play guitar, and I would save up lunch money and work odd jobs to earn enough to get what I needed to pursue my goal.

Brook was spoiled rotten, which is why he had so much opportunity. It’s why I got all of his hand-me-downs.

That’s the thing: I relied HEAVILY on the hand-me-downs of the privileged, and I had access to that, but only if I had the money. Outside of the leather hat, everything I got from Brook cost me a few bucks. Still, it was more than I could afford.

My entire experience with him was enhanced by the privilege that he had. We never hung out at MY house, and there was a good reason for that. He probably felt that I had nothing to offer him.

MY COUNTER-ARGUMENT TO RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM
As I write this, I’m thinking about a speech that President Obama gave years ago, which was his “You did not build that” speech. This angered many Republicans, because it drew the curtain back to show the hard truth about Rugged Individualism.

Rugged Individualism is not only about the person doing things, but also about the government staying out of it. The latter is an added financial complexity that is basically Socialism for the government and corporations, and Rugged Individualism for us little people. But for now, we’re going to focus on the former, which is the person doing things.

The point was that NO INDIVIDUAL paved all the roads, built the power grid, the infrastructure, or the pool of educated job candidates. It took EVERYONE. That means that no one person can claim that they built it.

Here’s my argument to strength this point.

Suppose that I decide one day that I want to be a professional couch potato. Just sit on my ass, watching television, surfing the internet, drinking beers, and stuffing my face with whatever I am eating.

Am I doing that alone? A Republican would say yes, that I am doing this alone.

This “couch potato” — a person who does not reflect my values — relies on THOUSANDS of people to do what he is doing.

All of the people who keep power going, the internet going, the roads paved and open, gas for the car, food in the grocery store, beer in cans. The list can go on.

This couch potato relies on thousands, if not TENS OF THOUSANDS of people to do that simple act of what seems to be nothing.

Sure, the individual can make a decision.

But let’s suppose this person goes to work, earns six figures, and is a productive member of society.

Is he doing it all by himself? Again, a Republican would say yes, that they did this alone, by themselves.

But this is not true! Again, he relies on the various infrastructure services, the same gas and food and roads. He also relies on the business, everyone who works at the business, and the customers who pay for the services of the business. And those customers also rely heavily on all of these things, and more.

Both the couch potato and the successful worker rely on the same. Without the infrastructure and the tens of thousands of other people, neither the couch potato nor the successful worker could do what they do.

No man is an island.


GOODBYE, BROOK
Scrolling through his public Facebook feed, I could tell that he was consume by the fear and hatred that the Republicans sell to anyone who is buying. He hated everyone and believed himself to be an island who doesn’t need anyone else. What a convenient way to divide people!

He also hated Liberals, Leftists, non-whites, non-Christians, and basically anyone who wasn’t exactly like him.

Did he have anything on his profile representing anything he enjoyed doing?

No. Nothing brings him happiness. Nothing.

He hates everyone, does not want to “meet in the middle” with the “others,” whom he had demonized and dehumanized.

No wonder he didn’t like me! He didn’t like himself or anybody else.

I had no choice but to block him and mourn the loss of my fond memories.


A BIG FACEBOOK PROBLEM
This draws attention to a big problem that I have with Facebook. This problem is specific to people like me, Autistic adults who still have a toe dipped into a time when they were young and happy.

Too many people on Facebook got broken by the system. They got crushed and ripped apart by responsibility and challenging times. In the process of it all, they lost what makes them happy.

It didn’t happen to everyone. I can name the people who made it through and still enjoy the things they do in life, because I have their phone numbers and email addresses. Still, the medium is the message, and that medium is not conducive to positive conversations or connections.

The Onion said it best, of course.

I’ll gladly take who she once was over who she is now.

When they lose those things that made them happy, they latch on to old people bullshit in desperation, to build a new identity. The Holy Trinity of old people bullshit is, in no particular order: Politics, Religion, and News.

They get sucked in and become miserable, hateful people.

But enough about them? What about ME?

I’ve never been religious, so we’ll dismiss that right away. Politically speaking, I do vote, but then I move on. I will also watch the news, but it doesn’t drive how I live at home, and I DO NOT allow it to inform me on how I must feel about myself or other people.

Religion and polics are all about the practice of “othering” and demonizing, based on nothing more than loose generalizations, false beliefs, and the hatred and fear required to keep people engaged.

I work hard, I pay my bills, I vote, I pay taxes. I have a son who is now a most honorable adult. And I did it without joining any clubs, believing any nonsense, or filling myself with anger and hatred.

Honestly, I was too busy hating myself, but that practice has been halted.

Through all of my “adulting,” as the young adults call it these days, I never lost sight of what makes me happy. Music, drumming, and the people who either practice music or enjoy it.

42 years of drumming, and neither photo represents either the beginning or the ending.

I UNDERSTAND. IT’S HARD
This is what American culture does to people. Get them bogged down, riled up, angry and afraid.

I have no doubt that my Autism is what allows me to keep one foot in my teenaged hopes and the other foot in the mundane and hopeless.

The world has gotten its grips on me at times. I viewed my Autism as a major impediment, because it got in the way of everything I wanted to achieve in my adult life. As a result, thanks to my Autism, I’ve had bigger struggles than the average person when it comes to doing the things that we all do.

It also messed with me because I began to view the world in terms of whether or not something could be monetized. My Autistic “gift,” it seems, cannot really be monetized. At least, I cannot think of or find a way for this to be the case.

That’s the problem: Not everything needs to be monetized in order to have value. That’s toxic American culture at work.

A BRIEF ASIDE
This reminds me of a brief aside, during a time when I was looking for work. I was also taking guitar lessons at the time. My mother, who meant well, got angry with me. “Why are you taking guitar lessons, when you should be working?”

There are a few problems with this, with one of them being the idea that you haven’t “earned” the right to do anything that brings you happiness unless you are working.

Another problem came with her not understanding that I needed to do a great deal of work to overcome my self-esteem issues. My Major Depressive Disorder is both caused by and exacerbated by my Autism.

I was looking for work, for several hours per day. She refused to acknowledge that, and instead focused on the 30 minutes per week I spent in my lesson, and the 20-30 minutes per day that I spent practicing my lessons.

“How is that going to help you find a job?”

I gave her the answer, and I’m not sure she appreciated it. The idea was that doing something to keep my mind active and build up my self-esteem would give me greater chances of landing a job.

FAREWELL, FACEBOOK
Facebook is where the old, broken people go to be negative, hateful, fearful, and mean.

They’ve forgotten what it is like to be happy. Even worse, they have NO desire to talk about the good old days, when they WERE happy. Maybe it’s too painful for them, and I can try to understand that. This doesn’t mean that I have to participate in any of it.

Even worse, they don’t want to catch up in general. Many don’t want to talk at all.

Should I find a social networking platform that is good for me, chances are good it will be the kind of social network that brings strangers together. The only problem I see in this that most people my age have lost the point, because life is hard and it ground them down.

I can remain hopeful that there are other people out there, like me, who didn’t lose the point and who are up for the new experiences that come with possibilities.


LIFE’S PARADIGM SHIFT
This is the problem with life. When we are young, it’s all about possibilities. But when we get old, it shifts and becomes all about actualities.

Being young and focused on future possibilities can often times lead to disappointment. Being older and focused on the future actualities most definitely leads to disappointment and depression.

So they double-down on religion and politics, and become an empty shell of what they once were.

Next thing you know, it’s 2016, Trump became president the way they wanted, and they were STILL ANGRY, AFRAID, AND EMPTY INSIDE.

Literally, the day AFTER he took office, a guy I know who voted for him was still angry about “those god damned Liberals.” This is because the third entity in The Holy Trinity, NEWS, made sure to inform them how to feel. It tells them to be afraid and angry.

Do NOT look at the wealthy and powerful people who have the power to change things. No! Instead, look to that immigrant crossing the border. THEY are the true power.

Bullshit. But people get so riled up that they will believe stupid shit.

To bring this full circle, Brook believed that I achieved everything myself, and that he had no hand in helping me at all. He had no room in his heart for being grateful, or for remembering the good times we once had.


IN THE END: IF YOU ARE READING THIS, BROOK…
I highly doubt that Brook will get around to reading this, and NO, I am NOT asking anyone to forward this to him. But if he does, I’m sure it will make him angry. Understand that I DID NOT include his full name in this entry, so I am not outing him to the general public.

Yes, those who went to school with us will probably figure out who you are. Just know that they don’t care, for they’re too busy being full of hate and fear to care about reading something that I wrote. They have a world full of people to fear and hate.

But if you are reading this, Brook, I would like to thank you for that day when you first opened the window to the band room so that I could hear and see better what you were doing on the drums.

Thank you for inviting me to your house for lunch and listening to drum corps records. Thank you for selling me your old drum set, your old bike, and all of the other hand-me-downs that you either gave or sold to me. To you, it was just getting rid of stuff, but to me it meant the world.

I miss those times when we would hang out. A part of me likes to imagine a scenario where we both stayed in our small town, and as adults we get together every few weeks to listen to records, play drums, or just hang out.

Maybe to you I was just an annoying kid. But to me, you were my role model. My dad wasn’t really around, and my brother didn’t relate to me. The only person I had to look up to during those times was you. You were a fun person, and a very talented drummer, but I also viewed you as being highly intelligent. Getting held back in 7th grade confirmed that, because our school and teachers were not the best or brightest. I was almost flunked out of kindergarten, so I can relate.

Spring 1966: 18 months old and already interested in drumming.

Understand that you helped me get onto a path that I had wanted to be on since I was 18 months old. It was a path that was borderline impossible for me, since I grew up at the bottom of the middle class.

In spite of Rugged Individualism, it is important to acknowledge that you started at the higher end of the track, while I was way near the bottom. Life wasn’t as easy in some ways as it was for you. When you wanted something, you got it. When I wanted something, I’d have to work really hard to get it, and dream of a day when I might get it. And there were times when I did NOT get it. You didn’t experience this, but I did.

My hope was that I could thank you for everything you did for me when I was young, but you did not appreciate it and refused to hear it. You actively REJECTED my appreciation and thanks, and threw it away. That’s how much fear and hate is in your heart now, and I find that to be very, very sad.

If you do see this, and you get angry with me, then don’t bother writing. I’ll recognize the hatred and fear quickly, and send the message to the trash. But if you see this and genuinely want to patch things up, acknowledge the good times of the past, and catch up with what has been happening lately, then I’m all ears [or eyes, for an email].

I don’t miss the old person I was, because I’m still that person in many ways, even though I work, pay bills, and do all of the same things that you do. But I do miss who you once were, because you were a shining beacon of hope for me; a representation of the possibilities that I could have in the future.

I went for the music career, and it didn’t pan out. I learned a lot about the music business, and don’t blame myself for failure. If anything, I recognize my own success in that I gave it my all, and I have no regrets. “What if” is not in my vocabulary.

I moved to Los Angeles. I played drums. I wrote and recorded albums. I played shows. I taught a few lessons. I met my music/drumming heroes, and some of them even became dear friends of mine.

And you know what? I enjoyed the utter fuck out of it. Every last moment. And I’m STILL drumming, playing guitar and bass, and making music. Music is everything to me, because it builds up my self-esteem, it makes me happy, and it’s my primary social vehicle.

I might not have that without your inspiration and hand-me-downs.

While I totally dislike what you have become, you are still a person to me, and I hope that one day you can find something to be happy about. I hope that you can one day accept my gratitude and feel good that you made a difference in someone’s life. It saddens me that you do not have the capacity to accept this.

But if that day never comes, then please consider this a goodbye, Brook. Thank you for everything, and I wish you all the best.

It is vital to stay young at heart, in the face of life’s adversity.

When People Think the Worst of You

Typically, I don’t care one bit about what others think about me. The reality of that situation is that it’s none of my business.

However, the internet is a place where large groups of people can think the worst of you, band together, and then attempt to destroy your life.

When I worked at MySpace from mid-2005 to mid-2008, I made a few mistakes. One of those mistakes was letting people know that I worked there. I also had other powers, including resetting passwords, and even deleting profiles. Letting people know about this was yet another mistake.

A real MySpace comment that I got from Danny Bonaduce. He was happy that I spent a few hours deleting several dozen fake Danny Bonaduce profiles.

This laid the groundwork for a horrible situation where people accuse me of the worst possible thing: Harming a child.

Since MySpace is now defunct, I feel that it is safe to tell my story.


DOING THE JOB
This was maybe just a few months after I got hired, so I was in a relatively vulnerable state. Who am I kidding? In America, you are ALWAYS in a vulnerable state when you’re an employee. It’s just a little bit worse during the first 90 days.

I worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer, but also took on other things. One of those things included pornography. Specifically, there was lots of under-age “revenge” porn being posted.

Over time, I would be relieved of these duties when the company grew and new departments were added. But the way things were during this time, there were a total of 40 employees trying to handle everything.


THE SITUATION
One day, a “friend” forwarded a profile to me. They were very concerned, and rightly so. It was what appeared to be the profile of an 11-year-old girl in a cheerleader outfit.

The friend’s concern was that there were lots of creepy old men publicly commenting on their profile.

She told me that I should delete it. But I had my concerns because this was something that typically would get deleted really quickly. So I took it up with a supervisor, who told me, “Do NOT delete this profile, under any circumstances.”

More about that later.

So I wrote to the friend and told her that I had reported it to the appropriate people, and they would be dealing with the profile and the user.

My friend got irate. “I know that you have the power to delete profiles. The fact that you refuse to delete this profile tells me that you’re one of them. You’re a fucking pedophile.”

Nice sentiment, coming from a “friend.”

I replied to them, “Yes, I know that I do have the power to delete profiles. However, it’s not my job, I’m no longer allowed to do it, and my supervisor told me not to delete profiles anymore. They are investigating this situation.”

This friend wasn’t satisfied with my response, and proceeded to tell everyone they knew. People were beginning to spread the rumor that “a pedo works at MySpace.”

I was getting genuinely concerned, because you don’t want rumors like this spreading about you. I talked to my supervisor about it, and they thanked me for the heads up and told me to not worry about it.

So I spent my day on MySpace, trying to work, while dozens and dozens of people wrote to tell me what a creepy, disgusting pervert I was. All of this, because I refused to delete an account.


WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Remember that my supervisor told me NOT to delete the profile.

With my boss and everyone’s first friend, Tom Anderson of MySpace.

This is the part that I could not explain to these “friends” in a way that was satisfactory for them.

The profile of the 11-year-old girl was a “honeypot” account set up by the FBI. The profile was constantly monitored by a shift of people who would make notes of those who were getting in contact with the “girl.”

They had an existing list of convicted pedophiles whose profiles were tagged. Every time they logged in, a series of FBI agents, as well as MySpace employees, would get a text message and phone calls to let them know that confirmed pedos were logged on.

At least half a dozen people, at any given time, were watching every move, every word, and every post of these concerning individuals.

The honeypot profile lead to a great number of convictions over the years.

All of this lead to the frustrating part, that not only could I NOT delete the profile, but I could also NOT tell them the truth about it. Telling them the truth would have gotten them off my back, and it would have stopped them from spreading the rumor that I was a pedo. But it would have also jeopardized the operation, resulting in putting children at risk once again.


WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME NOW
The situation taught me a few lessons. One of those lessons is to never, EVER let anyone know where you work or what you do. I was fortunate to have bosses and associates who understood the situation and took the uneducated rantings of these people for what they were.

Wu Kong was the “Chinese Tom” when MySpace opened in China. You can see me in their Top 12 friends list. It was an honor.

The other thing I learned is that if anyone can so easily believe something so horrible about you, then they are not your friend in the first place. Most of these people didn’t really know me and didn’t like me.

The heartbreaking part was that a few of them HAD met me, we DID hang out. They had an idea of who I was and what I was all about, and yet they still decided to draw a horrific conclusion about me based on partial information, at a time when I could not fill them in without putting an important FBI operation at risk.

Again, I had told them that I let my supervisor know, that I was no longer allowed to delete profiles, and that upper management knew about it. This should have been enough for them.

It would have been enough for a friend.

I’d hope that someday one of them will read this and feel badly about themselves. I seriously doubt they will, since they wrote me off almost 16 years ago.

This situation also taught me a valuable lesson when it comes to making assumptions. There are many things that I do NOT want to be in life, and being like these “friends” and behaving the way they did is one of those things that I want to avoid.

It wouldn’t be the last time that a bunch of “friends” thought the worst of me, banded together in a network, and set out to destroy my life. It’s why I do not use ANY social networking today. Because people in large groups who can easily band together are typically very stupid and highly destructive.

I have no time or patience for stupid people.

What made this worse was that it happened around the time that I stopped taking my son to the park. My son is half-Mexican, so we look a little different. Every time we went to the park, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, there would inevitably be a man, a woman, or a group of people approaching me to ask me what I was doing with “that poor child.”

Taking a selfie at the front desk [2005]

The Pedo Panic in America is real, it’s crazy, and it ironically gets in the way of real situations and real investigations.

So once my son no longer wanted to go to the park, I felt a mixed response of sadness and relief. And then, THIS garbage went down.

I would always talk with my son about it when things like this happened, and would explain it to him. This is why he has NO internet presence and will never use social networking.

He went to the office with me many times. He knows how sausage is made.


IN THE END
Above all else, this situation taught me to NEVER take action based on superficial knowledge. It something looks a certain way, maybe it IS that way, or maybe it is not.

Can I remove myself from the situation? If so, then I do it. If not, then I might investigate.

But I can tell you this much. If I were using a site like Facebook, and I saw a profile that looked like it belonged to a little kid, and a bunch of old creeps are visibly and publicly being sexual and otherwise creepy, I would safely assume that dozens and dozens of eyes are upon it, 24/7, and then I would move on.

Because if MySpace did it 16 years ago, then I can safely assume that Facebook is doing it now, and doing a way better job of it. They have entire departments built for this sole purpose.

Stop.

Don’t get emotionally affected.

Think about it.

Bonus MySpace photo: At happy hour after work with my Office Manager, HotMaria.

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