Short: When Power is Sold

As an American citizen, I can tell you that ALL of our politicians — both Democrat and Republican — are SO bought-and-paid-for that they fart exact change.

As a result, we get a performance or type of entertainment, where the Republicans want to destroy the country and install a Fascist dictator, and the Democrats pretend to be the opposition. I call it “controlled opposition.”

What happens to the politician when they are bought?

There are a few things that happen. One is that they effectively hand over their power to those who bought them. For example, Joe Manchin is owned by a variety of corporations. This means that he does whatever they tell him. And they’ve told him to betray his constituents, as well as the whole of America, for his own personal financial gains.

Another is we, the people who vote, get a case of taxation without representation, while their corporate owners get to enjoy representation without taxation.

Finally, we, the American people, are effectively living in the nicest Third World slum that has ever existed. We are suffering the petulant greed of those who get paid $174,000 per year, who have the best medical insurance that WE can pay for, they get a HUGE break in the middle of the year, AND they do and achieve NOTHING for the people.

Absolutely fucking nothing.

The point of this short post is to share a video with my fellow Americans and friends who are reading this. The video shows Boris Johnson being mocked and held accountable by his peers.

This is something that we Americans NEVER get to see, and it felt really good watching it, so here we go. And thanks for reading!

Boris Johnson is an utter turd who is finally starting to get what he deserves. It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining.
He’s a dolt who was mucking up progress.

When It’s No Longer Fun

~18 months old, spring of 1966. This was what I did while the band was taking a break.

INTRODUCTION
Music was my first love, going all the way back to when I was 18 months old, sitting in and watching jam sessions with my uncle’s band, The Sounder, as they blasted loudly through my grandparent’s old Indiana farmhouse.

I wore headphones to protect my ears and would sit on my own chair behind the drummer.

The drummer went out of his way to entertain me, by performing with a pair of those GIANT Pro-Mark drumsticks.

They’re utterly ridiculous and you can’t really play well with them. But to this very day, it’s a piece of drummer humor that keeps it all fun.

I think that one reason why I am SO into drums is because of the drummer in my uncle’s band. I never knew his name, as I was too young, but I am grateful for his inspiration.

Drumming looked fun!! He made it fun.

I do remember what convinced me to pick drums over all other instruments. I saw a video clip of The Beatles on television, and I think it was from one of their movies.

They were running from a mob of crazy girls. We see John, running with a guitar case. Then Paul, running with his bass case. There was George, running with his guitar case. And then, there was Ringo, bringing up the rear, running with nothing but a pair of drum sticks.

The way I saw it, you can get away from crazy girls more easily when you only have to haul drum sticks. Never mind the fact that Ringo was the most in danger in this situation.

Pre-schoolers aren’t known for thinking things through.


1987: The singer who discovered me set me up with a new drum set, as well as a studio apartment.

ATTEMPTING TO GET INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Music got me through my childhood, high school, and college. And when I hitchhiked to Los Angeles from Bakersfield in 1986, it was my drumming and musical abilities that got me off the streets and into an apartment, complete with my first-ever NEW drum set.

I did everything that I possibly could in my attempts to get into the music industry. There were a few close calls, but in this regard, I found no success.

On a side note, I don’t really feel badly about it. I see musicians who I consider to be better than me, and they have the same experience.

All the same, I will admit that I had moments where I felt really horrible about not achieving this goal.

Over time, I decided to flip a middle finger to the industry as a whole and do my own thing in the Hollywood underground. That was the most fun that I had in my music pursuits.


A SWITCH GOT FLIPPED
Life presents us with questions. Sometimes, we end up providing ourselves with the answers.

Such was the case on a warm weekend morning, when I was on a fishing boat at Lake Nacimiento in California. It was relatively quiet, as people peacefully launched their boats to venture out and catch some fish.

As we were motoring over to a spot we wanted to try, I noticed a professional fishing boat. It had a platform up front where the fisherman could stand on it.

He was messing around with a fish radar device and working on some other things. I asked the guy driving the boat about what I was seeing, since he had more fishing experience.

He said, “That guy is a pro bass fisherman.”

There was something different about him. He wasn’t happy. There was no joy on his face. He looked very serious, as if he were at work.

This was when I gave myself my own answer to my own question.

“Look at this guy. He took something he loved and turned it into work.”

Indeed, that’s when it hit me: I was trying to turn my musical abilities into work! Right as a pointed a finger at him, I pointed squarely at myself.


LET IT SINK IN
That evening, as I grilled a bass I had caught earlier in the day, I thought more about what I saw, what I said to myself, and how that hit home.

Clearly, with this new information, it was time to adjust my perspective. It no longer made sense for me to be upset about not getting somewhere in the music industry.

It was bad enough that I’d hear horrible things being said, either directly to me, or about people in my position.

Someone generally had said, “If you don’t make at least $10,000 per year in the industry, then you cannot call yourself a musician.” To that, I declare bullshit. Music is about music, emotion, and community, NOT money.

However, the thing someone said to me directly was by far worse; bad enough that it gets its own segment.


AN IDIOT’S OPINION
For me, it’s not really all that hard to imagine a “friend” saying something horrible to me. Lots of people pretended to be my friend and then later showed that they really were not.

What did this person say, TO MY FACE, that was so bad that it warrants its own segment in this entry?

“You must not be a very good musician. If you were, then you would be rich and famous.”

WRONG!

This opinion clearly came from someone who believes the lie of The Meritocracy. This is the idea that you will get somewhere with your skills if you are talented.

There are those who are better musicians than me, and they don’t get anywhere. Then, there are musicians who are worse than me, or who have NO musical talent at all, and they are in the business making money. Many got in thanks to looks and internet popularity.

So you believe that The Meritocracy is real? Jess Greenberg and her boobs would like to have a word with you. Her views skyrocketed after she changed her look. Her talents, however, did not really increase.

The hard reality is that simply being good enough at something — anything — does not ensure that you’ll get a job or earn money. I’d go off-topic if I write much more about this issue, so I’ll close this segment out with something more accurate that a homeless musician once told me.

“The music biz is all about who you know, and who you blow.”

This was followed up with a dark comment about how sometimes blowing doesn’t even work. I did not ask him to elaborate.

But it’s TRUE! Dolly Parton is VERY talented, but I’d be willing to bet that she wouldn’t have gotten so far if she were more like a regular, everyday woman.


A REALIZATION
All of this got me wondering whether I had been chasing my tail for my entire life, by working to get into the music industry.

The answer, more than likely, is yes.

However, if I hadn’t done that, what WOULD I have done instead? It’s really hard to say.

One thing for certain is that I’d not have had the amazing fun experiences that I had along the way. I moved 2,000 miles from home and set out on an adventure to “make something of my life.”

But my life is already something. So is yours.

Because we are.

I got to meet my music heroes, and some of them even became good friends.

Chad Sexton, of 311, his brother Mac and mother Linda, made Chad Sexton’s Drum City [RIP] my favorite drum store. The drums and drum gear that I have today is thanks to them. Their cover of “Love Song” by The Cure is what put them on the map.

I also got to play every big club on the Sunset Strip as a drummer, bassist, guitarist, and keyboard player. It’s one of many personal mini-goals, and reaching those goals made me happy. They didn’t serve a purpose beyond that, and I’m okay with it.


IN THE END
There is no way for me to guess how I would feel about it if what I loved got turned into something that I had to do to earn a living. I might have enjoyed it, I might have gotten burned out by it, or it might have ended up killing me.

It could have very well taken away the one thing I loved.

People do all kinds of things to make money. So far as I am concerned, in most cases the things they do for money do NOT define them as a person. I never let ANY of my day jobs define me as a person, with the exception of MySpace. Even then, my identity was more rooted in music than MySpace.

I know creative people who have horrible jobs where they work to earn money to pay for the privilege of living on the planet. We are the ONLY animal on the planet who pays rent. Think about that.

My point being is that I DO NOT judge any of these creative people by the day jobs that they hold. It does nothing to take away from their creativity, beyond stealing time from them. That’s our society’s crime.

The big question involves what you love to do, and whether or not you are doing that, regardless of whether or not it brings in money.

As of this year, I’ve been in Noodle Muffin for 20 years. During this time, I never made ONE cent off of ANY of my efforts. I don’t know if the band has ever made any money, beyond selling CDs and shirts at the few gigs we did. My guess is a resounding NO.

People might ask why I stuck around. The answer is because I loved the music and the experience.

So for today’s entry, I am closing things out with my favorite song from our June 15, 2002 performance at The Blue Saloon in North Hollywood, CA.


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On Feeling Important

INTRODUCTION
I was watching a YouTube video that was a collection of TikTok shorts, where women talk about how awesome they are, and how they no longer need men. Their words were one thing, but their delivery was very peculiar.

Their delivery, facial expressions, and posture told a different story of smug arrogance and a high level of self-importance.

The host of the channel responds to them after their clip.

This was not something that I put together right away. In fact, it was something that I wrote off as immaturity and stupidity.

But then, as YouTube recommendations go, I ended up watching a scene from Terminator 2. This got me thinking about the premise of the movie.

John Connor is a VERY important person, even though he’s a snotty-nosed brat in the movie. He leads the resistance against the machines, which seems to be headed up by Terminators.

So one Terminator is sent back to kill him, and another is sent to protect him.

John Connor is that important to the world, to the future, and to Mankind itself.

The thing is that I watched the Terminator clip while the video posted above was still very fresh in my mind. That’s when the idea hit me.

Everyone wants to feel important. Not just important, but John Connor important.


WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND
This is a big problem on some platforms, such as TikTok and Facebook. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not use either TikTok or Facebook. I did use Facebook at one time. The TikTok videos that I see are compilations on YouTube. Plus, I follow a few YouTubers who share and comment on some of the strangest videos they have seen.

Beyond that, you might see it in the real world once in a while. It’s sometimes harder to detect.


WHEN IT GETS DARK
The video I posted above is relatively light and annoying. But you don’t have to dig very deeply to find some horrific videos. One example is a woman whose baby is sick and she uses it for internet clout.

Who does this? Malignant Narcissists.

Examples can also be found, where they dance in a hospital room while a relative is dying.

YouTube titles are typically clickbait, because the average person is stupid and needs encouragement to click.

No sympathy, empathy, or Humanity is to be found.


I USED TO WANT TO FEEL IMPORTANT
There was a time from late grade school through half of junior high, when I felt a need to feel important. I would estimate the timeframe to be from age 12 [1976] to age 14 [1978].

The only place where I could do this was at school, and my only vehicle for achieving this was in band. Really, band was the only reason why I stayed in school.

But before the end of junior high, there was a shift in my movements and motives. I went from wanting to impress others, to wanting to impress myself. Sure, I’d still put on a show when I was drumming, because the entertainer aspect of it is valuable.

The few times that I got with other musicians in town, I’d not feel important so much as I felt connected. One of my readers is a person I had the pleasure of jamming with during this time. It was just the two of us there and his mom. That is a special memory for me that I will always keep.

I also jammed with my Health teacher and Cross Country coach, Dave Fuqua. Just sitting on the porch where he lived, playing duel guitars. I have a handful of memories like this.

Me [R] with my friend and fellow drummer, Scott. It was the Summer of 1985 and we were at an Agape festival. People would stop by and hang for a while before moving on. This wasn’t attention and importance, so much as feeling a sense of community and belonging.

I just did it more for myself, and less for anyone else. An audience is cool, and is essential especially if you’re selling albums or tickets. But I had almost nothing to gain by garnering external recognition.

Most of the truly important things I did with music in school were important to me, and went unnoticed by virtually everyone else in the school. It was less about people seeing me, and more about how I felt about the performance.

Eventually, I had to please myself and forget how anyone else felt about any of it.

This is called growing up, and growing out of it.

Some people need attention so badly that they’ll turn on the camera while they’re on the toilet and broadcast to the world. Crying used to garner lots of attention, but that’s not really good enough anymore, so crapping yourself it is.

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL
I’d say that, out of all of the lessons that I’ve learned in life, one of the most profound lessons is when you realize that you’re not really all that special in the big picture.

I started being a musician as a child. I thought it was special that I could play trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and other instruments.

Grandpa, circa 1938. He said that playing guitar back then was as great way to meet the ladies. He certainly charmed Grandma.

What caused me to not view this as such a special thing was when my grandfather played concertina for me. I had never seen one before. In our conversation, he told me that he also played guitar, as well as almost 20 other instruments.

We all knew that he played organ for our Christmas gatherings. But I had no idea.

My grandmother would drive home the idea by saying, “You are unique and special… just like everyone else.” The thing about people who believe themselves to be special is that they dismiss the idea that anyone else might be similar in this way.

In more recent years, the idea of not being special got fortified by the vast amount of young multi-instrumentalists who can do it all. They have the nice cameras, recording gear, budget, crew, and more.

If I’d had all of that and the internet in the 70s, then I might have been one of them. Or more than likely, I’d end up doing something completely different, and keeping my music abilities as something that brings me happiness.

It is also important to remember that they stand upon the shoulders of giants. The learning materials they have at their disposal are incredibly abundant.

In my day, I couldn’t slow anything down without messing up the pitch. There weren’t really any readily-available learning videos, and the best I could do was either purchasing sheet music [which was consistently not accurate] or the Star Licks tapes.

But I digress.

It is easy to feel important when you’re the only game in town, even if it’s a small town full of mostly “simple” people. But when you venture into the world, you learn that not only are you NOT the only game in town, but that others have game that even you consider to be superior.

Going to college exposed me to lots of talented people. By the end of my two years at college, I ended up learning that I might be unique, but I’m nowhere near being special.


MORE PEOPLE, LESS VISIBILITY
The more crowded the world gets, the more we all fade into the background. People get up for work in the morning and sit in traffic with everyone else who is headed out to work.

Then they go into their workplace, and eventually have the realization that they can easily be replaced by another person, or even a machine or software.

As a Quality Assurance Engineer who worked in Silicon Valley Tech for 15 years, I ended up being replaced by a combination of automation and a drive for the “culture of youth.”

It is important to acknowledge my Autistic viewpoint on the workplace. This is where I DO NOT want to be special. I don’t want to stand out. I would much rather blend into the background where nobody will notice.

This is in stark contrast to getting on a stage on the Sunset Strip and drumming. That’s when you want people to notice. When I was younger, my ego drove that. But as an adult, I was driven more by numbers because you have to have a built-in audience to get anywhere in music.

It’s still a case of things not being driven by ego.

I spent 33 years in LA working to gain that kind of attention that attracts agents and people within the industry. While I didn’t find any huge stardom or wealth, I can say that I was more valuable in 1986 than I was in 2006, simply because everyone, their mother, and their cats showed up to the party with instruments.

By 2016, with regard to music, I was gone. Invisible. Nothing. I played guitar primarily for myself and posted a few videos on YouTube along the way.

But I did so in a way where I wasn’t being competitive. This is because I saw so many videos of so many other people doing many things that I could do, and in some cases doing it better. That, or they had better boobs than me.

My ~130 YouTube subscribers are no match for her 1.45 million subs. There are two reasons why her videos do better. Anything to stand out.

Being good is only half the battle. There has to be something that stands out. When you don’t stand out, you fade into the background. This terrifies people. It is especially concerning to those who are working to be pro musicians, because the attention, views, clicks, engagement, etc., is valuable to your future as a professional player.

Is it ego? For some, it is. For others, it’s pure business.


ATTENTION CAN BOOST THE EGO
From mid-2005 to mid-2008, I worked at MySpace. At the time, it was the biggest and most popular website in the entire world. In this situation, I wasn’t seeking attention, but I didn’t have to do that. It was baked into the experience.

That one time at Pipe Camp…

My friends on MySpace knew that I worked there, as well as other followers. I’d get invited to have lunch with Leo Quinones, a radio personality in LA. I’d get invited to all the hot shows in LA. I even got backstage with Weird Al, and he asked me if I could do him a MySpace favor by un-deleting Emo Philips’ profile.

People invited me to go hang out, and I’d do it. I’d walk into a club, and someone I had never met before would approach me and say things like, “You’re that guy who works with Tom!”

I once went to a basement party in Hollywood and got recognized by Steve-O from Jackass. We talked for quite a bit. He was not drinking alcohol at the time. I told him, “I can’t believe you risk your life for money by doing all of those dangerous stunts.” He replied, “I can’t believe that YOU are risking YOUR life just to keep MySpace going. I think your job is more dangerous than mine.”

Probably true.

There was lots and lots of attention, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t inflating my ego a bit. I did feel important, because I was doing my part to keep the world’s most popular website up and running.

We were hanging out at a comedy club owned by SNL’s Garrett Morris, watching Doug Stanhope and Sean Rouse perform.

But then, in mid-2008, I got downsized along with 5% of the staff. I was one of hundreds who got let go. I posted on my profile that I was let go, and the first person to contact me to see if I was okay was Justine Bateman.

We talked for about 10 minutes, which helped me not let myself get upset on the drive. It’s dangerous to drive home upset.

This was the beginning of my fade into obscurity, because I knew that once I was no longer useful to people, and no longer connected to the most powerful website in the world, that “friends” would start dropping like flies.

I was right.


IT WAS A RELIEF
For my 3 years at MySpace, I got a TON of attention. I got out of the house and did more social things that had NOTHING to do with music than at any other point in my entire life.

I was also drumming in 3 bands at the same time, on top of being very social, as well as working long days at MySpace and being a father.

In the years that followed, my bands would slowly drop off. My son grew up and got busy doing adult things. My “friends” moved on.

Before too long, all of those activities that got me out of the house and brought me large amounts of attention were gone.

It was a relief, as I felt that I needed to work on personal growth.

I’d had experience being the center of attention at times in the high school band, as well as those moments when I’d take the stage. But I’d never experienced anything like my years at MySpace.

It was exhausting. As an Autistic adult, I’d say that it was more attention than I was able to process at times. It would be almost a full decade before I learned that I was Autistic.

It was a case of getting something, thinking I liked it, realizing I did not, and then being relieved when it was lifted off my shoulders.


SEEING IT EVERYWHERE
While I got a great deal of attention with my activities in the past, there were many times where I did not want to be as important as I felt. This was partly because I had a feeling that it was all about what they could get. People would text, call, email, or send me messages on MySpace, asking for help or favors.

I did it without expecting anything in return. It was a good thing that was my attitude, because I really didn’t get much in return at all, beyond the insane amounts of attention.

The combination of attention and being useful lead me to feel a sense of importance.

Once I got out of it, I started seeing it everywhere. I think most of it was always there, but I just couldn’t see it or acknowledge it because I was too busy soaking in my own self-importance.

For you, the blind who once could see,
The bell tolls for thee.

The most interesting thing was that when I would see it, I’d not miss it. Part of me would want to shake them into reality and tell them that attention seeking to feel important is not a healthy thing.

With regard to my music, I sought attention. But with MySpace, it just came with the territory.

But I would quickly realize that saying anything about that to anyone would not be well received, so I did the right thing by making it none of my business. People are going to do what they are going to do, and I can’t do anything about it.

Some weak and broken people have such a huge need for attention and feeling important that they are willing to do anything to get it. Anything.

The only time it really concerns me is when someone is doing something dangerous to get attention. They’re doing things to fuck up the entire planet, just so they can get praise and adoration. They hold large rallies to feed the ego. When it’s a person like this, and they’re doing things that will impact me or the world negatively, then I will care.


FEELING NO IMPORTANCE
The only thing worse than a false sense of importance, is the false sense of no importance. This is where Major Depressive Disorder can take you if you’re not careful.

When this happens, you’ll forget about family, friend, and loved ones, as you get trapped in your own head. As someone who was trapped in his own head for the better part of 5 years, I can tell you it’s not where you want to be.

This can be highly destructive, and can even be a precursor to “un-living” yourself, to put it nicely.


DISCOVERING HEALTHY IMPORTANCE
When a person doesn’t feel like they matter in the world, it is important to find the healthy importance that one might otherwise overlook. This is especially true with Major Depressive Disorder and other forms of depression.

There was a time not too long ago, where I felt like the world would be better of if I no longer existed. This was because I felt like a burden on those around me. With my MDD in full force, that most certainly had to feel like a burden, as it was a burden to me as well.

In a discussion with my therapist, she told me, “Your cats need you.” I’ve written about this before, in a piece titled Finding Purpose [Is Purpose Necessary?]. I do think that purpose and importance are closely linked.

It’s something that you have to actually sit and think about when dealing with various types of depression. There are family members with whom I have healthy relationships. There are those true friends who are still there even though I’m no longer in a position to do favors for them.

The boys, being chill shortly before they take their afternoon naps.

And, of course, two cats. I feel the responsibility of taking care of them, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not doing things with them or for them.

There was a reason why I did not recognize this as being important, and it was because it didn’t make a difference in the world. This might be what drives those people who make self-important, arrogant TikTok posts.

My first thought as I type this is the young woman whose baby is sick in the hospital. Her being there is VERY important, especially for her baby. But the TikTok video of her dancing is not only inappropriate because it’s seeking validation from the external world full of people who don’t care.

Being there for the baby is important, and should be enough. The needs of her own baby are the hallmark of true importance. Dancing in an embarrassing, Narcissistic, and pathological video to gain attention and “clout” is a problem.

It keeps her from seeing how important she is to her own baby.


IN THE END
There is a difference between loving yourself and being a Narcissist. The Narcissist does not really love themselves, although most people falsely believe that they do. They’re just into themselves and whatever might make them happy or cover up the pain they suffered as a result of childhood abuse.

If you are NOT a Narcissist, then it is important to understand that loving yourself does NOT make you a Narcissist. And if you worry about something potentially making you a Narcissist, then chances are VERY good that you’re not a Narcissist. Narcs don’t even acknowledge that they are Narcs.

Love yourself, and know that you can find your importance in your own life. Additionally, you can make your own importance.

Realizing your own importance or making your own importance is something we all must do. I recognize that my life has no intrinsic value or importance to most of the world. There are over 8 billion people in the world, and maybe a few hundred know of me, or remember me. It doesn’t matter if they don’t.

And even if I did achieve my music career goals, and got rich and famous, I would still be forgotten by the vast majority of the people on the planet. Remember, there are 8 billion people in the world, and yet one million sets of ears counts as “success” in the music industry.

None of it matters in the big picture.

That said, it DOES matter right now.

Nobody cares that I’m taking care of my cats, or that I have family members who are still civil and friendly with me, or that I have a handful of friends whom I sincerely cherish, beyond those who are involved.

My Hollywood rock star days were a ton of fun. This is me, drumming on stage at The Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip for a band that asked me to fill in last-minute. Many of my music heroes performed on this very stage. These experiences and the stories that come with them are important to me. They might be fun to recall and share, but they DO NOT make me any more important than anyone else. It represents a fulfillment of my childhood dream, where I promised myself that one day I’d be in Hollywood playing music on a famous stage. More important than the people in the crowd was fulfillment of the promise that I made to myself.

That has to be enough, because it’s what we get, and it’s SO much more important than most of what we do in our lives.

The hard truth is that internet clout is much like being a rock star on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people. It’s so brief that it is fair to consider it to be an illusion. You work hard rehearsing, you set up at the venue, take the stage at your scheduled slot [if you’re lucky], you play your set, hang out with a few people for a while, and then go home and go to sleep.

You wake up the next day feeling like that evening was a dream. And, quite frankly, you feel like shit because it’s over.

It doesn’t have the same substance as getting an email, phone call, or text from a friend. I consider myself fortunate to have a few true friends who are a part of my life. We talk and write on occasion. That’s enough for me.

Right here. Right now. It’s all that we have, and all we ever will have. The past is far behind. The future doesn’t exist. Life is an illusion caused by death, for if we never died, then we’d most certainly not be having any discussions about living at all. In fact, the idea might never even cross our minds.

Be kind to yourself. You might not be important to the world or Humanity, but you are important to someone. It is important for us to remember this.


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A Grocery Shopping Challenge

The grocery stores typically get filled up by around noon. For this reason, I’ll typically go at 6:00am, with an exception being made for when the pharmacy opens at 9:00am.

Being Autistic, and taking the public health crisis seriously, my goal is to go where there are the least amount of people.

Things have changed recently, however.

It seems that the anti-mask/anti-life people have figured out that they can go to the store at 6:00am and there will be fewer people to call them out on their misanthropic behaviors.

For this, it means traversing the store many times over what I would normally do. Like take the next aisle adjacent to the one I need, going to the end, and waiting for that person to leave.

For being pro-life Christians, they sure seem to not care about the health and welfare of others around them. This is why they have to TELL everyone that they’re “good Christians.” Because NOBODY would guess it based on what they say and do.

One work-around that I have easily identified is going to the store on Sunday between 8-11am, when everyone is in church.

As a special needs adult with an immunocompromised system, I find it most disheartening just how many people call themselves “good” while doing such horrific things, without one care in the world for anyone else but themselves.

I don’t want to spend too much time on that. I’ve written what I needed to write. So I suppose it’s time to wind things down with a cat photo or two.

Humans are getting what they deserve, and I am guilty by association.

Jackalopes and Seething Hatred

INTRODUCTION
Q: Why was the young man excited about his job at the gas station?

A: Because he loved the idea of getting paid to “pump Ethyl” all day.

This dad joke was brought to you partially by my late father, and partially by me typing it. Growing up in Indiana, we always had our gas pumped by an attendant. Often times, they would also check the oil, put air in the tires, and more.

And none of it cost extra.

When I finally got a car in 1989 in California, 3 years after moving there, I noticed that everyone pumped their own gas. An attendant filling your tank would cost extra. I never spent that extra, as it was ridiculous and unaffordable, so I would always pump my own gas.

June 1, 2008: I took this picture while taking photographs of the Universal Studios fire, which was 0.9 miles from where I lived. $4.59 per gallon was what you would pay to get “full service.” Catty-corner from this was a 76 station, where the full service price was around $5.50 per gallon.

This is how things were for me until May 2019, when I moved to Oregon. It is against the law for you to pump your own gas, with a scant few exceptions on Native American properties.

Some say that it’s to protect the stupid, but that’s reductive and insulting. Rather, it’s a government jobs program.


THE SCENE
I go to a gas station in town, and the person who pumps gas comes over. He gets my card, types in my phone number for rewards/discounts, and then gets to pumping.

Typically, I don’t really engage in conversation, and most of them are too busy to talk. But on this particular visit, it was just him and me. It was cold out and he was bored, so he decided to strike up a conversation.

Thumpercloud The Jackalope [since 2006]
Valets in LA thought that he was real. They’d ask if he bites, and I’d reply, “Only if you mess with stuff.”
So if you want your car treated with respect by valets in LA, I highly recommend getting one of these.

THE CONVERSATION
“Where’d you get the jackalope?” he asked. I told him that I got it in Death Valley in 2006.

He followed this up with talk about Bigfoot. Apparently, Bigfoot is a big deal here in Oregon, and I suspect that belief in Bigfoot is mandatory if you want to live here. There is no end to the tourist trinkets featuring an artistic representation of his image.

There is even an annual Bigfoot festival, which I know you could find on Facebook. They also get into aliens and other similar topics, complete with guest “experts” on the subjects.

Jokingly, I asked him if there were Unicorns in Oregon. He replied that, “Unicorns are a European thing,” before bringing up the Loch Ness Monster. I threw in mention of Chupacabra so that I could participate. The problem was that I didn’t really want to participate in this manner.

Mike Tyson obliterates a Chupacabra. Everyone has a plan, until they get punched by Mike Tyson.

He then told me, “The only one I really believe in is Pegasus. Those are real.”

And this is where things go off the rails.

He started ranting about the government telling us what we should believe or not believe. Truth be told, I was starting to get more than a little nervous.

He starts to appear agitated for some reason. Possibly because when he talks about certain things it gets him hyped up. I get it, as people like him have been lied to and agitated for at least the past 6 years.

“The government is completely bought by the corporations!”

Things were getting tense from my perspective. The last thing I need is for a camo-wearing, Jesus-loving redneck pumping gas at 6am to figure out that I’m not one of his people.

I knew that I had to say something. Telling jokes is what I tend to do when things get tense, although sometimes it backfires. I had to take a shot, since there was an uncomfortable pause.

“Those assholes are SO bought and paid for that they fart exact change.”

He didn’t laugh, because he feels a sense of despair, most likely about things that he’s told and not things that are actually happening. His life would be so much happier without all of those conspiracies weighing on him.

He continued his rant. “Those jokers [in the gov’t] love telling us what to do. Want to work here? Get the jab. Want to go somewhere? Get the jab. Wear a mask! Wear a mask!!” He was getting rather frothy, and I was out of ideas.

Fortunately, the pump clicked off, indicating that it was done. He gave me my receipt and said, “Happy new year.” I said it back to him before driving away.


IN THE END
I suspect that he realized that he couldn’t rant with me for hours on end, since he was at work, so he just did it until the tank was full.

It is my understanding that people like me are viewed as a threat by people like him. While I don’t declare myself a Leftist, I do happen to agree with many Leftist ideas. I am certain that he believes President Biden is a Leftist, when he’s actually Right-of-Center.

Also, being an Atheist out here is not a safe thing.

In other words, they don’t take kindly to people who aren’t like them.

And so I continue to hide in the shadows, hoping that I don’t get found out. Conversation with the locals is a sure-fire way of getting found out, mostly because I would more than likely out myself in the process. My Autism is such that I have to struggle to add filters to my speech.

I consider it to be a pop quiz of sorts, where I had to perform on-the-spot and under pressure.

It was a close call, but I am fine. I get to live to see another day in Mayberry.


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Hoovering: The Narcissist’s 4th Phase

INTRODUCTION
In the past, I have written about three primary phases of a relationship with a Narcissist. To review:

  1. Love-Bombing: The Narcissist tells you how wonderful and fantastic you are.
  2. Devalue: The Narcissist declare that you cannot do anything right.
  3. Discard: When they believe they are done getting their Narcissistic supply from you, they throw you in the trash.

But there is a fourth phase that I don’t think I have ever talked about. The reason why I don’t think I talked about it is because it’s a phase that does not always happen.

Today, I will be writing about Hoovering, what it means, and I’ll give two examples.


WHAT IS “HOOVERING?”
In America, Hoover is a popular brand of vacuum cleaner that is used to suck up dirt. The reason why this is named as such is because after the Narcissist throws their victims in the garbage, they might want to get more supply, so they work to suck that person back into their lives.

If the victim goes along with it, then they are once again victimized and discarded.

Narcissists are like drug addicts, except their drug comes in the form of whatever it is that they get from their victims. They feed off your anger, fear, frustration, confusion, and other negative emotions. In a way, they are a lot like psychic vampires.

A Narcissist can drain you in the same way as a Psychic Vampire or Emotional Vampire.

1 of 2: THE BAND NARCISSIST
I do think that I’ve written about this particular story before, but I didn’t really acknowledge the Hoovering.

I had been asked to drum for a singer/songwriter who had moved to LA from Texas. I liked his songs and was interested in being part of his band.

He was/is a major control freak, and would do strange things to assert control. For example, he would tell me that we were rehearsing on Tuesday at 2:00pm. I would show up and he would not be there. I’d call and he’d not answer.

Finally, at around 4:00pm, he would show up. This was accompanied with the complaint that I woke him up and he never gets up before 5:00pm. Not knowing what he was doing, I told him that he should pick a time that works for him, and that I was flexible.

After he did this a few times, I decided that I was going to quit, so I called him.

This was when the Hoovering took place.

I told him that I didn’t think the situation was right for me, and that he should find someone else. He suddenly became this really nice person on the phone.

“Dude, don’t quit. You know, being in a band is like being in a relationship. You have to spend time together and see where things go. You have to give it a chance before you just run. I really want you to be my drummer, so I hope that you’ll stick around.”

After hearing his sales pitch, I decided to go along with it, and I told him that I would give the band some more time.

He sounded very happy about that, thanked me for listening, and we hung up.

It was just one hour later that he called me back.

“Dude, it’s not working out. You’re fired.”

CLICK


2 of 2: THE DRUM FORUM NARCISSISTS
I have struggled with naming the Narcissists in this story. Instead of naming them, I’ll just name the drum forum and let the reader know that the Narcissists in question are the forum owner and their head moderator.

It’s a forum where members PAY to gain access to the forums. I paid to join, and this included a t-shirt from the website.

Circa 2003: Wearing my Drummer Cafe t-shirt.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that the owner, the head moderator, and the majority of their members were Christian drummers. Most of the topics were “P&W,” which means “Praise & Worship.”

Many of the threads were more about religious belief, and just coincidentally contained drumming.

I felt completely out of place. I tried posting a few times about only drumming, before figuring out that I wasn’t really wanted on the forum.

After the head moderator chewed me out, for reasons I will never understand, I decided that the website wasn’t for me, and I quit. Had they let me go without Hoovering me back in, this would be the end of the story, and I probably would never have written about it, since it is so far in the past.

The forum owner and head moderator found me on AIM chat. They told me that they noticed I had quit, and that they were disheartened to know that I was not happy with the website.

They asked what was wrong, and I told them. I tried to be as sensitive as possible, to the point that I blamed not fitting in on myself.

They BEGGED me to return and promised that they’d work to do better. After five minutes of begging, I decided that maybe I should give them another chance.

[Humans are SO predictable!]

So I logged back in a few minutes later and was looking through threads. I don’t recall the precise topic of the thread, but the owner posted something about doing “X” if you wanted to have greater success with the music business in general.

I decided to interact, so I posted a question along the lines of, “I haven’t heard this before, and it sounds great. How does one go about doing this?”

With that, I opened up the door for the owner to go full Narcissist on me, in the forum thread, in front of EVERYONE.

“How DARE you question me, and on MY forum in front of everyone! I have tolerated you on this forum for a long time, and I think that now is the time to tell you that you are being kicked out of the forum and permanently banned. Don’t ever come back!”

The head moderator threw in a few cents’ worth, to get his Narcissistic supply, and then I was gone.

I had no idea what this situation was all about, until one of the forum members contacted me. His name was RJ, and he told me that he was there and present for the entire thing, from them planning what they were going to do to me, to the online chat.

They did this ON PURPOSE! This helped me to understand why they have to keep telling everyone that they’re “good Christians.” Because NOBODY would ever guess it based on what they say and do.

Their religious status is irrelevant because they are Narcissists.


WHY SOME NARCISSISTS DO THIS
I’m certain that you can see both MY predictable patterns, as well as THEIRS. More about that later.

A Narcissist cannot stand someone else to leave them. They view it as being abandoned, because their egos are big and very fragile. They can’t handle abandonment.

It is very much like a baby in the crib with their mother nearby, and then suddenly mom has to leave the room for a minute. They don’t understand what is going on, and so they cry and cry, pitching a fit that inspires mom to return.

They panic. NOBODY leaves the Narcissist! Abandonment is a sensation that comes easily to the Narcissist.

So they call you back [Hoovering] so that THEY can do the honors.


WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT IN THE FUTURE
Suppose that you have an experience with a Narcissist, like the ones I wrote about above. YOU decide that you are leaving, the Narcissist feels like an abandoned baby, and they attempt to Hoover you back.

One option is to cut them off completely. Just disappear. If they write, don’t respond. If they call, don’t answer.

This is not always an option, so there is another avenue that you can pursue. It’s a method known as “gray rock.” In this method, you’ve resumed contact with the Narcissist, but your answers are very, very boring.

With this approach, it is important to have a set of canned responses, and to STICK to them.

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. I don’t know.

The above list is a really good gray rock script. How would YOU feel if someone responded to everything you said with these short, uninspired stock answers? A normal person would probably take a hint that you’re not interested in talking to them, and move on.

With a Narcissist, however, doing this deprives them of the Narcissistic supply that they so desperately need.

Don’t fight. Don’t challenge. Don’t change the tone of your voice beyond a boring, uninspired monotone.


DOES IT WORK?
Not only does it work, but it works VERY quickly. I did this when my ex-wife was harassing me over the phone and email. Anything I would say to her would typically get me some laughter in my face, or a verbal fight of some kind.

My answers for her were:

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Call my lawyer.

At the time that I started this, I was getting several emails and phone calls per day. The contact that I got from her went from several times per day, to one email.

The first year, I got five emails and one phone call.

The following year, I got two emails and no calls.

The year after that, I heard nothing. I’ve not heard anything for years now. She gave up on getting her Narcissistic supply from me because I wasn’t giving it to her. I was being boring and dull, instead of getting upset, asking that she tell me why she was doing the things she was doing, or otherwise squirming.

Narcissists survive on YOUR anger, frustration, and sadness.

[After reading this, I can say that this is also an example of Hoovering, but with a gray rock solution.]


IN THE END
As I noted earlier, this fourth phase doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the Narcissist has a great deal of supply that they can get elsewhere. They will try to Hoover you up if they see you as an easy and compliant source. They try to Hoover you if they think that you’re not smart.

Autistic people are at greater risk of being Hoovered, since we can be easily manipulated at times. When I had no awareness of my Autism, and knew NOTHING about Narcissism, I just wrote things off as that specific person being a jerk.

Now I know that it’s a personality type. I know what to watch for in behaviors. I know how to stand up and nip it in the bud. And I am also aware of my Autism and the weaknesses that can be present with this.

I know their game, and knowing their game gives me the power of NOT playing the game with them.

Hoovering is a behavior that I should have written about when I was writing about the first three behaviors [Love-Bombing, Devalue, Discard]. However, I am glad that I gave Hoovering its own entry because it doesn’t always happen.

The other three phases are 100% guaranteed.

Stay safe out there, and remember to protect yourself. If you are not certain as to what you can do to protect yourself, then please consider subscribing to my blog, as I will do some writing about that in the very near future.

The world is all about surviving, and being a survivor instead of a victim.


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The Need to “Go Somewhere”

INTRODUCTION
One has not truly lived until a person they’re dating turns to them one day and says that they are concerned that they don’t know where things are going.

It’s got to “go somewhere,” they say.

Today, I’d like to explore that idea.

Tibo Bat wonders not where things are going, as all roads lead to snacks, cuddles, and nap time.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
When I used to have jobs, every so often my attempts at working optimistically would get interrupted by a manager who would want to talk with me about my future.

“Am I not doing a good job?” I would ask. They’d tell me that I was doing fine, but that maybe I should consider moving into management.

The last time I got asked this was in 2015. I told him that I wasn’t certain, as “I don’t have 2020 vision.”

It was the only opportunity that I got to use that joke, and I wasn’t about to waste it.

But they didn’t like my serious answers, which involved a vision or plan where I’d do work and keep doing work. I had no interest in getting paid more to talk about the work and babysit adults than the people who actually do the work. I never liked that system, and did not want to be party to it.

The boss, like all bosses, never gave up on the idea that I needed to be “going somewhere.”


ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY?
When I was a young adult, I’d get asked by older relatives when I was going to get married, or when I was going to have kids. To my credit, I resisted asking them when they were going to die.

It got annoying, so I ended up asking them if they could allow me the space to live my own life as I wanted. That got them to stop, for the most part.


MARRIAGE ISN’T FOR ME
I had a few girlfriends who wanted to get married. They kept asking where things were going.

When they told me that they wanted to get married, I had to wonder if they were going to ask me where things were going after we got married.

The next stop is either divorce or death. Divorce is the preferred option if you want to stay out of jail, and if you require a quick answer.

I knew where I wanted things to go after the break-up, and that is far, far away from me.


WHY THIS IS SO PREVALENT
Life is full of uncertainty. It is also full of decisions to be made, and I’ve chosen poorly on many occasions.

The reason why people would be asking me where things were going for me, was because they were seeking out validation for their own choices.

Maybe they did things the way their parents did, or the way in which they suggested. Maybe they did things the way their friends did things.

I once asked an adult relative of mine [from the previous generation] why she got married. She told me, “Well, all of my friends were married by age 19-22, and they had babies. I didn’t want to be left out, so I got married and had children to fit in with everyone else.”

When they ask me where things are going, they are seeking out validation that THEY made the right choices in their lives. So if they moved into management, and I had no desire for it, they might wonder if they made the right decision. But more than likely, they will judge me as being stupid or lazy, and then reassure themselves that they made the right choice.


IN THE END
In the big picture, all of this ends up going to the grave. It’s where we all end up.

Where we take things is not important in the grand scheme of things. However, it IS important to us in the right here, right now.

People want to know where things are going. The answer I gave above is the answer that I live with.

Much like I don’t need to be happy all the time, or need to be wealthy, or anything else that is attractive to humans in general, I also do not have the need to be going somewhere with ANY of this.

All I really need involves simply being, in lieu of going somewhere.

The idea that we’re going somewhere with what we are doing helps people feel good about themselves, for some reason.

I don’t need to be rich. I don’t need to be married. I don’t need to be “on my way up” in any regard.

I only need to be. From there, I deal with what is before me in the moment.

And then, I return to being.


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RIP Shure SRH440 Pro Studio Headphones

The year was 1992, and I had decided that I was in the market for a cassette 4-track multi-tracking recorder. So I went to West LA Music [RIP] and was hanging out in the Pro Audio department.

A salesman in that department was helping Paula Abdul with her home studio. She bought the Yamaha MT120S. I figured if it’s good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me.

The rep put together a great package for me, which included a Shure SM58 mic for free, as well as an XLR-1/4″ jack converter.

My old SM58 microphone eventually found fame and fortune, when it appeared on the back of the comedy album, “Curse of the Drinknif Class” by Chris Neff.

He also gave me a good deal when I added pro headphones to the package. And those headphones were the Shure SRH440 headphones.

I still have the Yamaha MT120S 4-track, although it is being stored for safekeeping until I can afford to spend time and money on reviving it. The microphone is long gone, having fallen victim to the passage of time.

But I was using my Shure SRH440 headphones as late as yesterday afternoon. I used them years before my son was born. I used them during the Ruby Cassidy writing and recording sessions. I used them in my home studio, as well as in a studio that I had helped to build.

They were not just used in pro situations, but also with personal listening. They were my one-and-only for the longest time. I used them until the ear pads wore out, and I replaced them with a new set for about $6.

So WHAT happened to them?

Yesterday, I set them on a little tackle box I have that I used for guitar repair equipment. They then slipped off after the cable was caught on my toe, causing them to fall about 8″ to the floor.

When this happened, a piece of plastic that holds one of the cans onto the entire unit broke. The plastic pieces I found were VERY fragile, which tells me that degradation of the plastic meant that it was only a matter of time.

I hate throwing them out, but I am not in a position to repair them.

But fear not, for I have a replacement already.

Back when I was working and making good money, I invested in a set of brand new headphones. Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT headphones are very similar to the Shure headphones. The difference is that these also have Bluetooth capability, which I use VERY frequently.

Much like the Shure headphones, the one thing that also annoys me about the Sennheiser headphones it that they come with proprietary cables.

I had not used the cable for the Sennheisers in years, and would use the Shure headphones whenever I needed a cable.

Really, I couldn’t find the Sennheiser cable, and assumed it got lost when I moved from LA in 2019.

But I went through a cable box, lo and behold, I found it!

This means that I can use the Sennheiser in a cabled situation as well.

Whew!

Today, I say a fond farewell to my old Shure headphones. They lasted 3 decades, which is not something that can be said about most pieces of gear of this size and type.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May 2019: Using my Shure headphones during my final Noodle Muffin recording session, before moving to Oregon.

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A Big Sign of Healing

This entry isn’t going to have sections, and it could be brief.

After sitting down to write, I remembered that I had some draft writings saved. So I went to check those out, and there were FOUR recently written drafts. They were very long and included some anecdotes to serve as warnings of situations where Narcissistic abuse could potentially occur.

The majority of it was based on personal experience.

As I started reading through the drafts to see what I could do about getting them in a place where they are ready to be posted online, I began to feel this foreign sensation. It was very unfamiliar, yet positive and non-threatening.

I started to realize that I no longer care.

Don’t get me wrong. I care about the topic. Much of what I wrote involved describing the Narcissists and the things they did.

What do I no longer care about? The Narcissists themselves and the things they did to me.

There are various things that happen in the healing process. Because when the abuse first happens, and the damage is done, you go through a good deal of things.

The issues one experiences can include things like self-doubt, where you are convinced that you are not capable of avoiding Narcissists.

There is also the fear that they might return to “Hoover” you back into their lives. This happens VERY often with Narcissistic abuse. In my case, one of the Narcissists is dead. But the other two are of no concern to me.

But wait! There’s more!

Your self-esteem gets knocked into the dirt. Mine was hovering slightly above the dirt at the time, so that wasn’t an impressive feat on their part.

Those are the big ones.

I realized that I am not afraid of them any longer. They have no power over me, and never will again. My self-esteem has been greatly improved, as is evidenced in my attitude and activity.

I’m also not afraid of meeting new people. This is because I trust my boundaries, and made a vow to myself to respect my own boundaries.

The big thing, which is so hard to describe, is that I don’t feel that general darkness hovering over my head. This was the kind of thing that fed my depression, generated irritability, and caused me to not be capable of much.

I don’t care about the Narcissists anymore. I don’t think of them. I don’t dwell. Most importantly, I do not ruminate. Rumination was a major issue for me, and I thank my medication for that. 300mg Bupropion, generic for Wellbutrin.

The reason I mention my meds is that maybe it will encourage others to give them a try.

My concern with taking these meds was that I didn’t want a “happy pill” to make me cheerful while the world is burning down. I don’t want to be in a delusional mindset.

That’s not how it works for me. I can still be sad and feel sadness, as well as other emotions. I can also get into a happy or positive space, which was previously prohibited by my Major Depressive Disorder [MDD].

Having access to a ray of sunshine helps. I can still acknowledge the bad things that are happening, the negative things, or those things that need my attention. No Pollyanna feelings are bouncing around.

The problem was that the dark, the bad, and the negative were getting way too much stage time in my head. They were reinforced in a horrible way.

Negative experiences get stored in the back of the brain’s right hemisphere. They are saved in video format, for lack of a better term. Conversely, positive experiences are stored in the front of the brain’s left hemisphere, and are saved in text format.

A visual representation is always more powerful than a written presentation.

The reason why negative memories are much more powerful is that it’s part of a survival strategy. With regard to survival, remembering that time when I almost got eaten by a Sabre-toothed tiger is by far more valuable than the time we got together for a birthday party.

The upside is that it helps us survive. But the downside is that it can and does generate trauma, and we don’t know how to process that. Until recently, people suffered trauma and just lived with it, until they no longer could. It’s tragic.

Circling back to Narcissistic abuse, most certainly I do need to remember the painful lessons learned. However, I do not need to relive this trauma over and over again in order to survive.

What I do need as part of my survival repertoire, based on life experience, is to make note of the traumatic events, identify what makes it traumatic, figure out what works to help prevent the trauma, implement that, and trust it.

And remember why it’s there. Boundaries are there to protect us. My boundaries are relatively new. Imagine an Autistic man with no boundaries and no filter.

I was a handful. Learning about boundaries, how to create them, how to implement them, how to respect them, and WHY I must respect them, has been more valuable to me than any of what I learned in school.

It’s time to let the healing take over. This means not getting into my old trauma in any great detail anymore. I can still reference it, but I won’t be plotting out the situations. I can keep that high-level and brief.

What this means is that I will no longer be detailing my trauma related to the Narcissistic abuse that I experienced.

I no longer care about the Narcissists who blew through my life, leaving destruction. Instead, I look to the silver linings. There was a great deal of disruption, and while that did damage a few things, it also shook off a large number of negative things in my life.

The greatest example can be found in the number of Facebook “friends” who weren’t real friends. Many only knew me by name. The majority of them knew nothing about me, never talked to me, and didn’t even care to know me. They mostly ignored me on Facebook.

But when a negative bandwagon showed up to burn me at the stake, they joined right in.

Funny how they only got active once they heard a rumor about me. It makes sense that they would wholeheartedly believe it. Meanwhile my real friends who know me and who care saw this and stuck with me. They knew about my character, including my strengths and failings, and stuck by me.

Facebook friends played a secondary role in the Narcissistic abuse, since most of them functioned as Flying Monkeys. You can click the link to read what I wrote about Flying Monkeys if you need that defined. At any rate, I am glad and relieved to be done with them as well.

What I’ve read seems to be true, in that the average adult has 2-5 true friends. The rest are acquaintances, and I don’t really want them in my business.

That’s why I don’t need Facebook to keep up with friends. I can just text, email, or call them once in a while and we can catch up then. We don’t talk about politics or other things that fill up the pages of Facebook.

We get to choose to leave out the negative things that divide.

The good, real friends who care made a big difference in my ability to reach the positive place where I am right now.

I suppose the best way to end this is by noting what this change will mean to my blog.

What it means is less negativity and injury, and more positivity and healing. I have seriously never been in this type of headspace before, and it is rather invigorating. The world opens up. Yesterday, I did some major housework and found a creative way to get the rest of my studio set up.

I broke an actual sweat, AND I felt good about it.

Indeed, my Narcissism journey has entered a place of healing, where I can pack up that trauma and safely put it away somewhere, merely for the sake of reference when I suspect that I might need new boundaries, or should I wish to review my boundaries.

What topics remain for me include Narcissistic healing, Autism growth, music, media, cats, and more. I may also delve into fiction, which I tried for a while, until my MDD got in the way and shut that down.

With my MDD in check, I was able to get into a place of healing. Again, I attribute this to the meds that I was prescribed by my doctor, after we talked about the issue, as well as competent and productive weekly therapy sessions.

So we will see where all of this takes us. Wherever things end up going, I sense that it will be positive. This is a first for me, so I’m looking forward to sharing that adventure.

Autism: The Myths, the Good, and the Bad of a Late Adult Diagnosis

INTRODUCTION
In late 2017, just before my 53rd birthday, I got tested and received my diagnosis of Level 1 Autism, formerly known as High-Functioning Autism, formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome.

I can’t say why they got rid of the Asperger’s label. As for “High-Functioning,” that label is going away partially because it’s ableist. But it’s also inaccurate, for I am not always high-functioning.

At any rate, when I tried to find information online in an effort to get help, I was met with the hard fact that there is not much out there for Autistic adults. There is a TON of info about Autistic children, followed by info about Autistic women.

Because, in America, men are supposed to be manly and tough it out, I suppose. Along those lines, it would make no sense for an Autistic man to hide it, primarily because we can’t. Autistic men are WAY more open about their emotions. So I don’t know why this is the case.

Today, I’d like to touch upon the positives and negatives of getting a late-in-life diagnosis. I’d also like to go over a few ideas or misconceptions that I’ve learned about.

Of course, this is NOT a replacement for actual therapy, or a proper diagnosis.


AUTISM MYTHS
These are just a few of the myths that I’ve personally heard about Autism, some of which came from people who were unwilling to accept my professional diagnosis.

We are not geniuses: Some might be. I do have some strong memory, spelling, and mathematical abilities. But, no, we are NOT all like Rain Man.

All Autistic people are the same: Nope! There may be some general things. But Autism lives on a spectrum. Given the fact that every person is different, it stands to reason that every Autistic person has a unique experience with their Autism.

Even the experts don’t know it all: I had a NeuroPsychiatrist in 2020 want to evaluate me to confirm my initial diagnosis in 2017. He said that it did match up. However, he had a problem with it when I told him that I’m a multi-instrumentalist musician.

Basically, he told me that was odd, because, “Autistic people are generally NOT creative.”

This sounded strange to me, so I had to reply, “Ah, you mean like Edward Van Halen, or Gary Numan, or Mozart? Are you suggesting that Autistic people might not enjoy the mind-numbing repetition that comes with learning a musical instrument?”

He decided to dismiss his previous comment, and we moved on.

Autism is not a synonym for retardation: I know, this is not a positive word to use. To be fair, I am not using the word as an attack on others, or as an insult or pejorative. But it’s what is implied online, when people use “Autistic” as a slur or personal attack.

TOP: A guitar subReddit on Reddit, where they use “Autism” as a synonym for “Retardation.”
BOTTOM: Me, with this “Autistic” and VERY rare Fender Double-Cut Telecaster.
“Autistic screeching” is represented as “REEEEEEEEEEE!” and is a negative term to represent an Autistic meltdown, which is nothing more than a modified panic attack.

In some cases, an Autistic person has a higher-than-average IQ. Having a decent IQ isn’t enough in our world, where you also have to have charisma, social strength, popularity, and other things that escape the Autistic mind.

It must be understood that Autism and mental retardation are two completely different things.

Social interactions can be VERY awkward. Notice how he tells Alice that he’s waiting “patiently,” as he is doing things physically and audibly that indicate the polar opposite. Even with my level of awareness, it is possible for me to do the same thing.

NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES OF A LATE ADULT DIAGNOSIS
When I first got the diagnosis, and learned just a bit about what it meant to e Autistic, my life suddenly made sense. I understood every bad social situation. I got every bad thing that happened to me in school, but not to everyone else. I understood why I’d not make friends, or why some women would avoid me. I learned why I attract Narcissists and destructive people. I understood why I couldn’t ever keep a job for longer than 3-5 years.

Everything made sense.

I understood why it felt like things were physically boiling beneath my skin in certain situations. I knew why I had stress in situations that don’t bother other people. I figured out why I was so exhausted when at a party meeting people, and why I felt energized when I’d hide in the coat room for a half hour. I learned why I had to do things a certain way.

This personal enlightenment was followed by the hard reality of it all; that it felt like a life wasted. Would my life have been different? Probably. Would it have been better? It’s hard to say. More about that later.

But realizing that early detection is key, that early detection happens by age 3, and that I missed that boat by HALF A CENTURY can be frustrating, angering, and demoralizing.

And NOT ONE person ever said anything to me about it.

Since there is no cure, and I’ve wanted one, my Autism is something that I have to accept and live with. There isn’t much that I can do about any of it.

This is my experience with job interviews. The issue isn’t the rejection, which is expected. Rather, it’s the entire experience. The nightmare.

POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF LATE ADULT DIAGNOSIS
One of those is noted above, in that my entire life suddenly made sense. In my case, my Autism helped me find happiness with music. I would not have had the adventure in life that I’d had without it.

For me, there is also positivity to be found in the fact that an early diagnosis for me would not have turned out well at all.

I watch a guy on YouTube named Vaush. He’s around my son’s age, but he was diagnosed as Autistic when he was very young, after his parents took him to a professional for evaluation. This was in the late 90s, which is important.

His parents were told by the person evaluating [could be a Psychiatrist or NeuroPsychiatrist] that he DID NOT want to give this young man an official diagnosis, because he would be treated differently by the system, and might not get the education that he needs or deserves.

This got me thinking about where I went to school We had Kindergarten thru 12th grade in one building. But there was this trailer in the middle of the U-shaped structure.

This trailer was where they kept the “special needs” kids. There was mental retardation, Down’s Syndrome, and severe troublemakers. Their “education” involved lots of field trips and sitting around, burning time. It was like modified institutional babysitting.

They were the kids on which society had given up.

Had I gotten a proper diagnosis in the late 60s, it would have been worse than what could have been the case for Vaush in the late 90s. In the 60s, they did not know as much about Autism as they do now.

However, considering the “education” that I got growing up, I wonder if that would have made a difference. I have already been able to determine that I would have had a decent enough of a life had I left school at 15.

It was bad enough that in Kindergarten I was almost failed and deemed “retarded” because I wasn’t getting certain coloring projects colored properly. They figured that I was a rebel, or maybe I was stupid.

What they DID NOT consider was that the cruel kids in the class, lead by wealthy elitist Mike Bauner, ripped the labels off of my oversized crayons in Kindergarten. As a result, I struggled with certain colors. It would not be until 2nd grade that I was tested and diagnosed as being partially color-blind.

In regard to proper diagnosis as a child, based on what I know and can guess, it seems that I’ve dodged a bullet. Maybe. That’s the thing about evaluating the past with eyes of the present. One can never really know the outcome of anything like this.

Even though I cannot realistically predict any specific outcome based on the past and “what if,” I suspect that I will have no choice but to accept my late diagnosis. The alternative is to remain upset about the sensation that mine was a life wasted.


IN THE END: A GIFT?
I want to end this particular entry with a word about Autism being a “gift.” I must admit that I got VERY angry when the therapist who tested gave this word a mention.

It was right after I felt relieved about the diagnosis, telling him, “Good. Now that we know the problem, we can fix it.”

He laughed and replied to my statement with, “There is no cure for Autism. Besides, why would you want to cure it, when it’s a gift?”

My response to that didn’t even require thought. “Because it’s a shitty fucking gift that has gotten in the way of friendships, relationships, jobs, opportunities, and EVERY SINGLE THING that I have ever tried to do with my life.”

While it is negative in that regard, it has a positive in that it is probably what drives my brain, as well as my music and my writing. It puts a certain color on the good things.

The problem with all of this, of course, is that American society is HIGHLY judgmental of people who do not have great success in their jobs. I’ve never had a job for long. I never made huge money. I never owned a home or a new car. I have NOTHING in the way of retirement, at all, and have been unemployable for the past six years.

Those are just a few examples of how it gets in the way. But to the point, when a person looks at me, they typically see a loser and a failure because I didn’t achieve financially, and don’t have a flashy title or a position of power.

Not only do I have to accept myself and my diagnosis, but the struggle also includes learning how to accept the fact that the majority of people in our society will consistently either misunderstand me, or judge me harshly before dismissing me.

They’ll say I’m stupid or lazy, when neither of these is true. They don’t understand, and they don’t care to understand. Some even call it an “excuse.”

My challenge is to ignore their words, acknowledge their stupidity, and live with being the outcast.

Sometimes I try to have a sense of humor about the situation.
All of the things that this fictional reporter finds intriguing about prison life sound good to me.

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