I Could Have Become An Incel

If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild


INTRODUCTION
As I was setting up this document with cover image, tags, etc., I realized that I may be talking about something that some of my readers know absolutely NOTHING about. I will do my best to explain things as succinctly and thoroughly as possible.

My goal in writing this is to generate understanding. The thing about understanding an issue is that understanding it DOES NOT mean that you agree with it. I can’t tell you how often I get misunderstood, so I am going to really do my best to get people to NOT read between the lines, because I DO NOT write or talk between the lines.

What I say and write is precisely what I say and write. If you don’t understand it, then consider reading it again. You can even leave a comment describing what you do not understand, and I will try to clarify. What you SHOULD NOT do is assume you know something about what I said, based on what was inferred [it wasn’t inferred], and then start going on a self-righteous crusade to have me attacked by the internet.

My heart is in a really good place with what I want to achieve with this entry, which is understanding. Because you cannot address a problem until you properly understand it.

I hope you understand.


WHAT IS AN INCEL?
The word “incel” is a portmanteau, where we combine the words “involuntary” and “celibate.” This is a more gentle way of saying that they’re not having sex with women, and that this is some kind of punishment that is being bestowed upon them involuntarily.

In other words, not getting laid, and not because they aren’t trying.

You can read the Wikipedia definition HERE.


AUTISM AND MENTAL HEALTH
This is dangerous territory, so I must declare that I am NOT a psychiatrist or psychologist. I am an Autistic adult who is working through the issues brought about by this neurodivergence.

There are stories out there claiming that incels are Autistic, and some even use the incel issue as a way of saying that having a neuro-inclusive society would be a bad idea. There is talk about incels that unfairly includes Autistic people. It’s an opinion that is uneducated, reductive, and dangerous.

Based on what I have seen and read, it seems that many incels have Autistic attributes. However, these attributes can come from other sources, such as paranoid schizophrenia, as well as anti-social sentiments.

In other words, some incels might be Autistic. However, someone being Autistic is NOT a sign that they are an incel.


MISOGYNY
This is another issue, where misogyny is a clear attribute, and yet many want to cite it as the cause. There are many misogynists who do not kill women.

To be really clear, misogyny is NOT something to defend. I cannot defend it, and never will. What I am saying is that it’s not the lone operator. It’s one of many attributes.


GENERAL BLAME
News outlets take these stories and run with them. They will blame movies, as they did with Seth Rogen’s “Neighbors.” I haven’t seen the movie, but it’s basically the story of the outcast not fitting in with the cool crowd, and so he gets revenge. From what I can tell, it’s along the lines of “Revenge of the Nerds.”

Blame like this might garner clicks and views, but it misses the mark. Again, too reductive, and pointing blame, instead of taking responsibility and working toward changing society. It’s easier to blame, because then you get to remain the same, and you get to remain the victim, even if you’ve never actually been a victim of any of it.


TWO EXAMPLES
Now that I’ve given you some information, I must now give you two examples of incels. Understand that there are many, many incels out there. The internet is FULL of incel communities, and I will be writing later about the damage they cause.

There are incels out there who have done horrible things, like driving a car into crowds of people on the sidewalk. Instead of digging through those, I’m going to pick out the two most well-known incidents.

1 OF 2: GEORGE SODINI
George Sodini was an incel many years before the term was coined in 2018 by a woman who was seeking to offer up more compassion to lonely people.

George had a nice car, a decent house, a home gym, a great job, and a decent amount of money. He was also what some would describe as a good looking man. He once gave a tour of his home on video, and then complained about how he had everything that women look for in a man, and yet he still couldn’t get a woman.

George was not only lonely and sexually frustrated, but he also struggled with the social games that must be played in order to meet women in the first place.

On August 4, 2009, in Collier Township, Pennsylvania, George Sodini went into a 24 Hour Fitness with a gym bag full of weapons. He turned off the lights and just started shooting randomly, before taking his own life. He was 48 years old.

3 women died in this attack.


2 OF 2: ELLIOT RODGER
Elliot’s killing spree was in 2014, and by this point the internet became a way for people like him to tell others about their pain and what they were going through. Unfortunately, the internet was NOT helpful , and I will write later about how the internet exacerbated this problem.

Elliot may have been Autistic, or maybe Autistic-presenting symptoms caused by something else, and he had a great deal of social problems, including interacting with girls. He got lots of rejection, and was made fun of by the jocks.

When Elliot had enough of this, he decided to do something. He first stabbed all three of his male roommates, one-by-one, as they came home. So much for misogyny as being the main cause.

Then he went out shooting, and killed three people [2 women, 1 man]. He then took his own life. He was 22 years old.

In his Manifesto, he referred to his attack as the Day of Retribution.


CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
Now I will be looking at a variety of contributing factors. After that, I will talk about how I might have become an incel, had I grown up in a later time, why I did not, and my thoughts on what society can do to address this problem.


HOW THE INTERNET MADE IT WORSE
From here on out, I will be focusing exclusively on Elliot Rodger. There is more information available about him, which is why I know more about him.

Elliot would talk to people about his problem socializing with girls. Unfortunately, he would often be mocked or made fun of.

Eventually, he ended up in an incel forum. There are many incel forums out there. This is where other incels or people who feel that they are will meet up and discuss their issues. However, it is important to note that their discussions are not positive discussions where they can improve their own situations. Instead, they carry on with rants about how they are wronged. These posts get positive reinforcement.

This is anger and loneliness that gets turned into hatred. And since their struggle is mainly about “getting girls,” they begin to hate girls and women. This is where the misogyny comes from. As you can see, their problems existed long before the misogyny took form.


HOW THE MEDIA MAKES IT WORSE
After Elliot’s break-down, the press went wild. Many news stories latched onto the misogyny angle and would have feminists on their programs to talk about how horrible men are in today’s society.

They would declare that misogyny is why Elliot did what he did.

Meanwhile, HE ACTUALLY WROTE A MANIFESTO EXPLAINING TO EVERYONE, IN GREAT DETAIL, WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID. He literally did this, and it got ignored in favor of sensationalism. He made many videos talking about what was going on and what he wanted to do. He wrote about it online. He begged for help. He even was visited by the police a few times. NBOODY paid attention, so nobody helped him.

The Manifesto is very long. Someone on YouTube read it, so here is part one, in case you are interested.


HOW HIS PARENTS MADE IT WORSE
His father was basically too busy to raise him. His mother was too disinterested. And his step-mother seemed to want him out of the way so she could get on with her life with Elliot’s father.

Elliot hated his step-mother the most of all. His parents once sent him to Mexico with his step-mother, and she abandoned him most of the time. He wrote emails to his parents, begging them to bring him back home because he was even more alone and afraid.

A channel on YouTube, which has since been taken down by YouTube, chronicled the emails sent between Elliot and his three parental figures. In reading these emails, it becomes clear that all three of his parental figures failed him miserably.


HOW HIS PEERS MADE IT WORSE
I don’t really have to explain this. It’s the same old bullying that happens in grade school, high school, and even in college. It most definitely happens in the “adult” world, where some people remain childish, vindictive, and ugly.

In the case of his peers, like with his parents and others, Elliot’s cries for help were ignored and drowned out by their mockery of him. They pointed and laughed. But later, when they cry because they are victims or linked to victims, everyone forgets that they once pointed and laughed.

That’s how the cause gets overlooked.


HOW I COULD HAVE BECOME AN INCEL
I had some of the same elements in my life. Mom was absent quite a bit due to work. Dad was very absent because he never wanted kids. There were bullies at school that did horrible things to me. And the girls at my school would not give me the time of day.

Mixing all of these chemicals isn’t quite enough to get it going for most people. In order to get this done, some heat needed to be applied. As it was for me, I had to deal with the voice in my head that told me I was a loser, that I would never fit in, and that I probably deserved to die alone in a forest.

Nothing applies heat more than 24/7 reminders that you are a loser, that the people who did this to you are wrong, and that you need to enact some retribution. This kind of heat is applied by online incel forums, where negativity never ends, and encouragement can be found when it comes to violent solutions.


HOW I AVOIDED BECOMING AN INCEL
This goes beyond the obvious, which is that the internet didn’t exist and therefore my mind did not get poisoned by the voices of thousands of people who believe that I should do something about it.

For one, I ended up getting tired of being a victim of bullies. One day, the voices of all of my bullies came out of the mouth of one bully. Those words boiled down to the statement that I was a coward. The hardest part of that was that after I heard it, I agreed with it.

I’d had enough, so I lashed out and returned the bully’s favor one day. Word got out, and nobody ever fucked with me again in that situation.

Also, when I worked all summer in 1980, I was able to buy a car. This got me out of town. I went to other schools, where girls didn’t have the benefit of observing me all day long and concluding that I was clunky. I had decent luck with the girls at other schools.

Finally, I’m not the kind of person who wants to harm others. I’d much rather quietly sneak off to a private place, where I can harm myself in peace. I never caused myself physical harm, but my self-talk voice was not a positive influence.

Incel status = avoided.


MY SOLUTION TO THE INCEL PROBLEM
As I write this, high school is like a mini-model of standard American culture. There are powerful players, and there are weaker players. The powerful pick on the weak, exploit them, abuse them, and throw them in the trash.

Just as this is acceptable in our society [and it should NOT be], it is also somehow acceptable in our high schools.

Some write it off as human nature. This is akin to declaring that we are animals, and therefore we should behave like animals. No! We must be better. Besids, the attitude of “oh well, that’s just how we are” is very defeatist.

We need to stop confusing bullying for strength, much in the same way that we confuse kindness for weakness. These two ARE NOT the same! Bullying is weakness; more precisely, it’s the attempt at covering up the weakness.

Most importantly, WE MUST STOP IGNORING our children and high school students who speak up when they are being wronged. We must also stop punishing the victims of bullies when they strike out in an act of self-defense.

Listen to the kids. This should be simple.

Get the community involved. Good luck with this, as our communities don’t seem to care one bit about the children. They talk about it, pay it lip service, and even use it as an excuse to pass horrific laws. But they don’t really care at all.

Help those who stumble. This used to happen, long before my time. But now, people actually CHEER when someone falls. They WANT to see who gets voted off the island next. They get happy when the fake CEO yells, “You’re fired!” and the fake employee loses the fake job.

For some odd reasons, Americans relish it when someone else gets hurt.

We need to change our attitude. If our attitude about other people DOES NOT change, then this situation will only get worse.

As I’m writing this, I am recalling a time in early 2008 when I stopped a mass shooting at the MySpace headquarters. Nobody talks about it, mainly because it did not happen, and I never talked about it before.

It was a relatively new co-worker who was having some struggles with his managers. He was also struggling to fit in with his team. I was there when a bully from his team was being relentless in his attacks.

The victim of the bullying told me that he was going to his car to get his gun. I took him for a walk and convinced him that the losers who were bullying him were NOT worth what would happen with his life over this.

I encouraged him to quit his job, right then, right now. He did. And he never came back, so far as I know.

IN THE END
The incel problem is one that hits close to home, because I recognize that I could have easily become one of them, had I been born later, or if I my life hadn’t changed the way it did.

I have to be clear again, and reiterate: Understanding this issue DOES NOT mean that you agree with incel philosophy or behavior. I understand the female reproductive system, and have yet to menstruate.

The incels I wrote about today, as well as the others out there, were at one time deserving of sympathy and empathy. That went straight out the window the minute they decided to cause harm to others.

There were victims who stared too long into the void, and became the monsters they once hated and feared. The turned into their own interpretation of what their bullies were like.

They were returning the favor to society.

I DO NOT agree with them, at all. I also DO NOT believe that causing harm, killing, and the other things that incels have done, are justified or acceptable. I have to be really clear about that, because too many people are prone to misunderstanding.

It is both cheap AND easy to point to misogyny and blame that, and ONLY that, as the cause. In Elliot’s case, he grew to hate women over time, even though he wanted sex, companionship, and a reprieve from his loneliness via a connection with a woman. It’s not that he started out hating women.

The problem is he hated himself. Then he hated the guys who bullied him. Then he hated the women who rejected him.

It’s not that he hated women.

It’s that he hated EVERYONE, including himself.

His parents let him down. His peers let him down. His community let him down. His educators let him down. So he decided to let himself down, and everyone else along with him.

He actually WROTE and made VIDEOS about WHY he did what he did, and most people ignored it, instead inserting their beliefs about what they think he did and about what they think was his reasoning. These reasons typically promote their agendas.

The way they sell it to get clicks and views was more important than the truth. The truth would help society. The news doesn’t have time to help society, when they’re busy making money.

That’s no better than the strong picking on the weak, simply because they can. Why anyone would feel better about themselves because they could beat up someone weaker than them is beyond me.

The blaming of movies, video games, and symptoms like misogyny are destructively taking time, energy, and focus away from the causes and potential solutions, so people we weren’t victims in any of this can take the spotlight and use the situation as an opportunity to advance their own cause.

True, Elliot should NOT have killed anyone. He also should not have been as neglected and abused as he was. He also should not have been ignored.

I want to end this entry with a song about Elliot Rodger, which I found just yesterday. The song DOES NOT make fun of him or the situation, and it DOES NOT glorify or romanticize Elliot’s actions. However, the song DOES point out how society played a role in what he did.

It also offers up some empathy and understanding, which can help us all move forward and maybe even avoid this type of thing in the future.

The video and lyrics are below. Thank you for reading, and for understanding. Again, if you think any of this is bad, or that I’m wrong, then please leave a comment [be respectful!], explain WHY I am wrong, and I will do my best to respond.

SAINT ELLIOT
by Harrison Katz-James

Living with the burden that you did
Barely more than a kid
But the whole world noticed what you did
You made them pay
On that fateful day in May
Your crimes weren’t just for the hell of it
Saint Elliot

You told us all the reasons why you sinned
But nobody cared to listen
Their minds were made up before you did it
It’s all online
There’s nothing left to guess this time
But still no one addresses the elephant
Saint Elliot

Ahh…
Everyone prescribed the normal cures
They’d have locked you behind hospital doors
Or taken the guns so you wouldn’t kill more
You had your pills
Three died to a knife but still
They spun it any way that they could sell it
Saint Elliot

Ahh…
Though all sides declared a tragedy
They spoke with such transparency
Pushing agendas on TV
They’re at it still
Every time someone gets killed
It’s almost like the politicians relish it
Saint Elliot

Are Scam Victims Stupid?

MY IGNORANT BIAS
When I was a young adult, I would read about various scams and see news stories where they interview scam victims. At the time, I had several biases and believed some strange things. One of those is the idea that people who fall for scams must be really stupid.

Very, very stupid.

Kristen Carole Bible Hines was a drug addict who died in 2019 [either drug overdose or suicide], who was a cancer scammer from late 2013 to mid-2014. Her online social media shows her in hospitals in the later years of her life, but it’s anyone’s guess if she was really sick. Pretending to be sick might be profitable, but when you actually get sick, nobody will believe you.

So you can imagine my surprise when a “friend” came to me with the news that she had cancer, needed a great deal of financial help, and ended up being a scammer.

As I’ve written, I came to the conclusion that I had become a stupid old person, just like all of the scam victims I had seen, read, and heard about. I was so convinced that I was stupid, that I went to a professional to get tested. I wanted hard evidence that I was stupid.

I was tested, and the results showed that I had a significantly higher-than-average IQ. But even with this “good news,” I still felt very stupid. The whole thing left too many questions for me.

“If I’m so intelligent, then why did I fall for this?”


INVESTIGATING THE SCAM AND SCAMMERS
Sadly, in America it is VERY believable that someone could have medical issues and not be able to afford them. The majority of campaigns on GoFundMe are medical in nature. It is a sad commentary on the failure of American culture and leadership.

Why did I fall for the scam in the first place?

Some have suggested that she made sexual advances, and that I fell for that. This is wrong. We were “friends” on Facebook first. Then she wrote to break the news. She called me and cried as she begged for help and begged for her life.

Being Autistic and overly-empathetic, I felt truly sad for her and decided to go all-in with regard to helping her. For 8-8 months, I sent her every single penny that I did not need for survival, and more, to make sure that she had the money that she claimed she needed.

Meanwhile, I did without. My vision got blurry, indicating that I needed an eye exam. The cars needed oil changes and new tires. I stretched things out as far as I could.

In the end, we lost at least $30,000. This does NOT include gifts like clothing, a winter coat, and a plane ticket to visit in California. Those items were worth a few thousand, at least.

This number [$30,000] is made worse by the fact that $10,000 of it was borrowed and had to be paid back. This included a $5,000 lien against my car. So it puts the actual number to at least $40,000.

As I had written before, the money lost was the easy part, because both of us were STILL making great money. All it took was to keep putting out big money, but sending it to creditors and lenders instead of the cancer scammer.

We were out of the hole in roughly two months. This is why the money part was so easy. The hard part was the psychological damage, which I am still working on repairing, and have been doing so over the past 8+ years. After that, the social damage done was also a difficult hurdle to overcome.


THREE ATTRIBUTES THAT MANY SCAMMERS SEEK OUT
There are some scams out there that rely heavily on a poor education. For example, the 419 Nigerian Prince scam relies on this, as well as other pain points. It is a well-known fact that America cuts funding to education every single year. As a result, we are close to the bottom with regard to education in developed nations. America almost no longer looks like a developed nation.

When they send out their email with spelling and grammar errors, they are trying to find people who won’t notice these things. People who recognize this will delete and block the email. Those who do not will read on.

That’s the first of three manipulation points.

In their emails, they will often times reference Jesus, God, Christ, or Christianity. This is another test, and is also the second manipulatoin. People who hold these beliefs tend to trust others whom they are told also hold those beliefs. This is the case, even if they do not know the person.

The “test” for being a Christian in America is declaring that you believe. That’s it. Nothing more.

The third and final manipulation point is greed, or at the very least, the desperate need for money. I defer to the latter, because in most cases it’s desperation more than anything else. This is a damning testament to the horrible and true nature of American finances.

READ: Minimum Wage Workers Can’t Afford Rent Anywhere in America

Before the pandemic, a report noted that the average American cannot afford a $400 emergency. So you can imagine what kind of damage the pandemic has caused. The wealthy have ensured that we have a K-shaped economy, but that’s another discussion that should be headed up by an economist.

So I’ve highlighted these three attributes that these scammers seek out and exploit: Poor education, religious trust, and financial desperation.

At the time that the cancer scammer took advantage of me, NONE of these applied in my situation. My education, including self-education, is solid and my spelling and grammar are mostly impeccable. I am not religious, so I don’t buy it that someone is “good” just because they tell me they are Christian. And, to top it off, I was neither greedy nor desperate for money at the time.

If I had none of those attributes, then how did she take advantage of me?


THE FOURTH ATTRIBUTE
There is a fourth attribute that scammers seek out. I am giving this attribute its own section because it can be used against a person, even when the other three are not present.

Emotional manipulation.

How it worked in my case was she and I became “friends” on Facebook in late 2010. She spent 3 years grooming me, investigating me, and observing my online behaviors. After 3 years, she had a really good picture of what was going on, and how to best get under my skin.

She recognized that I am a highly empathetic person, and that I would go out of my way to help anyone whom I considered to be a friend. For 3 years, she watched me as I would help others who needed it. She saw how responsive I was to friends who needed help with rent, a place to stay, a ride to or from the airport, and even with “loans” that I never expected to be paid back.

So she knew how to frame her “need for help.” She then tacked on the crying, as well as a constant state of urgency, to keep me on my toes. I used to cry myself to sleep because I was concerned that she was going to die.

How ironic that she’s actually dead, and all I can feel is relief.


HOW TO SPOT EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION
Kristen wasn’t the only scammer using emotional manipulation to acquire and control victims. Certain “news” outlets, as well as certain politicians, use emotional manipulation to control their viewers and voters to get what they want.

When a reporter on video starts yelling at you, or starts to become agitated, they are informing you on how you should feel about what they are saying.

As for politicians, when they tell you, “Biden is comin to take away your guns and bibles,” they do so to invoke a sense of fear. Of course, nobody is coming to take away guns or bibles. And the truth is that many Leftists also appreciate the Second Amendment.

With the majority in support, the Second Amendment is not in danger of being taken away. This does not stop Republican politicians from using fear to get what they want.

I can already hear the response, that Democrats and Left-wing individuals used COVID-19 to scare. This is not true, based on the media that I have consumed. Nobody yells at me while delivering this information. They don’t inform me on how I should feel about this.

Certainly, things that are real can be used to scare. However, the popular things that are used in their scare tactics are things that aren’t real, or that aren’t really happening.

One great example is the idea that “Dr. Seuss has been cancelled by the Left!!!!” This didn’t happen. What DID happen was the people who work to preserve the works of Dr. Seuss self-identified some titles in the collection that did not age well. In other words, they did not keep up with the values of society. For that reason, and NOT because of a “woke mob,” they decided to discontinue certain titles.

It might have been fine for them to put warnings at the beginning of the titles. However, they made their decision. It’s their company, their decision, their choice. In other words, it was the Free Market, something that some people merely claim to believe in. We don’t really live in a Free Market, but that’s for an economist to discuss.

Nobody forced it. But this fact does nothing to convince those who have been scared into believing that a mob is looking for them.

If you’re afraid of being cancelled because you are racist, then it might be a good idea to stop being racist. It’s not really cancel culture, so much as it is consequence culture.

If you walk up to someone and spit on their face, then you can expect something bad to happen in the very near future. That’s how life works. Do something, and then suffer the consequences.


HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
I have developed a few ways to protect myself that seem to be working so far.

Avoid news where they yell: Whether it’s Judge Pirro on Fox, or Alex Jones, I refuse to listen to anyone who either yells at their audience, or who condescends to their audience as if they are stupid.

Foster a variety of sources: Having just one or two sources for information isn’t enough. For topics I care about, I have to read about it from multiple sources, and then come to my own determination.

Investigate your own feelings: Did a story make you feel really angry because you heavily disagreed with it? Did the story make you feel really good because you agreed with it way too much? Those feelings are indicators that something may be wrong. I always investigate, because it could just be me, but it could also be them.

Investigate “othering” of opposition: Did a Left-leaning outlet just tell me that the Republicans are doing X? Ah, okay, but I want to find out for myself. This is when I go to Right-leaning outlets and see what they are saying about themselves.

Unfortunately, too many people on both sides are too easily wiling to believe everything they are told. Too many Trump voters sincerely believe that Democrats worship Satan, abduct children, frighten them, and then drink their blood to get the Adrenochrome that keeps them young. And they do all of this from the basement of a pizza place that verifiably DOES NOT have a basement.

Young? Really?

Diane Feinstein has entered the chat.

Doesn’t seem to be working on HER all that well. That’s because it’s a conspiracy. And ALL conspiracies lead to anti-Semitism.

The best example of lies being told about opposition can be found in any Christian church, where they will put forth a never-ending list of the attributes and behaviors of Atheists. None of them are true. What IS true is that bearing false witness against your neighbor is a violation of the Eight Commandment, noted in The Ten Commandments.

Yea, they’re actually breaking one of their god’s own rules to crap on non-believers.

Perk up and pay attention during emotional discussions: Suppose a friend in town sees me, and we stop and chat. They are very emotional and are telling me something horrible, followed by the declaration that they are in need of financial assistance.

This is when I will shut off my emotional responses. Instead of feeling what they are telling me, I must listen to what they are telling me. It is important to listen to the words and to understand what they mean, in order to avoid a potentially bad situation.

If they are urgent, then I must demand time.

Thought-terminating cliches: If someone uses these, then it is time to question what they are saying. Examples of thought-terminating cliches include, but are not limited to, the following: Boys will be boys, it is what it is, we need to agree to disagree, that’s just your opinion, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the lord giveth and the lord taketh away, everything happens for a reason, don’t judge, link or it didn’t happen, don’t be THAT guy, because that’s our policy, don’t be silly, I’m just saying, so it goes, whatever, that’s life, who cares, be a man and X, god has a plan, the lord works in mysterious ways, it’s Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve, it’s just common sense, it works in theory but not practice, rules are rules…

Those are just some of the phrases. As you read them, you will start to see patterns of circular reasoning.

Note that some of these thought-terminating cliches are also used in gaslighting, a practice where a person will get another person to doubt their own perception of reality. This is sinister, and I recommend performing a Google search to learn more about this.

Remember your responsibilities: I told a former neighbor about the cancer scammer before we moved, and highlighted just how far we went to help her. After hearing the story, she had a really important question to ask me.

“Who made this YOUR problem?”

Ah. Well, the answer is.. uh… ahem….. eh….

I did.

I was the one who made it my problem. And that, in and of itself, was an actual big problem for me. I used to tend to want to help people, to fix their situations, or to otherwise rescue them.

Recognizing that I contributed to this situation was important. Owning my role in this situation allows me the opportunity to correct these issues so that they will not be repeated.

Discard judgmental attitudes and opinions: As noted above, when I was younger and I’d see older people getting scammed, I sincerely believed that they were stupid.

Not only was this judgment false and unjustified, but this judgment turned around and pointed its mighty barrel directly at my face. Now I was the one who was “stupid,” when the reality is that stupidity or ignorance tend to play a small roll in this.

Yes, there are relatively stupid people out there who refuse to be tricked. One could suggest they were smart enough to develop a defense for themselves, which would be reason enough to re-evaluate that assessment.

Kicking this bias is a difficult thing to do in our current situation. It is typically more productive to assert that an idea or belief is stupid, and not the person. And then you experience someone who is highly questionable, and that serves as a challenge to the idea that the focus must be on ideas and not people.

The thing is, people can learn and change, even if they don’t really want to do it. This can happen. Sometimes it does not, but I like to leave open the possibility that a person can learn something and grow from it.

IN THE END: ONE MORE THING
To paraphrase Alan Watts, If you say that you understand the Brahma, then it is clear that you have no idea of that of which you speak. However, if you say that you do not understand the Brahma, then it is clear that you understand.

For me, it is true that being Autistic and overly-empathetic, as well as being a fixer and rescuer, left me wide-open for exploitation by a scammer.

But I suspect that my biggest weakness of all was holding the belief that I was too smart to be scammed. Indeed, I believed that getting scammed is something that happens exclusively to stupid people.

For this reason, I let my guard down. With my guard down, I was left wide open.

My belief that I was better than others, combined with my judgments about people who have been scammed, were things that started out being pointed at others. Eventually, those things ended up being pointed at me. And I am more harsh on myself than anyone else could ever possibly be.

As I write this, I remind myself to not judge others, and that this is especially true for when they get scammed. Yes, a person’s attitude about things can change when they experience these things for themselves.

If you are interested and want to learn more about scams, scammers, how they function, and more, then I would highly recommend the Spencer Cornelia YouTube Channel. He talks about all of the latest scams, as well as the classics, and gives his viewers valuable information on how to identify and avoid these types of situations.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Kitty Break!

Some of the stuff I write feels a bit heavy at times. Also, I know that some readers are interested in my cats. For this reason, I will be posting a bunch of cat photos here, along with some info about my amazing companions.


RASCAL T. BRAT
Name: Rascal T. Brat
Nickname: Brat Boy, the Baby Baby, Rascalliwag, Rascoundrel, Rascal Dactyl
Age: 14 years [March 10, 2007]
Type: Orange Tabby
Acquisition: Got him from a friend on MySpace forums.
Fav People Foods: Vegetable beef soup, cheese, chicken
Special Talents: Speaking with hand commands.


TIBO BAT
Name: Tibo Bat
Nickname: Bat Boy, T-Bone Pickens the Little Dickens
Age: 22 months [September 9, 2019]
Type: Half Orange Tabby, Half Maine Coon
Acquisition: Adopted from someone at the local veterinary office.
Fav People Foods: Tuna, chili, bread
Special Talents: Walking on a leash/harness, being fluffy.

Myths and Mistakes

INTRODUCTION
There was a time in 2017 when I felt so stupid that I went and got properly tested by a professional. Long story short, I was found to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as Autistic Tendencies, and I was found to have an exceptional IQ.

The Autism piece of this will be obvious. However, the point of me bringing up my IQ is NOT to brag about it. My point will be that, even if your IQ is high, you are still susceptible to buying into myths and making major mistakes.

As I told my therapist, “If I’m so fucking intelligent, then why can’t I use my intelligence to fix my situation and get a job? Why can’t I ‘intelligence’ my way out of this mess?”

The answer to this question is simply that intelligence doesn’t matter in some key instances.

I am writing this because I messed up yesterday in a situation where I was quick to respond to someone who needed information and was honest with them, and now it’s causing me some problems. Yes, I feel like an idiot.

Our society promotes myths about honesty, hard work, education, and other things. These myths are sold to us as “virtues” when we are children.

Today, I am going to talk about some of the myths that I believed, the reality of the situations, and some conclusions that I have drawn as a result.

As the young kids might say, this is going to be unironically based, poggers, and not soyfaced. In Minecraft. LET’S GOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


ASKING FOR PERMISSION
When I was in kindergarten, we were told that we needed to ask for permission before going to the restroom. Doing this involves raising your hand and waiting to be called upon.

Well, I found myself in such a predicament, where I needed to go to the restroom. I followed the rules, and raised my hand while waiting to be called on.

The teacher would look at me and then make a face of disgust as she ignored me. My kindergarten teacher and principal had a special kind of hatred for me. I’m not saying they’re violent, but Mrs. Hitt and Mr. Deck were always threatening to me. They we both also aptly named.

Things were getting to the point of no return, so I was wiggling in my seat. She thought that I was being an asshole, so she ignored me.

Ultimate, I had no choice but to piss myself, right there, in front of everyone.

Dad wasn’t happy to be called away from work to pick me up. I told him that I spilled milk on my pants. He died in 2003, and went to his grave not knowing the truth about that. He also never knew that I was Autistic.

The Myth: One must always ask for permission before doing anything.

The Reality: Many times, this rule may have to be broken in order to deal with something. As a result, your teacher, boss, manager, supervisor, or parents will get angry. There may even be harsh consequences for stepping out of line. But sometimes it has to happen. And when it has to happen, expect that you will be punished.

Why This Myth Exists: To make life way easier for your boss and the company where you work.


BEING HONEST
We’ve all heard the saying that “Honesty is the best policy.” However, this is SO untrue that it hurts.

I have been honest in job interviews, when answering their questions. At the end of the interview, they will say, “Thank you. We really appreciate your candid responses.”

This is code for, “There is no way in hell that we will ever hire you.”

There are many, many other examples, so I’ll give you one that requires the shortest amount of explanation.

When I was turning 16, my grandparents took me out to get insurance for my car. They were asking me questions, and of course, honesty was important. Right?

They asked me things, like what I do. I told them that I go to school. When they asked me what I like to do for hobbies, I told them that I love to play music.

Their response was, “Hmmm.. musician? Musicians are known for abusing drugs, driving drunk, and being irresponsible. Your annual premium was going to be $400, but I’m afraid we cannot insure you for less than $2,000 per year.”

My grandparents got mad and told me that I should never, EVER say that or admit to it. What they were asking me to do is something called “lie by omission.” It’s supposedly the easiest lie because all you have to do is say nothing.

The Myth: Honesty is the best policy.

The Reality: Hairless primates lie all of the time. Lying is their primary method of survival.

Why This Myth Exists: For the benefit of the wealthy and those who are in power.


HARD WORK IS RECOGNIZED AND REWARDED
I had written a previous piece about why people are not returning to work, and the abuse that I experienced while working at McDonald’s in 1986 [link].

Since I’ve covered that story of hard work and how it did NOT pay off, I’ll give another small example.

A temp agency called me and said that their client needed a spreadsheet done. They estimated that this spreadsheet would take 7-10 days to complete.

My thinking was, “I’ll impress them with how quickly and efficiently I can get this done. They’ll be so impressed that they might even hire me.” I was starting to imagine a bonus for being so fast.

I got this job done in 7 hours. I rushed the file over to the agency right away. They wrote back.

“Thank you for getting this done so quickly! You will be paid for 7 hours on the next check.”

What? But I worked hard and got the job done quickly? No bonus? No job offer? They’re just taking this one file and leaving? Done? They don’t care?

At least I got the last part right. They don’t care.

The Myth: Hard work is recognized and rewarded.

The Reality: Hard workers are exploited.

Why This Myth Exists: So that young workers will be stupid enough to believe it, work hard, then get paid what they would have gotten paid had they done almost nothing but served their time. This myth exists to exploit young, inexperienced workers, as well as Autistic workers. It exists for profit.

I think you might start to be recognizing a trend.

I should have taken that scene in the movie BIG more seriously. Really, I thought that he was portraying a lazy buffoon. The real buffoon is in the mirror.


THE POLICE ARE HERE “TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE”
Oh boy. This one.

The slogan is actually an incomplete thought.

Everyone has seen the slogan on police cars. Their slogan, “to protect and to serve” is something that everyone knows in America.

When I was 16 years old, in the summer of 1981, I went to the free fair in town. I don’t know why they called it the “free fair,” when a $1 admission was being charged.

Roscoe P. Coltrane

One of the local cops was working at the entrance, taking money and handing out tickets. My dad was a cop, so I knew all of the other cops. This one was a guy we used to call “Roscoe” because he reminded us of that cop on The Dukes of Hazzard.

I get up to his station and hand him a $10 bill. He decides to employ a special counting method when he is giving me my change and ticket.

“Okay, that’s one dollar. [holding money and ticket; starts to hand over money]”

“Two.. three.. four.. five.. six.. seven.. eight.. nine..”

“TEN! [he hands me the ticket].”

Surprisingly enough, I caught this and realized that I had the ticket and only EIGHT dollars in change AND he included the ticket in his counting. So I tell him that he miscounted. He tells me that he did just fine. Then I accuse him of ripping me off. I show him that I have only $8 in my hand.

He laughed. “What are you going to do? Call the police?”

Years later, I had an experience where someone used bolt cutters and stole my bicycle from the front of a 7-11 while cops were parked right there, watching it.

I asked them why they did nothing. “What do you want us to do? Get out of our cars? Over a bicycle?” They began to laugh.

And there was the time in August 1993, where I was carjacked. The police showed up and did nothing but harass me. They even said, “Look, we’re the ONLY squad car servicing a 7-mile area. You should have voted for more cops.”

Yea, just like in the 1993 movie “Falling Down.”

I told them that how I voted was none of their fucking business, told them they were lazy assholes, and threw them out of my apartment. I had do to this after having a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol to my head, and the guy pulled the trigger! It just went off later.

The Myth: The police are here “to protect and to serve.”

The Reality: The slogan is incomplete and should read “to protect and to serve businesses and the wealthy.”

Why This Myth Exists: It exists so that working people won’t get so angry at these class traitors. They’re class traitors because they are members of the Proletariat, and yet their job is to harm and rip off the Proletariat, for the benefit of the Bourgeoisie. The same is true of the law, which is why we typically don’t see too many wealthy people serving any significant time or paying any significant penalties for their crimes.

This myth is kept alive with brainwashing, and the idea that the police are honorable and are here for our own good.


MY SUMMARY
For the longest time, I felt that maybe I was doing something wrong because I would use and/or follow the advice that I had been given, and it wouldn’t work out. In fact, following the advice that I was given growing up has worked against me more than anything else.

This eventually lead to me believing that I was stupid.

Remember that I mentioned by solid IQ scores from earlier. Understand that my intelligence NEVER protected me or served me [see what I did there?] in my life, at all. In fact, trying to be precisely as my parents taught me to be ended up grossly handicapping me throughout my entire life.

My intelligence didn’t get me hired, let alone a promotion or a raise.


IN THE END
Only now am I really thinking about this. I didn’t think about it before much because I had assumed that I was stupid, and the reason why I was a failure in society and in life was because I was stupid.

Now I understand that all of those things that my parents taught to me, were things that were taught to them in order to handicap them. And THEY never thought of it at all. But life was different for them back then, in a way where it was by far easier to succeed in life and in society. And I don’t think they were Autistic, either.

So they taught these things to me because they believed it was the right thing to do. They also believed that hitting, yelling, and other abusive behaviors were “good parenting.”

Turns out, lots of people believe lots of stupid shit. And, as this story illustrates, so did I.

This world is not meant for people like me.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Flicker: God is a Woman

This story is true.


INTRODUCTION
Back in the 1970s, the world was a different place. I wasn’t yet fully interested in girls, and did not yet have my drivers license. Video games in the home were new, and computers were a few years away, for those who could afford one. Johnny Carson was on for 90 minutes, and in that amount of time I could eat a 32-ounce block of government cheese, with or without crackers.

TV signed off for the night.

The most strange thing, to the younger readers out there, is that analog television was broadcast over the air, where we got FIVE whole channels, and the channels actually “signed off” for the night, at around 2:00am or 3, and then starting up again at 5:00am.

This was an activity that was forced by the FCC. They would later take these frequencies and sell them to cellphone companies.

Back to my story.

More often than not, I would fall asleep while watching TV. The sounds of the channel signing off would wake me up.

Here is an example of what this looked like.

Where I grew up, the “meditations” were all religious and had a name like “Moment of Meditation.” This is where a preacher would get a few minutes to send a message, just before the Star Spangled Banner would play, followed by loud static.

It was weird because one minute I’d be listening to Johnny Carson doing a skit, telling a joke, or conducting an interview, and the next minute I’d hear a preacher, an anthem, or noise. It felt like anesthetic time-skipping.


ONE WEIRD NIGHT
One night, after passing out in a cheese-induced coma on the bean bag couch, I woke up to the sound of church organ music.

I sat up quickly and saw the darkened set, with the title of the show overlaying the shot. The lights came up and there was a fake set wall with stained glass, and a woman sitting in a chair.

This was a female preacher, which was very uncommon back in the 1970s.

She starts off her “Moment of Meditation” with a very fascinating claim.

“The Bible contains proof that God is a woman.”

What?

This was a HIGHLY bold claim to make. As someone who has always held NO belief in any gods, regardless of whether or not they were commercially available for purchase, I was very curious. I sat up as high as one can sit on a beanbag couch, and my ears perked up.

Her story was of a woman who had seven gold coins, and who had lost one.

I have struggled to find this story in the King James Bible. There is a story of 10 coins, with one missing, and the missing coin is supposed to represent a lost soul. It doesn’t match up to the story that she told.

No matter, let’s get to the story. I’ll tell it below, as best as I can remember.

“The bible tells us a story of a woman who had seven gold coins, but who lost one of them. She could not find the coin anywhere. So she enlisted the help of her neighbors, who aided her in the search. They looked around everywhere. Eventually, one of her neighbors found the coin, and everyone rejoiced.”

Then, the lights dimmed, the logo showed on the screen, and the Star Spangled Banner began to play. As quickly as it had started, it was over.


What. The. Hell. Did. I. Just. Hear?
Never before had I run through so many emotions at that hour of the morning. The story, as she told it, proved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about her god, Yahweh, being a woman. Nothing.

At first, I thought that maybe I was stupid, because I didn’t understand how this story proved anything. Then I thought to myself that someone must be truly messed up in the head to interpret this story as meaning something like what she was suggesting.


GROWING UP GAVE ME ANSWERS
As I got older and had amassed more experience with American Christians, I came to realize that this is just how Christians are. They view the Bible as proof, when the Bible is not the proof. It is the claim. Their ideas of proof would sometimes be very circular, and always wacky.

So what was this female preacher saying?

Pretty much the same thing as the male preachers. They were speaking to their audience, not to me.


IN THE END
Now that we have 24/7 access to anything and everything, and we no longer have to plan our days around what is scheduled in the TV Guide, I have mixed feelings. I kind of miss the old limitations of television. And most definitely, I’ll take a few minutes of religious exposure on TV at 2:00am over what is happening online right now. It just never stops!

Have you ever heard a story like this and felt confused by it? I’m curious to know.

I will now end this with a sign-off style message from LOCAL 58. Warning: Do not watch the below clip if you are at home alone at night.

Remember the three “Fs.”

If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

A Tribute to Old Friends, and How to Make New Friends

It is time for me to have something positive to write about. Today, it’s about those old friends who have hung around for decades, as well as how to potentially find more of those kinds of friends.

For the most part, making new friends who turn out to be good friends is a crap shoot. Someone might click with you, or might not, and vice versa. The key is to try and find out.

THOSE OLD FRIENDS

I am writing this at a local coffee shop on my phone with a folding keyboard, so formatting is a bit different from the usual.

Here are those old friends who stuck around, or are otherwise here. My guess is that they will be reading this.

In no particular order…

‘TB’ is a fellow musician I met in grade school. We spent some time jamming back in those early days. We did not keep in touch after graduation, and only reconnected recently. As it turns out, we still have music in common. We also have similar philosophies. Reconnecting as adults has been a solid experience for me. He has positive and philosophical things to say that encourage me to think about my current situation and how to best make use of it.

‘TF’ is someone I worked with in the early 90s. We worked together for maybe six months. We had music in common, and he lived close by. We kept in touch for a long time, then lost touch for a handful of years. But then we reconnected, and I even got to attend his wedding in late 2014. We still talk on the phone every month or two.

‘AA’ is someone I met online in 1998. As the recurring theme goes, we have music in common. We live far apart, so we may probably never meet in-person. We recorded some music in 1998 via email. We also have cats and guitar repair in common, although he’s more of a pro with the repairs. You can guess where I learned some of what I know.

‘TH’ is a fellow drummer and we met in grade school. He moved to a new area in high school, so I didn’t see him all that much after that. Every 7-10 years, I would find him and we would write. He has said about me, ‘You were always a good friend.’ He and I don’t talk nearly as much as the others, but he’s someone who is in my corner.

‘BM’ was a kid when I met him at the lakes in the early 1970s. We exchanged phone numbers after that summer. I’d call him once per year, since the call was long-distance, and we would be allowed to talk for one hour. I have his phone number memorized, and that was how I found him on Facebook in 2019. We are on the same page with many sociopolitical issues, and we get along the same as we did back when we were catching snapping turtles in the lake.

‘KS’ is a professor, philosopher, and a singer. I was in a band with his younger brother for the better part of a decade, and he would join us on stage on occasion. While his brother doesn’t talk to me anymore, KS and I have a special bond. He took time out of his day and life to make a long drive to where I was living in California before I moved to Oregon. We still text on occasion.

‘KM’ is a singer whom I met when she auditioned for a musical that I co-wrote. After that, I became the drummer for her band. Her husband played guitar in the band, and we became closer friends after he ended his life. Shout out to ‘JP.’ We recorded a song together and talk every year.

‘BS’ is a friend I made relatively recently. He used to shop at the same guitar shop as me, and also hung out there, as I did for a few years. We would go guitar shopping, from Hollywood to Ventura, hitting every music store that crossed our paths. He was very supportive of the movie to Oregon, and we call and write a few times per year.

‘BM’ became a friend when I first moved to the small town of Lapel, Indiana, back in 1975. We wrote scripts and made tapes of a character he made up called ‘The Phantom,’ which turned out to be more like ASMR than anything else. I had a big crush on his older sister, as well as his aunt. I dated both of them, and although those situations did not work out, he does not hold it against me and we are still friends. We write a few times per year, typically via text or email.

“JBS” has been a real friend for almost 20 years. He first called me after seeing me on a drumming forum. I was falling for a scam perpetrated by a cymbal re-seller. He has helped me with a few issues here and there over the years. He’s the kind of friend I will see or hear from after he’s been on the road touring for 18 months. He’s a phenomenal drummer and a true inspiration.

‘CJ’ is probably my most reliable friend of all, and I have spent more time with her than anyone else. We were a couple from early 1999 to late 2019, before going through a split. When the dust settled from a new relationship of mine that went bad, she was there. We still live together, and are exploring whether or not we will have a romantic relationship in the future. Whether we do or not, we will remain close friends, most likely for the rest of our lives. She is as dependable as I am, and understands me. She was in full support of my music. I consider her to be the adopted mother of my son, and she had a big hand in helping to raise him and inspire his creativity.

That’s my top friends list. Considering that the average person has 3-5 close friends, I suspect that I am doing fairly well, when compared to the average.

SPECIAL MENTION

I had a dear friend who was known as Ronnie P, who passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm in late September 2007. We were friends for only 18 months when he left this world.

His brother, David, as since become a good friend. He was a fierce defender of mine back when I was being taken by the cancer scammer.

Ronnie and David are like family to me.

HOW TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS

I have been doing some work on this, because making friends is difficult for the average person and it gets MORE difficult as we get older. Plus, I am an Autistic adult, and we struggle more than usual with social situations.

My reason for writing about this is that there are not many resources out there for Autistic adults, and maybe this will help someone else who is struggling to build up their social situations.

Based on a review of my past experiences, as well as reading various psychological journals, I have determined that there are three primary components to building new friendships.

1. PROXIMITY

What most of my current friendships have in common is that there was something resembling proximity. In other words, we were in the same place at the same time, for a significant amount of time.

Of course, the exception on my list is ‘AA,’ because we live in completely different countries and time zones, and will probably never meet in-person. This friendship was built upon another cornerstone.

2. COMMONALITY

Having something in common helps tremendously. Whether it’s working at the same place, music, guitars, or something else, having those things in common is a foundation upon which something can be built. Not always, but there’s a chance.

3. FREQUENCY

Whether it was seeing someone every day at work, at school, or online, frequency helps build a situation where a part of your life’s expectation involves encountering this person again.

In consideration of these three elements, there are some things that I can do in order to build some new friendships.

Those things include finding a regular hang-out, joining a special group that has a focus [music or retro computing are where I will start], or identifying a place where musicians in the area love to hang out will be key.

I can join these groups or go to these places on a regular scheduled basis. Over time, my presence in these groups or at these places will be recognized. Becoming a fixture in a setting increases the chances that you will discover a potential new friend.

IN THE END

I am forever grateful for the friends that I’ve made over the decades. Most of them were completely by chance, and at the time I had no idea that they’d be long-term friends. It is something that cannot be predicted, and just happens.

In some ways, it might very well be a situation that is akin to that missing sock you cannot find after doing laundry. You can look and look, and never find it. But when you stop looking for the sock, there it is, stuffed in the leg of a pair of pants.

In other words, you find it when you aren’t even looking for it, when you least expect it.

If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Ignoring Red Flags: When Someone Doesn’t Like You

It is unreasonable to expect that everyone will like you. Show me a person, and I’ll show you someone who does not like them. Even Tom Hanks has people who do not like him.

01 Nov 1995, New York City, New York, United States — Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin and alligator “Irvine” pose together at the Central Park boathouse. — Image by © Najlah Feanny/Corbis

In many cases, this is obvious and the solution to this issue is to stay away from them. Easy enough. But it’s a different story when someone keeps you around and pretends to like you, because you have to then struggle to figure it out.

For me, this situation would happen more than a few times, and it would be the biggest puzzle for me to work out.

Below is just one of many examples from my life’s experience. It might be the most interesting and juicy as well. Of course, I am not naming the person, and I’ll write in a way where they might not be identified. However, if they read this, then they will know that it is about them.

Should they find it and get angry, well, too bad.

Many people never forget their “first true love” from high school. I hadn’t forgotten mine. Although it was my first-ever relationship of its kind, in looking back with experience, it was a situation that could have ended up being something good.

We dated for a relatively long time. Our relationship came to an end one day, after about a month of problems. I would call her from work during the summer, since calling from home would be considered long-distance.

One day, I called, and she was in a rush because she was “taking care of her mother.” This is a very important detail to remember. I thought this was weird, but I decided to not think much of it.

That is, until her best friend called to tell me that my lovely girlfriend was cheating on me with a paperboy named Sonny. She told me because she felt that I was a really guy and was getting used. I thanked her and developed a plan.

One day, I took the day off from work and drove to the Dairy Queen that was about five blocks from her house. I called her from the payphone to chat for a bit, but as usual, she was in a big hurry and needed to get off the phone to care for her mother.

After she hung up, I drove to her street and parked a few houses down. My car was very quiet, so there was no tip-off.

I walked in the front door, and there they were: naked on the couch, getting it on. I cleared my throat, and I never saw a kid jump so high in my entire life. As she cried, “It’s not what you think,” I gave the kid 30 seconds to get the hell out of there.

It definitely would have been in my best interest to cut things off right then and there. But I’m not one to write people off unless they become dangerous to me, or something else happens.

She had a story about how she was going to break up with me, because she was sterile and I deserve a woman could could give me children. I guess she didn’t listen, or maybe didn’t believe me when I said that I never wanted to have children.

For those who know me, don’t worry that my son might read this. He understands the details of why I didn’t want to have children. He doesn’t take it personally, and now they are HIS reasons to not want children.

So she was as back-stabbing, lying cheater who didn’t care about me. Certainly, catching her with that other guy was a major “hint” that things weren’t right. And yet, I would entertain her from time to time.

She kept in touch throughout high school, came to the college campus a few times to catch my band, and would even call when I moved to LA in the mid-80s.

A SAUCY TALE
It had been a long day, and I decided that I was going to soak in a bathtub and drink a beer. It was a romantic setting for one, with candles and everything.

That was when my phone rang. It was her, needing some advice from someone she trusts. She said that she trusted my opinion on the story that she was about to tell, because I am “not judgmental and not influenced by religious nonsense.”

Fine. Let me have it.

Her quandary was romantic in nature.

She went to the grocery store one day and met a “cute guy” who worked at the seafood counter. They talked for a bit. Before long, they started dating and having sex. After about six months of this, he decided that things were serious enough that it was time for her to meet his father.

Imagine her surprise, when she found out that his father was also HER father. That’s right, they were half-siblings.

The problems were complex. She loved her boyfriend/half-brother, but also wanted to build a relationship with her biological father.

My advice was good.

I told her that the concern about children and genetic problems was not an issue, due to her being sterile. I said that if she sticks with her guy, the dad might not want to talk to her. If things go south in the relationship, then she will lose both of them. On the other hand, her dad didn’t care about her in the first place, as is evidence by him LIVING IN TOWN and her never seeing him.

So I suggested to focus on the relationship, and move on from her absent, uncaring father.


MOVING INTO 2003
2003 was a crazy year for me. There was one day where everything went wrong. I lost my job, my car got stolen, it rained heavily, and my mother called to tell me that she had colon cancer, and that my father had died.

I wasn’t doing very well. I obviously couldn’t afford to go to my father’s funeral, since that would require a flight to Indiana. My mother insisted and bought me a ticket, so I went.

February 2003: Me, my sister, and brother at my dad’s funeral.

I got there the day before the funeral and stayed with my dad’s mother. I was on AIM on my Palm i705, when my grandmother told me that I had a phone call. I was kind of expecting it, since I had been talking with my ex-girlfriend on AIM. We did chat on AIM quite a bit. It was nothing romantic or anything.

She was on the phone, and asked if she could pick me up. We could go to her place, just a few miles down the road, and have pizza.

Fine. She picked me up and we went to her trailer.

She wanted to buy the entire pizza, but I insisted on paying for half. So I hid some cash underneath the pizza box, which may have caused a problem between us. Of course, there were many other problems.

During my time there, she talked about how much she hated her life, because she did everything her mother wanted her to do. She felt like she hadn’t done anything of her own. I told her she could do whatever she wanted, so long as she planned it out and focused on it.

In other words, I was the one being supportive for most of the time.

No, nothing happened between us.

When she dropped me off, she said, “I’ll be there for you tomorrow, at your father’s funeral.”

That was nice.


WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
I was at my dad’s funeral, which was a very humble gathering. There were lots of factory workers there, as well as some family. A few people that we knew from school were there.

But do you know who was NOT there?

Yea.

The thing that sucked about it was that I was looking around for her the entire time the funeral was on.


A TOTAL GHOST
After the funeral, I called her. Got no answer, and left a voicemail.

I sent her chat message on AIM, which we had used daily for at least a few weeks before. Never got a response.

I wrote a few emails. Never got a response.


TEN YEARS LATER
The end of 2013 was quickly approaching. I was up to my eyeballs in the mess that was generated by the cancer scammer. I’ve written about this person a few times, so won’t re-hash it. Bottom line, I was entangled with a “friend” who claimed to have cancer, but who was lying.

I got a message out of nowhere from this ex-girlfriend. Her life’s work was and is in nursing. She wrote to tell me that she saw my posts about the friend with cancer.

“We need to talk soon,” she said. I wrote back and told her that I was available right then. She wasn’t. I told her I was available that night. She wasn’t. I told her that I was available for the next two weeks, and to call any time, day or night. That wouldn’t work for her, either.

We never did talk, and I had no idea what it was about. For all I know, it could have been some helpful information that might have gotten me out of that mess.


END OF 2020: THE LAST STRAW
As you can see, there were many situation where I should have written this person off because of how I was being treated.

For those who don’t know my social networking history, I deleted all social networking from mid-2014 to mid-2019. I stayed on for about a year and a half, then deleted, then returned after a few months. By this time, it was late 2020.

Well, you-know-who wrote to me on Facebook to tell me that she barely used Facebook anymore, and that TikTok was where it’s at.

In an odd and unexpected move, she first apologize for cheating on me almost 40 years ago with Sonny, before getting into her sales pitch.

“You should get on TikTok, Dan. You’d love it. We get to bash Trump all day long.”

Now, I hate Trump with all that I’ve got. That said, I have REFUSED to allow him to monopolize my mind or my time. I didn’t see it as something that I would like. Yes, I hate Trump and all that he has said and done — words and acts which are horrific and monstrous — but at the same time, I will not dedicate my entire life to pecking at him every chance I get. Voting is more useful, but I digress.

I tried to be nice about it and tell her that I wasn’t into it, but every time I said it wasn’t for me, she would boost the sales press. I felt like I was being sold a used car. It was an ugly feeling.

After several back-and-forths about her declaring that I should be on TikTok, and my declining of the invitation, I started to feel desperate, so I would start to ask her questions.

“Why did you stand me up at my dad’s funeral?”

She replied, “I told you, my car broke down.”

I mumbled to myself about how the car breaking down did NOT explain the ignored voicemails, emails, and AIM chat messages. It was a lame excuse. And beyond that, she could have walked to the funeral home in 20 minutes, or better yet, CALL ME and ask for a ride. Duh.

Then she launched into another fanatical rant about how TikTok is perfect and I needed to get on there. I was desperate for a change of subject. Maybe I should have said that I had to go, and bailed out.

But I had just ONE more question.

“Whatever happened to you marrying your half-brother?”

The thing about this question, for me, is that it was legitimate curiosity. I really wanted to know what happened. Did she marry him? No? What happened between her and her absent father? I never knew what happened.

If she had cared about me, then she would have answered the question.

Instead, she got upset. “Wow, Dan. That hurt my feelings. Did you say that just to hurt my feelings? Are you trying to hurt me, or get revenge, or something?”

I had no idea where this was coming from, because I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. I just wanted to change the subject, and small talk isn’t my strong suit, so I asked a legitimate question instead.

Her attacks and outrage were a true first. Being online all the time and spewing hatred for Trump [and I feel that hatred is legitimate] had made her a worse person. She had become consumed with this hatred, and it was the only thing in life for which she was living.

I had a sudden panic attack with all of her attacks pointed at me. She was on FIRE, asking why I wanted to upset her so much. So I did the last few things that I needed to do before deleting my Facebook account for the last time.

I have not been back since, and will never go back.


A RED FLAG SUMMARY
The cool thing about being older is that I can look back and add up the positives and negatives. I can see things now that I did not recognize then. I can acknowledge things that I had previously either written off or ignored.

What’s even more neat is that all of the red flags can be placed in one paragraph, back-to-back, for evaluation.

What are these red flags?

Cheated on me. Lied to me while cheating. She did NOT listen to me when I told her what I wanted out of life, which was to never have children. Asked me for dating advice and then later got angry when I asked how it turned out. Said she’d be there for me at my father’s funeral, then didn’t show up and ghosted me for TEN years. Wrote to me ten years later to say we needed to talk, and then we never did talk. Pressured me to do something I didn’t want to do, didn’t take no for an answer. Got outraged when I asked about the situation with her dad and half-brother.

Wow, that’s quite a list.


SOME BIG LESSONS
What did I learn through all of this?

Firstly, I learned that women are NOT innocent creatures. Sugar, spice, and everything nice. That’s a slogan that generates false expectations, and lulls the believer into a compromised state of complacency. It leaves a man open for trouble.

I learned that a person with that much self-hatred and depression might not be capable of having a relationship of any kind. As a person who was also in this position for quite some time, I think this is accurate. The difference between us, however, is that I’ve taken responsibility for my issues and I’m doing something about it. She’s wallowing.

I learned that anyone who says they’ll be there for you on an important day, then don’t show up, and later don’t explain or accept any communications, probably doesn’t give a crap about you in the first place. This leaves open the question of why they’d promise something they couldn’t deliver or didn’t want to deliver. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s them.

But the biggest lesson of all, which I recently learned from writing about and re-living this particular string of events, is that a person being from your past does not automatically make them a good friend.

Maybe they were a good friend then, or maybe not. Maybe that connection served a purpose, and later needed to be severed. Sometimes the only logical and healthy thing to do is to severe those connections.

It confirmed what I learned from the old girlfriend who moved out here last year. Just because they were in your past once, doesn’t mean they’re good for your present or future.


MOVING ON
By writing this, I am purging this event from my memory, so that I won’t have to think about it again. It is preserved here, so I don’t have to expend energy keeping it alive in my mind. And why? There is no good reason to keep any of the pain in my mind or heart, when I can just hang onto the lessons learned.

As of now, I no longer have a need to think of this person, ever again. They had a chance to be a part of my life several times over, and they crapped on every single chance.

Her final attack on me, when I asked about what happened between her and her half-brother, showed how she viewed me. If she liked me as a person and cared about me, then she would have answered the question.

Instead, she viewed me as someone who would WANT to attack her, to cause harm, to embarrass, etc. That was NOT my motive. However, this was how she viewed my question, and this was also how she viewed me.

He view of me was that I was cruel, mean, and out to cause her harm. This was a MAJOR clue into how she really felt about me.

It was why we should have stopped talking after I walked in on her banging the paperboy.

And there are other women like this in my past right now, some of which have caused trouble.

There’s the one whose dad tried to kill me with a wrench, because she didn’t tell him we were dating. I should have stopped talking to her after that event.

There’s the one who was talking with me about getting married, but then she married someone else on a whim so that she could move away from home a little bit faster.

And there are others who never bothered to look me up. I have a relatively uncommon last name that is easy to find. I have also been searchable online for longer than Google has existed. So the ones who always wondered whatever happened to me are lying, because they could have found me in under ten seconds.

This is not always true of women. One ex-girlfriend had gotten married FIVE times, and changed her last name at least four times. How do you go about finding someone like that? Even with Facebook, it’s not easy, especially when they have family who almost never replies to a Facebook message.

To be fair to the women, there are also guys out there from my past who have contacted me, but then didn’t want anything to do with me. I have no idea why they would contact me in the first place if this was how they felt. It just gave them a chance to be assholes, and that’s that.

So, effectively immediately, so far as I am concerned, anyone from my past who hasn’t done something to maintain a connection, is officially a part of history, and they have no place in my present or future.

Now, I have typically been the one to instigate connections, and this is still typically the case. I have only TWO friends who either call or email of their own volition. In some cases, I will think about calling or writing, and they wil beat me to the punch. That’s cool.

The problem with me instigating the calls, emails, or contact in general, is that it usually is the case that I am the one insert myself into someone else’s life, when that person isn’t really interested in having me in their life.

The ONLY way I can tell if someone is my friend is whether or not they contact me and are sincere in their communications. Me contact someone does not inform me of this, and things get questionable when I start to realize that I’m the only one putting forth effort to connect.

So I will not write to someone and see if they write back. Chances are good — Vegas house odds — that they will never interact with me again. I have done this so many times that it is impossible to count.

It’s calling or otherwise attempting at contacting that person from my past, and never hearing back.

Who needs that?

Finally, it is time for me to leave the past behind, just like everyone else has. Maybe I’ll go to the local coffee shop, sit there for a while, and write. Who knows, maybe someone will approach me and we can start a conversation.

Certainly, there are new friends to be made.

To those few friends who keep in touch, thank you for everything. I will write something positive about you in the near future, as a way of showing my gratitude for your presence and participation.

If nothing else, this entry shows just how rare you truly are.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Autism, The Pubic, Ordering Burgers, and Invisibility

For the new readers, I am a 56-year-old Autistic adult, and I had no idea that I was Autistic until I was 53 years old. Early detection is key, and I missed that window by a half century. No big whoop.


WHAT IT MEANS TO “BE INVISIBLE”
Before I get into this, I must clarify something. That is, I sincerely DO NOT believe that I am actually, literally, physically becoming invisible.

It just feels that way.

For me, being invisible means that nobody can see me, or they refuse to see me, or they fail to see me, or whatever the case might be. In each instance, I am right in front of the person who does not see me. In some cases, I am even making eye contact with them, and they proceed as if I am not there.

Just so we’re clear on this, because this is not a case of imaginary delusions.


BEING INVISIBLE IN PUBLIC: DRIVING
This happens quite frequently, and I’ll be giving you three examples of instances where it happens.

The first is while I am driving! I know, it sounds dangerous. It IS dangerous. I’ll be driving, and a person at a stop sign will make eye contact with me, while I am driving, and then just pull out right in front of me, as if I wasn’t even there.

I’ve paid attention to this, and I have a witness in Catherine, who has frequently been a passenger in my car. I’ve asked her to watch me while driving to see if I am giving any weird signals that I don’t notice.

I don’t nod, waive, or give them the go-ahead.

When it happens, Catherine will say, “Ah, are you invisible again?” I will confirm, and she will pay attention more closely. This is when it will happen time and time again. Catherine confirms that it is happening, so it is not my imagination.


BEING INVISIBLE IN PUBLIC: THE MALL
Long ago, when America was still considered an Industrialized nation, we had these things called a mall. A mall was a very large building that housed a great number of stores inside.

Inside the Mounds Mall [1964-2018], a place that I frequented as a child. Notice the width of the walking areas [liminal space!].

The public could walk through a liminal space [pictured above] that allows a person to go from store to store without going outside. This space was VERY wide. It seemed that most people would keep to the right and navigate the mall in a counter-clockwise path.

This is where I would often become invisible.

When this happens, people walk into me. After they walk into me, they will yell at me to pay attention and watch where I’m going, even though I was standing still.

This left me in a position where I would have to be vigilant and be on the constant look-out for other people, who seem to be lost in their own worlds and not paying attention.

Some will look straight into my eyes before doing so, when I am not moving.

This also happens in the grocery store, so the act of pushing a cart is something where I need to get mentally prepared for battle. The entire experience for me is one big game of Dodge The Idiot.


BEING INVISIBLE IN PUBLIC: RESTAURANTS
When it comes to dealing with wait staff and bartenders, it is rare that any of them will acknowledge me. In fact, I can personally name the only two wait staff personnel who have always been able to see me.

The main one is a woman named Lawan, and she worked at the Denny’s in Woodland Hills, up until it closed. I haven’t seen her in over a few years, and already miss her. She had my orders memorized, and would automatically bring me soup before taking our order, because I always had soup before eating.

Lawan [L], taking a break and looking at Catherine’s iPad drawings.

The other one was Lawan’s son, Robin. He joined the military and has made a good life for himself, so he stopped being a part of wait staff long ago. But I wouldn’t put it past him to go back to doing it because he likes people. He’s the same age as my son.

Me, pre-invisibility. Back, and to the right, is the waitress who ignored me more than once.

Unfortunately for me, Lawan is still in California and I am not. This means that I am back to being invisible, which also means that I typically do NOT enjoy going out to eat, at all.

I wrote the other day about how I went to a local casino, just to get out and get used to being around people. We did stop at a restaurant inside the casino to eat.

The waitress seated us and things started out fine enough. This got my false hopes up that I was going to have something resembling a positive experience.

Even for a neurotypical, spending $15 on a burger would probably inspire them to have some expectations regarding the experience.

I order their cheese burger and tell them I want NO veggies. I always add a tag onto that request, which is, “…basically, how a 6-year-old would want it.” I don’t like the onions, lettuce, and other things. I’d like it mostly dry.

She asks, “They do put our signature sauce on it. Would you like that?” This is where I messed up by saying, “Yes.” I’ll explain why this is a mistake below, and why this isn’t a part of my Autistic experience.

Before too long, our orders arrive. My burger does have their signature sauce on it. However, it has so much signature sauce that the sauce runs down my hand, down my arm, and the meat patty is sliding out of the bun.

This issue is not a part of my Autistic experience. Instead, this is a flaw that ALL cooks suffer, regardless of the expense or status of the restaurant.

What happens when you order a burger that is plain, but with cheese, and maybe mustard, is that they replace the things you are not getting with more mustard. So here’s your mustard. Didn’t get pickles? More mustard to make up for it. No lettuce? More mustard. No onion? More mustard.

The thing about ordering a special burger from anyone else is that nobody who makes these burgers ever stops to ask, “Would I eat that?”

Would you eat a burger with 8 ounces of mustard or signature sauce on it? HELL NO! NOBODY would be eating that. And yet, here we are, in a world where they serve this kind of shit.

I go ahead and eat the burger anyway, because I’m a mess and it’s not going to get any better. But after the burger, I want to wash my hands and arm so that I do NOT feel sticky while eating the fries.

Yes, I eat one thing at a time. That may very well be an Autistic trait of mine. Not for everyone. Once you’ve met ONE Autistic person, you’ve met only ONE Autistic person.

So I look at the waitress and she makes eye contact with me, so I waive her over. She ignores me and goes the other direction. We were looking each other in the eye, and she was only 15 feet away.

So I stand up to go to a restroom, and my offensive hand is up in the air, held up and away from me as if it is covered in toxic goo.

There are restrooms outside the restaurant, across the liminal space. However, the men’s room is closed. I have never been to this casino before and would like to get to a restroom before my fries get cold.

So I look another waitress in the eye, and she also turns away. I am now certain that I am invisible.

I go up to the bar, and the bartender is talking to a woman. There is a space next to her, so I moved into the space. He successfully ignores me the entire time.

So I start to go for a walk in the casino, with signature sauce all over my hand and arm. I have invested almost 10 minutes trying to get wait staff attention, and over 5 minutes getting TO the restroom.

Getting to the restroom and back was challenging, thanks to large groups of people who love to stop in the middle of the large liminal space to have conversations. They don’t see me, so I have to go around them.

After this long walk of shame, I get back to find that my fries have gotten cold. They are inedible. I try to get the waitress’ attention, but she never looks over. I can’t ask her to re-heat the fries, and she NEVER asks how things are going.

She brought us the bill, which was highly unreasonable, given the poor service and shit food we received. Catherine still feels inclined to leave a tip. I wish to counter that tip, so I pour the rest of my water into the basket that holds the fries, squirt some ketchup and mustard into it, mix it around with a fork, and then shove the salt and pepper shakers into the muck.

If I were not medicated, then I may have been more loud, upset, and I might have made an even bigger mess. I do my best to make sure that it’s not cheap when they screw me over like this, which involves them treating me as if I am invisible.

I have never yelled at anyone, threatened anyone, or acted like a “Karen” in any situation. Those people need serious help. I do not have a general sense of entitlement; however, when I am PAYING for an experience, I do feel entitled to that experience.

I suspect that if I were neurotypical, then I’d not be so inclined to make a mess like that. Then again, if I were neurotypical, I’d probably not be invisible and the problems would not exist.

Also, if I were the one paying the bill, then I would have not left a tip. Since Catherine was paying, and felt compelled to tip anyway, I had to make a statement. Think of me while you’re cleaning your salt and pepper shakers.

Yes, I know that what I did seems childish, and maybe it is as such. I know that if I did not do it, then I’d probably regret it. I don’t want to go home feeling ripped off. I want to feel whole, and doing what I did helped this happen. Certainly couldn’t count on ANY of the staff in that restaurant to make me whole.


IN THE END
Autistic invisibility is not something that is easily researched. Searching for “Autistic invisibility” leads to stories about how the Autistic become invisible to society as they age. In other words, we are ignored by the system. That’s par for the course.

What I’m talking about is a situation where I am actually there, and another person is there, and we are making eye contact, and they act as if I am invisible. I really don’t know if anyone else ever experiences this, and I do chalk it up to my Autism.

Have you ever had an experience like this? I wonder if anyone else ever encounters this issue.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

On Awkward Interactions and Liminal Space

Alternate Title: See, mom! Those guitar lessons weren’t just for nothing! It’s not just a phase! Leave me alone! What’s for dinner? DrumWild has Good Boy Points if you have tendies.


INTRODUCTION
For about one year, I took guitar lessons from Bill Harkleroad, aka Zoot Horn Rollo of Captain Beefheart fame. During one of those lessons, he was telling me about the guitar itself.

Fast and bulbous!

“The guitar is an infinite instrument that nobody can ever truly master. If you were to focus on nothing more than mastering the variants of the G major scale, you would never get there because humans simply don’t live long enough.”

The more he talked, the more I learned. The more I learned, the more I realized I did not know.

Earlier in the day, I felt that I had a relatively good handle on the guitar. I mean, I was under no delusions and didn’t think I was the greatest, or anywhere close. Rather, I thought that I knew a great deal. And here I was 40 years after I started playing guitar, learning new things, as well as learning that there is no way in hell that I can ever know much.

“So, Dan, now that you know all of this, how do you feel?”

I had to give it some serious thought, but it didn’t take long for me to blurt out my response.

“I feel like I am floating aimlessly in an eternal void, with no up or down, no direction at all. I feel like an idiot in a sea of intelligence, like I can’t keep my head above water and I may very well drown.”

He seemed to like that response, based on what he said in reply to my response.

“Good. I want you to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”


THIS IS OUR THING RIGHT NOW
So far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, I like to focus on silver linings. One obvious silver lining is that I didn’t get it, at least not yet. I didn’t die. I suppose that’s positive.

But there is another positive for me.

It seems that most people now are going through things that help them relate to me and my life’s experience. For one, many people are suddenly flat broke. Hey, I know what that’s like.

But even bigger, and more relevant to the topic, people are VERY uncomfortable and awkward with social situations and interactions.

Congratulations. You know feel the exact same way that I have felt every day of my entire life.

It has also made many people less money-oriented, with a shifted focus on life, living, friendships, relationships, and other things that we value more than the bread crumbs we get in exchange for breaking our backs to make our bosses rich, in the hopes that we can pay our rent.

But for now, let’s focus on the social awkwardness.


WHAT HAPPENED?
Now, I’m no social scientist. I’ve taken the typical, generic, introductory courses in college for subjects like Sociology and Anthropology. I only have some baseline knowledge, and it hasn’t been challenged, upgraded, or improved on an academic level since the mid-80s.

However, with that knowledge, I can see what has happened.

We got comfortable with being comfortable.

It starts when you stay indoors at home for an entire day. You get very familiar and intimate with your surroundings. You start to feel safe at home. Over time, it transforms into a place where you feel safe.

Then, you go out to the grocery store, which is essentially a liminal space with dividers. At the end of every divider could be a potential surprise, with someone pushing a cart too fast or a kid running. Next thing you know, you’re working diligently to dodge anyone and everyone who isn’t paying attention.

This is especially true if you are in an aisle by yourself.

Liminal is a word with the Latin root “limen,” which means “threshold.” It’s a place somewhere between what was and what’s next.

These spaces can generate fear of the unknown.

When I think of liminal space, I think of Daniel Shaver, the poor man who was partially drunk and walking down a liminal space [hotel hallway]. He turned the corner to find an agent with a rifle pointed at him. This agent shot him to death as he struggled to follow the mind-bending and conflicting orders shouted by the officer.

In a liminal space, you’re between things, and you don’t know what is going to happen next.


HOW IT GETS WORSE
When you get back home, you feel better. Inevitably, you will start to run out of groceries. At this point, you will start negotiating with yourself. You could go to the store. But you do have a bunch of things that you’ve not used yet that you can make something out of. So you will give Pantry Parts Pasta a go, because that would be better than subjecting yourself to the grocery store.

This leads to a place where you start negotiating with yourself about whether you should brave the 40 yard walk to the dumpster to dispose of your trash, or put it near or outside the door to handle later.

Most of what makes “The Shining” such a scary movie is the vast amount of liminal space.
What is behind each and every door? Do you really want to find out?

Before long, you’ve got symptoms of Agoraphobia, where you will fear and avoid places or situations that bring you a great deal of anxiety. With the grocery store and its liminal space, you might associate people with that.

The longer you stay indoors, the worse it gets.

Also, the less time you spend interacting with people, the worse it gets.

And before you know it, the entire world has become one big liminal space, where you are left waiting and not knowing what is next, or what is behind that door, or who is calling from the unlisted number, or who just knocked on your door. Even worse, the liminal space outside is also transforming into the Great Unknown.

Congratulations. You’ve become me. Welcome to Hell, everyone. Yes, we are knee-deep in shit. Break’s over! Back on your heads.

THE HARD SOLUTION
When we are broken, it’s like an arm that is broken. We have to go where we do not want to be, which is the hospital. We have to deal with the unknown, especially if its our first broken bone. We have to deal with scary needles, uncomfortable re-setting of the broken bone, or maybe even surgery. Will it be okay after? Will we be the same?

We go through that vast sea of unknowns, because the alternative is to not go through it and stay where you are, with a broken arm.

At this moment, we’ve all got broken arms and need to get to a hospital right away.

THE WORLD IS YOUR HOSPITAL
Everything outside your front door is your hospital. You need to go there and immerse yourself in the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the uncomfortable.

It’s only partially familiar. You remember going out, doing things, etc., but forget how it felt. Simple things like going to work and going out for happy hour after work suddenly feel like foreign concepts.

The world is your hospital. It feels like one gigantic liminal space, but it’s where you go to be healed.


AN AUTISTIC TAKE
You know the saying. “Once you’ve met ONE Autistic person, you’ve met only ONE Autistic person.” Every single person is impacted different from this neurodivergence.

That said, there are some things that are common. Those things include the discomfort associated with going to strange places we do not frequent, as well as interacting with people [an act we’ve not engaged in a long time].

To me, this is an opportunity to talk about the general Autistic experience with regard to social anxiety and the discomfort associated with being in places after an extended reprieve.

It’s a chance to let others know that what they are experiencing is what I have experienced every day of my life.

At the very least, if I can get just a few people around me to be more empathetic in the future, then the discussions will be far worth it.

WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
Yes, going out somewhere makes my guts churn. Seeing people and being around people is intimidating. Being somewhere new, where I really don’t know anyone, is a big challenge.

July 5, 2021: Paying my first visit to Spirit Mountain Casino.

Yesterday, I went to a casino that’s less than an hour away. I had never been there before. There were people everywhere. The longest line of people was outside a restaurant inside of the casino. Dungenes crab is good, but it is NOT $24 good, and most definitely NOT wait-in-line-for-one-hour good.

The long waits were due to limited seating in the eating areas.

So we went to their sports bar, where the wait was 20 minutes because there were two couples ahead of us, and got a burger with waffle fries and water. I didn’t go alone and was accompanied by my roommate and former girlfriend, Catherine.

We walked through the casino for the first time and stopped for a bite before checking out the machines. I gambled away a whole $2.00. Yea, two bucks. As it turns out, I prefer the coin pay-outs instead of getting credits on a gaming card. It’s boring when there is no visible payout. It’s even more boring when you lose both times, but that’s how it goes.

Casinos are fun places for people who are bad at math. I still like people watching sometimes, so it’s good for something.

You can get comfortable with being uncomfortable by listening to my guitar teacher’s first album, “Trout Mask Replica.” Listen to all 28 songs in a row, without a break. Then, when the album is done, listen to it again. When you feel like giving up, remember that this was all that I listened to for about six months solid.

IN THE END
Oh yea, the previous segment was about the answer, and I didn’t even say it!

I didn’t say it because we are now at the point where we’ve gone full-circle. Remember in the introduction, near the end of it?

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

That’s the answer. There are no short-cuts or magical solution, although more people seem to be drinking to try to take off the edge. Don’t do it. It’s like cheating, and you don’t learn anything when you cheat, except that cheating is an easy way to an answer that you don’t understand.

You won’t grow if you’re drunk while doing this. Hey, if you want to have a drink in the evening, or you’re going out for drinks, then I have no judgment. In fact, I have no judgment at all on it. The problem I have with drinking while doing this is that it removes you from the situation, and you end up not doing it, and you end up no better than before you did it.

You won’t get used to the discomfort if you constantly dull everything.

Assuming you are vaccinated, don’t even bother making a plan. If you’re at home and stuck there all day, then be spontaneous and step outside for a while. Walk around a parking lot. These activities can give you small victories, which can lead to bigger wins.

A “win” is defined by how you feel after you do this. When you get home, do you feel like you survived? Do you feel as if you did okay? If so, then congratulations. You’ve won the first battle.

There will be others.

The thing about these battles is not that they get any easier. They remain at the same difficulty level constantly. Rather, you get better because you make yourself stronger.

Ten pounds still weighs ten pounds. When you work out, you get better at lifting that ten pounds. You might even think that ten pounds is nothing now. But it’s still ten pounds. Never sell yourself short, and celebrate your successes, no matter how small.

So get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Who knows, people might get good enough and go back to thinking how funny it is that I struggle with social anxiety. Or maybe I’ll get better at it first and give people a taste of their own medicine. Or not, but it does sound fun.

What isn’t fun is building up your tolerance for the anxiety that comes with these people and spaces. But it is very important, because we are social primates who live in a society.

Think about it this way.

I can remember times in the past that were horrible, embarrassing, ugly, uncomfortable, or otherwise harmful. In this case, I am NOT ruminating, and am merely remembering and recalling.

I survived those incidents. They came and went, and are as far gone as Journey’s top ten record sales status, as far away as what I ate last year, and as irrelevant as that girl I dated in 1982. Chances are great that nobody remembers it or thinks about it again, except for me.

And thanks to the weather we are experiencing, due to Climate Change and Global Warming, we might all be dying of far earlier than we had anticipated. After that, everything else will continue to die, until everything is dead, and it will remain dead forever.

In other words, our anxiety impacts us in the moment, and it may linger for a while, but it eventually becomes irrelevant.

Don’t take all of it TOO seriously. After all, life is a temp position.

And for those who are curious about the end of the world, the universe, and everything, you can experience it in about a half hour. You’re welcome.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

A Surreal Independence Day

NOTE: I generally do not write about politics and actively work toward avoiding the topic in this blog. However, for today, it is utterly unavoidable. My apologies to anyone who doesn’t want to read this. I am writing it because this is simply too important. I will get back to music and other topics in the next entry.


It is very difficult for me to feel patriotic today, for many reasons. One of the reasons is that the term “patriot” has changed in definition, from someone who is proud and defends their country, to someone who will over throw the country.

I have been upset and concerned ever since Trump “won” the 2016 election. I say “won” in quotes, because he only won thanks to the Electoral College. Without this, he would have lost.

Every day of his administration, I would feel sick to my stomach with what he was saying, what he was doing, what he was implying, and with the whole mess in general. And when I’d think that day was the worst, I’d get proven wrong the very next day.

It’s not because he’s Republican. It’s not because he’s Christian [he’s not]. It’s not because he’s a celebrity. And it’s not because he’s “rich,” which is doubtful since he would never show his taxes. Although these are not reasons why I do not like him, these are reasons why Republicans vote for him.

I don’t like him because he’s a horrific excuse of a person. He has horrible manners. He’s mean. Cruelty is his motive. He has hate, he has anger, and he sells these things.

He’s still out there, and even though he’s not in office, he still has control. This is because the Republican base has a parasocial relationship with him. A parasocial relationship is where ONE person [the Republican voter] feels as if they have a personal relationship with the OTHER person [Trump], but the OTHER person has absolutely NO idea that they exist.

This is what leads them to engage in an armed insurrection in an effort to interrupt a Constitutional election of the president, with the added intention of overthrowing the United States government, in order to install Trump as a dictator.

While Donald “TWO Corinthians” Trump is NOT a Christian, his base is Christian. These people are primed for getting on their knees for a dictator, for the time length of “all of eternity.” And many of them believe that he was sent here by their god, even though he’s a sick mother fucker who doesn’t have time for such silliness himself.

These people are the ones who are actively keeping COVID-19 alive, by not getting vaccinated, refusing to wear masks, and even declaring the entire thing to be a hoax. THEY are the ones who keep COVID-19 alive in America, who are breeding grounds for the variants that will emerge and kill our loved ones, or even us, as they inspire yet more lock-downs.

We could have been done with all of this in maybe TWO months if they were able to grow the fuck up and wear a fucking mask. But Trump said it was a hoax, with NO evidence to back up this claim. Christians don’t need evidence, and prefer to avoid it, much like they avoid education.

He said this for his own personal and political gain. As a result, the entire country, and later the entire world, will pay a price for this. He doesn’t care, because he gets what he wants out of it.

Trump has never cared about anyone else, except for himself. He has described himself as “greedy,” and that he takes and takes. And while he has talked about not getting another penny from anyone else, he now runs an email and texting campaign that scares and shames his constituency into sending him more and more money all the time.

And his constituency seems to love this. Well, the ones who found out they were being charged a ton of money didn’t. But I’ll bet that he still gets their votes.


So the Christian Conservative Trump voter is one element that dampens my spirit. They are full of anger and hate. They believe weird conspiracies. They are insurrectionists. They are COVID-19 variant inclubators. They hate America and Democrats, who are Americans. They hate the fight for equality of treatment and equality of opportunity. They hate anyone who isn’t exactly like them. They hate, and hate, and hate.

That’s one big problem.

They also deny Climate Change and Global Warming, and we are experiencing the effects of this RIGHT NOW. In Oregon, things are too dry, but fireworks are being sold anyway, because of Capitalism and the need constantly make more, and more, and more, and more money.

And then we will have massive wildfires which will cost more and more and more money, as well as property and the lives of citizens and wildlife.

Our water situation is truly dire, and it didn’t need to be. It got that way because of idiot Republicans who don’t know the difference between Global Warming, Climate Change, and the weather.

Louie Gohmert asked that the Forest Service alter the orbit of the moon to combat climate change. This is rich, coming from someone who can’t even muster up the will to WEAR A MASK, or vote in favor of new green energy sources.

He refuses to do the easy part, because he is inconvenienced and it would get in his way of making even more money. But then, he asks that the impossible be done by someone else.

He’s an idiot, and anyone who votes for him can enjoy the same designation. I wrote it in a way where they won’t know what I’m saying, by using “big words.”

Republican news outlets use smaller words, because using a big word that someone doesn’t yet understand might prompt them to look it up, and then they’d be smarter. You cannot effectively engage in modern-day discourse while being kept stupid. Oh, those people who use big words think they’re so damned smart.

They are. And you can be smart, too. The amount of willful ignorance in this country is staggering.

Jobs are paying less and less, while rent and other prices increase. Health care is unaffordable for most people.

The numbers that account for the unemployed, the under-employed, the sick, the homeless, the indigent, and others who are struggling get larger by the day.

The homeless are everywhere, and I am just one mistake or one broken down car away from joining them.

So please excuse me if I don’t feel like firing up a barbecue and waiving a flag. Having a barbecue is what you do when times are good, and when the money is secure. Waiving a flag is what you do when you are proud of what your country is doing and what it has become.

Ahem. Watch the news.

Celebrating the 4th of July — our Independence Day — is something you would do with your fellow Americans. How sad is it that Republicans have been pitted against Democrats. I read terms like “Demonrats,” which are popular because using those terms helps them believe that they are being clever.

It’s not clever. It’s childish.

Trump normalized childish behavior, racist behavior and language, hatred, and aggression. It’s why we see so many shootings, assaults on airplanes, and other social criminal problems. He made it okay.

And as a result, the Republicans do not attempt to window dress it. They are full-blown masks-off at this point. He emboldened those behaviors that people used to try to cover up, because they know it’s wrong.

They blame society by referring to repercussions as “cancel culture,” but the reality is that it’s just “consequence culture.” Be an asshole at work, get fired. It’s really that simple.

And, as we have seen on the news in recent months, our infrastructure is feeble, brittle, and crumbling. Nobody wants to invest in it, because that would cost money. Everyone is doing their best to just hoard money right now.

Welcome to End-Stage Capitalism.


The lists and rants could go on and on. I just don’t feel patriotic, and haven’t for quite some time.

This does not mean that I am anti-American. Far from it. I am sad that I get to watch America die a slow and agonizing death. I am saddened to see a world that will be worse for my son than it was for me.

Bringing up America’s problems is viewed as being “anti-American,” because you’re supposed to be chanting constantly about how great we are.

I don’t want to merely say it. I’d much prefer to be it.

It seems both counter-productive AND very stupid to be waiving a flag and declaring greatness, when the greatness no longer exists.

And all of this will be getting worse. American Christian Conservative Republicans are riled up and feel empowered with their golden calf, and they aren’t ready to give that up.

Nobody in power seems to understand the economy, much like their voters, who also do not understand. They believe that getting wealthy is what the economy is all about. But if the “little people” don’t have money, then they cannot spend money, and we will not have an economy. Rich people park their money in offshore tax havens, where it does nothing for us.

America’s horrible, neglected, abused, and rag-tag educational system is no accident. When people are kept stupid, they are easier to scare. They will obediently vote how they are told to vote. They are also obedient consumers.

Christian Conservative Republicans are afraid of education, to the point that they refer to it as “indoctrination.” And their constituency agrees with them, because they don’t know the difference between education and indoctrination.

Education is where you are taught HOW to think.

Indoctrination is where you are told WHAT to think.

And yet they are all about not going to school, not getting an education, and focusing on Jesus instead.

A poor educational system is why we still have Christians, and why we still have Republicans. No wonder they’re doing what they are doing right now. They are afraid that their kind will die out.

They should die out. There is no excuse. Grown adults should know better.

America should have been a country of people who WORK together, who take science seriously, who do NOT politicize science or other things, who care for each other, who are pumped about getting children a proper education, building up our infrastructure, and helping the world to be a better place.

That’s not where we are.

Instead, we are a country of people who HATE each other, who are in science denial, who view science with a conspiratorial lens, who cheer and blame when their neighbor has a hard time, who have contempt for children because they cost money, who have contempt for education, who don’t care about the infrastructure, and who don’t give one flying fuck about the rest of the world.

Sure, some people are fighting FOR the country we should be. It’s just not quite enough. We are at the edge, and the stupid are going to push us over.

I know. I’m ready to hear it. “If you don’t like America, then you should leave.” This is a fallacy of false dilemma.

I don’t criticize America because I hate America! NO!!! I criticize because I CARE. I want us to actually BE a world leader. I want us to have a strong infrastructure, get rid of homelessness and hunger, care for children, get them a proper education, and more. I want America to be strong and healthy.

We’re not there right now. Far from it.


Can I foster some patriotism today?

This is a prime example of misguided hyper-patriotism, as well as toxic masculinity, which is the negative ideas that we have been taught to believe are representative of masculinity. It’s basically a bunch of bumper sticker slogans inside a false dilemma, sold to the misguided.

It’s all about definitions. The Right-wing has pushed a certain narrative when it comes to what America means and what freedom means. It’s childish, arrogant, stupid, and Neanderthal. It’s along the lines of their declaration that the 9/11 attacks happened “because they hate our freedoms.”

That is childish, reductive, and makes absolutely no sense at all. But it does ring true with the poorly educated and hyper-patriotic.

The hyper-patriotic don’t care about the truth. They don’t understand America or freedom, and believe those things are for white, straight, Christian American citizens who are also Republicans, and nobody else. It’s tribal nonsense.

Robert Reich tries to remind us what Patriotism is supposed to mean. However, I think it’s a lost cause to try to save that specific word.

So, no, I won’t be fostering any Patriotism today. Instead of clinging to an abused bumper sticker word that has lost all meaning, I’ll close this entry by telling you exactly where I stand.


IN THE END
With all of its problems, I do love living in America. Sure, I might have a better life in an Industrialized nation that isn’t suffering from religious belief, brainwashing, radicalization, division, hatred, and End-Stage Capitalism.

But I am here. And while it’s partly because I cannot afford to move, and partly because other countries don’t want “ugly Americans” moving into their spaces [and I can see why], I have also stayed because you don’t ever run away when your home is being attacked.

I left Indiana at the end of 1985 because Indiana sucks. Other people, like me, did the same. As a result, Indiana still sucks. Maybe not as bad in a few areas, but it has gotten worse in other areas.

When people who can make a place better leave, it renders a spot open for someone else to fill. What are the chances that it will be filled by someone who can work to make it better? Slim to none.

In some ways, I regret leaving Indiana for this very reason. I could have stayed and tried to make some things better. The problem was that too many people were against me, I was young, and I had no idea how to deal with them, how to counter them, or even how to function around them.

Yes, I moved to California to pursue my music dream. Back then, it was the only way to go about it. I was young and believed that I needed to leave whenever there was trouble. Then, I left California because it got too expensive.

When I had to decide where to go, I just picked a place close by. The Midwest was out of the question, as was the South, because I knew those were problem areas where I’d not fit in and people would make my life miserable.

But, as luck would have it, I am in a small town in Oregon where I don’t fit in and people would make my life miserable if they knew me. So I am slowly “coming out” to certain people after I get to know them, in a way where I avoid using any of the bumper sticker slogans that trigger them by instilling fear in their hearts.

By doing this, I might be able to fit in a little better, and they might not be so fearful. This does involve teaching them, and they are resistant to learning.

This is a tall order to ask of an Autistic adult. Still, I will do my best.

So yes, I am standing my ground. I am an American citizen, and I will stay that way so long as I can find a way to survive and work around various pitfalls.

At the same time, I do see the appeal in living in another country. It’s just not something that I can pull off.

Someone close to me once said, “If George W. Bush wins a second term, I am leaving the country.” Lots of people say things like this. But when he got a second term, this person and his wife decided they were moving to Canada.

The process took them 18 months. During this time, they had to submit things like their education status [he had a few degrees] and employment status [he was a Rocket Engineer for a big company]. They had to submit information on how they would add value to the country. He held several patents for rocket engineering, so he was let in.

They thrived for the better part of a decade, until he was diagnosed with cancer. He got the best treatment possible, which was on-par with what he would have gotten here.

The only difference was they didn’t rape his bank account or take his possessions away. So when he died, his wife was not left destitute, and ended up being set with a comfortable situation where she could grieve the loss of her husband without losing her home or going broke.

See, America hurts people in this way. Every single thing is for profit. Everything. That’s simply not how life works.

We need more compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Now that this entry is over, I will go back to writing non-political things. I will do my Autistic best to get people together, even though I have no influence and no solid social standing. I’m just a broke musician who has $80 in his pocket, and that’s all I have.

I currently live in the most advanced Third World country. All the same, I will stay here, I will be active [outside of my blog], I will vote, and I will push for a better country for the sake of my family.

I am, most likely, delusional. But being here is what I know. In a way, it’s a part of who I am, except for the uneducated, religious, angry part.

Maybe America can be saved, although I have doubts about the Earth’s environment, so it might not even matter anymore.

It’s kind of like when I set out to pursue my music career. Much like when I pursued my music career, and got nowhere of great significance, the only things I had were some incredible stories and the ability to look in the mirror and say to myself, “I did my best.”

Chances are great that I will continue to stay in America until I die. And before I die, I can reflect upon my life and declare that I honestly did my best.

How will I know that I did my best? I fought for the working person, a better social safety net, community, and general improvement of life for those of us who are the working poor, who have been neglected and written off by the wealthy and those who worship the wealthy.

There is nothing more American than getting excited about a wealthy celebrity who is cruel to those who have little to nothing. They cheer while they get ripped off.

I’d like to change that attitude.


If you like what I write, then please consider sending a one-time donation to me via PayPal. Please use the following link and click SEND to donate, and thank you for reading! https://paypal.me/drumwild

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started