A.D.D. Overfocused A.D.D.

I was 38 years old before it really occurred to me, hey who the hell am i, what do i really want out of life, and how do i get it? I should have tried to figure that out at 20, but when i hit the brick wall of responsibility i rebelled against childhood issues and decided to resort to alcohol and crack. But they just put off the inevitable.

(Speaking of, doesn’t anyone notice that the word "alcoholic" just adds an "ic" to the end of the substance? So "shopaholic" doesn’t make any sense - there’s no such thing as "shopahol."  Really you’re just a "shopic." Or a "chocolatic" i guess. Or just a plain ol’ freak.)

I’ve realized i have a base problem, which is i can’t multi-task. I can walk and chew gum, it doesn’t mean i won’t have the TV and music on while i work on the computer. But all the interconnected and related details of a task fill my brain, and shifting to something else is overwhelming. Once i start, everything else will get forgotten, like sleeping, eating, showering (there are other things i don’t forget to do though...).  

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Why Capitalism Sucks: Part 4 – Systems, Identity & Motivation

A New Feudal System

The feudal system in the "dark ages" was justified by the belief that one group of people (the nobles) was inherently better than the rest (peasants, serfs, general peons, etc.) - there was a natural hierarchy due to their “breeding.” The “strong” could repress the “weak” because it was their natural birthright. By the time the USA was founded, thought had evolved and the founding fathers, with strong Deist influence, using logic, concluded that all people are created equal, and so the founders forced civic equality by law. The equal rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, to vote and choose your own governance (although at the time only included white, male landowners), was at least a baby step in the right direction.

But we're only halfway there. The next step is economic equality. Basing pay on inherent skills still creates a new feudal system based on birth. Many people with rarer skills assume they are inherently “better” and it's their natural right to get rich using the work of the poor (and they may claim it’s because they worked harder). In the dark ages it was inherited from who the parents were (e.g. nobles or serfs), currently at least it's what abilities we are born with (worker, manager, rock star, etc), which is a step in the right direction, but still flawed.

Read moreWhy Capitalism Sucks: Part 4 – Systems, Identity & Motivation

Why Capitalism Sucks: Part 3 – Definitions: Capitalism

Capitalism

The goal of capitalism is to pay the cheapest wages, use the cheapest materials and processes and sell the results for the highest possible price, to result in the most profit or capital, which is then supposed to be reinvested to make more of the same.

We know what the results of largely unregulated capitalism are, since we saw them in the early part of the 20th century: rampant 14-hour workdays, child labor, crappy dangerous working conditions, no breaks or relief, monopolies and nowhere else to go.

The minute one company gets bigger than another, it gets more purchasing and negotiating power, giving it more leverage over the market. The subsequent goal is to start buying up all the competition to eliminate the competition, monopolizing the suppliers and customers so you can name your own prices, which actually ends up overriding the market instead of being subject to it. As we know this leads to monopolies, as was shown in the early part of the 20th century.

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Why Capitalism Sucks: Part 2 – Definitions: Communism & Socialism

DEFINITIONS

Let’s define some terms to eliminate some usual misunderstandings right away:

Communism

Communism is derived from the same root as community, common, and commune. Because of all the baggage, a better word is probably “commonism.” Communism is everything that is shared in common, owned collectively by we the people, including even now public roads, lakes, rivers, parks, schools, and all related and government property such as fire and police and military land and equipment. We all own them and we are all supposed to have a say in them. (In academic lingo this physical property is known as the “means of production” when related to industry and manufacturing.)
This is what communism always has been and what it will always be.

The USA is and has been physically 40% communist because we the people collectively own that much of the land through our state and federal governments. Zoning and Anti-trust laws are also “commonist” since we the people collectively decide what can and can’t be done with land and property that is supposedly “owned” by private individuals (though usually a bank actually owns it anyway).

Read moreWhy Capitalism Sucks: Part 2 – Definitions: Communism & Socialism

Why Capitalism Sucks: Part 1 – The Scenario & My Experience

(NOTE: I didn't mean for so many of my articles here to have the word "suck" in the title! But it just happened that two of them, written at completely different times, needed to be divided into multiple parts. Anyway, here we go...)

The issue here is not really capitalism as a whole, it is basically the unfair pay scaling. Entrepreneurship, hard work in order to research, come up with ideas, plan, innovate, invest, sweat and see them come to fruition is awesome. But what role does or should money/mammon play in all this? Is it fair to pay some people less for working just as hard to make those dreams come true?  

(NOTE: Helping or taking care of people who don’t or can’t work, is a different discussion not addressed here. But often, helping others helps us, even from a practical or strictly selfish standpoint.)

Read moreWhy Capitalism Sucks: Part 1 – The Scenario & My Experience

On Being An Artist (or: How to be a creative person in a prefab world)

What is an artist? Creative? Intuitive? Weird. Outside the box. What box? Outside of my own box. Raconteur? That sounds "rakish" but it really just means "storyteller." We’re telling our stories and we must be arrogant enough to believe enough other people will relate to them for us to make a living at it. Freaks and hippies? Rejects? Empaths? Sociopaths? Off the beaten path? Or just beaten.

Everyone creates. Every thought, every sentence is a unique creation of the person it comes from. Even if you repeat something, it still has a different inflection or reason for being said this time. But many people create theirs to fit into something. But even if you’re trying not to fit into something, that’s still trying to fit out of something else. Pro anti. If you’re anti anti, you’re pro status quo. Quid pro quo - money for nothing.

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Neckties That Blind

Who decided that if I tie something tightly around my neck I will work more effectively? What the hell is that? It's bad enough that we're judged by what we look like, what we have, what we do, who we know and how hip we aren't. All of those assessments are based on the shape of the shell that we shuffle around in. Each of us is a sweet and chewy, rich and gooey inside, wrapped, rather trapped in a cookie crumbly, meat and mumbly outside. We're shapeless souls walking around in opaque prisons that misrepresent, obscure and lie about us. Angels walk by in ugly, bulging bubbles, while devils prance around in svelte, melt in your mouth hard candy shells that hide the grotesque truth. Seeing-eye people are blinded by sight, while blind people have got it good because they can hear right through the lies. Although they may judge people by the sounds of their voices or their manner of speaking. So really only those who are blind and deaf have got it. Unless they judge people by how they smell, taste or feel. I guess Helen Keller was the most blessed of all.

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Better Late

A little thing i wrote years ago, but, better late than never...

Who needs coffee? Just wake up late enough so that if you catch one stop light red, you'll get fired. It may take awhile of being late to work up to this point, but so much the better. I wake up by screaming at traffic and pounding the steering wheel. It's the near-accidents, the screaming commuters and the emotional wreckage you'll leave in your wake, wreak on yourself and others, that works best. Or if you can snag some coffee before you leave home, you may find that spilling it on your lap helps. Wake up your heart without mainlining caffeine; go straight for the stress. There's nothing like the stench of a burning clutch and brakes in the morning. Don't these people know I'm late for work?

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So Long, Diane: Soliloquy For A Coworker

Here's a little something i wrote many years ago for a co-worker who left for a new job:

Please mark your calendars for a celebration/mourning of sorts, as Diane is leaving our humble enclave for pastures at least as green (although she'll still be outstanding in her field 😀 . 'Twil be a mourning for her passing, yet a celebration of her new (ad)venture. More like the morning after the dawn of a new day; or maybe a new era; a Dianeless era. Or a morning fraught with emptiness and strife, full of memories twisted and bent by the jaws of time, a morning of days stretched into weeks stretched into months stretched into years stretched into millenniums stretched into (well, you get the picture), a morning sweet, yet sour; joyful yet bitter, a pantomimed salute to the confusion and fortitude that is the human soul.

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The Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 4: Last Chances

 LAST CHANCE
I know this is getting way long, so let's move to the last game of the year. The pressure is on, i have to talk to her, it's my one goal of the night (in addition to doing my job well as always 🙁 ). But i decide to relax and wait for the 4th quarter, which turns out to be a stupid, stupid idea. I guess i did it because i was nervous and as it was since the beginning i don't want to make her nervous. A fine job of that i did. Why does this always happen?

Several times during the evening, over the railing i see her walking on the level below, twice she is alone, and once she has that soft look on her face like girls do when they're thinking about love. I should have gone down right then, it was perfect! But i worry more about her seeing me and thinking i'm stalking her, than i do about talking to her, so i stick to my plan of waiting. I am way too nervous anyway. Once she looked up and i think she saw me see her. Why didn't i go down there? I had a nice plan of like "Hey there she is! How did your last game of the year go?" and just casually asking her if i can friend her on Facebook. But i wait until there's 4 minutes left in the game, walk the length of that floor, and don't see hardly anyone, let alone her. Dammit, foiled again. Destroyed by my fears. Now i understand what JFK meant when he said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." She really is just a girl, but i've made it all into something too big.

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The Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 3: It Gets Weird

(Shortly here i switch to present tense, i don't know why but it feels right so i'ma just leave it.)

A BAD DAY
At a concert i hadn't seen her the whole time even after walking to the other side to see if i could. Once the event is over i am always hell bent on finishing work and getting out of there because it can take up to 3 hours to get done.

Two bad things happened:

1) They both walked by me with their cart and i was all "have you been here the whole time?" (she is looking and smiling at me as usual). They walk into one of the rooms and i am still struggling to replace a trash bag outside, she still looks back at me and smiles. I should have gone in the room and said hi! WTF is wrong with me? Then, she comes out, walks right by me and all the way down to the end of the outside landing (there are bathrooms there but also closer, the other way in the middle). I watch her, thinking here's my chance to ask her for contact info, and that she might be doing it on purpose? But she was all alone and nobody was really down there, it felt as if i'd be following her or stalking her, and i didn't want to make her uncomfortable, so i continued struggling with the trash. WTF? Then she came back and she was looking at me and seemed disappointed. I asked her how's your night? She seemed relieved that i said something so nice and as she walked by she looks back (there's the "leaning towards" sensation) and answers it was fine but she just wants to go home.

Read moreThe Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 3: It Gets Weird

The Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 2: She Appears

This season, Veronica was joined by another girl (we'll call her Jessica), at least as cute but she just seemed more approachable, so i thought i would make more of an effort if i could, plus with the two of them i could talk to both, less awkward. She is also very young though, and i know that going in, so it's part of my hesitation. One day i happened to pass by them at a ramp so i just asked "so are you guys like food runners or something?" They were both very nice and we had a quick chat. Sweet! Jessica is one of those "smiley happy" girls but that could be a defense mechanism? Noting this is the same type of girl i got crushes on late in high school - i was drawn to the smiley sophomores who had just gotten there and were happy just having fun and being unattached. Why do i pick people who aren't interested? I have also been interested in and dated girls older than me (which we will address briefly in a final analysis) so don't get the wrong idea! I don't discriminate based on what age the person who won't like me is.  😎 

Something important we all have to watch is, when someone is nice to us we can take it the wrong way. We have to notice if they are just as nice to everyone else, and maybe they are simply a friendly, outgoing person, or people-pleaser, so don't take it personally. I have been fooled many times.

Read moreThe Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 2: She Appears

The Story of a Crush And How I Suck At It – Part 1: The Pattern

This got so long i split it into four parts. I wrote this partly to document it for myself, but i hope people can relate, regardless of the gender(s).

Whenever i get a new job, especially a temp one, or join a new group or go to a meeting (or wherever! The grocery store?), i tend to get a crush on some girl. Even after knowing this is likely to happen and telling myself or praying "No it's not gonna happen this time!" it still seems to happen. Sometimes it can take awhile, but eventually it does, maybe because i get bored with the job and/or need something intense to distract me. Or like many addictive folks i am just more comfortable in the little den of my fears, so i re-create them.  🙁  Love does not equal fear any more!

Usually the girl (victim? No wait, target? NO! LOL more accurate is really "love interest") is very cute, but i don't purposefully go after the most beautiful girl; she usually has a sort of melancholy or inner sadness that i sense. I am attracted to an inner "realness" that i can sense or feel, and seems like she needs a hug. Occasionally, i have found out later that they were someone who knows God, so i may have just been attracted to the "Spirit" i felt in them, but it's hard to tell. Sometimes i think as people, or especially as Christians guided by God, we are drawn to people for various reasons - maybe we need to learn something from them, or maybe there is something they can learn from us. Or we could just be symbiotic souls attached somehow in the spirit dimension. Soulmates could be of various levels. The trick is to not put too much weight on the wrong ones.

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Exhausted Before I Leave The House

It's easy to say something like "I got ready and left for work" or even, "I woke up, ate, brushed my teeth, showered and left for work." But that's way over-simplified, isn't it? Every activity is made up of a bunch of smaller actions, and if you are intent on each one, it can be exhausting. Every activity or event feels overwhelming to me, whether it's doing laundry, or going to a party. Partly because of anxiety (well let's call it what it is: FEAR), and partly because of hyperfocused ADD. Here is what waking up, getting ready and leaving the house feels like to me:

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Trinity of Humans

The word "trinity" is not in the Bible and i think it can block people out when we add "doctrine" to try and categorize all the different things Jesus said. But i do get the concept. We could say that i as a human have a physical body, a mind or personality (some may disagree LOL), and a soul or spirit (some may still disagree hehe); or some differentiation of similar elements. But when i introduce myself to someone, i don't insist: "Hi i'm Tom, but i have three parts, I HAVE THREE PARTS!" It kinda goes with the territory and as we're all humans, we all get it. God is different and it is good to know that we can FEEL it (the "Spirit") and that we believe Jesus is God, or contains the Word of God, or embodies what we believe God is (which might all be the same thing). But we could just say it that way, like a normal person. 🙂

The following is not quite the same (The "soul," beginning with Hebrew and Greek concepts, is a topic for a whole 'nother time), but it occurred to me we can consider three different aspects of humans. I think of these elements most regarding people i'm attracted to, but they are always there.

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Who Left The Dogs Out?

Just a quick one, for an explanation of this parable about a Syrophoenician woman, children, dogs and crumbs. It always seemed harsh to me given that Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (even towards people who hate us, as Jesus's example the "good Samaritan" did). But as usual Jesus puts a twist on it, and our hearts have to be in that right place to get it. Here is the text, combined and grammar modernized from Mark 7:25-30 and Matthew 15:21-28 (NIV);

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Oneness

I think i will preface this by noting one big difference between the Pharisees (as portrayed in our Library of Writings known as the Bible) and Jesus. The Pharisees created a lot of separation between themselves, and the Jews and others: Don't talk to the Samaritans, don't touch the lepers, hate the tax collectors (who were traitors and thieves, the worst kind of snitch/rat that even thieves and traitors hate!). Gentiles were out also, and women not only weren't allowed to read scripture but couldn't even be touched in case they were "unclean." The Pharisees were all about separate, separate, block, block, block.

Jesus, on the other (right) hand, included EVERYONE. He broke down the wall between the Jews and tax collectors by calling Zacchaeus down from the tree and having dinner at his house, as well as calling Levi/Matthew to be one of the disciples. He touched lepers a lot, healed Romans and other Gentiles, ate with whores and scumbags and not only talked to the Samaritan woman at the well but would have even drank water from the jar she touched (gasp)! Jesus also had women companions and followers and some of them supported him in his ministry. Every time the disciples wanted to send someone away, including children, Jesus always said "let them come." Jesus not only broke down the exclusive barrier between Jews and Gentiles, he shattered the barrier between MAN and GOD by dying for our sins!  Jesus always moved towards joining, togetherness, community, ONENESS.

I can almost hear God's instructions: Jesus, tear down those walls!

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The Nicene Creed Redux

Creeds like this one seem like they drop a pile of boxes filled with human ideas on top of God, who is so BIG that no human description could ever suffice. I hadn’t had an occasion to read a creed in awhile, so when we read it out of the Episcopal prayer book during my mom’s funeral, i realized “woah i don’t even believe half of this!” It may be more true that i just don’t like the way it sounds, like, oppressive. Plus it was written 2000 years ago, by the beginnings of the Catholic church. Haven’t we learned anything since then?

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But What About Punishment?

(First, see my previous article, “Christianese Substitutions Part 3 - “Hell” which reviews the actual Hebrew and Greek words that “hell” is substituted for throughout the Bible, and their meanings.)

I understand the need or want for punishment for people who hurt people; what about murderers, torturers, rapists and thieves (and those of us who allowed people we voted for to do those things? 😐 ) Paul of Tarsus might add other things such as his list in Romans 1:28:

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