fear

You know, I’ve locked eyes with killers in dark places.

Been sure I was a heartbeat away from oblivion more times than I care to remember.

Surrendered to those I was sure would do me harm.

But my baby girl, an infant with eyes of deep, plain truth, sometimes gives me a look that scares the shit out of me like nothing else ever has.

Right down to my marrow.

Wild.

I wonder what that’s all about.

Fun at the Gas Station

In the full-service gas station and automotive shop where I worked for ten years, we had the “Go Fuck Yourself” game.

How you played was: you waited until a coworker was completely engrossed in a difficult task that was obviously pissing them off. Then, from a nice safe distance, you call out their name, like you need them for something:

“Hey, Jim!”

(Jim ignores you.)

“Jim!”

(Ignores.)

“Jim!”

(Still yet ignores you, but every nuance to his posture speaks to his profound rage towards you, his job, his dead wife, minorities he can’t even keep track of coherently, and whatever else is going on in that rat’s nest he calls a psyche.)

“Jim!”

“What!?” Jim yells, as he finally pulls his focus away from his task.

“Go fuck yourself!”

Pro tip: When doing this game with the real Jim, make fucking well sure you’re ready to duck whatever hand tool he’s using, because that shit is more than likely bound for your head.

It was not a healthy work place, but we sure did like to laugh. Because fuck Jim.

I’ll Give Em a Jolly Rodger

by Balls Malone

If I was a pirate captain in the days of yore, I would name my ship “Forcible Sodomy.” However, I’d only sodomize the captives that looked disappointed when I told them the name is strictly metaphorical. And even then I’d be gentle and use lots and lots of whatever was the best lubricant in those days, because even piracy should have its limits.

Settled

Sometimes I sit transfixed, consumed by conflicting feelings.

A great doom approaches.

Everything is as it should be.

These notions fight; seeking an equilibrium with each other, and I am disturbed by their struggle.

Yet I have come to realize, to sense, that these are not conflicting notions.

A great doom approaches, and this is as it should be.

Do we really deserve anything but?

Have we not earned it?

Ice Sculpture Maintenance and the Married Man

I continue to see these statistics thrown around about the gendered division of household labor; how women are still doing more than their fare share of housework. This is always presented in some direct or oblique way as confirmation of that most nebulous of boogeymen: The Patriarchy.

Now, as a man who has consistently done less than fifty percent of the household cleaning in my cohabitations, I would like a chance to respond. Note that I did not use the expression “less than my fair share.” Because, what does “fair” mean anyway? The assumption of those throwing the statistics around is that half of whatever being done is fair. I assert otherwise.

This particular argument was a source of much strife in my starter marriage, and it is from those experiences that I derive most of my arguments. Near the end of things in that lamentable relationship, my lovely spouse hit a point where she exclaimed:

“It’s almost like you don’t even care if the house is clean or not!”

Finally! I thought. She finally fucking figured this out! My face lit up in happy relief and I said:

“Yes! Exactly!”

Wrong thing to say, apparently. But I still don’t understand why that response should be such a shock. She saw the way I lived before we moved in together. When the filth reached a level I found embarassing, I would clean. To clean before such a state is reached was obsessive compulsive madness to me. In fact, after moving in with her, it took me a couple of years to learn to be comfortable without a nice layer of clutter around me.

This whole argument went down shortly before she left me in the most egregiously hurtful way she could devise, so draw your own conclusions as to the wisdom of exposing my inner monologue to her scrutiny. All’s well that ends well, at any rate. Water long since passed under a very thoroughly burned bridge.

But every time I run across those statistics, I go back in my head to that same argument. And I always ask myself: Is it fair to expect someone to do half the work that you require to be comfortable?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete sociopath with this. When one partner cooks, the other does the dishes. That’s courtesy. If one partner does the laundry, then the other should, say, clean the bathroom on a schedule that both find acceptable. But daily vacuuming and dusting? Polishing, waxing, buffing, and all the rest? Noticing that the fridge compartments need a thorough toothbrush scrubbing? That’s your emotional baggage and should be categorized as a personal hobby, as far as I’m concerned.

Then we can get into the whole, “well, you don’t do it well enough, so I’ll do it.” This seems like a free pass, but it is not. This apparently voluntary labor is added to the “what a douchebag he is” list she’s compiling to justify the great fuckover she has planned for you. (Yes, I know, I have baggage of my own.)

My point here is that in the domestic situation I just described, I was doing less than half the household chores. No question. I cleaned the bathroom on her schedule, did the dishes most of the time, and yet did much less than half of the work that was going on. But was that unfair?

As a finishing point, let me construct a fantasy scenario that illustrates my position.

A couple shack up. They’re happy and in love and it’s all bouquets of flowers and blowjobs. Hooray for love!

Now the man decides he needs to have an ice sculpture in the back yard all winter long. He can’t feel right about the abode without that. So he gets to it. What a lovely ice sculpture it is! And she thinks this is a bit stupid, but it is kind of nice to have an ice sculpture, so why not?

But, being an ice sculpture, it melts and needs to be recut into new forms and often replaced completely. Ice sculpture maintenance and replacement become a major nuisance in the man’s life.

As more time goes on, love sours and our husband is looking for ammunition to abuse his partner with. Aha! She’s not pulling her fare share of the ice sculpture labor! Let’s have couples counseling about it, and maybe we need to work out an equitable ice sculpture maintenance schedule. Of course she doesn’t follow the schedule, which gives him more leverage in the confrontational game of brinksmanship their relationship has become.

And she never even wanted that fucking ice sculpture in the first place. So is it fair to expect her to do half the work maintaining it?