Monday, July 23, 2012

Character Development

In movies, you get to see characters evolve or devolve over roughly 90 minutes. Good films have decent character development...and others don't develop shit and are filled with one-dimensional characters. "The Dark Knight", for example, has Harvey Dent, and by the time he becomes Two Face, you don't see him as an "evil" villain. Hell no...I felt empathy...or sympathy. One of those. I felt some sort of's move on.

Then there's Billy Zane's character in "Titanic", who should have just had a big goddamn black moustache and tied the chick to train tracks. This would have been strange on a boat, but he might as well have. Just a big ol' one-dimensional pile of crap.

I think our lives have characters in them in the same way. We have well developed characters in the form of friends, family and coworkers, and we have characters that are just flat, undeveloped, and there to be judged by us and our lack of knowledge of who they are completely.

I'm bringing this up, because it is the answer to the questions we all occasionally ask:

-- How can anyone be a Republican/Democrat?
-- How can that person believe in Jesus/Allah/nothing?
-- A vegan? Really?
-- Capitalism/Socialism/Communism is evil. Can't you see that?

We don't have to agree with the other person, but it is so much easier to not take the time to walk in their shoes and get to know why they believe that way and just flat out say "fuck them".

I grew up a preacher's kid, son of two teachers, lower middle class. A Christian. I became an atheist for a while. Buddhist/Taoist. When I was married, we were close to upper middle class financially. I've been homeless. I've voted Republican, Democrat and Libertarian. I was straight edge and a junkie. Alcoholic.

This is why I can log into Facebook, scroll through the Newsfeed and see posts for gun control next to "I love guns"...posts of Bible scriptures next to atheist followed by anti-Obama. I know where each of my friends are coming from with their posts, regardless whether I agree with them or not.

Believe me though...I daily will read or hear something from a person that makes me go, "You are a fucking idiot. Suck a tailpipe." That's the easy reaction. I want to go the hard route and step back...see why someone thinks that. Converse rather than argue. Talk to them without the ego as it's not about winning or's about making a connection. If it doesn't happen, move on. End the discussion and go mess around with the damn phone. Not everyone is an idiot...they just walked a different path in life than we have.

Some are just really misinformed and brain-damaged, though. But hey, haven't we all been at one time or another?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bird Clock

In 1998, one of my classy relatives gave me a bird clock as a wedding gift. My exwife hated it, and I didn't much care for it either...except that the owl at "12" always sounded like he was saying, "noon...noon..." It was an awful, annoying Cracker Barrel item that hung on the wall clashing with our nice furniture and framed posters/art.

I change my mind. I think I did like it.

When I left my ex, I did not seek legal counsel...mainly because I already had a lawyer for two pending DWI arrests. I didn't need two lawyers tag teaming my bankroll. I did at one point tell a homeless man who asked for change that I was going through 2 DWIs and a divorce at the same time...he gave me some change.

I told my ex she could whatever she wanted. She moved out of our house, and I moved back in. She left a mattress, a shitty futon, my cat and the forsaken bird clock. I was starting over...and I was fine with that.

When I bailed on the house and into an apartment for 5 years, the bird clock came with me. I hung it in my apartment, and left all the batteries in. I could tell when I needed to leave for work because of the woodpecker at "9".

When I lost the apartment and slept on a friend's couch, I put it in a closet. When I left Austin, I took it with me.

14 years later, my room has three things on the wall: framed Nirvana boxed set from W.White (TCB), a postcard of Seattle (where I want to move to) and the bird clock. It serves as a reminder to me that among all the stupid, stupid things that I've done...among all the shitty decisions...among all the hurt that I've caused other people that I'll never be able to reconcile...I made one choice. One choice that ruined me financially, shook me out of comfortable suburb life and turned my world upside down just so I could be happy. While it was a badly executed and poorly timed act, I don't regret it.

I look at that thing on the wall and it reminds me to never be comfortable with aspects of my life that I don't want there. Shake it up, John. Change starts with you.

I did finally take the batteries out that make the chirping and hooting noises. Fuck birds.