Friday, January 31, 2014

You Keep Using That Word...

Key and Peele said that "racist" was the n-word for white people, and I have to agree. Nothing puts us Caspers on the defense more quickly than being called that. Hell, even slightly implying that one of us is racist will spark emotion.

Runner-up to "racist"? Nowadays, it has to be "hipster". It is a strange moniker. Here in Austin, everyone is surrounded by hipsters but no one admits to being one. I don't really get it...I'm not even sure why it is so negative.

I'm 40 years old, man...I would love to be considered a hipster... assuming I am positive what the word means. When you use the word, do you know its definition? I get the feeling "hipster" is like "pornography"... people can't really verbalize what it is, but, "I know it when I see it."

I wanted to research recent articles and columns discussing hipsters, and I came across What Was the Hipster? written in 2010. It's a  little article adapted from a book of the same name, and it is pointless, verbose and an empty waste of time. Sentences like "In culture, the Hipster Primitive moment recovered the sound and symbols of pastoral innocence with an irony so fused into the artworks it was no longer visible" make me want to cyber-bitchslap the author. Really? Did a sociological study of hipsters really need to exist?

I don't care to delve into the origins of the word, the many definitions of it, or common traits of "the modern hipster". I am more interested in focusing on its over usage by, well, everyone. Typically, we use it to slander someone we think is pretending to be cooler than they really are. They're trying too hard, and it's obnoxious.

But this is what has been bugging me. Not everyone labeled a hipster is a snobby scenester. Sometimes I think they may actually be cooler than us and we're just bitter about it. No matter who you are, there is someone with better taste and/or with a better wardrobe...or they just carry themselves more aloof or confident.  Even when I find myself lost in my delusion that I am cool as shit all day, and I'm walking around with my stupid sunglasses on and smoking my big dumb cigarettes, I'll notice my fly has been open for an undetermined amount of time, and I'll submit to reality. "I bet Steve McQueen never walked around with his zipper least not unintentionally."

Don't we need an antithesis to "hipster"? Every Jet needs a Shark, right? I like "normies". It's a word addicts use to describe you lucky assholes who can drink and do drugs without self-destructing. I think I'll start using it to identify non-hipster types, because... it's just a fun word.

I prefer to be in a place full of hipsters as opposed to normies. They're more interesting to watch, and they're so self-involved they leave you the fuck alone and ignore you completely. It's great. You say your favorite bar was taken over and ruined by hipsters? Almost a decade ago, my favorite bar turned into "The Mooseknuckle" and became a frat boy stomping ground. It could be worse.

I like being in an apartment complex full of hipsters. It's a pleasant alternative to a suburb full of normies. But that's just me. No offense, normies.

Like I mentioned before, I don't find the word all that negative. I probably am an "aging hipster"...I apparently dress like a "Post Rocker" according to Rob Dobi. At least when I'm in my own denial of thinking I'm a bad ass I don't project to others that I'm better than them...which unfortunately was not the case in the past. I have changed the vibe I give off from "go fuck yourself" to "hey, you do you" (actually, both of these technically have the same meaning, minus hostility and spite).

I would like for you to reconsider using "hipster" in a negative connotation moving forward. Or at least, cut back on it. When you use it too much, it loses its meaning...its power. Besides, you miss the opportunity to get really creative with your labeling and name-calling. When that guy tells you that band you like sold out because they don't release their albums on vinyl anymore and that you can't really appreciate their music unless it's on an LP, don't drop the h-bomb on him. Call him a pretentious shit funnel. Or an elitist dick bouquet. Go crazy.

End the hipster hate! Or don't, whatever. You do you. (snicker)


Ha. I just had a mental picture of me trying to flip the hate around at a Chili's or Applebee's, saying, "Fucking normies...norming up everything with all their conventional bullshit!"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Don't Re-Memoir

"You should write a book."

Damn right I should. Let me get on that.

Okay, well, what kind of book should I write? The obvious idea would be to write a memoir of my past experiences with a major focus on the past decade of decadence. Sure. There is a tiny problem with that idea: I don't remember most of it. That's a bit of an issue.

I first made this realization in treatment when my counselor had me write "my story" to present to group. I sat staring at a blank sheet of paper and was aware for the first time that my brain was just a big bowl of memory soup... pieces of flashbacks and recollections floating around incoherently in brain matter broth that just sloshes around between my ears. I'm sure I have a sleeve of saltines soaking in there as well just to make sorting it all out that much more difficult.

It makes me wonder how these people who were hardcore drunks and drug addicts managed to write out their stories into coherent tales of innocence lost, pain, self-destruction and salvation. How much of it is true and not just imagined filler to bridge the gaps in their timeline?

Memories aren't really true anyway, are they? The longer you hold onto them, the more you distort them in your head in one way or another. That's another problem for me. Many of mine have been twisted a bit to make myself look less jackass, more bad ass. I'm aware of the truth, but it's easier on the ego to leave the doctored images in my filing cabinet that the originals.

Our memories are, of course, one sided. We remember moments in time differently than other people who shared those same experiences. One night I ended up at an after hours hotel party of some roller derby ladies and friends. I had been drinking since late afternoon, so I don't really know how I ended up there, who I knew, or what all went on. I do know that I had to be helped out down stairs and into a cab. On my way down the stairs, a girl I didn't know had a horrified look on her face as she said, "I think he peed himself." I replied, confidently, "You're goddamn right I did!" And then I attempted to high-five an imaginary person as I strutted (stumbled) away in urine-soaked jeans. I imagine that girl and I remember that moment quite differently. She probably made a personal commitment to "know when to say when" and steer clear of degenerates, and I considered it a funny anecdote and not the first time I soiled myself on a Sunday.

That's a good example. I don't remember any details of that night other than her face and me slurring a comeback I thought was hilarious... and pee pants. That's it. I'm not sure just those three details make for a good "road to rock bottom" yarn.

I suppose some authors are just better at remembering the details. Despite massive consumption of booze and heroin, I still have a knack for memorizing movie quotes and being able to tell you every movie and TV show an actor has done. This trivial memory skill would be very beneficial if IMDB, Wikipedia and the whole fucking Internet did not exist. Also, I can remember bits from comedians' acts I've seen 10 or 20 years ago... which is irritating because I can't remember shit I wrote last year.

The idea of doing research on myself seems too narcissistic even for me. The idea of asking friends and family for their memories of me, both good and bad, makes me uneasy. It also seems like it would be kind of a waste of time.

"I don't know, John...I was fucked up, too, you know. You said something funny then you fell down, I think? That sounds about right."

"I don't remember when it happened but at one point you yelled at a guy for being a hippie. His hair wasn't really long, either...I think that's why he didn't get mad. He was just as confused as I was as to why you would call him that."

"I thought I told you not to call here again, you drunk-dialing asshat."

"Oh, I remember that you loved playing with G.I. Joes with your brother, and you really enjoyed singing at church when you were little. I think we still have some of your stuffed animals in the attic...Hello? Son, are you still there?"

I know this is all due to brain cells I've doused with booze and the "time travel" I did often with pain killers, but I like to think of it as my body and mind protecting me from my past... locking away all those possibly damaging memories so I can move forward with my life. Sure... why not. Either way, I won't be scribing "Here and Back Again... and Then There Once or Twice More... and Back... and Forth: The John Rabon Story" any time soon.

What will I write? Probably a lot of shit like this. I guess we'll see.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Defeating My Inner Demon

"Inner Demon III" by jdotjam

 I figured it out by accident.

I was preparing for war, mentally and emotionally. I learned patience being locked away for 6 months with drug addicts, bad criminals and all-around fuck-ups, and I practiced patience when setting goals for myself this past year. I worked on little things in my life, not really pushing to get to whatever my next step in life was supposed to be. I was interested in the here and now. I attempted to understand who I was without an influence in my body, and I focused on emotions moment to moment as I experienced them. This sounds tedious and mundane, but it had been a long time since I really dealt with emotions...or with anything for that matter.

So, I took my baby steps for months. I wrote when I was inspired or disturbed...or both. I handled whatever was in front of me. (Okay, that makes me sound like a groping uncle or your creepy coworker. There's a better way to phrase that.) I took care of issues as they surfaced and met my immediate needs. (No, now it sounds like I just masturbated alot. You get the idea, I hope. Moving along.)

Doing my best at work, performing when I could, obeying the sober house rules, staying sober, skateboarding, meditation...I followed a routine for months. Good things started to happen - I thrived at work, I wrote new jokes, I maintained an inner peace, I met Katie. And then recently, I completely paid off probation and moved out of the sober house.

The transition to the "real world" is all but done. In less than two months, I'll be done with probation completely, and I'll no longer have this breathalizer I carry in a backpack. It couldn't have happened at a better time. I was tired of being around the same type of people: shifty addicts either beginning recovery or pretending to be in recovery. I've had to deal with them for over a year in close proximity, and I was ready to be around normies. This is Austin, though, and I hang around kitchen staff and comedians. Normal is basically functioning drunks and drug users. Still a warm change, people who function.

While all this is going on, I am working on my mental state, ready for my addiction to fight me at the first sign of bad news. My inner demon...that devil on my shoulder...I knew it was still there, getting ready to attack. My assumption has always been the major battle will occur the day I have no one watching me anymore, which would be March 1st. I no longer believe this to be the case as I'm positive there will be no big attack from my demon.

You see, I made a breakthrough back in October that I touched on in the Duality of Me post:

"I don't really think that the angel is always good or the devil is always evil."
"My duality has to do with who I was vs who I am trying to be now."
"I can't stop being me."
"I am my imperfections, and I can embrace them."

Addiction, anxiety, negative's all in our mind. Everything is in our minds. No shit, you knew that. It's because it is all in my head that I had to change my thinking over time in order to make this new life while clean and sober thingy work.

I had to convince myself that my new life was cool. Sober in AA with a higher power looking at my past as all negative did not sound acceptable. Being very much pro-drug and pro-alcohol but considering myself a retired drunk and junkie looked better. Approaching the reality that I've milked all the bloody fun out of booze and pain killers and the lifestyle associated with both was how I convinced myself to do something new. Take that as a daily affirmation along with my decision I was done for good so that I don't kill myself and revisit them every 24 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's been working. Like really, really well. My success with rewiring some of these patterns in my selfish know-it-all ego-driven brain made me starting thinking more about the angel and devil on my shoulders...I mean obviously, my perception of "good" and "bad" separated instead of being all one big yin-fuck-yang. If this was a fallacy, wasn't referring to an addictive personality coupled with self-destructive patterns as a demon just as bullshit? I mean, obviously I don't have a demon possessing me...but the concept of separating negative aspects of yourself into a conceptual entity that you have to fight sounded stupid all of the sudden. It's all me, man. I don't need to try to kick my own ass here.

Somehow I ended up in this position and mindframe to consider urges to revisit old habits to be fleeting and pointless. We're old, brain. We've done that already and I'm bored with it.

Like I said...I got to this point by accident.

Just for good measure, though, I focused within myself and formed the angel and devil again. Instead of being combative with my demon, I simply told him, "Hey, I don't like being told what to do." Without warning, I immediately took out a broadsword and Ned Starked the angel, never taking my eyes off the devil. I added, as I mentally cleaned off the blade, "I welcome any suggestion you may have, though. I do like to have a good time, now and then."

Not really defeating the demon so much as deeming him irrelevant and scaring the shit out of him. He hasn't said much since then. RIP, shoulder angel.