Donkey Punch

May 22, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 10:44 am

Not much to add lately to the swirling cacophany of faux outrage, lying pols, and media driven popularity contests.

I am a fairly extreme person, and I am swinging toward the apathetic side of my divide. Who cares who wins the nomination? The Presidency? How will I become more organized, less lazy, a better father? How will I sort out the tangled mess that is my inner dialog? How will I become financially responsible?

Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in this world.”

I agree. I think this whole media circus/ political kabuki situation we have today is a direct reflection of how scared and powerless we all are. The worse thing get the more desperately we search the internet for the latest pictures of Brittney’s depilation, scan the check-out line for news about Suri, or read our paper looking for who is or is not wearing a fucking lapel pin.

But what can I do? How can I make a difference when I can’t control my spending habits, can’t control my drinking habits, can’t control my heart? Do I really have the right to worry about the neighbor’s yard when mine is strewn high with junked cars, broken hearts and blackberry brambles?

It occurs to me that this may almost be a re-post of something I have brought up before, but these questions haunt me. Why was I given the ability to parse the outside world so effectively, but am stumbling around blind when it comes to my own inner world? How can I rail against people I have never known and will never meet when I can’t even accomplish the simple task of organizing and paying my bills?

The political world is scary and getting scarier as we near the end of the modern era as we know it, and the more we let ourselves become distracted by the chaos, the more the chaos grows.

I find myself pining more and more for the communal life. A small group of people watching each others’ back, each making up for each others’ shortcomings. A family of association. A place where everyone matters.

I guess this is less of a blog post and more of a purge of some of the feelings that are preventing me from saying anything relevant lately. I welcome your input.

And if you have never commented here before, feel free. The world is getting too crazy to stay silent.



  1. oh don’t even get me started…

    Comment by grindchopblend — May 22, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

  2. You have a communcal life, you know. It’s called ‘Family’ and as a father, you need to start by watching the backs of those gorgeous girls, and invite them to watch yours in the ways that are within their reach.

    As far as getting organized and regaining control, it sounds like you need someone to hold you accountable. If you are unable to do it for yourself, you need to find a friend, relative, lover, truancy officer, 12 step program whatever, who will do it (the holding accountable part, not the organzing) for you.

    I think you know what works for me…maybe you should try it!


    Comment by Constance — May 24, 2008 @ 1:07 am

  3. this can be a scary and overwhelming time in which to be alive. i think you’re right, and that most people feel that on some level but don’t necessarily recognize those feelings for what they are.

    sometimes i feel like long-term planning is a waste of my time. if i’m going to die at 40 trying to defend my food stash with a homemade crossbow from a rival band of raiders, then does it matter that i still don’t have a penny in any retirement account? and i know for certain that i want to raise some kids (whether i bake them myself or not), but i’m honestly not sure if i would be able to protect my future hypothetical children from what the world is becoming. so maybe i won’t get the opportunity to be a parent after all.

    and maybe all the work people and institutions are doing on climate change is too late. and maybe polar bears are going to become extinct. and maybe the united states’ economy is going to collapse altogether. but maybe not.

    so, at the risk of tilting at windmills, i look for ways to make my life more environmentally friendly, more just, more ethical. and when i find those ways, i celebrate them. i’ve been driving less and less. i haven’t bought anything i don’t really need in awhile now. i’ve been spending the extra money to get local, organic produce, when i have the chance. i’ve been trying out new kinds of toiletry products, because i’m tired of supporting mega-corporations every time i brush my teeth. i’ve got a great spring/summer garden in, and i’m coming up on hundreds of homegrown plums. i’ve been using vinegar and baking soda to clean instead of dangerous chemicals manufactured by giant conglomerates.

    are these things too little, too late? i don’t know. but actually, it doesn’t matter. do i always follow through with making choices that reflect my true desires and values? no i don’t. but giving in to the powerlessness and disgust that i feel when i drive somewhere or put some bleach on the mold in my shower helps nothing. like all people on this sweet planet, i’m going to fall short. whether a mistake is a mistake or a catastrophe is sometimes in my hands. when i fail, i move on.

    and t4, you ask (maybe rhetorically?) how you can make changes in your own life. i think you make changes by rolling up your sleeves and doing it. (just in the same way that you would literally clear a lot that really did have cars and blackberry bushes and the debris of a life lived in it.) theorizing and discussing the lot clearing project will only get you so far. make a plan, and get started. and remember to be kind to yourself, and acknowledge your successes as well as your failures. you pick something: bills? those suckers go into one basket on the top of the refrigerator, as soon as you get them in the mail. they all go out on the 20th of the month, which you mark on your calendar. and when you get that routine down, you congratulate yourself. because it’s not about where or what you think you should be. it’s about figuring out where and what you are, and then figuring out what you need to do to keep moving in the directions you want. by doing.

    and in this doing, you carve out the life you want. this week a friend of mine earned his doctorate. he’s brilliant and kind, but didn’t have a very easy start in life and has always had to make do with very little. most of his friends have our own problems: money, family, emotional, work. but this week, some of us spent the morning shopping (and the night before baking) and a bunch of us took time off of work to attend the ceremony, and then we proceeded to cook an amazing dinner and have a party for hours and hours. people pitched in, in many different ways, and it was absolutely beautiful to see the ways in which a diverse group of folks came together to celebrate a hard-earned and richly-deserved honor.

    so please, try. try and succeed; try and fail. don’t allow your passionate nature to push you around—you are going to keep making mistakes, sometimes, and you are also going to do great things.

    the issue of community has really been on my heart lately. the other night i was talking to my dad and i mentioned, in passing, the broken bones fund a bike messengers’ association has. my dad interrupted me to say that he wanted to find out how to donate to it. i wasn’t hitting him up for money; it hadn’t occurred to me at all. but what he said has really stuck with me: “people just need to watch out for each other. times are tough, and they’re going to get tougher, and i think we all need to take good care of each other.”

    and it’s true. pick ways to take care of others.

    thanks for writing about this; you’re certainly not alone in these thoughts.

    Comment by sarah — May 24, 2008 @ 1:48 am

  4. Clean up your god damn yard!

    Dont you realize that just by acknowledging and understanding the depravity around you and writing about it you are a few giant leaps ahead of most people? And I doubt you are as lazy as you think you are = its hard to be a lazy father.

    Comment by collegehookerboy — May 26, 2008 @ 5:40 am

  5. I think you have it more together then 99% of the population. YOU at least QUESTION what the hell is going on. That just ain’t the norm these days. Try not to be so hard on yourself…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

    Comment by ClapSo — May 26, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  6. Thank you all for your kind words. One of the drawbacks to being hooked into the intertoobs is that some times it can all be so overwhelming. It is good to see such great people out there.

    Comment by t4toby — May 29, 2008 @ 6:46 am

  7. Here’s the thing. The very tribal madness that brought us to this point can, if it ultimately comes to it, save us.

    Think simple. Defensible perimeter, powerful weapons to reduce the likelihood of combat, solid relationships, interlocking support, diverse skills and an unwavering hope for the next generation.

    If it goes down hard, and sure, that’s nothing more than 50/50 at this point, you need three things. Resources, defensive weapons and community. The challenge is that we HAVE that, but if the t00bz go down, how the hell do we make it happen?

    The answer is we have to honestly face two challenges. One. Kill the predators. Yep. There are going to be human animals who try to take adavanatage of the situation. No mercy for the rapists and thugs. Second, we need to find a way to build communities and connect them. It will be entirely ad hoc. And the stronger communities will dominate the political discussions. That is the nature of human interaction. And we need to try to manage that to the extent possible.

    And the last thing. You gotta get your mind around it. If it all melts down, people are going to die. Hard. And the important thing is that gifted, special people who can sustain our community do NOT die. And that can be a hard calculation. But it’s one that soldiers understand.


    Comment by mikey — May 29, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  8. A lot to think about. Thanks, mikey.

    Comment by t4toby — May 30, 2008 @ 7:41 am

  9. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Pique.

    Comment by Pique — June 18, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  10. Thanks for poking your head up anyway, Pique.

    Comment by t4toby — June 19, 2008 @ 7:14 am

  11. You are a an absolute delight.

    Comment by Britney — October 30, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

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