Monday, August 07, 2006

Marcheline (Mental Meatloaf) is on 25Peeps!!

Marcheline is one of 25Peeps on 25Peeps!! By the name, one would think that 25Peeps looks like this;

... But, that would be wrong! 25Peeps is the Popularity Contest Site that is becoming pretty damned popular itself!! Why not stop on by and click on her photo (in the image below, she is the one making the 'strong arms', bottom row, second from right) and lend her a little support, if you wouldn't mind taking a minute.. all you have to do is click Right Here.

If she were on MY popularity website, It would be and it would look like this:

Or, in the spirit of accuracy and honesty, more like this:

... after all, I'm biased!!

Mhaith Thú, a-Mharselín, a-Bean Céile Áilinn!! Tá grá orm agat go leor!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Devil's Island, Alcatraz, There's Noplace Like Home..

1972-1973 Beardate: 13 to 14 years of age… (Seventh Grade)
Somewhere around the month of March or April…

Bear: “Can I go out?”

Mom: “It’s a school night.. don’t you have homework to do?”

Bear: “I did it in school.”

Mom: “The reason they call it ‘HOME’-work is because you are supposed to do it at HOME!!”

Bear: “But we’re allowed to do it in school, mom… It’s all done already.”

Mom: “You can go out, but I want to see you working on your homework, at home, when you get home from school from now on.”

Bear: “Okay, mom..”

Some indeterminate period of time later (measurable in days or weeks):

Mom: “I thought I told you that I wanted you to do your homework at home!”

Bear: “… … I, uh… er, um… ahh… I … that is… uh… um… “

Mom: “You stay in this house, and starting tomorrow, you start bringing your homework home. Period!”

Bear: “…”

Next day:

Mom: “Let me see your homework assignments.”

Bear: (Taken UTTERLY by surprise, as though this topic has never once been mentioned in all of my life until now…) “Huh?”

Mom: “Don’t stand there, staring at me like a doddering fucking idiot!! I want to see what your homework assignment is, and when you are done with it I want to see the finished homework… and if you tell me you didn’t bring your homework home, I am going to beat you to within an inch of your life, you stubborn, conniving little bastard!!”

Bear: “Huh?”

(The beating was actually to within 1/16th of an inch of my life, to be perfectly and completely accurate.)

After some days of healing, upon arriving home from school:

Bear: “Hi mom! Can I go out?”

Mom: “Let me see your homework assignment…”

Bear: “Huh?”

Vicious beating.. much dismay, verbal abuse, and histrionics... which ultimately culminates in the literal shedding of blood… mine in particular… in minimal to moderate quantities…

After some weeks of healing, upon arriving home from school:

Bear: “Hi mom! Can I go out?”

Mom: “Let me see your homework assignment…”

Bear: “Huh?”

You guessed it… I got by brains kicked out…

This act repeated itself, with isolated gestures on my part of bringing home the odd homework assignment for appearance (and, admittedly, concern for my immediate and continued survival… but, only on a temporary basis…) sake… until…

Bear: “Hi mom! Can I go out?”

Mom: “Let me see your homework assignment…”

Bear: “Huh?”

Mom: “Are you afflicted with some serious mental illness that prevents you from following the simplest of instructions?? Have you heard a single thing that I have said to you over the past three or four months??”

Bear: “Huh?”

Mom: (Now well across the line into the decidedly sad and scary realm of total insanity as a direct result of this issue….) “TELL ME THAT YOU DIDN’T BRING YOUR GODDAMNED HOMEWORK HOME WITH YOU, YOU FUCKING SON-OF-A-BITCH!!”

Bear: “Well… I agree with you on that last bit… the ‘Son-of-a-B’ part..” (I added this last, I suppose, to sort of help things along a wee bit… looking back on it over the years, I have come to think that it wasn't, perhaps, one of the wisest decisions I have ever made...)

Mom: (Face draining of color… lips becoming a violent, thin, gash in her face, baring surprisingly dangerous looking teeth… eyes narrowing to shark-like lifeless slits… in total, uncomprehending disbelief at this apparently suicidal lunatic who stood before her… unarmed).. “You..?! Y..!!?? … Wh..?? Sp… Plf… Wha?... you?.. Son of a…??.. … … … … … !! (ATTENTION ALL CREW… THE SELF DESTRUCT MECHANISM HAS BEEN ACTIVATED! YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS TO ABANDON SHIP. DETONATION WILL OCCUR IN 13.3 SECONDS. WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP!) “WHAT DID YOU JUST FUCKING SAY TO ME!!!! WHY YOU BRAZEN, FOUL-MOUTHED LITTLE SCUMBAG!! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU! YOU ARE GOING TO RUE THE DAY YOU EVER DREW YOUR FIRST BREATH!!! I WILL CUT YOUR FUCKING HEART OUT!! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO??!!”

Bear: “What does ‘Rue’ mean?”

At this point, predictably, I suppose, a lot of stuff happened in a relatively short period of time… suffice it to say that I ended up curled up in a fetal position.. on the floor… wondering if I would actually live beyond this particular ass-kicking…. I decided that this must be the ‘rue-ing’ part, and pretty much further decided that it sucked…

The next day, I dutifully arrived home with my homework assignment in my hand.

Bear: “Hi mom. Do you want to see my homework assignment?”

Mom: “Not particularly…”

Bear: “But.. You said you wanted to see it…”

Mom: “I don’t really care if you do any fucking homework or if you don’t, to be perfectly honest. Don’t do your homework. Grow up to be an illiterate moron. It doesn’t hurt me in the least.”

Bear: “But I have my homework assignment right here, mom!”

Mom: “I’m thrilled. Good for you. I told you that I’m not interested.”

Bear: “Can I go out?” (Yeah… I know… I have no explanation… I was like 14 years old… what can I say?)

Mom: “Suit yourself…” (This was, I now realize… a very loaded ‘suit yourself’ which absolutely drooled with venom…. and, being the basically oblivious, self-centered eejit that I was, I completely and totally failed to detect the danger zone that I was so blithely tramping into with my eyes closed…. sigh…)

Bear: “Okay! See ya!”

Later that night…

Mom: “Is your homework done?”

Bear: “Huh?”

Yup! Bedtime… and no homework done… good job, huh?!!

Mom: (Smiling a smile that is generally only seen on hyenas, wolves, and zombies…) “You didn’t do your homework…..”

Bear: (Realizations dawns…. much, much too late, naturally!) “I… Mom! I’m sorry! I’ll do it right now!”

Mom: “Its bedtime.”

Bear: “I’ll get up early and do it before school!”

Mom: “You know what? (sickly sweet voice, facial expression, and smile… and now I’m REALLY scared!) … (WhatEVER this is… we all know it is going to positively suck great big nasty moose dick…. of course… AND it did!)

Bear: “…” (Blank, terrified stare…)

Mom: “Don’t worry about the homework… you are just so smart that I am just positive that you will come home with a 95 on (here the expression began to crack and change into something……… … other than human…) EVERYSINGLEFUCKINGSUBJECTONYOURGODDAMNEDREPORTCARD

Bear: (full back shiver) [did she just say…???] “But, mom… passing is 65” (Good ole helpful Bear!!)


Bear: “But…”

Mom: “NINTY FIVE!!!! GOT IT!!”

Bear: “Mom… School ends in like three weeks!!”

Mom: “Then it sounds like you have a fucking problem, doesn’t it!!”

Bear: “…” [Fuuuuuck…..!]

The Last Day of School….Report Card Day…

Bear: “Hi mom!”

Mom: “Did you get your report card?”

Bear: “Yeah, I did good on almost everything, mom…”

Mom: “Let me see it… English – 98. Social Studies – 99. Art – 99. Gym – 97. Shop – 97. Science – 100 – that’s good! History – 100. Very good! Foreign Language – 98… … WHAT the FUCK is THIS?!?!?!”

Talk about your ‘Ice-water enema’….

Bear: “What, mom? You mean, um, ….. math?”

Mom: (vicious backhand across my face that bloodied my nose, split my lip, and set my right ear to ringing that lasted about three days….) “GODDAMNED RIGHT I MEAN FUCKING MATH!! What the FUCK is THIS!!! (bony skeletal finger stabbing repeatedly at the ‘86’ that I got in math….)

Bear: (beginning to cry… lip quivering…) “But mom.. I did better than most of the other kids… that class was really hard (I am fully whining here…) … and the teacher said that I did a good job!!!”

Mom: (C-clamping my throat and slamming me, hard, into the wall… face close.. eyes crazy… hot breath, rank with coffee and cigarettes… warm spittle spattering my face.. voice low… and very, very, dangerous now…. this may not be survivable I am beginning to think… God, please don't let me pee myself...I try to go completely neutral… I don’t want to seem the slightest bit aggressive… or completely fearful… either one can trigger this to go someplace I don’t want it to go… and I know it…. ) “You listen to me, you worthless lazy piece of shit… I don’t give a flying fuck what the other little bastards in your class got on their report cards… nor do I care what the molly-coddling fucking faggot of a teacher has to say… I told you that you had better not walk in that fucking door with a mark less than a 95 percent… and you deliberately disobeyed me. Are you trying to test me? Do you think I’m a stupid, simpering fucking weakling that would just back down, dry up, and blow away??? …. OR… did you think that Nana (this said in a sneering, mock-whine) would come and interfere and give you one of her titties to suck on!!?? Well you better hope that that miserable bitch stays the fuck away from this house, because if she steps foot in this house, I'll stab her to death right in front of you, and then I'll smash her fucking skull in while she lies there..... and it will be YOUR FAULT!!”

[I am fully shitting my pants… I am going to die… she isn’t fucking around… I wonder if she could be crazy like those moms in the movies who start hacking people up!! Oh fuck…]

Bear: (Crying…) “Mom… I… I’m sorry… I… no!! I didn’t think that…. I’ll do better next year… I promise….

Mom: “Stop your fucking sniveling… you whining fucking queer… you disgust me!”

Bright light… darkness…

I wake up being dragged across the floor by my hair… into my room… an ass-kicking of cosmic magnitude commences… and I get through that by curling up around the soft spots and trying to only present relatively tough spots as targets… she beats me until she runs out of steam.. then… frustrated… and furious… she begins destroying things in my room… she leaves… letting me try to catch my breath… somewhere in there I caught one in the stones that has just about turned my lungs inside out…

She returns with a box of black garbage bags. throws them at me… and tells me to put everything in them… except my clothes, my school books, a dictionary, a one-volume encyclopedia, and my bedclothes. I do this. Out it all goes. And I never see any of that stuff again.

She catches me looking out the window, and that is remedied by taping a black plastic bag to the window, pulling the shade and tacking it to the sill, and then drawing the curtains.

For the next 365 days, this is my world, and these are my rules;

No talking to anyone. At all. Except when school starts, and only when answering questions or speaking when necessary to do my school work. The first time I spoke in school after the summer, my voice came out like a croak… my throat hurt for days…

Eat meals within three minutes after everyone has left the table, and upon being told that I could eat. After three minutes, whatever was left went in the bin.

At school, I had the same desk in every class. First row. Left side. All alone. At recess, I could sit on a bench.

At church, after the service, when everyone went downstairs for coffee and doughnuts, I went and stood next to the car and waited. If it rained, I got wet. If it was winter, I shivered. In summer, I got sunburned.

I had 15 minutes to shower, brush my teeth, and use the toilet at the end of each day. 5 minutes in the morning before school, when there was school. Weekends, I had time to pee and brush my teeth. During the day, I had two bathroom breaks. If she told me not to flush afterwards, and there wasn’t anything in that bowl… I earned myself a vicious beating.

In the summer, it was unbearably hot and stuffy in that room… not overly bad in the winter…

I was allowed to ‘read’ the dictionary or the encyclopedia at my own discretion. Likewise with textbooks. (This led to my having a wonderful vocabulary, and developed a tendency for me to read the entire textbook, cover to cover, within days of being issued same… which tendency continues to this day… as does the periodic reading of dictionaries… go figure….).

My birthday came and went. I got a small stack of cards, which were then removed from my room after I read them. They were thoughtfully pre-opened, presumably in an effort to render them safe for me….. (SNORT!)

On Christmas that year, I received two small cans of baby apple juice, one apple, one orange, one banana, one candy cane, one winter coat, a woolen hat, a pair of gloves, a flannel shirt, and two pairs of socks. I got to enjoy them in my room.

After the completion of the three hundredth and sixty-fifth day… the complete day.. which ended at midnight…. which means, for all intents and purposes, the following morning… I was told that I could come out of my room and resume normal business-as-usual, providing that I got a good report card – defined this time as 85 or better on every subject. I got all 98s, 99s, and 100s (no surprise there…).

I learned that I can go anywhere and do anything I want while living entirely within my own head… I built things, traveled, played, saw movies, ate all sorts of delicious foods, and even went swimming… all inside my own head!

I learned how to follow a stream of thought while perusing a dictionary, and how to concoct an entire world by using the words that I came across…

I learned that I am never, ever, truly alone… no matter that I am the only person in the room…

I learned that I can endure anything that anyone throws at me… or die trying.

I learned to pick my battles.

I learned that when you get jammed up… nobody wants to know you.. and nobody can help. Its all on you.

I learned that I am okay with that.

I learned that no matter what somebody does to my body… my mind will remain free… no matter what.

I learned that deep down… I have a core of iron and grit.

I learned that people who write one-volume encyclopedias are either insane, unbelievably stupid and shallow-minded, or are hounded unmercifully by shitbird editors who relentlessly badger them to cut more and more information from each entry - One volume Encyclopedias have there place in the world, I suppose.. but solitary confinement is decidedly NOT one of them.

I came to realize that I was born alone, that I will die alone, and that nobody can really do anything to remedy this... I learned that these facts were only a couple of the many, many things about which I can do nothing but learn acceptance.

I learned that people can be very cruel at times, and I learned what it feels like to be on the shit end of that stick. I don't understand why anybody would want to do that, really... though I imagine that it just sort of comes out that way....

I learned that I am not capable of choosing anything but the worst choice when presented with an ultimatum... even if it goes badly for me....

I learned to value my own company, to value silence, solitude, and contemplation…. and I developed a habit of talking way too much when I do talk, or being so quiet and withdrawn when I do not that folks tend to think that something is wrong with me….

Maybe one day before I die I will learn how to finally achieve a proper balance between the two….

This story is true. It happened to me. I was fourteen.