Year Two: Blackjack + The Miller Life (2014.11.14)

Standard

Tomorrow is the last day of Noose Ends, I have come such a long way since last Halloween and honestly, I am so excited to see where my future will be going. I’ll be posting the final blog post for Year Four tomorrow at four thirty, I can’t wait to show you all the great stuff I’ve been working on.

Inkworks, Poetry, Clothing and YouTube are all coming your way still. I hope you’re ready to have fun with me.

Last night after work my friend Mariano + I went out to pick up a bottle of whiskey to split with our friends. We had both had rough days and needed a bit of relaxation. So, we all threw some money together and picked up some Maker’s Mark. Once Mariano + I returned to the restaurant we sat at the sushi bar and split it between five of us. We talked mostly about music and how music affects us, then once Brian had gotten off work we went outside to smoke. While we were out there our boss Mike began a discussion with all of us about belief and faith systems, which has been a topic on my mind a lot recently while writing Helium Constellations, so I relished in the debate.

After a few minutes of that, Brian decided to head home and since I was far too drunk to drive, I hitched a ride with him. Mariano was close behind me. So there we were, the three of us wanting to go do something else but we had nowhere to go. We hit up a couple friends and got nowhere, and none of us really felt like going out into the hills to drink because it was cold and nobody would’ve been able to drive back home. So, we stopped at Walmart, picked up a few beers and then hung out for a while more. While we were at Walmart, Brian + Mariano had begun talking about something that had been eating one of us up. Then it evolved into a full blown conversation about life and families.

It has been a good while since I’ve gotten to sit with these guys, who are among my best friends in the world, and talk about stuff with them. It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to be a part of their lives and I relished in it. So, we pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex and sat there for a good hour or more cracking open Miller Lite + talking through our bullshit.

Now, for the sake of keeping their privacy the contents of our conversation won’t be repeated here, but we did talk about one important thing that I would like to put out there today.

Mariano was explaining one of his fears to us and Brian + I had begun giving him feedback, because I think both of us are afraid of it to a degree as well. I started off by asking if he had ever played blackjack. After he said no, I explained the premise to him, as I will explain it to you. In case you aren’t informed.

Blackjack is a card game, where the purpose is to get the value of your cards as close to 21 as possible, the ultimate goal is to hit 21 exactly. The dealer will give you a number of cards to make a hand with, and you add up the totals in the set to find your value. It may be 8, it may be 18, it all depends on what the dealer hands you. To which, the dealer also doesn’t know.

If your hand is lower than you would like, you can ask for another card and try to get your number higher. You cannot, however, put down cards that are unfavorable.

Life is a lot like blackjack. I think. Each person is dealt a set of cards that they have to play, regardless of whether or not they want to. We may be the child of a single mother, an influential family member may be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we might be abandoned at birth or born with a defect of some kind. These are things that we cannot change. Regardless of if we want to, at the end of the day we must play the hand.

If we are feeling brave, we can hit to have the dealer give us another card. This can go a couple ways. If we are sitting at 18 and bounce to 22, we’re toast. We were dealt a bad hand. In Blackjack, we are forced to fold. In life, the option to fold is unfavorable. We must live with whatever new thing our card has presented to us. We could pick up an addiction to drugs ourselves, we could find ourselves in a shitty job or an abusive relationship. We could find ourselves selfish and afraid of life. It could be anything.

The nice thing about life though, is that it is not like blackjack. If we are dealt rotten cards in blackjack we can fold and be done with it. If we are dealt a bad hand in life, we are stuck with it. However, it presents us with a great opportunity to learn. To grow from the challenges that we face. To exist with other people who are facing their own challenges and come out of them successful, together.

That’s the big thing. Life is not like blackjack because we are together.

Togetherness isn’t a part of Blackjack, Togetherness is a part of life. We exist beside a few billion people who are learning how to react to the hands they are dealt. In Blackjack, we are competing at a table with four or five other people trying to make it big. Get the big money and get out.

I’m glad that life isn’t exactly like blackjack. I’m glad it does have similarities too, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t learn. I need to be dealt a bad card every so often to remind myself that I don’t have it all figured out. That I still have a million lessons to learn. I’m thankful at the end of the day that when I play my hand, I have a good number of people playing theirs with me. If we bust, at least we busted together. And that’s the best part about life.

I believe in Happy People Over Everything.

I think that we should strive for that. Not to discount our sadness or depreciate our negative feelings but instead to thrive from them. To take the shitty cards and throw them out. To tell the dealer…

“You gave me this, but look what I turned it into!”

And I love that we can do it together. Because being together is the most important part of life. Don’t go it alone.

 

You do thousands of things every day, if you break it down enough, you could say that you do millions of things. Be proud of the things you accomplish and the things that you overcome. Be proud of the things you do.

 

Just remember that the things you do, or accomplish, or overcome are never as important as the people you do them with.

Lay down that hand. I’ll be right here. If we bust, we’re busting together. But don’t worry, we will get a new hand. We will make the best of every situation.

We are Happy People.

Over Everything.

Life can be a lot to handle sometimes, Just remember that it will all be okay. I promise you that the sun will come back out.

www.linmtba.com

Advertisements

Year Two: The Fear of a World Without Cereal (2015.5.1)

Standard

The other day, during one of my self-made fits of insomnia I was lying on the floor of my apartment, contemplating life. By contemplating life, I mean that I was thinking about cereal. Cereal, and appreciating things for what they were. At about seven in the morning this Tuesday I was on my back with my feet up on the wall staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling, wondering: “How weird would it be if we put all of our furniture on the roof and just lived up there? The whole world would turn upside down wouldn’t it?”

Sure. It seems goofy to be thinking that, but I wasn’t in my right mind. I don’t think a lot of people are in their right mind. Once, when I was younger I wrote this story about molecules that fused with the bodies of animals and made them badass world-saving, bad guy smashing warriors. The villain of the story was a snake that had been hit with the same stuff and had turned evil. (It was fifth grade. And I stole most of the concepts from my friend Travis. Sorry, man.) Part of the assignment for this story was to illustrate certain events. So, I did. I drew in what it looked like when they got infected, when they changed, how they changed, what they were meant to do afterwards, their fight with the snake-man, and inevitably, their victory against him. It was a gruesome victory at that. The snake had been impaled on a spire at the peak of his castle (Mountain? Maybe? It’s been a while. Sorry I can’t remember all the details.) To be honest, there was blood everywhere. More blood than he could have held in his body. Regardless, after I showed my parents the final page (Which I was incredibly proud of.) My dad told me to make a new one and throw that one away because people would think I was crazy.

In other, much more extreme instances, people have had their lives threatened by psychos with guns because they flirted with the wrong girl. People have had their bodies tortured and prodded because they have information that other people want. People have always been crazy. I think some have it worse than others, but in the end that’s how it goes. One way is perceived as the right way and everyone else is wrong so let’s just kill them.

Today before work I was talking to my boss about some of his escapades when he was younger. The topic of the Middle East came up, and in normal circumstances I would have changed the subject, but I decided to let it play. I needed to soak up some kind of topic for this week’s blog post. We began talking about the lunatics threatening lives in the world and how they would probably regret choosing to attack Elko. (There’s nothing here, plus there are six guns for every human in the city.) We talked about the rash of paranoia that seems to be spreading across the minds of our friends and families. It brought up something that I seem to have forgotten.

Why are we so focused on the bad shit happening everywhere? Why don’t we take solace that right here, right now, things are good.

Don’t get me wrong. We should be paying attention to the state of our surroundings, but we shouldn’t be letting that control our behavior in an everyday setting.

What I’m trying to say is that we should appreciate the here and now.

The smell of the flowers, the reflection of the sun in a puddle, the way our friends laugh when we joke.

Those things should be influencing us more powerfully than the fear of something bad happening. Whether that is terrorists, cancer, liver failure, whatever. The case may be.

Be aware. But do not be afraid.

We live in a world where Reese’s peanut butter cups come in candy form, and in cereal form.

That shit is amazing.

Don’t let the fear of life control you.

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider picking up the compilation that it came from!

You can get it from my website or Amazon!