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Old Man Noises
"One West Waikiki"

Idiot Savant

I should have known better. After all, I made my bed, so I must sleep in it. Too bad that I short-sheeted myself. Say, what exactly is wrong with that putz's eyes? Maybe Willy's been in front of the computer too long. Sheesh! Willy gives me the willies! In any case, this is my new life. One West Waikiki. I'm not talking about that cheesy show on the tube. I'm talking about my address on one of those decrepit benches situated along the beach at Waikiki. That's where all the old guys sit and make old man noises. Some of them even play Checkers. My place is One West Waikiki. Come and see me sometime. I'll be sitting there after my workouts at the new gym.
One West ...
Wednesday January 20, 1999
Yes, I once was a soothsayer and I commanded respect from my peers. Then, I lost my powers. Remember Caine in Shock to the System? There are classic films and then some. If ever there was a film that made sense, this was it. It makes even greater sense today. I have to continuously question what I am doing. Time has become an extremely precious resource. Patience is often a virtue but mid-life can change that perspective. I still feel the need to be somewhere else. There is a call but I do not know where from it originates. Everything in its own time, the nefarious "they" tell us. Yesterday, I opened my first checking account in decades. Everytime I sign paperwork, I get the willies. It's just something else that is due to go wrong in the not-so-distant future.

I have discovered even more so what little control I have over any aspect of my life. Everything is a constant matter of adjustment or compromise. I'm fortunate to not have to be a part of the daily cattle drive, but there are opportunity costs associated with that luxury. Most of the so-called rules that are in place are specifically designed to keep the masses in their place in the guise of order. Chaos, we are told, is akin to anarchy. Yet, the subservient masses bump into each other every day like bumper cars, just waiting for the next time bomb to go off. When the headlines scream of tragedy, we ask, "What happened?" As if we didn't really know already.

... Waikiki
Thursday January 21
The gym was extremely crowded last night. Prime time appears to be right after work. I didn't mind the crowds. Actually, it's nice to be around people. It's also nice to have someplace to go. A life without destinations can be somewhat pathetic. In fact, I should have gone to the gym tonight, but I was too tired to get back on the bus and head to Waikiki. I'm starting to feel guilty when I don't make it to the gym. That's either a good sign or a bad one.

I make it a point to feed a stray kitty in the park every night. This particular kitty must have been abandoned by someone because it is very domesticated. It it the only kitty I know that will follow a person around like a dog. Lori and I discovered this kitty about a year ago. It was just a tiny kitten then. It apparently remembered us when we happened to stroll in the park one night a few months ago. She called the kitty "a gift to us." We both used to go to the park regularly to feed the kitty and play with it. It was like having a pet without all the hassle. Nonetheless, the kitty is my friend and I will always take time every night to feed it Western Family® Ocean Fish cat food. Kitty just loves the taste of it. So do I, for that matter.

My bro is out of work again, according to moms. The so-called economy is still in the crapper here. The economic eclectic is most prominently observed downtown. The dereliction has increased in numbers whereas the working population seems to have declined. This is a sad state of affairs. I don't know how long this can keep up before something gives. I don't believe that the level of psychosis (e.g., people talking to themselves) is increasing because of entropic conditions. People are losin' it and for good cause. Bus ridership is also increasing. Whassup wi' dat?

Friday January 22
After finally setting up Instant Messenger, I was able to chat with John in Modesto for a few minutes. There are a bunch of programs available now that allow real-time chat similar to Unix-Talk. It's archaic but it's faster than e-mail. Do you want to chat with the ol' loser? This is my only alternative to using my calling card which charges me a minimum rate of 60 cents per minute.

I'm surprised to see how people change. Change is not bad. All of us could probably stand to mature at least a little bit. Yet, why does change usually create a rift? I have tried to identify any observable change agents as possible catalysts but so far I have come up with nothing concrete. Do our interests and values change in such a way that we move in different directions? Do we meet new people who influence us to ally with different camps? Is rugged individualism at play? Or, is it the fear of mortality? The consumerist society seems to promote a disposable lifestyle. We've become on-line shoppers in the Web of life. Just click away to a new destination. In the end, we find that our destinations are the same as our origins. Just more crappy banner ads attempting to seduce the id to move on again. Life imitates Web art.

Big Dogs
Saturday January 23
There is about a week left of my trial membership at the gym. I'm sure that I will join next weekend. I have lost almost 20 pounds over the past few months. Stress will do that. I want to get back into a healthy lifestyle and mindset. The gym in Waikiki does not have an aerobics studio, so there are no classes there. I want a membership that enables me to go to the other gym locations. Then, I can get in some variety and also see new faces.

Instant Messenger allowed me to talk with both John and The Bull last night. It takes a lot of time to carry on a simple conversation, so I may not make this a habit. The Bull and I discussed the babe situation just like in the old days. This time, it was The Bull giving me advice. It was the same advice I had once given him. Unabashedly, The Bull also admitted, "Like the Cardinal would say ... you have to learn to jump over the tall grass with the Big Dogs. Well, I would rather just mow the lawn, then I would not have to jump over anything."

Some days I feel bad about my situation. Other days, I'm indifferent. I haven't reached a point where I can say that I am comfortably relieved. These are trying times, but I suppose that, in the end, this will have turned out to be the optimal solution. There really isn't much left except vague memories, which will eventually be buried in the subconscious. I once dreaded the return to the monk ways. Sometimes it's a calling that is out of one's control. The call of the Big Dogs.

Sunday January 24
A few months ago, my virtual homey JonnyX (jdaley@personalogic.com) wrote, "Keep up the good work, I am proud of you, my son. Why? Because you persevere in the face of extreme adversity. A lesser foolboyG would have given up long ago, yet you soldier on!" I kept it in my e-mail archives. When times got rough, I opened it and read it often. The value of our words can never be underestimated. Words can evoke feelings of comfort or pain. Words, in essence, are the only true gifts we can give to others. We have tried to substitute money and material things, but they mean nothing without the words that accompany them.

The implication is that I am desperate. Desperate for companionship. Or, I am evil. Evil enough to lure victims into my torture chamber, as it were. I am neither desperate or evil, although one might wonder about the latter when reading my interpretations in the journal of my own behavior. A careful reader would have recognized those passages as being conjecture. As most people are merely accustomed to skimming, a variety of comprehension errors can easily occur. It's funny how we expect to find stability and meaning in life, yet our own thought patterns are transient and fleeting. Part of the problem is that we don't care to see our faults. Rather, we see them in others or we project them upon others. With so many people around, we can afford to be choosy. We don't need to seek just anyone for companionship.We seek others to exalt us. The sad part is that everyone else is looking for the same thing. It ends up being a very lonely world.

We tend to associate with people who are like-minded. If we don't already have leadership potential, then we seek out mentors. Groups are closed societies. Group think, in this context, supports the microcosm. There are no dissenting factions. Those factions are imediately ousted, leaving only the qualified membership. Here is where aberrant forms of thinking can wreak havoc. A perverse support network is still a support network ... a surrogate family where peer pressure can insure one's demise. In the end, it's the same thing. We look for excuses to justify our opinions and behavior. We seek support from other weasels who are eager to tell us what we want to hear.

When things collapse, we say to ourselves, "I'll just find another group." Or, another friend, another relationship, another city, what have you. You can run. You can hide from other people. But, you can't hide from yourself. Some people find happiness in being miserable. I know at least one person who would say that I'm talking about myself. Could be. But, I think that person missed the point of these words.

Monday January 25
One West Waikiki. It's a happenin' joint for old guys like me. A ritual for me to silently bond with my peers. One of them may actually be my future mentor. Burger King is at the other end of Waikiki. Too bad. A Whopper (my way, of course!) would be perfect after a strenuous workout at the gym. You know, I see all these meatheads buying those protein shakes for $5 at the gym. For a little more than a dollar, I get all of that and more in a delicious Whopper. Sheesh!

The whole concept of working out for guys is to attract babes. That's it. Let me spare anyone the patronization. If one doesn't have big bank, just forget about babes. Nice pectorals and buns of steel will do nothing for a guy in the long run. Viagra won't help either. The only thing that will make a guy attractive to babes is to put a fat wallet full of C-Notes in his crotch next to the Vienna Sausage. That's the lesson I've come to learn ... the hard way. No pun intended. You say I've become cynical? Baha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaa! Damned straight! My tip for lovelorn losers ... forget the poetry. The only poetic line worth remembering is "E Pluribus Unum," Not what it means, but what it's printed on.

Tuesday January 26
I heard from The Master (mopalma@juno.com) today. I was surprised to see his e-mail in my inbox. Is this an omen or what? He wrote, "You know it gets boring around the Hermitage. The same cracks on the walls every day just don't inspire a great need to communicate to the outside world." Heck, he should move here. I can show him the real definition of boredom. In fact, I was ready to lose it, so I joined a few of those Yahoo! clubs. My favorite is the Guys That Girls Just Ignore club. The founder, Vinnie (vip37@aol.com), also e-mailed me. Is my life on an upswing finally?

I have been extremely angry in the last few days. I have also partaken of the fire water more than I wanted to. The problem is that I've been had. You know it and I know it. The whole situation has been a setup. It has been choreographed like a ballet. What a chump! What a maroon! The whole thing was a smokescreen and a cover-up. The amazing part is that I was played like a fool, only to become the inadvertent "hatchet man." The bad guy. The real reason is not that I cannot or will not change. It's not because of the content of this pathetic journal either. No, the real reason is that I am not successful. I am not economically viable and never will be. I can provide neither fame or fortune. I am a disappointment. I am a laughingstock and an embarrassment. I live at home with moms. A "mommy's boy." The writing is on the wall. Because I was a failure, I have to pay the piper. And, pay dearly I will.

French Toast
Wednesday January 27
I saw Kathy and Ben (from the old gym) at Loco Moco last night. I joined them at their table briefly while I ate my Beef Curry mini-plate lunch. Kathy is moving back to Palm Springs in Cali on Thursday. Everyone seemed friendly today. I don't know why. Even the cashiers at Foodland were talkative when I went in to buy more fire water. My workload also increased by three classes as of yesterday.

My recent anger is probably an attempt on my part to blame myself for all that has happened. It may also be necessary in the healing process. So, today I'm going to talk about the wild thing. That's right. The wild thing. Did you know that the wild thing can be used as an instrument of torture? Yes, it's true. Well, hey! The phone is an instrument of torture! The wild thing is not exactly the same as a phone. Yet babes can use it to torture guys. When it comes to the wild thing, guys are simple-minded fools. They are essentially like dogs. Big Dogs ... wagging their tails and panting with their tongues out. Babes know that when a guy needs to be punished, she can just deny him the wild thing. There is nothing that can devastate a guy more than that. Well, that's not true. A babe could laugh and make demeaning remarks about the Vienna Sausage. The outcome is the same. Eunuchs or Unix. Take your pick. I was reduced to the former. Just kidding! You thought I slipped, didn't you? The closest I've come to the wild thing is brushing my teeth while driving on the freeway.

That's why I recommend something that's better than the wild thing. A guy doesn't have to worry about being denied. Am I talking about the Java Chicken Choker? Heck no! Just down a sufficient quantity of fire water. Follow that with an extremely generous serving of your favorite ice cream and a cheap cigar. Then, it's all over but the cryin'. "Tu est bête. Tu est bête," the babes will cry out. Comme çi, comme ça, mon cherie. Another day in Paradise!

Bag Man
Thursday January 28
Five classes on three campuses. On the go from 6am to 6:30pm this evening, fatigue had set in by the time I made it to my last class. I lost them again. This particular class is the most difficult to deal with by far. I am ill-prepared to deal with this class because the subject matter is beyond the scope of my grasp. Or, that is what I seem to believe. Nonetheless, I have lost control. Why? I believe that the subject is by nature restricted to a stale lecture format. I have put the entire course on the Web. Now, the class has nothing to do when it meets. I had developed a systems analysis project, but that may not fly because the students may not be able to find any willing businesses to serve as their clients. That leaves me holding the bag. I've never been a good bag man. Entertaining my other classes is easy because each has a lab component. The only resource I have available for this class is an overhead projector. Sheesh!

My problem is that I want to do a good job. I want my classes to be in-line with the cutting edge, whatever that may be. Therefore, I tried to move away from the traditional approach to pedagogy. Now, I am discovering the roadblocks. Maybe it's time to dust off those old lecture notes.

Back to the Future
Friday January 29
As I sat in the Dean's office like some delinquent school kid, I wondered how this predicament came to be. After all, I received good evaluations from my students of the last term. So, what happened? Maybe I just got too cocky for myself. I've become smug in my ways. Nonetheless, I had to answer to a disgruntled student's allegations that I was inept. I had an omen that this was going to happen. Yes, this is the same class I was talking about yesterday. As a result of the first class meeting alone, the dickhead fired off a series of e-mail to most of the university administration. That's why I was sitting in the Dean's office. I have no idea where this investigation is headed, but I believe that I will be hard-core unemployable very soon. Easy come, easy go, eh?

I have to admit ... I let my guard down for a moment. I thought that I was on a roll. I was unstoppable. I was getting cocky. Too confident. Did I not learn this lesson before? Losers should not get too confident about anything because the sinister kahuna is just waiting to cut them down to size. A man must know his limitations. Remember when Dirty Harry said that? Yep, Dirty Harry ... there's only one real cop, the rest are just security guards. Speaking of security guards, that's probably my next career.

I hung out at One West Waikiki for a while before I walked across the street to the gym. Today was the last day of my trial membership. After I returned home, I drove my six-four down to Foodland and bought some fire water. I got hammered. I walked to the park to feed the kitty, my only friend in Hawai'i. I got more hammered. I ate a generous serving of ice cream. I only felt bad that I didn't buy a cheap cigar when I got the fire water. I realized that a loser's tragedy is a private one. No one is there to share the drama and the heartache. Then, I began laughing uncontrollably. It's happening again. I'm back to the future.

Saturday January 30
What I really wanted to do today was to take all of the textbooks, class notes, instructor's resources and all that other crap and throw it in the rubbish can. I could have easily just washed my hands of the whole mess. If I had consumed more fire water, I probably would have done just that. Instead, I went to the gym and spent $612 on two gym memberships. Of course, that does not even include the monthly fee. Plastic money has enabled me to go far. How do you think I can afford the fire water? Does it sound like I have any cash? Baha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaa! Oh brother. That's why I can't put my wallet in my crotch next to the Vienna Sausage. It won't make a difference. Sheesh!

I sat in my usual spot at One West Waikiki before gym time. Some fat slob and his wife decided to sit on my bench even though Two West Waikiki was vacant. The slob practically sat on my new gym bag. I yelled out, "You stupid fat krunk!" I was still a little woozy because I had consumed some fire water a little earlier in the day than usual. Apparently my judgment was impaired. Well, I had just finished weedwhacking moms' yard. I felt that I deserved a nice cold beverage or two. And, I might as well get in as much practice with the weedwhacker as possible. That may be my new career.

I went to a large get-together tonight. These were people from moms' church group. There was a lot of good food. The people were real nice. No one was acting up or doing anything stupid. No one was hammered. This was one of the few times I've enjoyed being with a large group of people. Maybe this is my true call in life. Well, hey! I am a monk!

Sunday January 31
A while back, I received e-mail from an anonymous individual who offered opinions about my then-quandary of taking the scalpel to LoserNet. It wasn't shortly afterward that I happened to discover that this person kept a Web journal, too. There was only one link to it and somehow I couldn't find it again. Last night, I rediscovered it on Yahoo! It's a great journal (called Anonder's Journal). The author's lifestyle is diametrically polarized in relation to mine but its peculiar cast of characters lends itself to riveting entertainment. He also lists the number of times he chokes the chicken each day.

It's time for me to pound the pavement again. I need to look for a minimum wage slave job that I can tolerate. I have completely lost the desire to stay in the teaching field. I need a job where I can become lost in obscurity. I don't want to be a target for clueless dickheads. The whole problem is that most people feel powerless, so they need to flex their arms, so to speak. Rather than nip the problem in the bud, insecure dickheads want to make a production out of everything. They want their insignificant crises and concerns to be heard. It's the typical Jerry Springer and Hard Copy mentality. I am getting tired of the "Me, Myself and I" generation. There are too many people who want to be stars and only a handful of starring roles. They walk around like they are on camera. They talk like they are being interviewed. They ham it up like it's sweeps month. Yet, nobody gives a damn. They are just plain old losers. Squirrels trying to get a nut. My advice to these idiots is to settle down before someone cancels their "show."

Flesh & Spirit
Monday February 1
I can't seem to make much sense of life anymore. No, it's not the fire water. I think I'm just completely confused. And, frankly, I have no idea what I'm confused about. I am further obfuscated by my own stupidity. My value system seems to have been torqued askew, too. Is my mind is playing tricks on me? Sometimes I think that it has turned against me. Maybe it's the sinister kahuna attempting to make me pay homage to it. My tests of strength seem to come at inappropriate times, usually when I am weak. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The Cardinal once told me that.

My old buddy Romero called this morning. I haven't spoken with him in what seems like years. During our discussion, we came to realize that we have known each other now for 16 years. Romero is still in Convalescent City. He now runs his own construction company. His office is right next door to the company where Skip works. Amazing, isn't it? That's life in a small town.

Tuesday February 2
I don't know why, but I wish I was still back in Convalescent City. In fact, I wish that I could turn the clock back to the old days at the Roach Motel. I loved the life of a simpleton. Why? Because I am a simpleton. I long for that lifestyle again. Not a care in the world except for some trivial crap. That's the draw of Convalescent City. That's why we will all return there. People like The Master, Tom, Big John, and The Bull will never leave. As I mentioned a long time ago, Convalescent City is like that small town in the movie Doc Hollywood. I don't want the fast-paced life. I don't want big bank. I just want a quality life. Is that too much to ask? If it weren't for moms, I'd be there in the wink of an eye. Alas, the grass is always greener on the other side. I guess that I just see myself stuck in a rut here. Living at home doesn't help. I don't even have a sense of independence anymore. I feel like a 12-year-old kid trapped in an old man's body.

I must now go back to the business of managing my sinking ship. I'll continue to bail out the water until I just have to bail out. Somewhere down the line, something will have to pan out. I don't know when that will be. I just have to keep the flame of hope alive long enough to realize it.

Wednesday February 3
I chatted with both The Bull and Duke (duke@dccullinan.com) on Instant Messenger last night. The Bull is having some minor problems with his babe, such as the engagement is off. Say, doesn't this sound familiar?

My desire to flee from Hawai'i grows each day. Yet, where am I going to go? Realistically, I have no place to go. Convalescent City is only a dream for now. Without any potential job there, I will be forced to wait. Well, I was fortunate to spend a little time at One West Waikiki before going to the gym. The gym is once again my salvation.

Dodge City
Thursday February 4
That one troublesome class is still causing me problems. I have another dissenting student who is willing to cause me more trouble if I do not capitulate to his demands. Frankly, I am ready to retire from teaching. It is no longer enjoyable. I am extremely stressed out. I don't make enough dough to put up with that crap. I would have been happy with the satisfaction that I was doing a good job. Since that is not the case, I'm ready for a new career. I have not slept in days as a result of this. Delirium has set in and I am beginning to question my own judgment. All of this comes at an inopportune time as my loan payments are slated to begin next month. I haven't managed to accumulate enough in savings to give me a buffer to buy some time. I have a modest income until May. Then, everything is up in the air again.

The time has come for me to develop a contingency plan. I really need one. I have run out of options and my sanity is once again at stake. Cali may be my only hope. Jarrod (one of the guys I worked with at the minimum wage slave job in June) e-mailed me from Cali. He's living there now in LA in the hope of working in the entertainment industry. Presently, he's doing temporary assignments again. Well, all I know is that I have got to get out of Dodge. The sooner the better. I am suffocating here.

Dehumidify or ...
Friday February 5
It's my faulty thinking that's leading me astray. I'm feeling left behind in life again. As I read back a few days, I see that my words have a remarkable similarity to the transcriptions of my time of reckoning. The chasm of despair seems to have been ripped open again. I'm caught between what I should be doing and what I want to do. Everyone else is worried about how to set up their retirement fund and how to cut their taxes. Me ... I don't even need to use the standard deduction. That's how little dough I make. I'm even thinking of selling the Bose Acoustic Wave, so it's easy to see that I am approaching desperate times. Why did I buy that damned thing anyway? I've listened to it once in the past three months. It looks a like a room dehumidifier.

Maybe I'm just a damned idiot. I'm clueless and I continue to miss the point. The point being that I need to sell my soul to the sinister kahuna. I don't even want to go there, so I'll mummify that thought for now. Secretly, I must desire to be a homeless derelict. I love the idea of the freedom that comes with a pathetic lifestyle. As long as one doesn't join Club Cobra, it is Utopia. What about retirement and all that other crap? With no dough and no debts, why would there be a need to bother?

... Mummify
Saturday February 6
First, I would to thank everyone who has written to the ol' lavahead. Several of my virtual homeys have felt extreme frustration in following these trying times. I can sympathize. Well, hey! I'm the guy who is living in this mess! I would also like to thank Jeff (jkruys@wkpowerlink.com), Paul (74464.1722@compuserve.com), and Sam (sstacey19@idt.net) for writing in!

Several people have mentioned that I have lost my sense of humor with respect to the journal. I have to agree. I find that I cannot write anything humorous anymore. I'm just not inspired to do so. Of course, not much happens these days that inspires humor. I do not have a close association of friends who can provide comic relief. And, I live at home with moms. How funny is that? Most journals that I have perused, albeit briefly, are substantially introspective to the point of being depressing. The competitor's journal was that way, and I seem to be following in his footsteps. No wonder this journal is always on the verge of ending. There's only so much introspection that one can do before discovering that it is an endless and repetitious task. Actually, it is a circuitous task because the same questions are always being posed. Why didn't I do this? Or, where did I go wrong? Or, what did I miss? There are no damned answers. The other usual journal topic is the puzzling inability to find a babe (or guy) to share a relationship with. This subject is melancholy at best.

So, I may have to look into the past for interesting anecdotes. Way back in 1975, Ibo (as John from Modesto was known then) and I lived at Tropicana Village with a couple of other guys. The whole year was an adventure mainly because of Joe, one of the other roomates. That's another story. Of course, the whole underlying premise of the year was whether anybody had anything going on with babes. Ibo and I kept particularly close scrutiny on each other. One night, our neighbor Ace came by to tell me that he had just stopped over at the Homestead Motel where a bunch of babes from his hometown were staying for the weekend. There was supposed to be a party there. Ace apparently walked in and caught Ibo with his pants down and attempting to hide behind the door of Abbey's room, or so I was told. There might have been some embellishment but the whole thing came to be known as the "Homestead Act," where Ibo attempted to "stake his claim." It was the talk of the town. Ibo vowed to get even. We threw a party one night. An ex-girlfriend of one of our other neighbors came by. Tami had been hanging around a lot and was getting a little friendly with the ol' lavahead. She was grabbing my puny buns in the middle of the party for most of the evening. Several people made note of this. A few weeks later, Ibo and I were auditioning a band that we were considering to hire for a party. Tami was also there. Somehow, she suggested that she and I stay up and go see the sunrise at the beach. I didn't make it home until the next morning. Ibo capitalized on this, calling it the "Sunrise Incident." In actuality, Tami and I did happen to find ourselves in the waterbed one night but I really can't recollect what happened. Sheesh!

Sunday February 7
I have been trying to figure out why I'm so helpless. Was it the way I was brought up? I mean, look at me ... I'm going nowhere fast. I'm going to hell in a handbasket. I'm losin' it at LoserNet. What exactly have I done in the last year or so? I've lamented at the Wailing Wall. That's about it. I have decided to start pounding the pavement tomorrow. I need to find a minimum wage slave job. Why won't someone hire me already? Does it not look like I can use a spatula to flip a hamburger patty? Can I not take the brush and swab the toilet bowl properly? Is it too much for me to put on some steel-toed boots and shovel manure? Apparently I'm just not qualified for these jobs. That makes me a real loser. Do you see why I can't get off of the Wort?

What I really need to do is to become a hurdy-gurdy star. That would be great. I could do the wild thing with thousands of gorgeous babes. There would be no need to find a babe because my basic needs à la Maslow would be met. Imagine being able to try out all those great positions with centerfold babes. Oh baby! You thought I slipped, didn't you? No, this is a career I could really get into. Everyone watching those hurdy-gurdies would be sickened to see a puny nerd like myself skinnin' up gorgeous babes. Wait a minute! I'm a damned monk, for goodness sakes! What the heck am I talking about?

Monday February 8
I am starting to lose it, or I have already lost it. Living with moms is turning into an ordeal. I wish I could move out, but where would I go? I have to observe her peculiar ways. For example, moms saves those styrofoam trays that raw meat, fish and poultry are packed with. She uses them as serving trays even though I've told her time and again that one day we are going to end up with food poisoning.  The old water heater gave out so moms had a new one installed. I don't know why she just didn't get a 10-gallon version. She runs hot water into a bucket from the laundry sink and carries it to the bathroom when she takes a bath. Then, she uses a small dishpan to soak herself in. She believes that she is saving water. There are many more oddities but I do not have enough space to delineate upon them. For me, this is like some kind of water torture. Nothing I say will change anything. It's beginning to affect my mental state.

Moms turns seventy-seven. Even with all those silly quirks, I love moms dearly.

Tuesday February 9
I put on a happy face. I joke with people. I make them laugh. I build their confidence and make them realize their leadership potential. All the while, my own confidence is dissipating rapidly. I feel like a virtual reality shell performing in front of an audience of faceless people. I walk amongst the faceless ones in town, too. Many of them are economic peons like myself. Losers working three part-time jobs just to survive. The "haves" and the "have-nots" playing bumper cars in Bishop Square. Psychos talking to themselves. When was it last that they carried on a conversation with a real person? The stale smoke lingers along the walkways lined with the stressed out white-collar workers. How much dough do they make? This and other questions I wonder to myself as I watch these automatons shuffle around during their lunch hour. I am one of the "have nots" making poverty level wages. I can't even afford to buy new shoes. Most of my income will be used to pay off my monthly loan payments. The rest is chump change that I can use to buy a cup of coffee or a stale bagel. I am the economic underclass. I am the walrus. Cuckoo koo choo. My new name is Cookie. That's right. I saw some lousy B-movie starring a chimp named Cookie. Cookie. That's my name. I'm a chimp.
One West Cookie
Wednesday February 10
A chump named Cookie.
A brewski.
A cigar.
One West Waikiki.
It all adds up to nothing.
And, nothing from nothing leaves nothing.
How many times did I choke the chicken today?
Too numerous to count, I'm afraid.
The chimes are all that remain of an era long past.
Perhaps I have been reading that other journal too much.
My computer is a piece of [dung].
My life is [dung].
[Copulating] piece of [dung]!
Oh, [copulate] it!
Poetic Idiot
Thursday February 11
What did you think of my feeble attempt at nouveau poetry? Pretty feeble, eh? Did you ever notice that most journals also include poetry by the author? Come to think of it, mine isn't that bad. I dreaded going to that class today. I've been dreading it for a week. After a rough start, everything ended up fine. I have regained control. The whole day turned out to be wonderful. In addition, I may end up an honary member of a fraternity that one of my students is a member of. I also may become a faculty advisor of one of the clubs. The best part is that I regained control of my classes. I make no more dough than I was yesterday. I just feel as though things are making a turnaround. My confidence is restored. Could it be my poetry? I doubt it.

I talked to one of Lori's friends at the bus stop tonight. She had put in a late night at work. We talked for a while until our bus arrived. I ended up sitting next to one of my students on the bus. Lori's friend said goodbye before she got off in Kuli'ou'ou. She was very sorry to hear that Lori and I had separated. She will be having lunch with Lori tomorrow. I've never talked much with Lori's friends before. I never thought that any of them really cared whether I existed. Perhaps they did not think me worthy of Lori's company. As it turned out, it was a matter of my own confidence. I didn't feel worthy. In a way, the teaching position has helped me. I can now talk confidently with most people, even strangers. Speaking to an audience of over a hundred people in a day can easily cure stage fright. One day, I might aspire to be a stand-up comic. Sheesh!

The Bull ... Married!
Friday February 12
If you want to dance, you have pay the piper. The damned piper must be paid. And, I'll tell you, I am paying the piper dearly. Why has it come to this? I have decided that I need to find a new babe for a serious relationship. I'm at that point in life where I need to settle down. I wanted Lori to be that person, but she feels that I have trampled on her heart too many times. My remedial action was too little, too late. It's over, I was told. I had to put my tail between my legs and leave. So now, I must embark on a new journey to find a babe. Will she be some luscious gym babe? A luscious young coed? Oh, I hope so! Hey, hey! I'm a monk!

I talked with The Bull tonight using Instant Messenger. He disclosed to me that he is now a married man. That's right. It's official. The Bull is no longer available. Does anyone want a puny ol' loser as a consolation? I didn't think so. However, The Bull did offer some advice ... "If you do not need to have a woman in your life, don't let one in! Be free to enjoy all of life's wonders before the door closes shut for your individual freedom ... give yourself time, and make sure you pick the right one if you do decide to marry." Well, now you see why I'm losin' it. Everyone I know is settling down. Where is The Master when you need him the most?

Real Discovery
Saturday February 13
I finally located a copy of a book recommended to me by Barbara (brossmoore@yahoo.com). It's called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steve Covey. I had seen this book before but dismissed it as just another one of those loser self-help books. As I skimmed through the book at Barnes & Noble, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. This book is a mirror to my soul.

That brings me to an area of painful discovery. The journal, I've been told, is one of the main reasons for the demise of my relationship with the woman I loved. I cannot change what has been written, but I can change its perception. Bitterness, stupidity and ignorance were the impetuses which led me to imply that there were affairs going on behind my back. Neither one of us has ever cheated on the other. Confusion muddled my sense of trust which, in turn, threatened the very fabric of our friendship. I've reacted instead of just acted. I failed to listen and empathize. I was too eager to defend myself and my honor to an invisible audience. I've made quite a mess of things. At this point in time, I can only offer my public apology for all that has transpired and for all the venom that has been spewed. For that, I am truly sorry.

With V-Day approaching, I find that I have no one to share this special time with. I'll probably read Covey's book. I came across an interesting anecdote already. A man approached Covey at a seminar. The man related that his marriage was no longer working because both he and his wife didn't love each other anymore.

"The feeling isn't there any more?" Covey asked.

"That's right," the man reaffirmed. "What do you suggest?"

"Love her."

"You don't understand. The feeling of love just isn't there."

"Then, love her. If the feeling isn't there, that's a good reason to love her."

"But, how do you love when you don't love."

"My friend, love is a verb," Covey explained, "Love - the feeling - is a fruit of love, the verb. So, love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?"

My time of reckoning did little to initiate real self-discovery. Mostly, it was self-pity. Mind you, it was a necessary force to begin the process of change. I now find that I have been extremely stupid and bullheaded. My demise was my own doing. Finally, many thanks to Ulla (ulla.riihela@hit.fi) and Tiina (tiina@uiah.fi) for sending virtual V-Day cards to the ol' lavahead!
Valentine's Day
Sunday February 14
I am impressed by Covey's book. Covey bases his methodology on solid principles rather than hype that just promotes artificial pride. Those principles are the same cornerstones of most ethical, moral and religious doctrines. In reading the book, I began to see a lot of my faulty thinking processes. These faulty processes have been responsible for most of my failures in life. In fact, I can actually see why I'm in this situation. I chose to be. I made decisions that brought me to this point. Those decisions were safe. That's why there was no return on my investment. Frankly, I am scared. I've always been scared. I'm even more afraid now that I am alone. However, if I don't empower myself soon, I will be going down with the ship. Further, turning my life around goes contrary to everything that LoserNet stands for. What are my alternatives?

I can sit here and have moms protect me from the outside world for a few more years, and then I'd be much older and more inept than I am now. I will have let life pass me by. Or, I could try to initiate Covey's principles and see if I can break out of the ranks right now. My anxieties stem from being left behind. I am stuck in a doldrum. I am totally alone. This is causing me to slip into the abyss. But, what am I really missing? I was on a non-stop party binge for ten years. I wasn't partying just one day a week. We're talking more like seven days a week.

When I realized the vanity of that lifestyle, I settled into the monk years. I still required social interaction but it was not quite as hectic. Covey cited the tragic experience of Viktor Frankl, who spent a number of years in a Nazi concentration camp. Within the confines of a small cell, Frankl came to exercise a kind of virtual freedom using memory and imagination. In effect, he discovered that his Nazi captors had more liberty, but he had more freedom. This odd concept struck me. It was almost the same methodology I had used to survive the near isolation of the monk years. Why then can't I do it again? I suspect that for the time being, I am too aware that Lori is having a much better time than I. This makes me keenly aware that I have no life.

The real problem, according to Covey, is that I chose to be here. I made the decision to be the loser that I am. Thus, I have full responsibility for my demise. That said, I have the responsibility for my success. How far will I be able to go with this? I mean, I have no other choice anymore. I am on the road to dereliction if I choose to continue on my present course. On my map, there is no fork in the road. If what Covey says is correct, then I have the wrong map. Stay with me, my friends. The ride is going to get rough. Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Better Life
Monday February 15
Armed with the Wort and Covey's book, I readied myself to start the process of renewal. I spent most of the day in the park with the book yesterday, and I'll do the same today. Once I read it entirely, I will begin the implementation mode. The whole thing is a little scary because I have no one to offer me emotional support along the way. I have recently used the journal as a means to express my doubts and fears. I went overboard with my conjecture about my situation. If I am to successfully transcend this pathetic lifestyle, then I must shift the focus of the journal. The whole theme of LoserNet would have to change. Maybe not. I think that in the general scheme of things, all losers want a way out. It's nice to have company in misery, but everyone is waiting for the big answer. The magic formula. Someone has to test the waters.

I will confide in you now that my vision of a happy ending to the journal a few months ago entailed what would have been my marriage. I wanted to develop a multimedia extravaganza to cap the five years that the journal has been in existence. It was to be the finale of finales. Instead, we will embark on a different journey. I am very apprehensive because the goal is to completely severe ties with this life as we know it. Rather than lament at the Wailing Wall, I must take a proactive stance. I'm not talking about going out to party or dating every babe in sight. I mean that I am going to take control of my life and not be reactive. I have been victimized because I don't act first. I wait until I am acted upon, then I react. That is what happened in my personal life as well. This journal is testimony to that fact.

I believe that I took LoserNet seriously enough to insure that I came in last just so I would not have to abandon it. Yet, the whole purpose of the journal was not to provide a forum for constant whining. It's bound to happen to the best of us, if we are not careful. I began seeing all my faults as well as the faults of others. As you can see, the end result was less than desirable. Right now, I feel like crap. I am very despondent. Covey points out that we can become slaves to our feelings. Our emotional lives then become a function of the behavior of others. Thus, by conscious decision or default, we choose to empower the weaknesses of other people to control us. That is what is happening to me now.

If we carefully study the journal, we will see that it has chronicled a life of reaction. Even the other key players did the same. Feelings get hurt. Resentment grows and life decisions are based on those feelings rather than principles or values. We are accustomed to saying that we need time to heal our wounds. If I were to extrapolate on Covey's thesis, I believe that is a misconception. The real answer is that we need to make changes, but not to the old reactive infrastructure. Otherwise the same problems will happen over and over again. So, here is where we are. It's a better purpose for the journal than reciting the same old mundane crap. I will probably stumble and fall. I just need to pick myself up. Maybe many of you will do the same. Let's all make a turnaround together and move forward. Let's have a better life.

The Promised Land
Can The Keeper lead the flock?
Times have really gotten bad. Everything is totally out of hand. It appears to be the work of the sinister kahuna. Yet, who would have guessed that it had the unlikeliest of allies? Desperate times call for drastic measures. Can the ol' lavahead make it out of this mess? Can he lead the flock to The Promised Land?

The Keeper of Lost Lives: Old Man Noises

© Copyright 1999 by The Keeper of Lost Lives
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