Coping Mechanisms, Dark Pragmatism and More Postmortem Pics

hearts and flowers

I did draw hatchets, skulls and heavy metal band logos in my extensive high school boredom doodlings. This is why I know not to do it now.

When I get bored, I scribble and doodle.  Sometimes I do it in a more figurative sense- typing is so much faster than writing long hand, at least for me- but drawing can only really be done the old fashioned way, with pens and pencils and markers.

The psychologists and guidance counselors had a field day with me in middle school and high school because of my rather dark themed scribblings and doodlings. When your primary emotion is “terror,” the secondary is almost always “rage.”  (Repressed anger, anyone?- and this was decades before Columbine.)  I would buy plain notebooks (even better if they had a canvas finish) and then I would draw macabre scenes all over them in a variety of colors.  If the discussion went too slow or I got bored in class (pretty much every day) then I would write little snippets of prose or poetry along with whatever notes I was pretending to take inside the notebook.  I didn’t have the advantage of having a laptop or a tablet or a smart phone in school. I graduated in 1986, when the entire school had three computers, all of which had a cassette player serving as a hard drive.  By comparison, the Note 3 smart phone I have today would have been a supercomputer.

I should have learned my lesson regarding concealing incriminating evidence of my twisted thought life when I was in 8th grade. One of the boys decided to appropriate one of my more risqué notebooks and share its contents with the other boys.  This was Not a Good Thing.  The notebook got confiscated by a nosy teacher who wondered what the boys were laughing about.  I ended up in an extremely awkward and embarrassing meeting with the guidance counselor that led to  several months of camping out in the psychologist’s office every Tuesday afternoon.  Since my mother worked for the school system and knew every single one of the teachers and staff, the repercussions of that indiscretion really sucked.

I still kept my funky notebooks with the outlandish scribbles on them, but I was more careful about what I wrote in them in high school, just in case someone would dare to screw with them.  No one ever dared to.  In high school, I found that when I ended up with large friends, who took a special delight in beating the daylights out of people who screwed with me, that my confidential items remained that way.   I didn’t receive any unauthorized touching, spindling or mutilation to my person either, not after one unfortunate thug got her head shaved for spitting Skoal in my hair.  The Skoal Incident- which took place toward the end of my freshman year in high school- marked the end of many years of harassment and beatings from my cohorts in school.

cat fight

Some of my friends liked to fight.  I didn’t.  But by the time I had a car and smokes, I didn’t have to fight.

Granted, I was probably buying friends, (often with cigarettes) which isn’t a healthy thing to do, but it did save me from more than one ass-thumping, I’m sure.   I was in survival mode back then, and it was refreshing to be able to go to school without being dumped head-first into garbage cans, having my hair set on fire, or being shoved up the stairs.  The thought of being shoved up the stairs (concrete stairs with metal caps on the edges) makes my knee caps hurt even now.

Survival is what it is.

I probably shouldn’t have such a fascination for postmortem pics and/or the plight of the unfortunates of Walmart, but I do.

dead family

Pictures are expensive- sooooo- jump right on in there with the stiff!

really creepy dead kid

She doesn’t look terribly fresh, but then again, she’s DEAD.  How fast can the photographer get there on a horse?

The Victorians did pathos and high drama in a way that we just can’t stomach today, but as I’ve said before, back in the times before flush toilets and Clorox, death was in your living room.  Death was your bunkie in more ways than one.

Maybe I should consider it an improvement in my emotional health that my primary emotion is “fear” opposed to “terror.”  That might just be the mitigating effect of Prozac.  I’ve noticed that my secondary emotion- “rage” – has sort of settled into a pragmatic anger.  I try not to get angry unless that anger will do some good, but there are times when I just plain get pissed for no apparent reason.

I actually have some ivory tower time scheduled, although it seems sort of shitty that I have to schedule it in advance rather than just being able to drop off the planet for awhile, unannounced.  This time I hope Jerry leaves me alone for at least a day or two.  I could really use some peace and quiet with just Clara as company for a few days (months…yeah right) but I know Jerry too well.  If I go to the campground he will feel compelled to follow me so I can fetch beer and make trips into town for KFC and so forth.

chicken bucket

Man, that sounds good.

More Fun With Obscure Old Things, Virtual Road Trip, and Winter Funk Comes Early

plates compareAt least I can keep my sunburst plate (the top one) and save $8 as opposed to getting the new plate which I think is rather busy for a license plate.

Usually I don’t get to the really despondent depths of the Winter Funk until the butt-end of February, when my birthday rolls around, bringing with it the ominous and expensive task of going to the BMV to pay for yet another registration sticker for yet another year..  This year that task is doubly odious because I have to renew my driver’s license as well as my car registration, so I can’t just do it online.  Joy and rapture.  A new pic of me- four years older, that is guaranteed to be bad enough that it should either appear in “Busted” magazine, or have “Correctional Institute Inmate” underneath it.   As far as “Busted” magazine, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to gawk at the mug shots, laugh at the bizarre names (there is actually a guy in one of them whose name is “Sequin”)  and examine them to see if anyone I know is in there.   At least as far as I know I’m not going to get stuck with the fugly new license plate.  I don’t care for that design, and it really doesn’t go very well with my Hello Kitty license plate frames.

hellokitty2_600This goes better with the old sunburst plate anyway.

Anyway, I am trying to head off the despair and gloom at the pass.  I am making it a point to go to at least one Bible study class (at church, among other live humans) a week, which I’ve not been doing since last October and it shows.  I am not the best Christian example in the world by a long shot, but I have an even harder go of things when I neglect Bible study with other people.  Yes, I read and study on my own, but the only observations I see are my own and too much navel-gazing is not a good thing.  Even though I crave solitude like a junkie craves a fix, I still need to hear the opinions and observations of others- particularly from those with different viewpoints than mine- from time to time.

More importantly, I have to remember that there is life beyond the mundane, and I have been very neglectful of the spiritual as of late.

jesuswatchingI couldn’t be terribly interesting to watch.

Anyway, I have found some more fascinating ephemera from the early-to-mid 20th century that piqued my interest:

toilet baldToilet water cures baldness.  Who’d have thought?

Men generally are less vain than women.  Though comfortable, I can’t bring myself to wear Velcro tennis shoes in public.  However, some men have a rather twisted sense of vanity and of utility:

redneck-boatWhat they’re not telling you is the recliner on the boat is nicer than the one in the house.

I have also discovered that the redneck love of bacon is not a recent discovery.  Even in the late 19th century a national love affair with pork products was obvious.

porcineographThe United States of Pork!

To quote the French: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

At least back in the day – before Oklahoma was a state, obviously,  you got the cool little diagram with all the piggies on it to take home.

While I’m in the road tripping mood, it’s interesting to see how people other than Midwesterners look at the US.  I know foreigners probably view the great vast flatness of the Midwest with trepidation (we’re not dangerous, usually, just boring.)  There are flush toilets in the South now- even in West Virginia, although West Virginia is technically not part of the South.  The reason why West Virginia is West Virginia is that they decided to stay in the Union instead of becoming part of the Confederacy along with the rest of Virginia.   Southern Ohio isn’t part of the South either, but try telling them that.  Especially that guy in Greene County who has the barn with the huge rebel flag on the roof that’s glaringly visible from I-71 northbound.  Never mind that he’s 35 miles north of the Ohio River (and therefore the Mason-Dixon Line.)  I guess if the South rises again it might have to redefine its geographical boundaries.

redneckmap

A West Virginia view on what’s what and who’s who in the US. Or maybe a Nebraskan’s?

I still think it would be interesting to take an English speaking foreigner (and yes, I am thinking of Karl Pilkington and the Idiot Abroad series) into the depths of fly-over country.  Use Central Ohio as the epicenter, and the only rule for the itinerary being that the destination has to be within 500 miles of the I-70 I-71 split in the middle of Columbus.  I could have a lot of fun with that.  Visit the Midwest, New England and a good portion of the South that nobody ever bothers to see.  I mean, since when has anyone said much about tourism in Cincinnati (which actually is a very cool historical destination) or Detroit, which you can skip entirely, unless you’re into armed robbery and gang rape, with the exception of the Henry Ford Museum (which is technically in Dearborn) and even then, leave your valuables in Columbus.   The Ford Museum is worth the drive and even worth the risk to one’s person in getting there.  Otherwise I would pretty much give the entire state of Michigan a pass.

reagan limoThis is the Reagan Limo.  I took this pic the last time I was at the Ford Museum- back in 2007.

Of course I have not (yet) made it to what might well be the holy grail of museums- the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  I’ve never been to Philadelphia.  I can only hope it’s not as bad as Detroit.  I simply have to get a.) enough scratch to make the trip, and b.) I have to plan the logistics so that I can stay overnight somewhere because it’s a 12 hour drive each way.

Mutter_MuseumNothing says cool like old preserved medical anomalies.