Letters to Shia,

Dear dear baby boy,

You finally have a name! Yay! I was a little nervous there for a second. My “Let’s name him Bob jokes” became increasingly less funny as the vagina you escaped from became stitched back together and your innocent baby eyes searched my face for an answer. Your eyes, my goodness those eyes. They see everything and jolt back and forth in your head as if there is still so much more to take in. There is Shia, an unimaginable amount more. I pray that your eyes never lose their fervor to seek new sights and be amazed by them, the same way I’m amazed by you. Your eyes, as brilliant a work of God I’d ever seen, terrify me to know end.

The cruel nihilistic reality of life that comes when you look deep into your pupils. The yellowish tint of your jaundiced cornea, are disturbing reminders of my own fragile mortality and eternal search for purpose. Having you, no, creating you, has in turn aroused in me all the thoughts, fears, ambitions, and denials that I try to placate through the daily cycle of mundane existence that we call life. Exposing another creature to this sad excuse at “living” that I have myself fallen trapped into is, of course, the cruel punishment of existence: a person’s greatest joy come the moment they bring a tiny being of their own divine creation into the world.

I am now painfully aware of my own consciousness among this living, breathing organism called Earth. My successes, my failures, my friendships, my pains, my memories, my ambitions…my dreams, do any of them truly matter? Shia sometimes my dreams are so real I wake up in them. It’s almost absurd how real they feel to me and how painful every waking moment realizing that they are creations of my ideological perceptions of bullshit constructs created by other people before me. I wanna be a writer. Like this really really notable, unbelievable, name in history writer guy. Trouble is, I think I write like shit. I’ll write for hours and hours on end only to become so unequivocally disgusted with myself that I just give up, never to return to the narrative again. I want to make a TV show. A really notable, once in a lifetime television show where I could bring up the dramatic sequence of events  in episode 7 season 10 to a Native of the Osowabi tribe in the jungles of the Amazon and they’d say, “dude I can’t wait until next [insert timeslot], it’s going to be epic.” Problem is, I hate television. I absolutely detest it. It’s my belief that an hour spent watching TV destroys more brain cells than smoking crack, strictly in quantity of participants. The entire population of opiate addicts would fail in comparison to the Love & Hip Hop/Basketball Wives fan base. A debate in which group is more productive in that hour time slot would be a fascinating one to behold. The same can be said for my dream of creating a movie, except the timeslot is now doubled and people are lambasted with enough flashing lights to place them in a catatonic state that after a number of viewings, nobody notices is even a real thing anymore.

I’m not writing this to complain about my life, though that seems like all that I’ve done. I’m writing this because I want you to be able to find your purpose, even though I have yet to. The meaninglessness of life doesn’t mean that your life has to have no meaning. But once you find it, fight for it Shia, no matter how idiotic, or contradictory it may seem. Fight like your life depends on it because it does. Fight like its the only thing in the world that makes your heart beat. Fight for it like the universe let you glimpse into the beauty of life itself, right behind a pair of yellow tinted eyes.

Advertisements

Letters to Fetty,

3

My mother is disappointed in you; you’ve broken her heart. Before you have even opened your eyes to see the brilliance of the world or experienced your first wonderful sounds, you’ve hurt someone. Like father, like _____.

I want you to know that from this day forward (actually a few weeks ago, but no matter) everything that I do will be for me and you. Nothing else matters. Spread as much love as you possibly can Fetty, please. There is a dire shortage of it out here. Almost as if it’s such a precious commodity that people would rather hoard it and watch it deteriorate, than share it with others so that it can grow. 

Hopefully by the time you’re able to start understanding life for yourself (I say when we have our first conversation about existentialism) that our lives have panned out nicely. I don’t want to get degrees just for the sake of having degrees. Do what you love my child, and try your darnedest to spread it to everyone. You hear me? No matter how much hate, or spite or pain you may have to endure. Even if it seems like you’re constantly hurting people unintentionally or losing loved ones. Even if everything you have ever known about the life that you’ve been living turns out to be a lie. Even if you can’t imagine seeing tomorrow. Still. Love. That’s all there ever is, that’s all there ever really will be.

Hate is real, Love is real. Choose wisely.

Love you to forever and back,

Papa SLUG

Letters to Fetty,

2

I wish my spirits were perpetually lifted whenever I write to you. Thus far, it has been anything but. My life as it is right now would play out as a commercial for antidepressants. I wish I could tell you what it is that is doing it. My living situation. My career situation. Social and emotional situation. Romantic situation. Everything and at the same time nothing.  It’s the realization that choices that I’m making and going to make are going to dictate the rest of my life. 

The post-grad angst of being out in the “real world” is hitting me hard. My delusions of “making it” are still firmly intertwined with my personal philosophy but the reality of living in a tiny state with little opportunity while becoming a mid twenties father is becoming all too real. The ‘what if’ thoughts have begun to gnaw away at my once unbreakable beliefs. “Getting out of here” is now being replaced by “getting a house” and steady income. Traveling the world giving way to comprehensive medical insurance and paid vacations. Thoughts of going away for higher education paling to hold a candle to the realism of student loans taking chunks out of an already dilapidated salary. My dreams themselves have begun to meld into something worse than even nightmares, practicality. 

A degree that is useless, no skills, no connections, no plan, and worst of all, no motivation. Some days it is all I can do to just drag myself out of bed and toil away like a mindless drone at whichever corporation decides to purchase my vessel. The worst part is that I am aware enough to know that I am the master of my own world, if this is not the life I desire, then change it. It’s that simple. Not easy, but simple. 

To have this kind of power, and not use it for the betterment of myself or anyone else is a crime against humanity itself. To not dedicate your life to enriching your spirit, everyday fetty, that is the worst thing a person can do to themselves. I’m self destructive Fetty. I can do bad all myself should be my life quote. I’m trying to change, for you, for me. I will change. It’s just hard accepting how long the process is. One day at a time I suppose. Life is forever.

Letters to Fetty,

1

This world that you will come to know is not a beautiful place. Correction: it is not JUST a beautiful place. Growing up you will come to learn that in everything that exists, there is an opposite side. The Yang, the tails, the black, the other half. I hope you come to understand that this complimentary piece is more than a label of “good or bad.” It is just the rest. The continuation. The necessary addition or subtraction for the final result.

This amazing, wonderous, bountiful blue dot that we will call home has more to offer than you or I will ever experience in both of our lifetimes. Some of it so sincerely breath taking and alluring that it brings you to tears for simply being able to experience moments in its presence. This, my little clementine, are the moments that humans have chosen to construct their entire existence around. The so called “Pursuit of Happiness.”

During this pursuit however, we will grow. Like everything else that is considered “living,” we must embark on an internal journey that forces not only our physical bodies to change, but our spiritual, and mental capacities as well. You are growing as I write this, amassing energies that are going to be used to transform you from a small clementine to an orange perhaps, or another citrus based fruit. You will continue to grow until one day, your lease, on the vessel containing your energies will have run its course, and it will return from where it came. This is our process. This is our cycle. This is our “life.”

The beauty in this life and the pursuit of happiness that engrosses it, is the journey. Please, don’t ever forget that. Because the beautiful moments may be spread very far from one another. The things that make you happiest may be so far out of reach that they seem inconceivable. The “beautiful place” that you have come to love, may become ugly.

These are the instances where true appreciation of your journey, of your growth, of your life, of your very breath, must take precedence. Those moments will come again Fetty, be patient. Your happiness will not elude you forever if your will and heart can sustain from wavering. This beautiful world, will become even more beautiful by what you give to it, know that. Nothing exists without something. So give this world, your life, everything.

I love you Fetty,

Papa SLUG

Thank God that…

You ever have days where everything seems to pile on top of you at once? Your car got towed, then you got chewed out by your boss for being late, which led to you having an attitude at Starbucks and getting a double mocha iced latte poured on your head right in front of the cutie you’ve been eyeballing for a week. That sounds like an average Tuesday for me.

On days like these, it’s very easy to forget the little things that we take for granted that could possibly turn a frown upside down. Here are ten that I am thankful for.

Thank God, I don’t have smelly feet – Because the rubber and plastic burning in my chimney smell like the pits of hell. It has never been easier to be a “sneaker head” in America where new color waves, schemes, and designs seem to emerge every second. Gone are the days of simple stamp collection. Now, these hobbies can range upward of $3,000 for one special edition item.

Thank God, my allergies haven’t started yet – Because that means I have a few more days of bliss before my endless torment begins. My allergies have turned the spring seasons into the most miserable three months of the year. Instead of being able to enjoy the decadence of the spring foliage, I am ensnared with an endless cycle of Kleenex, Benadryl, and eye drops. However, going through this life-altering anguish helps me appreciate, more so than others, the other nine months out of the year. The blistering heat of the summer, the bone-chilling wind of the fall, and the frozen landscape of the winter all resonate as parts of the beautiful, enduring, sequence of nature.

 Thank God, I have a college degree – Because you can never have enough paperweights. I’m kidding, sort of. In this day and age, the impracticality that comes with the venturing off to college should at least cause any potential student to pause and reflect on their coming decision. The average student leaves college with over ten thousand dollars in debt and sometimes as high as six figures. When the realization that the prospect of getting a decent paying job is ridiculously low coupled with the thousands of similarly unemployed recent grads, the value of a college degree seems to be shrinking more than the U.S dollar. While it is becoming more of a requirement to possess one to perform even the most entry level of positions, the fact of the matter is you don’t necessarily need one to become successful. Now earning a degree has become more of a life milestone than a life changing achievement.

 Thank God, my mother hasn’t charged me rent yet – Because my section 8 has not been approved yet. Being a freeloading sack of dirty dishes and unwashed laundry is much less disheartening when your roommate has cleaned your feces daily at one point. Eventually, most people realize that they can never repay their mother’s love. In that, some may make it their life goal to become a symbol of pride for the earliest, and sometimes only, a symbol of unconditional love that few will get to experience. A mother’s love is one currency that can only be given and never repaid and a child’s aspirations would be that framed receipt.

Thank God, I started watching sports a few years ago – Because now I can hold conversations with men and pretend like I know what I’m talking about. Sports in America have become so engrained in our culture that these now gladiators of modern times take on mythic proportions. Certain idols have become so dehumanized that to speak of them must be heeded with overt caution. To understand this is to understand America,  where systems that are wildly known to be insufficiently broken are held in place by the legends wrought from idols of history. Had Benjamin Franklin played for the Boston Celtics our national flag would have been a four-leaf clover.

 Thank God for Netflix – Because chill. The phenomenon of Netflix has created an environment where conversation and social interaction have become secondary to new episodes of Bob’s Burgers. It’s used as almost an escape from the daily rigors of life as writing, music, and art once were. This now leaves us to wonder, will the following generation have only images of satires, documentaries, and dramas to look upon as our legacies.

 Thank God for the internet – Because Timmy Turner was right, everything leads back to the internet. The internet has most likely become the greatest invention of the 20th century. It has opened the world and made it smaller, and broken the boundaries of human information. We now have at our disposal, more information than millions of people could process in their entire lifetime; as well as an infinite amount of funny cat videos on YouTube.

Thank God for Marvel Comics movies – Because I needed a reason to continue to go to the movies. The film industry is constantly looking for the next compelling concept. Right now, that would be, grown men in tights. For decades, the fantasies, stories, and dramas of comics have enraptured in scoped minds. It has now become the time to bring those tales from the little page to the big screen.

 Thank God for beards – Because they catch all of the crumbs that would have otherwise fallen on my clothing. They are also a personal identifier to match a person’s personality. Like snowflakes and Olsen twins, no two beards are exactly alike and each represents different characteristics and aspects of their suitor.

 Thank God for Franklin at the tollbooth – Because I sure as hell didn’t have that one dollar and twenty-five cents to make it through the tollbooth. Sometimes it’s the simplest and smallest forms of generosity that can turn a relatively horrid day, into a special one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends, Best Friends, Frenemies

Picture yourself conducting an interview of three potential candidates for a high-profile job. I’m talking president of Mars in significance and role. You’re eager to get the person on board your already star studded team but cautious as well; the last hire caused a catastrophe that took you months to rectify. The first candidate is pleasant; the two of you have a nice discussion about popular trends and effective remedies for blackhead removal. After they exit you feel content, “Not bad” you think to yourself. Not amazing, but definitely wouldn’t cost you to cancel your vacation for cleanup duty like the former. The second candidate arrives thirty minutes late. You were walking out the door when you happen to literally bump into to them at the threshold. From that point on they have you on an emotional roller coaster. Somehow you wind up talking about life aspirations, dreams, fears, family, the stress of the job, your failures, and how Joey Fatone of NSYNC managed to pull off being a full-grown man in a boy band.  The time flies and you lamentably have to end the interview as it has run for hours past its expiration. The two of you exchange numbers (only to be later prank called by them pretending to be a disgruntled pizza delivery driver) and part ways. You know objectively that they may not be fully qualified for the job and won’t be hired, but save their number as a potential contact anyway. The final candidate is perfect. They could do this job with their eyes closed, in fact, they make suggestions about improvements your current team needs and would prefer to work with you directly instead. They get the job on the spot, of course, but you can’t shake something trivial that happened during the interview; they didn’t shake your hand until after they were employed.

This, in reality, is the daunting task of distinguishing between friends, best friends, and frenemies. As you become older, the sandbox days of blissful, easily distinguishable friendships dissolves into a complex system of awkward social interactions. Becoming friends with someone becomes more of a trial by jury, where current friends, social interests, compatibility and general enjoyment all play a large factor. Throughout your life, friends are going to be one of the single most influential determinants to almost everything that you grow to understand, accomplish and strive for. Placing people around you that challenge you to grow and mature becomes critical to your development as a person.  The first candidate was the typical “friend” counterpart. The relationship that the two of you share is unspectacular; you rarely hang out without the company of other individuals but when you do the conversations are simple and sweet. Topics will cover the general “how are you,” “what have you been up to,” “how is (insert family/another friend) doing” etc. You only know the general basics about each other because that’s all you really need to know. Not to say that these people can’t still be a great time, actually, they’ll probably be around at most social event (to fill out the group of course). In a group of five, two or three of these members would fall into this category. Eventually, you may grow apart from them to where the occasional happenstance interaction would elicit the same “how do you do’s” that it would have prior to estrangement. This is going to happen dozens of times throughout your life and is in part to teach us how to cherish the moments that we are able to share with people while growing more prepared to let them go.

The rarest of the three categories would be similar to candidate two, the best friend. Best friends are the reason that relationships with people outside of your family are necessary and worthwhile. They can appear at any time, from any place and be any person. The connection that is formed between the two of you can last a lifetime and is impossible to fake, if it’s not there, then it’s not. Trying to force this usually leads to adverse effects that take a great deal of time and effort to overcome. But when everything’s clicking, there can be times when no one in the whole world is closer to you. It can feel like you share the same line of thought; finishing sentences and revelling in the knowledge that a simple glance can uncork thousands of secret jokes that only the two of you will understand or even care about. You can just as quickly talk about this weeks gossip as you can family issues that have been on your mind for weeks. The true beauty of a best friend is in those moments where no words even need  to be said, and the comfort of having them simply be in your presence can wash away the angst that comes with adult life. Out of a group of five friends, you’re lucky to have one. These are the diamonds in the rough that can only be found waiting at a bus stop, an off-color phone call, or laying in the crib right next to you. Having a best friend is far from easy, they can have qualities that make you question if they deserve the “human” title that they take for granted. They often know more about you than almost anybody else and that type of responsibility can be a heavy burden for anyone to handle, mistakes will happen. But true best friends are the stuff written about in fantasy books,and no matter how often they may let you down, they can always pick you up. Always.

The final candidate, the perfect match made in heaven, everything you could have ever asked for, is the nefarious “frenemy.” Like most diabolical beings, not much in known about them and what is know is often passed around to the point of mythical proportions. Do they really exist? Were we just not as close as we thought we were? Should I have seen it coming? Is it me? These are all questions that can arise after the falling out with a frenemy. In retrospect, a frenemy can often just be a best friend that has decided that the friendship was less valuable than previously regarded. They can use the information that they have accumulated against you and make your life a living nightmare if need be, depending on the depth of their insidiousness.

 

Relationship MisAdvice (feedback)

Relationship MisAdvice: First Date

 

If you don’t already know by now, dating sucks. It is literally the single worst experience of the young American adult life outside of poverty, social injustice, and losing a twerking contest to Miley Cyrus. It is an awkward, constantly new practice that never seems to become any easier, regardless of how many forays into it are undertaken. What makes it worse, everybody and their mother have some piece of advice to offer. Whether it is how to dress, how to walk, or to pay or not to pay, how to act on the first date or rekindle the spark that has waned through the decades, people are willing to give their two cents in an economy where the penny is worthless. Personally, I’m over the whole thing and have found a level of bliss that could never be surpassed two for twenty dinners at Olive Garden. As such, I’ve decided to impart my new found knowledge to the rest of the world as MisAdvice: everything that you should do to go against the boring, monotonous, and harsh world of being an individual in a couple driven society. Welcome to Mr. Slugs Relationship MisAdvice on the first date.

 

Meeting

 

You know the feelings: the butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, nausea induced from an over indulgence of your favorite Macy’s fragrance. It’s the first date jitters and they happen to everyone unless you live your life vicariously Bond-esque, then don’t worry about it; we all know how this movie’s going to end.

 

The trick to overcoming the first date heebie-jeebies is to simply be yourself. No seriously, hear me out. Whether this person knows nothing about you (blind date), knows vaguely who you are (casual), or is already your best friend (weird), be Y.O.U or for you acronym crazy saps, Your Own Unicorn. I know what you’re thinking, “My own Unicorn? That doesn’t make any sense.” You’re right, it doesn’t. Unicorns are made up mythical creatures and although flooding with awesomeness, don’t necessarily occur in this realm of existence. Damn multiverse is always holding out on the good stuff.

 

But you, my wedgie pulling, make-up checking friend, do exist. YOU can be this mythical creature because who’s to say that your interpretation of it is wrong, Fred from accounting? Forget him! Be dramatic, be aloof, be kind, be goofy, be weird, be obnoxious, be haphazard, be clumsy, be a jerk and even be a little bit disgusting. Be every and anything you ever wanted to be for this night.  The person sitting on the other side of the table has no clue what they’re getting into anyway, might as well give them a show and make yourself memorable. If all goes well, they’ll turn tail on the doorstep and do a burnout down your street that you can post for all of your Instagram followers the next day.

 

Travel Time

 

Unfortunately, some people are gluttons for punishment. Depending on how you’ve made arraignments, there may be a bit of travel time together associated with this date, creating another opportunity to exploit their misguided curiosity in you. If you two are the fancy, new-age type, and choose to meet each other at the venue than skip to the next section, show offs.

 

Travel time is any time spent in between events. This can happen stuffed inside of the tiny Fiat 500 that your 6’6” date owns, or waiting in line together at a Bruce Springsteen concert, or those few precious moments when you stare at your cellphone screens until the order of bacon-wrapped shrimp emerges from the kitchen.

 

The biggest negative of Travel Time is the feared awkward silence. This is the ticking timer in every person’s head that goes off during social situations when nobody says anything for an undisclosed amount of time. Now for normal people, this is a huge detractor and many will tell you to try to keep conversation and activities going. But where’s the fun in that? I always say; the best way to put out a fire is to add more fire. Stare at your suitors face the entire car ride, watch cat videos on your phone (making sure to laugh loudly while never sharing the clips), turn down the radio to their favorite song and say “Would it be okay if we could just talk a little bit, to get to know each other?” Then when they say yes, turn the radio back up and stare out the window the remainder of the car ride. If they try to talk to you over the music, continuously tell them that the radio is too loud to hear them and you’ll have plenty of time to talk later.

 

Now people listen (or read, whichever) very closely. I’m going to only say this once and then it’ll be gone forever unless you bookmark this page or something then you can always just come back to it. The most important, stressful, and frustrating event in travel time is the ceremonial, paying of the bill. Whatever you do, DO NOT PAY THAT FIRST BILL. This is a psychological war that has been ruining relationships since the days of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Nothing is worse for a guy than to be emasculated by his female counterpart, whereby contrast, it can be a possible red flag if Macho Man doesn’t even give you a chance to reach into your purse ladies. So nip it in the bud. Unload your full arsenal of distractor conversations. That time you got your head stuck in the fence? Yes, please! How the video of you singing in the shower hit one million views before being taken down for indecent exposure? Love to hear it! The fact that you still have no idea what the difference is between a Roth IRA, 401k and NBA 2K is? Who does! Whatever topics you can think of to keep the bill from sliding over to your side of the table, now is the time to employ them. Because you know what they say about giving someone an inch; “what am I going to do with an inch?”

 

Perfect Ending

You made it. Somehow you avoided making a complete fool of yourself and if you’re lucky, worked your way out of a second date. But alas, sometimes these tips do fail and that potential somebody that is now walking with you to your doorstep is looking at you with those Disney movie googly eyes. If this continues it may lead to a goodbye kiss or worse, (gulp) a second date. To be honest, I’m all out of advice. I’ve never made it this far (not my fault, my copy glitches after level three and won’t let me use the remove sweaty palms hack). Whatever happens at this point, you are on your own. If they lean in for a kiss you could always blurt out “Crap this is the wrong house” right before contact. Otherwise, just go with the flow, what is meant to be will be. “So long as men can breath and eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”- Famous poet/writer guy.

Final Remarks

The main point of this article is to get you to remember one thing, RELAX. The world is stressful enough without you worrying about whether you should wear your hair up or down with your halter top (always down) or whether it’s a special enough occasion to wear your lucky Spider-Man briefs (always yes.) If you can take anything away from my advice, have it be this; enjoy yourself. No matter how much of a jerk you pretend to be or how much you started to break out as soon as the plans were laid. No matter how dorky and unattractive everything in your closet makes you feel. No matter if your date hasn’t stopped taking selfies since the night began. Remember that Y.O.U. can be pretty freaking awesome if given the chance. Horns and rainbows not included.

Writing Assignment 1: Plot v2

Jason looked at his three-year-old son throwing a world class tantrum on the beige carpet of his studio apartment. He was missing his championship game to be here, and along with it the trophy he had been working all season for. He couldn’t help but feel like he had been tricked. The circumstances leading to the current situation constantly replaying in his mind like a vinyl record player of memories stuck on repeat.

“Jason please, just a few hours, he’s your son too.” Said the child’s mother Shonda. “You need to get abroad this parent train and grow the hell up for real. Be a man.”

The baby continued to pound the ground and scream loud enough to make the inside of Jason’s temples throb. The young father was on the verge of exploding, there was no way he signed up for this. He got up from the floor to obtain baby food his mother had bought earlier that morning.

“Carrot flavor?” he said, smelling the contents of the small container. “This junk looks toxic.” He shrugged and returned to the enraged toddler. He sat the child up in between his legs only to have the baby scream even louder.

“Aye bruh, cut that crying stuff out now. Or else I’m going to put you in the cage with the dog.”

The baby abruptly stopped crying, looking up at his father with light brown eyes. Jason was caught off guard, forgetting that even though they were babies, they could still understand him. Or at least, pretend to. He scooped a spoonful of the concoction and brought it to the child’s mouth, instantly inciting a face on the child that stood somewhere between ultimate disgust and endless curiosity. Jason began to laugh uncontrollably, causing the child to join in as well. The two spent the better half of five minutes on the ground rolling in gut wrenching laughter.

“Okay, okay. I’ll get you some better food. These ladies obviously don’t know what they’re doing.” The child began to beam a large gap-filled, toothy smile. The moment only being broken by the rings of his cellphone in the kitchen.

Writing Assignment 2: ABDCE

When you’re 11 years old, the last thing that you think about is safety. So the thought of losing your kneecap would have to be on the list of “Things that kids have never thought about, ever.”It was a gloomy fall day and a bunch of elementary school kids decided to play a game of football in the parking lot of their academy. The first mistake was deciding not to play the standard game of two hand touch like they usually did. The second was deciding not to play a game of two-hand touch on grass, not cement. But alas, the boys were young and oblivious to the dangers that open skin and hard surfaces might present. Almost immediately after  the game had begun, one of the players lost their balance  and slammed on the ground, with their 120 pounds of force focusing on their knee. The child was relieved to not be in excruciating pain after the accident, only to realize that part of his body, namely his knee, had not accompanied him. After a small battle of wills with his mother later that day, the child relented and made the trip to the doctor’s office.