The Same Old Scum Sucker

I often vow to myself that if I ever become sickeningly rich, my life won’t change one bit. I will still pocket handfuls of complimentary mints from Gus’s Diner up the block from me near the highway, open twenty-four hours, truckers welcome. I will take every mint available, leaving nothing for the rotten, sour breath of commercial drivers or the prostitutes that may be employed to deal with it.

I will still pee out the window of my gilded mobile home to avoid those ridiculous water and sewage fees.

I will still hoard ketchup packets and napkins from stingy fast food chains reluctant to give them away without the threat of bodily harm to the listless cashier.

I will still clog up checkout lines of all shapes and sizes with my aggressive haggling over every scanned item. “I could’ve sworn that was on sale. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise! Check it again!”

I will still panhandle every Sunday, weather permitting, in front of my local MARTA train station. I will still appear ragged, sunken and shame-faced, avoiding eye contact, sock covered hand extended, thanking the people for their generosity. (The public’s munificence always seems to be a bit more munificent on Sunday, go figure.) I will still drag myself away with about $150 in loose change, tax free, at the end of the work day, to spend the money ironically, like instead of getting a really nice bottle of whiskey with my loot I will just buy a case of old Monkey Shoulder. I would much rather reek of a lot of cheap booze than a moderate amount of fancy booze, and that is one thing that will never change about me, no matter how rich I become.

Most of all, like G.E.’s Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt, every time I fly someplace in my private plane, I will take along at least one other plane.

Even without being rich I know that there is nothing more embarrassing than showing up to a private airport with the same airplane as another smug billionaire. It’s like showing up to an 80s Jazzercise class in the same leg warmers as Olivia Newton-John. It’s like showing up to the BET Music Awards with the same golden chalice as Lil’ Jon. It’s like showing up to a pizza party with the same meat-topped Sicilian extravaganza as Papa John. It’s like showing up to a jazz concert with the same smooth New Orleans piano licks as Dr. John. It’s like showing up to a charity ball with the same gap in the teeth as Elton John. It’s like showing up to the filming of “Diamonds are Forever” with the same hot red hair and go-go boots as Jill St. John. (In keeping with the extravagant miser-hoarder aspect of this essay, I shall milk every joke until it is bone dry and dead. Mission accomplished on that last part.)

In fact, the lid is off. My backup private airplane will have its own backup airplane, and that backup airplane will have its own backup airplane and just to be on the safe side, the reserve of the backup of the backup of the backup will probably need to have a backup. It’s the only way to travel. Because a rich guy has to be prepared for anything and everything. I may need the jet with the DJ booth and neon dance floor, or I may require the aircraft with the king water bed and jacuzzi. Or, in mid-air, I may decide to make an emergency landing to switch from the jet with the Art Deco, ultra-modern interior, to the rustic, moose lodge jet with the rotating fireplace and stuffed animal trophies. I may, at a capricious change of whim, decide I no longer want to splash around in my aqua jet, barreling down my fuselage-encased water slide at 30,000 feet. Instead I may prefer to be whipped like a pauper in my sadomasochistic, dungeon-themed private jet, fully equipped with live-aboard dominatrix and 1,000 fully charged, shame-inducing electrical prods. And I must always be able to utilize my jet designed in the shape of a pterodactyl. It is always a giddy thrill to instruct the pilots of that monster metal bird to make aggressive swoops down toward large crowds of people to scare the shit out of them.

As expected, I would be globe trotting with a hefty entourage of European supermodels, and of course some of them, due to ego clashes, superiority complexes and general human disdain, will not want to travel on the same plane with each other, and so my five, six, or seven plane escort will have enough space for every self-absorbed, walking human crisis, myself included.

It is an all too common refrain that money tends to change people. Penny wise and pound foolish, as they say. So I am proud to announce that I would never change. I would still be the harrowing, damaged, venal, petty, short-changing, rip-off artist I’ve been my whole life. Penny foolish and pound foolish, traveling the globe in my line of private airplanes with the type of money that tends to insulate from all consequence.

Who wants to come with me?

I suggest you make friends with me now because I promise to forget you as soon as the money comes pouring in. Unlike most people, I will owe my friends the respect of telling them how expendable they are before I am immersed in untold riches.

It’s just the kind of guy I am.

How refreshing.

Thanks for showing me the way, Jeff. In the words of Modern English, the 1982 power pop one hit wonders, “I’ll Stop the World, Immelt with You.”

More Alembics to come.

Open Letter to the Wealthy Perverts of the World from Johnny Americana

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke,” the normal blog contributor, is being pressured to post this weird fan letter in an effort to stop the ongoing harassment of his wife and daughters, we at The Alembic are all too eager to see the matter resolved. Mr. Johnny Americana, a somewhat dumb-headed and lonely old acquaintance of “paddytheduke’s,” has demanded the use of this platform to petition leading perverts to advise him on how to exercise said perversions without fear of backlash. Mr. Americana, while purpose driven and blind with ambition, has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of being obsessed with the cult of personality at the expense of good sense. We fear he is not alone. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as part of an agreement to cease and desist the intimidation of Mr. “theduke’s” family as soon as possible and we wish him the best of luck. Go right ahead, Mr. Americana.

Dear Wealthy Perverts of the World,
And you know who you are! There is no need to call you out by name. Suffice it to say that you hold important and powerful titles in the fields of politics, international banking, Hollywood, cable news, billion-dollar tech companies, British broadcasting institutions, and hell, pretty much anyplace you find a lot of money. Let me introduce myself. I am Johnny Americana, your number one fan. I am writing from the heavily guarded, involuntary therapy wing of the Cecil B. Jacobson rehabilitation center buried deep in the woods outside of Opelika, Alabama, a therapeutic stronghold at least a hundred miles in each direction from anything resembling a woman. We’re so desperate that a group of us tried to corner the crack of dawn yesterday morning, and old Zeke got caught with his pecker in a woodpile in the hopes that a toothless snake might be hiding in it.

Where was I?

I am writing on behalf of my fellow inmates to beseech you Captains of Industry for any advice you might have on how to properly offend a sexy slattern, a lusty Lolita, in short a depraved female, without falling victim to some of the harsher penalties put forth by our draconian, ultra-politically correct, no-longer-letting-men-be-men legal system. Note that I am pleading and imploring you, my fellow fellows, my fellow Y chromosome carriers, and not pestering you, harassing you, badgering you or assaulting you, like I would a gal who happened to be in the vicinity of me and my constantly erect dingus. We have been re-educated here to respect the personal space of all women, even the ones that you can tell kinda want it, like when they pretend they don’t but they really do, and they use their bodies to trap you because they are evil and dirty and sexually depraved and then they sue you because they feel guilty about it.

Where was I?

Let’s get right to the turgid point, you wonderful dirty old bastards. These days it is a worldwide Roman orgy, and we all want to be Caligula. You know him, that wild, hedonistic leader of Ancient Italy. He really knew how to have a good time, that guy. He sold all his sisters into sexual slavery, promoted his favorite horse to lead consul, threw entire sections of coliseum spectators into the arena to be eaten by lions, and created huge floating palaces on Lake Nemi, where he chased women, buck naked, up and down the ornate mosaic floors from prow to stern. Once he had them cornered they had the choice of surrendering to his beastly appetite or throwing themselves into the surrounding waters to drown. Never let it be said they weren’t without options. We could all learn a thing or two from him, eh?

Where was I? (It is difficult to concentrate with this “rager” in the crotch section of my state issued hospital jumpsuit. Yet I must stay focused or they will unleash the chemical castration on me.)

Fellow Satyrs, there is really no difference between us, except for the fact that you stay at the nicest hotels, eat at the fanciest restaurants, travel in private planes, and wrap yourselves in the most elegant finery that modern tailors have to offer; while I sit in a quiet, padded room with bare walls, instructional pamphlets on “urge management,” and a bologna sandwich, that if you look at a certain way looks like, looks like, looks like I better behave myself or risk the old shock treatment again. I’ve had more electricity through my forehead than the power grid of lower Manhattan.

Where was I?

Fellow Skirt Chasers, we here at the Cecil B. Jacobson rehabilitation facility need your expertise. Not on how to expose ourselves to unsuspecting women, or how to grab them, or lick them, or corner them, or rip an article of clothing off of them for later enjoyment, or threaten them, or sniff them, or ask them to relieve themselves on my bare chest. Believe me, I have all that stuff down pat. I’m just sick and tired of being hassled by the cops for it, being forced to pay outrageous fees for a host of penalties and fines, to serve time in an isolated environment, and having to sign up for all sorts of registered lists just for doing what these women wanted me to do in the first place by walking within a hundred feet of me in any given public area.
What’s your secret? How do you escape the clutches of this endless legal tidal wave? It’s like for you guys you can jump out naked on an unsuspecting chambermaid, handcuff a junior executive to your desk chair, or check a pageant winner for an intact hymen and then head out to a business meeting an hour later like nothing ever happened. But for us lower class but no less American red-blooded males, it is like we are the women, and the legal system is the relentless, sex-obsessed man who keeps sticking its huge and intrusive proboscis into us until we hemorrhage. We are tired of being victimized. Is there some kind of world pervert slush fund you can set up, like a relief aid package for hurricane victims, so we can simply pay off our accusers and go about our merry way like nothing ever happened, until the next time it happens, at which time we will swear it is the last time it will happen, until the next time it happens. We want nothing more than to be afforded the decency of egregious, open masturbation toward any trollop who demands it by wearing a dress that rises above the knee or falls below the neck line. We look to you for answers. Please respond, the sooner the better, or we’ll simply start raping each other, or worse yet the wildlife out here in the goddamn wilderness.
Onanistically yours,
Johnny Americana.

P.S. We would like to retain decent legal counsel. If any of you bigwigs can get in touch with Cyrus R. Vance we would greatly appreciate it. We’ve all signed a collective IOU to contribute to his political campaign if and when we ever become solvent enough to do it. Until then…

Henry David Thoreau: Bitch Slappin’ Pimp

When I want a serious simulation of violence I head to the game room. There is no better way to go on a blind, murderous rampage than to plug in any number of first-person shooter games. Grand Theft Auto. Thrill Kill. Bullet to the Head. Me Pull Trigger, You Burst Open Sticky…stuff like that. There are a ton of options. The meaning of real life may be elusive, but when the meaning of a game is to carjack as many old ladies as you can, knock them over the head and use their meager social security money to get lap dances at the virtual strip club, a man is finally free from the lingering existential ambiguities of actual life. Nothing makes me happier at the end of a long day of computerized blood-letting on scorched city streets than to have a stripper twerking above me and my champagne bottle.

While I enjoy a good virtual spree killing, I am also a fan of classical literature.

So happy was I to see an advertisement for a game based on Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” Finally, I thought. The one thing I had been missing from my indiscriminate gunning down of random citizens was the meticulous philosophy of a nineteenth century transcendentalist who sought to “live deliberately.”

I was in a hurry that day and didn’t have time to actually read the particulars of the new game, and in a sense I didn’t need to. I have long considered myself somewhat of a Thoreau expert. My alternative interpretations of his ideas on solitude, economy and frugality are all the rage in America’s prison system. Felons write to me all the time, telling me that my explanations of solitude (or, don’t fuck with me), economy (or don’t touch my shit), and frugality (or don’t use all this shit at once) has really helped them do their hard time with a healthy perspective. I heard they were going to have a prison riot out in Corcoran in honor of me, but the guards got wise and the bloods were pelted with rubber bullets. They will try again, they assure me, as I also counsel about the importance of perseverance.

In the Walden game the character sets about implementing a life of solitude and quiet meditation at Walden pond, outside of Concord, Massachusetts. The character learns to relax and find harmony in the rural surroundings. In the first stage the character spends his time hoeing his garden, his beans and potatoes, all while quotes and suggestions by Thoreau himself are displayed across the bucolic setting. Then what happens, though, in the second stage, is that the character gets fed up with all this sitting around. He decides that there are two ways to enjoy solitude. One is to travel away from the public. The other is to singlehandedly gun down huge swaths of people with automatic weapons. As the game gets more violent, sinister and intense, Thoreau promises, in a voice that gets deeper and deeper, to build his serenity on a road of bones. When a first-person shooter executes an entire community, they will have all the solitude they need. Instead of hoeing a row of beans in the first part, the second part of the game is dedicated to beaning “a row of ho,” slapping them upside the head for talking back and withholding their earnings. Little known fact was that Thoreau had a vast stable of hookers to subsidize his scholarship. As Thoreau was fond of saying, “A man is rich in the number of things he can afford to let alone.” Which, loosely translated, means that sometimes a guy has to slap a bitch to cool her out. When Thoreau warns that men have become, “the tools of their tools,” what he means of course is that a gun doesn’t fire itself, and a bullet saved is a bullet wasted.

What the Walden game inevitably teaches is that a bloody-thirsty mania and a desire for the exercise of arts and humanities need not be mutually exclusive. Mankind is a complex species, rich in apparent contradiction, and the highest and lowest of human potential needs a stage to be acted out upon. Eventually the game player is given the option of dropping the gun, employing the service of a high-powered defense attorney, and watching his own insanity trial from a cage in the courtroom, like raving Russian cannibal Andrei Chikatilo. After the guilty verdict, the player is led down a dank hallway and given a bullet to the back of the head. The player then has the option of starting the game anew.

There is much to be learned from this video game, and I for one applaud its invention. Finally, Thoreau is given his true street cred for being an ass-kicking vigilante who just happened to go off to live among the majesty of the mountaintops, the clear mirror of the lake, the firmament of the stars. When Thoreau poses the rhetorical question, “Why should a man begin digging his grave as soon as he is born?” His answer, predictably, is because he, Thoreau, is coming to town to loot the place and burn it to the ground.

More Alembics to come, bitches.

Open Letter to Captain Henry “Tony” Wooten from Johnny Americana

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke” the normal blog contributor is off trying to mediate the fight between Superman and Batman, he has agreed to let Mr. Johnny Americana post this written request for employment to the Dawson County sheriff’s department. Mr. Johnny Americana, a somewhat dumb-headed and misguided old acquaintance of “paddytheduke’s,” has demanded the use of this platform to implore sheriff’s candidate Tony Wooten to hire him on as a deputy in the rural Georgia county after seeing a video clip of Officer Wooten assaulting a journalist during a public political rally. Mr. Americana, while passionate about his beliefs, has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of misguided fervor. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as a courtesy and we wish him the best of luck in his pursuit of gainful employment. Go right ahead, Mr. Americana.

Dear Sheriff’s Captain Henry Wooten,

Henry, can I call you Tony? I hear all your friends call you Tony and I’d like to be your friend. Not only do I want to be your friend, I want to be your subordinate, your employee, your trusted soldier in the fight against crime. I was watching some footage of you recently and I must say I’m very impressed. I saw you take down a terrorist at that farm in North Georgia in just the nick of time. Score one for the good guys! Terrorists are everywhere these days, even in the rural south, which is scary. What’s even scarier is that they’ve developed such intricate disguises that you can hardly recognize them anymore. Take the one you so expertly disarmed. If I didn’t know any better I would’ve thought she was a thin, all-American, white woman instead of a hairy Middle Eastern Arab with a suicide belt. And that gun she was carrying looked an awful lot like a video camera. ISIS is always evolving, trying to stay one step ahead of us and if they can start looking like “us” there is no telling where they will show up next. Hell, this blonde, saggy broad sitting next to me at this bar could be a suicide bomber. (I know it’s a little early in the day but I needed a drink because I’m shaking with enthusiasm for the sheriff’s office and not because I have the DT’s.) Where was I? Oh yeah, terrorists are everywhere, even at the highest levels. I suspect that Clinton woman was trained by the mujahideen. I have a friend that said he got up close to her once during a town hall meeting and saw her filthy beard but the Lefties in the newsrooms are always airbrushing the damn thing away in pictures.

Back to you though Tony, Big T, Woo-Tang Clan, Woo-Woo! Wooten! Your heroism on that gamy pig farm saved lives that day. The “Talking Head” bureaucrats are always saying we need to collect the right “intelligence” about ISIS in order to defeat them, but you were like, fuck that, I don’t need no intelligence to know this woman is a threat. That frail looking woman, Nydia Tisdale (what kind of a name is Nydia, anyway? That ‘y’ in the middle just makes it look all foreign) anyway Nydia was about to kill all of you, but you threw yourself in the line of (video) fire and bent that crazy bitch’s arm behind her, even as some of the bystanders and even the state’s Attorney General looked on like you were nuts. We need less bystanders and more men of action like yourself and Corey Lewandowski, who wrestled that nosy reporter away from President Trump. (He got elected, right?) You and Mr. Lewandowski know that you can’t let these people come around exercising their right to freedom of the press. Today’s video recorder is tomorrow’s assault rifle, and today’s investigative journalist is tomorrow’s organic shrapnel. What’s the difference between a barbed question and an armor-piercing bullet? About three dollars a round. If you hire me on as deputy I can help stop the scourge.

You may be wondering about my credentials. First of all let me say that I take down women all the time, except that when I do it’s usually because I owe them for child support and they come at me like wild animals. Or when they tell my kids to stop smoking in front of their kids and all hell breaks loose… I’m just saying I have a lot of experience taking down women and could be a real valuable asset to your law enforcement team.

My actual work experience? Well, right now, Tony, Atomic T, Tonator, I’m working at a bakery down in the city. We make niche pastries. Our big sellers are “anatomical” cakes in the shapes of titties and ding-dongs. It used to be a real problem selling these specialty desserts to people we didn’t approve of, but now with the new Georgia law we can make sure that when we sell a big pair of cream pie titties we are selling them to a man and when we make a five-pound chocolate schlong we are selling it to a girls’ bachelorette party. God Bless America. See, I’m already kinda enforcing the law, right? It wouldn’t be that much of a jump to patrolling the streets looking for terrorists and sodomites and journalists who think they can just keep government open to the public. Transparency is for windows, Tony. You know what I’m talking about.  Speaking of which I threw an old boat anchor through the front window of that terrorist’s home today. April Fool’s Day, Nydia. You should’ve heard the fuckin shatter. You’ve gotta teach these journalists and terrorists that they can’t just record what politicians say, because on the extremely rare occasion they get caught saying something stupid they don’t need it advertised all over the place. If only we could just keep the internet open to people who love America and freedom. 

Yours belligerently,

Johnny Americana.

P.S.  I just heard President Trump isn’t elected yet, so I have to go put up campaign signs for him around Emory University. He needs the Muslim vote and they’ve got good Muslims over there, like the nerdy, quiet kind, who need to hear his message of hope and change, like he hopes they change what country they live in. Wooten for Sheriff!!

(More Alembics to come)

An Open Letter From Johnny Americana To the National Institute of Health

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke,” the normal blog contributor, is away on some type of mission of mercy for Mitch and Murray, he has given his full blessing for the ensuing post. Mr. Johnny Americana, an eager old friend of “paddytheduke’s,” has requested the use of this platform to demand the money he is owed from the National Institute of Health for participating in their nine-day flu study, as seen in this news segment (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/volunteers-infected-with-flu-for-3000-in-govt-research-program/) In short, Mr. Americana would like to collect his $3,000 volunteer fee for donating his time and his health in order to be clinically infected with the flu virus for quarantined observation. Mr. Americana, while pure of purpose and honorable of motive has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of being obsessed with too-good-to-be-true opportunities while paying no real attention to context. We fear further, that he is not alone, that it may be a common problem, somewhat generational. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as a courtesy and we wish him the best of luck. Take it away, Mr. Americana.

An Open Letter To the Double-Crossing Bastards at the National Institute of Health.  Dear Dr. Anthony Fauci, or as I like to call you, Dr. Cheat-and-Swindle:

I am angry. Very angry. Outraged, even. Sick with rage, righteous fury and some type of warty pustules on my lower buttocks. Let me state my case formally. It has been several weeks, and still, and yet, I have not been paid for sacrificing my very valuable time and putting my precious health on the line so you and your quack medical team, with your crude and poorly constructed “laboratory” experiment, could sicken me with reckless infections for your morbid interest. First thing is first. When I was approached to be one of the paid participants in your government study to test the body’s response to the influenza virus, I said “Come on in, wee beasties, the water is fine. I’ve got white blood cells, macrophages, T-cells for your tiny asses.” Furthermore, my body is toned and waxed. Girls at the gym stop and watch me push weight around like it owes me money. I am a picture of health! What is some little piece of protein going to do to me? I eat protein for breakfast. Really I do, actually. Be it egg whites or  microscopic viral replicants, protein is protein.  In addition, I was promised $3,000, a sum which I had planned to use to start my video portfolio for an important audition in an upcoming reality television series called Who Wants To Marry A Transvestite? My money has yet to arrive, my video portfolio is missing an important montage, and don’t think I won’t sue if my one opportunity for superstardom passes right by me.

To make matters worse, I was promised that the illness wouldn’t last for more than nine days, but here it is three weeks later and I am fevered, delirious, nauseous, and dripping like a faucet. (A leaky faucet, Dr. Wiseass.) I am still very sore. It has been a humiliating experience through and through. You call yourselves doctors? You dare claim to be part of that noble profession that seeks to free humanity from the specter of disease? When I get through with you you’ll wish you flunked all your pre-med courses and went to beauty school.

When I arrived for the preliminary assessment after agreeing, at that truck stop, to participate in your little study, I immediately began to suspect that something was wrong. I was charged a $400 processing fee (refundable, apparently) from a fellow in a dirty white coat who introduced himself as Dr. Lou Brissity, and then I was made to fill out a rather comprehensive questionnaire that I felt was highly inappropriate and intrusive. For instance what was the point of asking if I had any bondage experience? Or do I like to be choked? Or was I sexually turned on by humiliation? What does any of that have to do with how my body reacts to the flu?

Dr. Brissity, after telling me I was lucky enough to be chosen as a paid participant, introduced me to his assistant Nurse Lana (I don’t think that was her real name, by the way. She giggled and said it was an anagram, whatever that is. I figured her name was probably Anna or Graham. By the way a leather nurse’s outfit and fishnets? Very unprofessional.) Where was I? Oh yes, Dr. Brissity had me meet him and Nurse Lana down at that Motor Inn near the airport, the one they found all those dead hookers behind. I thought we would be dealing with a hospital environment with a sterile quarantine. Instead, this place was dirty. Real dirty. Not only was the room not sterile, there were dirty towels all over the place, the distinct smell of excrement and one guy in there that was dressed like a sheik who said he didn’t speak any english, but now that I think about it he told me he didn’t speak english in perfect english.

Dr. Brissity prescribed some anesthetic that smelled a lot like tequila and made me a little loopy, before assuring me I was ready for the influenza dosage. But, he said, in order to avoid injury to myself, it was standard procedure to tie me up and gag me with a horse’s bit and bridle. During all this, mind you, Dr. Brissity never washed his hands or wore gloves. I mean really, what type of institute are you guys running? I’ve never seen so much body hair and cheap costume jewelry on anybody, much less a doctor.

To get right down to it, and this is the worst part, I never imagined a person could be infected with the flu in quite that way. It seemed all too primitive and savage, really. Nurse Lana turned rather aggressive, whipping me with a razor strop and calling me such names.  I don’t care how good of a nurse you are, there is no need to tell me to shut up and that I deserve punishment. I’m just trying to help, after all. When I complained with loud braying noises through my gag Dr. Brissity just kept saying, “Hey, who’s the doctor here?” but I still don’t see how wearing that bit in my mouth and being flogged like a mule helped the flu virus move through my body. Come to think of it I’m not even sure I was given the flu. The flu has never caused me this much itching. One would think that trained medical professionals from the National Institute of Health would be courteous, reassuring, methodical? Let me tell you, Dr. Fauci, I was berated and beaten over the course of several days. I thought there would be monitors for my vitals, oxygen levels, breathing and such, but that scumbag doctor only had one machine, like something a road crew would use to break through concrete, and all the while threatening to bury me with the others if I didn’t shut up and obey him, my master? Since when do you guys get off being called “masters” just because you went to medical school? Maybe they should offer a class in humility?

I will be expecting payment immediately. If I don’t hear from you, Dr. Brissity or Nurse Lana within twenty-four hours I will have to march down to the Allergy and Infectious Diseases department of your depraved institute with a news crew, the kind that stalk parking lots with bulbous microphones and make a lot of bad noise for you and your government frauds. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m a reasonable man but you can’t just approach someone at a rest area, offer to pay them for research and then just jerk them around.

Yours Itchingly,

Johnny Americana.

P.S. If any of those photographs are published I demand a percentage.

A World Without Crazy? Nah.

THE ALEMBIC  — “The Weird In Review”                                                  A blog

August 30, 2013

(This entry is dedicated to the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, April 13, 1939-August 30th, 2013)

….Relax, crazy ain’t goin nowhere… Serious field research in the study of psychology…

Recently I have been waking often, in the middle of the night, doused in a frigid sweat, screaming. My fear is a very real one, and it is this; that everybody in the world will cease doing ridiculous and crazy things. The world’s human inhabitants will suddenly begin to act peaceably and reasonably toward one another, with intentions of a grounded, explainable and level nature. Folks will make it a point to look after other folks, just because that is what good folks do and if violence does happen, it will be justified as the last resort in a collision of runaway consequences.

That is my nightmare.

I’m terrified of this, of course, because when this does happen my blog will disintegrate into thin wisps of useless gossamer. It will suffer tremendously, fall apart, and I’ll have nothing, nothing, NOTHING. When the panic sets in though, and things start to fail, and the world itself seems to be caught in the drudge of predictable, greedy, calculated, boring unkindness, you have to reel it back in. You have to take stock with a fresh set of eyes. You have to go native.

So I decided to pretend to be homeless for a little while. Nothing to it, really. I had locked myself out of my house in a hasty sprint for these extremely unhealthy breakfast sandwiches they sell around the block from me. They soak the eggs in other, somehow unhealthier eggs and the bacon is sprayed with a tasty chemical agent that crystalizes the circulatory system…well, that’s all neither here nor there. The point is that you must place your order by 10:29 a.m., Eastern Time (no loopholes) because if you are a minute late, while your heart and arteries are thanking the gods of procrastination that they don’t have to process this sludge and you are sulking about in an effort to win over the unmoved counter girl, you don’t obtain the rather Pyrrhic prize of delicious death. In other words, they stop making the sandwich at 10:29 am.

At about 10:19 I rushed out of my house, heard the door slam behind me and realized there was no jingle-jangle of keys to be found on my person. Not being able to use my car or get back into the house and denied of my guilty pleasure, I decided to walk to a nearby park and take a nap in the shade. Like I said, my sleep had been spotty at best and fatigue, with its weighty shackles, had me dragging around like Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve. It was just a bit of luck, then, to find an empty park bench that I could stretch out on. A slight breeze crept through the shady grass, bringing with it a meager chill, unusual for this time of year. Again, luck was with me in the form of a newspaper that had been left on a nearby picnic table, a newspaper that I could use as a collection of thin crunchy blankets. As I was trying to arrange them over my languid self, rustling through the unruly periodical like I was stuck in a bag of potato chips, I caught sight of a headline in one of the newspaper sheets. “Man Rips Off Own Penis While High On Drugs.”

I sat up with a huge sigh of relief at the good news. For weeks now I had been fretting, pacing the cold floor of my house at all hours, sensing that the world’s magnetic energy was suddenly going to reverse itself somehow, and here comes my man on a drug binge ripping off his own dinker. Usually the newspaper only reports on horror, corruption and malaise, but not this time. I had stumbled upon the rare uplifting report that the world would continue to spin, as usual, and I felt relieved.

Like most people I tend to believe in signs and omens that specifically benefit me, and decided my luck was changing for the better. I flipped through some more pages. “Ohio Woman Unknowingly Married Own Father. ‘Trauma unbearable,’ she says.”

Well I’ll be dipped. No longer tired and with a mirth usually reserved for Julie Andrews in some film about Nazis, I spun through the park while the sheets of newspaper, catching the fervor of a sudden gust, gave chase. Did you hear, I yelled to the edges of the everywhere, the fringes of the everything, she married her own father accidentally, accidentally, accidentally.  The voices swept through my head. “I always said you had a lot of your father in you.” “They always say you marry a man like your father. Just, just, just like your father. Just precisely exactly like him. That’s what they say.” “Imagine the savings, during tricky holiday shopping.” “Give your daughter away at the wedding and get her right back, sly dog.”

I came to a stop, the wind at my back, the cyclone of newspaper sheets swirling after me, crackling in the wind like a campfire, a land spout of printed insanity demanding me to experience it, to understand its incomprehension, rushing at me to grasp its anti-meaning, to consume its rich disaster. One page in particular, the page that was meant to, I suppose, fluttered down and wrapped my head. I removed it and stood there, drinking it all in.

A distinguished professor from Milliken University in Ohio, as it were, a respected and valued member of the academic community who had won several awards for excellence in education, had actually murdered his entire family when he was fifteen years old, been found not guilty by reason of insanity, been cured lickety split, and then popped on down the road to the study of the scientific abstractions of the human mind, gaining a Phd in psychology, go figure.

“By Jove,” I said.

The good professor had been traced from the Texas town where he had committed the triple homicide to the dusky autumn shades of a sleepy college campus in Ohio. Dr. James St. James, was his name, which was an alias, as it turned out, and who would’ve thought?

I could visualize the interview process with an alarming starkness.

“So, Dr. Jamie James Jazzy Jam Squiggly Sam,” says the department head, “what would you say qualifies you to teach psychology at our prestigious institution?”

“Well, I hold a B.A. with a double major in psychology and sociology, a masters in  clinical therapy and a doctorate in cognitive and behavioral psychobiology. I also murdered my whole family when I was fifteen years old. Turned them into swiss cheese with a .22 rifle just for the shit of it. I did it during this bitching full moon, on one of those nights when the voices don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“I see. Dr. Saint Jammy Jammy Flim Flammy, Dutch-Irish is it, if given tenure what can we expect from the fruits of the pupil-professor relationship? Can you properly mold these young minds into the type of professionals that will be in the vanguard of their chosen study?”

“Let’s put it this way, and please, call me Saint Jammy the Whammy of yer Mammy, when you want to directly dissect and diagnose what goes through a person’s mind as they are systematically snuffing out their entire family for reasons such as chewing too loud and nagging, you are going to want me in that classroom. No one knows better than me the insanity that rages through a person like me.”

“You’re hired.”

The accolades poured forth.

“I really learned a lot from him,” said one student. “It’s like having Ted Bundy and well, I guess the guy that cured Ted Bundy all in the same lecture class. You can’t get that type of direct interaction anywhere else, especially at pissant Harvard. It’s like Richard Speck and Sigmund Freud in an atmosphere of rigorous study.”

In a statement put out by the university, who didn’t know until recently about the professor’s dark past, they praised him for overcoming his obstacles and being such an asset to the psychology program, like he had survived cystic fibrosis or had lost his legs while serving in the military.

“Most of us who have brutally murdered two or three people, and somehow are found not guilty, usually just play golf,” said the University. “This man decided to better himself. A true role model and a fine example of the promise of America. Excelsior.”

After breaking into my house that evening I put myself to sleep with a comfort I hadn’t known in some time and I felt that everything just might, just might, be all right for a little while.

And I slept like a baby.

More Alembics to come.

Open Letter to Jodi Arias from Johnny Americana

THE ALEMBIC

From March 20th, 2013

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke”, the normal blog contributor, is away on some type of domestic intervention, he has given his full blessing for the ensuing post. Mr. Johnny Americana, a heartsick old friend of “paddytheduke’s,” has requested the use of this platform to state his intentions to a woman he has recently become enamored with. Mr. Americana, while pure of purpose and honorable of motive has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of being obsessed with image while paying no real attention to context. We fear further, that he is not alone, that it may be a common problem, somewhat generational. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as a courtesy and we wish him the best of luck. Take it away, Mr. Americana. 

An open letter to Jodi Arias from Johnny Americana.

Dear Ms. Arias,

May I call you Jodi? I’ve been watching you…

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