Domestic Companion

Personally, I could never keep an animal in captivity, and I’m not judging anyone else who has a domestic companion. I just personally feel uncomfortable fostering Stockholm Syndrome.

But I do have one exception, and that would be for a corgi. Have you seen these things? I imagine if I had a corgi, I would just spend all my time with that dog, judging it and chastising it for its stupid, little legs. Have you seen a corgi try to chase something? It looks exactly like a Slinky trying to skull-fuck a gopher. I swear to god.

I would love that dog… less and less, everyday, until I just had it put down for no reason.

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Letter to My Brain

Dear Brain,

I know we have chronic depression and you’d really like to find the root cause and cure, but maybe 4am every morning isn’t the best time; especially after you already kept us up all night with your belly aching.

I mean, come on. Seriously. While you’re searching our memory banks for everything that’s wrong with us, every mistake we’ve ever made, and every hurtful thing anyone has ever said or done to us, you may want to recall that our psychiatrist told us about the importance of sleep. I really think more sleep might be the cure you’re so desperately searching for.

Sleep has been shown to help regulate mood, weight, hormones, and overall cognition. So maybe, instead of keeping us awake for days at a time, worrying about being depressed, fat, short, queer, broke, and stupid, we could just try to get a full night’s sleep. Granted, I’m pretty sure you already know that. I’m just saying, I’m fairly certain we’re the only one’s awake at these ungodly hours. So, what’s the point?

I’m not trying to be mean or talk down to you. After all, you’re quite literally the brains of this operation, but we’ve tried the sleep deprivation and self-loathing strategy for years. Maybe it’s time to accept outside advice from all those clinical professionals I paid for. Otherwise, you’re kind of wasting my money, and that’s not cool. Plus, you know you’re just going to freak out about the money if I take us back to the doctors to get you back on your medication.

I’m not saying you can’t freak out from time to time. I’m not even saying you aren’t allowed to criticize my every fault. All I’m saying is, let’s do it between the hours of 6am and 6pm. Then give me four hours to not feel like garbage, so we can get some sleep. Better yet, how about we wake up at 6am, but you save all the negativity until around eight? That way, we can get out of bed, shower and be productive, first.

I love you and appreciate our early morning chats, but you just get so frustrated when we lie in bed too long and then have to rush around to finally start our day. And you know all those skipped showers make us self-conscious about body odor. Plus, if we get a little more sleep, we could start exercising again. Remember how thin we got that one time? How masculine we were able to act?

Of course, I also remember that we sank into a different sort of depression and got super irritable, but maybe that was just because you fall in love too easily and kept getting us into unhealthy relationships. Maybe, if you didn’t always go for people who want to take advantage of our better nature, you wouldn’t always feel taken advantage of. Besides, we don’t have to go on one of those crazy starvation diets you always think are such a great idea. We can eat carbs and exercise too.

OK. I’m sorry about the masculinity comment, too. I promise, we don’t have to act like men, starve ourselves, or exercise all the time; just a few times a week, but let’s definitely get more sleep, shower everyday (or even every other day), and maybe lighten up a bit.

We’re depressed. I get that, but this constant barrage of negativity isn’t helping.

Oh well. Good morning.

Project Ice Tray

In a hyper-progressive city like Portland, it can be fun and easy to make fun of conservatives and Republicans, but I actually agree with them about one thing: I give exactly zero fucks about climate change.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Obviously, climate change is real, and yes, it’s highly accelerated by human activity. But in the short term, if we’re truly concerned about melting ice caps and rising sea levels, we can take tankers to the glaciers, gather up all that melting ice, and put it back. I call it Project Ice Tray.

And in the long term, we’re a resourceful, resilient species, and there’s a certain depth underground where temperature has remained constant. So, all we have to do is go there and live like mole people, communicating via Morse code by banging our heads against the wall. We can illumine the whole thing with advanced LED technology. It’ll be all Crystal Caves and shit.

What I’m saying is, we need to fulfill the dream of Fraggle Rock.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “But Daniel, how will we power this spectacular, subterranean apparatus of yours?” The answer is simple. We cover the surface with solar panels, which’ll work like gang-busters without an atmosphere. Plus, we will have effectively transformed our small, island home into a cosmic disco ball within the orbit of which advanced civilizations can throw raves.

Truly, we will have done the LORD’s work.

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Performing Art Lingo

I would like to take a moment to define and perhaps redefine two terms that get tossed about far too freely in the performing arts community (e.g. theater, improv, music, comedy, etc). As some listeners and readers already know, I have a full time job and a child. However, I am also a shitty parent and compulsive creator. So, though these terms have rarely ever been applied to me, I find their common use distasteful.

How it’s used: someone lacking sufficient dedication to pursue their craft beyond the status of a pastime

Common true meaning: someone with a busy life and a lot of responsibilities, who can’t afford to drop everything at a moment’s notice, so they do as much as they can, when they can; typically on non-work days

How it’s used: someone who isn’t good enough or doesn’t work hard enough to get booked for “real” (meaning “paid”) gigs

Common true meaning: someone who isn’t popular or established enough to get booked for paid gigs, but still chooses to pursue their craft with or without compensation; often hesitant to request paid work, believing it must first be earned through diligent participation

I have encountered and personally used these derogatory terms in every performance art I have ever done. I would like to see a day when they are either laid to rest, or properly defined. Until then, to all the “weekend warriors” and “open mikers” out there, keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration to those who understand.

The Depression Dragon

I wish the symptoms of depression looked cooler. Like what if every time my serotonin levels plummeted, I would grow wings and gain fire-breathing abilities? I could fly around setting villages ablaze, until I felt functional again.

What I’m saying is, when I lock myself in my bedroom for days at a time, people who care about me just give me time and space (which is what I want). But, if I became a fire-breathing dragon, people would definitely take an interest in what was going on and spark up some lively conversation. I also suspect that, if depression resulted in deadly shape-shifting, friends and family would do everything in their power to keep that monster at bay.

Sadly, depression (as it is) is only a monster within the brains of those who have it. Perhaps, the key is to fill one’s village with skilled dragon-slayers.

That Black-Eyed Dog (not humor)

Hey everybody. I can’t sleep and would like to take this opportunity to be serious, for a change.

On my podcast, Your Fault for Listening, I often joke about my own chronic and suicidal depression. Well, yesterday morning, I learned that Seattle lost one of the pillars of their community. I never met this individual, so I won’t site them by name, but my Facebook wall has been a constant stream of testimonials about the joys, hopes, and opportunities they brought to everyone who had the honor of meeting them.

My purpose in writing this is to remind anyone struggling with depression or depressive thoughts to talk to someone – doctors, family, friends … someone. And if you know someone struggling with these issues, check in from time to time; not in an intrusive or interrogative way, but remind them that they’re loved and have your support. This may not always save their life, but at least you may have been a glimmer of light in their darkest of days.

I joke about suicide and depression to skew my negative inner narratives in my favor, and hope my readers and listeners understand that. I also hope that my humor makes it clear to victims of depression (that black-eyed dog) that it’s OK to vocalize your feelings, and doing so can be cathartic and invite others into the discussion.

I love you all, and to all those for whom depression, struggle, illness, pain, or adversity proved too much to deal with …

RIP – You are still loved and never forgotten.

Three Typewriters (not humor)

My dad’s a writer, so I had three typewriters growing up, in the 1980s. To this day, every click and ribbon jam of a typewriter reminds me of an overly romantic childhood, sheltered from any real troubles or concerns.

God was good. Family was good. My brothers and I would be best friends, forever. Even when the race war came, we knew we’d be prepared. Our mother had made sure of it; just as sure as she had prepared a nutritious breakfast and homemade snacks to be enjoyed throughout the day.

Poetry and ponies filled my days. Classical music poured from the oversized, wood cabinet record player with tweed speaker covers in ’70s vomit orange-brown, like warm tea on a foggy Autumn morning. And I feverishly typed … nothing in particular – every non-particular a magnum opus yet to be realized.

Every one of those typed pages has since disappeared, leaving no record of my infantile musings, but the story they told continues to play out through earth-tone sweater vests and tweed blazers (in ’70s vomit orange-brown). And I continue my quest for ponies and poems.

Too Young for This

I realized recently that I’m getting old, and I feel even older than I actually am, because I have an eleven year old. In case you’re unaware, when you have a child, you can just add their age to your own chronological age, because that’s how many years have been stolen from you. So, that makes me about thirty-four going on forty-five, and I’ve reached the awkward point in life where I can no longer tell how old anyone else is.

Case in point, I work in a specialty pharmacy … which is different from a marijuana dispensary, I’m sorry to say. And really, I feel sorry for myself. I don’t care so much how you feel about it. We dispense high end and experimental medications to patients with chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, and children. So, as medical professionals, I know all of my peers and colleagues are, at least, in their twenties, but they all appear, to me, to be (maybe) sixteen – tops. And it’s awkward, because I know I treat them like children.

For example, when we’re coming in, in the morning, I’ll catch myself patting them on the head, giving them noogies, and feeding them graham crackers.

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