No Soup For Me: What It’s Like Watching Hillary Win

bullshit soup1Imagine, if you will, a man.

This man has been eating at the same restaurant every day for his entire life. There are always the same two things on the menu. One is a flavorless bowl of watery soup. The other is a bowl of live snakes, spiders and human feces. Naturally, he opts for the soup every time.

And then, one day, he walks toward the restaurant and sees a sign advertising a thick, juicy steak with potatoes and carrots, delicious beer and buttered bread. The man is beside himself with excitement. Something different! Something GOOD! Hallelujah!

And then, as he takes his seat, appetite strong in a way he’d never imagined, and his fork and knife already gripped in his eager hands, the waiter appears, to take his order.

“What’ll it be?” Says the waiter.

“I’ll have the steak, please. It looks incredible! I never believed, after all these years, that I’d ever have the chance to try something so delicious!”

“I’m sorry,” says the waiter. “We don’t actually have any steak. The news kept saying that steak is unhealthy and expensive, so we’ve decided to play it safe and pull it from the menu. We just haven’t taken the sign down. Would you like to have the soup again?”

This is what it feels like being a Bernie supporter, watching Hillary win primaries.

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I Apply for Financial Aid from the Doctor Because America Wants Me Dead

HeaderThe following is a letter I recently sent to Legacy Health in Portland, after receiving another huge bill for stuff I thought was covered by my insurance. However, it turns out that, as previously stated, the only thing covered by my insurers was their own ass. I would have been better off setting that money on fire and then snorting the ashes up my nose. Such is the state of healthcare in America, where the best we can hope for is to die poor and alone, while our children slave away for the Starbucks Industrial Complex to pay off their quarter million in college loans.

To: Legacy Patient Business Services

Regarding the blood money I owe. (Pun slightly intended*)

I am writing to apply for financial assistance to help me with my past-due bills of roughly $700. I am a freelance writer, with inconsistent and below-average income. My insurance recently lapsed, due to my inability to afford the $330/month payments. Payments which, apparently, covered just about nothing. Today, before finding out about the $700 debt, I was really excited to have managed to cobble roughly the same amount together to pay off other outstanding medical bills. So that’s about $1400 total, on top of about $4000 in insurance fees for 2015. I had pneumonia and some minor stomach problems, as well as some pretty serious depression stemming from my ongoing financial stress, but nothing that came even close to being worth $$5400. I’ve applied, unsuccessfully, for easily 100 jobs in the past year, and managed to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $30k (before expenses), most of which I made prior to the end of the summer, when things fell off sharply. That was actually the best year I’ve had since I moved to Portland in 2011 to try and find better work. The point of all this is, I don’t have any money. I haven’t paid rent in two months, and would be out on the street if not for the love and generosity of a close friend who has graciously taken me in, while I look for better opportunities. I have not filed my taxes in 4 years, mainly because I made so little and it costs too much to even file them. I’ve just been holding my breath, hoping that my fortunes would turn and I’d one day be able to catch up. I felt the prudent thing to do was to spend what little I had on health insurance, so that I knew that my bases were at least covered in the event of catastrophe. Boy was I stupid. Instead, what I got was this giant bill.

So, I’m told that you have a financial assistance program. Unfortunately, I’m too pathetic even to be able to muster the required pay stubs and tax returns. I’ve included my bank statements for the past two months, which will demonstrate exactly the level of loser you’re dealing with. I hope you can help me. My alternative is to just let it go to collections and put yet another nail in my financial coffin, or just give up entirely and switch to a less metaphorical coffin. I am so frustrated and broken-hearted by this system, this country, and life, in general, that I don’t really even care what happens anymore. That’s gonna be especially true when my anti-depressants run out and I can’t get them anymore, due to my lack of insurance. So you can help me, or not. I’d much prefer that you do, of course. There is still some shred of hope in here, somewhere. But on days like today, when I’m reminded that, for every step forward, I get pushed two steps back, it just gets so hard to find a reason to even bother.

smikleHave a nice day!

– Rob

 

*Because part of the bill was for blood tests, so…

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Great Moments in Unemployment, Volume 3: Monday Morning

will write good for wine or rentGood morning! Oh, it’s already 1:00. Well whatever. Good afternoon, then. I’m like, not all hung up on traditional paradigms of time and space, and stuff. I’m like, above all of that, ya know? That’s what my spiritual advisor says. I trust him because he wears a fancy robe and smells like my dorm in college.

Anyhoo, just curious about the ____ thing. Are they going to want to meet with me, at some point? Would it help if I sent over a box of cookies or some flowers or gave them some back rubs? Maybe if I go sing them a song? I can do that, you know. I have a lovely singing voice. Like the sound of silk pajamas being used to clean the floor of a truck stop bathroom at 3am on a Monday morning. No, not really. More like a duck coughing or the sound that clown tears might make.

Obviously, I have a lot of work to do today, so I’ll keep it short. Keep me posted. :)

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I Write Rad Recommendations on LinkedIn

LinkedIn-RecommendationThis is what happens when you ask me for a recommendation on LinkedIn:

“There’s nothing worse than having some deadbeat clown flake on paying you what’s owed, especially when your old-school mob tactics have become so frowned upon by law enforcement, sensitive girlfriends, and society as a whole. Gone are the salad days of broken kneecaps, burned-up kitchens, and cozy snuggles with the heads of prized horses. Basically, you’re limited to making a lot of offers that people CAN refuse. It’s so frustrating. That’s what made working with Chelsea at Rainier Collections such a welcome relief. She was just a real go-getter who didn’t take no guff from nobody. It didn’t matter who they were- degenerate gamblers, unemployed single mothers, or sweet little old grannies, Chelsea wasn’t afraid to grab them by the throats (figuratively, of course) and shake them down for every last penny. I loved it. I got my money, and my wardrobe ended up with a lot less blood on it.”

UPDATE: Turns out that wasn’t the job she wanted me to talk about. So I wrote a follow-up.  Continue reading

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Dear Trump Supporters: The Internet Never Forgets

Trump rally SMALL

I hope the people posting about their support for Trump on Facebook realize that the Internet is forever.  If history does indeed repeat itself, and our century’s Nuremberg trials inevitably begin, after President Trump gleefully commits the war crimes, and crimes against humanity, he has already publicly advocated, it is going to be difficult for his followers to play the ignorance card. With modern public discourse playing out across Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, digital spaces backed up and syndicated to an almost infinite degree, it will be all but impossible for those followers to later deny advocating the ascension of such a monster.

After WWII, you’d have been hard pressed to find many German citizens willing to admit to having supported Hitler.  Mysteriously, he seems to have risen to power in a vacuum, supported only by a handful of brown-shirted, bloodthirsty thugs, who somehow managed to take over an entire country without popular support, despite the strange and conflicting reality that millions of votes* were required for him to do so. There was no such thing as digital documentation, back then. Certainly not anything like social media, allowing even the least-informed citizens to make public statements about their beliefs. That made plausible deniability actually plausible. Kind of. But not anymore. Trump has very openly supported extreme racism (banning Muslims, calling Mexicans rapists, agreeing with the internment of Japanese American civilians during WWII, etc.) and war crimes (killing the families of terrorists, increasing the illegal use of torture, etc.) across every known media channel. There is no denying this. It’s out there. Documented. Forever. So anyone supporting Trump is also supporting the committing of war crimes and crimes against humanity. There is no way around it. And there will be no way to deny it, later. So you’re out there. Whoever you are. Forever. There is no going back. 

The good news for rational adults, and the global community, in general, is that none of Trump’s Hitlerian views will come to fruition, because he is never going to win. If he gets the nomination, the likely result will be a catastrophic defeat both for him, and the Republican party as a whole, as Democratic voters (regardless of who becomes their nominee) show up in record numbers to squash this poisonous bug under the heel of their collective boot. My gut says that this could result in the greatest landslide in the history of American politics. Because for every loud-mouthed, knuckle-dragging vitriol-spewing Trump supporter getting wildly disproportionate and disturbingly glamorized media coverage, there are 5, 10, maybe 20 or 30 Democrats who will do whatever it takes to prevent the inauguration of Trump’s fourth reich. So, on top of getting the figurative shit kicked out of them, the problem for Trump’s legion of frothing fans then becomes the fact that everybody knows damn well who they are, and they’ll have to live with the consequences of having campaigned for a psychopathic, racist, KKK-supported, hate-mongering, would-be war criminal for the rest of their lives. That stink will be on them at every dinner party, family function, sporting event and job interview they ever attend. Unless, of course, some giant magnetic meteor flies by and erases all the servers and crashes the Internet, in which case maybe they can get away with denying any involvement. I guess we’ll see.

*Almost 14 million votes, in fact. 37% of the popular vote.

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Ancient Dragon Literally Scorches 36yo Who Destroyed 29yo Who Ripped 25yo Yelp! Employee Who Dynamited Jeremy Stoppelman

Ancient dragon literally scorches writer

An ancient dragon named Smaug, best known for his supporting role in The Hobbit, took a rare break from guarding his beloved treasure (or being dead, depending on how far you got into the story) to breathe hellfire upon a 36 year-old woman who DESTROYED a 29 year-old woman who DEVASTATED a 25 year-old former Yelp! employee who posted a public plea for Yelp! CEO Jeremy Stoppelman to suddenly disregard fundamental principles of Capitalism and start paying entry-level employees a living wage so they can afford to eat food with actual nutrients in it and live in apartments not also occupied by their parents, rats, or both.

“Basically, I’d just had it up to my tits with these goddamn click-baity headlines clogging up my Facebook feed. So I just thought, ‘Ah, fuck it. I’m gonna literally destroy somebody, just to show people what that really looks like.’ So here I am,” said Smaug, after turning 36 year-old Sara Lynn Michener into a smoldering pile of ash and bone fragments. “To be honest,” Smaug continued,  “I didn’t even read any of the articles until after I turned Sara into an extra-well-done lady-steak. I mean, what do I care about the struggles of poor women? Have you SEEN how much gold I have?! I make the 1% look poor. Amiright?! But then, when I finally sat down and read her piece, I did feel kinda bad, because it was actually quite well written, and I agreed with pretty much everything she said. But by then it was too late, of course. There wasn’t much left of her. Oh well. Bygones.”

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Domestic Violence Can Sometimes Be Funny

I mean, you almost have to give the guy credit for his restraint. I would have snapped halfway through the first song. Right?!

(For any of you ultra-sensitive neo-liberals who may be tempted (RABIDLY FROTHING) to take offense, I’ve taken the liberty of writing your response, for you. You’re welcome.)
“Oh my god! Did Rob just make a joke about domestic violence?! What a monster! That makes him way worse than the guy who committed actual violence and hit his boyfriend, right?! Wait. Hang on. It was two men? Oh. So that doesn’t really count then, right? That’s like when two minorities fight. It doesn’t matter unless they hit a person of different racial origin, because that’s just a part of their culture and we have to respect that, right? God. Rob is such a bad person for making light of sad things that are, in fact, incredibly nuanced and really require a much deeper and wiser analysis than I am capable of. I resent him for making me think about things that make me uncomfortable. There are just some things that are too sacred, to me personally, for Rob to be allowed to make jokes about. There should be rules about that. Because critical thinking and informed debate and irony are just too hard for me to grasp, and my parents always told me I was special and that I would grow up to be super amazing. The purpose of comedy is to make ME feel better about things that bother ME, right? Thinking is hard.”

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Facebook Wants Me to Friend a Rapist

Garbage bagsFacebook is currently recommending a known rapist to me as a “person I may know.” Awesome. It wouldn’t bother me nearly as much if they would just include a home address, so I could pick up some special supplies at Home Depot real quick, before I pop over and say hi. Nothing much. Just some rolls of plastic sheeting. Maybe a saw, or two.

Oh, sorry? Am I supposed to pretend that rapists don’t inspire bloodthirst? See, I write these “jokes” to help me calm down. Because right now I am furious. I am furious at our pathetic, biased and impotent “justice” system. No amount of punishment is severe enough for these so-called “people.” Sexual abuse is perhaps the most heinous, violent and unforgivable act that can be perpetrated on a person. An act of sexual abuse is a crime against all of Humanity, because sexual abuse is contagious. It is, all too often, passed from the abuser to the victim, where it morphs and mutates and grows and ultimately passes on to other innocents, creating an escalating cycle of pain and suffering that affects future victims, their friends and families, and society, as a whole.  Continue reading

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I Go Get New Drugs at the Pharmacist

Last week, my doctor prescribed me some anti-depressants to help me stop crying all the time. It was an exciting event for me, because I don’t like crying all the time. The doctor’s office called in my prescription to the Safeway down the street, which is maybe the most depressing place in Portland. It nearly qualifies as an anti-depressant all on its own. If you’re ever having a bad day, take 5 minutes and pop over there. I promise you, most, if not all, of the other people in there are having a day far worse than yours. So anyway, I headed out of the doctor’s office, on foot, and walked with a vague optimism down NE Broadway toward Safeway, and the uncharted mental territory that waited for me inside of a pill bottle. I walked in through the automated sliding doors and headed through the frosty frozen foods section, instantly causing the sweat soaking my face and clothes to turn me, momentarily, into a lumbering, shivering manatee-shaped Popsicle with legs. I arrived at the back counter, and proceeded to have an interesting conversation with the pharmacist.

“So is this one of those where I’m not supposed to drink or tell jokes or expect to ever get up again” I ask. No response. “Does insurance usually cover this stuff” I ask.

“Yeah,” replies the pharmacist. “Usually.”

“Well that’d be a nice change of pace. The only thing they ever seem to accept is my monthly payment. They’d better cover this though, if they want to keep me alive to keep paying that bill. It’s just basic economics, really. I don’t understand how they don’t get that. Dead customers aren’t great for business. Amiright?!” Some of the women giggle with jaded amusement behind the counter. I am killing it today. Continue reading

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Fun with Craigslist, Part 2: 78% Bed Bug-free TV for Your Children, For Free

I’m not gonna lie to you, bed bugs are a real pain in the ass. They climb up into your luggage in hotels and airports and just follow you home. And then they get into EVERYTHING! Clothes, mattresses, pillows, furniture and electronics. They especially love keyboards and big huge TVs. Fortunately, this big, huge TV is no less than 78% bed bug-free! And…wait for it…it’s FREE! That’s right! This TV will cost you absolutely nothing and almost certainly does NOT come filled with an army of nefarious tiny critters that will run rampant throughout your house, causing you endless sleepless nights filled with debilitating anxiety and the horrible feeling that your body is being eaten alive. Instead, you’re almost entirely (78%+) likely to just end up with a great-big TV that you didn’t pay for. All you have to do is come to my house and pick it up. There’s no reason not to do that. My house doesn’t have bed bugs. I stuffed all of them into the TV. No, no…not THIS one…the other one…that I had to set fire to.Craigslist TV 2

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Fun with Craigslist, Part 1: Big-ass TV free to good Christian home

Big-ass TV craigslist adThis big-ass TV is yours, if you want to come and haul it away. It’s about 10 years old, and still works great. It even has a remote, if you can believe it! It has a special setting that filters out super gay stuff like RuPaul’s Drag Race and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, so your sensitive kids are sure to be safe from the propaganda of the secret gay mafia. It weighs about as much as Gilbert Grape’s mom, so you should probably bring a friend or a chiropractor to help. I cannot help. My body is a wasteland, destroyed by years of guilt about how I don’t call my mom often enough. I’ll just open up the front door and let you come in and take it. It’s FREE! What do you expect?! Anyway, I’m looking forward to meeting you and maybe sharing a nice glass of chablis. I don’t have any of that, so it’d be nice if you brought some.

NOTE: Big-ass TV does not contain poltergeists. Definitely no poltergeists. None. Promise.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Also probably does not have a hidden video camera inside it that will broadcast the goings-on of your living room across the Internets. Stop being so paranoid.

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OK Cupid Redux: This Time it’s Personal

2012-10-07 17.13.29My self-summary

If you’re looking for a guy who sits at home, alone, on a Saturday night, drinking bourbon and watching a marathon of Sex and the City, this is your lucky day. Call your mom and tell her the good news. It’s cool. I’ll wait. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. What’s another 10 minutes?

One time, when I was about 10, I was peeing in the woods and accidentally caught my little buddy in the zipper. I still have a scar. True story.

I have very big muscles. I can lift heavy things like grocery bags and obese pets. I also have a really big vocabulary. Like, REALLY big. If you’re into super hot guys who will totally be sexy in front of you then I am probably gonna make you get all excited. No, not really. More likely the opposite. Unless you’ve got a thing for Ewoks. And I don’t mean cosplay. I mean actual Ewoks.

Most people get on here and try to make themselves sound desirable…presenting their respective persona in the most flattering of lights. I am going to buck that trend and talk the way I talk in real life, and say the first things that come to me in an honest stream-of-consciousness sort of mental barf, because that’s what I sound like in person. I talk a lot, and I talk really, really fast…especially when I’m nervous or anxious, which is most of the time…especially around the lady-folk. I promise you though, in time you will find it endearing. After that you’ll probably get sick of me, but there will be a window, however brief, where I amuse the shit out of you.

I should tell you that I don’t have any money, so if you’re looking for a sexy guy with lots of money, I’m not him. I’m also not that sexy, in case that wasn’t obvious. It will get obviouser…

Continue reading

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For the Last* Time, Islam is NOT a Race!

islamic-symbolFor the last* time, ISLAM IS NOT A RACE! I’m going to dumb this down as much as possible, without resorting to the use of Crayons.

Religions are beliefs that people choose to accept. A race is (if anything) a set of genetic similarities shared by groups of people. People are born with those features, so it’s not really fair to judge them. On the other hand, judging a group of people for choosing to believe that murder is a justifiable punishment for mocking their religion is perfectly reasonable, and most certainly is not racist.

23% (1.57 billion people) of the planet is Muslim. 57 countries contain a Muslim majority. 62% of the Muslim population lives in Asia. Approximately 7 million Muslims live in the United States. There are Muslims everywhere, and they sure as Hell didn’t all come from Arab countries. The Muslim population is as diverse, racially, as that of Christianity. Continue reading

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Why I Will Never Stop Mocking Religion

charlieDear Christians,

Thank you for knowing how to take a joke. And thank you for not murdering me.

While we may disagree on some things, about the worst thing I can expect from you is to be unfriended, screamed at, insulted or kicked out of bed. I appreciate those of you who are willing to engage in lively, civilized debate with me. It’s good and healthy for all of us. And while I can’t help but find many of your beliefs laughably childish, comically imbecilic, and genuinely detrimental to the whole of civilization, I would defend your rights to those beliefs, and the freedom to speak about them, with my life, if necessary. But here’s the thing. I will never, ever, stop making fun of religion.

As long as there are women being honor raped or forcibly circumcised, I will not stop.

As long as there are gays being persecuted, ostracized or murdered, I will not stop.

As long as children are being taught to be ashamed of their bodies, and saddled with a lifetime of guilt and dysfunctional relationships, I will not stop.

As long as there are politicians, preachers and businessmen actively denying climate change because they believe that it is Man’s destiny to reap his fill of rewards from the Earth, undaunted, I will not stop. Continue reading

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I Just Figured Out Why I Love Drinking

You know that digital readout thing that the Terminator has that gives him all the vital stats in any given situation? I have that too. Except, instead it’s just a voice in my head reminding me of what a fuck-up I am. It says, “Hey, fat-ass! Get a job. Your whole existence is a fantasy. No one cares what you think. No one will ever love you. Your friends are embarrassed by you. Your parents wish they’d been better at birth control.”And so on.

All of these thoughts circulate through my head, more or less constantly. That means that, in any given situation, I have to cycle through this menu of self-deprecation before any action can be taken or words can be spoken. So, if I’m talking to you, it’s safe to assume that I have all of those thoughts before whatever thought that actually comes out in words. It can get exhausting.

I think that’s what makes me a drug and alcohol person. Chemicals have a nice way of stripping out all that noise. I think that’s why I tend to be more creative and/or funny when drunk or hungover. That’s when I just get to be me. That’s when it’s fun.

 

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