Shake, rattle and roil

23 August 2011

If you have not heard about today’s earthquake, I won’t fault you.*

I was at work in mid-town DC when the quake hit. Our office has been going through renovations lately, and it took me a few moments to recognize what was happening. I was on the phone, speaking with one of our grassroots organizers, when my desk began vibrating.

I have a bit of an interesting mental condition. If my brain does not comprehend what is happening, it will make up some explanation to fit the situation. For example, when I began receiving the local newspaper from my hometown of Irwinton, GA (pop. 580 or so), The Wilkinson County Post, I assumed I drunkenly ordered a subscription one night. I tell the story to my friend, MP, and he reveals he ordered the subscription for me.

When I felt my desk shaking, my brain informed me, ever so casually, “Hello Joey. Oh, I see you’re on the phone. Well, I’m sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to let you know the people working on office renovations are now behind your desk using a powerful vacuum cleaner.” Of course, I assumed my brain new what the fuck it was talking ‘bout.

Then the shaking grew stronger.

I swiveled my chair around, looked out the window and saw the church outside shaking. “That’s one damn powerful vacuum,” I said back to my brain.

By this point, my brain heard people in the office using the word “earthquake” and the sentences, “Get in a doorway” and “Do not leave.” So, I hung up the phone and walked to a doorway.

After the shaking subsided, people began saying the building was to be evacuated. That is when I faced an idiot’s dilemma.

Of course, I was going to take my book bag. After all, it was packed and ready to go. Then, I made sure to get my cell phone and charger (not of the San Diego variety). But what to do, what to do? I looked at my Arizona Energy Drink and a two-disc compilation of lounge and down tempo songs (called, embarrassingly enough, POSH: An Exclusive Chillout Experience) I purchased from a Bed, Bath & Beyond in Salt Lake City.

I honestly hesitated, debating whether I should grab the energy drink and eject disc two of POSH and take them downstairs with me. I quickly assessed the situation and realized that POSH would be no great loss and people downstairs would mock me if I brought my energy beverage.

Should I be bothered or oddly proud that in the midst of natural disaster I still make decisions based on what people will think of me?

My entire world is literally shaking and I still feel embarrassment and potential shame.

In therapy, this would be a groundbreaking discovery I suppose.



*Yes, I already tweeted something similar. For the curious bunch who do not follow @mentalmacguyver, the tweet read, “Not a good time to break up with my wife today. After the #earthquake we couldn’t file for no-fault divorce.”

Appellation Trail

9 August 2011

I remember my brother and I getting a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with two games (combination game with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and separate game with Kung Fu) one Christmas. The two of us were quite young and were at the time living with my mom and stepdad in his doublewide trailer (a step up from our singlewide).

I miss my stepdad sometimes. I remember him making chicken ‘n’ dumplins like no other (except for Memaw’s recipe). I remember rolling on the bed with him and my brother (were we in a hotel room at Walt Disney World?) in a rocking motion all yelling out “we’re rockin and a-rollin” while my mom recorded us using the massive video camera we purchased from my uncle Chuck. Chuck gave us Rogaine infomercial VHS tapes to record our memories on. From follicle to fond memory.

My hometown of Irwinton (technically McIntyre, but who is counting?) was perhaps a bit behind on the internet boom. Our service provider, Accucomm, gave us all free webpages. Mine had verses from the bible and midi versions of songs like Green Day’s “Walking Contradiction” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

So, when people tell me I am part of the Millennial Generation I say [interminable sound of modem trying to connect to dial-up if only someone would GET OFF THE LINE SO YOU CAN FUCKING GET INTO THE CHATROOM USING THE HANDLE OF SKAPUNK AND TALK ABOUT CHRISTIAN RAP WITH UNKNOWN CHRISTIAN GIRLS WHO LIVE IN EXOTIC PLACES LIKE PENNSYLVANIA AND NORTH CAROLINA and you eventually start sending snail mail to one and she is Sailor Moon and you are Tuxedo Mask and you are so fucking desperate for a connection but then she sends you a Beanie baby giraffe and a picture of herself and you realize you are not ready for commitment] NOOOOOO1001. I am not a Millennial. I am a podunk redneck from Middle Georgia who barely grew up playing Doom and Quake and Duke Nukem and online Monopoly with my friends.

I refuse to identify myself as Millennial. Millennials, to me, are anyone born after 1985 who were not born in a small town. Millennials are city kids. East Coast kids. Hip kids. I’m a poser, a coward, a wimp, an asshole and sometimes a zealot during competitions but I am not a Millennial.

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Background and nudity

22 July 2011

Today is the third day of my week-long vacation.

So far, I have watched loads of television, listened to new music and thought about my latest creative projects.

Yesterday I posted the latest episode of my currently-monthly podcast The Joseph Richards Show. About three episodes ago, I decided to abandon a script and just see what happens with a loose list of possible topics. You be the judge.

On to important tasks. I have gone back and forth on what to choose as the background for this blog. I began with a picture of downtown Irwinton, GA, the town where I was born and raised. However, the title of the blog blended into the sky of the booming metropolis.

I am currently settled on the chalkboard at Cafe Marmalade in Salt Lake City, where Joey Cougar & The Starfish played prior to finding a drummer.

You can see the sorts of dilemmas I have when I have too much time on my hands.

Speaking of hands, I started watching the documentary Naked States today. As may seem obvious, the picture has me thinking about being nude. So strange that nudity and the naked body are so charged with anything. I’m sure that the boring, White Christian God, if he was not imaginary, was really upset that the first humans were ashamed of their nakedness. Strange also that knowledge came from eating fruit. Common knowledge says that fruit was an apple. I don’t think so. I think it had to be strawberries. What other fruit would have made them realize their naked sexuality so? I’m sure they just started rubbing strawberries all over each other and licking and getting all sexy in the garden and then non-existent Deity strolled up and caught them. (If the Garden of Eden is not an archetype for parents’ basement, I don’t know what it.)

So of course, they thought they would be punished. Instead, the fake Man upstairs was just going to bring them a Tantric book he just invented (immediately after creating Gordon Sumner). But, no! Those scared jerks doubly-handedly created guilt, shame and the fashion industry.

And now that guilt is in our jeans.