Writing.

Frank Butler:

“Do you ever feel like you’re going nuts? And then you tell yourself, well, everybody is nuts, and you mention your fear to anybody and they’ll force a laugh and say, well, every body is crazy, ha ha ha. You make comparisons and you come out ahead. You aren’t in jail, or in a mental hospital. Two pluses right there. But still.

I’ve felt slightly crazy, if slightly is a possibility with crazy, since I was a kid, wetting the bed in Vermont, running away so often that my parents had to tie me to a tree. Even then, I’d thought about killing somebody, some asshole, but never came close. The gap between thinking something and doing it is wide, a long swim, fraught with what if’s, and those what if’s are internal cops. We don’t want to get a ticket.

So I was a young man and didn’t conform and turned into an older man who still doesn’t conform but goes to work everyday, although I cheat the IRS and I hope to fuck they don’t catch me. If they do, I am going to plead insanity. I was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1974 at the University of Vermont, so I know I am on a list, and that list consists of other subversives such as crazy people who cannot be controlled. We’re all being watched, but there is one loophole: being looped. The mentally ill in our country have more freedom than the rest of us. They can murder and eat children and if they can prove that they’re nuts, they get life imprisonment and three meals a day, maybe a couple of butt fucks, but hey, better than no fucks, right?

I don’t mean to be obnoxious, although that seems to be the hip mentality now. Loud, boisterous or, there is another choice, monk-like, soft-spoken, in-touch, superiorly enlightened, not of this world. Maybe I’d rather be obnoxious.

I work for myself, so I can be obnoxious at work. I live alone, rent a room with some younger folks, so I can be obnoxious at home in my own room. I am free, or so I thought, until I began to feel that I was going nuts.

There really are men in white suits. Standing by. You are not being paranoid.

I have always been well-liked, popular, with the ladies as well as my buddies. Even at my age, 56, I am still handsome if I wear a loose fitting shirt to cover my gut. I also wear baggy pants because my father always made fun of my thick legs, and my hook nose. “Where did you get that God damned ugly nose? And those legs, like water pipes, and for Christ sake, you aren’t wearing any underwear and your balls are hanging out. We’re sitting in the living room, with guests, and your balls are hanging out!”

Nobody wore underwear in high school that I know of. My friends didn’t’. It was 1972; we were seniors, cutting down billboards in Vermont, just after they passed a law banning billboards. Of course, there were a lot of billboards grandfathered into the landscape and we didn’t like them. By we I mean, my ecologically organic buddies and me. We were town hippies. We couldn’t go up into the mountains like the kids with trust funds, and dance around naked and grow pot, we had to stay at home and then go to a state college, and then end up like I have, sitting in front of a computer, word processing other people’s books and lectures.

It was a time of no underwear and short shorts. Thick socks and hiking boots. Long hair. A wisp of fuzz beneath our noses. Sawing down the enormous billboards and storing them in my parent’s basement. The law was as such: If a billboard fell down, or was removed, it could not be repaired or replaced.

Did I think I was nuts, then? Probably, but I had supportive friends who kept me busy. I didn’t have time to think about it. But when you grow up and start a grown up life, everybody else that you are friends with REALLY grow up and get good jobs and build houses and have wives and children and gardens and problems. Adult problems. One child is born without any hands, the wife gets breast cancer, there’s a fire. I don’t have a wife or children and I don’t own a building that can catch fire, so I feel like I’m ahead of the game. Wouldn’t Oprah be appalled? So politically incorrect to say I am better off without a family or a house. The American Dream! Well, I have credit cards. Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t that make me a member of the American team, and I play soccer with the boys and I play drums on weekends with a local band. Yeah, I have a grey ponytail, so what? Go fuck yourself.

You see, it’s like this. I am a man. I am 55 years old. I live in the United States of America. I have a place to sleep, a job, food, friends, tickets to rock concerts. I am one of the lucky ones. Then why do I feel like killing somebody?

My sister e-mailed me about Susan Boyle. How terrific that Susan was discovered on Britain’s You Got Talent. As though it were a miracle that somebody with talent and no connections, looks, money or youth, actually got a break. It WAS a miracle, but the real miracle is that I did not get a one-way ticket to Britain and track down each of the audience members and strangle them with a phone cord… chock those snide grins off their faces, cut the oxygen flow from the nostrils of their upturned, snot ass noses. Noses on their ugly, stupid faces stuck on their flat, greasy heads, perched atop their bloated, white, fish and Chip necks, connected to their flabby, Northern European bodies.

I said as much, to my sister. I said, “I feel like killing the entire audience that sneered when Susan walked onstage.” She e-mailed back and asked if I were feeling okay. Never felt better.”

Sister, Judy Butler:

“Sure it’s a beautiful sunset here on the beach of my lake property but when I look closely at the sunset I see mostly clouds and property taxes. I don’t own the sunset, or the beach, or the beach house. I am allowed to stay here IF I pay property taxes and insurance. Otherwise, policemen come to the door and throw my ass out, dog and all. They let you collect a few things, but then they change the locks and say they’re sorry. Sometimes they ask if you have anywhere to go, if they could give you a lift in their police car. When you tell them you have nowhere to go, they say sorry again and head to the next foreclosure. So this sunset doesn’t mean shit to me, or the fact that this cottage has my name on the deed. I coaxed and pleaded and had a few temper tantrums so that my mother would leave me this place but now I realize that the deed is a piece of paper and it means nothing except that you’re lucky enough to be watched by the authorities because you own something of value- something that a creep, somewhere, wants to take away from you. A creep sitting at a desk in an office without windows. A creep who likes your view. Millions of creeps would like to sit in this plastic lawn chair and look at this sunset and say, This is my property and nobody can take it away from me because I know how to make enough money to pay the taxes and even if I didn’t I have plenty of money in the bank thanks to lucrative and barely legal loop-holes, and even if I didn’t have money in the bank, there’s always Bob and Bert and Uncle Doodle.

I don’t have an Uncle Doodle, or any man to take care of me because men make me sick. They are never rich enough or good looking enough. They are always sub-par because, on some level, they loath themselves. They are attracted to me because I loathe myself just as much. The better men, the men that I would be happy with, look at me as though I were a parking attendant or grocery check out clerk. They are always civil and casually interested in how my day is going, but that’s about it. They can see past my lovely smile and Irish eyes, high cheekbones and comely legs and being that they have a sliver of self-respect and an inclination towards self-preservation, they either refuse to acknowledge me as a woman, or they handle me as they would a high class hooker- with short-term aplomb.

I am now sitting in my cottage on the couch looking at the fire, listening to the clock tick, feeling the end of the day press in. But again, this is not my fire and not my clock, and it never will be, so I think about the Quonset hut outside, full of mildewed rugs and rusty tools, broken furniture and deflated water rafts. It’s called the Suicide Hut because within an hour, a person could drive their car into the hut, zip it tight, leave the car running and die without too much fanfare. Suddenly, property taxes become insignificant, and my brother’s “postal” personality is no longer a concern. Suicide, the ultimate cop-out, is rarely an option, which is why it’s such a tease. It’s fun to talk about, like all escape fantasies, but usually, we have to hang around for something or someone and, even in death, I believe I’d be ashamed of myself. I would be an embarrassed box of dust. No thanks. I’m ashamed enough that I killed my mother with bottles of 100 proof vodka.”

Brother Carl Butler:

“It might have been the bad case of adolescent acne. I was a good looking guy, smart; and had the craving for a good looking girlfriend. The acne kept that natural craving from becoming a reality. The good looking girls would almost fall for me, wanted desperately to fall for me, because I was such a good looking, nice guy, but they couldn’t get past the pimples. By the time the acne cleared up I had married an ugly girl with large tits, which was a pretty good booby prize, but I was stuck. Suddenly handsome, I was married to someone meant for a guy with bad acne. I thought I was stuck for good because my wife had worked her ass off to put me through law school, and we had a kid. I was still satisfied with my wife’s tits, and loved our little girl, so I settled in as a divorce attorney and watched a lot of football on T.V. until I started handling the divorces of some real babes. There I was, in the office all day, meeting all these gorgeous woman who wanted to leave their husbands. It was only a matter of a few months before a divorcee latched on to me, being that I was now handsome AND a lawyer, and she was beautiful. She was kind of dumb, but that didn’t matter because I was still the good looking high school guy in my head, and she was the good looking girlfriend that I never had. It was inevitable, so I went home one night, and I was standing with my wife in the kitchen, and I told her I wanted a divorce and she fainted. She just fell, hard, on the linoleum, flat out, down. A week later I was living in a hotel room. My wife’s parents were Sicilian and my tires were slashed, my office ransacked, but my wife let me go without too much fuss because she had a plan, and that plan was to turn my daughter against me, make her hate me so much that she never wanted to see me again. It took several years, but she did it. My daughter never wants to see me again, loathes the thought of me. Sadly she suffers from severe migraine headaches that have left her permanently disabled and unable to attend school or work or see. She’s blind. Specialists from all over the country took a look at her, gave her lots of tests, and thought at one point it was Epstein-Barr virus or Mononucleosis. My sister thinks it was emotional stress that caused my daughters illness. I know that my sister is right but I am not going to let it make me as crazy as she is.”

Judy:

“I have little special thoughts that pop out of my head almost every day. These special thoughts include insights so significant that if I captured them before they faded away I would be wise. Sometimes I remember portions of these brain poppers and write them down. For example, today my insight was as follows: I am glad I am not gay because if I was gay I would look at my wonderful women friends with a different consideration. That being a desire to rub up against them. Now, I’m not saying I would want to rub up against all of them because I am heterosexual and I don’t want to sleep with all my male friends. Still, when I am sitting next to male friend I was very aware that he has a contraption of interest between his legs. Lesbians will be bullshit when they read this, because they will insist that falling in love, with a man or woman is not about physical attributes but more of a soul connection. I’ve heard it a dozen times.

“ I fell in love with Susie not because she was a woman. Susie and I connected. We started out as very good friends. The friendship got deeper. I was married at the time to a wonderful man. Susie and I had so much in common, on a spiritual level. A physical manifestation of that sacred connection was inevitable.”

This kind of distorted thinking seems inherent in every Lesbians manifesto. Why do they have to rationalize themselves? My gay male friends don’t sink to these depths of warped denial. They like to fuck each other and that’s that.

This was my little special thought of the day, you see? It popped out of my head and onto this page, and because I caught hold of it, it is now a permanent part of my thought process and opinion base. It will remain so until new information or a new experience alters my outlook on matters pertaining to bi-sexuality, lesbianism and so forth.”

Frank Butler:

“I like to take my roommates garbage bins of carefully sorted bottles, newspapers, compost, and plastics, and when he’s not around, empty the bins into one big garbage bag and take it to the curb and stuff it into the garbage can so that some of it spurts out and drips all over the sidewalk. I take pleasure, real pleasure, in waste and its mismanagement. I like to go in the Dollar Store and for twenty bucks, get twenty pieces of shit- plastic flowers, fly swatters, can openers, reading glasses, Chinese lanterns, and magic markers… anything made of non organic material that will remain in a waste dump for a thousand years. I take home the big plastic bag full of the twenty dollars worth of crap and leave it in the back of my car. I wait until my roommate has finished carefully sorting out his garbage, then I offer to take his bins out to the sidewalk. It is a pleasure to stuff the Dollar Store crap into the bottom of the various bins and cover it with his rinsed out plastic bottles and string-tied newspapers. If I can find some dog shit nearby I’ll scoop it up with a Dollar Store plastic gadget and smear that on top of the pile.

And I’ll tell you why. Because after years of stealing billboards and wearing Vegan sneakers I see that the world WANTS to continue evolving into a pig pile of plastic, oil sludge, toxic waste, human excrement and fizzling pharmaceuticals. It is the law of entropy and it is best to help it along. If I drive into my sister’s suicide shed tomorrow and never come out, the world will not be a better place or a worse place.”

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