Facebook. Explained.

One of my Facebook friends just asked me:
“Why do you keep posting photos of yourself?”
A reasonable question.

I said:
“Well. It’s called FACEbook…. That’s the basic concept. You post photos of YOUR face and YOUR life to other people who are posting photos of THEIR face and THEIR life.”

It’s just something to do to kill time and try and amuse ourselves, I guess… Facebook.

Breakfast in bed

I wake up, open my eyes, look up. . . And its like a scene out of The Godfather when he notices the bloody horse head on his bed!! . . . Mini Scaredy has brought me breakfast in bed. She even garnished it with a bit of lettuce.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought, but. . .

Narcissist vs Egomaniac

For the record, I’m NOT a narcissist. I’m an egomaniac.

There’s a difference.

A narcissist — by the classic definition of the narcissistic mental disorder — isn’t just someone who’s obsessed with their image and their vanity and is endlessly gazing at themselves in the mirror and has a highly inflated opinion of themselves. They’re also completely selfish and feel that nobody matters except them, nobody is important except them, and has zero empathy or feelings for anybody else in the world except themselves. And looks at all the “others” out there in the world as nothing but fodder that they can use and manipulate towards their own self-centered ends.

OK… I’m somewhat like that.

But I’m a bit different. I’m an egomaniac. Yes, I’m a very self-absorbed. I look at myself as the star of my own movie (“MY LIFE!!” starring, me, Ace Backwords!!). But I don’t think my life is any more important than anyone else’s life. And I readily acknowledge that everyone else is equally the star of their own movie.

And of course I concede I probably have an inflated sense of my own self-importance. It’s MY life, after all. So of course it’s more important to me than, say, YOUR life. And of course I’d like to flatter myself and think that I’m a greater artist than I probably am. It’s in my self-interests to think that. So of course I’m not objective. But at least I’m aware of my subjectivity on the matter.

Also too, I suffer at least as much (if not moreso) from self-loathing. Than self-aggrandizing. So that separates me from the classic narcissist who are only aware of half of that equation.

I hope I’ve cleared up this matter.

Gutter Rat — an old comic strip character from the past

I worked on my comic strip full-time for about 10 years, from 1986 to 1995. And for the first 9 years I was really into it. I sat down at the drawing board every night with this feeling like, “Oh boy! What am I gonna come up with tonight!” . . . But then in the 10th year I started to run out of gas. It got harder and harder to force myself to sit down at the drawing board. And it became harder to come up with new ideas, I started repeating myself. I was bored, basically. I wanted to do something different. Write books. Record albums.

I had turned 38 and I was just about to get hit with a big mid-life crisis. And I’m thinking: “Am I gonna spend the rest of my life sitting in this little room by myself staring at a piece of paper??” I wanted some action. I had started hanging out with all these crazy street musicians who were sort of living out their version of the “rocknroll lifestyle.” And I wanted to get a bit wild myself, stay up all night howling at the moon (plus drugs). So I packed away my set of rapidograph pens, sublet my apartment, and hit the road. And never really looked back.

In 2001 I took one last shot at the cartooning. I had come up with this character Gutter Rat, and worked up about 10 strips featuring him. But then I lost interest. And that was that.

Sometimes I can’t help wondering about “the road not taken.” If I had continued on the path of a cartoonist. Instead of wildly veering off in a different direction. But I probably made the right decision. I had probably done the best work I was capable of as a cartoonist. And it probably wouldn’t have developed much beyond that, in terms of the level that it went over with an audience, and the quality of work I was able to produce. And it very likely might have even got worse. .
. You know what they say. “Quit while you’re ahead.” Or maybe, just quit.

Physician, love thyself

I had a huge ego when I was a young man (probably still do). When I analyzed it in retrospect, I realized my big ego-trip mostly came down to a simple equation: “If I could pull off being a Great Man, maybe then I’d be able to have sex with Beautiful Women.”

It was as banal as that, really. This underlying drive I had to convince the world that I was this Very Impressive Person.

In retrospect, now that I’m an old man, the whole thing just looks like this big cosmic jerk-off.

When I look at my life, it’s like I was compelled by all these compulsions. That sent me careening in all these weird directions… Ultimately, my life was kind of like an itch that I could never scratch…. It’s like I wanted to love myself. But my spine wasn’t quite supple enough to give myself a good fuck. .. Sometimes I think it came down to: I wanted to love myself. But I couldn’t do that. So I tried to convince all these other people to love me. And maybe then I’d get some love by proxy

I’ve always had this rage within me

I’ve always had this rage in me. All my adult life. I mean, not all the time. But it’s always there. Right under the surface. Waiting to explode at any moment. Into this “Donald Duck” type rage.

Like today. I was just about to walk into this sandwich shop on the Avenue to buy a sandwich for my lunch. But right before I walked into the front door of the sandwich shop. These six people who were walking right ahead of me walked into the sandwich shop right before me and started ordering their sandwiches.

You understand what I’m saying? A split second earlier there was nobody on line at the sandwich shop. And I had every reason to believe I could just walk in there and order my sandwich and live happily ever after.

But SUDDENLY these six other people are in front of me on line. And I’m going to have to wait at least 20 minutes before my desires are fulfilled.

I immediately start cursing under my breath. “MOTHERFUCKIN’ COCKSUCKIN’!!!!!” (that’s my go-to curse) (it flows off the tongue with natural phonetics)

But the point is. I have this underlying rage deep within me. The littlest thing can set it off (like not getting my sandwich in a timely fashion). It’s been a struggle all my life to deal with this underlying rage in the pit of my soul. And not hurt other people. Or hurt myself (to my credit, I haven’t killed anybody. Yet).

It’s a good thing I don’t act on my impulses and have at least a modicum of self-control. Ha ha. It’s like that Far Side cartoon where the guy goes berserk and kills all these people with a rifle. And then his wife says: “That settles it, Carl. From now on you’re only getting decaffeinated coffee!”

Random violence on the good old street scene

I had a strange scene the other night. I’m sitting at this dark, secluded spot on the Berkeley campus drinking my beer. When this black guy approaches me. He starts mumbling at me, talking something about “weed” and “food stamps.” I tell him “I don’t smoke weed and I don’t get food stamps.” And I wish him good luck with whatever he’s doing. And I don’t think any more about it. Just one more nut on the street scene trying to hustle me or something.

But then, about 10 minutes later, he comes roaring back in my face and starts shouting at me: “YOU STOLE MY WEED!!” I have no idea what he’s talking about. But he starts physically attacking me. “GIMME MY WEED!!” he shouts.

I get up and start running. He’s chasing after me. As luck would have it I run right into this cop who had heard all the shouting and came to check out the commotion.

“I don’t even know who this nut is,” I said to the cop. “He started attacking me for no reason.”

The nut says to the cop: “He stole my weed.”

The nut quickly realizes that this isn’t a winning gambit to play with the cops. And goes running away in the other direction.

The cop was a young guy and he was completely flummoxed, completely confused by the situation. It had all happened so fast. So I just said to the cop, “He’s gone now. It’s over.” And I walked off. And the cop didn’t even bother to ask me for my name (less paperwork for him to deal with at the end of his shift).

I felt a little weird about the whole thing. I didn’t like that I was running like a coward. On the other hand, what’s the point of getting in a fight with some violent nut? Just get away and live to face another day.

I mean, if my back was against the wall and I had no choice, I would have fought to the death. But the main thing was to just get away from this nut.

And yet still. The whole episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

The return of Wiley Coyote

Last week this coyote showed up again. He periodically makes the scene, circles around my campsite for awhile, and then moves on.

Mini Scaredy was lying on my blankets when the coyote’s head suddenly popped up from behind the tall grass about 10 feet away from me. To my surprise, Mini Scaredy jumped off my blankets and sprinted right at the coyote and ran him off, chased him up the hill. It was weird because the coyote is about 5 times bigger than my cat. And I believe the predator/prey status between the two creatures has the coyote firmly ahead of the cat on the primal food chain.

Go figure.