2006-The Year in Review

At the end of the year, the media is replete with end of year retrospectives. This is because most of their staffs are home for the holidays, and it helps to have all that shit in the can to run in their absence.

Here at Charlie's Blog, we don't do that. Fuck no. That's because we have a staff of one, and I only get to write on vacation. But you'll still get an end of year retro from me.

2006 was one of the happiest years of my life. I shit you not. I had a lot of drama happen to me. I've been sick for damn near two months. I had a flare up of Achilles tendonitis that nearly crippled me for a week. I finally got my first speeding ticket (Thanks, Georgia, you shithole state.) I had my car stolen and wrecked. Then, there's the Alma Jean story which I am going to finish up (I promise.)

I've been through a ton of crap this year. But I shook that shit off. And how did I do this? I did what Cool Hand Luke couldn't do. I got my mind right.

Life is a joke. I've simply learned to laugh at it. That's all there is to it. Depression is not so much a mental illness than a philosophical crisis. It is an inability to have one's worldview jibe with the reality of the world.

I am the happiest person I know. I still get pissed off. I get sad when something happens like when somebody dies. But happiness is not about emotions. It is a feeling of joy and wellbeing that is based in reality. I'm not talking Tom Cruise happiness, folks. I'm not into religion or drugs or other forms of mindless bullshit.

My happiness is also not the product of hitting the lottery or embracing some Tony Robbins self-help horseshit. Successwise, I am a total failure. I am broke. I am fat and bald. I am really out of shape. I have a small penis, and I am unable to bring a woman to orgasm. But I am a happy motherfucker.

I really can't say why I am happy except that I think it has something to do with my philosophy of life. This philosophy has no name, and it is not original with me. It is an eclectic mix of libertarian politics, empiricism, skepticism, and Aristotle. I have a manifesto in the works which I intend to publish here when I get off my creative ass and write it.

The bottom line is that I don't take things too seriously anymore including myself. I enjoy working. I question things. I laugh at absurdity. The happiness I have found is the real thing, and I have a year of shit to prove it. Will it last? I don't know. My happiness may evaporate like a fart in a hurricane if I were to fall victim to a homosexual biker gang or get hit by a stray asteroid in the gonads. But so far, I feel great.

Looking back over my life, the last time I was happy like this was a seven month stretch back in 1989 and 1990. The difference between now and then is that I had no idea why I was happy back then. The depressing aspect of all this is that 19 months of happiness out of 36 years is not a whole lot of happiness. But it is a lot more than a lot of other people have had. I know people who have everything going for them but are utterly miserable. It really boils down to mindset.

All I can say is that it has taken me my whole life to get to this happiness. I've been up many blind alleys, but I finally figured it all out. Like Edison with his lightbulb, I know what doesn't work. But you are probably looking for a recipe, so I'll give it to you.

CHARLIE'S QUICK AND DIRTY RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS

1. Stop believing in God.

Nothing will make you more miserable than believing in a deity that doesn't exist. I know because I used to believe in God, and I was convinced that the fucker hated my ass. Now, I realize that things happen out of chance. I'm not a sinner facing eternal condemnation in Hell. I don't have to feel guilty anymore, and I don't have to wait for God to answer my prayers for me. I know if anything is ever going to get done it is up to me. And this life is the only shot I get, so I'm not going to waste it. I intend to live it up.

2. Stop believing in love.

The most miserable times of my life have a woman's name on it. One of the dumbest things a person can do is expect happiness to come from another person. A lot of shitheads will tell you that you can't be happy unless you find that special someone to spend the rest of your life with. But those same people are left with frustration and disappointment. All of the data indicate that the business of love is a recipe for misery and disaster. People like to make fun of the love disasters out in Hollywood, but all those infidelities and break ups are a more accurate reflection of American life than the movies that get made. Hollywood stars aren't any worse than the rest of us. Love is misery.

3. Stop being afraid.

Marcus Aurelius stated that fears are greater in your mind than they are in reality. He was absolutely right. Things have never turned out as bad as I thought they would. This doesn't change the fact that shit happens. The key to overcoming fear is not to think that things won't happen to you but to believe in your ability to get through them. It also helps to realize that most of the fearmongers are full of shit.

4. Become a workaholic.

I don't know how working long hours became a vice, but vice or virtue, working is great. The one thing I take from Aristotle is that happiness flows from a life of activity. For me, nothing is more exhiliarating than getting things done. My only regret is that I can't do more. The result of workaholism is that you make a ton of money, feel good about yourself, and sleep well at night (or any other time you get a chance to snooze.) Working is the most important element in this recipe.

5. Be selfish and don't feel guilty about it.

Altruism leads to bitterness. There's nothing wrong with looking out for number one. Be selfish and pursue what makes you happy. Just remember this caveat. Don't hurt other people. This is the essence of the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would have them treat you.

Guiltmongers love to throw your selfishness in your face, but remember that they are full of shit like the fearmongers. Unlike you, these people pursue their self-interest at the expense of others. They are parasites who demand that you sacrifice for them. They love to use words like "compassion" and "service" and the "greater good." But don't be fooled by the PR. These selfless people are just as selfish as you are. They simply lack ethics and live off of deception and theft. It is no crime to refuse to be a sucker, so tell the guiltmongers to go fuck themselves.

6. Be self-effacing.

Fuck the positive self-image horsecrap. Make fun of yourself. People will like you a lot more, and you'll like yourself a lot more, too.

7. Enjoy the good things in life.

I can't tell you what those good things are because they are different for everyone. For some people, it is bowling. For others, it is golf. For still others, it is having sex with two midgets while wearing a pink corset and eating chocolate cake. But my sex life is irrelevant to this discussion.

Pleasure lies in neither abstinence nor overindulgence. Both Epicurus and Aristotle agree on this. If you overdo it or underdo it, you are not enjoying it. That's all there is to it. I have been through enough hangovers and indigestion to know the truth of this.

That's it. That's my recipe, but it really represents the tip of an enormous philosophical iceberg. I don't know if doing these things will bring you happiness without the understanding that comes with it. In addition, you could probably omit some of these things and still be just as happy. I don't know. But I'm happy, and I hope to stay that way.

The Ford Legacy

Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died this week. He was 93.

Ford was not president long. He was the only president to never be elected to the office. He was a decent man as far as presidents and politicians go. But his presidency was overshadowed and undone by Watergate and his pardon of Richard Nixon. That pardon would cost him the election.

There are a lot of laudatory remarks about Ford this week and a bit of historical revisionism. Many people who were critical of Nixon's pardon such as Ted Kennedy reversed themselves and said that Ford had done the right thing. It is a bit sickening to watch this.

I'm not going to trash Ford as a person, but I will say that I disagree with his decision to let Tricky Dick off the hook. Watergate shattered the public's confidence in government. The American people couldn't let it go. So, Ford pardoned the criminal in order for America to move on, and that's what America did. This was unfortunate.

Nixon should have stood trial. He should have answered for his crimes. But it never came to that. And the reason why people give credit to Ford for his "wisdom" was because Ford moved to restore the people's faith in government. This is why even the political enemies of Nixon now reverse themselves because those enemies are first and foremost politicians with a vested interest in encouraging faith in government.

As a libertarian, I have no faith in government. Watergate was a good thing because it was a wake up call to the American people. Because of Watergate, Americans have a healthy cynicism regarding their elected officials. Ford cut this short, and he should not have done this. The only upside of the whole affair was that many considered the pardon another one of Nixon's "backroom deals." It wasn't, but it still pissed off a lot of people.

Goodbye, Mr. Ford.

Bah Humbug

I hate Christmas.

I spent Saturday fighting people in Wal-Mart to get my last minute Christmas shopping done. I have to buy for people for Christmas because they have bought for me. I would feel bad if I didn't get them something. But I'd rather the entire custom of gift giving would disappear altogether.

I'm not one of those types that laments the commercialization of an essentially religious holiday. I'm an atheist, and I could give a shit about all that. I just hate the hassle. I hate all the car wrecks that happened in Columbia on Friday as fools eager to celebrate left work with their cars in DRIVE and their brains in NEUTRAL. I hate turning on the radio and having to listen to Christmas songs that I've heard at least one thousand times since I was a kid.

For me, the only bright spot about Christmas are the kids. I admit that I like seeing children enjoy the holiday. I don't have kids, but I made sure a couple got something under their tree.

Finally, Santa did come by my place last night. The SOB left me a bag of switches. I'm not making this up. I must have been a bad boy this year. Sorry 'bout it.

DVD-Some Kind of Monster

Once upon a time, there was this hard rocking band that came out of the bay area of San Francisco and took the world by storm. Then, they got rich, started pissing off their fans by suing them over file sharing, hired a therapist at $40K per month, started navel gazing and sharing their feelings, and made a suck ass album. Some Kind of Monster is the chronicle of the demise of this once great band.

Metallica got together to record the album that would become St. Anger. Bassist Jason Newstead quit the band, and he comes off looking like the smart one. The rest of the band come off looking like a bunch of whiny dipshits. Lars Ulrich is totally effeminate, and he fully realizes his role as the band's bitch. You can sense a certain homosexual attraction between him and Hetfield. Hetfield would be the top while Ulrich is the bottom.

Basically, the band sucks, but this is a great DVD. I highly recommend it.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects

1. Governor Sanford is asking for a tax hike on cigarettes. This is to pay for a corresponding decrease in the income tax. Governor Sanford is a piece of shit for doing this. I'm all for a tax decrease especially on the taxes I pay. I don't smoke, so the tax hike wouldn't directly affect me. But I think this proposed tax hike is a violation of principle. Sanford should just call for tax cuts across the board and quit trying to "compromise" on this shit. It's like letting yourself get ass raped because there might be a reacharound in it for you.

Wake up, governor.

2. I don't sit on the Iraq Study Group, but I can already tell you what the US should do in Iraq. Let the Kurds establish a separate homeland in the north. Then leave. This may sound crazy, but I think staying over there is even crazier. There is even talk of working out a deal with Iran. What a joke.

The simple fact of the matter is that the USA needs to mind its own business when it comes to foreign affairs. How many time do US politicians need to get slapped in the face before they realize it makes no sense to keep sticking their noses where they don't belong?

I would love for Iraq to be a free country. But it isn't my country. It is their country. Let them do with it what they will.

3. I'm not a big fan of Steve Spurrier. In two years at USC, he hasn't done much of anything, and he acts like it is someone else's fault. It's as if he isn't a coach so much as a visiting consultant to give tips to a bunch of losers. I'm sorry, but Spurrier was brought to USC to win not belittle the team in the media. We'll see what he does next season. But win or lose, the Gamecocks are his team, and he bears the responsibility for their performance.

4. I'm going through serious NASCAR withdrawal, and I can't wait for Daytona. But I have to say that the "Car of the Future" is going to really suck because I see those new spoilers littering the track on a regular basis. We'll see what happens, but it will probably be as popular as the NBA's new basketball.

5. Finally, Michael Richards shouldn't feel bad. His career was done long before that racist tirade. It's like sending a torpedo into the Titanic.

Money for the Blind

A judge's recent ruling that American currency represents a discriminatory hurdle against the blind is something I can agree with. Naturally, the federal government is balking about changing the current system. Nevermind that this is the same federal government that mandates all sorts of byzantine laws and regulations for everyone else concerning the handicapped and "reasonable" accomodation. Uncle Sam should be given a pass because it will cost about $300 million to change the current currency. It just boggles the mind.

I'm a weird type, but I always thought the government should live by the rules it writes. As it stands, blind people have to take people's word for it when they are handed a bill. A one dollar bill is indistinguishable from a twenty to someone who can't see. This is a bad thing, and the feds don't give a shit about it. Where's the "compassion?"

The Dark Side

Once upon a time, I had a piece of shit friend named Danny. He was a scumbag, but my opinion of him has improved considerably since that time.

Danny taught me about the Dark Side. This was his term for it not mine. I don't see anything dark about it at all. And what is the Dark Side? It is the world of sex without love. It is fucking without commitment. It is a beautiful thing.

Danny started out like a lot of guys wanting love. He married young. He got a good job. He bought a house and had a kid. Then the wife went on a drug and sex spree that cost him everything. She was doing everybody and everything. From the ashes of this disappointment, a dark lord of the Sith was born. Heh heh. . .

There really is nothing funny about this, but I like what Danny did. He fucked all his wife's friends, divorced her, and that was it. He became a mercenary. He gave up on love. For a brief period, he tried his hand at another relationship. But he got scorched again and went over to the Dark Side permanently.

This may seem scandalous, but what is the alternative? The man was not born this way. He was made this way. Then, he taught me his tricks.

Basically, the bars are full of lonely women. Your only barrier to getting laid is your level of morality. If a woman is in a bar, she is there to have sex. What other reason would she have for being there? Buy her a beer, talk a little shit, and then go back to her place. It's just that easy.

The sex will be meaningless and empty, but you'll have a good time. You haven't hurt anybody, and you can go on the next day with a smile on your face and no regrets.

People will toss up the spectre of STD's, but being monogamous is no protection. You're only as safe as your partner's honesty which is sadly lacking in today's relationships. Cheating is so rampant that over 80% of all marriages are tainted by infidelity. (Google this if you don't believe it.) The best thing to do is to use protection even if you are in a relationship. The alternative is celibacy.

So, what do I think of this scoundrel of the Dark Side? I think he is a standup guy because he isn't a hypocrite. He is honest about what he does and why he does it. He doesn't hurt anybody, and he doesn't get hurt. He accepted the rules of the game and embraced it for what it is. Why should he feel guilty? And the women love him for it.

Men are waking up to the reality. Being a swinging bachelor is where it is at. Don't believe the lies of love and family. Give in to your anger. Come to the Dark Side.

My Friend Tiff

I have this friend named Tiff that I absolutely adore. She hates my guts right now, but I love her to death.

I am a cynic on the topic of love and all of that. That's because I have a lifetime of getting scorched by females. I am the nice guy that always gets treated bad. I'm not looking for sympathy points here. I'm just telling you what happens to me, and why I am the way I am. Hopefully, you'll get a laugh out of it.

Tiff is a different story. She is something special to me, and though I am being a dick to her right now, she is the finest woman I have ever known. Not only has she bailed me out of all kinds of shit, but she also puts together Christmas presents for those less fortunate than her. She doesn't make any money, but she does this anyway. She would hate me publicizing this fact on my blog here, but all I can say is SORRY 'BOUT IT!!!

The woman is an absolute angel. She won't even smack me around which proves that she is a saint. You gotta love a woman like that.

But she doesn't want anything to do with me now because I have the touchy feelies for her. This is the story of my life, folks. I can always get the love of bad women but never a good woman. I must have been born under a bad sign or something.

Tiff can go on hating me, but I find it impossible to do the same to her. I'm crazy about her, and I don't care who knows it. I expect the restraining order any day now. Heh heh. . .

Trying to Have it Both Ways (A Wasteland Reprise)

Every so often, I get involved with a chick who wants to have it both ways. This is how the scenario plays itself out. I take her out on a few dates, hang out with her, etc. She decides that she likes me but not enough to nail down any kind of commitment. I am then relegated to the status of "friend." This means I have to meet the parents, change my hair and lifestyle, be available all the time, continue with dates, etc. And do I get to go out with other women? No. In other words, I have to be a boyfriend while not having a girlfriend in the hope that maybe--MAYBE--she might like me enough to want to keep me around. In other words, I am supposed to sit on the shelf like a jar of peaches until I'm wanted.

This has happened to me three times. I suppose this is what I get for being a nice guy. I really need to quit that.

The clincher in all of this is when you decide to break it off you get the guilt trip about ending the "friendship." Chalk this up to female logic. Women love to play this game where they come off smelling like a rose while you are portrayed as the scumbag. I just have to shake my head and laugh.

So, can men and women be friends? Nope. Women love to have tons of guys as "friends." They are all jars of peaches sitting on the shelf. If your significant other has some male "friends," you better believe they will be in the sack with them at some point in the future if it hasn't already happened. "Friend" is a slippery term with women and can mean whatever they want it to mean. It's just another one of their games.

Fellahs, all I can tell you is that it pays to live like a dog. Women would rather play games with a man than get serious, so it behooves you to be a player. Men didn't invent the game. Women did. So, don't hate the player. Hate the game.

The Wasteland

I get a lot of grief from people for being "negative." I'm too "cynical" and "depressing." Please. . .
 
Most of these comments come from my candid and honest observations concerning the field of romance. Folks, I just quote the facts. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. 50 to 60% of women report cheating on their husbands. 60 to 70% of men report cheating on their wives. These figures are most likely underreported since few people are proud of being unfaithful.
 
The bottom line is that love is a crock of shit. If I ever doubt this, all I have to do is look at a relative going through a divorce or look at a coworker who cheats on his spouse. Love is a wasteland of shattered hopes and broken hearts. I didn't make it this way. I just report what I see.
 
The people who are critical of me come in two varieties. The first is usually a woman hoping to be lucky in love and sees me as someone pissing on her dreams of finding the right man. The second is a man who has just married and is happy as hell. Both dismiss me as being a cynic, but the truth always comes out.
 
Am I happy about all of this? Heck no. I feel bad for people especially myself. Love hurts. It is a scam and a lie. I've been burned, so it's not like I'm speaking from atop some lofty perch unscathed.
 
So, what's a person supposed to do? I don't know. My immediate advice is to never get married. Beyond that, I can't really add anything except to say that it is foolish to find your happiness in another person. I don't think anyone can ever deliver on such a promise as that, and it is a bit unfair to except others to make you happy. People are never satisfied.
 
For me, I find my happiness in my work. I confess to being a workaholic. It is what sustains me. When I lost a friend to suicide, it was work that carried me through. I learned a lesson from that time, and I have carried it with me ever since. Hollywood likes to make movies about the driven workaholic who finds that he needs people in his life especially some woman. What Hollywood doesn't tell you is how six months later that woman wonders where all the money went that came from all that workaholism. This brings us to the other sad fact I must report. The number one cause of divorce is money matters. But I digress. . .
 
I will not deny that I avoid intimacy in favor of work. No woman has ever made me happy, and I know that no woman ever will. But I am happy at work. I even have a little poem I wrote and like to repeat ad nauseam:
 
Never be afraid to bite off more than you can chew.
Happiness is always having something to do.
 
I always have something to do. I'm too busy to be lonely. Fuck the wasteland.
 

Weekend Recap

I've been working in Charlotte for a month and getting back on the weekends. During this time, I have been fighting one form of sickness after another. I can't remember what it feels like to be healthy. Right now, I am down to a cough, but my ribs and abs hurt from all of the hacking.

Saturday was my 36th birthday. My friend Tiffany made me a cake which is one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for me.

My nephew celebrated his first birthday over the weekend as well. The party went well except for the homeowner association nazi who came by to rip my brother's ass for parking on the grass. This is the price for living in Mt. Pleasant. You have to put up with a bunch of busybody yankees who come down here to retire. I wish to Christ they would go back to where they came from.

The rest of my weekend was spent resting and recovering from being so damn sick. I'm fixing to go suck down some DayQuil, so stay tuned to the blog here. I'm back from the Queen City, and I have a full spleen to vent.