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Everything is okay. A newly discovered decent Hendrix bootleg is on and so is my 21mg Nicoderm patch. The weather is balmy and so am I. I ate smoked mussels and eggs for breakfast, took a shower, walked into my office and noticed that it REALLY smells different now. It truly is a New Year. Usually it doesn't seem that way, but this time it did.
This IS a special year, for the planet. This is the last year on which there will be a July 6. This is the last year to host an August. There will never be another September after 1997's. And 1997 will bring The Last Christmas, and The Final New Year's Party. (Hmmmm.... yessss..... possibilities aplenty there...)
Thus it is the Dobbs-bound DUTY, yes, I say DUTY, of EVERY SUBGENIUS, to CELEBRATE WILDLY EVERY DAY AFTER JULY 5 1997, for every day shall be The Last of That Day.
But for me personally it's been a rough transition over to yet another New Way. The fact that it came around New Year is mostly coincidence.
Because let ol' Rev. Stang tell ya -- IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE when you realize you're CRAZY after all, and it really wasn't anywhere NEAR that bad. THANK GOD FOR DEPRESSION!
Just at the last minute, this Angel took me and showed me what the world would be like if I'd never been born. Bob Black was dictator. Bob Dean was his mouthpiece, masquerading as Dobbs. The Bobbie you hate the most was your boss. My wife had been divorced 7 times. Philo Drummond was an embittered homeless drug addict and G. Gordon Gordon, Sterno, Wellman, Vreedeez had all died in Vietnam. All this because I had never been born. Only Janor's world was the same.
Naw, just kidding. However, yesterday somebody said to me, in the middle of my screaming, "To tell the truth, man, you actually sound like you're crazy right now. Like you've lost your mind."
A little while later, as I was replaying every word in that conversation from memory, searching for backmasked between-the-lines unspoken clues as to how badly they were secretly shafting me, which sort of thing I had been discovering EVERYWHERE lately, that one phrase bubbled up. "You sound like you're crazy."
AND IT WAS THE FIRST THING I'D HEARD OR CONSIDERED IN DAYS THAT ACTUALLY MADE SENSE. It seemed it just might explain... a LOT.
Suddenly realizing that you have been depressed, in the clinical sense, the classic sense, not just the usual SubGenius hate-the-Pinks alarm-clock and drive-to-work, depression, but the real thing -- suddenly realizing that you're just plain NUTS can be a JOYOUS MOMENT INDEED. It means that you ARE crazy, and They're NOT out to get you! A refreshing reversal of the usual (and often no less valid) SubGenius outlook.
That I might be insane seemed, well, SANE. I did, after all, stop smoking 3.5 weeks ago, which was like self-amputating an arm. We're talking one of the meanest, most vicious, most deeply entrenched death-wish cig habits you will ever HEAR of.
I also had a string of bad luck that seemed to dribble on all month. Nothing I hadn't dealt with before, just the usual... you know, life not being perfect; don't you just HATE that? But this time it was different. WAY different. I didn't realize just how far out onto a narrow little ledge of a brink I was getting. Sure, I knew to expect intense crankiness, from previous serious cold turkey and Nic-patch attempts. But I forgot that for every new trick you learn, the Tobacco Demons learn two.
I have not TOUCHED a smoke. But I'll tell ya. As bad as the third day is, the third week is WORSE. The obvious physical withdrawals that you can get your HANDS on, and GRAPPLE with FAIR AND SQUARE, are over. The Demons, in fact, WANT you to become SUPREMELY CONFIDENT. "Hell, that was EASY," they want you to say. Because then they can pull out the BIG guns. The psychological approach. And sirmaam, the Tobacco Demons ARE SMARTER THAN YOU ARE. They still control your unconscious mind. You can clean 'em out of the forebrain easy enough, but SINCE WHEN could any SubGenius ACTUALLY RULE OVER ITS SUBCONSCIOUS using that weak lever? Well, actually you can. I have done it before and will do it again. I'm pretty sure. But it's HARD AS HELL.
That ol' subconscious is SHITLOADS smarter than what you're using to READ THIS with. It can figure out answers to problems you'd NEVER work out by TRYING. However, it can also work up bizarre imaginary scenarios to justify ANYTHING, and trick your forebrain into ACTING on them.
First it was the visions of 7-11 counters. That started about the first week. They'd hit me with that one on the rare occasions that I left my office/cell. But I was on to that old scam. Pretty soon the Demons realized it wasn't going to work.
So they moved up to Phase 3. Let you FORGET the cigarets COMPLETELY... but get you SO FUCKED UP and OBSESSED over SOMETHING ELSE that you start to feel like NOBODY could be expected NOT TO SMOKE under SUCH UNFAIR DURESS!!! They just take what dissatisfaction happens to be bottled up, and then milk it for all it's worth. One's wild hormonal and internal chemistry changes can be used to jack up and exaggerrate every little thing.
And that's just the FIRST week. The third week is worse. If I remember correctly, the third MONTH is somehow even worse than that. Hardly anybody makes it past the third month. Most prefer to die 5 or 10 or 30 years sooner, instead.
Sometimes I DO want to JUST DIE. I'm a SubGenius. It's a Pink planet. 'Nuff said.
However, I HATE WASTE and I hate being a slave to a fucking Conspiracy street drug. I could FEEL that it was time to choose, AGAIN, between Life with a capital L and Death, to shit or get off the crapper, and besides, for ONCE I had no pressing deadlines, terrible backlogs, upcoming shows, godawful debts, or physical illnesses, so... I put on the patch and REALLY REALLY QUIT.
Well, a 21 mg patch is no match for 3 packs a day even of UltraLights. The patches are HELPFUL in getting you through that physical withdrawal period; heck, the first couple of days are downright NOVEL, TRIPPY and SORT OF PLEASANT. But it gets WORSE and WORSE and WORSE, in the most insidiously subtle ways.
Before nicotine patches were invented, and you just went cold turkey, this shit tended to be worse right at the beginning and then ease off. The patches actually POSTPONE and DIFFUSE the emotional turmoil. But it's still there. One otherwise minor problem can set it off, and you start lashing out, but not necessarily at what's really fucking you up. What was fucking me up was that I shoulda just said "NO" that one time when I was 18.
I'm not sure if hard core heavy duty nicotine withdrawal should be combined with any other self-help steps. You'll be DAMNED lucky just to quit smoking, and not also ending up quitting your job, divorcing your wife, beating your kids and having car wrecks.
If this helps anybody else who follows along this same path:
WARNING: NONSMOKING CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND MAY ENDANGER THE PHYSICAL HEALTH OF OTHERS.
If you break a habit, be careful that that's all you end up breaking.
I suppose this is an addendum to the INVOLUNTARY SLACK doctrine. You can find yourself trying to FORCE INVOLUNTARY SLACK to happen. Now talk about a contradiction in terms! Involuntary Slack is what saves your ass when what you've tried for is SO fucked up and out of reach that you find a NEW and BETTER answer in the process of being forced to GIVE UP.
What I learned is, you can't CHOOSE your Involuntary Slack. Even the old "expert" had to be reminded of that. You try deciding what your Involuntary Slack is gonna be, and you'll end up just adding to the False Slack Overload.
The fact that I can even pursue such a string of logic indicates that my brain cells are functioning better -- but TO WHAT END?? Infinite pointless philosophies, rules, formulae? NO!! MUST... NOT... THINK.
NOW is not a good time for me to THINK, I think. I'll think I've FIGURED ANYTHING OUT. No, I should just DO what seems DOABLE and ignore the Type A Coffee Achiever urge to YEARN FOR MORE HOURS IN A DAY. NAY! I will merely ACCEPT that I just have to spend FOUR TIMES AS MANY DAYS INSTEAD. What's the hurry? Hell, I quit smoking. By the time I'm 60 it'll be as if I never smoked. That means I'll LIVE FOREVER! Besides, FUCK that shit. Why am I fretting about it??!? X-DAY!!! REMEMBER X-DAY!!!
Here's another thing to avoid: ACCIDENTALLY GOING WITHOUT THE PATCH.
The second night of my Lukewarm Turkey, somebody called and told me something thoughtless. Normally I would have blown it off. Shoulda ended there. BUT THAT NIGHT, THE NICODERM PATCH FELL OFF IN MY SLEEP.
I woke up SHAKING WITH RAGE, SWOLLEN with fury that I had "backed down" so easily. I had been WRONGED!! I was owed JUSTICE!! Long, profuse apologies! I made an incredibly nasty phone call or two, making everything far worse. Then went for a walk to blow off more steam.
It was then that I realized I was FUCKED UP. I mean, REALLY fucked up. I got DIZZY. I couldn't FOCUS on objects. The sun was FAR too BRIGHT. I practically was hearing the mocking voices of my enemies (friends up till then) inside my head. I must have looked funny to any neighbors watching from behind their curtains as I started frantically feeling myself up, looking for the patch.
Put a new one on. Head cleared some. Apologized to the guy I'd reamed out. Had a brainstorm about a handy metaphor for Quitting -- divorce -- and wrote a radio rant about it. That turned into a VERY weird show (#558) a few days later... I ended up at times actually CHEWING the MICROPHONE while SCREAMING HATE into it at the audience at FULL VOLUME. Very cathartic.
I never did find that lost patch. You don't want to leave 'em lying around -- if a child or dog EATS one, they'll DIE. That shit is DEADLY POISON.
But THAT day was, to quote Janor, "THAT was a big ol' COCAINE PARTY compared to that time they SHOCKED THE LIVIN' GHEEE OUTA ME!!"
You cannot know what depression, in its clinical sense, IS, really, unless you've both HAD it, and gotten OVER it, or else dealt very closely with someone who has. The Catch 22 of depression, is that you literally CANNOT pull yourself out of it. By definition. That's what it IS. Smoking, hell, I got myself into it, I can get myself out, or not. Depression isn't like that. It's bad brain, bad chemistry. You sometimes need replacement chemicals to oil the stuck-shut hinges on the Mental Slack Shack door, and you need psychological support to get the door cracked open again at ALL.
I am a big believer in antidepressants combined with counselling. For some people. The counselling doesn't have to last forever necessarily but the pills might. The pills are fucking MIRACLE DRUGS, in my opinion. In the old days they frequently didn't work or even did damage, but more and more I'm seeing people who REALLY ARE FAR BETTER, but without losing any of their 'spunk' or "righteous SubGenius Hate" or creativity or anything; indeed, all that improves. They regained their ability to HAVE FUN again.
I am not saying that Conspiracy Mental Health Programs are suddenly DOBBS APPROVED now. I'm saying if some pill can fix you, TAKE THE DAMN PILL! If somebody trained to circumvent your self-deluding bullshit can actually DO that, then LET THE INSURANCE COMPANY PAY 'EM TO DO IT!
If you need 5 bags of Habafropzipulops a week to keep from becoming a serial killer, BUY THE FROP AND LIVE OFF DOGFOOD!
When I started to suspect that I might be crazy, crazier than everybody else I was dealing with anyway, I started a list. Of SYMPTOMS. Just a little ways in, I could see it. It was just TOO OBVIOUS to deny. I wasn't JUST having a bit of a nicotine fit. I was also looking at a textbook description of depression.
THINGS TO EXPECT WHEN YOU QUIT SMOKING
LOSING THINGS: common objects like keys, wallets, appointment books, jackets, Fropcans, lists of passwords. Imagine picking up a tape deck, getting distracted, putting it down, spending 10 minutes LOOKING FOR A LARGE TAPE DECK in a SMALL ROOM.
GETTING LOST WHILE DRIVING IN VERY FAMILIAR PLACES because nothing looks familiar. I missed the SAME EXIT twice running one day. And did it again two days later.
FORGETTING WHAT YOU JUST GOT UP TO DO. All SubGenii are absent minded to some extent, going to another room to fetch something and then forgetting what it was. Professional froppers even more so, but we overcompensate for short term memory loss by keeping careful notes and schedules. The Secondary Memory notes are of NO HELP when you forget what you were doing EVERY THREE FOOTSTEPS.
SEVERELY SCREWING UP THINGS NORMALLY DONE ON AUTOPILOT.
I dub Hours of Slack. I flip tapes when I cross the room. Have done that for 10 years. Yesterday I recorded side one on one tape, side two on another tape, and kept doing that for 3 sets before I realized it.
Inability to distinguish right from left without long and careful study.
Subtle insanity creeps in. The act of thinking, "That was EASY!" triggers it.
Repeating yourself in conversation -- or, THINKING you'd be repeating yourself, and thus never actually saying anything to begin with.
Inability to hear anything said to you the first TWO times.
Ability to read 30 pages in a novel without any comprehension whatsoever. Reading the same paragraph 6 or 7 times.
Even though you can't remember what you did 5 minutes ago, you can vividly recall every broken or forgotten promise ever made to you since childhood, every small slight or insult, especially by close friends. Perfect recollection of everything ever borrowed but not returned; inability to see best friends as much better than common thieves. Interminable mulling and moping.
Vividly imagining painful and unfair arguments, down to every nuance and detail. Perfect, photographic recollection of completely imaginary fights.
A tendency to laugh off cigarets, yet become hideously bitter about everything else... for 5 minutes to an hour at a time. Then, a favorite tune plays on the radio and suddenly everything is fine for awhile, until the next frothing suicidal rage.
Calling people by other people's names. Transposing important phone numbers and addresses.
Physical clumsiness. Greatly increased sex drive. Greatly reduced sex drive. Completely confused, right off the road and crashed into a tree sex drive.
Mistaking vividly imagined arguments and painful scenes for actual events that really happened. And holding grudges for them.
Looking for incredibly creative work done in the computer the night before, and then realizing that you only DREAMED that you did that amazing work. (Nicotine patches cause heavy dreaming because you're jazzed all night long.)
Fretting and fuming for 5 hours a night, sleeping for 3.
Inability to remember anything good ever happening to anyone except those you most envy.
Inability to accept the existence of anything good even when it's being shoved in your face.
Suddenly conviction that you have been KIDDING YOURSELF during all previous times of happiness. Screaming to self, "All this time I've been a SAP!!! A CHUMP!! ONLY NOW can I finally see the BITTER TRUTH I was hiding from myself. How LUDICROUSLY, PATHETICALLY NAIVE I was. How EASILY HOODWINKED. Oh, I know now that they've all been LAUGHING at me behind my back this whole time and I was too much of a TRUSTING FOOL to SEE it." Etc. ad infinitum.
Any single statement that might be construed as less than HIGHLY FLATTERING, interpretted as a snide insult. Reading between the lines of the most innocuous pleasantries and personality quirks, and finding EVER MORE PROOF of a general unspoken conspiracy against you. Seeing everyone else as venomously jealous while displaying the most venomous jealousy.
Setting conversations up with such evil Moriarty-like twisted logic that no reply anyone makes could be taken as anything BUT total betrayal, or at best the most callous insensitivity.
Forcing arguments and ultimatums over inconsequential things, insisting that they have taken on undeniable symbolic significance. Screaming on the phone. Hanging up on people.
Extreme time distortion. Mulling and festering over how that person borrowed this thing you now desperately need, WEEKS ago, and despite your weeks of reminders, they TAUNT you with procrastination and excuses, and never give it back. You happen to notice that in reality it has only been four days, and you never DID ask for it back, but then you find some other reason to be pissed off.
Screaming the most vulgar, childish insults at your boss, quitting your job, telling your spouse it's ALL OVER FOREVER, writing inforgiveably nasty letters and THEN SENDING THEM, etc. etc. etc. ...
and somewhere in there, if you're REALLY LUCKY, somebody says "Seriously, you sound CRAZY," and something clicks, and it sinks in, and it's... well, it ain't exactly over, but at least you can CRY again, breath freely again and holler out:
PRAISE "BOB," IT WAS ONLY SEVERE DEPRESSION, DRUG WITHDRAWAL and BORDERLINE SCHIZOPHRENIA!!
And that IS a gigantic relief. If it happens on New Year's Eve, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
'Cause there are pills and tricks that'll help cure all but the borderline schizophrenia, and if you're a SubGenius you probably want to keep that. And I dunno about you, but as much as Normals disgust me, SHIT... forgot what I was saying. OH! It was that, fuck... what was it... OH YEAH... as much as Normals disappoint me, I'd still rather think that it was me being an asshole than that LITERALLY EVERYBODY ELSE is one. Because I can DO something about ME.
So far, knowing I'm crazy seems (SEEMS!) to be keeping me "sane." I can probably keep the lid on... at least, until the THIRD MONTH!!!
Luckily we won't have to WORRY about the THIRD YEAR; on the Escape Vessels, smoking is HEALTHY!
I type all this mainly to get it out of my system and hopefully to pep-talk and WARN the next poor bastard of some hidden dangers I found. I figure if what, 10% of Americans smoke, 20% of SubGeniuses do or have. That means a fifth of you can sympathize and maybe even gain a useful tip or two. No, you aren't alone, and YES, you ARE CRAZY. The Conspiracy REALLY IS to blame, but only you can exercise the Slackify your Fate, THEY WON'T, and someday you'll quit just TALKING about it, and QUIT. And perhaps go TOTALLY FUCKING NUTS like I have.
There is nothing in Dobbs' Word that prohibits self pollution of any kind. Rather, Strength Through Disfigurement is preached -- that one might need to IMMUNIZE oneself against a toxic environment by GRABBING THE BULL BY THE HORNS, so to speak. I swear that I will never act like the "former smoker," that most vile of hypocrites. I shall strive to remain nonjudgemental about the drugs I no longer consume like a fiend.
But man... I HAD to quit. No sense to risk MISSING X-DAY at this point. Plus, Jimi told me to, in a secret message, in lyrics only I can understand, on the version of Midnight Lightnin' that he does in the middle of VOODOO CHILD SLIGHT RETURN in the Berkeley '70 concert.
But that's not the point. Also the point is not that I want you miserable wretches to call me up for "counselling," or to counsel me. The point is, by definition you can't know when you're depressed, so it sneaks up on you, and the Tobacco Demons can use Sudden Adult Clinical Depression Syndrome as a weapon... so watch out. THAT'S the point.
Besides, you HEARTLESS INGRATES are always accusing me of DRIVE BY POSTINGS and while it's true that I don't get a chance to stop here much between the radio, IRC, email, rant jobs, job jobs, blow jobs, snow jobs, personality crises and nervous breakdowns, at least when I do, it ain't to make some wisecrack about some DUMB TV SHOW or the next Bobbie's PERSONALITY FLAWS. SEE?? Poor rev. stang, the only one who ever has to work, who ever suffers, yet who is PERSECUTED and hounded SO UNFAIRLY...
I shoulda just said no. I really just shoulda said, "NO."
This has nothing to do with any arguments with Sub-IRC characters, in case anyone wondered. That was one tiny droplet in the giant bathtub full of blood.
On a cheerier note:
ALT.BINARIES.SLACK. (Also the SubSITE Art Mines.)
SubGenius super-heroes Atom Funway, Fernandinande, Poindexter, and many many more are duking it out like CRAZY DEPRESSED PEOPLE LETTING OFF STEAM BY PERFORMING INCREDIBLE FEATS OF GRAPHIC ARTISTRY. Wandarer posts HOUR OF SLACK shows every week or so.
XMAS PRESENTS I GOT:
Socks. Every person in my wife's extended family gave me gray socks Shirts. I have shirts now. And a pair of pants. Now I have TWO that WORK! Someone else gave me a very weird looking doll made by a 10 year old, which I intend to sell under false pretenses to some art gallerly as a David Lynch sculpture.
She got a new TV and a phone line installed near her computer. My dad made her an ENTIRE CLASSIC GRANDFATHER CLOCK. (Everybody loves Mrs. Stang.)
My son got accepted to NYU for film school(!!).
My daughter got new speakers for my car. For her. I hardly drive now that the kids can.
Friday Jones filled the stockings of the whole Dallas Clench with hot sauces, candies, condiments and a book called BAKED POTATOES, A Pot Smoker's Guide to Film & Video. Surprisingly, the list in that book corresponds almost EXACTLY to the videotapes on my shelf.
Lou Duchez made sure that when the Frop Drought ended, it ended for us too. Lou probably saved lives of homeless drifters somewhere in Dallas with that gesture. There's at least one less corpse hidden in the Trinity River Bottoms tonight because of Lou.
I got a bookstore gift certificate which got me THE BRYCE BOOK. I'm MUSKIN'. I'm MUSKIN' on that shit. If only there was more time... I have ideas and sketches now for ACTUAL PLANNED SCENES, all I have to do now is learn the fancy gimmicks and DO THEM. -- WHOA!!! WHOA! STOP STANG STOP. It'll just take FOUR DAYS LONGER. (It took 4 days longer than I expected, to send this message!)
And I got a $20 gift certificate that allowed me to hit the Hendrix bootleg basket at the secret CD store for my tri-yearly mining excursion, where I listen to bits of every CD in the basket to sort the shit out from the gold. Luckily there's usually only one worth buying and that's all I can afford. Bootlegs (also known as "foreign live imports") run from $25 to $50 depending. The Hendrix bootleg market is obviously gonna be limited and fraught with repitition. The same illegal concert recording can be available under 10 different titles. A TAPE is not GOOD enough, even though half the boots are terrible audience tapes to begin with, made on those little glitchy 5-inch reel to reels. But EVERY NOW AND THEN one stumbles upon a KEY FIND, a bunch of studio out-takes and rehearsals with good sound, or an entire concert recorded off the soundboard that's not too far from the original. Or collections of same. The one I picked up is called OH MAN, IS THIS ME OR WHAT and contains particularly well performed songs from several different European concerts and Miami... stuff that justifies the half-assed recording quality, at least for hard core Hendrix nuts. This particular bootleg CD is so illegal that the back cover of the box is a hand-cut-out xerox, glued on crooked.
My son bought himself a guitar and amp. But he's more of an REM kind of guy.
We went to my folks' place way out in the boonies and made concrete stepping stones for my Ma with all the 6 grandkids' handprints imbedded in 'em. (Concrete's only $5 a bag). Went to one of those Animal African Safari Drive-Through theme parks, Fossil Rim in Glen Rose. Jesus was with us, and delivered a fervent anti-animals rant that I would not have expected from the Prince of Peace.
This whole time I was insane, but hiding it FAIRLY well from my family.
Last night we threw a small New Year's Eve party. A dozenSubDallasians ate and blabbered and drank stuff. Nickie had purple vodka-impregnated Jello made in human Brain and Heart molds. I took two Melatonins. Nickie and Jesus got drunk and bickered over every little thing -- too many Moes in one place, heh heh. Frapped. Watched videos -- VIDEO PSYCHOTHERAPY, great Cleveland cable access violence collage show, some hard core bug porn I taped off a NOVA special (about the bugs that live ON YOUR VERY BODY!!!) and some Three Stooges. At midnight we watched a whole building in Las Vegas get blown to shit by fireworks and then DYNAMITED TO THE GROUND.
I got Slack because I had realized, in time, that I was insane.
As long as I keep in mind that at any given second what I'm thinking might well be TOTALLY INSANE, I think I'll do fine. Gotta just keep it simple for awhile. Recuperate. Just let this one cut of "HEY BABY (NEW RISING SUN)" from the Copenhagen '70 concert loop over and over again. Keep flipping the HOUR OF SLACK tapes for the stations. (Reran HoS #75 -- classic from 10 years ago.) Do some Bryce, write stuff, edit job stuff. Art will keep me pure until X-Day.
Rev.Psych told me I don't know what this Church of the SubGenius is really all about, that I am too removed from what the young people, like him, the future, are into, which is of course his IRC stuff. FINE! Leave that world takeover shit to Dobbs! That's HIS job, not mine.
ART will keep me PURE.
And I don't need to tell YOU that by "art" I don't mean just GRAVEN IMAGES.
If you want to make me real cheery, be a Mac user with WAREZ I need! (Poser 2? Vector Effects? LogoMotion? 3d Web Workshop? Got 'em? I need 'em. Can... pay.
For snappy wisecracks, improv porno, trance Dobbsspew Spouting and light one-sentence spew, tune in by IRC on Sunday nights at 10 EST to:
home.rlabs.com (or 188.8.131.52 port 6667)
That's the new SubGenius Online Chat Devival home. Should be permanent since cuthulu owns and controls it.
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Original file name: Praise Bob I'm Depressed
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