Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Am I bumming people out? Am I taking myself too seriously?

This is a rare occasion; it really is. I am sitting at my desk, where I have produced tens of thousands of words in just a few months since I bought the desk; I'm staring at the accusatory little blinking cursor, and I'm blank. This is about as close as I get to writer's block, a malady I don't understand unless you're talking about a period of time no longer than five minutes. These "moments" for me are just that, five minutes tops. I'm not bragging; in fact, there are those who might suggest I take a few years and really think about what it is I'm writing instead of actually writing. There is a whole industry that caters to people who do just that; they will sell you subscriptions to Writer's Digest, and get you to sign on for six weeks of a workshop in San Miguel de Allende. I can't afford any of it; I can barely afford the five minutes drawing a blank (which I filled by writing this paragraph). While I was doing that, I ran through a checklist of possible subjects: books, movies, music, my childhood, my health. I've done them all to death, I hear, and I also hear a voice in my ear. It is that of my friend Mark, a microbiology professor in Tacoma, Washington, who reads this column via Internet just about every week and sends me brief electronic commentary. His imaginary voice tells me: "You sound a little down, this column," or "Pretty weighty stuff," or, lately anyway, things along those lines. He assures me he enjoys reading the things, but it gives me pause. Am I bumming people out? Am I taking myself too seriously?

Another friend, Dave, recently handed me a CD saying, "Here, listen to this. You can't sit around feeling too sorry for yourself for too long with this on." This was out of nowhere. Jeez, am I really creating the impression that I'm sitting around in an orgy of self-pity?

The CD is a ten-year-old George Carlin album called Brain Droppings. I love Carlin and I wasted no time putting it on between the first and second paragraph. This will give me a little motivation, I think. Something funny, that's the ticket. And I hear...

"What's all this stuff about motivation? I say if you need motivation, you probably need more than motivation. You probably need chemical intervention or brain surgery. If you ask me, this country could use a little less motivation. The people who cause all the trouble seem highly motivated to me: serial killers, stock swindlers, drug dealers, Christian Republicans. I'm not sure motivation is always a good thing. You show me a lazy prick who's lying in bed all day watching TV and only occasionally getting up to piss and I'll show you a guy who is not causing any trouble."

This is good, of course. I love it and I agree maybe more than I should. But then I reach around for some tobacco and...big mistake, a pipe. I never smoke the thing in public because it seems insufferably pretentious, but I truly enjoy the sensation of smoking an entire pack of Camels at the same time. Carlin nails me with riffs about holding a controlled fire in front of your face as a weird barrier between you and the world and some kind of flag indicating that you're smarter than everyone else. Yeah, true, I have to agree, I suppose, that's how it looks. But I want George to like me and...

What am I, out of my mind? Carlin's a comedian, it's a routine, and what do I care anyway if George doesn't like my pipe? I'm in trouble here. I need to fall back on "professionalism." That's it. I write for a newspaper here. "Did it ever occur to you," I ask myself, "to write something timely? It's March first and, let's see, that's Saint David's Day, some Welsh churchman," I think. Not that, but something up to the minute. Think relevance, the here-and-now; "In today's news. I suppose Carlin does a bit of shtick called "Professionalism." Not exactly, and for a minute I think George is on my side as I light up and type: In the news today...

George is complaining.

"You know what America lacks? A present. America has no NOW.... Instead, we reach into the past.... Of course, being essentially full of shit.... 'Still ahead, a look back!....' Honest, he said it.... Another way to avoid the present is to look ahead on their own schedules:...'Still ahead, coming up, up next, coming up this half hour, more to come, stay with us, also later.' At 5 they tell you what's coming up at 11; at 11 they plug the morning news; the morning man promos the noontime lady, and sure enough, a little later, here comes that empty-headed prick from the 5 o'clock news to tell you what he's gonna do on the 5 o'clock news. If a guy were paranoid he might not be blamed for thinking that the people who run things don't want you dwelling too much on the present."

Dave was right. I'm laughing so hard I'm blowing sparking tobacco, like Popeye. It's raining onto my crotch. Self-pity does not have a chance.

Next week: a retrospective on future columns I once promised.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Cigarette smokers across the border take a hit

Duty-free stores help
Next Article

Communion on the hood of a Humvee

The Apostle Paul says we see through a glass dimly

This is a rare occasion; it really is. I am sitting at my desk, where I have produced tens of thousands of words in just a few months since I bought the desk; I'm staring at the accusatory little blinking cursor, and I'm blank. This is about as close as I get to writer's block, a malady I don't understand unless you're talking about a period of time no longer than five minutes. These "moments" for me are just that, five minutes tops. I'm not bragging; in fact, there are those who might suggest I take a few years and really think about what it is I'm writing instead of actually writing. There is a whole industry that caters to people who do just that; they will sell you subscriptions to Writer's Digest, and get you to sign on for six weeks of a workshop in San Miguel de Allende. I can't afford any of it; I can barely afford the five minutes drawing a blank (which I filled by writing this paragraph). While I was doing that, I ran through a checklist of possible subjects: books, movies, music, my childhood, my health. I've done them all to death, I hear, and I also hear a voice in my ear. It is that of my friend Mark, a microbiology professor in Tacoma, Washington, who reads this column via Internet just about every week and sends me brief electronic commentary. His imaginary voice tells me: "You sound a little down, this column," or "Pretty weighty stuff," or, lately anyway, things along those lines. He assures me he enjoys reading the things, but it gives me pause. Am I bumming people out? Am I taking myself too seriously?

Another friend, Dave, recently handed me a CD saying, "Here, listen to this. You can't sit around feeling too sorry for yourself for too long with this on." This was out of nowhere. Jeez, am I really creating the impression that I'm sitting around in an orgy of self-pity?

The CD is a ten-year-old George Carlin album called Brain Droppings. I love Carlin and I wasted no time putting it on between the first and second paragraph. This will give me a little motivation, I think. Something funny, that's the ticket. And I hear...

"What's all this stuff about motivation? I say if you need motivation, you probably need more than motivation. You probably need chemical intervention or brain surgery. If you ask me, this country could use a little less motivation. The people who cause all the trouble seem highly motivated to me: serial killers, stock swindlers, drug dealers, Christian Republicans. I'm not sure motivation is always a good thing. You show me a lazy prick who's lying in bed all day watching TV and only occasionally getting up to piss and I'll show you a guy who is not causing any trouble."

This is good, of course. I love it and I agree maybe more than I should. But then I reach around for some tobacco and...big mistake, a pipe. I never smoke the thing in public because it seems insufferably pretentious, but I truly enjoy the sensation of smoking an entire pack of Camels at the same time. Carlin nails me with riffs about holding a controlled fire in front of your face as a weird barrier between you and the world and some kind of flag indicating that you're smarter than everyone else. Yeah, true, I have to agree, I suppose, that's how it looks. But I want George to like me and...

What am I, out of my mind? Carlin's a comedian, it's a routine, and what do I care anyway if George doesn't like my pipe? I'm in trouble here. I need to fall back on "professionalism." That's it. I write for a newspaper here. "Did it ever occur to you," I ask myself, "to write something timely? It's March first and, let's see, that's Saint David's Day, some Welsh churchman," I think. Not that, but something up to the minute. Think relevance, the here-and-now; "In today's news. I suppose Carlin does a bit of shtick called "Professionalism." Not exactly, and for a minute I think George is on my side as I light up and type: In the news today...

George is complaining.

"You know what America lacks? A present. America has no NOW.... Instead, we reach into the past.... Of course, being essentially full of shit.... 'Still ahead, a look back!....' Honest, he said it.... Another way to avoid the present is to look ahead on their own schedules:...'Still ahead, coming up, up next, coming up this half hour, more to come, stay with us, also later.' At 5 they tell you what's coming up at 11; at 11 they plug the morning news; the morning man promos the noontime lady, and sure enough, a little later, here comes that empty-headed prick from the 5 o'clock news to tell you what he's gonna do on the 5 o'clock news. If a guy were paranoid he might not be blamed for thinking that the people who run things don't want you dwelling too much on the present."

Dave was right. I'm laughing so hard I'm blowing sparking tobacco, like Popeye. It's raining onto my crotch. Self-pity does not have a chance.

Next week: a retrospective on future columns I once promised.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Björk Live from Reykjavik, Zoonotic Diseases of Marine Mammals

Events August 8-August 12, 2020
Next Article

If sci-fi glam really makes a comeback, UNI will rule them all

Big changes for little band may put them at the head of the class of 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close