Choice and Fear

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Here's a simple math problem. If I were to flip a coin, what are the chances of heads turning up?

A. 50%

B. 50%

I didn't say it was a hard math problem. Let's say the coin lands and gives us heads. Now if I flip the coin a second time, what are the chances of me getting heads again?

A. 25%

B. 50%

C. 75%

Ooh. Three choices! The answer is B. Let's say the coin turned up heads again. Flipping the coin once more, what are the chances we get heads again?

Believe it or not, the chances are still 50%. Each coin flip is completely unrelated to each other. They're separate events in time. I hope it's easy to see this truth.

Living as humans, we're constantly haunted by our past. Maybe it's evolution's way to help protect us from making the same possible fatal mistake. But when this fear of the past seeps into other parts of our lives that may not have the benefit of killing us, then issues may arise.

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I have a friend who has had a devastating past with men. In general, men have not treated her kindly. In many cases violently. Her current beau is a strange bird, a conspiracist, or a believer of such non-scientifically proven things as the earth is flat and the moon landing was faked and...well...to go on would be a waste of space.

Short story long, they've broken up numerous times, citing mental abuse, specifically him wanting her to believe in the crazy. After breaking up for the last time, she's told me she would never go back to him again, using the words, "Read my lips...no new taxes." OK. That was George. But we all know how that turned out. So, too, did my friend go back on her own word. But it's her life, and she can do whatever she wants with it.

I bring her up for a specific reason. When they had ended it for the nth time, she feared that she would not find anyone better than her ex, citing her past. So I gave her the coin flip math problem, which she answered correctly, and I said that her past does not determine who she dates in the future. She wasn't sure, but she put up a strong front on Facebook, posting happy pictures.

Several months later, I hear through the grapevine that she went back to her ex, well her non-ex now. I guess my coin flip analogy failed to imbue her with the courage to seek a new man. That's OK. It's not my life. Who knows? They may work it out.

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So how do you know when to "get back on the horse" or when to move on?

Because if my friend works it out, and they both live a life filled with happiness, then it doesn't matter if they broke up and got back together many many times. In contrast, if they fail as a couple, then she may have wasted a lot of time.

Sometimes you act in the face of fear because in reality it's all in our heads.

I remember listening to an interview with Kathryn Stockett, who wrote The Help. She was rejected 60 times before finding her literary agent. So if she had decided to give up at the 59th rejection, she may have not found the success she has today. Emotionally, she has gone through a rollercoaster of a ride trying to get her book published. All writers do. She must have had intense doubt as the rejection letters piled higher and higher. But something in her spoke to her, to continue submitting query letters, despite the fear of rejection. But she did it! If we look at the coin flip analogy, each letter had no effect on the other. She could have possibly received endless rejections because one rejection does not promise that the next won't be. And she could have received an offer letter if she had queried her current agent first.

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An example of real fear is when a grizzly bear is chasing you. As you're running away, you remember that they can run faster than humans. You look back, and the bear is gaining on you. Fast. Good luck.

Let's get back to my friend and her beau. She decided to start the relationship yet again out of fear, which was that she wouldn't be able to find someone as good as him. We can't say that there's a better match for her because there are no guarantees in life. Save death. But we do know there are plenty of other men out there that she hasn't explored. So her fear that he's the best for her is unfounded.

It would be one thing if their relationship worked, then there'd be no need to look further. From what little I see, she's trying to change him, he's trying to change her, and that leads conflict. In other words, they haven't accepted each other for who they are. Nor have they accepted themselves. Once those things are done, then getting along with each other becomes much easier.

The Deep End

Social media is the bane of my existence. Its become a way for people to try and attain some sort of fame, front a facade to hide behind of, or collect a large bouquet of followers to sell to.

Artists use it to get the word out on their work. I do that by writing these articles and posting some of them on Facebook. To be honest I don't really know who reads them. I don't go around asking, "Didya readit?" Some people have told me off hand that they do. I'd love it if people did read them. And it's not that I don't care, but I sorta don't care. The crazy thing is that I don't speak to most of the people that I'm connected to on Facebook. I mean, I can count the number of my close friends on one hand.

When I ride the train during rush hour, I find myself swimming in people facedown over lit pieces of glass. Not that I don't do that. I do. But I spend more time people watching, and there's not much to watch.

This isn't a commentary about how our society is slowly being drained of real human connection. Though, they are.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone because I'm either writing or critiquing my fellow writers' pages. I love the work. I also go on long hikes and walks and fall into my introverted side and become introspective. But all of that gets lonely at times. Then I go on Facebook and everyone is liking and commenting and having a jolly good time. So it seems that if I don't participate in all the likes and commenting and gushing over how good that plate of food looks, then I don't exist. I'd rather like and comment and gush over what's happening in person. That's more fulfilling than who has liked my shit on Facebook.

In what is claimed to be the longest study on happiness, Robert Waldinger states that fulfillment in life comes from real human connection. The deeper the better. That's what she said.

Now I'm presented with a choice. Do I do what everyone else is doing and put full effort into building my social media? Or do I try for deep connections with people?

Why not do both?

Both are time consuming. And for me one gives me no real satisfaction. The habit of social media is to collect followers and likes. You become a bean counter of sorts. And like material wealth, it's never enough. So you continue chasing and accruing, chasing and accruing...

It's fun at first. Much like eating a lot of candy. It's not very nutritious, eating all those empty calories. 

However, forming deep connections can be difficult for me because my sensibilities are raunchy with a little bit of dry humor mixed in, peppered with a bit of hot temperedness, toss in some uncomfortable questions, and top it off with a heaping scoop of sarcasm. That's a mixture most chefs would be like...

Most of the time I'm not an asshole. I'm not asking women if I can slap their plump butt. But it's no surprise people who can't handle my mess of a personality run for the hills. Hence...count my friends on one hand. The most obvious solution is to dial my sensibilities down a notch...maybe all the way. Like take a tranquilizer gun, point it at my butt cheek, and yank the triggah. Eventually I'd wake up and be my old self again.

The real solution is to find folks who are willing to jump into the deep end of the crazy pool with me. Just to be clear I'm not that crazy. I don't go around flashing people. I don't do hardcore drugs. I don't torture animals. I torture people with my sensibilities, but I don't physically hurt them. Unless it's sexual where it hurts so good. I'm liberal so I'm accepting of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and the like. In other words, I'm aware enough where I'm not hurting anyone. If people are offended by me, then so be it. They can climb out of the deep end and scream running. I'll just float all by my lonesome.

The Uninvited

Do you feel happy when you receive a lot of likes on Facebook? Do you feel down if no one comments on your stuff? In the world of social media, we know when you've checked into the airport, when your cat gives you that look that says, "You lookin' at me?", when a homeless man gives you the pleasure of seeing him take a piss on the street. I've been given that pleasure. Many times.

I go on Facebook about once a day. If that. And I saw that one of my friends had held a BBQ that I had been invited to, but she cancelled due to an unforeseen circumstance. Which happened to be me. She had rescheduled but no invite for poor little ol'me. Tissue please.

I assume it was cancelled and rescheduled to avoid the embarrassment of uninviting me. There were several people who didn't like my kind of humor. So be it. Now, I didn't react with an angry emoticon. My ego was a bit shocked, but I actually don't care.

Then why are you writing this post, Jimmy? Hopefully, to show that what people think of you means nothing. Or, at the very least, has no real affect on who you are as a person.

God, you're such a hippie. No. But I did go to the Summer of Love exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. That was pretty awesome. 

If you give a talk in front of a hundred people, how many different opinions do you think you'd have? The easy answer is probably one hundred. Everyone who is watching you is interpreting what you say and do through their own lenses. In a sense, it doesn't matter what you're talking about, there will be people who agree with you, who oppose you, who love what you're about, and those who hate you with blood curdling passion. And because they're seeing things through their own lenses, how they feel about you has nothing to do with you. It's not me, it's you. And that's the real secret.

This is hard for most people to understand let alone believe. So let me give you a simple example:

If someone comes up to you and calls you a tree, you'd think, "You're stupid." Because it's simple to see that you're not a tree.

However, if someone accused you of being stupid, you might go to great lengths to prove that you're smart. The reason is because we take things such as attributes personal. Maybe at some level we're insecure about our IQ level, no matter the number of degrees we may have, so feel the need to argue for our intelligence. And let's say we were successful at convincing this person that we're smart. Does that mean we're smart? What I'm really asking is are you going to let someone else dictate how you feel?

We all do. We're human. I've become less reactive because I see the difference between my ego and I. And seeing that difference has allowed me to move on to things that matter like dick jokes. That doesn't mean my ego doesn't get in my way every now and then. It just happens less than it used to.

Now, I enjoy doling out lewd and crude and rude jokes. I also like to swear. Oh no. Call the popo! People who are prim and proper tend not to like me because I don't fit in their narrow world view. I like to have stupid fun. But the Prims have no perspective in that regard and judge me. They don't understand that there are real problems in this world that go far beyond some nuisance a writer (i.e. me) is dishing out. There are girls in Africa that risk rape trekking miles on end so they can finish their education.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Lucky for me there are people other than the Prims. They may or may not enjoy lewd and crude and rude humor, but they're open enough to enjoy it for that moment or roll their eyes. Mainly the latter, but whatever. Though, these people have quirks of their own, we somehow get along. There's very little judgment. We're there to share and indulge in each other's company. There aren't any grand expectations, so there's very little conflict. Their lenses aren't fogged up with narrow points of view. So they aren't offended by what is said.

So what do you do when people don't like you? Or get uninvited to a BBQ?

Nothing.

It's not worth having them as friends because they'll never be a real friend. Unless you want to whore yourself out and be fake, covering the real you with small talk. I for one hate doing that. I do that at work a lot, and I feel dirty afterwards. And not like raunchy sex dirty. That's the good kind of dirty. The bad dirty is the kind where the soul is slowly sucked away by millions of bloodsucking leaches. Which is why I don't display my life on Facebook. This isn't modesty. Why waste time trying shove events of my life onto a public forum for the world to see? What are people trying to front? But if there was some major event like a child being born, a marriage, a book being published, then that's worthy news.

Deciding what a real friend is up to you. For me it's tolerating each other for all the good and bad. It's kinda like marriage except no one gets half of anything if the friendship ends. One last thing, I ain't no saint. At times I'm an asshole. But when it comes to friends, I'm there for them. To have good friends, be one.

The Mechanical Steed

Bridles. Ropes. Whips. Stirrups. Reins. Saddles. Cinches and girths. Chain bits.

Nope. Not talking about sadomasochism. Not opposed to it. These terms, however, refer to horse riding.

Horses are majestic animals that have family bonds that rival those of their human riders. They are part of many cultures that date back thousands of years. English folklore, which imbues so much of fantasy today, often have calvaries that ride on these beasts of burden. The largest contiguous kingdom, the Mongol Empire, would never have been without the technological advantage the horse and archer provided. The Natives'—the first peoples of the Americas—history and mythology are ladened with the love for the wild horses.

It's difficult to find any culture where the horse isn't a part of it in some way. But in the modern day of automobiles, horses are not used for transportation and labor as much anymore. So it's no surprise that the rise of the motored bicycle since the late 1800's has continued today.

I'd just started riding. For most of my life, I'd been scared to even learn how because Death seemed to linger around that lifestyle. The fact that motorcyclists are 37 times more likely to die in an accident than motorists isn't the most comforting thought.

I mean, let's examine this form of transportation: Take a frame and put two wheels on it. Mount a motor that sits just below the gas tank where the gas is stored. That's gas. The explosive stuff. When you sit, you'll wrap your thighs around this tank of explosiveness, nudging your reproductive organs against it. Then your calves flank the high performance engine that gets as hot as the sun (not quite but you get the point), while your feet rest on foot pegs inches from the skin-removing pavement.

Your right hand operates the front brake. Your right foot operates the rear brake. They need to coordinate separately or together as needed.

Say what?

Here's the kicker. The faster you go, the easier to balance the bike, the less time you have to react to hazards on the road. So it's safe to go fast? Kinda. But it's harder to ride going slow. Pretty much.

And what about protection? What about it?

Sure. Automobiles, also known as cagers, have glass, steel and airbags to protect the driver. So we suggest when riding your two-wheeled vehicle of death to wear a plastic bucket called a helmet. Oh, make sure you wear a thick leather jacket and pants to protect you in the event you crash. Even when it's blistering hot? Yep.

Whachutalkingaboutwilllis?

And, excuse me, but where is the seat belt on this motorcycle? What do you mean I don't have one?

So what if I have a passenger? They'll sit where? On a smaller seat than mine? And then they hold onto me for dear life?

Alrighty! Where do I sign up?

At the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Well, they have an MSF course that teaches the basics of operating a motorcycle. If you pass their riding test, then you can skip the skills test at the DMV. All that would be left is to take their written test.

I hadn't ridden a bicycle for decades. So I bought a road bike from Walmart, rode that for about four weeks to regain my balance, which was shaky at first. So by the time I took the MSF course, I could focus on learning how to ride a motorcycle, which they provided. The moment I felt the power between my legs, I was hooked. And then I got on the motorcycle. Joking. My assigned bike was a Honda Grom, which is a tiny motorbike. Still, riding it was intoxicating. When I arrived home, I started looking at used bikes for sale on Craigslist.

After I had finished the course, I bought a Kawasaki Ninja 300. The number represents the size of the engine in cubic centimeters. Actually, my bike has 296, but it's sexier to market something called a Ninja 300...Sparta! The Ninja 300 is considered a beginner bike, but it's more than enough for city riding. And it can handle the freeway with little issue. Except if I need to pass someone quickly, then I gotta down shift and wring the engine out.

None of this is really important because riding out in the open on any motorcycle, especially through the back roads is addicting.

Despite having to pay attention to things that can hit/kill you like deers and people driving while busy working their cell phones, and avoiding road hazards like pot holes, road kill, oil slicks, gravel, wet spots, leaves, the view from the saddle is unobstructed in a way you won't understand until experiencing it for yourself.

Much like riding a horse, there's a connection from the rider to the bike. A horsewoman uses her whole body to communicate with her steed. So too must the motorcycle rider.

Aside from the throttle and brakes, leaning becomes a necessity when carving turns and twisties. This is where the sensation of riding becomes euphoric, a oneness. You have to have skill to take on the curves at speed. Because any sudden motion the rider imparts to the bike—chopping the throttle, aggressive braking, jerking the handlebar—can often be followed by crashing. It's no surprise most single vehicle crashes happen taking on curves.

And I think this is where another level of connection from rider to bike stems from. The fate of the bike often spells the fate of the rider. If the motorcycle crashes, so too will the rider. The automobile, on the other hand, absorbs most of the impact, protecting the driver.

What's funny is that there are many YouTube videos that show a motorcyclist crashing his bike. He then scrambles to his feet and runs after it screaming, "Oh, baby! Baby, I'm sorry. So sorry!" He picks up the bike and examines the damage before checking to see if he's injured. Stupid.

I'd probably do the same thing.

I'm not surprised that I've fallen for riding. Ooh...wrong word choice.  It's still the honeymoon period, so we'll see. But I've always wanted to have my own horse. The expense of housing and feeding and taking care of them is hard on the wallet. So for now I'll gladly ride my mechanical steed.

Don't Be a Fuckin' Pussy

Don't be a fuckin' pussy. I told someone that the other day. In those exact words. After he deleted my sarcastic joke on a group chat. That's like telling me to shut up. So I told him don't be a fuckin' pussy. He took offense. But he didn't swear back, which I found strange.

He told me that he had deleted my comment because he didn't "want it to set her off." There were other women in the chat, but he made reference to one. I've also seen him interact with this particular woman, and it's pretty obvious he likes her. The issue is that this woman leans toward the masculine side. Not physically, she's very pretty. But she likes cars, guns, action movies and abhors girly things like chick flicks. I don't like flicking chicks either. And the guy who deleted my comment is not assertive. So...

Good luck buddy.

All of this sparked memories of me being a nice guy and how I often ended up with the short end of the stick. No, my stick ain't short. I'm not saying you have to be an asshole to get the girl, for example, because that will eventually blow up too. So what should a man be?

I have a friend who plays the nice guy when he goes on dates. What do I mean by play? Any true opinion he holds goes out the window for fear that he'll offend his date. So if she likes something, then he'll state he likes that as well whether that's true or not. He takes women on expensive first dates such as concerts, which is a bad idea because they won't connect through something I like to call, conversation. Or when trying to set up a date, he'll ask if they want to do this or go to that instead of just saying, "Let's do this. It sounds fun." He's playing nice in order to get at her. This becomes a balancing act because he represses his true self and acts out the nice guy.

But if the woman likes him, he'll continue walking the tight rope of truth and fiction, trying to figure out what part of him she likes. Unfortunately, second dates for him are like taking a picture of the mythical unicorn.

The truth of the matter is that he is an interesting person. He's like a diamond in that he has a lot of facets to his life, but muddies them up with his insecurities to the point that others can't see them. From the outside he looks and acts awkward.

Now, I ain't no dating coach. But I do know this. Being yourself is the easiest thing to be. You don't gotta be fake. It takes a lot of work to be fake. Not only do you have to suppress your real self but you have to create a fake personality to portray. When you're yourself, all your hang ups go out the window because you aren't thinking about them. You don't have to look cool, or be cool, or act as if you're cool. You're real. So if a woman likes him, then he'll know that she likes him for him.

However, if someone doesn't like you for you, then you know they ain't gonna be a good friend to ya. Because if they liked the fake you and saw the real you, then "Drama!"

I've had people not like me for various reasons. And I don't give a shit. I can't. To try and patch the holes of my inefficiencies by their standards is like trying to stop a broken dam. That ain't gonna happen. I'm too busy for that shit.

Also know that if someone doesn't like you, the issues lies within them. Some woman had professed her hatred for me. Apparently, I was too vulgar. I couldn't stop laughing when my friend told me that. I'm comfortable in my skin. Not all the time. I'm only human. But generally I'm pretty comfortable talking about anything. This woman who hates me may not be. Her insecurities may flare up with my...ahem...honesty. Or maybe she was taught to be a good girl. So whenever she's confronted with any thing that may poke holes in that facade, then her automatic response is to shun it.

Pretense is very hard to shed. For some people they've lived with this facade throughout their whole lives. Habits are difficult to break. Ask any woman not to wear makeup for a week and see if they'll do it. Highly unlikely. Like chipping away at a concrete wall, it'll take time. Shit. I'm still working at it. But I do it because I like who I am. I do it for me.

Don't Alienate Your Readers

Should a writer listen to the readers and craft stories with their expectations? Especially in an established series such as Alien? No. But that was one of the biggest complaints for the new film Alien Covenant. More on that later.

For me I've crafted my story with something real to say about the human condition. Outside input would only muddle that message. Trying to convey my message is hard enough as it is.

This leads me to Alien Covenant directed by Ridley Scott. There appears to be a lot of discontent around the net regarding his latest effort. Scott seemed to have ignored the basic timeline of the Alien universe, logical storytelling, and has fallen to using the worst horror cliches since the Friday the 13th movies. Impossible, you may say. Would a skilled filmmaker and storyteller recycle a shower scene where a couple is making out and both are killed? Hell to the No, you scream at me. Unfortunately, yes he did.

However, most reviewers, both who favored and hated Covenant, didn't comment on the most glaring thing that was missing. I can't blame them, though, as there were a lot of things wrong. A huge indication of what's missing is with the casting of James Franco as the captain of the ill-fated ship. He dies in his hibernating capsule right after most of the crew has awaken. This is not a spoiler because it doesn't do anything except beg the question: Why cast such a named actor if Scott wasn't going to use him beyond the beginning? That's simple. I'm assuming here, of course, but Scott was probably banking on Franco dying to get the audience to care. If that's true, then I don't think it worked. At least not for me.

Scott used that death by having the loyal crew argue with the succeeding captain that they should have some sort of funeral. The new commander denies their request because the ship is falling apart and repairs are needed now. Makes sense to me. Everyone is in a spaceship...in space...where if it falls apart everyone dies. However, the crew gathers below deck anyway and salutes the dead captain as he's shot out into...space.  The filmmaker is hoping the audience will care because the crew was loyal.

The issue is that there are no character traits to separate the many crew members, most of whom end up as cannon fodder. No character traits means no character arcs of any kind. Some of the reviews had touched on this by stating they didn't care that this person or that individual was killed. They may have not known why they didn't care. But it was obvious the writers didn't root the audience to anyone except to use Franco as Franco—not as the captain—breaking the fourth wall, which is the movie screen.

Here's what I think Scott is trying to do:

See this movie star James Franco who's been in everything? You guys like him, right? Well...he dies.

The audience shrugs because they know this is just a movie, and Franco the actor wasn't killed in the making of this film.

At this point the director hasn't pulled the audience into the Alien world. We have yet to suspend our disbelief.

Daniels, played by Katherine Waterston, is his wife—the original captain, not Franco. She cries a lot after his turbulent passing. Again, we don't care. We didn't see them interact as a couple. We don't know who she was. Does she prefer cats or dogs? Something, anything to hook our teeth into.

Now, if the writers had her share a moment with her husband, then it may have opened our hearts and drawn us in:

The ship rumbles, taking on damage. Mother, the computer, wakes the crew. The captain hauls himself from his hibernating capsule. After delegating orders to repair the ship, he pulls Daniels in and gives her a small birthday gift. They had gone into the capsules the day before her birthday, so he was saving this gift for when they woke up after arriving at the destination. The gift is a locket with a picture of them atop the first mountain they had scaled together. She recalls how cold it was that night. And he quips that she didn't complain inside their tent. She looks down at his pants and says that she had to take care of his little friend. He smiles and bites her nose.

On the planet, the crew explores the forest, WEARING SPACESUITS. The captain trips and falls on something sharp, unknowingly infecting himself with an alien virus. The day passes as the mystery grows: Who planted the wheat? Where are all the animals? Why is the captain getting sicker? The crew struggles to find what's wrong, but time runs out. Pain riddles the captain's body. He shakes and screams, giving birth to a xenomorph that rips him apart. Daniels screams, clutching the locket.

OK. Not my best.

Part of writing a story where death is such a prominent and visual aspect is rooting the readers or audience to the characters. Think of it this way: When we hear that someone is killed on the news, we're not really affected by it. We go on our day as if nothing happened. To that person's friends and family, the news hits them like a Mack truck because they're attached to the deceased. And that's the difference. Rooting is important to all stories. But when you begin to kill off characters without getting the readers to care, then they're not gonna care.

My point is, draw the audience in, give us a chance to suspend our disbelief, root us to at least one character, and slap us with tragedy. Badda-bing-badda-bang. 

a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven

Here's what I hate about organized religions. Before I go into it, I know very little about them. However, the top three cults in the world—Catholicism, Christianity, Muslim—require that humans convert somehow, be saved essentially, so the path to Heaven will be open. For those few who do not convert will end up in Hell in the afterlife. Bear in mind that the only proof of a Heaven or Hell comes from fiction, such as the Bible, and from several people who have had near death experiences, stating various things like a white light, warmth, a presence, etc.

I've had wet dreams, nightmares where ghastly things chase me, all feeling very real and wet, but that does not mean any of it was real. Except in my mind. And the wetness.

I like science's approach of being able to quantify or measure something. So taking someone's word on what they remember feeling during a state of unconsciousness isn't the most reliable. And if you know anything about how delicate memory can be, even in healthy adults, then you can understand my trepidation on relying on unconscious people.

Well, Jimmy, can you measure love?

Well, some voice in my head, check this out.

I had attended my nephew's wedding in a church a couple weekends ago. The reverend who performed the what-felt-like-hella-long ceremony basically said this, God loves us all. If that were true, then why does any human have to convert in order to be saved? Why segregate? That makes no sense to me, unless this was a construct of man, which would make perfect sense. Humans are very tribal.

In my life I'm open to new ideas, friendships, even things that rock my boat of normality. I used to have a friend who was angry and sad. She hated the world. She hated me. But I'm a listener. So she found it easy to talk to me and be open. I tried not to judge her, but she had voted for Trump. That's not a big issue, except that she believed in everything that he had said. Still does. She won't listen to both sides of the story. Still, I accepted her as a human being, tried to help her out of her sadness, but she had a difficult time letting go. I get that's hard. But if you can't let go of your past, then it haunts you.

One of my close friends told me that a friend of hers didn't like spending time with me. Her friend specifically asked that I not get invited to a get together.

What the hell? Had I done something to offend her and offend her family? Knowing me, probably.

I never asked why I was disliked. I just don't care. Because once she segregated me, then a friendship between us would be fake. Kinda like small talk. We'd do the How are you?, and the That's good to hear, and the Weather's getting warmer, and the Yeah, the sun has been out. Hence, warmer weather.

But the real truth is this: her friend's issue with me is not about me.

And that's hard for people to truly understand.

I had been on a Criminal Minds kick. Thank you Netflix. Procedural dramas work well because the discovery of a serial killer, in the case of this show, usually kicks the hour off. Then we watch the BAU (Behavioral Analytics Unit) do their thang.

What the BAU focuses on is really interesting. Yes, the crimes, the murders. But they profile the killer to try and get a sense of who he is. By doing that, they understand where the hunting ground may be, who the potential targets are, and even possible timelines between killings. And I've yet to see a case where the killer wants to kill because that's his thang. His need to kill comes from issues within him. Whether his father molested him. Or he was ridiculed in school. Or he had been abandoned as a child and the foster care system warped him in some way.

It's never about the victims. Sure they fulfill some crazy fantasy, but if that fantasy was never there, meaning they'd let go of their past, then there'd be no victims.

So when I challenge religious folk and tell them that there are no Heaven nor Hell, they get pissed off. Because they've built this huge reality, living with the sole purpose of catapulting their soul into Heaven. Maybe they don't realize it yet, but Earth could be the Heaven they're searching so hard for. Or it could be their Hell.

"The mind is a universe and can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

― John Milton