Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Carol 2012, The Holiday Blues & A Cartoon

A Christmas Carol 2012
w/ a Merry Christmas To The Ghost of Charles Dickens

Chapter 1

To begin with, he had disappeared. There is no doubt about that at all he had ceased to exist. Ask his friends, family & wife they will tell you he was gone. Even though he hadn't moved out of town or anything like that. He even knew it himself and what kind of a man is man that knows he has disappeared. He was like that character in the Cohen Bros movie “The Man Who Wasn't There”.

It wasn't like there was just a puff of smoke and poof he was gone. No you would remember such a sudden change. It was more like he just sort of faded the way over the years. Like someone you used to see all the time and then just slowly it's been a couple of years and there just gone. So where once he had a job, a family, a home and a life he was now down to the last. Now as the train doors opened and he got on he wondered how much longer he would have that.

As he found his seat a disembodied voice said “watch the closing doors” then wished everyone a “happy holidays” as the train lurched off towards the city. He leaned back in his seat and looked out the window and tried to forget the growing pain in his stomach. Tried not to think about it being late on Christmas eve and he had no other place to be than riding this nearly empty train around the city until morning came.

And he must stay alert because there was always the danger of something going wrong quickly so he knew he must not sleep. He was hungry and cold but must stay alert. There was a time when he would have occupied himself by thinking about how he was going to get out of his mess. Speculating on how soon his fortunes would turn around. He had long ago given up on that hope because no matter how hard he tried things only got worse.

So now he passed the time by keeping a wary eye on his fellow passengers and wondering where their journeys were taking them. Wishing he had a final destination himself. We were approaching the station and the car was slowing down he sat up and looked towards the doors so he could evaluate the people as they got on.

Only one person got on it was a disheveled bum and Mike groaned inwardly as he came shambling up the aisle towards him. Sure enough he plopped down two seats away and the ripe stench of his body was further amplified when he turned towards Mike and opened his mouth to speak. In a very proper English accent.

“Scuse me gov'ner could you spare some cutter then.”

For a moment Mike just sat a stared at him like it was all some kind of illusion. “Is this really happening to me” he wondered. When Mike didn't respond he asked again.

“Well how bout it then?” Mike finally just shook his head no but kept staring waiting for him to vanish. But he didn't instead he called Mike a rude name and as he rose to try the next car he added. In an accent that was now pure west side.

“Quit staring at me bud this is gonna be you in six months. And if you don't get your head out your ass and stay sharp you won't even make it that long. Now don't say you weren't warned.”

And spat on him as he yanked the door open and went into the next car.

Luckily most of the spit landed on the seat next to him so he found an old newspaper and laid it on top. Then leaned back again, the car was empty, it was a long time til the next stop It was almost midnight and he felt himself drifting off. Despite his best efforts he fell asleep.

Chapter 2

And once he fell asleep he drifted off into a world of dreams as the church bells tolled the midnight hour. At least they would have if the church bells still rung. Anyway the dreams were most pleasant because for the first time in months there was a smile upon his face. It's a shame he was asleep and couldn't enjoy it.

There wasn't just one dream but three dreams one after the other. Or perhaps a dream in three parts is more accurate. In the first he was a child again. Or rather he was able to watch himself as a child as his fading memories of these days flickered to life once more.

There he was sitting in the darkened room lit only by the colored lights on the tree. There were only a few presents under the tree because truth being told they didn't have a lot of money on spend on gifts. But they did have each other and they did have love and that usually seemed to be enough. No matter how unpleasant the outside world might be there was always home waiting for you. They were old memories but they were strong and held through the years. He could feel them again as the years passed and his life became a blur as the dream drifted and was replaced by a new one.

And when the blur sharpened and the haze lifted he was in the middle of another part of his life. Here he is as a man now with his own wife and children and once again it is a scene filled with warmth & love. There is the tree it is bigger and there are more presents under the tree and we all have each other. Life is good these are memories we don't want to leave behind because they are the ones that make life worth living. But you can't stop a dream and even the best of memories fade and before we want one dream ends and the next fades into view.

Once again as the images take shape and the past comes to life it is Christmas and we are in the same home. Time has passed though the children are older and where before we were all huddled around the tree next to each other we are now scattered across the room isolated from one another surrounded by our gifts. There are still smiles but they look forced and when I am not looking at her my wife is clearly glaring at me. The glare freezes the scene to ice then the ice cracks and falls apart and the dream suddenly shifts and we are somewhere else.

It is still Christmas but we have left the home from the last two scenes and are now clearly in an apartment. We are seated around the dining room table and all are once again older myself, my kids, no wife the only others my elderly mother and older sister. There is not much conversation. Only the sounds of eating and the occasional remark. The kids are fidgeting. My mother gets ill and my sister takes her to the hospital. The kids disappear shortly after that. Then I am sitting there all alone and it is dark. I am sitting there staring off into space when I feel a cold hand on my shoulder.

I look up and it is the bum from the train who had gifted me with his spittle before I entered into this dream world. I didn't small him because he was obviously dead a corpse is what now confronted me. He was all black, white and gray the only color at all were his glowing blood red eyes. They were staring straight ahead not even looking at me his hand rested on my shoulder it's cold chilling me to the bone. My eyes riveted on this specter in horror and I tried to speak but all I could choke out was “What.....DO....You.....Want....”

The specter didn't answer but raised his other hand and pointed over by the doorway and as I turned my gaze I could hear.

Chapter 3

“Watch The Closing Doors”

And all of a sudden the dream was over I am back on the train. I don't know how long I've been asleep but I am wide awake now and find myself in a world of trouble. The train has stopped and I am no longer alone. Three predators have boarded the train and they are slowly walking down the aisle towards me. Smiling and laughing all the way.

If you spend enough time riding the rails you get to know how to judge people and realize that 99% of the time you don't have anything to worry about. This was not one of those times these were people who radiated bad intent. Dark coats zipped all the way hoods pulled up and there wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night. All he could see were the smiles all he could hear was the chuckling as they advanced. The train was leaving the station so it was too late to get off.

He had no weapon to defend himself. He had nothing to offer them and he had no cell phone to call for help. There was an emergency button but they had already passed that and were no almost upon him. For a moment he thought maybe this was all just one big dream and he was going to very soon wake up and he was going to be back in his bed in his home next to his wife with is kids.

But it wasn't all a dream, he should have followed the bums advice and never fallen asleep. Because these three had nothing but hate in there heart and tonight he was who they came across. In less than five minutes they dragged him out of his seat and stomped him to death. They kept after it until the next station came up. Then they propped his bloody body up in the seat and ran off the train laughing and shouting “

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night”
Not your usual feel good holiday story but here's the back story. Believe me I know it's Christmas and no one wants to hear this shit but that's part of the problem. But depression has been on my mind a lot lately and here are some my thoughts and why I'm sharing them.

All across the country there are millions of Americans who have lost everything over the past four years. A life time of hard work gone ideals about loyalty rendered meaningless we have been tossed to the curb unwanted by everyone. We are invisible because we are everyone from old white men to young ghetto kids crushed by an economy that favors the few and punishes the average person. It is a nightmare that a lot of people will never wake from.

Dealing with depressed and or mentally ill people can be tough. Nobody wants to be around them. Truth be told they don't want to be around themselves. That's a large part of the problem.

We are taught from the very beginning;

“Keep it to yourself”
“Nobody wants to hear your sad story”
“Everyone has problems”
“Others have it a lot worse”

These helpful bromides are what passes for caring for a lot of people. And the biggest advance in the past few decades has been medication. A staggering amount of people take various forms of anti-depressants. When you add to that number those that self medicate with a wide variety of illegal and “over the counter” drugs like booze. This is our response to the mental health crisis. And to a degree it works but just because the drug route can treat some of the manifestations of mental illness you still don't get to the driving factors of the illness.

If you want to really help fight mental illness find someone who needs help and help them. We all know at least one person who we try to avoid because they are a drag or a downer and not much fun to be around. They are the front line and need help. Try reaching out see if they need someone to talk to.

This is my therapy self expression just talking about it in this way is a tremendous help. When the world is closing in you've got to push back. If you want to help me deal with my own depression take a look at what I'm building here online it's a sprawling work in progress that goes off in a number of directions. So I'm looking for your help, advice and support.

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