The Balding Husband

“Sounds great honey!”

I’ve been saying this a lot recently. As much as I can.

You see I am trying to win over my wife’s heart. For a while now I have had most of her heart but not all of it. Now I need all of it. Every last square inch.

When a husband has less hair, he needs to find other ways to win more heart.

My wife responds well to, “Sounds great honey!” The more enthusiastically I say it the bigger the smile. On downtrodden days it is harder for me to be enthusiastic, but I force myself since enthusiasm is what is wanted most by people.

We should put in nice gravel all over the backyard: “Sounds great honey!”

Lets get our hot tub up and running again: “Sounds great honey!”

I am going to be going away for a week to go camping with friends: “Sounds great honey!”

We should go into LA today and eat at a nice restaurant and then go to a bookstore and buy a bunch of books: “Sounds great honey!”

Maybe you could trim all the trees today and clean the leaves off the roof: “Sounds great honey!”

Would you please pay all our bills this afternoon and wash the dogs: “Sounds great honey!”

I have been committed to being so enthuisiastic with my wife because I am balding. I can’t believe I am even writing this but I am having to confront the inevitable fact that it is happening to me. It is not a rapid balding but my hair is thinning more and more every single day. Each day that I examine my head in the mirror, I am noticing more and more scalp.

The last time I had my haircut, the stylist said, “I will not cut anything from the back, since you need that hair.” Fuck, is what I thought when she said this. Balding is happening.

I did not think it would happen to me. My mother’s father had a full head of hair all the way up to his very end. My father has a head without much hair on it, but I work hard not to be as driven and stressed as him. As a result, I believed I could avoid his hair loss fate. The last time I spoke with him I considered asking at what age he really started to thin, but I decided that I would rather not know.

As I write this I have a concoction of aloe vera, lemon and castor oil in my hair. I am supposed to leave this concoction in my hair for an hour, twice a week to encourage new hair growth. My scalp is currently burning but they tell me that this is encouraging blood flow.

You see, my wife is 14 years younger than I am. She is just a year or so over the age of 30 and no woman just over 30 wants a balding husband. What would a younger woman like my wife do with a balding husband? Once my head of thick and wavy hair is half of what it was when we first met, how will my young wife cope with this? It can’t be easy for a beautiful, young wife to have an older, balding husband. Sounds superficial, but whether we like it or not, thinning hair is an issue.

So I have had to start being extra nice. Extra enthuisiastic. “Honey, could you come here?” “Sure honey, I will be right there,” I reply and move quick.

I have read that I can compensate for undesirable physicalities (hair loss) through kindness, enthuisiasm and making more money. This is why you sometimes see those very unattractive men with beautiful women. They have these three necessary ingredients.

I don’t know about making more money, but I can certainly be more enthusiastic and kinder.

When a man or woman is physically pleasing to the eye, he or she can get away with behaving like a shit. But once the appealing physicalities start to fall away- we have to stop being angry, greedy, selfish selves. We have to get better at being nice and putting others first. If not, we end up alone.

I have been taking supplaments, doing hair conscoctions, standing on my head for thirty minutes a day, massaging my scalp before bed, orgasming only once a week (sperm retention is said to help in Ayurvedic medicine), only using organic hair products, meditating twice a day for twenty minutes, abstaining from alcohol, eating more fish, keeping stress levels low and exercising- all in an effort to grow new hair or keep the hair I have left. Few things are more distressing to me than taking a shower and finding hair that has fallen out. I have none to spare.

I kick myself for the things I took for granted in my full-head-of-hair-youth.

I can’t afford to be a balding husband. I just can’t. It is too much of a blow to my sense of self. I have always been a man with a full head of wavy, thick hair. Who the hell would I be if I had more scalp showing than hair? The thought is terrifying even though I realize aging often involves coming to terms with these things.

For now, I need to wage a war against hair loss. I can’t imagine subjecting my beautiful, young wife to the insecurity of having a balding husband.

I need to go wash this stuff out of my hair then stand on my head for thirty minutes. I can’t be wasting my time writing. Writing isn’t any good for encouraging new hair growth.

My Sleeping Wife

Every morning starting at 8, I begin the long process of waking up my sleeping wife. She sleeps in the nude and at around 8am all the blankets are pulled off and her naked and supine body just rests there. Sometimes I imagine that this is how she would look if she were dead. The bedroom is completely dark even though the sun is very much new and alive outside.

I tell her it is time to wake up but she does not respond. I go back to reading my book.

At 9am I remind her that she is missing the best part of the day. Mornings are a time of renewal. Everything has a fresh start and is yet to be destroyed by the rest of the day and night. I try to entice my wife with a cup of two hour old coffee heated up on the stove, but her body refuses to move. Looking at my wife I often think how good her body looks in the nude but how much better it would look if she would just move.

Sometime at around 11am I return to the dark bedroom and remind my wife that she is sleeping her life away. By this time her body has shifted into a different position. Often she is laying on her back and I will notice if her pubic hair remains untended to. Sometimes I will receive a response from some part of her that is still alive, which says something like, I don’t want to get up. Please just let me sleep. I love you. She seems agitated but calm and indicates that she wants to be left alone. What kind of thirty-year-old woman sleeps like this? Isn’t this the time when a young person should be most engaged in life? But I keep these thoughts to myself and let her sleep.

At around 1pm I will ask my sleeping wife if she would like me to bring her some lunch and she always answers no. Sometimes she will even say that she needs to be careful with her weight so please do not entice her with food. But doesn’t she need to eat? I will think about all the things which could go wrong from a lack of nutrition but not say anything about it. Not to mention what happens to a body when it goes without any sunlight. It seems as if my sleeping wife just wants to hurry up and be old.

In mid-afternoon I confess to becoming mad. What kind of way is this to live? She is neglecting so much in her life? Why can’t she just get it together and wake up? If she would just start exercising everything would feel better. She needs to wake up and tend to her life! It is just not healthy to be in bed this long. All these thoughts and more start racing through my head at around 3 pm. What I do not seem to understand is that my sleeping wife is tired of life. She can not handle the load of responsibilities she must tend to as an adult and would rather just remain asleep. I don’t think this is a good coping mechanism.

I realize that my wife is a shy person who does not enjoy interacting with most people but this is no way to avoid the world. At around 5pm I will tell her this. I will tell her that being an adult involves doing a lot of things that you do not want to do and this is why most adults are terribly unhappy and addicted to so many things. Rather than sleeping all day I tell my wife that she needs to find healthier ways of being an adult in this messed up world but my wife just continues to sleep. At this point she is usually laying on her stomach, on top of our comforter. I notice how healthy and appealing her butt still looks. I feel my libido spike and I want to reach out and touch her butt. I always abstain because I know she would become violently angry if I invaded her space. I think about masturbating right there and then at the edge of our bedroom but never do.

At around 7pm I go back into the bedroom, this time frustrated and indignant (it is the same every day) and notice that she is not there. She has finally gotten out of bed and is either standing naked in the kitchen or she is naked on the toilet. If the human animal could be in a state of hibernation all the time I know my wife would never get up. But because she exists in a human body she must wake up. Often I will find her standing in front of the refrigerator eating various forms of vegan food. I will ask her if she wants me to make her something and she always says no. I will ask her if she heard about the most recent terrorist attack and she always says no and that she does not care.

At around 8pm, after taking a long shower, my sleeping wife is back in bed and will remain there for almost another twenty-four hours. At this point I no longer bother her even though I am completely frustrated by this on-going situation. I understand that this is how she is choosing to respond to living in the messed up adult world but I feel like there are more proactive and responsible choices that she could make. But what can a man do whose wife has decided to remain asleep? You try waking a sleeping wife up. Any attempt to intervene just pisses her off. I have learned through time and effort to let her be and instead make friends with my own loneliness and despair by reading a lot of books.

I am usually in bed around 10pm and try not to bother her.

The Pervert’s Guide To A Small Town

Hello there. I have begun a new writing and drawing project on Tumblr called The Pervert’s Guide To A Small Town. I don’t know why I am doing this but it may have something to do with being a pervert living in a small town. Please feel free to come and join me on this perverted journey. Thank you.

Does Anyone Else Give A Shit?

This is bullshit.

I know we all want to keep our heads buried in the sand but the United States of America just dropped the largest bomb, next to a Nuclear bomb, on another sovereign country. What the hell? As if things were already not bad enough.

Maybe I am naïve but I believe if we just put on our wisdom caps, stepped back and left other people alone, they would leave us alone as well. No one wants to die, not even those we in the terrified West have been conditioned to see as bad guys.

Just like how I am now the bigger person and no longer start fights when my father tries to poke at me, things between us have mellowed out. If the United States could just be the bigger person, things would improve! But no, we have these angry, defensive and non-self actualized higher ups making all the moves.

Militants who attack people in the West use trucks, homemade bombs, powerful guns and other desperate inventions that can bring about their boiling desire for revenge. Militants who attack people in the Middle East use massive, high tech bombs and the wealthiest military in the world. Who is bullying who here?

Now I don’t know about you, but as a member of the general public, I am concerned. You see, when the United States of America does something like drop a massive bomb on another sovereign country, there is going to be repercussions in the West. It is a given. But those who make the decision to drop the bombs don’t care. Higher up officials are not nearly as vulnerable to attacks from militants because they do not shop in middle-class shopping malls. It is all of us who are greatly at risk.

You, me and everyone you know and love. All your friends on Facebook. Thanks American Military and the American Government. Thanks a lot. Way to be wise.

Now, because of decisions made by higher ups, we have all been made much more vulnerable to being harmed by those who are pissed off by America’s recent actions. To officials who are higher up, no matter what they say, we are all collateral damage for their agendas. The fact that those who make these decisions are higher up, implies that they are removed from all of us lower downs. This creates a separation that is necessary for the higher ups to make the kind of decisions they do. If they were also shopping in the mall down the street, they might not make the decisions they do.

So we have been put in harms way by them. Again.

I like my life. I like all the others around me to enjoy their lives. Life is a very precious resource. The moment it is lost, it is extinct. This is why I think those who make decisions that put other people’s lives in harms way are jerks, no matter how much justice and righteous they think they have on their side. Every militant, on any side, is fueled by the same sense of justice and righteousness. This is what makes them a militant!

And make no mistake about it, those who drop expensive bombs on sovereign countries, are militants, no matter how much they look like you.

I am fueled by wanting all people to just enjoy living their lives and this is what makes me not a militant.

Donald Trump and the American Military just made all of us lower down people, much more unsafe. We are all much more at risk now than last week. Actions speak louder than words. Donald Trump and the American Military may say they care about you and your family but if they did they would be the bigger person and stop dropping bombs. Just like with my father, I care about his health and mine so I have pulled back. In the end this is the only way to end conflict.

Everything else is just unevolved, hurt, defensive, egotistical, childish bullshit.

Making It As A Writer And/Or Artist

The first trick is to not let the depression of not making it kill you. Everything else is easy in comparison.

I have no idea how to make it as a writer and/or artist. I have been trying for over two decades and am only a bit closer than I was ten years ago. I have tons of unfinished novels and graphic novels and short stories just sitting there waiting to be edited and sent out into the world. But for whatever reason, I have not been able to finish any of it.

I write these blog entries (or what I like to tell myself are essays) because it is an easy way to create something and be done with it. But at the end of the day self-publishing these blog entries (essays) amounts to nothing. I am no closer to reaching my goal of making it as an writer and artist than I was decades ago. If anything, blogging just slows that process down.

So who am I to write about making it as a writer and/or artist? Nobody. I have no idea how to do it. For me, it is like trying to solve a crossword puzzle that is in a language I do not speak. I just can’t seem to figure it out.

But if I do know something about something, what I know something about is the process involved in making it as a writer and/or artist. I know this part of the work very well because I have been stuck in the process for the past twenty plus years.

The one and most important thing that I want to say about the process involved in maybe one day making it as a writer and/or artist is that it is a real son of a bitch. It will never leave you alone. It is like an itch that you can’t scratch. You will always feel like you should be working on something. That is ok though. As annoying as it is, when that goes away, you are done.

As long as you still have this unscratchable itch to write and/or make art, to be somebody as an artist and/or writer, the hardest part is keeping that itch alive. To keep the itch alive you must be fully committed to it. You may become a doctor, a business manager, a real estate agent, a psychotherapist, a waiter, a police officer, a teacher and on and on. After all, we all have bills to pay if we want a decent life along the way. But you must see these jobs as just a way to buy time. You are never able to fully commit to any profession other than that of being an artist and/or writer. Whatever you do for money or whatever schooling program you may be in, if you want to ever make it as a writer and/or artist, you have to always see these things as just a way to buy time.

Everything the writer and/or artist does prior to making it as a writer and/or artist is just buying time. You are just fooling people just enough so they will pay you to do something but your heart is never really fully in it. The moment your heart is fully in doing whatever it is you do to make money, you are finished in your process of ever really making it a writer and/or artist.

This is the hard part. Hard because most will never, ever make it as a writer and/or artist. You will just be buying time for your entire life. Some, the few, will make it and even if they are in their sixties when they do, it will feel great. But most will never make it. I am probably one of them who never will. But by just living a life where you are buying time so that you will not be fully suffocated by economic demands and end up giving up on your dream of one day making it as a writer and/or artist, I think is worth something in the end. In the end, what will matter most is that you stayed true to yourself. That you continued to try. That you stuck with it. And even though a lot of depression will come along with your lack of success and the hardship involved in continually trying but not getting anywhere, the depression and despair will ultimately (if you are lucky) be the fuel that keeps you true to your vision.

This is how I guess one makes it as a writer and/or artist. You must remain true to your vision. You must buy time and be prepared to lose everything. You must find ways to cope with the depression so it does not end up killing you (and your vision) too soon. And if you keep at it, if you keep slaving away and are lucky to live long enough, maybe you might just make it as an writer and/or artist someday. Maybe not. But that is not what will matter in the end, I suspect.

Buy time.

Phone Call From Myself

I arrived early at my miserable office when my iPhone rang. Who the hell could be calling me this early? This is what I thought. I was in a bad mood. I am always in a bad mood early in the morning, especially before work. Normally I do not like it when people call me. I feel like they are invading my private space. I am offended. But when someone calls me in the morning my offense is drastically multiplied.

Rather than just ignoring the ringing iPhone (which, in retrospect would have been the right thing to do but everything is the right thing to do in retrospect) I pulled it from my cluttered pocket and checked. It took me several seconds to make sense of what I saw. 510-604-6201. That is my phone number right? Isn’t 510-604-6201 my phone number? How the hell could this be? How could I be calling myself? This doesn’t make sense. I exist in a state of complete confusion but in that moment, my confusion turned into complete perplexion.

I answered the call (which, I never do by the way).

“Hello?” I said it very apprehensively.

“Randall?”

“Yes…….” I said this very apprehensively as well.

“Randall. This is Randall. I need to talk with you about something.”

“Excuse me?” It sounded like me. It was my same old slow and miserable voice coming through the phone but I could not make sense of what was actually happening.

“I know this might seem a bit odd to you, but please do not be alarmed. This is yourself, Randall. I am calling you.”

“You are me calling me?”

“Yes, this is you. Or it is me but I am you and I just needed to speak with you for a moment.”

“Ok. This is very strange. How could I be calling myself? I am right here now, so where are you?” I said this even more apprehensively than I said everything before.

“Look, let’s skip all the practicalities. They don’t matter. Please stop trying to figure things out. I am you Randall, this is Randall calling Randall and I just need to speak with you about a few things before you begin work. Is this ok?”

The voice on the iPhone was me. There was no question about this. I could even hear how the voice, or I, annunciated slow and mumbled vowels, which is exactly what I do. In a state of complete perplexion and disarray, I decided to give in and stop questioning.

“Ok. What is it?” I said this apprehensively.

“Well, look man, I know you have your first client coming in shortly and have a long day filled with clients in front of you. I know that you have been struggling the past couple of weeks and I just wanted to reach out to you.”

“Reach out to me about what?”

“I just wanted to let you know that things are going to be ok. You don’t need to stress out so much about everything. I know you have been having a difficult time not stressing out about every little thing. You are unhappy in your mind. Almost every little thought triggers a negative stress response in your body. I know you are overwhelmed by your work. I know that it is very draining for you and takes up too much space in your mental apparatus………

(This is when I was certain it was me talking to me on the phone because only I would say something like mental apparatus in the middle of a banal, self-help sentence.)

……but you have got to stop stressing over so many things.”

“How do you suggest I do this Randall?” Now I was starting to play with myself.

“Well as long as your question is genuine and you are not playing with me, I will tell you. I know that your job is tormenting. It fills you with exhaustion and negativity. I get it. But welcome to the real world man. You are not a kid, where everything must feel good all the time or else you are pissed. You are an adult now. Also, you must keep in mind that this will not last forever. You will get out of this at some point. Now you feel stuck and obligated. I understand. But please trust me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not the light coming from an oncoming train as you often think.”

“OK, I appreciate all of this Randall, but what is your point?” Now I was feeling frustrated. I don’t like it when people tell me what to do, especially myself and especially in the early morning. I was on the edge of telling myself to go to hell but I refrained.

I needed more coffee.

“I just wanted to tell you to go easy man. I know you are unhappy. Your work week is almost over. Just try to keep it together and don’t fall apart. Do some meditation. Take time to listen to music. Stop feeling like you need to write and spending your precious free time writing and posting things on your blog that don’t get you anywhere. Just knock that off. Don’t worry about writing your novel or being creative. This is just your ego driving you nuts. You just need to relax. You need to do things that you enjoy during your free time. And you and I both know that writing is hard work for you. It is not necessarily something you enjoy.”

“Ok.” I was ready to get off the phone. Myself was pissing me off.

“Look, there are alternative ways of organizing experience and interpreting information. Drugs are often one way. Meditation is another way. Beer is one impermanent way. Just staying present and not identifying with your ego is a long term way. I just think that it is important for your mental health that you seek out healthier, alternative ways, daily, or else you are going to be a miserable man.”

“I am a miserable man fucker! Why are you telling me all of this right now? I have eight clients to day. I have to sit and attentively listen to eight people talk about their problems for an hour each. You try that out sometimes. You try and find alternative ways of interpreting information when all your mental energy is being drained right out of you only because you have to make money. I really don’t need this alternative bullshit right now. Just leave me alone. Let me get through my day however I need to. I don’t know who the fuck you think you are but stop telling me how you think I should live my life!” I was pissed, probably much more than I needed to be, and hoped that my client who was waiting for me in the waiting room could not hear any of this.

“Look I am sorry man. I just thought I would give you a call and try and help you out.”

“Well, thanks Randall. I appreciate your generous act of goodwill but you can shove it up your ass. I am tired of you telling me what to do. Always telling me what you think I should do while you get to just hang out in my ego all day long. And now you call me on the phone to tell me? Fuck this. I have had enough. I am hanging up now. Good bye Randall.”

“But…..”

I turned my iPhone off, put it back in my cluttered pocket and took a deep breath. I think I said the word fuck a few more times and tried not to think about the long day in front of me. Then I pulled up my zipper (which, I just noticed was down), forced a smile upon my permanently frowning face and went to get my first client.