How this Atheist GrievesPosted by Jim Newman on October 7th, 2012 – Comments Off – Posted in Personal Stories, Uncategorized
Post by Jim Newman
I noticed Greta Christina’s blog on the Skepticmoney.com sideline was writing a grieving diary so I decided to see what she was going through. I found myself commiserating and wished to comment. I made several tries, tried to log on, tried to submit, and after failing enough times to be exasperated I wondered how a presumably intelligent person that could build a house from scratch or a computer from a heap of parts could fail so well.
Fuck it. I’d end up just sounding like her anyway. I learned years ago that when I read people’s writings I begin to write like them without thinking about it. Like my mother imitating the language and mannerisms of whomever to whom she was talking. Maybe I was just jealous of the attention she was getting.
My mother’s death occurred in a near vacuum. No funeral, no circle of family, no extended family flying in or calling to cry together. Just my sister, her friend, and I (and some cool staff they ought to pay more)–yes, and a call from mom’s brother who was really too busy with his life and the cancer of his life friend, platonic partner. He was wrapped up in his own aging. No Irish wake. No Jewish tears and dancing. Nada. Not even an idiotic church ceremony by some babbling fool that thinks they know your mother—thank goodness for that. Just the end of a long death that should have been shorter but for an insane society that has no clue what life means in spite of all the religious theology defining it so precisely.
I guess we really didn’t make the effort to reach the Tower City folks, they had been so distant so long. Hell, I learned of my Grandfather’s death after he was in the ground—but at least he warned me to stay away and gave me his library before the vultures flew in. That was the Watkins way. Yet, when we visited we analyzed each other to death. None of this superficial crap so popular in a social networking culture where “like” is the extent of emoting allowed along with precious family pictures of young people.
An author on NPR noted my writing style (my inference) as dense, rich, out-of-date. Topics are singular, incisive, and like the author in the Big Chill says, as long as it takes to read during the average crap—now, it’s the average pee. And don’t use a word that isn’t at hand or a name that isn’t hyperlinked. We’re turning into borgs where we all know the banality of each other’s days but can’t say anything meaningful. But that’s what business and population density requires right? I’m saying we’re going to implode in hive mentality and call it colony disorder syndrome.
I find myself bursting into tears for no damned good reason and unable to stop. I question my own existence, not ontologically but for what my mother sacrificed. Yet, I should be pissed. She lectured me so hard I’d read books during the process. It annoys the hell out of me when someone says if their mom had had an abortion they wouldn’t be—like if there had been an abortion they’d know the difference. Like some soul out there saying damn, missed that conception. It’s such a banal excuse to justify prolife—what? The prolife of every damned embryo? Every embryo in there waiting for a body—they call this meaning, karma, ensoulment? Jesus Christ how do people believe that shit? Are we so riddled with conceit and lack of meaning we have to invent this nonsense to feel good? Just look around and enjoy. Lucky, yes, special in some cosmic sense of the personal I, no. Be grateful you’re alive, damned grateful but that doesn’t make you a god—we left that behind with the Egyptians until Mormon theology was invented in mimicry.
But I was born. OK, great. SO what will you do with your life MR Newman? I don’t know. I think I will try to save an old farm that was alone and getting decrepit so once it got cool the family could come and get pissed at me and want me to move me out because now that it’s nice I’m in the way and I have the audacity to call a shovel a fucking spade. I think I will rejuvenate the fields without chemicals so when I have to leave the next guy will have nice fertile ground to exploit. I think I will make it fun to be here so when it gets popular they realize I am just a curmudgeon intellectual antitheist with too much stuff after all that and all of it needs to go. As if I cared if they ran naked in the woods—it’s not me they gotta worry about, it’s the neighbors.
The Xanax works oddly. Take one and nada. Have a beer, life is looking better. Have two beers and I’m falling asleep wherever I am. Frankly, opium is a better antidepressant but it’s too regulated for that use; though its effectiveness in PTSD is incontrovertible. Yeah, if you just alter the experience of the event immediately after it happens, the memory isn’t so intense. Surprise, surprise. We used to call them parties, orgies, ecstasies, pissing on the bodies of dead enemies. Now it’s just one long treatment of an already embedded memory that has to be transmorgriphied.
Now they talk about a new class of ketone based antidepressants but it will be years but it’s the only new thing since the 70’s. That is, if you dismiss the hallucinogens, the THC, and the poppy seeds that have worked for millennia. But we’re not supposed to have a shit eating grin—feel neutral but not sad or happy and for god’s sake don’t giggle. And while it will soon be OK to take personality drugs for the rest of your life because of so called organic imbalances it’s just wrong to take recreational drugs for life. I feel like my psyche is in control by one Dr Strangelove after another.
I looked up therapists in Psychology Today and the qualifications ran the entire gamut of woo woo science with all levels of credentials. Just pick one. I find myself looking at the photo’s and deciding on that. I want the youngish looking woman that looks like she has read a book or two and could be fun to fuck—now, there’s a qualification. It’s all about the toilet training and whether they look like you–your mother, your father, your aunt, whatever. Freud still rears his ugly head.
NPR even talks about new epigenetic drugs that will regulate gene expression so we can express the better parts of our genes as we dessire. I see myself getting a morning fix with my better personality getting a chance. I’m going to be a research boss so give me that personality for the next 5 years. Or I can do what so many others do and look at the photo’s and images of what I wish had been, hoping I can revise my life, change my memories. No, that trip didn’t suck, see the smiling faces! My memory isn’t holistic as they used to say. Now, it changes hands and if necessary I can get it tweaked like in Total Recall and I will be that other person that was deep inside.
It’s like we keep building bigger and bigger shovels to fill the shit holes we should have avoided in the first place. But this epigenetic tweaking should help schizophrenics on a more practical level so who am I to criticize? But wait I am not a schizo; it’d be like Ritalin for college students before exams. Maybe if I had Ritalin I could compete with Stephen Pinker and get a grant. Yeah, it’s still about the money. Go figure. Chimps competing over bananas. Bananas for everyone!
I get tired of being told about the grieving process and if Elizabeth Kubler Ross were alive she’d be worthy of a Fatwa. No there is no structural grieving process we all need to experience one step at a time. No, faking positivity, or utter grief, is not part of the healing process. No, I am not in denial. NO, I don’t need to burn her papers or view them or taste her blood. It’s just woo woo shit so people can recreate their lives by reinventing their memories. It’s scary that it works at all but we use it like a big fat club bashing at our brains with the talent of a Neanderthal. Rather, take two hits of acid and call me in the morning. And do it outside with good friends, music, and sex.
Jim Newman, bright and well