Mitch Hedberg, a comedic genius cut short

I jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon early on when I activated an XM subscription in 2002. I enjoyed it enough that I let it continue for about 5 years. I was especially impressed by the fact that I received a flawless signal from a hotel nestled at the base of a steep cliff in Yosemite National Park during a trip in Summer, 2003. Also, the ability to listen to some obscure electronica just a few dial twists from another channel which might simultaneously be playing forgotten Country standards from the era of Hank Williams (that would describe my span of musical tastes, literally) was a strong draw. It took the 2007-2008 WGA strike and its threat to my job in the entertainment industry to scare me off from superfluous spending permanently, which included, amongst other austere cutbacks, the cancellation of my XM Radio subscription.

Despite the many music, talk and news selections lined up throughout XM’s lineup, some of my favorite spots were the comedy channels. XM’s practice was to play very short bits from assorted stand up performances, and in this way, I learned the names and comedic style of comedians I’d never heard of, the most notable being Mitch Hedberg.

This dude hooked me completely.
His brand of comedy was tailor made for my unorthodox sense of humor and comic temperament. Hedberg’s humor was sly and indirect and subsisted on one’s ability to suspend common logic patterns (or sense?) inherent in everyday spoken language.

This Wiki entry attributes to Hedberg’s comedy an element of “surreal humor,” amongst other things. I’d never thought of that phrase, and even now I’m not particularly clear what it denotes. But still, I have to agree…there is an element of his humor that is surrreal.

Surreal in the respect that its effect on your ability to understand his humor, as I said, requires you to lift all sense of linearity and surface logic. His observational ruminations detailing and mocking the nuances of human expression and accepted, pervasive understandings were priceless.

He was a dissolute hippy who spoke in a laid back, laconic manner; he suggested observations to you, the listener, and pointed out the futility of your earthbound interpretations. He left it up to you. It was your audience-like mission to complete the comedic circle in your own mind at which point you would guffaw and shake your head.

He was a quiet comic.
He didn’t use yelling or shouting as a mechanism whereby he might prop his jokes up on a pedestal so the audience would recognize the laugh cue, to be instructed that the joke was supposed to be funny. Now.

Hedberg gave his fans more credit than that.

He was not for everyone.
As with most creative geniuses, he was spellbound by inner demons and dealt with them in a typically chemically abusive manner whereby he sought comfort in drugs and alcohol. I’ve seen clips where his performances were clearly marred by altered consciousness. Some others shows him appearing puffy. Later he took to wearing thick, dark sunglasses which you sense perhaps acted as motherly shield from the ruthlessly demanding nature of his stage business.

The inner demons man. They will impale a man of genius like Hedberg, and they did in the form of a speedball which killed him in his New Jersey hotel room on March 30, 2005. I vaguely remember the news item. I’d recently discovered Hedberg on XM, and little did I know that I, the decidedly non-genius penning this post, who was also in the midst of battling chemical demons at the time, would come very close to dying just over three months after Hedberg.

I wonder what would have become of this man if he still lived. One of my dreams was to see him perform live but alas, not to happen.

This video contains 2 clips from the annual Montreal comedy festival, “Just For Laughs.” The first is from Hedberg’s 1998 performance and the second is from his 2004 performance, just a year before his death.

Pepper: a remembrance

Pepper was my first love.

I met her in my high school senior year.
She was a small black fur ball with a crooked white patch of hair running up her belly. My whole family (parents, brother, me) went to pick her out at the local animal shelter. She was a Lab/German Shepherd mix, a dang cute little thing. In such a puppy way.

We brought her home and she became mine.
Everyone in the house had free access to her, but she was my own special joy. I was 17, newly mobile with my driver’s license, and I carted her everywhere in my 1974 Ford Maverick with big cloth bench seats. Soon the car smelled of her musky, dog hair. I did all the things you do with a frisky pup. We walked, we ran, we wrestled, I bought an orange Frisbee that she loved chewing on. Rubber bones, car rides, you name it. I watched as she transformed from a little black mound of hair into a lean, fully grown young dog.

Pepper and me were inseparable. My mom later said that whenever she heard “Endless Love,” that sickening and maudlin (kinda like this post) duet by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, she thought of me and Pepper. The song was a top 40 hit around the time I was taking Pepper for endless walks and we slowly formed a human/animal bond worthy of a trite Disney flick.

I committed most of my life and time to Pepper.
Growing attached to anything, animal or human, involves a frightening and vulnerable amount of personal investment. You must shed your self-protective guard, expose your emotional underbelly, go with the erratic flow. You must allow yourself to enjoy the wonder of intimacy and all the hopefully blind delusion that accompanies it. You must embrace a certain sense of naivete and youthful earnestness. And I did. For I was young. Seventeen. I was a child, for I was mentally immature. Through the culmination of many childhood factors I won’t even begin to spell out here, I was a lonely and frightened child. Intimacy was not my strength for I was already aloof at this early point in my life. Isn’t it pretty revealing that in recounting my memories as a high school senior I’m talking about a dog and not girls?

Pepper came along and she inched her way into my soul.

She was my second or third dog but she was the first I ever became very close to. There is something inexplicable about the bond you can develop with an animal through the rigmarole of dailiy life. I carted her around everywhere I went, I took her to pick my brother up from school, I walked her every day. I was 17 and a high school senior. The world was opening up its horrid embrace and welcoming me to enter the jaws of its future. I trembled and timidly refused the invitation. I thought I could somehow escape the devilish grasp of adulthood and responsibility in the escapist warmth of Pepper’s musky summertime coat. Pepper…how time accentuates and exaggerates the wonderful disposition of those we hold dear. Pepper was a gift. She was the friendliest and most playful dog. As a full sized young dog she had tremendous amounts of enrgy and curiosity still. As a full grown young man, I too had the same.

We were conjoined. Inseparable.

I didn’t know it, but my mom was thinking of that song everytime she saw us together. A song which I incidentally hated. Every time it came on the radio, I switched stations angrily for the song was sickeningly popular in the world of Pop. It was inescapable, torturous to me.

I became interested in photography in my senior year. I bought a Pentax 35mm camera and enrolled in the school photography class. My greatest (and only) subject was Pepper. She was a happy mutt. You know the kind. Panting, head cocked, a funny little dog smile painted across their snout in a wonderful anthropomorphic way. And the white stripe which ran down her belly, such a beacon of playful irregularity, a blot on any highfalutin idea she might entertained of specialized breeding. The white stripe screamed cross breed. She was just a dog. Nothing about her resembled significant allegiance to an AKA wet dream. Just a regular old dog that liked to run around and chew on plastic and rubber toys.

For one of the assignments in the photography class, I took a black and white of Pepper when she was still a very small puppy. I must have made a funny sound in the moment before the shutter released, because the final photograph caught her sitting there with her over-sized paws and hairballish little body sitting at the foot of the stairs leading to the back porch with her head tilted and she wore a quizzical expression which seemed to unearth some human mystery from behind her little sparkling dog eyes. There was nothing distinguishable about the photograph. I forget the assignment. But I took the photo, developed and printed it, mounted it, and if nothing else, it was the embodiment of cuteness. I owned it and displayed it like a baby picture.

As I said, I was always walking Pepper. I took her to the golf course, parks, neighborhood streets. Like any dog, the minute I stepped out with her collar she would launch into a crazed frenzy as she would dart excitedly for the gate before I’d even had a chance to slip the collar over her neck.

It was these walks that killed her.

I don’t know where it happened.
Which park. Which lawn. Which patch of grass. Not that it would matter, because the damage was done. Somewhere, she undoubtedly stuck her nose into the wrong spot and ingested a swath of potent Parvovirus. 1981, 1982…it wasn’t widely popular yet. The vet told us about it during one visit but it wasn’t a required vaccination and we didn’t give it much thought.

One day Pepper suddenly fell ill. I came home from school to find my mom wearing a worried expression. She told me something was wrong with Pepper.
She had been vomiting and would not eat. She laid by the water bucket and lifted her head occasionally to drink. It’s the only thing she would open her mouth for. Her bouncy demeanor was sadly muted.
When I went outside I clearly remember the image. Pepper laid on the driveway pavement, her chest heaving weakly. She saw me and attempted excitement but she could not summon the energy to stand. Her tail may have flailed with a spark of flickering happiness. Memories of happy walks or grassy wrestling may have paraded through her fading consciousness.

My dog, so helplessly prostrate and sick. I was filled with sadness and fear.

We rushed her to the veterinarian and he immediately suspected Parvo. A vicious disease that (my understanding at the time) destroyed the intestinal walls. Turned them to mush. Nearly always fatal. He told us treatment would cost in the hundreds or thousands of dollars (I don’t remember, it was only money) and most likely not succeed in bringing Pepper back from the brink of death. The answer was no. We didn’t have that kind of money to throw at such a losing proposition. The vet offered to hospitalize Pepper where she would be observed and fed intravenously.

And if by chance she got better…

We left her there, alone and sick. Life was shakily normal at school the next day. I rushed home. My mom did not say a word when I walked into the house. She didn’t volunteer any news. Finally, with no choice, I had to ask. She told me they put Pepper to sleep earlier in the day.

The ruination. The damnation. The utter despair I felt. The disappointment.

For I could live with death, I could live with its faceless and icy judgment; the lies and the passive sneakiness, I could not. I was aware and resigned to the fact that Pepper would be euthanized. My only hope, my last ditch desire, was to be there to bid her farewell, to hold her while she died. It was only right. It would be painful but proper. I was prepared. But for the longest time I was resentful that my mom had denied me that wish. Which in all fairness, I had never made clear to her.

There are moments I long to be the fanciful young boy again, the young boy who was so willing to lose himself in the selfless worship of an idea.

Such youthful vigor and wonderment.
Does that die with age or is it ever reclaimable?
Must we kiss our soul goodbye before entering the ruthless world of cold responsibility?

Pepper’s scar is imprinted deeply in my soul.

I remember laying with a girlfriend once and recounting Pepper’s story many years later. The room was dimly lit, it was nighttime. Darkness blanketed outside. The silent buzz of the night hour filled the silence. I told her the story of Pepper. I wove it in a very a detailed manner, intricately describing the events and the culminating death saga. After I finished, my eyes were wet. I brought myself to tears with the memories. I was astounded. I had never fallen prey to that kind of spontaneous emotion before. I realized then that Pepper’s legacy lived somewhere deeply in my soul.

Laying there on the bed, feeling moisture coat my eyes, I watched the room defocus as the disjointed traces of Pepper’s memories marched across my mind’s stage leaving the vague sensation of uneasy sentimentality in their wake.

For a moment, humanity returned. But didn’t stay long.

Discomforting possibilities

Weight training is good for a simple life lesson. There will always be someone better than you. Someone is waiting in the wings to own your cocky ass.

On the day you are celebrating your 400 lb deadlift and flying high as a sore kite and feeling untouchable, you might happen to surf one of those damned weightlifting forums and read about blokes who deadlift 400 lbs for breakfast. Always… (These numbers are purely for illustrative purposes, I’m nowhere in that category!)

That’s a really fucked up life lesson and we begin learning it from day one, don’t we? Whether it’s school or family life or Little League or any miserable hobby you take up enthusiastically, there is always someone who can put you to shame. We live with it. We resign ourselves to the inarguable unknown.

We can accept being less than others as long as it’s not shamefully and humiliatingly toppled on us. Deadlifting 400 lbs and hooting in your own garage only to read about someone deadlifting 500 lbs does not have the same de-glorifying effect it would as if you did that same deadlift in the gym only to step away and watch as some King Kong doofus waltzes up to the mat immediately after you and proceeds to pull an effortless 500 lbs in front of a crowd of amazed onlookers.

The more distance and time that separate you from your achievement usurper, the less the sting.

Eventually, in a fit of ego-protective consolation, you begin to aim not for “best” but for “best you can do.” 400 pound deadlifts are not the stuff of world records or startling weight lifting notoriety, but if you can convince yourself you’ve done your “best” and displayed a sincere effort, then it’s all good. That allows you to cope with the jaundiced reality…your attainment really is not so distinctive. Trace this same thought template over all aspects of your life and it will be equally valid. Crocheting, Gears of War, blogging, your hairstyle…it’s all the same dynamic.

Humility in the hands of the able is a very powerful and mature trait.

But you see, I don’t wanna sit here and bloviate ad nauseum about “be the best you can be” bullshit.
Hell no…there are more than enough inspirational quacks out there making obscene bank off hordes of wild-eyed, down in the dumps cult-fodder types willing to part with their hard-earned money if it will give them a Reason. The inspirational speaker may be a priest or a rabbi or a minister or Charles Manson. Inspiration can happily be amoral.

No, my intention is to point out the “you can always do better” principle as it pertains to a situation almost all of us have experienced…relationships. Wed and unwed.

Love.

I’ve never been involved in such an argument, but I’ve heard, and heard of, arguments between lovers which degenerate into the “I can do better” jab. I think that is one of the lowest forms of human insult possible. Yet it is used as a verbal arrow all the time.

The reason I think it is such a ruthless insult is because it’s true.
It’s an insult which vomits a reality we conveniently turn away from.
Of course you can do better.
Everyone can do better.

Hypothetical:
I’m dating Jane Doe.
One day she does something that pisses the hell out of me. We begin arguing. It culminates when I yell “I can find some better than you!” followed by tears, perhaps some strained make up sex. The point is, of course I can find better. There will always be another woman who can probably provide a great sense of partnership, probably better than I have now.

The clincher: Jane could say the same of me. Of course she can find a more suitable partner if the timing was right. The distasteful pleasures of life.

It’s pure timing, finding that person who fits your life like a glove at that moment.
Ultimately dating or marrying is akin to announcing “I’m content that you are the best I found here and now. I’m happy that we met and I’m happy that fate afforded us this chance to share our lives. I’m glad our paths intersected just so, otherwise we never would have met, and instead found other people who were probably the best we could do.”

Resignation to life’s ulterior plans is vital to interpersonal happiness.
Committing your essence to the hands of another is the ultimate relinquishment of blind hope; it’s devotion to the principle of making the best of what you have. It involves consciously ignoring your own exploratory possibilities while enlarging the scope of your present situation. There is a certain grace and maturity to that way of thinking.

The runway model physique as an evolutionary dead-end

What do a fat girl and a moped have in common?
They are both fun to ride but you don’t want your friends to see you on one.

Fat is the new gray.

Oh well, that was a pathetic attempt at metaphor. analogy, whatever failed verbal symbolism I was trying to dredge up.
What I’m trying to say is that fat is not black. Nor is it white. But we all know this.
Fat is also an unequal curse.
By virtue of height, musculature, and socialization, male obesity isn’t quite as abhorrent as female obesity. Personally, I don’t see any difference, for obesity is a curse in either gender, but it’s amusing to listen to men prattle on about their “inability” to find fat women attractive. Yet…fat women appear to get laid all the time, and from what I’ve seen, have no problems finding boyfriends who appear willing to overlook their rotund bellyness.

I see a dichotomy in our culture between what men bark about when it comes to female obesity and what they actually practice.

Reverse. Back to my original point.

Fat, the new gray.
Because fat is gray.

Every man has his own personal threshold of how much body fat he can withstand before his penis shrivels up and dies. From the radically forgiving to the radically unforgiving, the typical man spans a vast range of fat acceptance. The key qualifier is peer pressure. One of the coldest things you can tell a man is that his girlfriend/wife is fat. That’s a ball-smashing, below the belt blow of which there is very little opportunity to respond (unless yours is equally fat).

However, despite the clamor of men who proclaim their distaste and refusal to bed whales, many guys appear to have few qualms about the practice. Undoubtedly practiced slyly and surreptitiously. It’s like driving a really beat up old car…fine if anonymous strangers see you. I think many men are privately ashamed of their own proclivities toward Tons of Love; it’s not like men prefer fat, it’s just that they won’t kick it out of bed. If men were honest and courageous about this facet of their attraction impulses, we would see less confusion and battered female psyches wandering the dating wasteland.

Why are men driven to hide their tolerance of female chubbiness? I believe skinny has become unrealistically glamorized. Female thinness is a modern standard against which all women are held and for this I blame Hollywood and the emergence of electronic mass media and film. As most can attest, one’s appearance on one-dimensional mediums makes us look a few pounds rounder. Phantom weight. In this sense, the skinniest, boniest actresses and models appear “normal” on film or in photograph. This restrictive and delusional mentality has seeped into common consciousness and the Hollywood fetish for thin has tainted men’s minds in the realm of female physical reality.

As a detour, let me say one thing.
Obesity is a problem, one that has become distressingly prevalent. For men and women alike.

Pick and choose your reasons, I don’t care…that’s not the point of this post. The dietary habits and sedentary levels of the younger generations has spawned a mass of overweight, flabby and huffing and puffing fast food eaters. Much of this modern obesity, as opposed to that of 20 or 30 years ago, has reached unnatural and diseased levels of harmfulness which it could be argued most men would be hard-pressed to overlook.

Anyways, back to the gray.
I prefer a little extra “meat” on women. Although I am repulsed by cellulite when it is allowed to accumulate and overhang like the White Cliffs of Dover, a little solid-looking chub that accentuates a womanly figure works just great. You know what else repels me? Really skinny chicks with no ass or tits whatsoever. I don’t understand how guys find that shit appealing. I suspect men who have a very strong predilection for ultra-thin, shapeless and boardlike women are really closeted homosexuals who happen to be trapped in the psychosexual state of their junior high years when their classmates were barely-pubescent hairless boys. There is absolutely no other reason a straight male, obeying his natural urges to procreate, would prefer a woman whose hips look no more ready to eject an infant than they would be to fill the hourglass template of a woman’s pair of snug jeans.

As a man who has displayed little aversion to the pleasures of curvy women, I have some observations to lend about about female types.

First, let’s deconstruct the typical chubby or slightly fat woman.

The Rule: she has reached this state purely due to her diet. Simple as that. Ignore that “slow metabolism” bullshit. That’s a crock. There is no reason someone should reach 15, 20 years of age, and not have the slightest awareness of their diet and state of their body. By 20, it’s no secret. You know what is going in and you know what is going out, and you know what is being left behind to fill those jeans. We all have the ability to adjust. A slow metabolism should, if heeded, also message you that your appetite is less voracious than someone whose metabolism is “fast.” Women with bonus waist measurements can thank the caloric surplus they ingest on a nearly daily basis.

Caloric surplus also insinuates another fact.
These women are eating calorie-dense foods (processed, sweetened) which are usually overly and unnaturally sweetened, or pumped with fat and salt at levels unknown to occur naturally in these same ratios. This crap food? We know it as junk food. Food of the mind, not the body. Paired with amazingly sloth-like levels of inactivity, it’s inevitable that waistlines will compound into button-busting girth. I guarantee you that women are not eating to caloric surplus by grazing on fruits or vegetables. They are gorging on junk food which is a mesermizing treat of repetitious and mindless chewing and swallowing. Comfort. And the quantities, due to the denseness, are deceivingly small.

Sensual fulfillment.

The sensual aspect of eating is very important and cannot be overly emphasized. The act of chewing and tasting food feeds a very immediate sensual desire. This is what women are fond of calling “emotional eating.” Essentially, this type of eating sates the taste buds and the palate. It serves no other survival-driven function. Many people, but especially women, are addicted to the sensual feedback which sweet and salty fat-laden foods provide.
If it wasn’t so contrary to natural instinct (and expensive and messy), I would suggest women chew the food, enjoy the titillating and rich flavors, then spit it out.
Obviously bulemics have perfected and refined this approach and I’m being facetious, but the point I’m emphasizing is that this manner of sensual feeding does not need go any further than the esophagus. The tongue is part of the digestive system. The tongue and all its sensual taste buds. It’s marginal eating, really. Sensual eating provides for the upper digestive system what psyllium husk fiber powder does for the lower digestive system. A tool designed to meet the needs of a specific area of the digestive assembly line but not inherently nutritionally beneficial to the rest of your body.

Sensual eating. That’s what it should be called in order to correct the faulty perception of overeating.

Women are generally fond, overly fond, of the sensual.
That which feeds the superficial bodily cravings, which energizes the senses and brings about many displaced, “micro-orgasms” throughout the body.

Women love fragrances (smell), sheer, delicate materials (touch), visually striking and harmonious arrangements (sight)…but the sense of Taste is the one that gets them in trouble.

The umbrella sense that brings all these together, the one that is not officially a sense, is that of pleasure. A woman’s enjoyment and susceptibility to the hypnotic pleasure of taste stands in direct proportion to her enjoyment of the one pleasure I haven’t mentioned. Sex.

Sex is the big white, unsaid elephant, isn’t it?

Women are allowed to express their sensual appetites in the culturally accepted arena of feeding. Feeding is a social and bonding event (just visit any restaurant row near a corporate park during a weekday lunch hour). This pleasurable manifestation of the feeding experience is expressed in a socially acceptable manner involving bonding through the sharing of food and verbal exchanges over the presence of food. The women with the largest restaurant appetites also possess the largest sexual appetites.

Conversely, this also explains the common perception of the archetypal cold, repressed skinny woman whose inhibited appetite begins at the dinner table and spans into the bedroom where she is perceived as frigid, unemotional and aloof.

Here is my untrained, rudimentary evo psych interpretation.

I believe one of the key ingredients of reproductive viability is the sexual urge itself. A desire that is not equally dispersed, obviously. Those women most willing and instinctively prone to breed also enjoy it the most. Concomitantly, the sexual drive is evolutionarily intermingled with the feeding instinct. Thus, enjoyment of food and its tastes results in a type of female physiological “peacocking” expressed as higher percentage of body fat. I suspect that even in primitive era, an abundance of sexual and dietary appetite would leave a trace on a woman’s figure relative to other females of the time. Thus signalling to the males that this individual was willing and fertile. Prior to civilization, female willingness wasn’t quite the invitation it is in our time, however I doubt that males, 6,000 years ago, were dissuaded from breeding so effortlessly as now. However, as mannerly civilization “progressed,” we find ourselves relying on signals more than ever. One female signal which still remains, that of her willingness and drive to breed, is expressed in relative levels of body fat.

This vestigial recognition remains with us and is more useful than ever since males are not free to breed with such wild and random abandon as they once did. Modern society’s mores have created a reproductive dynamic centered around the desires of the female. A man’s innate recognition of the woman’s signals of her willingness to breed will drive him to seek the woman whose body exclaims her sensual appetites.

That is, if he frees himself from the shackles of modern socialization which lull him into the “skinny matrix.”

How An Unmarried Man has stolen my soul

Well if Roissy can do it, why can’t I?

In fact, being that I have about 0.002% of his readership, I should have absolutely no qualms about it.
In fact, in fact, IN FACT.
This is the reason I should.
Personally I preferred “Roissy in DC” to “Citizen Renegade.”

Only a blogger knows our own reasons for doing what we do.
Only a blogger knows why we keep changing our header area and color scheme repeatedly as if searching for that golden blog grail.

Everything is in a name. The name…it sets the tone, the feel.
The readers, all 3 of them, intellectually integrate your blog name into their perception of your blog, and reach a point where the name and the writing becomes synonymous, genetically melded, thus dictating the general tone. Roissy in DC was an ultra cool name. Citizen Renegade…ah, sounds like the name a Tea Bagger might use for his lonely blog to expound upon the evils of government and feminism.

The reason I say all this is because I was contemplating a post. Actually, I’ve contemplated it for a couple of days, and in the course of hashing it out in my waking mind, a phrase keeps surfacing, a catchy set of words.

An Unmarried Man.
Which was originally set as the name of the post. But as I repeated the words in my mind, mantra-like, the working title and all they signify, the soul of the nature they impart, the way they ascribe a value set my life is centered around currently, it occurred to me that if I had to do this blog shtick all over again, I would have used that as the name for this blog.

An Unmarried Man.

How lushly simple and beautiful that sounds. Earnestly probing.
Such retiring but descriptive words. They must be unearthed. I must excavate the hell out of them.

An Unmarried Man.

I got to thinking…I can still do it. Roissy did it. Lots of bloggers do it.
Do I or don’t I?
I’ve built a franchise around “Phoenixism” for almost 9 1/2 months now. Whether it’s something to boast of is extremely questionable.

I’m being very indecisive, which is one of the most annoying traits I can think of, especially in a man.

So what is the emotional grip, the sway this (as now) hypothetical name has over me?
And why the post?
Am I trying to convince myself, one way or the other?
Is my public indecisiveness really just an overwrought and self-centered internal deliberation opened up for the blogosphere to witness? So that by the end of this post I may actually force myself to make a decision?

An Unmarried Man is the perfect fit, really. Like a glove.
Phoenixism, I thought it was a clever name at the beginning. Then.

You know, speaking as a man who was once married and “stepped out” the boundaries of that glorious institution, I can assure you that this hemming and hawing and second-guessing of one’s own previous choices is precisely the sort of emotional turmoil and thought process that goes through the minds of most adulterers, those heinous villains we delight in hating.

I’m essentially cheating on Phoenixism.
It’s emotional cheating right now because I haven’t acted on it but there is heavy flirtation going on. Innuendo.
An Unmarried Man is sweeping me off my married feet while Phoenixism is tidying up the house and preparing tonight’s supper.

Is there guilt?
Maybe.

Let me tell you why An Unmarried Man and I were meant to spend our lives together.

AN UNMARRIED MAN

Look beyond the limited cultural meaning of this description.
Look beyond archaic historical definitions.
Look beyond religion, beyond family units, beyond doomed self-destructive human arrangements which purport to pair off mating couples in eternally blissful matrimony.
Look beyond that.
Look beyond that because that is not what An Unmarried Man is about. I’ve never set out to ridicule marriage. Marriage, the arrangement that transcends description in our tangible world. Man, woman, joined by social and religious convention, indebted to each other spiritually for eternity. The marriage we reflexively think of.

No. Not the marriage I think of.

Wiktionary

The first 4 definitions refer to the traditional ideal of marriage and are based on the etymology of the word which revolves around the concept of union between man and woman.

Beyond that. I only care about definitions 5 & 6. Neutral definitions referring to the key concepts of “close” and “joining” of “2 parts.” This is the “marriage” I’m speaking of, the marriage of man and other. Marriages which are not necessarily codified by formal rites or historical cabals into Godly union.
No, no, no.

An Unmarried Man is about marriages of the informal but utilitarian variety. Marriages man takes upon himself and which are steered and accelerated by factors intrinsic to his grandiose human spirit. Marriages dictated by desires for wealth and superficial pleasure and ego and fear and conformity and immortality. Union of man and those objects and cultural motifs he’s built which promise only casual attachment but are easily and abruptly divorced without fanfare if the need or urge ever arises. Marriages that spawn new inventions and the construction of vast cultural and societal monuments that feed his ability to foment and give birth to all the marriages his voracious heart desires. For these marriages, the marriages of the the mind, breed more marriages. To sustain marriages, man must enlarge and increasingly encumber his world with new tools of of material reproduction. And deeper he buries himself in his external world of gadgets and shortcuts and conveniences. Marriages severed as easily as switching a blog name.

An Unmarried Man. Is an unburied man.

Seeking to live a life with as few unions as possible.

How many lazy and superficially satisfying amenities is a man willing to part with? How intensely is he willing to part with the ornamental glitter that materialistic culture coyly offers his avararice-ridden soul?

That is now the spirit of this blog. That is where I find myself these days. Phoenixism, the concept of renewal and self-discovery, was a step.
The evolution of unmarriage, of leaving the path, departing, extricating oneself from the world’s timid delights. How far do we veer out? How far do we take it?

How far can I take it?
The decision is made. Was made much earlier in this post, actually.
Minutes after I publish, Phoenixism will give way to An Unmarried Man.

I suspect that in time, a new name, a name which symbolizes my pressing expressive urge of the time, will supersede this name as well.

As they say, once a cheater, always a cheater.