The Endless Cycle of the Domino Effect

These Are The Words I Never Said 

blue-domino-effectOne of my earlier entries was entitled “The Domino Effect of Small Things,” and apparently this entry struck home with many people because it has been one of my more popular entries; however, I tend to think that’s because I mentioned “event horizon” in the entry, which in and of itself is an interesting topic for an entry. But I have already begun to digress from today’s topic: The Endless Cycle of the Domino Effect.

I was trying to classify the effect as eternal, but then I found myself delving into the whole realm of eternal time as ontological versus the entire nature of time as a space-time continuum and the entire aspect of physics and linear versus cyclical versus simultaneous, and it was beginning to make me dizzy, so I just decided to classify domino effects as being endless cycles and hope that you would allow me this little liberty and go with it.

What actually took me back to the whole idea of Domino Effects were two very disparate things, well more actually, but I’ll begin with the two main things: the thirtieth anniversary of Jonestown, and Annie Lennox’s song “Why.” I’ll try to break it down for you.

Why Don’t You Ever Learn To Keep Your Big Mouth Shut

I had honestly forgotten what it was like to grow up in a daily newsroom when real, earth-shattering news happened. I mean, I learned so much about what it is to write at The Ledger-Star. I learned how to hone, how to write on a deadline, how to discard, how to listen, how to edit. But I was also there for the beginning of a few great careers and for a few truly momentous new stories. Jonestown in Guyana was one of them.

When the number of bodies first started to come over the wire (and it was still wire then), we were all horrified. No one left the newsroom. The numbers kept getting higher. The details came in. There were sick jokes about Kool-ade at first. Then we heard about the children, the infants, the gunshots to the heads. There were no more jokes. It was one of the first times in my life when I was there as new was truly breaking; I was still a teenager, but I did my job like everyone else, with the gravity and respect that the news deserved. And then I cried all of the way home.

The other night I watched the special on MSNBC. I heard the words of the survivors, and then I heard something I had never heard before: Jim Jones’ laugh. I swear if you have never heard his laugh, don’t. It isn’t human. It is like a hyena, almost. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and this was a recording from thirty years ago.

What does this have to do with the Domino Effect? People like Jim Jones are still collecting people and still effecting people. Still amassing people and still getting them to do their will, all over the world. We have cults, and we have people all over the world who are convincing people to give their lives for insane causes. They fall like dominoes, as if they are nothing more than playing pieces in some madman’s game.

Why Can’t You See This Boat Is Sinking?

“I may be mad
I may be blind
I may be viciously unkind
But I can still read what you’re thinking
And I’ve heard it said too many times
That you’d be better off
Why can’t you see this boat is sinking . . .”

Someone once told me that Annie Lennox’s song “Why” was written for me. Now some of you out there might think that I would have been insulted by this, but actually, I knew that they were right. I chose this particular passage of the song because this is the passage that was playing when he told me that the song was a perfect description of me, and I actually had to agree with him.

I have been accused of being vicious once or twice, but I have mellowed considerably in recent years. I used to abide by the rule that “revenge was a dish best served cold,” and for those of you who think that Khan made up that line in the second Star Trek movie, sorry, it’s from Moby Dick. And I’ve never denied that I’m madder than I god damned hatter, but that’s what gives me my je ne sais quois. Comprends tu?

So when I am feeling terribly down, put upon and just plain as if “Some things [would have been] better left unsaid/But they still turn[ed] me inside out, I wail out “Why,” either at home or at karaoke, although not at karaoke so much any more since our favorite place has changed so much and doesn’t feel like home any more.

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid, But They Still Turn Me Inside Out

So in the past two weeks, I have experienced an unparalleled nirvana on November 4th when Barack Obama took Virginia and won the election to the highest office in the land. And then I hit reality smack in the face when I found out the tickets to the inauguration speech were unobtainable and not a single hotel anywhere within 50 miles had an available room. Every single newspaper was sold out by 10 a.m. I knew that the week wasn’t going to get any better.

“This is the path I’ll never tread
These are the dreams I’ll dream instead . . .”

circular-domino-effectI spent the twentieth anniversary of my daughter’s death in a hospital because I had to take my mother for an outpatient surgery, which only reinforces the cyclical patterns of life. Then I came home and had a major crash only to have a disastrous encounter with my eldest son who seems to have lost any kind of ability to feel anything for anyone besides himself, and I’m not sure if I can continue to chalk it all up to the fact that he is 17 or if he has become so self-absorbed and egocentric that I truly don’t know him any more. Said son informed me on this day that I am one of the most selfish people that he knows for divorcing his father. Thank you for that information. I’ll file it away with the hairshirt that I’ve been wearing for the past nine years. Thank you very much. There is not nearly enough guilt in my life, and feeling like a failure as a parent hasn’t entered my head in oh, nearly at least a day.

“How many times do I have to try to tell you
That I’m sorry for the things I’ve done . . .”

My health insurance will be completely restored once I manage to go out in the backyard and grow $1200 and pay it all by the end of January, only to start the whole cycle all over again, not to take into account the increase in premiums that will begin in the new year, which I have not been informed of, but have read about on the website. I have not been informed of this increase because I cannot get anyone from the oxymoronic entitled Human Resources department to return my calls.

They are playing Christmas music in the stores and Christmas commercials on television. I haven’t made it through Thanksgiving yet, which is a tremendously hard holiday for me because it is the anniversary of my father’s death. I have to go out in the backyard and dig up the buried treasure for holiday money because that’s the only way there’s going to be any ho ho ho in this house house house. I told Corey that I’d be happy with some new Christmas socks, and I meant it. That’s another thing that I’m addicted to like black boots: socks with penguins and snowmen on them. I’ll wear them all winter. Matters not to me. A box with a few new pairs of Christmas/holiday socks, and I’m good.

Can we skip Thanksgiving this year?

“This is the joy that’s seldom spread
These are the tears…
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread . . .”

These Are the Contents of My Head

I looked in several places for a picture of glass panes that had been lined up like dominocolored-glass-paneses because that’s really the kind of domino effect that I’m feeling: one little push, and everything doesn’t just fall over, it falls over and explodes, shatters. I thought that colored glass panes would be more effective. A different color to represent each heartache, each trouble, each worry, each thing that consumes me, that tears at my soul, that keeps me up at night, that causes Corey to spend more and more time of each and every day fretting—a color for each of those things—and then, possibly, as they fell and shattered, the curse that each bore would be broken and carried away with the wind.

But that only happens in the movies, or in songs.

“And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel
’cause i don’t think you know how I feel
I don’t think you know what I feel
I don’t think you know what I fear
You don’t know what I fear.”

There will be more later. There always is. Peace.

The Domino Effect of Small Things

Sometimes, it seems that no matter how hard we try, we can never get that one particular thing that we most need when we need it, whether it happens to be money for bills, peace of mind, no more instrusive telephone calls, a child to understand the need for limits, or just the need for a good night’s sleep. It’s as if the fates conspire to keep that one necessary thing just beyond our reach so that we finally just give up from exhaustion.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when this happens to me, it usually isn’t just with one thing. It’s almost always a domino effect: first it begins with that one bill that didn’t get paid, which leads to an overdraft in the checking account, which leads to something necessary breaking in the house, you know, something small like the fridge or the washer, or something like one of the cars becoming undriveable, which leads to one of the kids suddenly remembering that he needs $100 for something for school–by tomorrow, which leads to a remembered doctor’s appointment, which leads to . . .

I really don’t know why I thought that my life might become a little less complicated once I went out on disability. Delusions, obviously. Speaking of which, did you know that on the Windows media player, you can choose these wonderful visual effects like cottonstar and seaspray and put on your playlist and just close the bedroom door and watch your computer screen for hours? But that would be irresponsible and much too reminiscent of things we did when we had some really good Columbian, which I would know nothing about . . .

But I digress . . . (and I never inhaled, either) . . . so I was talking about the way life turns to pure and utter crap at times and there isn’t a freaking thing that you can do about it. So I watch a lot of Law & Order, all three versions, and there are always these deadbeat parents, meth heads, crack heads, and I sit there on my bed, with my pile of pillows behind my back, and my dogs, at least the Jack Russells, if not the Lab, too, firmly ensconced around my legs, and I make my moral judgment calls about these horrible parents who weren’t looking out for their children or friends or spouses because they were lost in their own little meth/crack/alcohol oblivions, and as a consequence, someone died. And the very real truth is that I couldn’t be a meth/crack head or an alcoholic because 1) I don’t like needles or dirty alleys and those seem to be prerequisites for that kind of lifestyles according to Law & Order, and 2) I’m pretty sure that it costs money to be a meth addict or crack head, and that’s what I don’t have or I wouldn’t be bitching right now, and 3) if I drink cheap alcohol, which is what I think you have to drink if you don’t have money and you want to be an alcoholic like the ones who hang out in the dirty apartments and alleys like the ones on Law & Order, then I get horrible headaches, so that’s out. If I drink the expensive alcohol that I like, I’d have to drink a lot to be an alcoholic, and that costs money, and I DON”T HAVE THAT, so again, let’s stay on point, shall we?

What was the point? Oh yeah, it might look very irresponsible and therefore freeing to be one of those people in the background on Law & Order who are never the real criminals, just the background bum scenery, but it still costs money, and it is a tad bit irresponsible, and let’s face it, I’d have a really hard time being that irresponsible because even though my house is in disarray, it doesn’t look like a crack house (at least I don’t believe that it does), and there are no alleys nearby, and Lenny Briscoe (gawd I miss him) won’t be knocking at my door anytime soon, so even though it might seem appealing to run away from it all, if you don’t have money, you’d just end up like some bum on Law & Order. And if you had the money to run away from it all in style, you would have paid that bill, and none of this would have started in the first place.

Rvent Horizon
Event Horizon


I’m now going to go lie down with my three dogs and read a book and drink some Pepsi. I’m out of twizzlers which really sucks. If anyone wants to send me a care package, I need Twizzlers, and I’m getting low on Pepsi. I may go into withdrawal soon. You’ll find me in bed with the dogs, curled into a fetal position, drinking coffee, surrounded by books and running through the cable channels trying to find an episode of House or Law & Order that I haven’t seen 13 times in the last two weeks, whimpering, probably cursing in some foreign language. My computer screen may or may not be flashing Event Horizon (now that movie scared the bejeezus out of me), depending upon how long I have been without Pepsi. Take pity upon the poor poet.