I Have Been Digitally Assassinated

Something devastating happened to me the other day. As with most devastating things, it happened with little warning, and swiftly took something very valuable from me in the blink of an eye.

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I’m still reeling from the shock of it, and it’s shaken what sense of security I felt over my capacity as an artist, academic, and writer — for the faith I had that the work I produce may or may not be well-received, and may or may not reach a large audience, but will always be protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

I express my disdain over the scenario not just on a personal level, but also in terms of a Constitutional grievance, because my singular story here is the story of many around the world; but no matter what, it’s not supposed to be the story of anyone in America.

Sadly, that has changed. I don’t consider myself to be exaggerating when I say that in the year 2018 — over two and a quarter centuries since the passage of the American Bill of Rights — the right of the people to have an uncensored voice has been denigrated to the point of irrelevance. Surprisingly, the censorship of which I speak — that which is of the greatest threat to the freedom of speech in this moment — is not coming down from our Federal or State governments.

This threat is coming from corporate entities who have become complicit in granting protection to the offended or inconvenienced, at the expense of the offender and inconveniencer, and also at the expense every single other person who saw the same thing and had no such negative reception to the content in question, and the countless others who never had the chance to have a reaction to that content because it was hidden or destroyed before they came across it.

Terms and Conditions. That’s the problem.

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The iron fist of censorship does not act in plain sight. That iron fist of censorship hides behind the provisions in implied agreements everyone has no choice but to agree to. The social infrastructure of the modern era exists now only in part through traditional print publications like newspapers, magazines, and network radio and television.

The modern and clearly still emergent digital infrastructure that has arisen through innovations in the private sector, solidifying as essential hosting platforms for online content — from videos on YouTube, to posts on twitter and facebook, to newer delineations of content on emerging platforms such as that which I will now recount — are the new methods of human communication being censored.

To say “you agreed to the terms” is the universal defense for any site with which a creator of content finds themself silenced, but when one has no choice but to accept blanket terms and conditions (which few if any even have the technical expertise and patience to review in full to begin with) there is no true choice. The only choice to be made is do I want to be heard and seen or not? Because let’s face it, these bodies of communication and exchange of thought and idea have become the modern town square.

The platforms are remarkably transformative town squares that add an incredible dynamic to the process of human communication, and platforms which have become essential for millions of people to reach, maintain, and grow audiences. Symbiotic relationships form between users and platform facilitators have come to sustain both parties, and through the integration of targeted advertisements, for some being able to supplement their incomes and even fully provide for themselves through the creation of unique content consumed by people all around the world, new economic ecosystems emerge.

These processes will presumably continue to develop to the point many commentators, artists, thinkers, speakers and creators of every sort can find a niche and put their talents and passions to work in a win-win-win sort of way.

Unfortunately, the rampant rise of these corporations running the infrastructure’s tendency to censor content broadly deemed “inappropriate” or “offensive” or “spam”, by other users, has reached troubling degrees. Furthermore, there seem to be no signs these trends will self-correct. To use the quintessential modern example, just the other month, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones found himself ousted from YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all at once.

This is unprecedented in that not only was some of his “most controversial” content taken down, his entire body of work — several years and millions upon millions of views worth — was destroyed overnight, in a manner clearly analogous to a book burning.


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While Alex Jones may be dismissed as a lunatic who believes or makes up all kinds of crazy things, he actually has a history of getting some things right — to include proving the existence of the formerly dismissed clandestine, cult like gatherings at Bohemian Grove, which included a mock human sacrifice attended by world leaders; and the existence of “The Bilderberg Group”, an annual conference where billionaires and politicians gather for an elitist gathering of the minds.

I cite these examples just to point out that even if the man is wrong 99% of the time, he’s actually demonstrated the capacity to prove some things that could have easily been considered worth of online censorship.

I don’t even need to defend Alex Jones, or any of his ideas though, to defend his right to express his opinions and have his voice heard. The fact that he could build up such an enormous following, and be listened to by so many people all over the world, then literally overnight see everything he’d built on those platforms erased is of tremendous significance; it indicates to me that it does not matter how many people agree with or consent to hearing you anymore, ultimately it is the choice of a handful of executives whether that person is allowed to be heard anymore.

All they need do to justify a decision to censor is cite a vague provision in their terms of use, presumably substantiated by what complaints they have received through user feedback, and presto: you’re done for.

This is what happened to me the other day on the site/app Quora.

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Ironically, I had become one of Quora’s dream users. For those unfamiliar, Quora is essentially a way better version of Yahoo! Answers, combined with upvote/downvote features that sort content’s viability through democratic process, and on which comment threads and direct messages are integrated capabilities.

Unique to Quora is the platform is the access it gives any random person direct and unmitigated access to experts in name the field, who can answer questions they are asked at their own discretion, or any questions they want to answer as they browse and receive suggestions based on smart algorithms that pair interests and expertise with the users most likely to take interest in the content provided.

Despite not being paid to answer anyone’s questions, over the past year or so, I spent untold amounts of time on the site, answering over 300 questions, asking several hundred, and having my content viewed over 400,000 times. And I was excited about it! For the first time ever, it seemed, my work was finding an audience.

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I had hundreds of followers, who opted in to receiving notifications when I answer questions, thousands of upvotes, I had been published in the “Quora Digest”, and thanks to the site I was able to help tens of thousands of people on a weekly basis, as my answers continued to be shared and circulate through cyberspace.

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I specialized in answering questions about bipolar disorder (which I have), mental illness, and American history. My work had been featured in email publications they put out, and among my greatest hits was my iteration of a Socrates anecdote about decision-making and a related commentary, and advice on how to handle the ups and downs of being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.

As of the other day, if you go to my Quora page, it indicates I have written one answer, to one question, that is one sentence long. Before it said 0. But as if to add insult to injury, it’s someone’s question about how they can unblock porn websites.

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I have no idea why they put that up there.

What I do know, is because of a series of policy infractions I inadvertently made, within the course of a few hours, related to my linking to similar answers I’d given to related questions, including links to my book and podcast, I was banned. I appealed their decision with fully rational and heartfelt responses, promising them I would take every step possible to avoid any of my content being deemed “spam” again, and urging them not to remove everything I’d written that was helping people — particularly everything I’d written on the subject of mental health.

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Nevertheless, all I got in response to that appeal was a stock response informing me I violated one or more of their policies and was permanently banned from the site. Not only did they make it look like I’d never written anything, I’m blocked from even logging in and asking questions anymore. It’s insane.

Despite my having spent inordinate amounts of time contributing to their body of work, promoting their site through tweets and facebook posts and even in person interactions all the time, and even being made a member of their new “partner program”, through which I was about to start getting paid for ad clicks on questions I asked, I was treated like someone conquered by ISIS, and everything I created was destroyed.

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I still find it hard to process how anyone could be so cruel and ruthless toward a user who was so passionate about helping build the site and app into the next Wikipedia.

The most messed up part is I have no idea whether any substantial amount of users really were upset by anything I’d written. For all I know, all the “spam” complaints may have come from one or two people, or in some coordinated effort to take me down. It could have been a hit job from some powerful corporate or governmental or religious entity I was making look bad through content critical of their practices. It could have literally been anyone, for any reason.

Maybe even this guy…

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Was it someone with a personal vendetta against me? Was it people in the Republican party? Was it some government agency I’d been critical of? Was it anti-gun activists?Was it simply someone who worked for Quora and thought my ideas were dangerous?

The simple truth is, I don’t know. And unless I were to successfully sue them and they were forced to reveal related details to my case, I never will know.


I get no day in court. I don’t get to face my accuser(s). My reasonable requests to resolve the matters in a fair way then go on with my work were ignored. I am a nobody.

I have been digitally assassinated, and now I don’t exist.

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Thanks to what may have literally just been one or two people, my name — and anything I’ve done through Quora — has been wiped from the expanse and history of cyberspace. I can’t even log in to inform my followers of what happened and give them some other means of reading my work on another platform.

I’m not even being offered a way to privately access books worth of my own content.

This is, in my opinion, and I’m sure the opinion of every rational person reading this, wrong. It would be wrong to do to anyone. And the fact that it’s happening to me is proof that it’s happening to others. Quietly. Heartlessly. Overnight.

Just like with Alex Jones, even though I’m not Alex Jones.

This spread of an anonymous micro-minority’s capacity to destroy the work of people who have done nothing in violation of any actual laws, is out of control. Do I really have a voice when Twitter can shadow ban users with whom the company’s employees or investors are politically opposed?

Do I really have the freedom of speech if the capacity that speech has to be heard can be made impossible with the stroke of a key, or worse yet, at the decision of an inhuman algorithm? How am I supposed to make my voice heard, as it relates to the most important matters of our times, when what I say only remains so long as people don’t complain?

What is ultimately needed, I believe, is a modernization of the Bill of Rights, to clearly apply to the new digital age. We should have our privacy online. We shouldn’t be silenced if someone doesn’t like what we said. We should have an external means of litigating grievances between users and moderators, with powers that extend beyond the scope of the internal decisions made by corporate employees with whom no human contact is even made possible.


I am extremely frustrated right now. I’m about as pissed off as I’ve ever been.

I feel I am one of what I expect already are, and surely will be, many casualties to the mob and the algorithms and the button pushers. My freedom of speech has been completely discarded; I am suffering right now; and the world has been deprived of everything I spent so long contributing for the benefit of others.

I never set out to piss anyone off.

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I didn’t maliciously argue with strangers in the comments or call anyone names. I never tried to promote myself beyond the extent of a link to related content I’d produced off-site, or what amounts to a writer’s one sentence bio, as you’d see in any print editorial. I never intentionally broke a single rule, and I offered in good faith to calibrate my behavior to better conform to expectations only clarified to me after it was too late for me to do anything about it.

I was of value. Not only to Quora. But to a lot of people.

  Over twice this many people had viewed my work on Quora… and I was just getting started.

Over twice this many people had viewed my work on Quora… and I was just getting started.

I was saving relationships. I was preventing people from killing themselves. I was teaching people things I had learned through life experiences and vigorous studies in both formal and informal settings. I was entertaining people. I was giving them hope. I was inspiring others.

I wasn’t being paid, but I had purpose. I had a place I could plug in and be of significance and value to people all around the world. That’s all I’ve ever really wanted as a writer and creator.

I was making contacts and forming friendships and finding creative collaborations through the site, now I’ve been banished and can contact no one. I was building a body of work I could point to when someone’s considering hiring me; I had proof I could write and people would read… now I don’t.

Now I’ve been reduced to a guy who wrote a one-sentence answer to a question about how someone can watch porn. That’s who I am to the world now. A nobody. And according to Quora’s cold standard copy and paste messages, there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it.


Out of out of the hundreds of thousands of people who read my content over many months, a tiny tiny tiny minority of them (a single person, for all I know) took issue with me. That’s all it took. Because of an anonymous decision I’m no good, I’m dead.

Is this fair? Is this just? Is this America?

No. No. No.

Perhaps there’s a legal case to be made here. I’d ask someone on Quora, but yeah…

The reality is, we’ve been losing our rights since I can remember. Gradually. Slowly. And sometimes, all at once. Right now is a seminal time. We’re either going to stop speaking our mind, because we know it’ll get us digitally assassinated, or we’re going to fight back.

I hope I maintain the heart to fight back, because as far as I’m concerned, once the 1st Amendment goes, so too will the 2nd… then, we’re in a country where we can’t speak our minds or defend ourselves.

At that point, America itself will have been assassinated too.

 If you agree with what I’m saying, I encourage you to share this post through whatever platform you have, to tweet it to @Quora, and I invite you to listen to  new episodes of  Crazy Talk!   and/or  check out my book on Amazon . Thank you.

If you agree with what I’m saying, I encourage you to share this post through whatever platform you have, to tweet it to @Quora, and I invite you to listen to new episodes of Crazy Talk! and/or check out my book on Amazon. Thank you.

Dear The Media - An Open Letter

For the past few years, you’ve been given a bad rap. With the introduction of fake news into the public lexicon, and the vast distrust regarding the intentions behind every story from every publication still in circulation permeating, I imagine calling oneself a journalist has gone from being a term of pride to one granted at best lukewarm reception.

Whereas once the American Public uniformly revered its great broadcasters, writers, and hosts as beacons of truth in an otherwise dark and confusing world, now you’re regarded as hacks. It’s sad. It really is. I know, because once upon a time I strongly considered going to school for journalism — at the University of Missouri; I didn’t, because I knew even then the field itself was at risk of going extinct, so I chose to study screenwriting instead, to mixed results. 

But my heart still goes out to those who set out with pure intentions to serve the public as the media in theory does, and if not in practice, should do. Since finding myself suddenly in the throes of political power struggles, because life’s random like that, I feel a cold sort of sadness as it relates to the journalistic climate today, especially as it relates to American politics. 

When President Trump took the nation by storm with his for some reason elegant style of bullying, and his insistence at punching harder and stronger than anyone who dare hit him, a good thing happened: people got skeptical. People got a little harder to fool, and came to agree that they’d been sold a bill of goods, en masse, by a community of people who had been co-opted by the worst capitalism has to offer, turning publications intended for the acquisition and dissemination of truth into profit-centric multinational entertainment empires loosely based in fact. 

But a bad thing happened when fake news became known as such… all news lost its credibility. It’s reached a point, and I’m sure everyone can agree — regardless of their chosen source of information — that it’s beyond difficult to know what to trust these days. Whereas before there were bad apples, it’s now reached a point where we have to wonder if what we just read was written by a savvy young whippersnapper out to get to the bottom of things or a Putin operative sent to destroy American democracy. Most, I assume, fall somewhere in between. 

But that’s even worse! Because that middle ground is disgusting. Now we can’t trust anyone. 

I won’t mention my father’s name, or say a word to campaign for him in this piece, because above all I’m hoping that if anyone in the purists do read this, they do so with open eyes… but my dad is running for high level public office. As we speak, people in Washington DC are doubling down on whatever backdoor deals they made to ensure my dad, and no one else like him, gets elected. 

It’s that simple. We’ve reached a point in American politics where the kingmakers don’t even have to be subtle about it anymore, and the plutocrats with a seat at the table need only say what they wish to be an outcome and their money can buy a path to its coming to pass. The worst part is, no one seems to care. Everyone is so checked out, few even have a visceral reaction to clear proof what are supposed to be sacred rights are being violated. 

It’s like watching a lot of people watch a few people rape a lot of people, if that makes sense.

They passively watch, as if it’s all reality TV, while the media is nowhere to be found… I don’t think it’s because there is no real journalism left in this country. I believe there are real journalists. They’ve just been run out the game by editorial environments that push them toward writing dumber, shorter, and more ad-friendly, to the point they can’t even take pride in their work. 

I remember when being published in Esquire was one of my ultimate life goals. Now I can hardly find an article in the sea of ads worth my time, and those articles I do find tend to have a lot of pictures, with a lot of product placement. That’s supposed to be part of it, I know… the whole relishing in the coolest stuff out there as it relates to the quintessential man, but to be published in Esquire today means a lot less than it once did. That can change, and I hope it does, but that’s my view as an increasingly unenthused subscriber.

How many other publications out there have not only sacrificed the quality and quantity of their content in favor of financial survival and profitability, but gone out of circulation completely? Too many is the answer. 

I’m writing this as a writer hoping there’s other writers out there; and also as a patriot, who is enough of one not to laugh at the word because to me it still means something; I’m writing you as a guy who just wants what’s best for the country, and is pissed off, for lack of a more elegant term, to see what’s supposed to be replaced by what is, and what’s in line to be. It’s just not right. 

It’s bad. 

It’s really bad that elections can be decided by the people already elected, and that there seem to be no immediately apparent checks to that process. It’s really bad that the only bad news that gets reported on is the kind that’s already passed, and that we can do nothing about. The kind of bad in progress, and that can be stopped in its tracked if an informed public were given the information necessary to act in their own and shared best interests seems to go unheeded in its path to fruition. 

The bad guys are winning, in other words. If anyone is truly calling them out on it, they’re not around for long, or no one’s paying attention, because it’s so obvious to anyone in politics. It’s my hope that someone reading this, and perhaps its you, or someone you know you’ll send this to, is a real journalist that still understands the role the media is meant to play in American politics. 

I’ve heard it said that the media is the fourth branch of American Government, there to keep all others in check… like an overzealous police officer who can’t give the case up and forgot what off the clock means, they’re meant to be there keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening, so that an informed voter base can exercise their right to vote to affect the flow of events that shape our nation’s very history. 

I am calling upon any of these journalists to which I refer, who I know must still exist, or at least want to exist, to consider talking to me about events underway that not only affect the local citizenry in my state, but are indicative of the tectonic power forces that are really of a most simplistic and alterable nature once the clouds of confusion and doubt subside and truth is seen.

It is only then people can be motivated to act, even when the survival of their own country is on the line, it’s near impossible to galvanize people in a meaningful way when there is no objective source outside of your immediate realm of influence the public can trust. I don’t want a journalist to let me feed them a story to copy and paste and tell the world about. I, like anyone else, have reasons to want certain outcomes that may or may not be in harmony with those desired by others. 

I think my intentions and the outcomes I seek are pure and noble, but it’s not for me to say. 

What I want is someone who hears the proposition they could break stories that not only get feedback, likes, and shares, and all those metrics that seem to have become the bedrock of most corporate decision making these days… but break stories that actually matter and gets excited. I want someone who loves the idea of getting to the bottom of something shady, and exposing the bad guys for who or what they are, to the benefit of the good. 

I’m hoping to get the attention of someone with the reach and talent to create stories that are inherently interesting and entertaining, with no need for clickbait titles, manufactured drama, or feigned outrage. I want someone who saw that movie where Al Pacino plays the 60 Minutes reporter and thought WOW, that guys awesome. I want to be like THAT! I want someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions people with “too much on the line” shy away from,  or who are more concerned with finding and spreading the truth than fitting the overall narrative their networks or publications have decided are their niche, and seek to only publish stories that align with what the audience is expecting to hear. 

Are there any real journalists out there still? If so, I’ve not only got a hell of a story for you… I can hand you ringside seats to the fights no one knows about, that are shaping the future. These are the fights not for office, but for the CHANCE to truly run on a level playing field. These are the fights that determine how something is to be packaged and marketed, because the right wording is ultimately all that’s needed for people to vote how you want them to on Proposition whatever. I’m talking about the fights that take place in the shadows, behind closed doors and before the public gains any awareness of what’s happening, by which time the outcomes are already decided. 

I’m talking about things that the public will not only be interested in finding out about, but NEED to find out about if we want any semblance of the reverence the American public is meant to have for the media is to be restored. I care more about results than anything else, and when I say results, I mean objectively good things happening instead of bad. 

I want to see less Americans dying in wars, but also none by their own hand… because how can we ostensibly take so much pride in our military while at the same time witnessing it implode?

I want to see the proper reasons for mass shootings brought to the fore and acted upon meaningfully, rather than knee-jerk responses dangerously intertwined with identity politics.

I want to see the public choose their elected officials, and not the other way around. 

I want to see opportunity abound for those among us motivated to create and achieve, not a generation of people wishing the economy recognized their value to mankind.

I want to see us as a people unite under the values we share, and come to understand those to which we are opposed, at which point we can work together to resolve our differences. 

I want very basic things. And these things, believe it or not, have some very basic solutions. But apathy can be a heavy blanket. Too many of us are growing… hell, HAVE GROWN content with a reality in which our voice truly doesn’t matter. 

We have come to obey those with both eyes in the rear view mirror, all the while treating those who see the future as hitchhikers not worth a second gander. 

We find ourselves at a point in human history where such massive changes are taking place all around us, whether we choose to notice it or not, the consequences of which will spare none. That’s to say nothing of the ripple effect these developments will have on future generations, to whom we will be in no position to guide or lead, either in real-time or example.

I am witnessing the destruction of my own country. And it’s not coming from Putin. It’s not coming from global warming. It’s not coming from any of the things we commonly fear. It’s coming from us. It’s coming from our failure not only to recognize the truth, but to seek it out to begin with. We’re on a sinking ship arguing over stories that explain away whose fault it is the boat is sinking.

Meanwhile, it’s sinking.

I pray someone out there cares enough to get eyes on what I’m seeing all around me, because it’s real. It’s here. And it’s so easily defeated. If only the public knew the truth. Are you all owned by your advertisers? Do you exist only to recapitulate the stories most readily devoured by the echo chambers in which you reign supreme? Is there such a thing as a real journalist anymore? 

The only way not only my dad’s campaign, but any and all campaigns in this country, can be fairly executed in line with the spirit of Democracy is if the media steps up. It’s not enough to take your cues from the top and find stories that fit your narrative. It’s not enough to copy and paste a tweet and write a few paragraphs about it, to be sandwiched between ads. It’s not enough to relax. 

Get mad. Get excited. Get emotional. This all matters!

We’re at a place where those in power are so comfortable, they truly believe all they need is money to keep an increasingly uninformed and indifferent public at bay. They’re so arrogant they no longer even feel a need to engage their constituents before they give them marching orders. We’re at a place where that heavy blanket of apathy is so warm and dense most Americans don’t even comprehend what it is to be an American, and why so many people want to come here we have to focus on building giant walls to keep them out. 

Why does no one vote?

Why does no one born after like 1980 know how our elections even work?

Or what it means for them?

Or who’s running?

Or why?

Why, when we have such ready and immediate access to the most intricate and immediate networks of human communication ever conceived by man, are we still so uninformed? 

Why do I, someone with such limited individual reach, seem to be the only one asking why in my state right now?  Why is it so hard to run for office in this country? Why are candidates so easily boxed out and shut down? Why are there only two parties who control everything? Why do those parties get away with picking candidates ahead of time? Why is national funding being poured into a state primary? Why is my state referred to on the news as a chess piece in national party politics, instead of an actual state with people with both shared and unique concerns, who are entitled to a voice in Congress? Why is a sitting President being used to tinker with state primary elections? Why would a President choose to endorse someone he’s never met and has no reason to like?

There are so many whys. But no one with a real audience asking them. It is my hope that will change, and this letter is just another dart I’m throwing at the board in hopes that it will. If nothing else, look into “Rule 11” in Missouri, and what it means to bypass that behind the voters’ backs. Take a look into what’s being done to help our veterans by those supposedly running for office. Take a look at how it’s legal for someone to get elected to a governmental seat but still run for another office at the same time, while at once forcing a university employee out of his job because he’s a “state employee”. Take a look at the role the media plays in ousting people from office based on allegations, and whether that’s in line with the spirit of our legal system. Take a look at rumors Republicans are pushing a candidate with narratives and evidence of a morally compromising past scheduled to come to light after the primary. Take a look at whether this election even has anything to do with one party versus the other, or more to do with backroom personal political agendas. 

Those are just some starting points. Don’t take my word for anything. You’re not doing your job as a journalist if you do, because I obviously want my own dad to win the election he’s in. I could lie or be misinformed like anyone else, but if any of what I said struck a cord, and there’s a chance at least some of what I’m saying is dead on and highly relevant, isn’t it your duty to look into it as a journalist wanting to revive an informed populace? Or are you too comfortable under that blanket?

Please consider breaking the mold and breaking the rules and doing what you want to be doing: hunting down truth. Thanks. If I can be of any assistance let me know. Happy hunting!

 

The Home Maxx TJ Goods Experience (full Google maps review)

This is the entirety of this review, which was too long to post on google in its entirety. Don't ask me why I write these... it's how I entertain myself.

Note: If you started this here, on google, scroll down to where you see another note like this indicating that's precisely where you left off... 

***

For a while I thought I needed to change my medication, because I thought I was in a TJ Maxx but was instead in a Home Goods store. I found it all quite unsettling and immediately found a corner that felt safe, sat down, and prayed while repeatedly calling my psychiatrist, to no avail.

Before long, a helpful young lady helped me to my feet and after explaining to her my confusion, she told me that I had indeed entered a TJ Maxx, but that it's actually attached to a Home Goods. This made me stop crying at least, but it immediately became clear to me that this open border nonsense has gotten out of hand.

I of course demanded to speak to the moat senior manager or executive of TJ Maxx, so I could tell them they need to build a wall, and make Home Goods pay for it. For some reason that got a big laugh, which made me feel made fun of, but then it seemed like everyone liked me, which I'm not used to... so I forgot about the wall and enjoyed the adulation.

Before long, I had given Home Goods a chance and was excited to learn they sold a wide variety of knick knacks, decorative pillows, and hallowed out fake wooden books designed to hide your stash from burglars or your mom. Those are all things I collect avidly. It was amazing to see so many things I admired and liked in this new exotic world of goods for the home.

TJ Maxx was and is the best place to snag a few bags of exotic chips and Nike socks, obscure and controversial home exercise equipment like shake weights... all in one place. Add to that the new world of opportunity inside its intimately close neighbor - both in distance and in spirit.

Cruising down the freeway on my moped on the ride home, I realized that TJ is also what stands for Tijuana, which is in Mexico. I started to suspect based on that clearly not coincidence that all the laughter those emoyees were having had to do with the political talk about a wall between the US/Mexico border.

This made me turn around and decide to return everything, because I don't do politics. But when I got to the parking lot I just couldn't go through with it. Because I loved all my new belongings, and as much as I want to avoid getting involved in multinational multicultural political discourse, the new stuff was all so cool. And if I went home empty-handed it would be as if I just wasted the least 4 1/2 hours of my life. 

I also realized that there was about a 3% chance my girl at home would think I had been lying about doing important shopping on her birthday, and would think I had been cheating on her... which I had not that day.

So I did a few doughnuts in the parking lot to let off some steam, as they say (almost losing a few bags in the process) and went straight home, where I gave my girl half of the decorative pillows for her birthday. I thought this was clever to tell her, because either way I end up in the same bed with those pillows come sunset... so what's the harm in letting her call half of them "hers". 

I can be clever like that and think on my feet, which is why she loves me I bet. All in all, it was a profound experience that gave me a lot to think about. I'm pretty sure the experience made me care about knowing what is going on with places I know little about first before being afraid of them and bring mad there isn't no wall between me and the new and unknown.

Then, while my girl was in the bath, listening to some jazz apparently, that was playing loud on a record player in her bedroom (which for some reason had flower pedals and tealight candles leading from it to the front door... she did that one other time on my birthday too... I just left as soon as I saw it though because rose petals have thorns in them and I couldn't trust myself not to accidentally step on one, and the last thing I was about to do after a long day of hunting is clean up her mess).

Anyway, while she was in the bath, I saw it as maybe the one chance I'd get to make sure she didn't eat my new chips! 

So, while she enjoyed her weird bubble bath, I crushed crushed up a bag of beat root chips and crushed up a bag of siracha flavored lentil chips, MIXED THEM TOGETHER and hid them in my new hallowed out secret book safe. I put that on the bookshelf, between her Koran and my Bible.

I undressed and slipped into four of the new socks (2 4 each foot) & quietly munched away on my stash until I heard it sound like she was getting out of the bath. In heard solish splashes and knew that means I had like one minute before she came out that door, probably wanting to know the chip situation!

Without hesitation, I hurried to the garage to hide the remaining chip bags under some old dusty towels, and a rusted out toolbox that once belonged to my grandpaps. But that's in the past and it's mine now. Just like the chips it's covering now!

Then I snuck back inside, this time through the back window, because I saw her cleaning up all the candles and rose petals (at least she doesn't make a mess with her antics) and I couldn't let her maybe figure out I just hid all the chips, which I planned on saying they ran out of, because she likes them too and gave me $10 to buy some "to share". 

***

[NOTE: YO SO THE GOOGLE REVIEW LEFT OFF RIGHT HERE! Sorry for the interruption anyone/everyone else.]

NOTE: When I said "right here", I meant right under the part where I apologize for the interruption. Sorry for the second interruption by the way. It picks back up right here... right below.

NOTE: Right after right below, now after this... okay, joke's stale. This bad boy continues NOW! (after the star things)

***

LOL!

I went to the bathroom that was empty now, and flushed the receipt down the toilet so she couldn't find out later about the fibskie I had already planned out hours ago on the moped driving back to her house. She has a history of overreacting to untrue things I say when she asks questions sometimes

I put on my mother in laws robe so she didn't just see me walking around nekked except for socks, because I wasn't in the mood to be oogled by her. By the time I came out of the bathroom she was in bed already, the decorative pillows were on the floor, and she was lying there in her down looking at me sad for some reason. 

I said "sup" and she just rolled over, turning her back to me. So I just hopped over her to my side of the bed and turned by back to her... two can play that game. I thought about telling her about her birthday gift of half of the decorative pillows but didn't appreciate the way she was treating me, and for no reason, so I didn't tell her and let them all just stay mine instead.

When I woke up, she was gone... and has been staying at her mother's house all week, which is nice because I was able to eat all my chips in piece for once, and watch TV with the full surround sound without getting texts asking me to "turn it down". 

She's high maintenance, but I still like her; it is cool dating a professional Victoria's Secret worked because she can get discounts for me on their Very Sexy cologne, and Very Sexy Platinum cologne. I think she's a register girl but whatever she does for them all I know is it's good for the fragrance collection.

All I remember is she is on the magazines at the checkout every now and then. That's always fun to see because I'm like she's cute! And it just ends up being my lady. LOL And's definitely nice not paying rent, so our relationship is good enough until I'm ready to move on.

One thing I never want to never see again though is the dynamic duo that is TJ Maxx + Home Goods, AKA now to me as The Home Maxx TJ Goods Experience! :D

Stores get 4 stars each, and combined 5. And that my friends is what we call synergy.

***

Just the rest that 

Anyway, while she was in the bath, I saw it as maybe the one chance I'd get to make sure she didn't eat my new chips! 

So, while she enjoyed her weird bubble bath, I crushed crushed up a bag of beat root chips and crushed up a bag of siracha flavored lentil chips, MIXED THEM TOGETHER and hid them in my new hallowed out secret book safe. I put that on the bookshelf, between her Koran and my Bible.

I undressed and slipped into four of the new socks (2 4 each foot) & quietly munched away on my stash until I heard it sound like she was getting out of the bath. In heard solish splashes and knew that means I had like one minute before she came out that door, probably wanting to know the chip situation!

Without hesitation, I hurried to the garage to hide the remaining chip bags under some old dusty towels, and a rusted out toolbox that once belonged to my grandpaps. But that's in the past and it's mine now. Just like the chips it's covering now!

Then I snuck back inside, this time through the back window, because I saw her cleaning up all the candles and rose petals (at least she doesn't make a mess with her antics) and I couldn't let her maybe figure out I just hid all the chips, which I planned on saying they ran out of, because she likes them too and gave me $10 to buy some "to share".

LOL. I went to the bathroom that was empty now, and flushed the receipt down the toilet so she couldn't find out later about the fibskie I had already planned out hours ago on the moped driving back to her house. She has a history of overreacting to untrue things I say when she asks questions sometimes

I put on my mother in laws robe so she didn't just see me walking around nekked except for socks, because I wasn't in the mood to be oogled by her. By the time I came out of the bathroom she was in bed already, the decorative pillows were on the floor, and she was lying there in her down looking at me sad for some reason. 

I said "sup" and she just rolled over, turning her back to me. So I just hopped over her to my side of the bed and turned by back to her... two can play that game. I thought about telling her about her birthday gift of half of the decorative pillows but didn't appreciate the way she was treating me, and for no reason, so I didn't tell her and let them all just stay mine instead.

When I woke up, she was gone... and has been staying at her mother's house all week, which is nice because I was able to eat all my chips in piece for once, and watch TV with the full surround sound without getting texts asking me to "turn it down". 

She's high maintenance, but I still like her; it is cool dating a professional Victoria's Secret worked because she can get discounts for me on their Very Sexy cologne, and Very Sexy Platinum cologne. I think she's a register girl but whatever she does for them all I know is it's good for the fragrance collection.

All I remember is she is on the magazines at the checkout every now and then. That's always fun to see because I'm like she's cute! And it just ends up being my lady. LOL And's definitely nice not paying rent, so our relationship is good enough until I'm ready to move on.

One thing I never want to never see again though is the dynamic duo that is TJ Maxx + Home Goods, AKA now to me as The Home Maxx TJ Goods Experience! :D

Stores get 4 stars each, and combined 5. And that my friends is what we call synergy.

Happy BiPolar Awareness Day Apparently

I've just been informed today is Bipolar Awareness Day. I did not know this. And I'm bipolar. 

I've never been big on awareness days; to me, they may as well be called "feel bad about something specific" days. I also find them to be peculiar because it's as if society as a whole is granting a specific 24 hour period during which slightly more people are expected to care about something they probably don't care about the rest of the year. Not much seems to come from awareness days, aside from higher likelihoods of persons specifically affected by whatever ailment or societal woe the day is set aside to whatever the less happy version of celebrate is, other than increased odds that awareness will lead to money moving around in a way that helps the people the day is for. 

I suppose I should cash in on that, but I'll genuinely be shocked if anyone contributes money to my show, for the simple fact people prefer to keep their money, and few people like me enough to want me to have theirs. I've never been a fan of asking for money period; which is ironic because outside of writing, I think it's fair to say most of the work I've done involves doing just that -- convincing people to give, take, or otherwise exchange money. I always did and still do find the process of convincing people to do things, especially things that are hard to convince them to do, even if it is in their best interests to do so, or it's at least fully justifiable to do. 

So with my show, I want to do it for free, and will continue to do so, for as long as I can do it. That said, when the purpose of all this work I put in is to reach people who need hear and read the words I'm uniquely able to assemble on the topics that matter. In my case, that target audience is most specifically people living with not so easy to live with mental conditions, and the people living with the people with the not so easy to live with mental conditions, whom can to some extent too go mad by proximity! (disclaimer: mental conditions are not contagious).

I feel I am failing to do that, at least to the extent I had hoped to, and still hope to... and I suspect that is at least in some part due to the fact that while I take great pride in my work - artistic, academic, or otherwise - I doubt with great magnitude whether it will be well received by anyone, regardless of "objective quality". And the prospect of dealing with, more consciously, the possibility I'm in a sense throwing my life away (or a lot of it) working on shit that doesn't matter to anyone is a daunting proposition indeed. 

How many girls cancel the date after googling me and learning I'm apparently some brand of crazy? 

How many jobs do some of my posts, videos, and written works permanently bar me from, provided any reasonable level of HR diligence?

How much time and effort is wasted producing a product for which there is little to no identifiable demand for?

These are questions I try to avoid asking myself, right up there next to How have we not accidentally blown the world up with nuclear weapons, and is that still to come? What is consciousness and why am I aware of my own to begin with? and What the hell happened in that last scene of "The Sopranos"?

I avoid asking myself these questions because if I were to stop doing this work, regardless of whether 12 million people or 12 people care about it, I would lose my own sense of purpose. I would leave what is either a bestowed upon me or self-imposed commitment unfulfilled. This isn't something I typically share, but when I was I believe 13, I made a promise to God, or whatever force or being was out there capable of intervening in human affairs, and presumably the creator and ultimate referee of them, that if I were to endure the still not quite possible to articulate hell going on inside my own mind and body, and one day overcome my invisible demons there seemed to be no name for, I would figure out what it was and tell the world about it, so there didn't have to be any more people like me out there - left suffering in silence, because there is no apparent means of salvation, and there is so little apparent will on a collective level to do anything about it.

I pledged that if I didn't drown, I would raise a fleet of rescue ships and return to the stormy waters so that anyone looking up praying for understanding and escape from their mysterious misery would find that prayer granted.

Since my prayer was never answered, I decided I would be the answer. 

Fast forward a decade and a half and I seem to have survived. So I am trying to fulfill my end of that bargain with God. 

I find it hard to understand my true motives for doing anything in life; both because they seem to be in constant flux to a degree, and because I am increasingly aware that humans in general - myself surely included - are all liars, and we lie to themselves most of all. We tell stories, to others and to ourselves, to explain our actions and inactions. In these stories we are always either the hero or the victim, and oftentimes both.

We concoct elaborate narratives to explain to anyone listening or spying on us or that will hear what we're saying by some third party at some hypothetical point and time. These narratives are built nearly instantaneously and instinctively in the mind of the adult, and quickly understood and adopted by the mind of the child. We hide our true intentions for doing things, and typically avoid defining what our true intentions are to begin with. All we know is we have to do our best to fit some image of ourselves that is a combination of what we perceive to be our own decisions about what we want to become, and societal expectations foisted upon us, and influenced by many factors outside or at least on the periphery of our control - to include most apparently: our public and private personalities, our physical appearances and capacity to alter it, and the perpetually changing laws, norms, and rules that form the framework within which we are left to live. 

So I'll be the first to admit that deep down what I'm probably seeking is what most all of us are seeking, or so I'm told... love. Whether I care to admit it or not, it's probably fair to presume that I do much of what I do in the hope that transforming an ostensible disadvantage (being born with a mental condition capable of, and at times seemingly intent on, destroying one's own life and well being... as well as those of others unfortunate enough to be stuck with them) into an advantage. In my story of myself, I am a hero confronting the demons within - publicly and openly - so that anyone watching can recognize proof that even if born cursed, you can live cured. I want to let the interested see beneath the facades that would normally prohibit an individual from revealing the truth of their struggle... I want anyone like me to know they are not alone, and that if this one guy can make it through it, and achieve some semblance of success, maybe they can to. 

Then, if I'm useful enough, to enough people, or at least the right people, or even just one specific person in need of what solidarity and inspiration and wisdom I can proffer, I can stop feeling so alone in this world and know what it's like to have peace of mind, which I have been led to believe tends to rest on a foundation of love. 

Or maybe that's just a story too.

Maybe love is what I say I want because I know that's what people want me to want. Maybe I really just want to be a hedonist - contented instead by constant thrill and conquest, delighting in the pleasurable extremes and lamenting the inevitable negative ones. Maybe if whatever the particular brand of love I claim to seek was behind one door, and behind the other was a sparkling red Ferrari that hasn't even come out yet, with a glove compartment full of exotic pleasure inducing drugs, a trunk full of cash in all denominations, a stereo full of Kanye West, an unlimited Chipotle gift card in the visor, and the attractive random woman I posted in the photo that probably got you to read this in the first place in a short skirt and a long jacket with a wink in her eye blowing me a kiss, holding the deed to a mountaintop mansion with a hottub with an outdoor fireplace in the middle of it, I'd choose that door instead. 

In a perfect world, maybe I could have both! 

That's the thing about life people. You never know. And there's always more of it. Until there's not. And even after what we know to be life reaches its inevitable conclusion - be it in ten years or ten thousand years (don't underestimate the potential of technology mixed with the general desire to prolong death as long as humanly possible, as so many seem to possess) - I suspect there's... well, let's just say it wouldn't shock me if I died and woke up somewhere or someone else, or some shit like that. 

The point is consistency of equilibrium is what I think most of us seek, when we are not instead seeking something more, or something more specific - like true love, or a life of royalty. What most people want on the day to day, I believe, is very simple: consistency. They hope things get a little better, hope they don't get a little worse, and do all they can to avoid the chance things will get a lot worse because of something they did or didn't do that day. For most people, life is a rather insular experience I suspect, and when they do care about something, or at least profess to care about something outside themselves, that is a phenomenon motivated by something within.

There's a reason universities, libraries, parks, and any center of relatively public accessibility have the names of people no one knows plastered all over the place, along with a prestigious description of what the thing is. The "Jonathan T. Abernathy Rest and Reflection Summit" might be a bench with some flowers planted around it, that serve as Mr. Abernathy's legacy. It's the same idea as carving your name into a tree. There's some deep sense of satisfaction, or at least subtle sense of something positive, that is felt by the person whose name remains. There is great solace to the achiever to be found in at least the possibility others will remember them when they are gone. They can close the casket on themselves with less of a tremble in their hands if there is some semi-permanent indication their life mattered. It's worth donating tens of thousands of dollars to a university to have a bench named after you, because it's a physical declaration of value; it's proof of importance. 

I suspect that kind of thing is the kind of thing that would quiet the voices of self-doubt and shame that are consistent undertones in my mind, regardless of how much effort I apply, how much work I put in, or how little apparent recompense I have to point to as proof of mattering.

Recognition. 

I'm pretty sure that's the word for it. So in conclusion, as I wrap up this... whatever you want to call it, I'm going to take a moment to tell the world I want to be recognized. I am going to use this day of the year, that whoever is authorized to claim a day of the year seem to have claimed for bipolar people, to recognize myself for all that I do to keep my head above the ebb and flow of my brain chemicals, as someone living with bipolar disorder. I wish to congratulate myself on not only surviving a uniquely troubled youth. I'd like to take a moment to thank myself for at least trying to do good on my oath to go back for the forgotten and unnoticed souls out there enduring their own private hells, and heavens but perhaps never knowing the luxury of finding firm footing on earth. I'd like to say to myself that the work I do does matter, even if I come short of doing it in a way that has the degree of impact I crave. I'm going to go ahead and commend myself on the decision to face my demons head on, and in a public arena, because that takes a specific brand of courage. I want to let myself know that I am not alone, and that there are others like me - maybe even some reading this right now, whenever that now is - who will comb through my discussions, ramblings, and otherwise hard to define creative and academic-ey works and find something of value to take with them, and hopefully build upon, furthering a chain of hope and improvement for others.

I give unto myself a high five for trying, whether I find the strength to hi five myself back or not.

And to everyone else out there living with and dying from bipolar disorder, I wish you a happy (and sad) bipolar awareness day!

If you would like to extend my reach, you can and I hope will do so right now in any to all of the following ways:

  1. Contribute to my work directly, in name or anonymously.
  2. Buy my book "Glass Black Box", and/or review it on Amazon.
  3. Subscribe to my podcast if you haven't already, and/or review it on iTunes or wherever you listen to it.
  4. Follow me on twitter, facebook, Instagram, all that shit.
  5. Repost any of my content on your social media accounts and/or link someone to some of my work.
  6. Spend one concentrated minute asking yourself "How could I help this guy if I really wanted to?" Do that, or some diet version of it.
  7. Suggest to someone interesting, influential, funny (and ideally famous!) that you know to contact me about coming on as a guest.
  8. Do absolutely nothing.

 

: ) :

- Nico

 

A Strange Attempt to Get Tech N9ne On My Show (circa 2015)

It was not successful, or he would've been on the show already. BUT, maybe if he'd seen this it would be successful. So if you know Tech, pass it along and let him know I'd still love to interview him on TriPolar!

In the meantime, I guess I could try just reaching out to him directly. Yeah... that might have made a lot more sense now that I think about it.

Eminem doing his most WPM verse ever...

My attempt at it...

Birthday Tribute to the Marines

A hero is someone who willingly puts themselves in harms way to save another. I re-watched Saving Private Ryan recently, and as that unforgettable sequence that so realistically put you in the frontlines of the carnage of the D-Day Invasion, I was deeply moved. It's nothing shy of amazing that so many Americans were willing to traverse the world to confront the most determined and devastating threat to peace the modern world had ever seen; that they were willing to literally run TOWARD an army shooting at them, all to put an end to a war in Europe that had directly affected very few Americans.

tumblr_mt4c7svrnl1s13mu4o1_r1_1280.jpg

While the soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy were of every race and creed, each stitches in the limitless tapestry of the American flag, they all had one thing in common: they were Marines.

A retired Marine I have a lot of respect for just told me that tomorrow they're celebrating the Marine Corp's birthday, which is said to be November 10th, 1775. I'm pretty sure that's just one of those crazy things Marines declare and no one has the balls to call them out on, but regardless of the actual year, what is not up for debate is whether this particular wing of our Armed Forces is deserving of reverence. [Note: I googled it and it's actually true.]

While all branches of our military work in concert together, each bringing something unique and important to the mission, it's the Marines who pride themselves on being the “First ones in. Last ones out.” It's the Marines we send in when fearlessness is what's called for. And it's a Marine that, regardless of what degree of actual combat they see, willfully and knowingly agreed in advance to be the one you put at risk first. Unless tricked by a crafty recruiter, every Marine knew they were entering the most dangerous branch of the military, and to attain the level of acumen and determination required to be made a member of that crazy family, they all underwent rigorous training that would bend and break the mind of most civilians who are fortunate enough to never see combat.

These are absurd times we live in, but perhaps these times are necessary, as a precursor to positive steps that can and must be taken to move forward in the years to come. While under this administration we have come to predict the unpredictable, we must all be willing to retain our individual senses of virtue, as collectively those will retain the foundation of this country. I firmly believe that every salute needs to be earned, and I'm sorry to all the service members of every branch, active duty and retired, for the way you have been treated over the years. Oftentimes your needs are left unmet, you are broken in some way and expected to repair yourself in silence, and you struggle to put food on the table and a roof over your family's head. You don't deserve that.

You deserve everything you need, including hearing the words “thank you” from some of the people you'd never met, but were already willing to die for. To every Marine out there, thank you for your service, sacrifice, and bravery. I hope that you'll see more of the respect you deserve, from the top down. But I know that regardless, you'll continue to serve; because you don't become a hero by fuckin accident.

Happy Birthday. Thanks for ensuring all of us have more of our own. Semper Fi.

Author Bio Amazon Wouldn't Accept!

Don't mean to imply they wouldn't let me use it because it's vulgar. Well, I kinda did mean to imply that if I'm honest... so you'd read this. I'm sorry for deceiving you, as well as for apologizing, because I say at the end there that I won't apologize for anything I write. 

The actual reason Amazon wouldn't post it is because -- after I spend an hour or whatever typing this up -- I hit submit only to find there was a 25 word limit!

I never read directions.

But here it is for anyone interested... (beneath the cover/book button).

 

AUTHOR BIO

Nico Monetti is the greatest man to have ever lived, named Nico Monetti. 

Widely regarded by some [relatives] as the "purest and most important American literary voice of the 21st Century", Nico's work has reached tens, if not hundreds, of people in several US states and in multiple countries throughout the galaxy. 

In North Korea, for example, GLASS BLACK BOX has been on the best seller list for 18 months straight!... with a whopping 8 copies sold.

Critics across the board are raving [presumably amongst themselves] that his new release, GLASS BLACK BOX is sure to top charts and change the world, in the words of President Trump "like you wouldn't believe." 

As one reviewer puts it, "Nico's writing captures everything from the realities we know and choose not to face, to the realities we don't know and won't face. It's astounding. What's more, the means by which he conveys everything from the depths depression to the heights of mania is nothing short of masterful, and done in a tone that is at once on par with titans of the page, of past and present, AND at once entirely distinct and in a league of its own; this is thanks to Nico's caustic wit, casual formality, self-aware absurdity, and underpinning sentimentality."

It's what The New York Times calls...

If there's one thing Nico would want readers to know, it's that he feels authors shoot themselves in the foot by doing things like writing bios of themselves in the third person. That just seems pathetic, because it's like they're trying to pretend they're a bigger deal than they are. What? Are we to imagine a historian typed up a quick blurb on you and the book no one has ever heard of?

Like I sai... like Nico would say to that point, again to quote President Trump, "NOT good!"

At the end of the day, for all Nico's -- what The Seattle Daily New York Weekly Correspondent's Digest affectionally refers to as "tomfuckery" -- is a core concern for humanity, and a clear sense of purpose: to unlock the value people hold beneath their limiting understandings of self, and under the rule of governments and institutions and religions and modes of thinking that come to shackle the human spirit and inhibit innovation, ambition, and both individual and collective achievement and advancement.

Nico also openly admits to living with a biologically determined manic depressive mental illness called bipolar disorder. As a means of coping with the fact that he is at his core incapable of ever living a "normal life", or experiencing the same things most around him can, in a predictable way, he simply tries to understand what's going on; because when you get curious about what you fear, you may just learn it's not as scary as you thought, or at least doesn't have to be.

More than anything, Nico wants to be of value. Because even though girls always break his heart, drugs hold more appeal most else, and life itself can seem a un ungoverned futile swim into a mysterious abyss, it's still hard to be depressed if he's being useful. In the case of Nico; so should his work affect someones somewhere, in some positive and noticeable way -- and he's given evidence to suggest he may not just be a crazy person with insecurity laced delusions of grandeur writing things that no one will ever read or see or give a s**t about -- he's happy.

To facilitate this still societally taboo decision to act as an unlikely ambassador for the chaotic realm of the sub-sane, Nico moved to New York and assumed a new identity, under which he now spends his days brokering fast-paced, high-stakes financial dealings on Wall Street to aid in financing his expedition into the unknown for the benefit of mankind.

He apologizes in advance for being unable to apologize for anything he writes, if only because he's also tired of everyone being, to quote President Trump one final time, "pussies".

- THE END -

An Important Message to My Listeners (and potential employers)

When I started this show a little over one year ago, it like all of my half-hashed ideas, came to me while I was in a state of hypomania -- thoughts were racing through my brain, confidence was abundant, and potential was apparent. It was around midnight, I had just finished an intense workout, fueled by pre-workout and frustration with my circumstances. I was in the shower at the 24 Hour Fitness I worked at and the idea struck: A Podcast!

But unlike most of my half-hashed ideas, I actualized this particular one. 

I had been listening to podcasts every day, since discovering their existence. They were a great alternative to country music and angry Republicans on AM radio as I made my 45 minute commute from a tiny Missouri town to a small Missouri town, where a relatively menial job awaited me. I found myself in what I described to my mother as a state of purgatory. 

A year before that, I was an ambitious academic, having just earned a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree, and in Law School on a scholarship. I was also an ambitious creative, having written several feature film scripts, created a somewhat popular web series, and even come close to completing my own feature film, which, being the narcissist I was (okay, am) I also of course starred in.

My ambitions had been grand and expectations about as high as they could be. I was then fueled by a bitter anger at the world for failing to recognize my greatness. I felt betrayed by higher education, my mediocrity-accepting and inducing creative collaborators, and perhaps most of all: the leaders of my country, who had set into effect a chain reaction of international events that rendered the quietly dismal state of the American and therefore global economy. 

I was a lonely, bitter person, to whom ambition was a sole ally. 

I wish I could say that then things got better, but they didn't; they got worse. Much worse. Without knowing it, I had spent a quarter-century of my life with undiagnosed mental conditions; the most debilitating of which being BiPolar disorder*. I didn't come to realize this until I had already dropped out of law school during a manic episode, damaged or relationships with the people I cared about most, and isolated myself from realities I found disagreeable.**

It wasn't until I broke a door with my hand, and visa-versa, that it became apparent to my family that there might be something beyond stress going on. My mom promptly booked me an appointment at a mental health clinic, where I spent three days filling out questionnaires, talking to therapists, undergoing brain scans, and meeting with a neurologist (brain doctor). 

When I received my diagnoses, and saw the scan of my brain -- which indicated overactivity, basically across the board -- to my surprise I wasn't upset at all. To the contrary, I was relieved. I had always known something was different about me, but I never knew what. I had been plagued by anonymous demons since adolescence and now they had a name. 

If I could see what they were I could beat them, I reasoned; or learn to live with them at least. 

And so began what turned out to be a much longer than expected period of recovery, coping, and introspection to avoid the dark fate that awaited a great many BiPolar people: suicide. I had never attempted suicide, or thought I ever could, but as I found myself working for an unethical company that only solidified my worst fears about the economic realities in America, the depression only got worse, and my abuse of drugs and alcohol attempts at self-treatment only increased (it was always the gym or drugs if I wanted to change how I felt). 

Before long, I found myself jobless and completely incapable of sustaining myself in one of the most expensive counties in the country (Orange County). I had to sell off all my most valued possessions just to pay rent, to include my Rolex Air King, my graduation gift, and my exotic cat Lana, one of my last remaining friends.

It was bad. I had no choice but to do the thing many in my generation had to do, but that I feared most of all... the thing I swore I would never do: go home, and move in with my parents. As a self-perceived failure in every respect, I reached a new level of depression I'd never felt. 

I wish I could say it got better from there. But it didn't. It got even worse. 

Amidst another manic episode, I found myself desperately trying to finish the movie I had never completed... and doing it to win the affections of the woman I knew I would end up with. Both things were relics of the past I knew I needed to let go, but something inside me refused to allow me to. I fluctuated between knowing I would achieve all my dreams any day now and knowing I was a crazy and delusional person who would do well to just end his life.

When it finally became clear to me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the woman I had been trying to reconnect with had no interest in me anymore... and had been intentionally ignoring me for months (something I couldn't so much as imagine being a possibility the whole time) I lost all interest in finishing the movie. It was meant to be a means to an end: her being the end. 

So now I had even more nothing than nothing. Without family to support me at that point, I'm not sure I would have survived that incredible low in my life. But I did have family and I did make it. Unable to move forward in any discernable direction, and still plagued by emotional volatility and insecurity, for the second time, I found myself in another mental health clinic.

The treatment seemed to help, but only slightly. It was helpful to learn more about my condition(s), but the more treatment I got, and the more I was surrounded by people far crazier than I, the more I came to adopt a victim mentality. "I'm crazy" is something I would routinely say, arguing with whoever dared argue. "It's just how I am. I can't ever live a normal life. No one will want to be in a relationship with me and no employer will ever hire me. The system is rigged against me as is... with my disorders, I have even less a shot. I'm screwed. But I don't care anymore. I'm not interested in happiness. I just want to be a great. I want to make work that will hopefully find recognition in my lifetime. To leave the world a better place. Then I can die. Finally. Until then, my life will just have to be a sentence I have to live out."

So I gave up on having friends. I gave up on caring about romance. I accepted that I needed to rely on medications to change my emotional states, and did all I could to let go of my ambitions. Weed helped me see the world a different way... it helped me not care as much. 

Life was purgatory, that Catholic world you go to after you die that's just a waiting room. Once enough of your relatives pray and pay to light candles for you or whatever, you get to go to heaven finally. That's what it was for me. I just had to wait, and hope someone recognized my potential as an artist and/or thinker. If they did. Otherwise I'd just die depressed and alone someday... something I often looked forward to.

Depressing shit, right? Tell me about it... 

So I dedicated myself to just learning things to pass the time.

Learning more about the world in my room alone, all night every night, seemed to help. Curiosity didn't give me purpose, but it took me outside of my own head. I realized I could be one of the smartest beings in human history up to now, because if you paired my cognitive capacities with consistent isolation and immediate access to the unlimited knowledge the internet proffered, I could make connections no one else had yet. Maybe I could be a genius?

That became a sort of goal I would pursue, considering earning PhDs in everything from economics to physics... imagining myself never ending my education, and one day figuring something out that alters the course of human history, validating my seemingly useless life. I liked that perspective. Maybe I wasn't crazy so much as I was meant for genius. After all, pretty much every great artist and thinker and inventor was pretty crazy right? I came to refer to myself as eccentric instead of crazy. That was at least a step in the right direction.

Being offered a few screenwriting jobs... the first paid writing jobs I'd ever gotten, as menial as the pay was, gave me something invaluable: validation. I again began to develop hope... all the while remaining woefully aware the world was still a very unfair place and I probably wouldn't make it. But of course I would! It was my destiny! But no it wasn't. There is no destiny. 

I fluctuated now between great hope and great apathy and disdain for all the feeling I did.

 Then, to skip ahead a bit in the interest of time (I have somewhere to be) I moved to New York.

I'd like to wait to tell everyone what happened there when the show returns. Because a lot happened. I reached more lows. And new highs. I have a lot of stories to tell. I wrote a book longer than Harry Potter in a month; one that I hope will be published. I did a lot. And endured a lot. And am happy to report that for the first time since I started this show, I'm stable enough to hold down a job, develop relationships with people again, and look myself in the mirror. 

I have a long way to go, but I'm confident it will only go up from here. Because I've come to understand myself a lot better over the past year. I've come to realize medications are not the answer, but a necessary component to proper treatment. I've grown to understand that I'm only a victim if I allow myself to be. And I'm done being a victim. I now see that the world really is... as stereotypical as it sounds, what you make it.

Our perception shapes our reality. 

Our presuppositions determine what we notice and how we subconsciously interpret it. 

Our relationships with one another are tremendously valuable, but we can't depend on someone else to ensure our own stability and happiness.

And it's hard to be depressed when you're useful.

I find myself forced to make a very difficult decision, and one I've balked at making for some time now; that decision is whether to continue creating and airing TriPolar. 

As you may have noticed, I haven't released an episode in quite a while. One reason for that is that I'm not content with the quality of the show as a whole. I am very proud of a lot of the work, and I don't for a second think any of the episodes are bad, per se. But they're not good enough. And I have, to date, fallen short of fulfilling my true goal with this show: to make a real impact on public understanding of mental health, to remove the stigmas associated with mental health conditions which bar people from treatment, and last but not least: to have somewhere to put it all. I need outlets. Writing is my main one. This show became another.

Another reason I've thought ending the show may be wise is that it's very time-consuming, which was far less of an issue over the past year than it's about to become. I'd need to change the way I produce the show, delegate some of the work to other people, and make some big overall changes in the production process. That's all something I can't make my priority.

Most of all, if I'm honest, I fear this show may have been, and will continue to, bar me from meaningful employment. It's hard enough getting a good job as it is. It becomes a lot harder when you have a controversial show that makes you a posterboy for a condition most people don't understand and oftentimes fear, and understandably so. 

But finally, because my dad always told me "If you do something, you do it right, or you don't do it at all." I've come to learn absolute statements like that... black and white thinking... can be very dangerous and disempowering, but on that point, I tend to still agree. 

Right now, I can't do this show right. So I'm not going to do it at all. 

I started something here that I am going to finish, or die having tried to finish... and that's to reframe mental health in the public eye so that treatment is finally made available to all who need it, to reframe "disorders" as "re-orders" as people who are different or deficient in some way also tend to be enhanced and possess the propensity for genius in other ways. Their potential is just usually not recognized or capitalized on.

I'm not doing the show right now, or for the (closely) foreseeable future. But that doesn't mean I won't ever do it again, because my dad also always told me something else: ""You finish what you start." That's why I still have every intention of either continuing this show and/or launching a new and better show, in a new style, that works toward the same objectives. 

But for now, I'm making a new name for myself here in this here New York. Literally. I'm going to define what I am this time around, rather than let what I am define me. Once I've done that, I'll be back, and in full force, with amazing guests and a show that I hope goes on indefinitely.

I hope TriPolar helped some of you. I hope you found it entertaining. And I hope you learned a lot from it. I did. In fact, it's quite possible... probable even, that the show helped me most of all. 

I plan to leave all the current episodes up, and will still respond to you if you write me at tripolarpodcast@gmail.com.  Thank you for listening. And don't lose hope. But if you do, remember that it's something that's lost not gone... so go find it again.

Until Next Time,

Nico

***

*For the record, I know it's supposed to be spelled bipolar, not BiPolar, but I capitalize it like that out of respect for the power of the thing... as it demands attention itself. 

**For whatever reason, BiPolar Disorder often doesn't fully manifest in those with the condition until their early to mid twenties.