Heavy Ass Door

•May 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I was a far distance from the heavy ass door. I know the door is heavy because I have been using it ten times a week for two years. It is surprisingly heavy. If a person in front of you doesn’t hold it open for you, it takes a very strong push to counteract its closing. I have to use two hands to counteract its closing; I know because people frequently don’t hold it open for others behind them, which wouldn’t be a huge deal if the reason wasn’t due an overly imaginary fear of microbes, but it’s a solid heavy ass door. You really gotta bear the force of it when it’s closing, like a car is driving five miles per hour and it hits you. It could probably kill someone with a soft skull.

I was a far distance from the heavy ass door and I saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair approach the door. I whispered out loud “oh no here we go” because I knew it was going to suck for her. I walked faster toward her and she started ramming the front of her wheelchair – and quite possibly her legs – into the heavy ass door. She used the joystick of her chair to go back and forth, ramming into this door repeatedly, and I’m watching, trying to increase my pace, not like I start running to help, but I just walk a bit faster, and no one else is in between her and I. Each of her rammings pushes the door open more and more slightly. It’s like watching someone push a boulder up a hill.

I’m getting really close now and I feel my arms lift up and out toward her, almost against my will, as if a muscle reflection of decency. She is pushing through, being born in the doorway, and I arrive and push the door the rest of the way open, and she is through, gliding on the other side. Nobody is talking. I don’t look at her as I walk by, but I whisper to myself “that sucks, why isn’t there an automatic thing to make it go open?”

I think about other doors I interact with numerous times a week. Some are revolving, which her wheelchair would definitely not fit in. Many doors are just regular ass doors, moderately heavy doors. Others have buttons that open the door automatically, and people who aren’t in wheelchairs push the buttons over and over, sometimes slap the button hard like facing a door has ruined their day. There’s a double door I go through ten times a week with lines of hundreds of people. One of the two doors has an automatic door open button and half the people in line are in a crazed rush and they smack the button multiple times as they walk by even though the line is moving so slow they are hardly moving at all, and by design of bottlenecking at the doorway, everyone ahead is holding the door open for the next person. People smash a button that wasn’t intended for them, and the button’s function does not yield even the slightest improvement of convenience. Smash the button, smash the button, smash the button. The button absorbs tens of thousands of pounds of misdirected irritation every day. People who design automatic door open buttons have to consider this when they design their buttons: that people who have no business using the button will likely smash parts of their body into the button and gain nothing from it.

People in wheelchairs had it harder in the past, but come on, people who aren’t in wheelchairs. Be nice and don’t transfer your silly momentary frustration into an object that was created for the sole purpose of helping those who don’t have the privilege of walking. Do you approach seeing eye dogs and slap them in the face six times? And why is that one heavy ass door so goddamned heavy? Are there hurricane force winds that need quelling in that ALL INDOOR area? Some shit is really annoying to use and it makes me mad and when I see thousands of people a week dealing with the annoyance, I wonder how much forethought went into the thing. It’s a door. Get some people to walk through it and ask them if it sucked. If it did, change it.

It would be funny if here I linked to that radiohead song where Thom Yorke just says there are various kinds of doors.

Bring Me Back, Little One

•May 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday a child made me feel unintelligent and emotionally ill-equipped. The child was naming flowers as examples of a point he was making and I kept having to ask what he was talking about, what the flower looked like. He also identified – correctly, I assume – that a nearby tree was of Japanese origin. I said “ah okay.”

In an attempt to get him to leave, I turned toward the dashboard of my parked car and touched a couple buttons to look busy. He then began asking me questions about the car and he came closer to observe the inside of the car. He made several surprisingly astute observations about the locations of dials and gauges. I employed the one-word-answer method, which quickly melted into wordless grunts and nods, in fear of entering a potentially unending conversation about life, nature, and the naming of all things. His hair looked like it was shaved unevenly, and this, coupled with the appearance of his clothing, suggested poverty. Should I have adopted him? He continued to bring up new topics such as possible materials a house can be made of, and the concept of buying property at a time when the market is struggling, to save money. The front of his mouth appeared to have new adult teeth. He laughed when he talked about buying houses and cars and selling them for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He named the year, make, and model of his mother’s car, and questioned me about both the car I was in and the previous car I owned. I became progressively more nervous what was happening, if anything, between this cool kid and I. Would he remember me? Was I making a bad impression with my lack of engagement? Was I injuring his curiosity and friendliness? Was I one of many adults who stifles conversation with a genuinely interested child for the sake of doing what I want to do instead? All I wanted was to sit quietly and listen to the stereo, the sound waves to replace the space in my head reserved for the identification of responsibility.

I called my friend Jared, who I was waiting for, to see how much longer I had to tolerate the situation I was in. Jared was close. The cool smart kid resumed sharing his pure enthusiasm with me right when I hung up the phone. He explained there was some flower that is spherical and pink and purple or something, and that he has always wanted one. My immediate reaction was “huh” though I deeply wanted to proclaim how awesome that was, and I wanted to reward him with compliments and high fives. Why don’t boys typically love flowers? Because adults don’t give them positive reinforcement? Flowers are fucking gorgeous and I want them too. As a child, I used to chase after butterflies and try to catch them with a net so I could put them in a container and stare at them in awe. I wanted the kid to know that, but it was really just an afterthought. I more wanted to run away. I often run away or hide from things. I see butterflies now and for a split second fantasize about running after them with my arms and hands open. But there is no chase. Just a passing glance at a gone reality. A memory of squinting at a shadow out of the corner of my eye.

I am thinking about all this the following day at lunch as a saliva and hot sauce-soaked piece of rice falls out of my mouth, onto my work shirt, staining it slightly, but permanently.


•April 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Hi. I’m a respected star of some kind whose opinion matters because lots of people want to touch their crotches to mine. I know everybody thinks highly of pillows. However, new studies are being done which show evidence of spinal destruction caused by decades of pillow use. Here is what Dr. Shump Dunglegonk has to say on the matter:

Hi. I done studies about why pillows can really hurt spines big time. Turns out, they can. We scientists call this a huge deal cuz spines matter a whole bunch, like for example, being able to run with. We talked to this one guy named Bill who got big spine pain, and he said he was in tremendous spine pain on account of “all them damn pillows.” Now how can you say no to Bill? Poor guy’s got a huge problem with a painful hurting spine that keeps him up at night, screaming.

Yes, that was me. I am Bill. Those were the days! But, before I was Bill with horrible spine pain, I was just a normal guy with a normal back and spine. Now I’m a big star, but my spine was destroyed by years of pillow use. Every night, sometimes several times a day, I would get horizontal on a cushioned surface large enough to fit my unusually sexy and awe-inspiring celebrity form. On top of the cushioned surface would be the awful pillows. Horrible horrible bastard jerks of mean fluff. The pillows were to provide a level of comfort which exceeded even the softest cushioned surface, or so I was lead to believe by the media. I used those pillows for decades of my life, not knowing my spine was slowly being turned into a pile of useless disgusting sludge.

The pillow studies are relatively new, and no glaring conclusions can be made yet, but I know in my heart that these soft bags of terror cause great harm over time. I’m a stunning great cool star with sex appeal so my feelings and ideas matter more than the typical boring guy who very few people want to touch. Trust me, pillows really suck a lot and are evil jerkwads. If you have to, run away from your pillows, or burn them and make sure they don’t rise again from the ashes.

Please share this message with everyone you care about, or you will have 7 years of bad luck finding love.

Special Books and Exciting Machines

•April 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There are these well-dressed people who stand quietly next to a flimsy book stand. On the book stand are numerous copies of the same exact book. Judging by the aggressively beatific font and imagery, the book is the Bible. Or a book about christianity written by a guy who quotes the Bible and then explains his perspective. Either way, these well-dressed people stand there for hours, making themselves available to talk about Jesus. No one ever stops to talk. No one. The well-dressed people continue to stand at attention. No one cares about their Jesus. Their Jesus is old and even if somehow still alive, no longer needed. Their Jesus is as important as a telegraph: nice to imagine, and important for the course of history, but utterly replaceable. Meanwhile, at a nearby intersection, a group of teens are beating on plastic buckets, and a crowd of fifty has gathered.

I recently met a man who seemed to me the purest face of evil. It was at a car dealership. I was buying a new car and he was handling the financing. He wore clothing that looked like it was cut from some kind of miraculous impenetrable silk. His face was puffy and shiny, but not with light, with plaster. His hands operated a number machine which spit out forms for me to sign. I want to emphasize that I am not calling this scary fella evil because he was taking my money; I am saying his body spoke to my subconsciousness and it hissed. When this guy smiled, one hundred people somewhere in the world received stomach worms. I used to be a christian and I used to sit and fantasize about the biblical end of days, what it might be like, if it actually happened. In my brain, this finance guy was the antichrist. Again, this wasn’t about money. It was about one creature communicating to another creature. His being whispered murder to mine. I shook his mudshovel hand and got the fuck out of there.

I love my new car! It’s a black Honda Civic. Super comfortable and clean and quiet and it has a nice stereo. I enjoy driving it a lot!

Public Dirt

•April 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I went walking during my lunch break and there was a guy by himself shouting “Chicago. Illinois. Chicago. Illinois. Chicago…” He was standing up against a short carved stone wall, his street podium. He was looking at people in the face as they walked by and I smiled at him.

It was warm and bright and I was squinting. I walked toward what once was a park. There were tremendous yellow vehicles redoing the ground. The vehicles looked like the arms of a god’s bored child, no visible pattern to the movements. Presumably, some people met in a room and decided the ground should be moved a lot. The ground was not good the way it was. Summon the child of the god and it shall sit on the ground and juggle the ground for a while. Instruct the god to remain casual and to let its child get dirty.

Walking back to work, I saw the same guy shouting in public. This time he was shouting that people can’t pay for education, and the ones who can, aren’t getting educated. He was pushing his eyes toward the eyes of others with a strange reserved intensity. No one’s eyes met his. I tried to give him mine for a moment, but I saw no real intensity in his. Just a glancing vacuum.

Kyle Lives in California

•April 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I went to California once with my family, which means we didn’t do much. My family consists of home bodies that watch TV and have quiet hobbies such as gardening, sudoku, and rage-bottling. We were staying in Las Vegas visiting my dad’s brother’s family, who moved there in a whimsical attempt to run their own baskin robbins (it failed). We rented a bland family vehicle and drove it quietly to San Diego, whereupon we parked somewhere unassuming, got out and walked around a bit, then left. California is crazy!

Kyle lives in California. I don’t know where in California. Kyle says he reads stuff I write here; good job Kyle. Brodzky is Kyle’s last name.

California is a huge piece of land with tons of landforms and climates, and plant and animal species, but people tend to bring up homosexuality or Hollywood when California is mentioned. It is the April 5, 2013 and people probably won’t always talk so much about homosexuality or Hollywood, but nowadays they do. I WANNA HEAR ABOUT MOUNTAINS AND SUPERTREES.

The human brain, the higher portion at least, tends to be attracted to big ideas and stories. I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of telling stories, or even more simply, communicating one’s own perspective. All creatures come with factory installed selfishness. That’s how creatures keep themselves alive, by taking care of their needs way more than the needs of others. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. But human creatures developed higher brains which allow us to think outside of ourselves, and to have empathy for other creatures that have virtually the same brains, the same needs, the same capacity for suffering and happiness. The higher brain also forms stories and creates an identity for itself, and it craves information of that nature, and we rarely just conjure up information, we have to get it from other brains. So here we are at telling stories and sharing one’s own perspective. Kyle said he reads stuff I write here so I suppose this is not a total waste of time, like I often tell myself. Thanks Kyle.

John Albright who the hell is this

•January 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Shortly after it became 2013 last night, I received a text message from an unknown number.  Here is the conversation we had:

Stranger: Happy new mother fucking new years

Me: Happy new year, sorry I do not have this number, who is this fuckface who has tested me with a happy wish?

Stranger: John Albright who the hell is this

Me: Lol I have no idea who you are, but happy new year’s.  My name is Joe McHugh.

Stranger: Lol happy new yeat and aqquantiance Joe!

Me: This has been a special incident and I will remember and cherish it John Albright.

Stranger: Your my first 2013 always and forever

People Person

•December 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When you’re mad at someone, you are more inclined to notice and criticize their behavior.  But then someone you are not mad at will engage in the same behavior and you won’t criticize them.  Not only that, but sometimes you don’t even notice the person you are not mad at behaves that way.  What then?  You talk negatively about the person you are mad at behind their back with people you are not mad at, all of whom are doing the same thing with the people they are mad and not mad at.  Do you feel better?  Temporarily.  Being mad is temporary.

You are no longer mad at the person you were mad at, and now you feel bad for talking about them negatively behind their back with people you weren’t mad at at the time.  Now you are mad at one of them for saying a lot of bad things about the person you are no longer mad at.  You will make it up to the person you are no longer mad at by being mad at one of the people you were not mad at, and with whom you talked negatively about the person you now are not mad at.  How could the person you are now mad at be so mean?  Plus, there was this one time a while back when they did a bad thing; now that you think about it, that was a really mean, bad thing.  This person you are now mad at only cares about themself. 

You meet up with the person you are no longer mad at to talk negatively about the person you are now mad at behind their back.  The person you are not mad at agrees and suddenly has a lot of very true observations about the person you are mad at.  There is a lot of behavior to criticize and the two of you talk through it.  You don’t say anything to the person you now like about the bad things you said to the person you used to like about the person you now like.  You think to yourself you didn’t mean those things.  The person you now like understands, even though they didn’t know it happened because it happened behind their back.  But the person you no longer like has definitely behaved badly.  That person only cares about themself, and that person says one thing but does another.  It’s sad, you and the person you now like think.  It’s sad because you thought you could trust this person you no longer like.  Now the person might as well be an enemy.  Now everything they said and did is whisked away in uncertainty.  It’s a good thing you have the person you now like.  The person you now like is trustworthy and you understand each other. 

You and the person you used to not like but now like part ways. Later that night, lying awake in bed, you stare into the dark ceiling crying and thinking about how everyone is mad at you, including the person you now like.  You apply every criticism you’ve had about the behavior of people you are mad at to yourself.  You are mad at yourself and why would anyone not be mad at you?  Who are you but a collection of everyone you are mad at?  Before you know it, you are awake the next morning.  You are meeting the person you now like for breakfast.  You walk into the kitchen and begin preparing a waffle for one.

John Loves His Cheese

•December 10, 2012 • 4 Comments

A packed train car is silent but for one woman’s voice talking into her phone. Everyone can hear her side of the conversation and is politely not reacting. To whoever is on the other end, she mentions recipes involving various kinds of cheese.  Fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, sharp cheddar, from extraspecial grocery store whats-its-name, and she says, “Well, you know John loves his cheese.  Every day he eats a cheese sandwich.”  Does he?

She hangs up the phone and there is silence.  The massive metal and plastic train creaks on the tracks beneath it.  Intermittent multi-tone horns yell into the air near intersections.  If attention is payed to these noises for several minutes, one feels a sense of dread.  A robust imagination might even recall sensational descriptions of the end of the world, or of the sun exploding.  Well, you know John loves his cheese.  Every day he eats a cheese sandwich.

A different passenger behind me begins chewing on things that crunch like thicket sticks under slow heavy boots.  These items are being eaten one at a time, disintegrating in a trap of vertical grinding and a swarm of digestive juice.  It is all over for the items. Many men of the past made machines to cut such items by the million. Many men of the future operated and oiled those machines, cared for them as if creatures to sustain. This lady on the train fulfilled the purpose of the items, and her own, according to a small crew of executive humans of the past, who themselves played by true rules as old as the oxygen they breathed. Lit paths are taken through the night. What does an original thought feel like?  Well, you know John loves his cheese.  Every day he eats a cheese sandwich.

Things at Rest Observed

•December 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Shaun Gannon has written a very nice ebook called Brown Fuzzy Words.  You can read it here.

Here are some descriptions of cool art I have displayed in my apartment:

1.  An old, fragile, wooden nativity, measuring approximately 6″ x 6″ x 4″, with a cassette tape of Dr. Dre’s single Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang lodged in between a small shelter and two figures bowing down to worship at the manger.  The nativity was a gift from my aunt during the period of my life when I was questioning my faith.  The cassette tape was purchased maybe two years ago for one dollar or less – I don’t remember – at a thrift store on impulse.  Not long after purchasing the tape, I decided the two would make a riotous combination, and I have not separated them since.

2.  An exact mold of my teeth that was taken minutes after my braces were removed in middle school.  The upper jaw and gums piece is separate from the lower, but instinctively, I have always rested them one on top of the other, as carefully as possible.  I often forget I have this teeth mold prominently displayed at the edge of the top of the highest of my three bookshelves, facing the only door in or out.

I don’t feel like looking for any more “displayed things” in my apartment to write about, so those’ll do.  I have a lot of things just sitting around.  Tools.  Like slippers and guitar equipment and dishes.

I also have an empty Digiorno frozen pizza box inside an empty pizza delivery box from T.D.’s pizza down the street from my apartment.  “It’s not delivery; it’s Digiorno” a garbage picker will someday say.