Although I still consider myself a writer, I’m completely out of words.
It’s been this way for a few years already.
And no, it’s not that I have writer’s block. There just isn’t anything worth saying anymore.
I bring this up today because it’s my dad’s birthday. He would have been eighty if he didn’t brutally die from a brain tumor. And I would have liked to put down a few words about it but as I said, there aren’t any left.
It’s like I’m sitting next to a stream of water running down a mountainside. Watching leaves and pebbles float by. Thinking, I am those leaves. I am those pebbles. I am this river.
Normally, right at this point, I would say, once again, that I’m not posting about my dad for social media sympathy or “likes”, but I’m doing it for anyone who might need to hear, whether they know it or not, that time is passing, as Dylan would say, like a jet plane. And we need catch up with our loved ones while we still can. And I would probably add a little bit about kindness too. But how many more times can I say the same thing about the only thing worth saying a thing about?
So, I’ll just continue to sit here by the side of this stream. Missing my dad a lot. But no more than yesterday. And no less than the day before.
Waiting for the day Love transcends ego. Because life, obviously, will just continue to be an endless circle of violence, inner and outer, until that day comes.
These words, and the thoughts behind them, are intended with love and with gratitude for the goodness in the world and for the goodness which will prevail.
As soon as they sat down I thought of my friend Rob.
We’ve been close buddies since the 7th grade and that’s like 900 years in dog years (37 in human years). I don’t know how often these two get to see each other at Starbucks but Rob and I meet up for a quick coffee, which ends up turning into two to three hours, nearly every week.
And I thought of Rob as soon as they sat down because I can just picture us at that age, sitting across from each other as old men with our cups of coffee, shaking our heads in disbelief at the time that zipped by as if someone pressed fast-forward on that old yellow walkman I used to have.
With wrinkled faces, loose skin and white hair, we’d certainly say to each other, “What the hell happened to us?”
And that almost made me cry while I was sitting there at Starbucks today. Thinking of being old. Missing our youth. The end approaching sooner than later.
But just then, out of the clear blue, the universe baptized me in the waters of perspective and before my mind made tears through some sort of alchemy, I was caused to think, “Wait. If my best friend and I still look relatively healthy like those two, and can still laugh lightheartedly like they are, it would be a goddamn gift. We’d be so lucky.”
I also thought about how my dad never got to grow old with his friends. And I thought about the 812,205 Americans who have died, so far, from covid. And about those kids who were killed in that Michigan school shooting the other day.
(I’ve been sitting here for a few minutes trying to find a way to end this piece but everything which needs to be said was said two paragraphs ago. But with that, I’ve been listening to Abbey Road as I type away to you on my ipad and within the last few seconds the lads sang, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” So, let’s just leave it at that. I love you all. No, for realz I do. )
I was just sitting outside of a cafe with a coffee and my ipad when this bone thin woman around my age, a Karen, jettisoned out of the place and said with exacerbation, “I can’t believe people are still wearing masks!”
She spewed it into the wind with no audience in mind but certainly was eyeballing me for a dose of “you agree with me, right?” which I sure as fuck wasn’t going to give her.
Instead, I said, but only because she put her stuff down near me in order to take photos of her food for some inexplicable reason, “Well, there’s a pandemic going on out there.”
And I swear I said it sweetly, mater-of-factly, without any aggression or sarcasm. Just your friendly neighborhood Gaberman imparting a bit of common sense about current affairs.
That is, until she, like a snot said, “No there’s not.”
Which was the catalyst for me to say, “Wait, you don’t have a newspaper or TV?”
She smugly smiled like I caught her farting. Like a Karen.
That’s also the moment when I noticed she had, not just one but two crosses dangling around her neck which was, for the record, wrinkling prematurely.
I continued by asking, “Why would you even care if someone wore a mask to protect you from getting sick?”
Still trying to get a good shot of her carrots like it was some sort of goddamn GQ cover, she looked up at me and laughed in my face as if I was one of those poor beggars on the street that I’m sure she never ever ever gave a single cent to.
That’s it cunt-rag. Gloves. Are. Off.
“Hey, I see those two crosses around your neck,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea, at all, what it’s like NOT to serve two masters.”
She nervously smiled and kept her head down.
I continued with, “I wonder if you have any idea at all what it’s like to ACTUALLY love your neighbor.”
I let that sink in for about a half of a sec and then said, “The truth is, you point your bullshit to a complete stranger without even knowing or caring how I may feel about it. You walk around with those two crosses around your neck and you wouldn’t know the first thing about what Jesus said. Would you?”
At this point in our story, you might be asking yourself, “Why did I go for the jugular like GI Joe and the kung-fu grip?”
Because she, along with her demonic death-cult ilk, is directly responsible, and continues to contribute to, all of the ills facing our country. From covid to this constant constitutional crisis that causes anxiety to arise incessantly in me and anyone else who is good hearted.
Therefore, when the opportunity arises, I am, as John Lennon said, Instant Karma. Or better yet, as Radiohead said, the Karma Police.
So, fuck you and your phony Christianity. How dare you do this to us.
But what did I say to her as she picked up her shit and left in a defeated huff? Well, because I know the real real and live it, all day everyday, I said, “Hey, regardless, I hope you stay safe and I hope you don’t get sick.”
And for all you out there reading this and think I went too far with her, or wasted my time with her, or think shouldn’t have typed the word cunt, well, I hope you stay safe too.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?
I saw a guy on the beach yesterday smoking a cigar while getting his fishing rod ready to cast a line into the sea. He looked like a smug Stanley Tucci character in some Meryl Streep movie you’re just too goddamn lazy to switch off. But who knows, maybe he’s actually a nice guy in real life and I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Either way, this Tucci fellow, in order to relax, and/or feel more like a real man, was willfully pulling cancerous smoke into his body while trying to kill innocent beings for the sheer joy of it. And as I walked past him, I thought of a Facebook memory that popped up for me earlier in the day. It was a screenshot of something I wrote (just in my head at first) while walking along a beach up north on Long Island a few years earlier.
“Humanity will amount to nothing more than a murderous and suicidal plague on the Earth’s surface until the love of love transcends the love of money.”
But in this case you can swap out “selfishness” for “money” because really, whats the fucking difference?
Thankfully though, while I was reading at a park later that day, I saw a monster of a guy, with huge tattooed arms and a menacing beard, wearing one of those front facing knapsack things and inside of it was the most adorable little baby girl you’ve ever seen wearing a perfectly pink little hat. And. He. Just. Loved. Her.
I waved to her and said in the voice I reserve for toddlers and kittens and puppies, “Hello little one! I love your hat.”
And then I looked up to him and said, sans puppy voice, “Hey man, she’s sooo cute.”
He smiled genuinely through his beard of fury and then gave me the most sincere, “Thanks so much man.”
And this, right here, proves the point I’ve been making since the beginning:
Underneath all of humanity’s bullshit, we really just want to love and to be loved. It’s our instinct. It’s our reflex.
You see the toughest looking guys wanting to hold their girlfriend’s hands. Then there’s this Wolverine dude in the park yesterday adjusting his baby’s pink hat to keep the sun out of her eyes. And you always always always hear about people jumping into freezing waters to save absolute strangers from their certain deaths.
Hmm, maybe I’ve been wrong about something all along. I always say that we need to evolve to the point where kindness becomes our set-point if we hope to survive, but maybe it’s actually the opposite.
Maybe we need to devolve instead of evolve. Devolve to our instincts. Our instinct to love. To love all people, fish and everything in between as if they were ourselves.
So, with all of that said, thank you once again for trading your time to read my words and thank you even more for considering them.
And since it’s almost Halloween, here’s a photo of me dressed as Batman. With vampire teeth of course.
“We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” – C.S. Lewis
That’s exactly it.
Because I, maybe like you, feel a constant longing. A homesickness. A homesickness for a moment that is, well, more real than this current one. A moment that I don’t feel like I’m waiting for something better to come along. And when I turn away from social media and submerge myself in beauty, either as the fully abiding witness or the creator through the means of what seems like divine design, it feels, well, more real.
Like it’s Thanksgiving. And I’m walking into the house I grew up in for the first time in a long time and everyone’s home and happy to see me.
P.S. I am actually drinking coffee in this photo because I hate it in movies or on TV shows when the cups are so obviously empty.
Walking under the moonlight, just out of reach of the breaking waves on the beach tonight, I thought of my dad.
I was sitting with my parents on this exact stretch of beach about fifteen years ago when I spontaneously stood up to take a walk. I made it about a thousand feet away until I got the feeling that my dad was watching me with his giant binoculars which, if it was during WWII, were powerful enough to spot non-submerged German U-boats for many miles.
What did I do about this?
Obviously the only thing that made sense to do in that moment. I stuck my fist up on in the air without turning around and sent him a long distance middle finger.
And an hour later when I made it back to the spot where my parents were still sitting, my dad starting laughing and I knew he received my message.
I smiled and he called me a “pisser” in his Brooklyn accent. I felt that memory like it was yesterday.
But those thoughts lead to others which also feel like yesterday. Those next thoughts arose in me quickly, beyond my control, and by the time I could see them coming around the corner of my mind, it was too late. I had no choice but to think them: My dad was really sick and fell in bathroom and I had to bust in and lift him up because he couldn’t stand anymore and we had to call fire rescue and…
No. That’s enough of that. I’m crying now as I type.
But let me just say this…
And I know you’re expecting me to say something about loving your loved ones while you can and don’t take them for granted etc etc, but since you’re probably reading this on social media, I’m going take this opportunity to address social media.
Don’t let Facebook or Instagram or Dicktock make you feel that something is wrong with you if you’re sad. Or lonely. Or unloved. Or broken. Or scarred from the past. Or like you’re not enough.
I assure you, these attention seeking people (although there are good intentioned ones out there as well) who tell you to just choose happiness all the time as if it’s a just some simple decision we’re too thick-headed to see, have never seen a loved one suffer. I mean, to really fucking suffer. And if they have, they’re 50,000 thousand leagues under the sea of denial about it.
So, don’t let them make you feel bad for feeling bad. It can be bad enough as it is. As you know.
Just let yourself feel how you feel. And then maybe, in time, but not too much of it, turn to gratefulness. Or to forgiveness. Or to gentleness. Or to love. Or to silence and stillness. Or all of these in whatever order feels right.
But don’t do this in efforts to be happy. It won’t work. And you can trust me on this because I’ve tried exactly that countless times and it always fails. Always.
Happiness can’t be the goal of gratitude or forgiveness or silence. The goal of gratitude must be gratitude itself. The goal of forgiveness must be forgiveness. The goal of silence is only to be silent.
Because those things toggle you into the present moment where things are usually a bit more okay. And then from there, maybe happiness will slip under the door of your mind on its own accord. But only when the universe is ready for it to do so. And not a moment sooner.
To close this up, I’ll share with you what I’m most grateful for in this right in this second. I deeply know, in every cell of my body and all of the spaces in between, that good is prevailing.
Even with all of the horror I’ve seen, I know fully that good is prevailing.
Please feel free to know this with me.
Manywith their periscopes popping through the surface of the water.