March 21st, 2001


Did y'all miss me?

What do you MEAN you didn't know I was gone! Hmph!

Anyway ... I finally dealt with the left-over stock up at Access Publishers Network. Bright and early on Monday morning I took the Blue Line el down to "terra incognito" (I don't think I'd ever taking the blue line south from the Loop) to the "new" Greyhound station (new to me ... I hadn't taken the bus since they moved the station from up on Randolph), and got on an Indian Trails bus heading to Kalamazoo where I was to change busses to get to Traverse City. Slept most of the way. One screw-up happened in the planning ... I'd gotten a motel room on the "main drag" up in Traverse City, and had reserved a U-Haul truck for pick-up at the gas station two doors down the block ... somehow that did not work for U-Haul so I eneded up having to take a cab back across town to a U-Haul location right down the block from the bus station ... if there had only been a hotel down that way I could have cut out two cross-town cab fares. Oh well.

Once I got settled in this big honking 14-ft truck (I made the "mistake" of actually reading the specs on the U-Haul web site ... it turns out that you can only put about 900 pounds of stuff in their 11-ft trucks, and even less in the vans! The load of books I was picking up was going to be in the ballpark of 2,500 lbs, so I had to go with the big truck) I made my way down to Grawn, MI (which took some adjusting, since I'd only brought my map print-outs which "got me there" from the other end of town). I was really surprised at how unimpressive the Access operation looked ... it was three "pole barns" linked together down a dirt road off a county road. I don't know what I was expecting ... maybe something more like the corporate digs of Borders over in Ann Arbor. Anyway, the books were on two skids that they were able to fork-lift into the truck, and I was on my way.

MapQuest had charted out a kind of funky route for me down to I-94 ... it was kind of "back roads", but there was like ZERO traffic so it did go fast (probably faster than the "more logical" route down the coast). I stopped for a late lunch in South Haven and gassed the truck up again ... my "ballparking" on the gas costs were pretty much dead on ... I put in $60.00 worth, which is a bit more than I needed (trying to bring it back at 1/4 ... could have probably gone with $50, but might have had to make an extra stop to throw a few more gallons in before takign it back). Traffic did not get REALLY bad until I got into Chicago proper ... that route in from the south is NUTS. I "accidentally" got off the expressway down my the old Maxwell Street market area, which worked out fine (I used to go down there to sell stuff with The Foundation on Sunday mornings back in a "previous life") as I was able to take Halsted up north. I had previously "cased out" places that I could park a truck overnight, but they were all going to be charging me an arm and a leg to do so, but I had an inspiration that required me getting up here before 5pm. The Public Storage that Eschaton uses as our "warehouse" has big loading dock area that is locked up tight at night ... closing at 5pm. I swung the truck up in front of the place at about 4:45pm and popped into the office saying "Uh, obviously, I'm not going to be able to get this unloaded tonight ... could I leave this in the dock overnight and unload in the morning?", and they were fine with that ... which was great, from both a $$$ and a convenience aspect (just have to run over there when they open and start hauling boxes without having to get the truck out of a lot).

Anyway, I'm sure folks had a burning desire to know what happened to me over the past couple of days.

I wrote a couple of poems over the two days ... not real great stuff ... dealing mainly with my apprehension about the trip. Since I don't drive as a regular thing, and have only driven a truck a couple of times, and was damn near killed in a horrible wreck 8 years ago, I have lots of phobias that come up around driving. I was having all sorts of visions of being back in the hospital, semi-conscious with tubes all over me. (Shudder.) Needless to say, I will be very happy to get this truck back into the hands of U-Haul tomorrow. The poems will be up when I get a chance to decipher them.

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Three poems for you tonight ... here's #1

OK ... so I've got a little narration to go with these three poems. As I've noted previously, I went off to Traverse City to bring back the remaining Eschaton stock from our erstwhile distributor. I was feeling VERY apprehensive about this trip for several days in advance. I had been in a very-nearly-fatal car crash in the fall of 1993 which messed me up on a lot of levels (most notably ... my extended absence was the coup de grace for our Public Relations firm which shut its doors at the end of 1993 ... and I have not had a paycheck in the 87 months since). I was feeling like I was on the verge of another really horrific car crash. I was having day-dreams (and nod-off-for-a-half-hour sleep dep dreams) of being in hospital beds with tubes coming out of every natural and several addtional orifices. I wrote this up in the hotel the night before I picked up the truck, pretty damn sure that this "gesture" of trying to salvage what was left of Eschaton was just one final nasty twist of fate.

                    WHEN VISIONS SAY WE DIE

                    so much
                    so wrong
                    so often
                    so predictable
                    no wonder
                    this fear engulfs us
                    no wonder
                    we dread unknowns

                    sleepless visions
                    haunt our days
                    of agonies
                    we've suffered
                    as though a promise
                    of more pain
                    awaiting us
                    in coming hours

                    will even these
                    few words be read
                    when caked in blood
                    or burned by petrol?
                    who will know
                    to take this from
                    the charred remains
                    the mangled body

                    all I see are tubes
                    tubes for breathing
                    tubes for pee
                    tubes for feeding
                    tubes for blood
                    tubes for numbing
                    a pain which will not end
                    not in this life

                    is this how it ends,
                    the empty gesture
                    of a broken dream,
                    a mission of salvage
                    to grasp at shattered hope
                    only to enter
                    a trap of bitter fate
                    a final cruel deceit?

                             - Brendan Tripp

                    Copyright © 2001 by Brendan Tripp

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And here's #2 ...

So, this was written sitting in McDonald's having a Big Breakfast. Already things were screwed up (the truck was across town instead of at the U-Haul location that I had to walk past to get to breakfast), even to the extent of McDonald's being out of those little half-and-half containers for the coffee (OK, so I take my "cosmic signs" where I find them). As folks familiar with my writing know, I take some measure of comfort in the Mahabharata's depiction of the battle at Kuruksetra where Prince Arjuna is struck by the horror of the coming battle where it is certain that vast numbers of his extended family (on both sides) will be slaughtered, and is hesitant to allow it to occur. His charioteer is, of course, Krishna, who (in essence) tells him "hey, you're a Warrior ... going to war is your function ... get over it!" ... I have often taken this thread in buying ads for Eschaton or doing promos for my Network Marketing business that I was feeling less than confident in from that general "I'm fucked" standpoint ... i.e. there are a lot of situations where you'd rather not DO what you pretty much HAVE TO do, but if you're going to BE what you ARE you still have to DO them. Thus the references in here.

                    CAN'T SEE NO KRISNA COMING

                    from unsteady starts
                    into motion
                    plans already
                    compromised ...
                    is this all
                    that will go wrong now
                    or just the theme
                    becoming clear?

                    as Arjuna
                    we must face this,
                    a daunting task
                    which now demands
                    our action to obey;
                    we fear its lines,
                    the looming threat,
                    the unknown at each turn

                    we seek anger
                    as an escape
                    and dread the drift
                    that leads to sleep;
                    but none of this
                    will function here,
                    we must find vectors
                    to unswerving flow

                    too many myths appear
                    embedded in the grid;
                    we hear the echos
                    of future days unseen
                    or perhaps crosstalk
                    from another path
                    that hopefully won't be
                    the envelope's collapse

                    and so into
                    this fate we step
                    with fear and doubt
                    and anguished pain,
                    hoping that the funhouse ride
                    will simply exit
                    at the other side
                    with awaiting souvenirs

                             - Brendan Tripp

                    Copyright © 2001 by Brendan Tripp

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And, finally ... #3

Yeah, wrote this one tonight. Had one of those "WHAM" things happen. After spending the past three days in rather intense activity trying to salvage what was left of my publishing business (including unloading 2,500+ pounds of books this morning and getting them "restocked" in our storage locker), the first thing The Wife has to say to me this afternoon is a SCREAMING RANT about how fucked our finances are. Mind you, I have been personally trying to live "within our means" for the past several years, while she spends like the proverbial drunken sailor. But it is, of course, ALL MY FAULT. And, as of right now, we have "fumes" left to MAYBE get through next month. After that ... nothing ... have to sell (or at least get a loan on) the apartment.

Now, The Wife has always been very negative about EVERY ONE of my "entrepreneurial projects". She married a P.R. Executive who was making a six figure salary and I guess that's the guy she wants around. Never mind that he used to punch gaping holes in the walls and go on hour-long crying jags, never mind that he had ulcers, a heart condition, migraine headaches, and was a prime candidate to not live to see 40 ... never mind that *I* who used to be that fucking corporate cog am a FAR happier, healthier, and SANER (well, that might be argued) person now, 87 months into no paycheck than I was when I was pulling down a hundred thousand bucks.

From the very beginning, she wanted to me to go get another P.R. job (despite the fact I was still in a hospital bed recuperating from the car crash when my old P.R. job vaporized). I did do stuff like get my C.M.P. (Certified Meeting Professional) accreditation, but at that point I was SO "burned out" that I just couldn't see exchanging one hell-hole job for a new hell-hole job, and tried to start my own company, E.P. Events. Unfortunately, a combination of factors (heck, one of the reasons the P.R. business closed down was that our meeting business was drying up), led to my never landing a "real" account (despite writing a whole string of very-well-received proposals, none of which ever got funded), and this business sort of floated in the background, doing the occasional consulting gig (sort of like my current involvement in Telepathic Media). She fought me every step of the way on Eschaton and has been constantly hostile to every effort I've made towards building my Network Marketing business, even to the point of deliberately sabotaging various efforts over the years.

Now, I have been TRYING to find a job over the past 2-3 years when things have looked bleak for the book business. But I have a bitch of a resume at this point, and (for example) I've been told by three different P.R. agencies that "they wouldn't be comfortable" putting a former senior exec in a mid-level position, EVEN THOUGH I was very clear in being quite willing to take that job. I've also had my resume "round filed" on several occasions when I've made the mistake of sending along (requested) "salary histories", again, the companies figuring that somebody who was making six figures in 1993 wouldn't "stoop" to taking 60K in 2000. I have been trying to be as active as possible in various political/cultural/religious organizations to "network", and I think it is beginning to pay off ... I have the first "real lead" on a possible JOB on the table right now. But, of course, she picks NOW to rag my ass about this.

What set me off? Her comment "it's been the same damn thing the past 8 years ... you're no closer to getting a job than you were in 1994!". Now, let me see if my recall is working here ... I have spent virtually that entire 8 year span working an average of 14 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to build various businesses, working my body and mind to the point of absolute exhaustion on a daily basis, trying to survive on 3 hours of sleep to have time for the Girls (as our daughters arrived) ... but NO ... NONE of that matters .... "I'm no closer to having a job than I was in 1994" ... NOTHING that I've done has meant anything to her. It's ALL FAILURE. It's all WASTING TIME. For all she cares, I might as well have spent the last 8 years hanging out at the Ballpark (one of the activities I had to GIVE UP when I went into this entrepreneurial madness!). And, of course, despite the fact that she took TWO YEARS OFF of work for each of our daughters ... IT'S ALL MY FALUT.

Anyway, this is what came out of this tonight. Frankly, the way I was feeling this evening, the whole "vision of horrible death" I was having before the Michigan trip was actually the Universe saying "KILL YOURSELF NOW!" and offering a clear vision of "a way out". Hell, we just upgraded our insurance ... The Wife and the girls would live very comfortably on that (gee, just like they had old Mr. Six Figure back) if I had ONLY had the SENSE to drive that fucking truck with a full tank of gas into an overpass support going 70 mph. Stupid me.

                    THIS NIGHTMARE WHICH IS HOME

                    and now this darkness
                    becomes required
                    we pass on through
                    our concrete fears
                    only to arrive
                    in a place of blame
                    and loss and agonies
                    here waiting unawares

                    perhaps the other
                    would be preferred
                    the pain of fire,
                    twisted metal, tubes,
                    and fading death
                    to the anguish and shame
                    of this darker place
                    which acts as home

                    for we are now
                    the focus of descent
                    the one whose failings
                    form the pattern of the day,
                    as all point to here
                    accusing us of everything,
                    every defeat, every loss,
                    every emptiness between

                    worst of all
                    all our intents
                    all our efforts
                    all our trials
                    are swept aside
                    as though we had not striven
                    as though we hadn't pressed
                    to the very limit of our strength

                    yes, we have no support,
                    no understanding, and no love;
                    our years of driving,
                    doing battle with the void,
                    are thrown away
                    without regard,
                    with only our failures
                    noted as our fate

                             - Brendan Tripp

                    Copyright © 2001 by Brendan Tripp

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