Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The complicated context of the "N" word.

Paula Deen is a nigga, for using the word nigga, and trying squash some nigga shit with a nigga bullshit apology. Talking about it distressing her when young county niggas in her kitchens call each other niggas in conversation in front of her --which she feel gives wack ass niggas a reason to use that word nigga when they ain’t niggas. She ain’t my nigga, but I can be a nigga to her. Nigga, if you understood what I just spit, then you a real nigga and not some fake ass nigga.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I quit

Nobody quits with a two week notice anymore. It's usually an email. Here is mine for my horrendous job as a waiter for a catering service.

Date: 5/21/12

By now I am sure you are aware that I was a "no-show" for the Air and Space museum event. Ironically I did show up for the event, fully dressed in my tuxedo and then decided I couldn't do it anymore. I am too much of a nice guy and it was turning me evil. I couldn't take another six hours of being overworked with no breaks with constant yelling, confusion, unnecessary drama, berating, humiliation and treated like a third class citizen from management and not the patrons. There was such an extreme feeling of happiness walking away but also guilt. I admit, some assignments were entertaining but few in-between, but the majority were a bloody nightmare that tested latent violent tendencies. I could say, "I'm not cut out for that type of work," but the truth would be that I am “not cut” out to work for those types of people who act more like whipping guards at a slave auction than managers. The number of times I had to hold my breath, my anger, walk away depleted and divested --dramatically outnumbered any feeling of pride for my day. I know now that if a job makes you so sick in the stomach, one should just run from it. I don't think of it so much as quitting, but enlightenment. I wish you the best in your endeavors. I've dry cleaned the jackets last week and will return them tomorrow. Free at last, Michael Whitley

Monday, February 13, 2012

The haunt for Normal: The cure for the Holiday Werewolf

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, …1!!!

I opened my eyes. I was in my bed. I was sober. I heard the countdown in the background on T.V. It was the Los Angeles countdown which meant on the East coast, where I had returned to D.C., it was 3’clock in the morning. I decided to turn on my cell phone again. It was the only way I could resist the temptation of the yearly mandatory debaucheries and figured I’d reached my 30 gallon limit of Bacardi Rum. I didn’t want to start the New Year in bad debt with my alcoholism.

I felt elated and not because it was 2012 and the world was coming to an end--according to the Maya calendar. I also had found the cure for the Holiday Werewolf. And it wasn’t a silver bullet, cop sirens or a restraining order. It was guilt and the disappointment of a little girl. “See daddy, sinners got souls too!”

Three months before, I could feel the change again like a taunting full face moon to mental psych ward that’s run out of happy pills. The leaves were turning an arduous orange and falling to the ground imitating non Irish Saint Patrick Day drunks. I was ignoring it. I had no desire to rake the change of season abortions into piles and stuff into black large bags. I knew soon it would be my birthday. Next would come Halloween. But the real scary shit was that creepy nails on the chalkboard feeling also known as the Holiday Season: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But every year, I remember that I was infected with the Holiday Werewolf when I ran away when I was 15 years old. They didn’t even come looking for me. I guess the government check for the assigned assholes --cashed. I knew I would have to somehow forced happiness to deal with my father being murdered on Christmas day and my mother’s lost to my shame of her.

In other words, I wasn’t a great party guest.

So, I avoided company Christmas parties like paying rent in the ghetto. My attitude usually turned to decades spoiled souls. I got into arguments with lovers who wanted to put up Christmas trees or invite me to their parents’ house. I wasn’t worried how they would explain their permanent same sex roommate, but where was my family. I never wanted to talk about my family. I had two older sisters, and we never talked about our family. We just tried to avoid the subject. I celebrated by calling them drunk on the assigned family appreciation holidays and cursing and crying about the past. In other words, the rage of the Holiday Werewolf. But finally at 34 years old, I’d found the cure. I was now an uncle.

Joy to the world! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Festive music fills the air; holiday cheer abounds. Everyone is happy at holiday time — right? Wrong.

My Jamican pimp, and his gold Las Vegas chains, aka therapist asked me, “E’Mon wha de fuck is a Holiday Werewolf?”

I dialed the number and listen to the ringing like a countdown on a bomb that I was quickly trying to disfigure. I figured I get the answer machine because nobody answered my phone calls during the holidays. I was the castaways of the homeless. My anger had no my romanticism. I was finally alone, which I asked Santa since I was hungry on the streets for many years as a kid. I was alone, to deal with old pain. And those who left me alone, respected it. I was as hood cockroach.

“What?!” It was my niece, Blessing. Yes, that was her name.
“Happy Holidays?” Silence. I knew she is trying to figure out my voice. In the background I heard my sister. “Who that?”
“It’s him.” Her voice was very childlike and heavy with disappointment. If my heart had tender sweaty balls, she just kicked them in it.
“Tell him I will call him back” yelled my sister in the background. I knew she was lying. I hung up the phone. She wasn’t calling back. She never calls back anymore. They never call back.

For the last couple of years, In A.A. meetings, I’ve been standing up in front of a group of strangers and say, “Hi, my name is Michael and I am a Holiday Werewolf.” Normally, I was a simple, boring and law abiding guy, but for some reason, the last two months of the year I became that asshole who stole wreaths off people doors, keep down Christmas trees in open yards and tore down the fucking annoying lights. One morning I woke up naked in my bed with Christmas tinsel all over my body and dangling from my mouth. I had no memory of what the fuck happened.

And ever year like a fool’s full moon, I could feel the change creeping at the end of October when my trendy upper scale grocery store put up the Thanksgiving decoration. The feeling is like a taunting bully flipping at my ear until I pimp slap his punk ass. Or like a baby crying for mile and watching everyone walk by. But this year it was Justin Beiber that really drove me over the edge.

Justin Beiber. Not a name that often comes out of my mouth. I try my best to ignore that he exists but secretly love to YouTube that song “Baby.” It’s so damn catchy like letting Everybody loves Raymond’s mom, Doris Roberts, suck your dick without her teeth. It can be weirdly comforting but a dangerous gateway drug into some real kinky fucked up portal.

Justin Beiber had been on my television all morning. The young lesbian was promoting a holiday album. He sounded like the chipmunks. For three hours, he dominated the morning shows. When it was time for the “View” I decided I watch the interview because I couldn’t find the remote. I suddenly had an interest in what Barbara Walters might ask him. It was the typical questions: “How did it feel to be a teenage rapist?” “What drug will he eventually overdose on?” “And what did he think about the Super Congress Committee failure to come up with a budget?” Ye know, the deep shit. Yet, the question that really bothered me was, “How do you stay so normal.” I found my remote. It was in my hand the entire time. I turned up the volume. The Beiber responded that it was surrounding himself with people he loved like his mother and close family members. It was a Hollywood answer, very rehearsed and smug.

I felt the Holiday Werewolf in me growl. It pissed me off. And what was normal? Who the fuck is normal? And why would Barber Walters ask that question? It is a shitty fact, nobody is “normal” especially during the Holiday Season. Matter of fact, it’s when we all realize at the how abnormal we really are, and might just have a bit of drinking problem.

Hating on Justin Beiber made me remember my niece’s voice. She like any girl her age was obsessed with that freak show. She was new. She was uninfected. She was hope. I was ruining it with my bullshit. When I called, I was just doing my routine. But she was at the age where she would remember. Her disappoint in me, haunted. Was she losing her innocence? Was I the blame?

She was just a child and I couldn’t explain to her how my heart had soured. I just wanted for her what I never had. A childhood. And If I couldn’t be a good uncle, I damn sure was not going to be that Uncle that shows up drunk every holiday. So I knew I had to disappear like the dog I grew up feeling like into the woods to die alone. At least, with our children they can be kids a little long. Too late for so many of us.

And suddenly I felt the cure. I knew why parents lied to their children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Jesus. It was to maintain the innocence as long as possible. Or to revisit that innocence within them one more time.

I was once innocent. I used to believe that I control the wind. It was 2011, the world was ending and I needed to find it again. I sent my niece a Justin Beiber gift box set. I imagined her face when she got it. It made me smile. I could feel her childlike joy slowly killing the Holiday Werewolf in me.

My sister named my niece Blessing. One day I will tell her the story how she got that name. Maybe Scrooge wasn’t a bad person, just another misunderstood Holiday Werewolf.

Sometimes the call of love heals us all.