Sunday, October 16, 2005


“You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older.

And now you’re even older.

And now you’re even older.”

-They Might be Giants

Mentalgongfu circa 1995
Photo by Brandon Drew

Time flies, and it doesn’t really matter if you’re having fun. (Though it helps.)

Where are we and how the hell did we get here? It never fails to amaze me, when I look around and remember were we used to be, 6, 8, 10 years ago. And for you old timers, 20, 30, 40 years ago.

Here I am, 24.5 years old, after many misadventures across Iowa and France, as a high school junior and a college freshman, as an exchange student and a super-senior, and now as a reporter dressed in khakis and a finely-knit collared shirt, sitting in school board and city council meetings, interviewing political candidates and reporting on criminal activity.

All the old crews I ran with are scattered to the winds like seeds in a hurricane. Connecticut and California, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, on and on. And the mental places where they find themselves are just as odd. The insurance industry, teaching, coaching, business school, the military, retail management, banking, law, and on and on.

And I look back on liquor and beer-filled nights, lazy afternoons, intense studies and examinations, wanton destruction and a search for brilliance and vision. I recall the good and the bad, the inane and the extraordinary. And when I look around, I’m in awe.

Time is working its magic.
Love, marriage, and children. And of course, heartbreak, pain, struggle, triumph and defeat. The natural course of things.

It’s October, the most beautiful month in the Midwest. November is the worst month, for many reasons. November brings the darkness and cold of winter to our doorsteps; November brings an end to the harvest. All the creatures of the air fly to greener pastures while the creatures of the earth curl up in their dens to wait the winter out. November historically seems to bring bad things my way. Maybe this year will be different. Being on the cusp of November, with a full moon in the sky, I reflect.

In the past year, I have witnessed or been party to a great reunion, a painful breakup, two marriages, several births, and a few divorces. One friend came back from Iraq. Another was sent over.
Two people I went to high school with were charged with some type of murder. Ryan M. was one. He pled guilty to shaking his baby to death. The other is some kid who was a grade or two below me that killed a passenger while allegedly drunk driving. As far as I know, that case is still ongoing.

One of my old friends went to prison (needle drugs). Another is about to get off parole and become manager of a fast-food restaurant. An old buddy works at a porno shop, where he sells various pornographic materials to our peers and their parents.
A few people I know died this year, although not as many as in years past. I got a raise and an increase in gas-mileage reimbursement and didn’t have any major health problems. Between my job, this blog, and my various notebooks I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of material of all kinds.

I learned a lot this year, about myself and others, about the world around me, about science, farming, music, government, journalism, the law, politics, Halo 2 and religion.

And here I am, one year further along, living in the town where I grew up, listening to music, singing songs, smoking cigarettes and working for a living. And everyone else I know or used to know is in his or her odd places, right where they’re supposed to be, I guess.

“No matter where you go, there you are.”

So here I am. But I don’t know where here really is. I know where the path began, I know the twists and turns it has taken, but without knowing where it ends, it’s impossible to know where I am in relation. We can only see the road as far as the next bend or hilltop.

No choice but to keep on hiking. I’ll get there someday. Wherever there is. There are many forks in the road; there are spoons and knives too.


"an ode to Mr. Waits"

so this is it
another November
falls heavy upon us
the trees are scattered shattered skeletons
underneath a fading jack-o-lantern moon

I'm waiting, hibernating
warm inside evading
winter's frosty frothy breath
sleeping dreaming death
'only the leaves
pile of dead leaves'
decaying into december


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