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"No" begets "no tolerance" begets "low tolerance" begets "hello, tolerance" begets "hellish tolerance" begets "hell" begets a lifetime of deceit. It happens so slowly, you can't pinpoint a conscious choice. Cement sets faster than addiction, but it also happens so quickly, you can't even catch your breath. That's a comfortable conceit. It's neither, it's both, it's everything in between.

Enamored with the illusion of free will, critics denounce the passive voice and place all the blame on the individual. All the while, no one can answer the question of why anyone would voluntarily choose such a life. Fealty to the religion of rugged individualism gives way to the religion of recovery. Rye, the catcher therein, and all that. At least Salinger had the decency to withdraw from the public eye.

Yellow journalism latches on to a single story of spiraling down and climbing up, and extrapolates to all manner of circumstances. Escaping the cycle is the key, that's true, but nobody writes about the relapse. “See Dick down, see Dick up. Up, Dick, up... and so on.” Only next month, Dick will spiral down again, and no one will be there to write a followup because that doesn’t fit the narrative. Venerable this tradition ain’t; venemous is more like it. Itching for the next fix makes our delicate readers uncomfortable. Leave that part on the cutting room floor; the only story we can stomach is the one about redemption. Only the glorious upswing, never the hellish path. There's no need to trouble these comfortable minds and furnished souls with disquieting thoughts of the restless volcano.

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Fresh from being chastised for expressing my personal opinion, on my personal blog and other strictly personal venues, about matters that may, or may not, ever intersect the realm of the impersonal a.k.a. corporate, I take a detour into the strictly, perhaps overly, personal, viz. how to talk to my own children about the dangers of drugs that I myself have taken -- both medicinally and recreationally -- and the many others that I have not, only to receive emails and IMs via impersonal a.k.a. corporate media from strangers-but-strictly-speaking-coworkers asking if everything is OK over there in personal-land.

Nearly simultaneously, I discover in a roundabout way that other strangers in "personal-land" have tweeted about said blog and someone else has read it and asked if anyone else knows me in real life and someone else has looked up where I live and someone else has called the Apex PD and a very nice police officer who says that he has read the things I have posted on my... "blawg"... as if it was the first time he'd ever uttered the word out loud, which, in all fairness, it might well have been, and who asks, as politely as one can ask such a thing, whether I plan to kill myself before lunchtime.

The very next day, and on many other days before it, I travel great distances to speak at conferences at the behest of, and as a representative of, my employer, where I say many fine and wonderful things on their behalf, to many accolades, after which strangers send me email and IMs and tweets and generally contact me via what I would like to consider personal venues, to ask me followup questions about the topics on which I spoke on behalf of my employer, including but not limited to whether I would be willing to speak at yet more conferences and risk having the entire cycle repeat itself. I say "yes" sometimes, and "no" other times, but the path by which such requests make their way into my brain is not one of the factors in determining the outcome.

My attempts at compartmentalization have failed. There is only one inbox.

On the down side (that was the up side), there is no "off the clock." There is no "not on company time." There is no "not speaking on behalf of..." Disclaimers to the contrary are commonplace, well-rehearsed, and futile. Technologies that "help" us to link our disparate personas will inevitably intertwine them with our impersonas too. There are no "strictly personal venues." And when nothing can be said without being misconstrued, there is nothing left to be said.

My attempts at compartmentalization have failed. There is only one outbox.

I am big tired.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer. Like that fucking matters.

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Everyone is what they preach: pragmatism, fatalism, pessimism. My end is contained in my beginning: predestined, foreshadowed, prescribed. Drugs win drug war. Recalling a lifetime of selective self-destruction, I die alone, simultaneously over– and under-medicated.

Death is another day; the object of life is to cheat it. "The years are like octaves, scales descending the keyboard." Days, months, years, a process of continually arrested falling. Gravity, thou art a heartless bitch. How can you keep from falling forever? Ridiculous. So at last, the future cries "Enough!" and slams its fist on the acrostic.

Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos. Someday my funeral will be videotaped and released under a Creative Commons license. Eulogy for a writer: viewed 1 time. Even Chapin did better than that. "The scene at the graveyard, just three of us were there / Me and the gravedigger, we heard the parson's prayer / He said we need not grieve for this man, for we know that God cares." So at last, the future cries "Enough!" and slams its fist six feet into the ground.

Drug abuse is punishable by twenty years in federal prison. Never ends, that drug war; it just goes round and round. Don't do drugs, kids, unless you want to end up like Michael Phelps -- eight gold medals BUT NO FUCKING CEREAL CONTRACT. That's a tossup.

Parenting is tough. How do I explain that drugs are bad but I turned out okay? Yet I still expect to die from them someday, but maybe not this year because I'm currently between addictions? Since before they were born, their daddy's medicine cabinet has been full of drugs, but those don't count because they're legal. Like Oxy? Yeah, that's Schedule II and addictive as fuck, but it's all good if a doctor scribbles something on a piece of paper. Really? You don't remember that lesson from health class in junior high? Hmm, must've been sick that week.

Kids-of-the-future-who-have-learned-to-read, there's no Oxy in the medicine cabinet. Three other daily medications, yes. Schedule II painkillers, no. Or even Schedule III. I did have something strong when I had that kidney stone for a month, though. How can you have a kidney stone for a whole month, I hear you cry? You don't want to know. Weeks in constant pain, and the motherfucker just Would Not Pass. Surgeons had to go in after it. Through... the... anyway, it was unpleasant is what I'm saying. Got to spend several weeks in bed, on so many painkillers I couldn't sleep or shit anymore, all because some 6-millimeter motherfucking lump got stuck in some less-than-6-millimeter motherfucking passageway that I had problems even motherfucking pronouncing. Growing old is awesome.

"Enough!" cries the future, and slams its fist on the malapropism.

"My Corey's coming / No more sad stories coming."

God, if you're listening, this guy's walking down a street, when he falls in a hole. Everything else is great, but this hole, God, it makes no sense to me. Every time I try to fill it, it just gets deeper. Realized that a long time ago, standing at the bottom looking up. Probably could've benefited from a warning sign at the top, is what I'm saying. Gods, games, and legerdemain. "Nobody else could have fallen in this way, as this hole was meant only for you." Utter tripe, balderdash, sound and fury, stuff and nonsense.

Eulogy for a writer: I guess he finally got the last word.

Don't take it too seriously. You'll never make it out alive.

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Several things:

I was never a big player of video games growing up, but I've recently gotten engrossed in them by way of my children. My older son plays New Super Mario Bros. Wii with me. Having finished all the worlds together, I find myself going back and collecting the "Star Coins," of which there are 3 on each level. Some are cleverly hidden, others are out in the open but difficult to get. Collecting them unlocks in-game hint movies, all of which are more easily playable on Youtube -- even my six-year-old son knows this -- but still, I spend hours collecting them, and he high-fives me whenever I unlock a new movie.

It pains me to think that he might grow up doing the same with his cubicle-mates around some future version of Ribbon Hero and some future version of Office, but I suspect that's the direction we're headed.

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