Why I’m Afraid of Haircuts

My hair grows very fast. I know this because, in my family’s lean and early years, my constant haircuts were a source of contention.

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As the member of our little family that contributed least to our financial security, I felt it my responsibility to keep the monetary burden of haircuts as minimal as possible.

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I kept my haircuts down to one or two a year. As a result, this cycle of growth and removal became unintentionally ritualized – a trend that continued long past the age when it is appropriate for parents to pay for personal grooming.

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I did not realize to what extent this cycle had on me until several days ago when I decided to cut my hair before the new semester and found I was deathly afraid.

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There’s a barbershop I pass every time I walk to the grocery store. It’s just some guy’s house with a sign and phone number outside.

This house used to just tell me I was one block away from packaged food. Now every time I passed it,  the house was like a guilt-machine reminding me of my crippling personality flaws.

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I bought more and more groceries to force myself to keep passing the house, until finally I had mustered up enough courage to schedule an appointment.

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Three sunsets later, I returned to the house/barbershop.

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The Barber washed my hair and then cut it.

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I had 25 dollars in my wallet. He charged 20 dollars, so I gave him a 5 dollar tip.  He said if I ever needed a quick trim it was free.

When I looked in the mirror, I was amazed by how symmetrical the haircut was. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that haircut was actually asymmetrical, but in a manner inverse to the way my face is asymmetrical, making the face as a whole therefore symmetrical.

Most haircuts I’ve had try to be perfectly even, but the human face isn’t perfectly even.

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I guess if you decide to cut hair in your basement, you probably know what you’re doing.

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Here’s to new beginnings.

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~Fin

More Canada

I’m back in North North America until school starts up. Canada is nice place to vacation, because everyone does their best to ignore you, especially if you’re the kind of person who looks a little troublesome.

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I went to see a movie with Sister One. It was more difficult than you’d think, because in Canada, days that are close to holidays count as holidays.

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In order to travel to the movie, we took this magical train not available in Real America called the Skytrain. Cars are the transportation of land, airplanes are the transportation of the air, and the Skytrain is transportation of the middle.

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In case you couldn’t figure out what a Skytrain is by the name or that helpful diagram, a Skytrain is a train whose tracks are suspended in the sky rather than bolted into the ground.

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A lot of Canada’s culture is based around doing the opposite of whatever Real America is doing. It’s like those teenage boys who hate Justin Bieber so much that they pay $500 dollars to go to his concert to throw an empty water bottle at him. Justin Bieber doesn’t care where the money comes from. All he cares about is that people keep saying his name. (YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THE FREE PUBLICITY, JUSTIN BIEBER’S MARKETING TEAM.)

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I always enjoy my time here, but I think I’m about ready to return to Real America, where the only Canadians you see pretend like they don’t hate you.

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~Fin

Personal Failure, Part II

(Click the picture below to read the first part. It’s not a requirement. You are free to make your own choices.)

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Now that everyone has completed the first part of my tragedy, I feel confident in giving you the conclusion. Here it goes:

I took financial mathematics because I needed a math credit and I thought the practical application of finances would lend to a practical learning environment.

I was incorrect.

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I turned in assignment after assignment with answers correct down to the decimal point, but would constantly receive zeroes on assignments for doing it the incorrect way (the way the book does it). Eight out of ten answers on the first test were correct. By my math this is an 80 percent. By his math it was a 10 percent.

After the first test was graded, about half the students dropped the class. This moment would have been perfect for me to leave this professor and his ego in the math department where it belonged. No one would blame me if I left.

Instead I took it as a challenge.

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Academia had usually provided little challenge for me, and in the rare instances where I was challenged, a few dedicated study sessions pulled me out of even the most dire of situations. Hell, senior year of high school I had less than half attendance and still managed to pass all my classes. I think technically I shouldn’t have been allowed to receive credit due to my absences, but they let it slide on account of my consistently high grades (and I think it would have required paperwork they didn’t want to do.) I would have even received honors if I attended the mandatory meetings (I didn’t, and they kicked me out.) Before I took financial mathematics, I had never failed a test.

Now I’ve failed four.

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By last month, I was mathematically failing this class. By this I mean that even if I were to magically receive perfect scores on every subsequent assignment and test, I would still not have enough points to pass the class. The amount of people attending the class on any given day had dropped from the initial fifty or so to about eight.

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So why did I continue to stick around even when, mathematically, I had no way of succeeding?

I’ll tell you:

It’s called a grading curve.

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Yes, in order not to feel like terrible teachers, sometimes educators will employ this magical device to curve the grades. F’s become C’s, B’s become A’s, and A’s stay the same because fuck you if you’re getting an A when everyone else is failing.

You see kids, if everyone is failing, than failing is the average, and an average is a C, not an F, you silly, silly children.

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I chatted up the few remaining students, and most of them seemed to be failing or at least close to failing. A beautiful grading curve was inevitable.

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Now, I’d like to tell you that even though I wasn’t the strongest or smartest, even though all the odds were stacked against me, I stuck it out. And because I stuck it out, working hard, studying into the wee hours of the night, turning in failed assignment after failed assignment, my god-damned determination paid off in the end.

I’d like to tell you that.

But I can’t.

Because it didn’t.

I fucking failed and I just have to live with that.

And so do you.

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~Fin

Motivation for Future

As the year begins to unwind and the days grow short and dark, I find myself unable to summon motivation to perform the simplest of tasks – even if these tasks are essential to my survival.

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I think this is a pretty relatable feeling for all of us who have no one to take care of but ourselves. If parents get this way, they go to jail.

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As the sole guardian and caregiver of myself, I have to admit, I am quite negligent. If I could fire myself, I wouldn’t, because that would mean I’m being paid just to stay alive. That would be awesome. However, I would give myself a stern talk about my future employment, which I often do anyway.

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If I spend too long thinking about the future – even twenty-minutes-from-now-future – I feel like I’m falling into a void. The future is full of possibilities, but most possibilities are pretty unappealing.

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Even if I, by some miracle, manage to rise above the ever-growing pool of mediocrity and rise to a grand realm of aesthetic and emotional success, you could still die alone and forgotten. It happens all the fucking time. Just try to think of all the formally successful people who died alone and forgotten. Can’t think of one?

THAT’S BECAUSE YOU FORGOT THEM!

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~Fin

Pilgrims (and genocide)

This will be the first American Thanksgiving I will be spending away from my family. They live up in Canada, which celebrates Thanksgiving in October, because they are insane.

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Once, a group of religious-fundamentalists braved the treacherous oceans and landed on the shores of an unfamiliar country.

They were called Pilgrims.

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Back in their motherland, these Pilgrims were terribly oppressed (I assume for their completely misinformed notions regarding fashion accessories.) They wanted, more than anything, to travel to a place where, for once, they could be the ones doing the oppressing.

And oppress they did. These great Anglo-Saxons would go on to oppress just about every possible group you can organize humans into besides White/Hetero/Male. Hell, sometimes they’d even oppress the Polish, and they’re as white as they come.

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So what is the meaning of American Thanksgiving?

Well, for a brief moment before all the killing and raping and oppressing began, a couple of pilgrims made friends with a neighboring tribe of American natives, and they ate a meal. And before anyone starts getting pissed about the insensitive nature of that description, please remember this event is so poorly documented I can say pretty much anything.

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We shouldn’t forget the sins of our ancestors, but, we shouldn’t take them on either. Saying that a group of people is responsible for actions that occurred before they existed is just as regressive as any other social tendency that lumps people into groups. As the world grows more connected, we lose distinction, but we gain the realization that distinction exists as far we chose to allow it.

We all need to eat.

Merry Thanksgiving

~Fin

Winter

This morning I awoke to discover my environment had been murdered by icy white particles from the sky.

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I’m safe in my room, curled beneath a heavy blanket, holding a cup of instant coffee. I huddle close to my overheating laptop like it’s some futuristic fire. There is a certain serenity in the snow outside my window.

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Back in middle school, when it snowed, kids would still wear shorts. Their legs never seemed cold. I shivered beneath three layers.

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In high school, I drove to school on icy roads that made my wheels spin. The icy roads stretched out towards infinity, with sidegaurds so small you wonder why they even put them up. People slid off the road all the time. It was so easy to do.

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It was the day I was to be confirmed into the Catholic Church. The roads were pure slick and my mother was scared. We had an old green van with worn-in tires and two-wheel drive.

I was stuffed into this ugly brown-yellow suit all boys are forced to wear to at some point in the lives. I was sick with either pneumonia or strep. All I remember was I felt like death and my lungs hurt and my face was hot. And that I really, really wanted to be confirmed.

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The road grew worse as the world grew darker. My mother’s voice was terrified. I took out my rosary and began to pray, silently. I knew that if God were to choose a moment in my life to actually listen, it had to be this one.

I understood why he’d ignore a prayer for me to be thin, or for me to have friends, or for somehow one to lead into the other.

God had his reasons.

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But this was different. This was about him. This was about entering his church. If there was one moment in my life where’d he choice to intervene, it should be this one.

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When my mother lost control of the vehicle, everything slowed down. God made sure I saw every instant between the road and the ditch, and made sure there was nothing I could do to stop it. But I didn’t stop praying.

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It wasn’t the last time I’d prayed, or even the last time I’d prayed and believed someone was listening.

But it was the last time I prayed and believed anyone cared.

I never made it to my confirmation.

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~Fin

I Drop Truth-Bombs on Canada

I hope you’re in a shelter, because I’m about to drop some drone-bombs on the middle-east of your ignorance about Canada.

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A year or so after I started college, my entire family decided it would be a great idea to move to Canada now that I was trapped in America for three years. Was this abandonment? I definitely assume so.

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So off they went in a plane, and landed in the city called Burnaby, which is kind of like a suburb of Vancouver – two towns which mean nothing to be because they’re not in Real America.

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When I went to help my family move into the Great White North, many stereotypes about the Canadian people were quickly dispelled. The most important one I will discuss here today.

For some reason, everyone in Real America thinks Canadians are super nice and polite. We need to stop telling them that. You know how you’re not supposed to tell kids they’re special because then they grow up thinking they’re just inherently special without doing anything of value or even being a half-decent person? That’s what we’re doing to the Canadians.

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We’re allowing Canada to become a nation of self-righteous assholes, and I am NOT going to allow them to steal our thunder. So let me set the record straight right here and right now:

Canadians ARE NOT nice.

Canadians are NON-CONFRONTATIONAL.

There is a HUGE difference. 

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Yep. They’re not nice. They’re just as evil as all of us. The only difference is they’d rather kill themselves than insult you to your face. I hope too many innocents weren’t lost in my drone-strike of truth, but if my president is to be believed (WHICH HE IS, ALWAYS), this is unavoidable.

~Fin

Self Worship on Facebook

When Facebook first became accessible to me, it was my favorite thing in the world. I could talk to my friends, play fun-stupid games, and posts pictures of myself looking cool. It was a little shrine dedicated to the center of my universe – Myself.

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Unfortunately, like all places of worship, as Facebook grew in popularity so did its message become diluted. The joys of connecting through mutual self-worship were lost under a wash of political capitalization. People stopped posting about their lives and thoughts and started posting links to banal sponsorships and teutonic memeary. I received friend requests from people in countries I’d never even heard of, who immediately invited me to an event I’d never be able to attend. If they were really my friends, they would know I don’t have the time or means to attend their one-man charity show to stop Kony2012.

 The beauty of simple narcissism had been taken over by a desire to acquire political currency.

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The fastest way to disengage me from your religious views is to mix them in with politics, an occurrence all too common on my quickly disintegrating Facebook.

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When I looked at my Facebook this is now what I saw: a place less about self-expression and more about self-aggrandizement. The Gods of Us had become tools to push product. We’d sold ourselves into a plantation where we were both slave and slavedriver. So, like every other god I’d once loved, I decided to abandon Myself.

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~Fin

The Troglodyte’s Guide to Ego

Sometimes I look out at the fleshy, squishy, hairy collection of cells we call the human body and I wonder how anyone could possibly have an ego.

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Now, that isn’t to say I don’t understand why we have an ego. The ego is what makes your emotions feel real. In order for a tribe to survive, there has to be a certain drive for personal achievement. You have to be willing to fight saber-tooth tigers.

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Emotions are our quickest and most accessible tool for deciphering a situation and, as such, we rely on them way too much.

Unfortunately, egos can be damaged and, like a balloon filling with air, the larger they get the quicker they pop.

Our emotions pass through our ego, inflating it, telling us when someone has insulted us. They feel so very powerful, we assume they’re real. And they are real.

But real and objective are not the same thing.45678Perception is important. It’s what makes us unique.

But unique and correct are not the same thing.

No matter how amazing you think your idea is, it’s been done before. Through the power of the internet, the whole world is connected. Concepts and thoughts and mindless chatter all mix together and swirl around to give voice to every idea ever conceived.

Your job is to interpret this whirlpool as honestly as possible. Grab in with your hands and clasp an idea you believe in.

If an ego is useful for anything, it’s sorting out the problems in yourself. When you feel it flare up, that means you’re doing something wrong. You’ve fallen too deeply in love with yourself. You can’t admit you have flaws, because they’re cauterized into your psyche and you know removing them will be painful. Shaving off the infection will take some of the skin. Skin you’d like to keep.You don’t want to fall.

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But sometime you must fall into the six-lashed eye.

And we all do eventually.

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~Fin