I will explain what happened last night, then I will tell you what has been going on with me.
Arkansas is in the midst of attempting what I call “mass executions” before their drugs expire this month. That means eight guys gotta go, and they’ve already done three in the past few days.
Last night I was sent this screenshot, which appears to be an animated live update of someone being executed. I was already emotional about this situation, from being inundated with hate all week on all the local news pages where the good Christian citizens of Arkansas were calling for blood, and I assumed they had found their Nightcrawler angle on this entire mess. I had that detail wrong, and I guess I’ve joined the ranks of Fake News after sharing it and tweeting it repeatedly.
Thing is, they were live broadcasting outside the prison. They DID seek to profit from this tragedy, and while the tasteless image was used to describe the execution process, it was not a progress bar. Because I flew off the handle and assumed one thing, I’m the garbage guy, which is fine, because that’s how I feel all the time anyway.
Furthermore, it really doesn’t matter because it would have stopped nothing. These guys are dead or are going to die, and who really cares about a bunch of murdering rapists? I think anyone who would read this understands that we have a justice system for a reason and why lynch mobs are dangerous. I think you probably have also heard about the West Memphis Three trial that took place here in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and understand why some of us around here might have questions about our justice system. If you aren’t familiar, please read up on it. I cannot summarize it here properly, but believe me when I say a bunch of superstition about the occult led the West Memphis police to frame some juvenile delinquents and drag them to Jonesboro where local business leaders and attorneys colluded to form a kangaroo court and put them on death row as an example to everyone watching. The three were eventually freed after twenty years, and Damien Echols came back to Little Rock for a day last week to protest these executions, his very point being that THIS STATE has NO BUSINESS executing ANYONE.
That said, I was wrong and sloppy in my approach, and something that momentarily got some attention ended up getting deflated. I’m not a news organization, so I can’t post a retraction and soldier on, sally forth, chin up, whatever. I’m not a leader who gets to lie about every mistake and keep on truckin’. That’s what your politicians do. I’m wrong constantly. I’m almost never right, I feel, and it’s no surprise that I’ve been increasingly ignored, unfollowed, and unfriended the shittier my opinions get. I am so politically removed from most of you, Democrat and Republican and Other, that I’m viewed as the local nutbar, and that’s fine. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it is lonely as fuck.
I have been flailing for the last fortnight trying to figure out what my way forward is online at this point. I have deleted and reinstalled the Facebook app daily. I have quit and unquit within the span of fifteen minutes. I don’t want to offend those of you who have had chemical dependencies but I am addicted. I need the thrill of being online and the dopamine hits and I’m not getting them. My brain is panicking and doesn’t know what to do. It is devastating to write 2000 word essays about my kids every day, some of which I think are my best work, and have 20 people read it if I am lucky. I could make YouTube videos where I throw them across the room and be famous, but I am not that cruel. The point is that society would eat that shit up, but they’re not getting hardons for the mundane right now. Maybe my heartwarming family stories full of angst and at least two mentions of death are too boring these days.
So I’ve been cruel online lately. I’ve punched down. Stomped down. I find myself agreeing with bigots and fascists because they point out what’s wrong with the reasoning of “libtards” and I take a moment and wonder if I could make it in their world. I couldn’t, but I have to say it’s tempting. If I thought someone would embrace me with open arms I could be Alex Jones, or Anne Coulter. I want to be loved by someone and it’s always gnawing at me, in the back of my mind. I could L. Ron Hubbard this shit and start a religion. That’s what I want. It’s what I need. Then, I think is this temptation? Is this the secular devil? This is what you guys mean when you talk about that, while you thump on your bible, and it’s a human thing you’re describing. “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
This used to be the type of thing I’d post on MY BLOG, which no one reads, and I’ll probably copy/paste it for posterity’s sake (this was originally posted on Facebook, which I cannot escape), but I’m tired of writing and proofreading for hours for nothing. I’ve made this pledge privately and I’ll do so publicly now: I am going to keep writing, about my life, my kids, and things I love, like science fiction, but I am quitting politics. I think the world will get along fine with my $35 check to the ACLU and me living and just being a person. I am too wild to feed into the narcissism of all that shit. It makes me Jekyll and Hyde, or more ironically the Wolfman (Talbot). I wake up with the figurative blood on my hands and vaguely remember what I’ve done. I’m constantly filled with remorse. I can’t do it.
And some of you might point this out as my privilege, that I can be nihilistic and self-centered and stop speaking out about things. You’re correct. Thing is, I cannot handle it. It is affecting my mental and physical health. I need a pass for this. If you want to call me a sick boy, the dude who couldn’t hack it in the world, that is fine. I would rather live and be happy with my kids in this hellscape than fight and fight and make myself ill for nothing. Still a trashbarge of doom. I could have carved out an existence on this punishment sphere, and I’ll look back and realize that I had things to love all along but I spent too much time hating the world to realize it.
I love my wife and kids. Gina, Wiggles, and the girls are the best thing that ever happened to me. I owe it to them to stop staring at my phone. I owe it to them to stop hating everything so much it kills me.
I’ll always be around, until I’m not, but I have to change if I’m going to survive. If that means I turn a blind eye sometimes, so be it. I can’t wreck my own castle and expect to go out and conquer territory. I am the worst revolutionary. The one everyone ignores. Well, I’m stepping off this streetcorner. I’m putting down the bullhorn. I’m going to enjoy being a father.
The world never needed a Talbot politician.