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Engrossed in Insanity

Engrossed in Insanity 3608 2308 Jason Stadtlander

I am not insane, not irrational or particularly fatuous. For here, I can look at myself in this dirty mirror, my naked chest, my bosom, the very skin that binds my body and keeps me together. There is dirt and blood and dust upon it, but that does not mean that I am insane. The mirror portrays me this way, the bending of the light in an unnatural way, different from the way the rest of the world should see me. I do not look like those wide, hollow eyes that are staring back at me, that I know do not belong to me, bloodshot. Mine is the mind of a calm, collected, even philosophical intellect.

I know, I too have glanced down at the knife on the vanity, its serrated edge with fragments of flesh upon it, dripping of blood. Mistakes happen. They happen to everyone. That’s all this was, it was a mistake. Mistakes can be fixed.

He did me no wrong, no real wrong. All he did was scream at me, but that was his fault. He never should have screamed at me. He knows what I’m like when I lose my temper. I had told him that I had a bad day. I told him about losing my job, but he ignored my words. They were mere wisps upon the air to him and he did not care to let them in. If anyone is to blame, it is he that should be blamed. I can’t take my eyes off the blade, the blade that still has pieces of him in its teeth. Teeth that not long ago and chewed and torn deep into that chest which I had kissed so many times. I could not kiss it now. There is no breath within it. What was inside, is now outside.

Would you not feel the same? Would you not have simply wanted to silence him?

I reach down and sip the steaming coffee I brewed but minutes ago and took a bite of the fresh toast, smeared with orange marmalade, its chucks of fleshy orange remind me of his own pieces still in the jagged edge of the blade. But these are so much sweeter than he ever was. Homemade goodness upon my crispy bread.

Toast in hand, savoring the bite, I look again toward the mirror and pause. My face. My dear, dirty face. I approach the mirror and can see the smears of his DNA upon it, but I can wash that clean. I can wash that clean just as I can fix this mistake.

Upon washing my hands and my arms and my face, I pause. I stare once again at the face in the mirror. I have washed it. I have cleansed it. Yet it still appears so dirty, so filthy. It can be washed a thousand times, until there is no skin remaining and yet, it will still be dirty. Is this guilt I feel? Now that is insane. How can I possibly feel guilt for something that was not my fault. Not I, I who was not the instigator of this treachery. I am merely a tool, as a hammer is to a carpenter. As an attack dog is to its master.

True, attack dogs are put down when they make a mistake. They are not given a chance to make a mistake again.

The blade in my hand is still dirty, heavy, still disgustingly offensive. It too can be cleaned a thousand times and it too will still remain dirty. Not because it contains particles upon it, but because of the actions that it had performed. Why then do I see myself as dirty? Was it not the blade that did this? Not I. Because I did something just? Because I quieted a beast that had for so long tortured me? Tortured me with love? Tortured me with his endless pleas to hold me? Tormented me with desires to have a family? Do I look  like I want a family?

This blade. This singular blade. It has a strange shape when you look directly at the blade. I shall correct the mistake, I shall rid the filth from my beautiful body, cut it out like a tumor is excised from an otherwise healthy body. My tumor lies within my mind, but it too can be excised. Placing the blade upon the vanity counter, angled up at myself, I thrust my head forward bringing my full weight down upon it and briefly hear a crunch, a strange popcorn sound but no pain. Falling, I’m falling.

Laying upon the floor I have a fleeting thought of how he and I are now laying under the same roof, at rest.

Mass Insanity: Follow the Lemmings Oh North East Grocery Shoppers!

Mass Insanity: Follow the Lemmings Oh North East Grocery Shoppers! 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

I’m from Ohio, all my readers know that. And yes… I’ve transplanted to Massachusetts (what feels like eons ago). One thing I always enjoy is poking fun at some of the things that I find just a tad insane about my fellow Bay Staters. You know I love you all, but boy… sometimes you really take the cake for strange and bizarre. I know I wrote a piece at some point on this, but I can’t find it for the life of me, and with 24″ of wonderful white stuff, I just had to poke some fun.

Follow the Lemmings Oh North East Grocery Shoppers!Let’s take the good ole’ nor’easter grocery blast. The first winter I moved here, they were calling for 6″-8″ on a Tuesday. I really didn’t think much of it, because 6″-8″ was a pretty normal snowfall where I grew up in Central Ohio and later when I lived in Montana it wasn’t much to sneeze at.

So, I casually go into the Market Basket grocery store and there is flurry of people running around filling grocery carts to the max with bottles of water and dry goods. Later I stand there and watch as they are (literally) running for the checkout line.


I walked over to the manager of the store and asked “Is there an emergency I’m not aware of?”

She looked at my like I had three heads and replied, “Yes, haven’t you heard about the storm?”

I felt awkward, I said “There’s still only a max of eight inches, right? I mean they haven’t changed the prediction to like five feet or anything? They are planning on actually clearing the roads within three days of the snow fall, right?”

She stared at me and nodded. “So, why is everyone shopping like there won’t be food for three weeks?” I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders, “It’s what people do whenever there is any kind of storm coming.”

To this day that mentality has always bugged me, especially when I need to do some legitimate grocery shopping and there is a storm coming. As it turns out, after doing some research, there is a valid history (of mental damage) that causes people’s panic of the storm. The Blizzard of ’78, which I remember in Ohio, but of course was too young to know about what happened in Massachusetts. Apparently there were two separate storms of 2 feet (or more) of snow. They towed thousands of cars off route 128 and arrested anyone who was on the road.

So let’s examine some of the other “ONLY in Massachusetts” oddities:

  • Alcohol can only be sold in liqueur stores, you can’t buy any in grocery stores, not even beer.
  • “Happy Hour” is illegal with alcoholic beverages
  • Goatees are illegal unless you first pay a special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public.
  • North Andover has a law that prohibits the use of space guns. (huh?)
  • A state law prevents gorillas from riding in the back seat of any car.
  • In most urban areas, there is a Dunkin Donuts within 1/10th of a mile of another Dunkin Donuts
  • Worcester is pronounced Wuhstah
  • Gloucester is pronounced Glohstah
  • Wicked = Awesome (Unlike us mid westerners that say “Man! F**kin’ A!”)
  • A Frappe is a Milkshake and a milkshake is just gross.
  • Massholes are typical drivers.
  • Hoodsie cups are cups of ice cream (P.S. don’t read the ingredients)
  • The North Shore and The South Shore might as well be separate states.
  • To take an hour to go 15 miles is normal.
  • Subsequently, distance to a location in Boston is measured in ‘time it takes to get there’, not miles.

Fellow Bay Staters, have any others that should be added?

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