Meditation for the Less Mindful

Mindfulness Meditation is all the rage these days. In fact, it’s almost like the new road rage. There is a lot about mindfulness as a concept that really resonates with me, because all but a few of my waking minutes are generally spent dwelling on some tween-novella bullshit from my past or deluding myself into thinking reality is not exactly how it appears. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about past events to which I have dedicated a lot of time and energy.

I made the decision months ago to become more mindful, and like prior efforts at self-improvement, the first step following such a decision generally involves investing in a bunch of books on the topic that are surprisingly expensive. Actually, the first step in self-improvement is usually questioning self-improvement in the first instance, but let’s assume I made it past that step. (Not necessarily a wise assumption, but I’m running with it for the time being.) Once these books are in-hand, however, the act of actually reading them does not logically follow from the step of having bought them, as you might assume it would. More often than not, the sequence of events involves moving those books from counter-top to bookshelf to floor (and back) long enough for me to forget about owning them altogether, which makes discovering them under the couch that much more meaningful and interesting.

It was in this fashion that I came across my mindfulness collection recently, along with an old sock. Ten pages deep, it occurred to me that learning through reading wasn’t my strong suit, so I got online to leverage that which is my strong suit–paying other people to do things for me. And that is how I found myself in a full-day Meditation-1024x702meditation class recently. The class involved some lecturing, lots of talking about feelings, during which I wholeheartedly tuned out, and three mindfulness meditation exercises lasting anywhere from fifteen minutes to absolute eternity.

During each exercise, I was met with varying degrees of failure:

  • Session One: “… how do I know whether I’m sitting correctly … maybe I should have gone with the floor instead of this chair … it would seem difficult to maintain good posture sitting on the floor … I wonder what everyone on the floor looks like now … or are my eyes supposed to be closed … yeah, I thought so, horrible posture … shit, I shouldn’t be thinking about that right now … I shouldn’t be thinking about anything … OK, think about nothing … nothing … nothing … nothing is happening … I can’t just think about nothing without reminding myself to think about nothing, which is thinking about something … does this really help people, because its making me feel like I’m taking crazy pills … let’s try: breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe … it would be easier to breathe if there weren’t thirty adult hippies in this room smelling like incense … God, I used to love incense when I was younger, what happened to that … Febreze, probably, because who needs incense with all the chemical smells we have these days … which is not a very environmentally conscious option, I should probably shelve that one … how long was this supposed to be, it’s hard enough to be thinking about noth … OK, I’m really not good at this … in, out, in, out, in, out … where are we going out for lunch, I wonder … I’m really hungry, those granola bars just don’t do it for me, give me some fucking eggs … DAMN IT, this is painful … phew, fifteen minutes done”
  • Session Two:  ” … breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, I’m going to pass out, I’m so tired from lunch … probably not the best plan to have people sitting very still immediately after eating a meal … I don’t envy those people on the floor, my stomach is hanging over my pants right now and it would be ten times worse sitting Indian style on the floor … boy, I wonder if that term is offensive to American Indians, surely they weren’t the only people who sat on the ground like that … people have been sitting on the ground since … well … since people started sitting on the ground … thank God for Ikea … alright, back on track, this is impossible, how do I turn off this meaningless dribble … breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathezzz … zzzzz …. zzzzzzzzzzzzz …. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzzz …. holy shit, what was that …. did I just fall asleep … sitting straight up in a chair, even … that is ridiculous, I didn’t even know I was capable of sleeping upright … I’m like a horse, but probably not as cool … horses … rad creatures, right … zzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzz … zzzzzzzzzzzzz …. whoa what just happened with my head”
  • Session Three:  “I am not going to fall asleep this time, how embarrassing … thankfully people shouldn’t have had their eyes open to see me slip off the chair but that is totally unacceptable in any event … breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, in, out … I mean I paid good money to be here and do this … and I’m doing this for myself, so who cares if I’m swapping garlic-ridden air with a bunch of old … I should definitely be more sympathetic there are people in here who have lived hard lives … granted, I tuned out when they were talking about that but it isn’t all ponies and unicorns and … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … I’M AWAKE … did I just say that out loud …”
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A Benjamin Button Birthday

I celebrated my 26th birthday recently. Hold the applause, and that’s a lie anyway. It seemed entirely appropriate that I woke up on my birthday with a zit on my face the size of the cupcake that no one bought me. Rest easy–I ended up finding that cupcake and buying it for myself. And then I bought another. And then I don’t want to talk about what happened next. Despite my advanced age, I nevertheless seem to retain the body of a hormone-riddled 15 year old who has just discovered junk food and, consequently, the obesity movement.

It also seemed appropriate that I did not enjoy my birthday. It’s not that I dislike birthdays. Actually, that’s exactly what it’s like. I simply despise getting older, because while I understand that aging is a fact of life, I nevertheless take it very personally. It’s something of a singular event to me, and every year I get older I respond by acting another year younger. Maybe that’s why my friends call me Benjamin Button. They don’t, but you get the point. This year, however, I am putting my foot down. Some changes are in order because I am growing weary of playing a professional on TV but moonlighting as Chris Brown. So I’ve pulled together some semi-attainable birthday resolutions, and am now endeavoring to not forget them with every passing second.

Bday Chart

Drink less–Much like unlimited fries come with every Red Robin hamburger, so must this appear on every resolution list I create. Next.

Lift weights–Word on the street is that I need some weight lifting in my life, because that’s what healthy adults do. The street of which I speak is Biggest Loser, and the word is that of Chris Powell and his ever-pregnant breeding champion Heidi. My search for two hours of inspiration a week brought me to this show, which has delivered in all ways except for personal weight loss. But now, I’m beginning to understand that the only thing standing between me and the rocking body that Fitness magazine tells me I can have is a huge tire that I can push around my front lawn, if only either existed. Fortunately, I have overfed my cat for one too many years now, and he is beginning to resemble the entire tractor–not just its tires. I figure I’ll start my personal training by lifting him up a few times.

Be more social–Don’t get me wrong, alienation can be an entertaining place. Despite its moments, it also happens to be lonely. For this reason, I have returned to social media, to embrace the always unfulfilling connection to sheer acquaintances. Find me on Instagram at @cats.in.your.pants or at the neighborhood bar. In either, I’ll be the one with no friends who is trying to figure out how to operate her phone.

Grow up–Years of acting like a teenager have not served me well. Thanks to parents and peers who have become parents, I have been shamed into the realization that it’s time to get a job, land a man, and bake a baby. Sounds pretty complicated to me, but I guess there’s always alcohol.

Oh, and if you happen to be feeling bad that I didn’t get anything for my birthday, don’t worry, I did …

bday gift

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indignation, resignation, celebration!

I’ve spent the last five months drafting resignation letters in the cold, dark solitude of the closet that I call my man cave. Here are a few of the final contenders.

First Draft:

Dear Mr. Stevens,

Over the course of the last few months, I have witnessed an unprecedented shift in my job duties. What originally were my client accounts have now been subsumed by the gentleman that you recently brought in “to assist with the operational side of things.” I can only assume that the operational side of things is my asshole, and that the assisting of which you speak is totally screwing me in it. If not the intended effect, this is certainly how it is playing out, which is not to suggest this is a game in which I enjoy participating. Surely there is some S&M club that you crawl into after hours that you could also use to take out your aggression against successful women. But I guess the joke is on me because that club is my cubicle and that bitch in chains is me.

For the reasons detailed above and because I now have to dedicate well over 50 hours a week to plotting your demise, I must hereby submit my resignation.

Eleanor

Second Draft:

Dear Mr. Stevens,

When we first had the pleasure of meeting five years ago, I never would have guessed that you gain such pleasure from starving babies. Rest assured that is what you are doing by replacing me–literally taking the food out of my children’s mouths. Before I leave at the end of next week, should I put in a reorder on your business cards to take into account this change in role? I think “King Dick” more aptly describes your title at this company. Corporate would be impressed, of that I am sure.

I hope you eat well tonight, Eleanor Abernathy

Third Draft:

Dear Mr. Stevens,

This is my resignation letter. Stick it up your ass or choke on it–I trust you will make the prudent choice.

GFY

Fourth Draft:

Dear Mr. Stevens,

When Edward said goodbye to Bella in Twilight: New Moon, telling her he no longer loves her but only because he loved her too much to see her hurt, I couldn’t help but think about how much I hate my fucking job. I thought the same thing when the Stark family, or what’s left of it, was slaughtered at the hand of Lord Frey, except this time I also wondered why the hell I continue to work here. You can shove that spoiler alert up your ass and find someone else to work here, I’m leaving. Oh, and pay your debts like the evil sister-fucking Lannister that you are–you owe me last month’s commission.

Eleanor

Samwell Draft:  

Dear Mr. Stevens,samwell

I said, what what, in the butt. I said, what what, in the butt. I said, what what, in the butt. I said, what what, in the butt. You wanna do it in my butt, in my butt? You wanna do it in my butt, in my butt? You wanna do it in my butt, in my butt? Let’s do it in the butt, I quit.

 

 

 

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stigmatic. stupid. stitches.

Jesus gave up on me long ago, and that’s only if—big if—he even had an interest in me after I defecated all over the doctor who delivered me some undisclosed number of years ago. I don’t think it gets any more ‘mark of the beast’ than that. So, there has never really been a religious connection within thirty feet of me at any given moment, which is why my colleagues were so surprised when, out of nowhere, I had a stigmatic moment and started bleeding through my blouse at an internal staff meeting. This was clearly far more interesting than my routine report on what I had obviously failed to accomplish the week prior.

But, of course, it was not out of nowhere. In fact, it was out of the sub-dermal chest piercing that had gotten snagged on my bath towel that morning and partially torn out of my chest. I tried, very quickly and without much thought (which is generally how I operate), to blame my stigmata on Jesus. That failed to impress most but succeeded to insult many. I then—even quicker and with no thought—tried explaining that I am related to St. Francis of Assisi. I had lost them by this point so I just resumed droning on about the menial tasks that I spend days at a time struggling with.

After the meeting, I was able to find some privacy in the communal restroom, at which time I had a come to Jesus moment (only in theory, of course) about needing medical attention for this very-attached-to-my-skin anchor that was also and unfortunately very attached to the rest of the piercing which was no longer at all attached to my skin. That’s a mouthful or, in this case, a chestful. Strangely enough, the medical profession does not have much of an appreciation for semi-professional young adults who need immediate and somewhat-surgical removal of a semi-permanent and non-surgically implanted mistake.

Upon rethinking the nurse call center’s suggestion that I cover up and keep clean in order to wait the two weeks necessary to see plastic surgery for an initial consultation, I called back and orchestrated a fairly clever lie, involving the requisite fever, swelling, and green pus that tend to expedite one’s position in the patient pack. Fortunately, it worked, and a short 8 hours later I found myself trying to answer a somewhat confused trauma doctor’s questions:

  • “What am I looking at?”  Something I would like removed from my chest.
  • “A sub what …?”  A sub-dermal piercing, which means … “Yes, I know what sub-dermal means.”
  • “Were you sober when you got this?”  That’s debatable, but let’s go with yes.
  • “What am I supposed to do with this?”  Well, I was thinking cut it out. Please?
  • “What’s underneath this and what is it attached to?”  I am presuming skin and more blood, but not necessarily in that order.
  • “Have you tried to take this out yourself?”  Yes, and that reminds me, if we have time can you check out the bump on the side of my head, here? I think I hit the side of my toilet when I fainted.
  • “Do you think I can just jiggle it and get it out?”  No.
  • “Hmm … it’s looking like I am going to have to cut this out.”  Yes.
  • “Are you comfortable with me cutting this out even though I don’t know what’s involved or what this thing looks like?”  Get it out.
  • “Ooh, has that Lidocaine worn off?”  Yes.
  • “Should we shoot a bit mmo …”  Just keep going!
  • “Alright, it’s out. Should we put a stitch or two in there?  I’m not sure I have the professional qualifications to answer that, aside from observing that there is a hole in my chest.
  • “Here it is, want to take it home with you?”  Gross.
  • “You want to see gross, come in when some lady with acrylic nails falls down and rips the top half of her fingers off.”  … OK.

 

 

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Dear Sirs:

The only thing I hate more than working is looking for another place to work. I’m not 15 anymore, so my standards for employment are a bit higher than $5.50/hr, a plastic name tag, and two company aprons.  Specifically, I’m looking for at least $10 an hour and I’ll wear any company fringe required.

I am desperately in need of work, so naturally I have dedicated significant portions of my day to drafting cover letters for my friends who are equally desperate but lesser abled (and lesser qualified). I figure karma has to come back around once they land a job solely on the basis of the incredible and poignant cover letter I provided for them. Then again, from what I understand, the salary at Sears and the like doesn’t leave much room for rewarding your friends with extravagant gatherings and lavish gifts.

I guess I should really be focusing more on drafting my own cover letters, but that sounds like a really boring idea when I could be spending my free time writing something like this:

 

April 7, 2014

Dear XXX, XXXXX, and XXXX:

I am writing to respectfully ask—but in the most hardcore way—that you consider me for the part-time beer slinger position at XXXXXXXX Brewery.

I am not currently looking for employment, but I cannot pass up the opportunity to possibly work with you dudes a few nights a week.  From my first sip, I knew you guys were not the typical brewery, and that is such a relief from the generic microbrewpocalypse that has hit our city in recent years.  I would welcome the opportunity to help your beer, your brewery, and your nasty-but-in-a-cool-way vibe spread.  As to the job requirements, let me address each in turn:

Brews:  I’ve had every beer you’ve poured upon opening and, for the most part, have enjoyed every one of them.  Even the ones that weren’t my style, I still appreciated.  You all are pushing the envelope with your beers—and its one damn good (and wet) envelope.  Beyond what’s on tap, I’m always quick to buy your bottle releases.  I’ve even followed the progression of artwork on your XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX Ale labels.  The XXXXXXXX label was righteous, but the art on the XXXXXXX XXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXX, and XXXXX XXXXX labels are looking killer on my TV stand.  

Tunes:  My perfect day involves waking up to Three Inches of Blood and brushing my teeth at night to Sleep.  If Johan Hegg were writing me a reference letter, he’d tell you to hire me in a throaty whisper but may also tell you he loves 90 Shilling.  But fuck 90 Shilling, am I right?!  Honestly, though, the music scene that XXXXXXXX puts off is icing on a tasty metal cake.  It’s so refreshing to find a place that’s more committed to being itself than catering to the Cross Fit crowd next door.  (By the way, in my perfect world, your brewery will take over that space and refuse service to anyone talking about WODs.)  I recently had the (dis)pleasure of being dragged to XXX XXXX Brewery, where I was forced to rub elbows—literally—with hundreds of the city’s fair-weather beer fans, while listening to the Goo Good Dolls’ greatest hits.  Knowing that I can come to XXXXXXXX and not have that experience is what keeps me coming back time and again.

Not being a prick:  I’m a nice guy, although every single one of my friends might tell you differently.  I would have no problem treating customers with the utmost respect.  But, I’ll tell you what, if they don’t treat you guys and the brewery with respect—I will still take their money for you.

Hustle:  I’ve never worked behind the bar before but I know my way around pouring a beer.  If there’s one thing I would appreciate more than pouring myself a beer, it would be pouring a XXXXXXXX beer for someone else.  If that’s the hustle you’re looking for, I’ve got it.

I do appreciate your consideration.  With the reputation XXXXXXXX has, I’m sure you’ll find yourself with a ton of qualified applicants.  While I can’t offer you an impressive employment history in bartending, if you hire me you can be sure that 1) I won’t be trying to take your job and 2) you will get someone who truly believes in what you are doing.  Feel free to contact me with any questions and or recommendations on how to be hardcore.  

With warmest metal wishes,

XXXXX

 

As you can see, I have redacted names and locations because–naturally–I am going to take this letter I crafted for my friend and use it myself when I apply for the position.  Wish me luck–I hope I can stay sober enough to hand it in.

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Now call it a comeback.

Guess who’s back!  Fortunately it’s not Eminem despite MTV and local radio protests to the contrary. Much like the Razor Scooter on college campuses across the country, I have returned, which may not exactly be a top shelf news item but is potentially worthy of some attention nonetheless. I’ve spent the last few wintery months hibernating and generally not giving a shit, all the while fervently exploring new ways to make a name for myself and/or make a ton of money. I’d take the latter without the former, I’m not picky.

People say ‘third time’s a charm’ but those people are losers by definition, because only losers have to make a third attempt doing something they have failed to accomplish twice prior. And, at that point, I suspect that success is reached on the third try only because standards have been slashed substantially and even an inkling of achievement is blown epically out of proportion. Accordingly, here I am, back a third time pushing my little dream of worldwide success and a mansion full of cat condos constructed entirely of gold and ostrich feathers, all via this incredible blog on a mediocre social media platform. As you can tell, at least this time around, I am managing my expectations, and you will not find me crushed if this post, or one or two following it, don’t instantly land me a job at Gawker Media. I’m sure that third post will do the trick.

Lest you fear that I have been idle in my e-absence, I assure you this is not the case. I’ve been on a mission recently, thanks to a New Year’s Resolution that I intended to make a good college try fulfilling, to better my situation and—you guessed it—make a ton of money as a means through which to do so. Naturally, I first turned to the stock market which, along with the internet and traffic patterns, I have never quite gotten a handle on, or even remotely understand. But I have never let lack of knowledge or talent stop me from achieving utter failure.

While I may not understand the intricacies of investing, I do understand that people can make a lot of money from the stock market, and while those people may be few and far between, I am undoubtedly among them. Indeed, my market success to-date has looked something like this:

stock market

I know, I know—not bad for an amateur investor. I have been assured that the market will turn around. After all, consider what happened following the Great Depression, and don’t focus on the world war component. One day soon, I will make millions and when that happens I will expertly reinvest it and make billions and when that happens I will pay Justin Bieber to return to his home country and leave Selena Gomez alone.

In my free time between attending and dreaming of leaving two jobs, and obsessively refreshing my AmeriTrade homepage, I have over the last nine weeks engaged in an impressive cycle of drinking, inspired in part by Tyrion Lannister’s proclamation: “It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it.” I am known among key segments of my city’s social scene (and its law enforcement arm) for excelling where others fail when it comes both to my expertise in local craft breweries and my indiscriminate consumption of anything containing yeast. Here, I have indeed made a name for myself but once you reach the top it can be a lonely place and I’m tired of drinking alone. In the dark. In my closet.

Which brings me back to the social and online media sensation that is this blog–or will be any day now. In the coming weeks, I’ll be rolling out a host of new and tried-and-true features. Here’s what you have to look forward to:

  • More pie charts! Keep your pants on if there are children around.
  • A travel and city review section! Watch out, Atlanta, this won’t be pretty for you.
  • Sports! Actually just beer-league dodge ball.
  • Investing tips! Forbes and MarketWatch have nothing on my spin-the-bottle stock selection method.
  • David Bowie! Because why the fuck not?

So stay tuned. And stay classy–someone’s gotta do it and clearly I don’t want to.

 

 

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Don’t call it a comeback. Yet.

Cats In Your Pants returns April 1st!

Thanks for being patient while I get my life out of the toilet.

 

cat.toilet

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