Dance the Whole Night

Ordinarily I’m not the type of person for whom “club” is a verb. In my vocabulary a club is either a tool for murdering those oh so cute baby seals or that group of asthmatic milquetoasts I used to play chess with in highschool. A club is never the place I think of when planning where I want to go to have a good time.

There’s an old maxim usually attributed to Albert Einstein that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I’ve alluded to it in all of my previous posts, but I’ve never explicitly come out and said that my ultimate goal with VTAN is to become less insane. To that end I’ve found myself doing different things more and more often in the hopes that I’ll have better results.

So it was with more than a little reluctance that after many months of coaxing I broke out the dancing shoes and hit the downtown club scene.

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I had started the morning with a literal “wake up call” that led to a conversation that pretty much ruined my day. Later that afternoon I got an email from one of my favorite people in the world and the excitement that came from opening it was immediately wiped away when I read that his girlfriend had just broken up with him. It bothered me so much to hear about all the bullshit he has to deal with now because this is the type of guy who truly deserves to be happy. He’s so infectiously charming that the whole world is better off when he’s got a smile on his face and so to see him in bad spirits really brings me down.

By the time I left work I was in a pretty shitty mood and was considering just staying home, putting on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy Extended Edition Bluray and just spending the whole weekend fastidiously cataloging all the reasons why the people who say LotR is a better trilogy than Star Wars are goddamned lunatics.

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My greater than symbol is made of straws.  Just like MacGuyver used to make.

Instead I  managed to muster up the enthusiasm to follow through with the night’s plan.

I’m not going to give the Howard Cosell blow-by-blow of the night partially because, “who the hell cares?” and partially because I don’t remember it all. What makes the night worth writing about is how it didn’t at all feel outside of the zone of comfort.

I had alternate plans I could have fallen back on that night. My friend invited me to see his brother’s funk band playing at El Mocambo. This would have been more my type of scene. A live band instead of a DJ,drinks at bar rather than on a dance floor,  and if you ask me, sweet funky bass grooves win over dance beats any day of the week. I would’ve ended up going but I had made a conscious decision to act against my natural impulses.

It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where George realizes all his failures in life can be fixed by simply acting in the exact opposite way than he normally would. I took a different track and I gotta say I’m pleased with the results.

Lots of dancing:

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And drinking:

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And just a really fun way to end the night considering my day started off so shitty.

I have to admit though, some patterns are harder to break. Even though it was a night of doing things out of the ordinary there’s only so far you can go in one night.

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We still ended up at Fran’s for more drinks and All Day Breakfast!

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Explain the Crazy Obsession

People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.

Batman, Brad Metzler “Identity Crisis”

I didn’t want to do this. At least not this soon. I started this whole thing because I never talk about myself. Most people know me as a goofy, fun loving joker and very few get to see the gears working behind the scenes in this crazy messed up head of mine.

I never talk to anyone about how I’m feeling. Even with my closest friends I only ever have hollow conversations about pop culture, so books and movies rather than thoughts and emotions are standard topics of discussion. But since today marks the release of the latest in the series of DC Animated Universe films, and since I’m running out of ways to distract myself from having to deal with my whole “dad situation”, I want to take a little time to talk about Batman.

Today I went out and bought a copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 2 on BluRay.

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I imagine it would’ve had to have been an amusing sight, watching me watch this movie. Every now and then I’d catch myself involuntarily whispering, “Damn, I fuckin’ love Batman!”

I thought about maybe writing a review but instead I decided to be a little more self reflective and try to put into words why Batman matters to me so much.

So? Why am I obsessed with Batman?

Because I feel more emotionally connected to him than to most real people in my life.

It takes a person of a special disposition to consider a fictional character, originally created for ten cent pulp rags, as an emotional touchstone. I am aware that most people will say I’m crazy when, in a world full of poverty and violence and real suffering, I say that Batman is important, but he is to me. The effect that this character has had in shaping me into who I am today is so significant I’d go as far as saying that it makes me understand religious fundamentalism in a frightening way.

I’m not saying I agree with the fundees AT ALL, I’m just saying that I understand how these crazy nutjobs can get so incensed over their most strongly held beliefs. If I can almost come to blows with a stranger at the comic shop over something as trivial as a freaking superhero book, then it makes a weird sort of sense that people would go to war over religion.

And that’s really what I’m trying to say. Since 1992 Batman has been my religion.

June 19th 1992.

I remember the exact date because it was my older brother’s 12th birthday as well as the original theatrical release date of Batman Returns.

I’ve been obsessed ever since.

At first it was about the adventure of it all. I was only six years old at the time. Little kids are impressed by the car and the gadgets and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. As I grew older and read the works of Grant Morrison, Jeph Loeb, Paul Dini and especially Frank Miller, I started to see the true complexity that makes him so interesting.

Batman is as crazy as I am.

I am crazy.

I say it so often and so candidly that people sort of just shrug it off without really letting it sink in, but the truth is that there’s so much wrong with me that just the thought of trying to list it all is exhausting. I’m psychologically damaged in a way that I fear may never be fully repaired and while I’m certainly not dangerous I’m self aware enough to know how unpleasant it can be having me around. This means I either spend a lot of time alone or having to apologize for myself.

If you read Batman through a certain lens, it becomes very clear, very quickly, that he’s not at all a hero in the traditional sense. He’s more insane than the weirdos he’s always locking up.

He’s a an obsessive compulsive, paranoid sociopath with dissociative personality disorder and an infallibility complex. He went through emotional suffering at a young age and has never been able to get over it and, more to the point, it appears he’s not even trying since he’s intentionally putting himself into situations that will make it worse.

I feel like I’m talking about myself when I write that.

One day I’m going to write about the experiences both past and very recent that have contributed to my overall mental instability. For now I’ll just say that I recently sat down and had a real conversation with someone recovering from a substance abuse problem. Although it was a brief talk, and I’ve never dealt with this kind of problem myself, I was amazed at how connected I felt to this person. Being able to talk about feelings with someone who could draw upon their own personal experiences to really understand the type of pain I had been feeling was so different. Even now I’m still trying to work out how I felt about it.

What I’m hamhandedly trying to say is that never before did I have anyone who I felt I could relate to emotionally and so I used Batman as a surrogate.

I would read about this poor little boy so full of anger who grows up to be a man with no hope for a happy future and while it didn’t necessarily give me hope for the future it did give me that feeling of “at least I’m not alone.”

I started this entry with a quote that gives us a glimpse at the denial that Batman lives with everyday. He’ll never admit to himself just how crazy his actions are and how little control he has over his obsessions.

That’s at least one thing I’ve got going for me. I’m happy that I’m able to recognize that I’m all messed up in the head.

It makes me feel like maybe one day I won’t be.

Read the Damn Blog

I can’t have a conversation with anyone without obsessively wondering what they may be thinking. Growing up as a kid who read too much sort of spoiled me and has made regular human interaction almost impossible. Both first person and omniscient narratives give you tremendous insight into a character’s thoughts and emotions and so it’s no surprise that I feel more connected to most fictional characters than I do to any real person. With regular conversation I can’t be inside a person’s head and since most people prefer to talk to me about things rather than talking about themselves all of my relationships end up being very superficial.

I don’t want to keep living this way but, like the proverbial old dog, I’m done learning. I figure the next best thing is to give the rest of the world a better understanding of what’s going on in my head. So that’s gonna be my goal.

Verb the Adjective Noun will be the pipeline from my brain to yours. Maybe this way more people will see how the machine works. They’ll see the entire Rube Goldberg-ian thought process that ends with me saying or doing something unintentionally hurtful or insensitive. Maybe this way people will see why my jokes are funny without me having to explain them. Maybe this way people will see the world through “Josh Goggles” and they’ll see that I’m not so bad. You may even find that you like me more than you thought you did.

This is the start, we’ll see how everything turns out