<![CDATA[Shaun Clayton - Blog]]>Thu, 09 Apr 2020 17:39:53 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[I used to work at a bookstore]]>Thu, 24 May 2018 08:36:08 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/i-used-to-work-at-a-bookstoreSo I used to work at a bookstore that not only sold books, but sold many other used items such as computer games, videos, salt shakers in the shape of angels, that sort of thing.
In that, I got to witness how stupid people can be. The one of the most frequently asked questions we got as employees is "do you have any new items?" To which we say, "No, sorry, we only sell used items."
What we should say is "Well, let me see, there's a trade counter where people are bringing in used items, we have a huge metal sign that must have cost in the thousands that says "USED" above the store name, the word "USED" is in the store logo...hum, um, gee, I really don't know, that's a stumper there. Perhaps you would like to check out a book of puzzles approved by MENSA?" 
In any case, the store mostly made its profit selling books. An endless amound of books. As a result of handling so many books, I noticed that certain types of people almost consistently buy certain types of books. For example:
Middle-Aged Women - Steamy Romance Novels
Old Ladies - Steamier Romance Novels
Attractive 18-20 year olds/Middle Aged women who try to look like attractive 18-20 year olds - New Age Books
Overly-Tan People with Whitened Teeth - Christian Books
Middle-Aged Men wearing loose clothing and beads - Eastern Religion Books
Middle-Aged men with presed shirts - Tom Clancy or W.E.B. Griffin novels
The place also sold porn. Tapes, magazines, DVDs, you name it. Usually the people who bought these are old, sunbeaten guys who reek of cigarette smoke. Sometimes it was young couples. In the case of the young couples, curiously, it is the woman who always bought it usually with a lot of giggling. 
Another thing about the store is that there's a 7-day unconditional return policy on everything. Yep, unconditional. You can return a movie if it doesn't work, if you hate the movie or if the box color is the wrong hue of yellow.This also means you can, in fact, use the store as a convoluted sort of library. Find something you like, buy it, then take it back in less than a week for a full refund. 
That included porn.
That's there the sunbeaten men would come in. They would buy porn one week, return it the next, get some more porn. They would always come in early sunday morning too. I guess they didn't have church to get to, but they did have some wanking to get in. I always made it a point to wash my hands a lot on those days. 
Old ladies would also come in on the weekend and do something similar. They would return stacks and stacks of romance novels, then get more stacks of romance novels. 
There was one old lady who was just blatant about it. Every week she would trade in a huge amount of books, some sixty dollars worth, and then get an equally huge amount of books. Nobody could quite tell me when she started bringing books in, just that she had always been there, like hydrogen. 
She was polite about it, at least. She had the books all ready in a bag, receipt nicely folded, and would even help you put a rubber band around the returns so they are grouped together for restocking.
At least she's nice about her blatant abuse of the system. Some people just abused us. Actually, some would say the service industry is just another word for "abuse." There are some people who do take a certain---pride in in though. These are the type of people who I can see owning a lot of slaves in the 19th century, not just because they needed some plantation work done, but because they liked the idea of owning people.
I got one of those bastards one day. This old man walks up to the counter and demands, harshly "Gimme the phonebook!"
I'm usually used to someone saying "Could I use your phonebook?" in a nice tone, so this kinda threw me. Yet, it is my job to serve the customer, so I gave him the phonebook. He looked at it like I just offered him a tampon. 
"Now, I'm looking for a book that tells me the prices of cars."
Unfortunately at the store we didn't have any sort of database of books we had on hand. I told him how we didn't have a database. I then explained to him that if we had a book like that, which I believe would be a KellyBlue Book, it would be in our automotive section.
"Bring them to me, I'm in a hurry," he says.
"Um, I'm not sure that we even have any," I said, "and if we did, we might have a lot, so it would help if you narrowed down the year."
"Just bring them to me!"
I let another person deal with this person at this point. It was one of those "Um, um...manager!" Moments. 
As it turned out, we didn't have any books that he was looking for. Not that I felt bad for him.
Yet, an hour later Mr. "I'm in a hurry" is back in the store buying some novels about cowboys not fucking each other on the range. Fortunately I don't ring him up. While buying his stuff Mr. Hurry tells the cashier all about how he's a doctor and used to be in the Marines.
"Let me show you something I learned in the marines, " he says to my fellow cashier.
"What?" he replies.
"Just hold out your arm."
So, the other cashier does with a look of pure incomprehension. The man grips his arm in this strange hold and starts struggling. I should mention this man is about 5'6" probably weighing 100 pounds, and is probably just shy of 80 years of age. The old withered husk continues to do whatever strange kind of maneuver he was trying to pull off against the cashier to no avail. I should mention the cashier is about 6 foot tall and weighs maybe 300 pounds. I guess the man thought he was trying to do some sort of horrible death grip that would leave the cashier screaming in pain or something. Which, if he accomplished it, would do...what, exactly? Scare everyone? In any case, the man looked as he truly was, a pathetic old man pawing feebly at the cashiers gigantic arm. 
After about fifteen seconds of this sad display, like a muppet with the mange, the cashier says, "What the heck are you doing?"
The old man stops and says "I don't know," and shrinks back, smaller than ever before. I would have felt bad if he had not acted so mean and weird earlier. I don't know, something about rude old men making demands then trying to incipacitate people with military training does not bring up a lot of sympathy in me. 
I don't think I'll ever work at a bookstore ever again.
<![CDATA[CDs are superior to retro formats, especially the CD my comedy album is on]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 03:17:14 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/cds-are-superior-to-retro-formats-especially-the-cd-my-comedy-album-is-onBy Some Comedian

​I really don't understand these records kids are listening to. I’m a Gen X-er and let me say these retro formats are crap.
Records are fragile. You can easily drop one and have it break, or leave it in a car and have it melt. They give them to you in ridiculous rigid paper sleeves that protect almost nothing. CDs are stored in sensible, durable plastic.
CDs are perfect. They are sturdy, crisp, clean and digital. I’ve made CDs before. For instance, I do stand-up, and I recorded an hour of my funniest material and slapped it on a CD. You can hear every joke perfectly. You can’t do that with a vinyl record!
I do understand people wanting bigger cover art like on a record, but an album is not it’s cover. You can have Leonardo Da Vinci paint your artwork, but if your content is crap, nobody will care. My comedy CD has a photo me standing on a street corner and is called “Corner Comedy!” It’s simple. The art doesn’t have to be elaborate because the content is good! 27 tracks of goodness, to be exact! You can hear me doing my favorite comedy routines, from “Night Coffee” to “I don’t know what Mom is!”
Cassette tapes are a joke. Nobody should want those back. Those are just a nightmare of complexity. It’s almost guaranteed you are going to get your tape spilling out all over a cassette deck at some point. With a CD, (like my comedy CD) you never have to worry about that. Put it in and listen!
You can put “Corner Comedy” in any CD player and not have to worry about getting a mess when you eject it. Not that you would ever want to eject it! It’s just non-stop hilarity! I do an amazing impression of Jack Nicholson at a bakery! I can’t convey how funny it is just by writing it. Get my CD! You can get my CD directly from me, at the entrance of Lucky’s Comedy Club, right after my set on Tuesday nights at 10pm.
Hey, you know what? CDs are also better than digital downloads, too! You can’t actually hold my gut-busting CD in your hand with a downloadable copy! With a download, you just get a file with hardly any cover art and a computer virus. Download the file and all of a sudden some guy in Russia has your bank account info and is using it to buy underage boys. I’m just saying.
Meanwhile, you can hold my sweet CD in your hands, guilt-free, for only $20, $10 each if you buy two. Again, you can get them Tuesday nights at Lucky’s Comedy Club right after my set at 10pm. My set, by the way, does not contain any of the bits I perform in person, so you don’t have to worry about getting the jokes about “women I’ve tried to date” ruined for you! Also, you get to see me in person! Bonus! Don’t give in to crappy formats! Buy my CD!

<![CDATA[Experience Points]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:02:39 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/experience-pointsThe old saying goes that "age brings wisdom."  I don’t know who made this old saying, but they were clearly trying to shut up some “meddlesome kids.”

Older does not mean wiser, I find. We can just look to our 71-year old President to see a glaring example of that. No, I feel that older means…older.  You’ve lived on this planet for a large number of orbits. Congratulations, have a cupcake.

Time does not make you wiser, but experience does. I find that life is very much like an RPG. Experience equals leveling up, and experience makes you wiser. 

Experience of course, is higher depending on the difficulty you face, whether it be a dragon or deciding to move across the country to New York to pursue your dream of becoming a professional mime. Whatever it is, if you face the difficulty and survive, you learn something. 

Further, the farther out of your comfort zone you go, the more skills you will acquire. For instance, if I were to take up any sort of recreational physical exercise. That would be a huge leap for me, and I would gain more experience points in doing that. Also I would probably go a few more orbits.

A lot of people though, just don’t change things up. They stick to one thing, one routine, over and over and never face anything difficult. They keep killing rabbits in the town they start off in, spend coin in the tavern, and sleep at the inn. They gain a little experience but don’t level up as much. This is very standard for a lot of people it’s routine. It’s comforting. You don’t get a lot of XP though.

Wealth makes a lot of difference too - if you are born into it, it’s like having cheat codes, or a DM you happen to sleep with. You can continue to make critical failures and not have them doom you because you always have the ability for a do-over. Lots of rich people in this country like to say they are rich because they are smarter and harder working. Sometimes, this is indeed the case and those people really are impressive. Lots of times though, people are just born rich, and have no incentive to level their character. Why face dragons when someone else can slay them for you? 

Taking the difficult path, saying “yes” to a quest that’s given, risking some serious damage, gets you experience. Lessons to be learned. You get better at tackling higher-level creatures. It’s not an immediate process; you don’t go immediately from kobolds to beholders, but you will. You will grow, you will level up. You will be wiser.

Yes, maybe you’ll die, but all characters die eventually. Might as well make it a good story. That all depends on whether you decide to go down the path that leads to another tavern, or the dark and foreboding cave with the pile of skulls near the entrance. Roll the D20.
<![CDATA[Cat Discourse]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 07:52:02 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/cat-discourse​[Two cats sit on a windowsill in the sunlight, a striped orange tabby called TIGER and a black and white tuxedo named MR. WAFFLES.]
TIGER: Mr. Waffles, have you ever thought about where you cough up a hairball?
MR. WAFFLES: No, Tiger, I usually just stop where I am and cough it up.
TIGER: I do think about where I cough up hairballs.  Coughing up hairballs is part of a cat’s essence. It’s almost like the balance to licking yourself – lick yourself to get your outside clean, throw up the hair to clean the inside.
MR. WAFFLES: Yes, I can see that, kind of a cleansing of the soul and the body.  I guess that also applies to when I eat too fast and then throw up the food a minute later.
TIGER: Yes! Now, for you, it does not matter where you throw up.
MR. WAFFLES: No, for me it’s more about getting everything out as soon as possible.
TIGER: For me, I like to consider placement. For example, I like to throw up right in the hallway where it’s unavoidable for people.  I do that as if to say to the humans, “I am a cat, this is me, witness my self.”
MR. WAFFLES: They do witness us. They go “Here kitty,” then make little kissing sounds.
TIGER: Yes, but that is on their terms!  I want to pull them out of their everyday routine and have them stop and realize that I am a cat, and I live here.
MR. WAFFLES: They do realize we live here.  They pet us, they respond to us meowing at them when we can see the bottom of our food bowls despite food being in it, and they take photos of us all time.
TIGER: Yes, but do they pet you when you want to? Do they respond to your meowing right away? Do they wake you up to take photos of you sleeping? 
MR. WAFFLES: Oh, yes, I suppose.
TIGER: Yes! It’s on their terms! We need to make it on our terms!
MR. WAFFLES: Maybe you are overthinking this.  I mean, sometimes when I pee on someone’s clothes it’s just because I was bored, not because I’m making a statement.
TIGER:  It should be, though! We should make everything a cat does to be meaningful!  It should be part of an art movement!
MR. WAFFLES: An art movement?
TIGER: Yes, we should take our routine and turn it into something noticeable, like Andy Warhol.
MR. WAFFLES: I thought he was more about the banality of American media.
TIGER: No, no, no, it was about noticing the things we see every day but never really look at!  Coughing up a hairball on a bed is exactly like making a painting of a Campbell’s Soup can!
MR. WAFFLES: Well, even if it is, what’s the goal?
TIGER: The goal? Oh, well, the ultimate goal is to make the humans realize the quintessence of cat.  To look at a cat and go “This is a cat. This is reality.”
MR. WAFFLES: Yeah, but are there treats?
TIGER: What?
MR. WAFFLES: Treats?  I mean, is this going to get us treats?  I like the salmon ones.
TIGER: Treats?  Treats? I’m talking about the height of feline expression and you are talking about treats?!?
MR. WAFFLES: Well, treats are delicious and I would like more of them.
TIGER: Oh my gosh, I cannot believe you are taking actions of high intellectual expression and turning them into base primal urges.
MR. WAFFLES: Yeah, but I’m a cat. You’re talking about being the most cat.  I’m a cat, I want treats.
TIGER: You are hopeless.
MR. WAFFLES: Hopeless with treats!
TIGER: Disgusting. Let’s just get back to watching for things to kill that we can’t actually get to.
<![CDATA[home shopping networks - Your late night entertainment winner]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 03:25:48 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/home-shopping-networks-your-late-night-entertainment-winnerI wrote this up many years ago (in college, obviously), but it's still pretty relevant:

I frequently stay up late, as most college students do, because I’m either working late or had downed a whole gallon of coffee (as per my caffeine addiction requires) and I flip through the channels looking for entertainment. Inevitably I end up watching the home shopping programs, which entertain through their sheer outrageousness.

The home shopping programs seem to come in only three flavors, as it will—sports collectibles, jewelry and miscellaneous.  

Miscellaneous shows are usually just that. One moment they’re selling a $799 camcorder, the next moment they’re selling butt scrubbers.  It’s really that random. 

On several occasions I’ve seen the “Carousel of Values” which is a rotating display platform that sells—whatever. Whatever they have in inventory or in their pockets at the time goes on the platform.  Imagine taking all the items in a junk drawer and putting them on a rotating platform and then having the audacity to sell it for 200 times of what it’s worth.  

What’s even more amazing about those shows is that they usually have some guy with a think southern accent saying things like “these be some beauty items here.” Yes, a rotating pile of glass marbles, a wooden hula girl, a plastic necklace, a paperweight from Maryland, and a ceramic napkin ring for $700 is certainly what I would consider “beauty items.” 

It’s even funnier when these southern-drawled salesmen start talking to some other person in the room.  They will say something like  “How’s the fish bitin, Verle?” To which I presume “Verle” replies (I’m not sure, since you never see the people’s faces) something like “They be bitin’ fine, cutie.” Great, not only do people have listen to these genetic dead-ends give a sales pitch, you get to hear them hit on each other. 

Moving along to the jewelry programs, there seems to be no limit to the ways one can name worthless pieces of junk to make them seem valuable.  “Cubic Zirconium” is the most prevalent name people hear, but the second most is “White Gold.”  

“White Gold,” is that the white, as in ivory white, or white as in trailer-trash white, the shopping programs’ core market?  My guess is the latter.  Further, just because something has “gold” in the name, doesn’t mean that it’s good.  A “golden shower” is a perfect example.

Further, the size of the gems they sell cannot be measured in inches, but in microns.  Nay, possibly, atoms.  They do a remarkable job of making the gem look gigantic of course, but once a finger or a tweezer gets in there to move the gem around, the staggering proportion of gem to say, a fingerprint ridge, becomes apparent.  One sharp intake of air might suck the gem into somebody’s lungs. That I would like to see.  

“Look at this precious g---GURK!” (cough, cough, body hitting ground)

Also, any time they sell a “precious” gem, they sell it for an outrageous amount, say, hypothetically, the amount a college student would pay for tuition at some Arizona college, and then bring the price down when Bill Gates doesn’t call right away.  I once saw a gem go from $5,000 to $50 in the span of five minutes.  That’s like making a bluff in poker, getting impatient after not winning in three seconds and saying “oh, okay, all I have is a pair of twos!  Are you happy?”

Lastly, there is the sports collectable shows. Every one of these have a Mark McGuire rookie card in perfect condition, and every time they claim it’s their last one.  They also say that whatever they’re selling is worth about a twenty times what they are selling it for.  Like, say the Mark McGuire rookie card is selling for $200.  They’ll claim it’s worth $6,000.  This could mean one of a few things:

1.    They’re lying.
2.    They’re selling fakes.
3.    They really are just going temporarily insane as they claim and you better call right now because this won’t happen again

There’s one show in particular where they have this regular cast of characters on it.  They have a normal-sounding salesman, then they have this guy who screams as loud as possible and repeats things, and then they have this guy who is supposed to be their distributor saying how he’s feeling nice and is only going to make these deals tonight.  Here’s an example of the dialogue:

NORMAL GUY: Okay folks, we have got an amazing deal for you here.  A Mark McGuire rookie card for only $200.


PHONE GUY: This is crazy. If you look at any price guide, a card in that condition will sell for at least $6,000.

NG: It truly is a deal.

PG: It’s an amazing deal!  I could go and sell these cards for more than that, but tonight, I’m feeling generous. I want to provide your viewers with the best deals possible.

NG: Get on those phones right---


NG: We must be ins-


(his head explodes)

Okay, the last part doesn’t happen.  I wish it did, because then it would make my insomnia-induced late-night T.V. viewing much more interesting.

<![CDATA[Typping]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/typpingOne thing that I'm glad of is that as a teenager I had an interest in computers and technology.  I think that's partially because the cold, hard boxes of silicon gave back more to me than the soft, warm bags of carbon we call people.  

That's a whole other blog post.

Anyway, this was important because I learned one of the most fundamental skills for today's modern society - typing.  Now I can type really fast and accurately, so I can write at almost the speed of my thoughts. Example:

"There's a rabbit named Jim who hates carrots and wants to eat broccoli all day and fart."  

See, no editing there.

In High School, like many people, I took a typing class. I should mention that my school had ancient technology for teaching typing, known as "type-writers."  These devices created text on paper through mechanically imprinting letters individually.  No spell check, no autocorrect, no easy way to correct mistakes.  It was be perfect or...mess around with correction tape.

Oh, yeah, correction tape - this was basically a plastic strip with white paint on it.  To correct mistakes, you had to get the typewriter to go back to the place you missed and then type the incorrect typing again with the plastic strip carefully held on the page.  That way, the incorrect letters were printed white and you could go over again with the correct letters.

Also, lets not forget about formatting - there was no automated formatting.  You typed and then had to remember the tabs and the spacing for certain documents and how to get the damn archaic machine of chittering metal to actually line up properly, like some test Jigsaw would give you to keep your head from being sliced off by a giant blade that swung down from the ceiling in a very under budget special effect.

So, yep, months of that and I became a very neurotic person.  Okay, I already was a neurotic person, but now I was a really good typist.  I'm glad of that because it now allows me to make these terrific words, really fast.  Also, it's been instrumental in getting every job I've ever had.  

However, I wouldn't recommend learning to type on a typewriter.  Stick with these computer things so you don't have nightmares about apostrophes.

<![CDATA[salt]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 20:34:48 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/saltAs a guy who has been on stage telling poorly-executed jokes about childhood tragedies, I know a few things about comedy.

One thing I know is that some people are funny. Some people are not. I would never venture to say that an entire gender isn't funny, though.  That's incredibly stupid. Here's an example:  John Belushi believed women weren't funny, and he worked with Gilda Radner. He also thought injecting cocaine and heroin into your veins at once would be a fantastic idea with no downsides, so there you go.

When I hear from guys their reasons that women aren't funny (usually in their stand-up routines) it usually boils down to "Women aren't funny, just look at (a few female comediennes)!  Yet people get mad at me when I say that!  It's not fair, MY OPINIONS SHOULD BE UNCHALLENGED!" Then they talk about how ugly they look, while they themselves have a beer gut the size of whatever liver cancer tumor they currently have.

Hey, you know ​ditcto simliciter, guy?  Yeah, all of those women you named could be unfunny, by chance. Highly unlikely.  

Also, unfunny according to....what, the strict laws of comedy, as first written down in the Comedia Principia in 1781?  Oh, no, wait, that doesn't exist because comedy is an art form and not physics.*

Is it ok for you to not like certain female comics?  Yes, of course. I hate so many male comics. I think Jeff Dunham is a blight on humanity, but he's a multimillionaire so not everyone agrees with me on that.  I don't go and say that every male comedian is Jeff Dunham. Though if they were, the comedian lobby in Washington D.C. would be much more powerful.

So, I've gone and exposed myself to female comedians.

Okay, wait, "exposed" is probably the wrong term. I've watched them, listened to them, bought albums, etc.  I've treated them like any other comic.  There's a lot of guys who just don't want to take the time to do that.  They've already made their judgement and administered their comedy justice. Women just aren't funny to them, AND DON'T YOU DARE CALL THEM SEXIST!  I mean, they know that being sexist is "bad" but they don't understand what the fuck it means. Or care.

Point is, stop saying "women aren't funny." Stop being a dumb asshole.

* Yes, I realize that some mathematicians would say that physics is also subjective. Shut it.]]>
<![CDATA[Why write this?]]>Sat, 04 Mar 2017 13:03:43 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/why-write-this"Why are you writing this?" is a question that everyone asks me. "Why are you writing this blog on your personal website that is embarrassing and nobody will find interesting, you stupid paramecium?"

Okay, I'm the only one who is asking that.  Still, let's address this question. "Why write this blog?"

Well, for one thing, it helps me to address the questions in my head without being in my head.  You can get so lost up there, you know?  So much clutter.  You will be trying to address the problem one minute, then unicorn pinecone apple butter mango. 

See?  So cluttered.

Also, if you are the type of person who feels compelled to write all the time, then you write all the time.  For writing.  Not because it's something that you can sell, something that people will care about, or something that is yellow organ smell pants.  You have to write, so you write. Then you aren't thinking about how you have to write, and you calm down a bit, then you write some more.

If know what I'm talking about, you are probably getting fidgety while reading this, thinking about how you could write this better, or how you are reading this and not writing and OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO OPEN UP A WORD DOCUMENT RIGHT NOW AND START TYPING.

Thirdly, people write online blogs because that's what we do now.  Writing about ourselves is not something new.  People have been writing journals and diaries since we could.

It used to be that people would write journals, diaries, what have you, and they would be secret. Locked up.  Nobody could read it until you were dead.  It was writing for yourself.  Thoughts out, on paper, for you and you alone.

Then, suddenly the option came along to share those journals with everyone in the world.  

So it became a choice between the old way of doing things (keeping things completely secret) or the new way (never having secrets) and people's minds broke and decided that every little scrap of information about themselves needed to be out.  For everyone. Always.

Except of course, there's so much stuff out there that you probably don't read anything.  Mostly because it's boring and terrible, but also because you are too busy writing stuff yourself.

So, really, if we used to write to ourselves and now just try to write to everyone and nobody is reading either, then what does it matter?  

At least werewolf clam popcorn radio shrimp.]]>
<![CDATA[Sleep, or "am i dreaming i am writing this?"]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 21:05:21 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/sleep-or-am-i-dreaming-i-am-writing-this
I've not had a lot of success sleeping.  Actually, I've had a lot of success not being entirely awake.

I don't know about you, but there's some days I will be an hour into my office job (I know, you are amazed someone of my writing caliber makes a living doing clerical work) and I will suddenly say "Wait, what am I wearing?"  Then, realize for the first time that I've dressed myself and gotten all the way to work without consciously being aware of any of it.

Most times I am wearing something work appropriate. The rare times I'm not is when I've put on a work-appropriate shirt, but inside-out.  Yep, don't mind me, just wearing a button-up shirt with the seams on the outside.  Also, I'm not sure how I button up shirts entirely inverted and not notice; I probably should get David Copperfield on that.

"Maybe you should see a doctor?" Is a question that you might be asking if you if this is the sort of thing that would bother you.  I have. I've gotten an array of health checks which just reminded me that I need to stop piling candy on froyo and thinking it's still healthy. Also, I've gotten a sleep study for apnea.

Yes, sleep apnea. It's a nice way of saying "YOU PARTIALLY SUFFOCATE WHILE YOU SLEEP."  Usually it's a narrow airway or blocked sinuses, or a demon trying to steal your breath as you sleep.

For those of you who haven't had a sleep study for apnea, it's an all-night lab test.  If it's a decent place, it won't be as David Cronenberg as you imagine.  Just picture a nice hotel room where you go to sleep, except you know for sure that people are watching you. Oh, and lots and lots of electrodes. It is counter-intuitive that a study to see if you sleep normally puts you in an abnormal sleep state, but the tech must not be there yet. 

Also, they are checking to see if you stop breathing.  So, you know, the more alerts they can get, the better.  If you stop breathing they slap a machine on you to help you breathe and then tell you to go right back to sleep, because THAT'S going to happen.

It's pretty calm and serene. You sleep for a normal eight hours, they monitor you, you wake up, they give you a snack and then you are out of there.  Later you may have to get into an argument with your insurance company as to why this wasn't covered despite you following all the rules, but that's just normal everyday healthcare in America.

Anyway, my sleep is completely normal. No sudden gasping for air, no problems with my vitals. It just seems to be that period between waking and sleeping that I have a problem with - the fuzziness that one normally has for a few minutes can extend for hours.  In fact, am I even awake right now?  What did I write?

Okay, good.  I'm sure there's some typos in there I've already corrected that I don't see during this first draft, but overall, coherent.
<![CDATA[please do not call in a wellness check reacting to this blog entry about my birthday]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:18:51 GMThttp://shaunclayton.org/blog/please-do-not-call-in-a-wellness-check-reacting-to-this-blog-entry-about-my-birthday​My birthday is here again, which comes at the end of February.  It’s nice having a birthday at the end of February because you start the depression off in December.  It goes Christmas, New Years Valentine’s Day, and then Birthday for me, like an ever increasing level of loneliness, with the goal of not stepping in front of a UPS truck towards the end.

Speaking of package trucks, my sister has her birthday right after Christmas, so the loneliness equation is slightly less, but my parents always skimped on her birthday, I’m pretty sure in any positive parenting guide that “try to cut corners on your kids’ birthdays so you can have more money for yourself” is not in there..  My parents were less the gold standard and more the jagged rusty nail standard of parenting.

Suffice it to say that birthdays have never been happy affairs for me, regardless of my mood. I still have a hard time getting people together to celebrate it. For one thing, “celebrating” anything relating to myself is something I never quite got growing up, so it feels alien.  If birthdays were something where you got a cake and then everyone left you to eat it alone, that would feel pretty normal. I would be totally on top of that. I could even get a blank card for myself that I seal in an envelope and never open. It would be more of a birthday lamentation than celebration.

As I get older I do feel somewhat amazed that I’ve been around this long.  I’m not sure if that’s because of the experiences I’ve had, or that the technology now allows me to watch videos of people being accidentally killed at the touch of a button.  I mean, have you seen the videos where someone is minding their own business and are suddenly killed when the side of a building falls on them? It reminds you that God doesn’t exist.  No, rather, it reminds you that if God does exist, then he’s very prone to writing anti-climactic endings for our lives. 

“Jim struggled his whole life, but scrimped and saved and finally went to medical school.  One day, a chimney fell on him. THE END.” I mean, seriously, there’s some lazy writing there, supreme being. 

Anyway, there’s no God, just a series of random events and human beings making choices. It’s not entirely depressing.  Well, okay, from what I’m writing it seems entirely depressing. Let me see if I can  spin this to a positive. 

We celebrate birthdays, because we all know how unlikely it is for us to get through he Kafkaesque world we live in for an entire orbit of our speck of a planet in a universe of stroke-inducing size.  Small victories deserve a giant sugary confection with candles we blow out as if to say “Fuck you, universe! I live.”

Hm, okay, that wasn’t quite positive.  Let me try again.

Despite my bleak outlook, I am glad that I don’t have to worry about returning to my dark apartment to have lights suddenly blinding me as people shout “surprise,” causing a PTSD flashback in me that—

Still not positive.

Maybe endings to our lives may not be positive.  That's just how it is.  However, between life and death we should at least try to make the happiest narrative for ourselves, yeah?

There we go.  That’s the ending that will prevent a wellness check! Win!]]>