The Narcissist Test

Ready?

Yes.

How are you?

I’m fine, thank you.

Ready?

Yes.

Ok. Do you get agitated or angry when people do not do what you want them to do?

Yes.

Do you get angry when other people doubt you?

Sometimes, yes.

Do you think that you are the center of the universe?

Often times, yes.

What I mean is, are you obsessed with yourself? With your idea of the world?

Yes, I guess so.

Do you often judge others who are different from you?

Yes, I do.

Do you often consider other people to be idiots?

Yes.

Do you think that people who follow sports are idiots?

Yes.

Do you often think that you are somehow smarter, wiser, more superior than other people?

Yes.

Do you often tell people closest to you and others what to do?

Yes.

Do you prefer wearing shorts or pants?

What does that have anything to do with this?

Please answer the question.

Pants.

Do you become easily bored if the conversation is not about you?

Yes.

Do you use the word “I” a lot?

Yes.

Do you often tell others what you think they should do?

Yes.

Does it bother you when other people tell you what to do?

Yes.

Do you give your opinion when your opinion has not been asked for?

Yes.

Do you eat a lot of carbohydrates?

Really?

Please answer the question.

Yes.

Do you often feel upset that you have not achieved or accomplished a higher level of economic success?

Yes.

Do you feel hurt, irritated or angered when people do not do what you think would be best for them to do?

Didn’t you already ask me this questions?

Please answer the question.

Yes.

Ever feel like you are being nice only because you know that you have been mean or inappropriate?

Yes.

Do you find it difficult to listen to others?

Yes.

Do you find it difficult to listen to others without formulating a response in your head?

Yes.

Do you find it difficult to let other people do whatever they want without needing to tell them what to do?

No.

Do you feel like you need to fix people?

Yes.

Oh gosh.

Excuse me?

Nothing, sorry. Do you get angry or at all upset when your house is not kept clean?

Yes, but I am trying to get better about that.

Do you expect someone else to do the cleaning?

I expect others to help out and keep the house as clean as I would like it to be. But I am not a Nazi about it.

Yes or no please.

No.

Do you get mad when you feel like others are not maintaining the level cleanliness that you want in your home?

Yes.

Do you often feel like you need to re-educate the world?

Yes.

Do you think that people are often out to get you somehow?

Yes.

Did you have a father or a mother who has/had narcissistic personality disorder?

Yes.

When people do not do what you want them to do, do you hold a grudge?

Yes.

Do you feel like they deserve to be punished for letting you down?

Sometimes.

Yes or no please.

I can’t give a straight yes or no response to some of these questions.

Next then.

Ok.

Do you have a difficult time not feeling angry?

Sometimes, yes.

Are you ever able to be loving and supportive of others even when they do not do what you want?

It is difficult. Yes.

When you are upset with others do you withhold love or stonewall them?

I am afraid so. I do not like that I do it but it often seems difficult to control.

Please just try and answer yes or no. I do not need any explanations or justifications.

Yes.

Do you have a hard time displaying empathy or compassion for others?

I do, yes.

Is it easy for you to show the emotion of love?

No.

Do you often feel bad about yourself?

I suppose so, yes.

Do you feel like you need to maintain complete control or else something could go really wrong?

Yes.

Do you care about how others perceive you?

Yes.

Do you often go out of your way to make yourself look better off than you really are?

I think so. Yes.

Do you not like others whom you think do not like you?

Yes.

Do you have a hard time respecting others who do not share your values?

Yes.

Do you judge others who are different from you?

You already asked me that.

Please just answer the question yes or no.

Yes. Often.

Do you have unresolved anger towards your mother or father?

Yes.

Which one?

Both.

Do you think that the things you have to say are very important?

Yes.

Do you think your opinion matters?

Yes.

When you do not like someone is it difficult for you to hide it?

Yes.

Do you judge others a lot?

I think I do.

Yes or no?

Yes.

Do you have a difficult time experience happiness for any length of time?

Yes.

Does something often happen or does someone often do something that you feel is wrong?

Yes.

Do you resent others who do not share similar interests as you?

I suppose so.

Yes or no?

Depends on the person.

Next question.

Ok.

Do you often feel angry at others and/or the world.

Yes, I suppose so.

Do you envy others whom you perceive as being more successful or more accomplished than you?

Yes.

Do you spend a lot of time trying to distract yourself from yourself?

Yes.

Do you often experience the emotions of frustration and irritation?

Aren’t they the same thing?

Please answer the question.

Yes.

Do you try to create a positive image of yourself in the world that may not be true to who you really are?

I don’t know, that is a good question.

Yes or no please.

I really don’t know.

Do you often experience feelings of failure?

Yes.

Are you often unsatisfied with things as they are?

Yes.

Are you controlling with money, meaning are you cheap?

Yes.

Do you derive pleasure out of giving freely to others?

Not really.

Ok sir, that is the end of the test.

How did I do?

You are a narcissist.

What?

Yes, you are a narcissist.

Oh come on, that can’t be! And besides what the hell does wearing pants or shorts have to do with being a narcissist?

The research shows that the vast percentage of narcissist do not like wearing shorts and eat too many carbohydrates.

Shit.
….

How bad is my narcissism?

I have seen worse but it is bad enough.

What can I do about it?

I don’t know, I just administer the test.

Remembering Joan Quigley. 1927- 2014.

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I remember that she always sat alone in the dark restaurant where I worked as a waiter, nine years or so ago.

I remember that the restaurant was in downtown San Fransisco and was called Cafe Andree, named after the poet Kenneth Rexroth’s wife.

I remember that Cafe Andree was attached to The Hotel Rex, a literary hotel named after Kenneth Rexroth.

I remember that she was hiding out in the hotel.

I remember that she was always really well dressed and looked like an east coast aristocrat.

I remember that her hair always looked as if it had been professionally done.

I remember she was always reading the newspaper and was happy to talk.

I remember how she spoke like a well written English Literature novel.

I remember that she always said thank you and smiled at me.

I remember wondering if she was coming on to me.

I remember that she said she was going to do my astrological chart but can not remember if she ever did.

I remember that the restaurant was often slow and I would sit down and talk with her.

I remember the first time that she told me that she was Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s personal astrologer while Ronald Reagan was in the white house.

I remember that I thought she was making that up.

I remember when she told me that she set the time for summit meetings, presidential debates, Reagan’s 1985 cancer surgery, State of the Union addresses and so many other things.

I remember when she told me that Nancy Reagan would consult with her before Air Force One could take off.

I remember when she told me that there was a private line set up just for her in the white house and that she would consult with Nancy Reagan several times a day.

I remember how upset she seemed with regards to never really receiving the recognition she felt like she deserved, since the Reagans wanted to keep their personal astrologer a secret.

I remember having a hard time believing her.

I remember looking her up on-line and finding out that she was indeed the Reagan’s personal astrologer.

I remember thinking how cool it was that I was getting to know her.

I remember spending several evenings a week talking with her.

I remember that she was often in a state of terror.

I remember that she felt very alone.

I remember that she felt like people where after her.

I remember that she thought that maybe it was the Illuminati.

I remember that she would often talk about how America was being taken over by a small group of very wealthy men.

I remember how she talked about how everything in America was going to get worse and worse, that individual freedoms were being taken away.

I remember that she was always afraid of being killed or kidnapped.

I remember when she took me out to lunch at a prestigious San Fransisco restaurant that she loved called Garibaldis.

I remember when she took my then wife and I out to a nice Italian food dinner in North Beach.

I remember that she spent the entire dinner talking about who she thought was after her and the take over of America.

I remember that she felt like we were all in great danger.

I remember that her eyes were always looking around the room.

I remember drinking a lot of red wine that evening and staring at the Joan Miro prints on the walls.

I remember being happy that she bought dinner because I did not have any money.

I remember that one of her credit cards was declined and becoming really concerned that my then wife and I were going to have to buy dinner.

I remember the last time I saw her she gave me her book entitled, “What Joan Says, My Seven Years As A White House Astrologer To Nancy And Ronald Reagan.”

I remember that I never read the book.

I remember that my then wife and her mother were supposed to meet Joan for dinner in Santa Monica several months later but Joan canceled at the last-minute.

I remember the frantic message that she left on my then wife’s voicemail.

I remember that she was coughing a lot and sounded very ill and afraid.

I remember wondering if she was in danger.

I remember that I never heard about her or from her again after that.

I remember last week wondering about what ever happened to Joan Quigley.

I remember wondering if she was still alive.

I remember hoping that she was still alive and doing ok.

I remember thinking that a lot of what she spoke about happening in and to America, has been happening.

I remember feeling glad that for a brief period of time, I got to know Joan Quigley, President Reagan’s secret astrologer.

 

 

 

 

How To Do Nothing At All

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Doing nothing is not for the weak-willed. It is one of the more difficult things a person can do in her or his life. In a culture that is built upon the premise of distracting ourselves from ourselves, doing nothing is one of the most radical acts. Doing nothing requires the capacity to tolerate going against the ingrained values that everyone in a capitalist culture has accepted to be true. It requires the ability to step outside of the proverbial box. If Kierkegaard was correct when he wrote about how our impulse to escape the present by keeping ourselves busy is our greatest source of unhappiness…..well then it might be of some benefit to us to start finding a way out of that always invisible but always present box.

In the suburban Los Angeles neighborhood where I live, everyone is always hard at work. There are constantly cars, ambulances, trucks, motorcycles, fire engines and cop cars speeding down the road on which I live. Gardeners, tree trimmers, construction workers, city officials, bike riders, joggers and homeowners seem to all be constantly pushing themselves towards some sort of illusive edge. The downtown area of my suburban city is always bustling with frenetic business. Restaurants, stores, cafes and movie theaters are all alive with the rhythmic pounding of social activities. Airplanes continuously fly over my home making their descent into LAX. Plants and trees are the only living creatures that seem to stay still for any length of time around here. I realize it is 2014 and if you want to survive with some degree of domestic comfort you can not act like a plant or a tree (then who would be able to sell you something?), but in those moments where I do not need to be working I still find that it is incredibly difficult to stop, do nothing and feel good about it.

I am building a nothingness box to escape from the cultural box. I read about a particular poet who lived in San Francisco and he was trying to design a nothingness box. He wanted to build a box that could counteract the forces of doing and busyness that were always all around him. Every time he sat down to be still (which I hear is a fundamental thing that a poet needs to be able to do) he felt like he needed to do something. For him it was usually to go to the bar, socialize, look for a lady to have sexual encounters with and get drunk. He found it difficult to write poetry in a city that was always trying to pull him out and his idea was to build a box within which he would be able to feel still enough to write poetry. I am not sure if he ever managed to complete building his nothingness box but I do still have a sentence from one of his notebooks that I wrote down in one of my journals: Boredom … protects the individual, makes tolerable for him the impossible experience of waiting for something without knowing what it could be. He wanted to build a box within which he would be able to comfortably wait for something.

This is the most difficult part of taking on the task of doing nothing. Dealing with the boredom and the accompanying need to do something that is soon to arise. Granted the sense of boredom and the fear of missing out will be stronger for someone who lives in a happening city or is addicted to Facebook and Instagram (the great contemporary distractors) then it would be for a person who lives in the countryside and is not interested in social networking. But the main reason everyone fears doing nothing for any length of time is because of the boredom (absence of productivity) that they will eventually feel. But what do we end up losing? I can not help but think of what the writer Cheryl Strayed said: The useless days will add up to something… These things are your becoming. When we do not have useless days, we never really get to become anything. We just end up getting led around.

I like what the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips wrote about boredom. He wrote: Boredom: that state of suspended anticipation in which things are started and nothing begins, the mood of diffuse restlessness, which contains that most absurd and paradoxical wish, the wish for a desire. This is exactly what boredom can feel like. A state of restlessness where a person finds themselves no longer being pulled by desire. A state of suspended anticipation, waiting for something to happen. This is what makes doing nothing difficult for so many people (including myself). They (I) just cannot tolerate the feeling of being in a state of suspended anticipation. It’s too uncomfortable, too boring. But call it what you will, you can know that you are doing nothing when you feel exactly this way.

Obviously a person who was raised in a capitalist-based culture needs to develop the capacity to be in this state of suspended anticipation. In capitalist-based cultures, the moment a person feels like they are in this suspended state, they will freak out. They will feel like they are not being productive enough and as a result will experience feelings of fear and shame. They will feel like they are missing out on all the fun, which they equate with missing out on their lives. Whether it is to check the phone, read something, work on something, go on-line, watch something, go out somewhere, worry about something- the way we are conditioned in a society that values doing something, is to freak out the moment we feel like we are doing nothing. We feel at risk of losing our value.

Currently I am working on re-wiring my more capitalistic conditioning. I am learning to tolerate the experience of boredom and suspended anticipation. My dog seems much more advanced in being able to tolerate and enjoy the experience of doing nothing than I am- so I use him as my guide. I watch him and study how he rests. I realize the inherent value of being able to be bored. I know that being bored and doing nothing has a plethora of rarely discussed and often ignored benefits. Being bored and doing nothing are just as good for a person as jumping into a pond of healing, mineral water is. It is like taking a bath in a substance that puts a person in direct contact with the experience of life. And it is this substance that generates the experiences we find most desirable in life: happiness, satisfaction, creativity, peace and presence.

I bought a large cardboard box from Home Depot and I lined it with several layers of tin foil. Today I will be applying styrofoam sound boards to make the inside of the box as quiet as possible. I will then put a layer of pillows on the ground and also make sure that there is no way for the light to get in. I will then place my nothingness box in my backyard so it sits on the grass and soaks up the earth’s grounding energy (I may have to put a tarp over it because of the sprinklers that go off every morning). I want to complete the project that the obscure poet may not of ever found a way to finish. It is within this nothingness box that I plan on learning how to be bored. I will spend at least two hours a day inside it doing nothing. I will just sit there and be. I may let my dog come in with me, since he already knows the way. Once I feel like I have been able to stop the compulsions to do something, or to at least comfortably live with the pull towards doing without needing to give into it by checking my phone, cleaning my house, listening to music, watching TV, having sex, socializing, working, going for a drive or checking my email- then I will know that I have started to benefit from doing nothing at all.

i a odd ball

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I received three emails today asking me why I changed the name of this blog.

i a odd ball? one person asked. What is that?

That does not make any sense, I like Absurdistry better,  another person wrote.

The grammar “i a odd ball” is all wrong (like so much else of what you write), is all another email said.

I don’t know. The name change of this blog is so unimportant that I do not even know why I am writing about it. I suppose I have nothing else to write about. I mean, I have things that I could write about, but I do not want to. I tried. I wrote several potential posts and then deleted them. I wrote a post called Why My German Shepherd Is Just Like A Black Man and then I deleted it. I wrote something else called The End Of Unhappiness and then deleted that because, well, I felt like it was too darn depressive. I’m trying to not be so depressive, even though I realize this may mean that what I have left to say might be rather dull. For some reason the depressive often makes for good literature and I am trying to find a decent balance between the two. I also know that people I know read this blog and I dont want to worry them too much.

Anyways, I changed the name of this blog to i a odd ball. A month or so ago I was on a walk. I walked through a park that was right besides an elementary school. I came across a piece of white paper on the ground with i a odd ball written on it. I assumed that the piece of paper slipped out of some kids backpack since it looked like a kids handwriting. I picked up the piece of paper and stuck it in my pocket. The other day I took it out and put it on my desk. And that is how it came to be.

On Turning My F_____G Television Permanently Off

Samsung-UN50F5500-50-inch-Refurbished-LED-Television-with-Smart-TV-P15828380I wrote what you are about to read a few days ago. I decided not to publish it since later that evening I reconnected with my television. But I guess I will incriminate myself now and hang what I wrote on my blog for a few people in the world to see. I just touched it up a bit, cleaned up some of the grammar errors and toned down some of the more vulgar rants against my television that are probably best kept to myself. I have gone against everything I wrote about in what you are about to read (for now). Just last night I fell asleep watching David Letterman and woke up at three in the morning and watched QVC ( I almost bought a super-blender but convinced myself that I did not need it). I suppose the part of me that wrote what you are about to read feels like a hypocrite and is slightly embarrassed to admit that I am still giving into the distracting pleasures of my TV. But oh well, I am not perfect and I realize that because of my anxious mind, I am more susceptible to a lot of temptations than most men.

On Turning My F_____G Television Permanently Off

The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.
-from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

As soon as I am done writing this, I will be doing something that would seem impossible, if not down right idiotic, to the vast majority of American denizens. I will be unplugging my television. All of the often satisfying euphoric images and sales pitches that come through the plastic box that sits on my shelf, will be taken off of life support. The cable box will be dissembled, the electrical cord unplugged and the television stuck into a closet. I can already hear all of my neighbors whose bedrooms and front rooms are always lit up by the ominous television screens glow screaming various impassioned exhortations like: Why the hell would you do that?, A little television never hurt anyone!, Why would you want to cut yourself off from the world like that?, But it’s so good for relaxation!, Are you crazy?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…

I tried. I really tried. I stopped reading before bed and starting flicking back and forth between David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. I tried to be interested in their monologues, which always seemed to make the audience laugh while leaving me feeling like I did not get the funny part of the joke. I tried to be interested in the conversations that these men where having with their rich and famous guests despite knowing that it was all just a set up to market a movie or television show or a lifestyle or to sell an album. I tried to be interested in the nightly news, despite knowing that I was letting people much less intelligent than me tell me things that I knew they themselves knew very little about. In the mornings I would turn on the television and watch programs like Good Morning America for a bit before getting out of bed despite the fact that I felt such disdain for the hosts and participants of these morning television shows. I had nothing in common with any of them (except my basic human biological processes) yet I kept watching. It was as if the artificiality of these television personalities put a spell over me and I was often unable to take my attention away from their banality. I became fascinated by their sadistic and manipulative ability to fascinate me. Why was I so interested? How could it happen to me of all people? How could I actually feel like these idiots were talking to me? Jeeze. I actually traded in a daily morning meditation practice for the slothful pleasures of lingering in bed watching morning television shows. If you are starting to get the picture here, you will understand that television has made me into the kind of man I never wanted to be.

And then there where those blank mid-afternoon or late night hours where I stared mindlessly and sleeplessly into the glare of the television screen, watching artificial drone like people sell me products that I actually started to believe I needed. A few times my hand was close to the phone. I was seconds away from falling under their spell and ordering the crap they had to sell. I, me, supposedly insusceptible to popular cultures manipulative tricks was hypnotized by sales pitches and a consumerist late night high. The way these publicly worshiping materialists could sell their god in the form of purses, vacuum cleaners, paper shredders, solar lights, sweaters, jackets, blenders, skin creams, crock pots and other useless products with such immense joie de vivre put me into a kind of fascinated daze. I was sucked in. I learned more about these products than I could ever imagine. I also judged other human beings more than I could ever imagine judging another person at four in the morning. Really I was just judging myself for letting myself go so much that I was awake in bed at four in the morning watching QVC. Television was starting to make me hate myself and that must be why I have such deep disdain for all these television personalities. It is kind of like making a deal with the devil.

In exchange for watching television I gave up practices that I had once prided myself on. I stopped meditating in the mornings, reading in bed, listening to the radio, making art and contemplating things that I was grateful for experiencing throughout the day before falling to sleep. Granted before watching television in bed I did have trouble falling to sleep. I would often lay awake for up to an hour thinking about various unpleasant things before venturing into unknown territory. In this sense television has been medicinal for me. Good sleep medicine. But what about the negative side effects? Should I just put all of that out of my mind and continue to experience the few benefits of the medicine I am taking despite the fact that I am getting fatter, lazier, more apathetic, angrier, less fulfilled and engaged in my life? Quite a price to pay for being able to fall right to sleep the moment I finally decide to turn off the TV and stop bathing myself in its euphoric, white, fluorescent glow. Do I really want my life to come to this? Do I really want to be a television watcher?

And after all- what is television if not a massively effective vehicle to sell people shit while entertaining them to death? This is what television is- a massive tool for selling things. Even the nightly news sells us fear. We passively buy it and as a result do what our masters tell us. We allow ourselves to be governed by the television in exchange for getting to be distracted from ourselves for a few hours. Television in a Faustian bargain, you can be entertained and forget about yourself and all of your problems in exchange for yourself. Meanwhile all those actors, directors, producers, late night and early morning talk show hosts, advertisers and news anchors are making a fortune in exchange for your soul. Fuck that.

I admit- I am incredibly excited to never have to see any of these people ever again. Of course I live in LA, so I might see some of them on billboards or in adds but I will not have to voluntarily listen to them speak anymore. No more jokes, no more selling me things and no more dreadfully boring conversations, commercials and television shows. My relationship with all of these plastic people can be ended the moment I unplug my television set. I look so forward to not having my day punctuated by any of these false friendships with late night television hosts, plastic sales people, morning time talking heads, news casters who are really just puppets dressed in suits. Gradually I hope my soul will feel safe enough to come back into my body and we can get back to the creative, authentic and deeply satisfying work that we are on earth to do. I am looking forward to reading in bed again and waking up in the morning without being tempted by that flat screen. I realize it may be hard to get to sleep at night, but instead of bathing myself in the opiated-fluorescent-white-television-glow, I will take the money I will save on my cable bill and go out and buy an aromatherapy diffuser so I can breathe in the scents of calming essential oils before falling off to sleep for the night.

Goodbye television land. Maybe I will briefly revisit you in a hotel room somewhere but for now it is time to get up and go permanently unplug that fucking TV.

On Homelessness #1

It’s not going to be too long/In fact I do not really know why I still bother doing this/I think this blog has seen its end long ago/It has played out its purpose/But maybe it still has a few inches to go/Consider these little jottings to be the final breaths of a blog that has already remained alive way too long/Just like clothes, people, musical genres and jobs- I think I have out grown the machinations that this blog currently struggles to create/This blog meaning=me.

But today/On a break from work/I was sitting in the sun/I was enjoying the feeling of the afternoon sunlight heating up the bare areas of my arms/And then a homeless man walked past/He didn’t look at me/Probably because I wasn’t smoking/After the contrails of his unshowered scent had left my olfactory awareness, I began wondering/ Are there people who love life so much, who love the experience of being alive so deeply, that they need very little else, if anything, to feel wealthy?

……sorry, just had to go after a fly/I wanted to kill it but I could not bring myself to do it/Now I just need to learn to live with it.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah…

Are there people who are so in love with experience of physical and emotional sensations, that they need very little of anything else to feel fulfilled?///////////Maybe for these individuals all of the things that us “normal” individuals hold to be so important (things like status, money, occupation, money, possessions) are actually transgressions against the free time that they need to relish in the experience of being alive/After all how many of us work at jobs that keep us from experiencing the late morning and afternoon sun?

I don’t know but I want to believe that these individuals exist/That behind the homeless person lives a soul who is in touch with something much deeper, a person who knows something that all of us “normal” folk choose to forget and then maybe remember on the weekends/Who knows.

But man (and woman) can not live on air alone/This man, me, needs more than air/I can appreciate lazy afternoons spent in the sun but I also need good meals, decent looking clothes, a house of my own and enough money to buy the things I need and want (within reason).

Why am I doing this?

Why am I writing things down?

Why am I going to publish this when I feel like its no good?

Because I do not care/It is just writing here/I am just writing/Just turning what is in my mind inside out and sharing it with you because I said I would/I am ready for a slight buzz/Dinner/Maybe a film/Where is the gin?

Goodnight.

 

Starting Tomorrow…

Right now…in this moment…before i go on my morning walk…i want to make a vow…i realize that it is a vow that i may not keep…i also realize that it is a vow that no one else cares about…but fuck it…i want to make it anyways…i want to vow to write one blog post…just one…flaws and all…every single day for the next week…starting tomorrow, of course…