The Epic Legends: The Great Trial of the Sword Kings

I know I have only posted one epic legend before, but lo, another has happened during my long absence.  A force that will no doubt shape many things to come.  Read on, dear friends, and learn of the Great Trial.

Over the past two years I became a proper adult human.  I know, you’re thinking “Surely, Sword King, you could never be considered Adult or Human!” and two years ago I would have heartily agreed.  Oh how times have changed.

Before I fought with raid bosses and people taking things too seriously, I fought with women, mostly in an attempt to get them to end the, my god, nearly ten year dating hiatus.  I’ve slayed trolls and took a picture straddling the Washington Monument, as if it were the great stone phallus of freedom granted to me for my unchallenged cocksmanship.

The foes I’ve faced of late have been far different.  I’ve had to deal with problems financial, navigate the treacherous labyrinths of federal and state bureaucracy.  I’ve had to watch as my father, a great man, was broken down by the state of the world and fell into depression, bitterness, and cynicism.  I’ve watched constant pain take its toll on him, I’ve raged at The Man for doing nothing to help.  I’ve made miracles happened, made promises I can’t keep, and kept promises I thought impossible to keep.

In September of 2009 my father lost his job after over a decade of hard, honest work.  At first I found myself in a panic, and then, as days turned into months I started to find solutions.  Solutions, sometimes from the unlikeliest of places.  From World of Warcraft, a good friend of mine needed a place to live in Northern Virginia for an internship.  We had a spare room and rented it.  His help came at a time when our resources were all but spent.  It gave us nine months of precious time, time to think, time to regroup.

From the mother of a man I consider a brother, and among the best, most stalwart friends anyone could have, I learned of a government disability aid program that did not require an extensive work history.  I applied, and just as the now-Guild Master was moving back to school, I was certified disabled.  I had enough money to make up for what was lost in rent.  Once more, we had time.

Time, however, grows short quickly when you’re living hand-to-mouth, making every penny count.  My aunt Gail and, yes, even my mother provided significant financial aid and support during the Great Trial of the Magic Sword Kings.  As bureaucracies stalled, bungled paperwork, the clock was running out.  My father’s own application for Disability was taking a long time, unemployment money had run out early this year, and I was pulling miracles out of my ass on a semi-daily basis.

My greatest duty, though, was to try and be a rock.  An immovable object of belief and hope that would keep my father and I from being swallowed by the storm.  Being the nerdling I am, I took a liking to the philosophies and purpose of the Blue Lantern Corps, who wield the power of hope, to which there is no equal.  I wear a Blue Lantern ring on my finger to this day to remind me that no matter how black the night, All Will Be Well.

If I learned anything from this, any advice I can pass on to you, take your strength where you can find it, even if it seems silly to someone else.  Never be ashamed of what makes you strong.

Hope and willpower and luck will only last so long, though, and the reality was that August was going to be my final month in D.C.  There was no avoiding it, the lease was up, the money would either be utterly depleted, or reinvigorated.  I hope for your sake you never have to live through a month, knowing that you stand on the precipice, and your fate is no longer within your hands.

In July, my life, and the lives of my entire family were at a great crossroads.  We waited breathlessly for word on a disability determination.  It is a very strange thing indeed to hope with all your being that the government agrees that things are, in fact, as painful as you think they are.

Two paths lay before me. If the money were to come through, I would be able to move away from DC, preferably to New England, and know I had succeeded in my task.  I would know that I had kept my promise to stand by my father through the dark and the light until we emerged triumphant.  We had no idea if it would happen, but day after day I would look my father in the eyes and tell him “I have no doubt.  We will succeed in this.  We will make it through.  We will survive.”  I believed it, harder than I believed anything.  I would, at times, recite the Blue Lantern oath as a sort of mantra, to keep me focused on giving hope, and holding hope.

Down the other path, the path of least resistance, waited catastrophe.  My father would have been utterly crushed, and I, for all my effort, would have followed suit.  No doubt I would have eventually made my way into the care of my mother’s family.  My father, though, my father had nowhere to go.  No one to turn to.  His family all but abandoned him long ago, and he abandoned them in turn.  If this had indeed been the outcome, I would not be writing a blog post.  I fear I would be writing a eulogy.

I’ve never faced an existential threat that didn’t come from the darkness within me before.  Like many who suffer from mental illness I’ve done horribly stupid things.  Over the past two years I’ve overcome addiction, I’ve found treatment for what turns out to be a supremely rare circadian rhythm disorder that is found most often in the blind.  I’ve made my peace with love lost and chances missed.  After twenty-four years, I have left Washington, D.C.  Reading my own blog (which I do think is a form of intellectual masturbation, but sometimes a man’s gotta do, you know) I remark often about how I “gotta get out of this place”.  Well I did.

The outcome was not ideal, nothing ever truly is.  We were victorious, though.  I was victorious.  I was right.  I remember sitting outside on that fateful September day when this long trial began, thinking I would never survive it.  To grow up is something people do in different ways.  Most go to college, or get jobs.  I fought my way through the dark to save my family.  And I kept my promise.  I never lost hope, I never lost faith, and I stood by my father as he has stood for me time and again.  I fought the world and won.

I do not write this from the forests and rivers of New England, rather the foothills of the Appalachians, four hours southwest of Washington.  It is peaceful here.  There is a tranquility that over time, I hope will heal many of the battle scars that I endured.  I know now that I can resume my life having survived the dark, and emerged the stronger.  Sure, Jerry Falwell’s megachurch and “university” are five miles down the road, and there is a church next to the local dildo shop, but that’s fine, after what I’ve been through I can deal with this.  I am happy to be able to look out on a clear night and see the sky filled with stars.

I’m a different man now, than the one I was when I started this blog.  A more proper man in some ways.  A wiser Sword King, to be sure.  And sitting here, at the dawn of a new day in my life I am reminded.  As Scott Mosier said, and as I echoed in my very first post here at The Chaos Fold, “Not every moment rules.”

But then again, some moments do.

This is one of them.

in fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full our souls ignite, when all seems lost in the war of light, look to the stars – for hope burns bright

 

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Fourteen years.

Twenty-four years ago yesterday I was brought screaming, chestburster-style from my mother’s bio-prison.  Twenty-four years in the DC Metro area, twenty-four years since I was born in the building next door.

Fourteen years ago I moved from a townhouse to an apartment, for economic reasons.  it was cheaper.  I was ten, and the moving distance was one block.  Now, after two years of trial and triumph through seemingly endless crisis, I have spent my final day in the underground apartment that I have at times referred to as my fortified compound, the Citadel of the Magic Sword Kings, and a shithole.  My possessions are packed and ready for transit, my destination, unexpected.  I venture now to Lynchburg, Superjesusland.  Home to Liberty University and the cult of Falwell.  140 miles, four hours drive, but still just off a road a mere mile from where I sit now.

I move to a home on a hill, leaving much sadness, much anger, much bitterness, and yes, joy in the city that brewed me.  I do not know what trials await me, only that I have conquered much in my time here.  My fourteen years.  My twenty four.  My entire life.

So begins Chapter Two.

This is Andrew Zimmer from The Chaos Fold in Fairfax, Virginia, signing off.

Friends With Retards

No offense to actual retards meant by the following.

Anyway, has anyone else noticed that as your life progresses, it isn’t so much a journey in self-improvement and maturity as it is weeding out the retards that you’re friends with?  I know most of the stupid shit I’ve done in the past, the sort of thing you look back on with that “Oh holy jumping fucking shitballs what the fuck was I thinking” can be traced directly to a retard who I was friends with, and subsequently identified and eliminated from my life.

Sometimes, more extreme measures in retard prevention are necessary, such as changing schools in order to wipe the slate clean when the retard-to-intelligent ratio is too imbalanced.  For instance, after my freshman year of high school I performed such a scorched-earth maneuver to purge a dangerously high contamination of retards that was beginning to affect my health.  Oddly enough, in ninth grade I was a volunteer worker for the POD, which is a sort of code-name for retard pen.  These were the legitimate, physically and mentally disabled folks who were wheelchair-bound or otherwise unfit for mainstream education.

They were some of the most intelligent, tolerable, and genuine people I ever knew.  There was a guy there, Scotty, he was wheelchair-bound due to Spino Bifida, but otherwise completely sound, pretty wicked smart and more athletic than I was at the time.  I know because we’d do laps together and he’d always outrun me in his chair.

So when I bade farewell to that god-forsaken school, I made sure to let all those people know that they were more normal than the normal people, or at least more tolerable.

At this point in my life I’ve reached what I’d call retard equilibrium, my current pool of friends is limited enough that retards are outnumbered roughly 2:1, which is necessary for any sort of coherent lifestyle.  Otherwise you run the risk of one of your retard friends getting you involved in some truly retarded shit.

Unfortunately I live in Washington D.C. so all that hard work in retard purging is counterbalanced by the ‘Tard Nexus mere miles away.

Pray for me, my friends.

My State of the Union Experience.

I had planned to catch Bush’s final State of the Union address tonight, perhaps celebrate the fact that the miserable fuck won’t be able to pinch another one out of his ulcered asshole, when I turned it on I heard the following phrase:

“ethical medical research”

Then I rolled my eyes, said “Oh for fuck’s sake” and turned it off.

Turns out my bullshit tolerance was exactly three words deep at this point.  I gotta get out of this city.

The Washington Foreskins!

While the Washington Redskins get more shit than they deserve, despite their perennial-doormat reputation, I love them nonetheless.

It may be the masochist in me.

It may also be the endearing quality to their players, in the wake of star safety Sean Taylor’s tragic death, the Redskins have won four straight, with a new quarterback, healthy players, and good humor to boot.

Clinton Portis, together with Santana Moss who both played with Taylor at the University of Miami have been instrumental in bringing the team together, and bringing me, usually an aloof sports fan into the ranks of viewers.

“Once we got our angel situated up in Heaven, it gave us all the strength in the world.” said Portis following their win against former-wildcard favorites the Minnesota Vikings.  Washington is now in the playoffs, having recently left rival Dallas’ asshole in ruins.

What gives me the best feeling about the ‘Skins is the fact that Clinton Portis has resumed making some truly awesome public jokes about Santana Moss’  recent, erm, circumcision.

“Now that he has gotten over his circumcision, he’s doing a lot better.. You can tell by the way he is running.”

Ladies & Gentlemen, the Washington Foreskins! 

When the skies go gray.

After two decades of living in this shitty city of mine I start to hate the day-in-day-out. The skies go gray too often.

I don’t know if it’s the mid-atlantic weather, or the fog of lies that emanates from this chocolate city’s marshmallow center that makes it all so bleak. Sometimes I think its the people. Too many of them are depressing, whether it is by nature or example.

The smart ones get out when they can. The stupid ones fight to get here. Hollywood for ugly people, they call it.

I walk past the hospital to the corner store, the hospital I was born in. Two decades and I’ve moved barely a hundred yards. Sirens punctuate the spanish songs as they scream by on the left. People don’t even know how to get out of the way here. The problem isn’t the terrain, or the lack of society. The problem isn’t the shade of the sky or the wail of the ambulance. No, at the end of the day the problem is us, still walking to the corner store to pick up some cheap food or booze, the little distractions on the long gray road.

I gotta get out of this place.

Existential Burnout

I’m mad at the world.

Ever since the film-school debacle, and then the subsequent community-college experience which has been, suffice it to say, remedial, I’ve been increasingly jaded and cynical about everything.

Considering I’m one of the most jaded and cynical motherfuckers in my area code by default, that’s saying something.

Consider that my area code contains thousands of federal government workers and contractors and you will soon realize that this isn’t very good at all.

I’ve played Halo 3 to death and back, and Warcraft is just a sort of numbing, mindless entertainment. My whole job in that game revolves around pressing two buttons and not dying. It doesn’t matter which job I’m doing, they’re all “Two buttons, don’t die.” Paladin is simple like that.

I’m creatively starved, I need to start writing again. The problem is, that I’m a writer who can’t write for its own sake. I have to have reinforcement and feedback, even if it is “Your writing is atrocious and your character development is stillborn. Whoever gave you a keyboard should be lynched.”

I’m funny that way.