benign reasons for a burglar to be in your home

In addition to listing these reasons (comprehensively), we will also be ranking them by Level of Moral Unimpeachability (or “LMU”), with a high LMU score connoting a more ethical act, and a low LMU score the opposite.

    1. Searching for food to feed her family. (20 LMU. While the idea of an invader being in your home is undeniably disquieting to one’s peace of mind, engaging in burglary to ensure the survival of one’s family is among the more ethical reasons to do so. You may not like it at the time, but in your heart you understand and feel that you might do the same if your positions were reversed. Quite complicated, ethically.)
    2. Searching for food to feed herself. (15 LMU, following the same logic as above, but without the morally purifying factor of baby innocents.)
    3. Seeking evidence to convict a criminal of a heinous crime. (15 LMU. In police proceedings in the USA, evidence obtained illegally is typically only inadmissible if that evidence was obtained by the police, or by an agent acting on explicit behalf of the police. For evidence turned over by a private citizen, the matter of provenance is largely not an issue, so long as the evidence is legitimate. This is vigilante territory, and it could be argued that criminal justice is a matter for police. But if we assume the criminal is in fact guilty of a heinous crime, but evidence is needed to legally prove the matter, then breaking this law in service of the greater good of society is morally sound. A complex issue.)
    4. Blind drunk, broke into house under impression it was their own. (8 LMU. While understandable on a surface level, this is still unambiguously wrong, unsettling, and illegal—but with proper contrition, hard to stay too furious about.)
    5. Had to take a shit real bad. (5 LMU. Even more understandable. Reminding us that desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. This scenario hearkens to the maritime axiom, “Any port in a storm”, relating how any land, no matter how unsafe, is safer than the open water in ferocious weather. Of course, there are consequences to docking in an enemy port, and one should be mindful that they will need to face them when the storm passes.)
    6. Curiosity + Doesn’t know right from wrong. (1 LMU.)
    7. Cop with a warrant. (0 LMU)
    8. Curiosity + Knows right from wrong + Doesn’t care. (-2 LMU. There is no reason to do this in the first place, and the very act of burgling is an assault on one’s sense of safety. Highly discouraged in almost all societies.)
    9. Stealing to support a drug addiction. (-10 LMU. Compounded when the items stolen are worth far more than the resale value they would receive on the black market, e.g., it would be preferable, and perhaps more morally righteous, to wake you and demand $40 cash than to take your expensive PlayStation 4 and fence it for the same.)
    10. Stealing just a few of your video games to entertain her children. (-40 LMU)
    11. Stealing all of your video games to entertain herself. (-50 LMU)
    12. Stealing all of your stuff, not just the video games. (-75 LMU)
    13. Cop with no warrant (-200 LMU)
    14. Wanted to touch your butt. (-250 LMU)
    15. Stabbing you to death in the course of stealing your stuff. (-1000 LMU)
    16. On a single-minded mission of killing you (-10,000 LMU)

all that’s missing is you

4:14 in the new apartment, morning hours with the fading sheen. Pulled a cabinet door right off its hinges, earlier—the wood that held the screws in is ancient by American standards, totally pulverized. Less wood than paper, at this point. It would’ve been old in my grandfather’s time, if he moved in here at my age.

The gas oven doesn’t have temperature indicators—I suppose in the old days, they just guessed. And it might not be conventionally possible to stop the bathtub here in order to, you know, take baths. That was one of the main reasons I moved out of a roommate situation! So I could boil myself blotto for hours in a steaming rosewater soup of me, liberally salted with Epsom, evaporating, like, nine pounds. So this in particular was a big, big oversight on my part. I’m starting to think that the lifestyle I like to describe for myself as “pragmatic and cavalier” could more accurately be described as “bleep blop bloop doop, booger eater, mouth fart.”

These aren’t complaints, I just find it funny. Smdh, as it were. I’m never gonna not be bad at the practical realities of living. I truly need some kinda keeper.

Writing from my phone for now, biding my time til I can size up the financial reality of this thing. That, at least, I’m okay at. I don’t need much. A stack of bricks, a hammock, the essentials. The rapper Jellyroll describes this type of Spartan living along the lines of whiskey, weed, and Waffle House. I can co-sign that.

One thing I am loving, though? This air conditioner is on point. Sure, it only cools one room, but you could borderline store elk meat in this room. I’m talking, like, a hotel air conditioner—you know what I mean? A human being refrigerator. It’s as loud as a dual-engine Cessna. I don’t even give a shit.

Also, if I ever want to develop a heroin addiction, I’m pretty sure I just have to go next door. It’s wonderfully convenient, man. Down on Quincy. Y’all come fuck with me in my house of pain.

Anyway, this night shift thing has made my relationship with sleep abusive. I still haven’t gotten a handle on it. There may be no routine possible. As someone who has always been on the eight-plus hour side of the sleep-I-need spectrum, I don’t think in the last month I’ve managed more than four in a single stretch, not typically. I’m still alive, still functioning, and some people have real problems, but this is definitely gonna shave a few years off of the end of things for me, at this rate. 

Again, not complaining! It’s just strange. It’s 4 am on my day off, and it’s like my body is forgetting how to fall asleep in a peaceful way. Lately I’m living the difference between shutting off your laptop and letting the battery run out—I’m running out my battery. I just go, and go, and go, getting ever more threadbare in function, power saving, until suddenly, just like that, gone. Could be in the middle of anything. Doesn’t matter. Gone instantly. For like, four hours.

I’ve got a grip of fun stories that I’m working on now that I’m looking forward for you to read—four different fiction things, never before seen. It’s gonna be a couple months, but I think you’ll like them. Some are sad, some are funny—at least, they try to be. If that’s your sort of thing, you’ll see. If that’s not your sort of thing, cool. Thanks for being here, regardless.

Hey, do you guys wanna know how much money I have? Because it’s nine dollars and twenty-three cents. I know. In one month I turn twenty-six. Some people in this world would freak the fuck out at that sort of thing, but me? I’m cool with it. I’m a REAL American—broke. 

This election makes me want to flay my skin off. I sort of feel like everyone feels that way. But please, let’s all be sure and continue to put our dumb opinions on this dark carnival in our mindless small talk every day. I’m sure it’s not horrid for our health to do that, disagreeing with each other all the time. It’s not making us want to violently murder each other at all.

You and I share an essential humanity. Our pains, our fears, are similar. The funny thing about people is, in all our infinite diversity, when it comes to the things that scare us, bring us joy, or keep us up at night, you and I are a lot closer than it sometimes feels. Stare in my eyes, connect with me. No matter what you may be feeling, you are never the first, and never alone. Be at peace. Selah.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: Eat to Live

Photo Credit: It was I—Sarah “Tooter” Szabo

It’s a Good Idea to Rehearse Your Victory Speech Every Day

Every single day, practicing that victory speech. It keeps your muscles calibrated. Your eyes stay on the prize, as do your lips, ears, and of course you can taste it. What’s that? Victory. I’m talking about success. You need to give it voice, and often, like an incantation. Drink plenty of water, and use Throat Coat.

One day, you’re going to win, and you can’t be caught unawares. Mumble your victory speech while you’re washing your hands, using the sound of rushing water to muffle your voice, so no one can hear what you’re saying and steal it.

This is about you.

I can’t wait to hear your victory speech, just like you can’t wait to hear mine. Fuck. I can’t wait until we’re all winners. We all will win, together, but me first, because fuck you, and thanks mom, this one’s for the midwest.

And then I lick the trophy. I lick it so long it’s uncomfortable. Memes for days. My victory. Me.

All my best, forever. You make sense of it. Selah.