Stories from the Block: Part 1 — Crazy TV

As an observer in this world, it can start to feel like the action around you isn’t real, but rather that you’re watching an episode on a screen. The task at hand is to dare to understand what you are observing and appreciate the spectacle.


A scruffy black man parks himself near a low tree on the sidewalk and begins his bombasts. His voice booms and carries into the air, clearly and loudly up to the 9th floor where I live. Even with my windows shut I can make out his words. His cadence and vocabulary are similar to those of someone with Tourette’s, but without the pauses in between outbursts. His discourse is peppered with blasphemies and accusations, blaming others for his insanity.

For hours he bellows into the open night, unleashing his angry and endless stream of consciousness made up of broken thoughts and enraged bitterness. He seems to never tire or run out of breath. His ranting can go on for hours into the night, only to be resumed in the early morning with that same tenor of anger and despair. His vocal chords strain under his epic fury and resentment, sometimes reaching a fever pitch of absolute bile. He might live in one of the halfway houses in the area. He might be homeless.

One day I stepped onto a bus and he was already aboard yelling directly in the faces of several passengers. He stooped, pushing his face within inches theirs, screaming at top volume, “You’re why I’m crazy! Why do I have to be crazy!!?!” He walked down the aisle getting in each face, roaring his profound question. Some passengers seemed intimidated and were obviously uncomfortable, but a large number of them simply ignored the man. A few began to snicker. Suddenly he panicked as if the bus was careering straight into the gaping chasm of Hell. He screamed ten times in a row, “Driver, let me off this bus!!”


As he stepped off, the laughing passengers became even more vocal in how droll they found the situation. “He has PTSD, from the war. I knew him back then,” one passenger revealed. They lived through something atrocious together, and now years later only one of them can laugh about it.

On my street, he stands below my window and lets his constant pain be known. Sometimes when I catch a phrase or two, I laugh a little myself, but otherwise it is deeply disturbing. Today he screamed for hours, but stopped when a fire truck and ambulance sped up to the corner with their sirens blowing. Another McDonald’s casualty?


The EMTs got out and rushed to a person who had collapsed at the corner of McDonald’s and Halfway House Row. Yelling man seemed fascinated by the action as he stood back and watched silently with a sideways glance. General Schwarzkopf’s doppelganger stepped out of the paramedic truck and helped hoist the body onto the gurney. An EMT kicked some small hard object into the crosswalk, pointed at it and then to the yelling man, scolding him firmly. What object could possibly have made the EMT so irate, blaming the now-hushed street man? A bit of a crack pipe? An undersized dildo? The General and the other EMTs quickly pushed the gurney back into the truck and drove off. Yelling man began wandering to another destination to work up the heated froth necessary for his next tirade. The streets are now more or less quiet, if only for a moment.

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7 Habits of a Highly Effective Bad Bitch: My Dad


#1 Health
Maintaining your health allows you to gain the superior edge over problems. This bad bitch meditates every day. He doesn’t judge what happens during it, he just sits down and does it. Have a mantra to focus on. When a thought crops up push it away. This prepares you for the rest of the day, energizes you, calms you, and enhances what you encounter next. He recommends following meditation with a shot of espresso for the ultimate elevation.

My dad declared that he won’t let things “get“ him, and it’s a solid way of maintaining a progressive attitude. Don’t let ailments define you or even associate themselves with who you are. Treat them and live your life as usual.

You can have the TV on, but stay active somehow. Pump some weights or read during the show.

Jogging in nature is the perfect exercise. Bad bitches like my dad don’t need to show off muscles at the gym. He’s focused on his body and his mind and needs no equipment to clutter the process. Jogging is free, solitary, tones the heart, focuses the mind. This too is a meditation. When jogging you focus on breathing or listen to music—other thoughts come and go like soft clouds on the wind. Fishing can be another Zen practice, where at the end of the day you are left with peace of mind.


#2 Beauty
Most dads keep the beauty routine simple, if existent at all. This bad bitch styles his hair using just water. He knows that sunscreen should be used religiously on the face so that he can enjoy his time in the sun and not emerge looking like a baboon’s ass. If you have no sunscreen, tear off a small piece of paper and lodge it under your sunglasses to form a nose tent. Floss and work a toothpick into your gums every night until they bleed a little. It brings circulation to the gums and keeps your teeth in place. Stress shows on the face, so stay relaxed. A cool mind creates a cool face.


#3 Food and Drink
My dad always says, “Take all you want but eat all you take.” A measure of self-control adds to the enjoyment of food. And you know this bad bitch pairs wine with everything. He really tastes his food and wine by sniffing it, holding it in his mouth, breathing it in, swishing it, savoring it. Meals should be created improvisationally—throwing in unexpected colors, textures, dried fruits, seeds, or the odd hot peppers from the garden. My dad can whip together a meal with almost any three ingredients, transforming leftovers, Iron Cheffing the oddest components into a masterpiece. Bad bitches are confident about innovation. Recipes are for inspiration only. After dinner, a handful of granola or spoonful of peanut butter is the perfect dessert.


#4 Create Art
Music is a crucial component of every day. It sets the tone, changes the mood, alters the perspective, and creates discussion. Playing musical instruments exercises the mind, hand-eye coordination, and it can be a meditation in and of itself. Expressing emotion through music is cathartic, and hearing it can be the same as it is one of the purest forms of art. This bad bitch works hard to constantly expand his musical taste, and he’s never embarrassed about what he listens to.

Absorb yourself in art, hobbies, physical work, and reading. These activities fire up the brain and foster tons of ideas for creating new things.

#5 Be Amused
My dad can find something to compliment in anything and anyone, and you should too. If someone is getting on your nerves, this too shall pass. Everything is transient. The annoyance or pain will not last. This bad bitch turns it around and finds something amusing about the situation.

Be amused! Not irritated. Have some wine and enjoy every interaction. It means you are never bored. You are always learning. The baddest bitches know that every moment of life is meant to be enjoyed. With each interaction you can find an authentic connection. Be confident in your amusement. Your happiness is under your control.


If you are kept awake at night by loud neighbors, don’t fret about it (and glorify your misery). A bad bitch joins the party and at least has a good time being conscious. Once again: wine.


#6 Organization
Bad bitches like my dad are fully focused on doing what they want. The best way to stay on track is to stay organized and make lists every day. You need lists for long term, short term, and daily thoughts. A master system of lists generates focus and can organize your whole life. He doesn’t need an assistant, a calendar, or phone reminders—just lists. To ensure productivity, create a timeline of short deadlines to accomplish your goals for that day, week, year, etc.

#7 Self Acceptance
Have your own style, do your own thing, and you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Open-mindedness is another key to enjoying life. Seek to understand others—it is an extension of truly understanding yourself—and know that gaining a diverse perspective brings personal improvement and growth. Appreciate what you have, work with it and enjoy the fuck out of it.


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