Does anyone else get the feeling that the complete collapse of civilization is going to be really good for the planet?
Like when a guy my age has his first heart attack—it’s a wake-up call! You start eating better, exercising, get your sex drive back, suddenly you’re in the best shape of your life. Sure, there’s some scar tissue, and you have to take your medication and pay attention to doing things in “cycles”…I mean, whether it’s your personal apocalypse or a global one, I guarantee you will start riding a bike again!
I mean seriously, I feel like there’s little hints that some kind of mini-geddon is coming. Everyone’s talking about how it’s better to eat food that’s locally sourced, that we should all be growing our own vegetables and brewing our own kombucha and cultivating our own weed and 3D printing our own protein substitutes. I am not good at any of that shit, so I’m starting to apocalypse network. Where you meet someone at the farmer’s market who grows their own strawberries and bottles their own chai and makes their own vegan cheese out of cashews and dustbunnies and you’re like “Can I get your number? Are you on Instagram?” Though what we really should be doing is asking, what’s your physical address and how can I make it to your place on foot when the shit goes down?
I’m an atheist, but I like to get high, so I’m still on an eternal quest for meaning. Like I see patterns and apply significance to the tiniest shit to make myself feel better about my preposterous life choices. “If I hadn’t gone to Burning Man that one time in ‘96 I would have never considered the possibility that I could survive the end of civilization!” (not the right punchline but a fine placeholder)
I’m at that age where I’m not sure if I’m in the best shape of my life, or the worst health I’ve ever been in. Like either I’ve got everything pretty much locked down and figured out, or it is all about to fall apart tomorrow. I mean, I eat better and exercise more than I ever did back when it would have mattered, but I also do ridiculous things to my mind and body that far fewer adults have grown out of than you would probably like to think.
I’m in my fifties and what nobody tells you about being in your fifties—or probably lots of people do in books I just haven’t bothered to read—is that this is the time in your life when you start adding up your balance sheet. I don’t mean literally; my finances remain precariously on the precipice of one-serious-medical-event-we’re-done. But it’s when you start trying to figure out if it’d be okay if you were to suddenly die. Like, how does everything stack up for you? What’s the big unresolved shit? Who do you really really really need to apologize to and who can you afford to just say “fuck it!” Because it becomes very tangible past a certain point. People start having those aforementioned “medical events.” Stupid accidents, things attacking you from inside your own body, just scary horror movie bad stuff. And you can no longer pretend it’s impossible or that it’s something that happens to other people you read about or that it isn’t eventually, inevitably, no matter how hard you slice it, coming for us all. So you have to start being ready for it. Making peace with it. Not easy peace, either. More like the kind of peace between rival gangs who know bad ugly shit could go down at any second, and inevitably will, but it’s best for everyone in the meantime to stave it off as long as possible so we can all make some money and get laid a few more times.
Happy May Day, people! In honor of the occasion, why not go and get yourself a copy of The Good Fight 4: Homefront and check out Love Vigilantes, my latest addition to the ongoing saga of Duke “HandCannon” LaRue. This one’s the wild, raucous tale of his whirlwind romance, railgun wedding, domestic disasters, and unfathomable fallout with the love of his life and one-time partner-in-crime Liza Fate. Lots of other great tales of superheroic domesticity between these covers (be they paperback or digital). If you prefer, you can always hold out for a hard copy from me, once I’ve got my order in. Thank you for your continued patronage. Both of you!
Another year, another published HandCannon story. And this might be my personal favorite yet. Included in The Good Fight 4: Homefront, the latest anthology from Local Hero Press and The Pen & Cape Society, “Love Vigilantes” tells the story of how Duke LaRue met, married, procreated with and ultimately lost the love of his life, Liza Fate, aka The Dame. From their first fateful–and nearly fatal–meeting on a museum rooftop to their over-the-top wedding on a supervillain’s manmade island to their balls-out honeymoon on the open road to their preposterous attempts at normal domestic life, it’s a relatable plunge into the harsh realities of doomed relationships, all-consuming addiction, toxic behavior and couple’s therapy, but with lots of gunplay, explosions and metahuman co-workers, friends and family to keep things interesting.
The Good Fight 4 releases to the world at large on May 1, 2018. Available in ebook, paperback and as a gaseous vapor cloud that can be inhaled at your leisure.
I’m watching The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling on HBO, and every time I see Jerry Seinfeld (really, just every time I see Jerry Seinfeld in general) I feel like he’s this empty vessel, this guy who abhors anything honest or sincere or genuine or true. I think his slick surface smugness hides a howling well of terror at the chaos of actual existence. In everything from Comedian to Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to this documentary about his good friend to pretty much anywhere he shows up, he just comes across as unctuous, self-absorbed, one of those guys who believes he’s got it all figured out and so there’s nothing left to figure out and so if you’re trying to figure things out, you’re somehow wasting your time. He’s dismissive of actors, of the idea of acting as an art form, of spiritual truth, of depth of feeling, of others, of very nearly everything but himself.
Meanwhile, here’s Garry, this shambling rubber-faced mess of a human being in all his naked honest bent-but-not-broken weirdness stretching and struggling and staggering towards truth. I’m not saying Garry isn’t an asshole, too, but he’s an asshole I can comprehend, get behind, want to have a meal with. Jerry just seems like he’d bring down the room with his stuffshirt attention-seeking “lookee me, I got it goin’ on” way of being. Like, I wanna kick it in the green room with Garry and Chris Rock and Kevin Nealon but can someone lock the door when Jerry goes to the bathroom? Does Jerry go to the bathroom? Cause he sure acts like his shit don’t stink.
Hell, even Bob Saget comes across as a deeply feeling human being in this thing, weeping openly over a lost friendship and tossing the word “love” around with no ridiculous choking man-shame. And I’ve seen Chappelle get raw and real recently, and Chris Rock bare a little soul, and I just wonder what it would even take to get Seinfeld to get onstage, or sit down in an interview, or in his car, or even just with a friend with no cameras around, to actually rip open his chest and show anyone, anywhere, ever, what his heart looks like.
Chris Herron at Tall Tale TV has done an audio version of my HandCannon short story, “Last Dance.” Chris himself has a great personal story, having turned on to audiobooks when he was suffering from temporary legal blindness in 2015. He’s since recovered, but launched this project both as a way to give back to folks who can’t experience stories the traditional way, and to give authors like me a promotional boost without having to shell out for the expense of creating an audiobook on our own. I think he’s done a terrific job and his project deserves more eyeballs and earholes, so how about you give this, and other Tall Tale TV stories, a listen?
The Executive Producer of the Treasury. Because if you’re going to pick a man to handle all the money, you want the guy who helped make sure we got that Entourage movie. I don’t know enough about him to know why I hate him but he might be the only guy in the entire cabinet who actually likes the thing he’s been put in charge of. I mean, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos loathes the entire sum of human knowledge, and I’m pretty sure HUDsucker Ben Carson would love to distance himself from anything remotely “urban,” but Munchkin loves the ever-living shit out of that money. You don’t bankroll Suicide Squad because you give a shit about telling stories; you do it for the fat stacks! In fact, by Trumpian logic, and the Munchman’s track record, it would’ve made more sense to put him in charge of, like, the Public Broadcasting System and let him turn it into a pay-per-view channel where post-Americans can both view and participate in an endless real life livestream of Mad Max: Fury Road (which he also helped pay for so, oh, shit, does that mean I kinda have to like him? Fuck me).
He Who Walks Behind the Rows. This is what 30 looks like when you were born already dead inside. Seriously, this guy has been alive just a few months less than I’ve been out of high school, and while I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my life, he’s already positioned himself to be instrumental in the ending of ALL LIFE. Do I resent him because he’s an overachiever, or do I fear him because he is able to stare into my soul without even bothering to focus his eyes? While most of the Trumplets appear to have been handpicked for their former status as schoolyard bullies, Miller appears to have been selected precisely because of his lot in life as one of the eternally tormented. He’s such a mealworm I wish I’d reenrolled in grade school in the ’90s just so I could’ve got a few licks in. He is to white genetic superiority what Keystone Light is to actual beer. While he would’ve happily aided Hitler in bringing about the glory of the Thousand Year Reich, he would have had to voluntarily throw himself into a Krystalnacht bonfire once the real Aryans showed up on the scene.
If Gastrointestinal Distress Had a Face. Entire medical careers will be built on simply observing the various dermatological horrors scriven on this visage in much the way the Necronomicon was etched in blood-ink on papyrus recycled from dead flesh. There’s a reason for this. When Bannon’s underboss Don Trump made good on his promise to drain the swamps along the Potomac, he did so by opening a yawning Hellmouth through which eldritch evils could spill into our realm and assume both cabinet positions and semi-human form. Remember Vincent D’Onofrio’s incredible, Oscar-worthy performance in the original Men in Black as a giant alien cockroach wearing a farmer’s desiccated epidermis as an ill-fitting meatsuit? I have it on good authority that, method actor that he is, D’Onofrio actually had himself briefly time displaced from 1997 to the nightmarish apocalyptic future of RIGHT NOW in order to observe and study Bannon for the role. For all his Herculean efforts, D’Onofrio could never quite nail the squirming discomfort that Bannon displays in his attempts to walk through the world in an approximation of a real-time third dimensional homo sapiens.
The Twinkly Gimlet-Eyed Elfin Racist Shitsack. A mint julep-sipping, plantation portico-sitting, Coen Brothers cartoon of a Southern politico, from his ridiculous name to his preposterous voice to his unctuous demeanor, a leftover scrap of something from what should be the distant ugly past, like a skintag removed from the corpse of Strom Thurmond and somehow allowed to reach maturity. This makes my atheist ass believe that maybe there is a god and she is some kind of bawdy satirical writer dreaming up increasingly ludicrous public caricatures to trot out in front of us as if they were actual people, archetypes that we can gawk at in terrified wonder as they endeavor to undo decades of hard-won progress right in front of our eyes…