Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All Glocks Down

The person who owns the townhome that I rent a bedroom in had informed me on Monday evening that the couple who was planning to move into the house this coming weekend actually will not be now, after giving them the house key once they paid the deposit. He had received the background check on the guy and it was not good. In July and August 2009, he had three convictions for armed robbery. Yikes! I was stunned. So was the homeowner. The guy didn't look like a violent criminal. He was quiet and let his girlfriend do most of the talking. Both are in school to be a medical technician, which they are supposed to finish early next year.

I'm very grateful for the background check. You just never know about people!!! The funny thing is that I was worried about the lady. She was a yakker and indicated that she had no life other than pampering her chihuahua. To me, that was a HUGE red flag. I would not date a woman who claims to have no interest other than her dog. As I told friends of mine, "I'd never allow a dog to rule my life. Especially not a chihuahua!" Dogs are pack animals and are supposed to view you as the Alpha Male and FOLLOW YOU. If you pamper the dog, it'll end up thinking its a human and start acting like a spoiled little bitch. Someday, when I have a dog, my dog is going to know that I am its Lord and Master. I will not be ruled by an animal.

The homeowner suspected that the lady might be a "drama queen." She had requested to move into the house in early December due to "issues with her current landlord." She didn't say what those issues were. The last thing I wanted was a "drama queen", if she was one. The thing the homeowner does not know, however, is if the lady knew that her boyfriend has a police record. If he kept it from her, she's in for a rude awakening! So, its back to the search for a third roommate. Hopefully, the homeowner won't select a couple this time. I think three people living in this space is plenty enough.

In other news, my brother came over to the place for Christmas. Strangely enough, he did not even ask about Christine. I was shocked. I kind of expected him to ask and it would not have been a big deal this year. Last year, the wounds were too fresh. This year, I'm completely healed.

The unfortunate thing about my brother is that he seems to have a new "craze" every time I see him. Now, his big thing is training for a Triathlon. Someone must have put it into his head. He always has a tendency to overcompensate for his handicap. Its not enough to train for a 5K or a 10K, or to be a cycling enthusiast, but now he wants to compete in the Hawaiian Ironman competition! The ultimate in athleticism. Since I've known my brother all my life, I know why he wants to do this. He has always tried very hard to prove to others (and to himself) that he does not have a physical handicap, so he seeks out the most extreme feats of athleticism even though he is slower than everyone else. It is sad to witness this mind with a strong will, inable to accept the limits of a handicapped body. My wish for him is to focus on what he is good at (artwork) and forget about the neverending desire to prove to others that his body is "normal." If he spent most of his free time on his artwork, he could make a good side career displaying them in independent coffee houses or art galleries in Portland and maybe get his name out there.

He told me that what he likes about training for the Triathlon is that it helps him "manage his time" better, which I thought was a joke. He was supposed to be at my place at 2 p.m. on Christmas day but did not show until 4:30 p.m. He is always late for everything and I've learned long ago never to rely on him for anything. He's not dependable at all. He didn't even show up for our sister's high school graduation and my parents worried that he wouldn't come home for the wedding. One does not need to train for a Triathlon to manage time. Just buy a day keeper and a watch and strive to keep to a schedule.

Perhaps the most alarming thing I learned about my brother, though, is the real reason why he lost his nice apartment earlier this year. He claims that he had a stalker who hung around his apartment complex and put a gun to his head and demanded his money. When I asked how much money he lost to this guy, he hesitated before saying, "several thousand." SEVERAL THOUSAND?!? With my brother's stories, I never know what to believe, because they are so bizarre. He has such a strange cast of characters in his life and its never a surprise that he always wants to befriend my friends (like best friends Nathan and Nicholas, as well as Christine). I'm very cautious about who I let into my life. My brother, unfortunately lacks two qualities that I possess. He's needy and dependent upon others. This makes him vulnerable to any con artist and thief who comes along. My brother is incredibly naive and trusting. He seems to have no "Spidey sense" warning him of dangerous situations. Even more alarming, the evangelical church he attends told him that God will not protect him from bad things unless he pays the church tithings!!!

I told him that God does not care about money at all. Churches that guilt-trip members into paying tithings by promising blessings or wealth in return should be a warning sign to him. I told him that when we were baptized into the church our family belongs to, we had a confirmation prayer a week later and I remember a little bit about the confirmation prayer. It was a prayer of protection. I've been in enough scary situations throughout my life where I do feel as though I have been protected more than others in similar situations might be. I'm a believer in covenants and God continues to hold me to the "covenant" I had made as an 8 year old to live a life of non-violence. I will not touch a gun under any circumstances (thus why it is funny for my friends to hear me joke about "going postal"...because everyone who knows me knows that I'm the least likely guy to ever go postal).

Its hard to make sense of my brother's story. My guess is that he does what he always does. In his neediness and low standards for friendships, he allows himself to be taken into the "friendship" of some disreputable character with ulterior motives. Once the "friendship" was established, the "friend" hit my brother up for money. My brother has always been too casual about his financial business. He'll tell person after person how much he makes, when he gets paid, how much he'll get back from taxes, and what he plans to buy. A few years ago, he expressed shock when I told him that the subject of money never comes up among my circle of friends. He did not understand this and thought it was a sign of "shame" on my part. I told him that the reason why money does not come up in conversation with my friends is because we value each other to the point where money is not relevant to our friendship. I know my three closest friends all make more money than I do and I am happy for them in their success, but that's not why I'm friends with them.

When I was in the Navy, I remember being annoyed by the certain (low) class of sailors where money was the focal point of conversations. Guys would pester me about borrowing money and I never fell into that trap. I'd give a lecture: "Its not my fault that you spent all your money getting drunk on payday! At least you don't have to worry about being homeless or starving to death in the Navy!" Other people's financial problems are not my burden to carry.

I know that it pains our mother that my brother is such a sucker for every con artist known to man. If someone has a get rich quick scheme, my brother will give his entire paycheck over just to get into the scheme. He doesn't realize that he's being a sucker and its painful. It frustrates me that my brother seems incapable of learning from his mistakes. He keeps falling for the same con artists all the time. Perhaps that's part of his defective mind, the inability to learn from one's mistakes. However, it has done some good, because I've always been the kind of person who prefers to learn from other people's mistakes so I don't have to make them. I've learned a lot about human nature watching how people treat my brother. I wish he had genuine friends like I do. The ones in his life all seem to want something from him: money or his church membership (which also includes money for tithing).

So, this guy who took him for thousands of dollars is supposedly in jail with a "stalking order" against him in case he ever approaches my brother again. When I hear stories of my brother's life, I keep thinking how incredibly blessed I am. It sucks that he had to be born brain-damaged. I've often wished for his sake (as well as mine) that he would've been born normal and if I envy my best friends for anything, its the fact that they have normal brothers who they can have intelligent conversations with. I have to settle for listening to horror stories of how people treat my brother, or childish jokes (that a 5th grader would tell people), or obvious questions (for example, seeing a framed photo of our parents on our wall, he'll ask, "Is that our parents?").

I have to settle for the knowledge that some day, in the spiritual realm, I will finally meet the soul who chose to be born in a handicapped body / mind and be amazed at what an incredible soul he is to live a lifetime in such circumstances. I'll probably learn that I wasn't such a great brother to him, but its hard when I don't know what to do. It pains me to see him allow himself to be taken advantaged of by huckster after huckster, all because he's so needy for a genuine friend who wants nothing from him but enjoying their time together. I'm also wracked by guilt that I have such an incredibly blessed life compared to him. All I can say is, reincarnation better be true for his sake, so he can have a future lifetime where he is incredibly blessed and able to accomplish more things in life.

On New Year's Eve, we're supposed to go see Tron in 3-D, though back in January, he was a no-show to Avatar in 3-D. We'll see if he bothers to show up. I'll be ticked if he doesn't and I already bought tickets, because I'd rather see something else. I'm only going to see Tron because this is the kind of film my brother likes and I heard that it was made for 3-D (I even heard that its much better than Avatar was in 3-D, which I have a hard time believing).

One more thing...at work earlier today, my supervisor told me that they have a hard time filling the position that I'm working in now. I was stunned. Really?!? I seem to have the right traits, interest, and aptitude for the job. Its actually perfect for a person like me (who loves correcting mistakes and making sure all the small details match). The thought that came to mind when the supervisor told me was, "Why couldn't we have discovered each other four years earlier?" We would've saved each other a lot of grief! The mess I inherited wouldn't have been allowed to happen (the predecessors got sloppy with their paperwork / computerwork) and I would not have experienced the most miserable working environment of my life. Oh well, at least we found each other before it was too late for the both of us. Here's to fixing all the problems and helping the company grow in more and more success. Yes, I definitely can see career potential here...though my free times will be spent writing all the novel ideas I want to see become reality in the next decade, with a hope that I can switch to a full time career as a published (and best selling) novelist. At least I'm energized by my work and the music I get to listen to at work.

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