In which I am on druuuuuuuuugs

I currently have prescriptions for two brain drugs. One, Effexor, is my daily anti-anxiety drug. I’m on 150 mg; I started at 75 and eventually decided that upping my dosage a bit was warranted. I used to have a secondary script for … shit I can never remember the name, but some secondary drug that I only took when I absolutely couldn’t get my brain to shut down, generally when I was trying to get to sleep. My new doctor didn’t love the secondary prescription because apparently long-term use of that type of drug can be Bad, and while I was only taking an occasional and small dose (12 pills would last me a couple of months, easy) I generally am not the type to continue taking medication that my doctor doesn’t recommend even if some other doctor did recommend it.

Anyway, long story short, she switched me to something else the last time I went in, and I gave up and went and took one when I found myself, at 1:00 in the morning, having to research larger outdoor pools on my phone because I needed to know right now how much they cost and what sizes they were available in. That was after ordering a new pillow on Amazon at midnight, apparently, which I didn’t even remember I’d done until seeing the email in the morning. But yeah: random panic about pool prices in the middle of the fucking night is very much a “take a brain pill” moment, so I did, and I think the next time I talk to her I’m going to suggest going back to the old stuff, because I have been a pile of sludge all day today. I took my son to camp at 12:30, came home intending to hop in the shower and get some stuff done, and instead I sat in a chair and stared for over an hour. I’m significantly more human now but the first six or seven hours of being technically awake were a mess today, and not in a good way. Like, I wasn’t high, I just … didn’t want to move. I managed to get to sleep, at least, so the pill did what it was supposed to, but as it stands this isn’t something I can take during the week, which cuts its usefulness to me by a pretty significant degree.

Meanwhile, Day 3 of live-streaming Stray happens in … oh, about half an hour, over at lutherplaysgames.com, so come hang out with us:

Oh, okay, this again

I have said this so many times that even I am bored with it, so feel free to ignore this post as you see fit: my inability to “relax” amazes me, and the surest way to guarantee that I’m going to be in a shitty mood is to put me in a situation where I’m not “getting anything done.” I did basically nothing over the last couple of days other than marinate in front of Twitter and fall into bleak fucking despair at the fact that literally everything gets worse every single day.

Today, I have done the following:

  • Successfully sold the 3D printer
  • Deposited a bunch of change at the bank
  • Contested the $100 bill I got from a lab for a Covid test; those motherfuckers had better go talk to my fucking insurance because there’s no universe where they’re getting $100 from me for a test that I had no choice in taking
  • Paid my car registration and remembered to put the receipt in my car, and did it early enough that I probably won’t even get pulled over and need the receipt
  • Mowed the fucking lawn
  • Murdered weeds
  • Went swimming (this counts!)
  • Went to the comic shop and engaged in capitalism
  • Bought my wife a present
  • Some light cleaning and organization

And I am in a much better mood than I have been for several days now, simply by virtue of having kept busy today. I mean, if I get stupid and start paying attention to the news again I’m sure I’ll go right back to being fucked, but at least I feel like I did something today. And my wife is about to leave town for a week, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be busy for the next several days. Maybe I’ll even write a compelling blog post sometime between now and then! The possibilities are endless.

In which I’m almost there

I have been an utter wreck for the last few days. Monday was spent in a nameless bad mood, to the point where I actually took a brain pill in the middle of the day, which is something that I generally don’t do; I almost always use the emergency pills for nights when I can’t shut my brain off and need to sleep. I was out of work yesterday and today, yesterday with something vile and digestive, with shooting pains in my stomach, and today with a massive headache. I’m out of sick days for the year, so the next three months are gonna be interesting. I’ve gotten roughly an extra day and a half worth of sleep in the last 48 hours and feel fine right now, so I’m going in tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.

(I’ve missed a ton of work in 2022. This is the first two days I’ve had to take off because something was wrong with me, however.)

Anyway, Elden Ring comes out on Friday, and while I don’t know it’ll help my mental health any it’ll certainly fill the hours. Next week will be that horror of horrors, a five-day work week, something that sounds nearly insurmountable the way the last two months have gone. The following week ends the quarter and features a teacher record day, and then the two weeks following are full weeks, but then we have Spring Break. I want to try to make it that far without missing any days, or at least without missing any days under circumstances I can control.

Meanwhile, the world is slowly catching on fire again, in any number of ways and any number of places, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about any of it, so I might as well burn my hours on video games. I said on Twitter earlier today that I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to anything as much as I was looking forward to getting home from work on Friday and getting to play this game, and that remains true; the closest I can think of is Avengers: Endgame, and while we don’t all know how that ended up, enough of you do that you’ll understand why I don’t care to repeat the experience.

Tomorrow, though, I’m gonna teach somebody math for a while. I’m going to get through tomorrow, and I’m going to get through Friday. One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time; three months from now, I may be done teaching. We’ll see what happens. One way or another, the time is going to pass.

(You really really ought to follow me on YouTube. Even if you’re not a video game person, my current project, What Remains of Edith Finch, has been … really interesting so far in a way that sidesteps a lot of what people who don’t play video games don’t like about them. If that makes any sense. Anyway, go subscribe.)

On adult responsibility

Before I get too far into the meat of this post, I want to say something that will, perhaps, not endear me to some of you. News media have gotten some abuse for using the photograph on the right of this person rather than his post-apprehension mug shot on the left, a supposedly humanizing touch that is never, ever granted to mass murderers when they are people of color.

I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but the picture on the right screams “school shooter” to me every bit as much as the picture on the left. That kid is visibly deeply fucked up; there is nothing at all behind his eyes, and the fact that he’s holding his hands in a posture of prayer, to me, just means that he’s coming from an environment where it’s incredibly unlikely that he’s actually going to get any help for whatever is wrong with him.

I got into a Twitter conversation the other day with someone, and in that conversation made the point that my ability to feel shared humanity with and compassion for terrible people had diminished significantly over the last five years. And the interesting thing about that tweet is that the one immediately before it is about a discovery that I had made about the family of a former student. I had found out a couple of years ago that this particular kid had been locked up for thirteen years (minimum) for armed robbery. Yesterday I discovered that his little brother, who I never had in class but I knew, has been convicted of murder and was sentenced to 75 years in prison.

My student, as it turns out, was also sentenced as an adult. This school shooter, 15 years old, is also going to be tried as an adult.

This kid who, either the day of or the day before the shooting, wrote “The voices won’t stop. Help me.” on a note, a note that led to him receiving no help of any kind. The kid whose parents bought him a semiautomatic handgun for Christmas four days before he used it to kill four people. The kid whose parents are such subhuman trash that upon finding out they were being charged as accessories to their son’s murders, went on the lam and attempted to flee the country.

Imagine that. Imagine that your child is charged with murder and your reaction is to leave him behind and run.

And as angry as I am with his parents, I’m even angrier with the school officials at Oxford High School. Their most important job is to keep their students safe. That responsibility extends to the shooter as well as the other students in the school. The very first thing that should have happened upon this not being discovered is this kid being brought to the attention of mental health professionals and social workers– the first fucking thing, even before notifying the parents. I’m seeing that his mother and father resisted removing him from school. That’s where the “protect everyone else” thing kicks in– yes, you are going to take your son to get some help, and if you refuse to do so, he is not entering this building again. I have not been in this exact situation before but I have been in some that are very close, and schools are absolutely within their rights to refuse to allow a child back on campus until a psych evaluation has taken place. And when a student combines hearing voices with violent imagery and an explicit request for help, it is absolutely criminal on the part of the parents and the administration of Oxford High School that he was allowed to remain on campus.

This is unforgivable. It is a dereliction of responsibility at the highest level and it led directly to four dead kids.

I don’t know what to do with a fifteen-year-old who murders. Part of me is screaming for vengeance the same way it might be had a fully capable adult performed the killings. Part of me is still trying to hold onto the scrap of me that can still see humanity in those who perform inhumane acts. And ultimately as the person who pulled the trigger, the greatest responsibility falls upon him. But the failure of every adult in this young man’s life cannot be passed over. The parents have been charged with involuntary manslaughter; bury them under the jail and let their names never be spoken again.

But it should not end there. Early reports in situations like this are always wrong in some way; it may turn out that my understanding of what happened is flawed in some critical way. But if the events unfolded according to the timeline I’m currently aware of, all of the adults who had a responsibility to keep this child and those around him safe should face consequences for their actions. All of them.

Whiny post

I have had two mental states available to me this week: Angry and Tired. Worse yet is the pervasive feeling that I’m going to be stuck here for some time; while 2021 is the first year in at least the last five or six that has no claim whatsoever to the title of Worst Year of my Life, the cumulative effect of all of that shit combined with 2021’s own unique shittiness is outpacing my ability to deal with it. The fact that I made it to work all five days this week without seriously considering staying home for any of them counts as a triumph; I spent all week covering classes during my preps, and I know for an absolute fact that two of my teachers who were out this week were out specifically because of stress-related health issues.

I think I’ve written about the rash of kids lately trying to get switched into my classes from the other math teacher’s class; I discovered this week that I have fifteen more students than he does, which sounds unfair to begin with, a situation that does not get any better when I point out that two of his three groups only have fifteen students in them. So the difference between our two student loads is equal to one of his entire classes, and yet somehow on Thursday I had a transfer student added into my 3rd and 4th hour class, which is my murderer’s row. And not to belabor the point about being tired of things, but I am also tired of having to have conversations with our school counselor about stuff that should be obvious, such as when one teacher has fifteen students fewer than the other teacher who teaches the same classes, that teacher is the on who gets all the transfer students. He and I have the exact same schedule so there’s no argument to be made that any given student has to be in one of our classes and not the other’s. Every new 8th grader who comes into the building needs to go into his classes until our class loads are even. Every single one.

Next week is only two days long, and the following Monday is an e-learning day, so at least I have a break coming. I can make it– of course I can– but finding a way to get my mojo back would be super.