Gerbilprobe.com is live!

February 16, 2017 at 8:04 am (Art, Bizarro, Death, Music, News, Parody, Personal, Politics, Review, Theatre, Work)

Yes friends and fans, after years of neglect by yours truly, gerbilprobe.com has been completely re-designed from the ground up and is live! The lovely Sauda Namir helped bring it to the modern internet age with a slick new design that is responsive, cool and easy to update. Check out my music, writing, performance and everything in between all in one place. Let us know what you think after you click around a little while!

http://www.gerbilprobe.com

(The media empire of Michael Allen Rose!)

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One Thin Line

September 9, 2005 at 1:22 am (Death, Personal, Writing)

One thin line… that’s all that separates us from death. Just one, insignificant little line, one moment, one choice, one conk on the head, one trip of the foot – or the tongue. One line.
I remember the first time death became a concrete reality for me. My father’s friend. He hung himself in the basement at Christmas. Ho ho ho, right? It affected me profoundly for a long time, that mostly silent hospital visit, all those presents under the tree lying there unopened… unopenable. Hell, I even got a decent monologue out of it years later. But that’s another story.
My parents often tell the story of when I was just a wee little fella, stalking around the flower bed while my parents played gardener. I came across a dying flower, its head pointing at the ground, making an arch. I asked the question: “Why is it drooping?” They told me why. I cried for an hour. It was pretty, and I guess I felt that it was unfair that something so pretty had to die for no reason. There’s a lot of life lessons right there in that moment, and all before I was even dressing myself.
I was eight years old, and I couldn’t sleep. I was lying there in bed, sobbing my heart out, and I couldn’t stop. It was the most pressing feeling in the world… suffocating, really. My little boy heart was being crushed in my chest by a certain realization that I’m sure we’ve all had. My mom came in to see what I was crying about.
“What’s wrong honey?” she asked.
Through my tears I said “You’re going to die someday!” and then I fell apart all over again. My parents weren’t going to be around forever. Holy shit. At the time, I wouldn’t have used that language to illustrate how it felt to realize this, but now that I’m a cynical adult and pretentious artist, it seems appropriate. Holy shit.
So when I got a cryptic message from my mother on my cell phone telling me that my dad was admitted to the ER and they didn’t know what was wrong, all these moments flashed before my eyes. He had woken up with a terrible headache, she said, and he called her at work that afternoon because, try as he might, he could not get up off the bathroom floor, and he had been throwing up all day in terrible pain.
Tick tock tick tock… the line gets thinner.
They did a CAT scan. No results. They shot him full of morphine, because the pain was so intense that he couldn’t move. That done, they gave him a spinal tap. For those of you who don’t know, that’s when they literally pull out some of your spinal fluid. Morphine or not, I’ll bet he feels that in the morning.
The thing my mom forgot to mention in her haste? Dad isn’t dying. I told her that next time she really should begin her phone message with those words – as long as they’re true. But still… my grandma, my cat, various extensions of my family tree… all dead this year. I’m taking a stand. No more tragedy this year. Not for me. I refuse to accept it. So Dad needs to remain in this liminal space where life and death are close but they never touch. He’s standing on the line.
The one that’s right outside of mine.
Because my grandparents’ generation is disappearing at an alarming rate. That was the line I grew up with on my periphery. The one that shielded the line right next to mine. That line that represented my parents. And when that line is erased, there’s only one line left to cross. There is no more barrier, no more shield. You’re left alone coping with those lines that have already been erased.
My father is in stable condition as I write this. He’s sleeping, all doped up on morphine as detached strangers in lab coats stroll about with vials of my father’s spinal fluid… my spinal fluid, by way of genetics. What can I do from twenty hours down the highway but hope that the next message from my mother isn’t simply: “You need to come home, right now.”
I should probably mention that I was pretty much raised by my father. No nuclear family, we, instead striking a blow for alternative families everywhere by having my mom work and my dad stay home nursing the back and leg that time in the Air Force had left a tangled wreck of screaming nerves. At the same time, he was raising another bundle of screaming nerves, namely me, as best he could.
Now he lies in a hospital room with holes punctured in his back and dope in his system and pain in his head and I sit comfortably here, reading this, my feeble writer’s brain trying to put something into words that will summon up some physical thing to relieve my father and make him whole again.
What marketable skills have I? I can show you an imitation of an action, in the Aristotelian sense and make you forget your troubles for awhile while you look at someone else’s. In fact, I’m doing it right now? I can write a play or a song to make people laugh or cry or kick over chairs, but no matter what I do I can’t stop the inevitable, and no matter what I write, the ink won’t flow into the slowly disappearing line around my self that is my father.
My mother sits in a waiting room, hoping for the best, dealing with her own stress, and watching the time tick away… tick tock tick tock. Is she thinking about her generation’s buffer? It’s almost gone, and now she’s the one. My friends are having children. We’ve moved up a notch in the cosmic game of waiting, and so our lines become brittle and used and soiled and perhaps they’ve already started to fade for some of us.
A kid in my high school class took pills to erase himself.
No buffer there.
End of the branch.
When I said stable condition earlier, I didn’t know about the possibility of aneurysm. The final message of the evening was that it’s possible… not necessarily definite, but certainly possible, that my father’s brain is bleeding inside his skull at this moment. Does this make him a dotted line? Halfway solid?
When a brain aneurysm ruptures, it causes bleeding into the compartment surrounding the brain, the subarachnoid space, causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage or if you like acronyms, an SAH. Often the aneurysm heals over, bleeding stops, and the person survives. In more serious cases, the bleeding may cause brain damage with paralysis or coma. In the most severe cases the bleeding leads to death. Statistics: 50% of those people die within minutes of a massive hemorrhage. Of the 50% who survive, half will suffer delayed death. The remaining survivors, depending upon the level of hemorrhage, usually live with severe long-term deficits.
So now I sit and ponder.
I will not accept more tragedy. I am not fucking Oedipus.
One thin line. Life and death. Perched precariously, like a tightrope walker. There’s no net. Just the endless infinite point out there somewhere that our lines stretch to until they fade into the horizon and are gone.

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R.I.P. Vertigo

February 21, 2005 at 5:07 pm (Death, Personal)

I love you, my kitty. Thank you for being there all these years.

My muse passed away Feb 20 2005 5:00 PM, painlessly and peacefully.

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