My first experience with Magic was when I was 8 years old.
My mom took us to the desert. It was hot and uncomfortable. I hated it. I complained all day – I want to go home already.
We pitched our tents and mom warmed up some ham, pineapple n’ cheese sandwiches. I had been waiting all day – God, those things are deliciously good, especially how mom toasts them.
The sun descends and night rises.
I had escaped into yet another Sweet Valley High novel; in the background, the sound of my brothers playing near the campfire.
At some point, I looked up to the smell of bread toasting and ham sizzling.
And I nearly lost my shit.
There in front of me, all around me, were a million stars. A gazillion of them.
Mom must’ve clocked my surprise cuz she says, “Put your book down and breathe it in.”
You know that song by Coldplay? Look at the stars, look how they shine for you?
One of my favorite songs.
When that song plays, I often think about that moment in the desert; book in hand, ham sizzling, brothers laughing, and pure Magic painted across the sky.
Speechless, humbling Magic right above us.
That was the first time I was certain there was a God.
FADE IN: two men.
And then I would be a cis hetero male.
What does that mean?
I am a person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth, align.
So, no more calling yourself straight guy?
There’s also agender; we refer to them as “them”. They see themselves as existing without gender.
And we have a queer and a couple of lesbians.
Gone are the days when I used to say, “we’re here, we’re queer, let’s go have a beer.”
Yeah, you can’t say that anymore cuz you’re not queer and you’re making a joke at the expense of a queer.
But I’m not, really.
No, I get it, it’s just times are changing.
I can’t hardly sleep no more. I useta be able to leave the TV on for hours, and not hear a peep.
Life man, it’s exhausting, and then I can’t sleep.
I got a new home now, a kid. A kid, man!
A kid that –
Listen, the other day he came over to me and said, “For Christmas, I want an X-Box One X. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
I was like, “Ok, fool, whatever.”
A few minutes later, he comes back to me, “Dad, don’t forget I want an X-Box One X for Christmas. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
At this point, I’m like, “Why you tellin’ me twice then?”
And then it dawned on me, this kid doesn’t understand what that phrase means.
So, I explain it to him.
He looks at me and says, “You always saying it at the end of your sentences, and you’re always saying it mad-like.”
That’s a mirror to my fuckin’ face.
They’re watching us too much.
A BAR. NIGHT.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
He leans in throwing caution to the wind this time.
She tilts her head back and guffaws.
He repeats his line, thinking it’ll be funny the second time.
It isn’t, but she stares into his eyes just the same.
Complex everything, this woman. Like a cat.
He looks away with a smirk – she’s into me.
He takes a swig of his scotch, cool like that, and asks for the check, “It’s on me,” he tells her.
Her red, half full.
“You heading out,” she asks.
“I thought we could, uh…” he smirks.
She stares at him. That cat again.
He smiles at her.
“I’m going to finish my wine.”
“Sure. I’ll, uh,” he sits back down.
“Cheers,” she says as she sips her red.
Name: Christina A.
Occupation: Retirement Consultant.
Location: Glendale, CA.
I never thought to ask for a raise until I was in my 40s. It blows my mind cuz I gave 12 years of my life to that company. I learned a lot, don’t get me wrong; I’m still using some of those skills in my work today.
When I finally did a money awareness course, it dawned on me like a piano dropped on my head, that I had some major issues around money.
To begin, my family never spoke about money.
I mean, are you kidding me?
My father, may he rest in peace, had his some heavy shit around money.
I remember this one time when I asked him how much he made –
I mean, I might’ve just said, “How many times do you masturbate a week?”
He never answered me.
In my family, we never spoke about 2 things: sex and money – and we would probably speak first about sex before money.
In the early days of my company, I would write “Maybe you could send me the money you owe me / your invoice has been probably overdue by 30 days, blah blah.
Maybe, can I please, do you mind, that kinda shit.
To this day sometimes I catch myself writing those words.
But God created the delete button, and damn am I grateful.
FADE IN: a man talks into a camera.
Uh, I’m being inarticulate. You just gotta be focused. You gotta be clear in what you want and why. This world is changing. And it’s not looking good. You know.
NPR did this story about the Survivalists among the rich. These guys have built underground bunk-like-houses for the next “apocalypse”. They’re speculating a full-blown civil war. Billionaires have gone out and bought secret get-aways with generators and solar paneling, specifically for Doom’s Day. You know Reddit online? The fuckin’ chief officer carries with him a survivalist bag – canned goods, water, ammunition, maps. Another superrich dude went out and got laser eye surgery simply because he fears supplies will eventually dry up. I mean, yeah, who gives a fuck about his eye surgery, that’s not the point. Listen to what he’s sayin’.
They’re sniffin’ the shit and it don’t smell right. And who are they? The movers and shakers of our world.
Everything that’s happenin’ with Trump and China and Russia; the environment, mass shootings, the increasing black and white tension, – it’s not looking good.
But, that’s the point I’m trying to make. We can’t get upset about it anymore, we’re way past that.
Nah man. The breakdown of society or at least a catastrophic earthquake is just around the corner. And now’s the time to get really crystalized in what you want and why you want it. So, what’s your Why?
FADE IN: neighbors staring into the sky.
…And, and I hate to be the bad guy [he leans in] but which neighbor has the brightest outside light? I mean. Come on! It’s brighter than a reading lamp. I told the girls, you know, they’re really sweet but they forget to turn it off all the fuckin’ time. They have guests over tonight so I’ll have to wait. But, man-oh-man. I wanna sleep, you know.
When I moved here 20 years ago, there was darkness. The ol’ school kind. The stars were everywhere, you could see the stars from the ocean. It was beautiful. Now with the whole technology thing, it’s like everybody wants light, God forbid some shadow. There are only 2 spots at the beach that stay dark if you want some star gazing: on the left after the parking lot and the Whaler where the pathway stops; and on the right, at the second parking lot near 23rd. Das it.
It’s slim pickin’s now. Those are my hiding spots.
He looks up.
Yeah…I miss staring into the night.
They look up.
You know, I put a chair in the heart of my garden just for star gazing. Its beautiful. It’s been a while since I’ve sat there but das cuz when’s the last time you’ve seen stars?
We look up again.
I’m sure Orion is somewhere up there.