Music Moment: January 1987

Das Marabu Diskothek, Zweibrücken, West Germany
I was at a German dance club called Marabu, located in the city Zweibrücken near the French border, in early 1987, and the DJ spun this song. I think nearly everyone in the club thought it was a new Depeche Mode song because the lead vocalist definitely sounded like Dave Gahan, but when I asked the DJ who the fuck this was, he said Kissing the Pink, an English band I knew but who had been more of a chic arthouse band to my recollection. No bother. This was an amazing dance track and all the cute girls packed in Marabu danced their perky asses off to it. Good enough for me. I met the love of my life at that club that April in 1987, a ginger-haired beauty named Tanya, who could have been Scarlett Johansson’s hotter twin (no shit!), and who introduced herself to me one night rather aggressively by pinching my ass; her English and my German were poor, but our attraction to each other overcame that barrier. Oh, it was on. Certain things are likely indeed. I can still picture that smoking-hot Teutonic beauty dancing her perky ass of some 32 years later. And so it goes.

Certain Things Are Likely – Kissing the Pink (1987)

 

It Was 46 Years Ago Today…

My old man died of a brain tumor on October 15, 1973. He was 48, 8 years younger than I am today.

Memories fade as we grow older, but I cling to the memories of Michael Leo Scheck greedily with every fiber of my being. He was a very good man taken from this world at far too young an age. Some men, some fathers, are complete shitbags and hardly worthy of living, but my Dad was one of the good ones, a smart, kind, gentle, highly moral and ethical, loving, and yet super-strong man who loved his wife and nine kids with all his heart and sacrificed his own well being to ensure we had a good home and everything we needed. He just ran out of time too soon to be there for most of my life; 82% of my life has been spent without him around, which sucks.

I take full ownership of every aspect of my being and how I have conducted my life, and I certainly don’t blame the fact my Dad died when I was ten years old for any of my mistakes or shortcomings in my life. I am responsible for everything fucked-up that I have done, no excuses, no blame anywhere but towards me. However, my teen years were a fucking bleak nightmare of trying to overcome his massive loss in my life. I don’t even remember who I was before he passed. I just remember the dark wilderness through which I tried to navigate the decade after he died and what a god-awful time I had finding my way to the light again. How, in my 20s, my fear of dying young like my old man led me to unbelievably stupid behavior, reckless and thoughtless at every turn, and how my anxiety and self-loathing damn near destroyed me, and yet how I overcame that toxic shitpile of neurotic self-abuse and emerged a better person. Not a great person like Mike Scheck, but I’m not a villain or scumbag either.

I can tell you this: I’d have rather he lived longer. Over 16,360 days have gone by since he died, and on not a single one have I not thought about him, that 6’4″, lanky, eternally-grinning, charming, deep-voiced man that he was, and a delight to be around. He was as human as the rest of us, sure, and like us all he had flaws, but he was a better human being than 99.99999% of the other human beings I have encountered in my life. I say that from an objective point of view as well as a highly biased one.

I don’t know how many days I have left in this world, but already I have lived over 3000 more days than he did, so I have been luckier than he in that respect, but I’m hardly half the man my father was, and everyone who knew him and knows me would heartily agree. And I am at peace with that fact. He was a great man and I’m merely average at best.

RIP +46, Dad.

Life Update: 4 Oct 2019

Middle aged but refusing to get old, 30 Sep 2019…

My retreat from the social media world since I quit Facebook and Twitter some 18 months ago has been a rebirth of anonymity for my personal life. This silly and pointless blog remains my one tie to the weird, crazy, and confusing Internet culture. For my friends and family, this photo is a proof of life, and as you can see, I’m thriving. I still look and feel younger than my age and my hair refuses to get grey or fall out of my scalp.

Life slips by so fast; I wake up today and I’m 56, my bones are creaking, I’m diabetic with a congenital aorta defect that is like a ticking time bomb in my chest, and yet I’m as fit and healthy as I have been in 20 years. The true key to good health is a sparse, processed-foods-free diet mostly consisting of fresh plant-based foods, abstaining from alcohol, and exercising like a demon. My blood test results recently were astonishingly great, a massive improvement since I started my new exercise and diet regimen 18 months ago.

Mostly I have eliminated stress from my life by reducing the need to give a shit about anything, whether it’s my work life, politics and current affairs, finances, whatever. I can keep this up for 40 more years. I don’t plan on aging a lot in the upcoming decades as I think I’ve found the key to arresting the sinister forces of aging. Sure, I will get older, but I will fight like a motherfucker not to surrender to its more nefarious effects on my health and well being.

The news headlines and relentless babble emanating from the boob tube all scream we’re in one crisis or other, but the truth is, life and living in this world will always present challenges to one’s survival and well being, and yet living life is a brilliant gift that one should not waste wallowing in fear, anxiety, or self-doubt. Yes, the future feels dark if we don’t fix the environmental crisis we’re creating with our pollution, and, yes, democracy is failing everywhere. Yes indeed. But wait.

Those out there who try to upset my karma can all suck the sweat off my fat ball sack. I am stronger, smarter, tougher, and more resilient that 99.9999% of humanity, so don’t tread on me, you miserable fucks who try to bully or impose your will on the weak. I am not one of the sheep, motherfuckers; I am the Alpha wolf who would rip your fucking heart out if you mess with me. Bold words, sure, but I am also mostly indifferent to anything but living life in the now and enjoying the good vibes of living well for as long as I can. Anyone trying to upset that balance is unwelcome in my immediate vicinity.

People who know me best know that I am a generous, altruistic, magnanimous, and mostly positive friend. People know where I stand because I am thoroughly unafraid to express my feelings, thoughts, and ideas. I will never be the most well-liked person in a room because I am so direct and blunt when I speak, but I will also never be known as a cowardly, timid, untrustworthy, and duplicitous person.

Like all human beings, I am far from perfect and my flaws and pathologies could fill volumes of books. I apologize for nothing about myself at this point in my life. I’m super-self-confident—some would label me arrogant—but I tender that bluster by always admitting when I am wrong, by always learning from my mistakes and shortcomings as a person and trying my best to fix, correct, or change them. I never try to obfuscate or deceive others when honesty and directness are truly warranted.

I am a weird guy, maybe an anachronism like some old medieval knight swinging his sword at windmills as if they were giant monsters. The principles that guide me are often obscured in a culture obsessed with opulent wealth, fake beauty, the anti-intellectual dimwittedness brought on by fanatical religious and political certainty, and hugely compromised moral and ethical standards in the reckless pursuit of greedy, self-obsessed ambitions, even at the expense of others and the future of humanity. There are plenty of good people out there, but there are also masses of rotten ones too. The balance seems to weigh towards the rotten, to be honest.

I see democracy fading as the guiding ethos of even the most advanced nations, mainly because wealth and power have fallen into the hands of a few oligarchs and warlords worldwide who don’t like the idea of sharing their wealth or equality with their fellow citizens; they prefer subjects to their wealth and power over citizens sharing the wealth and power. I see our environment barreling downhill into catastrophe as mankind destroys it by emptying its filth into the air, land, and sea without regard to its horrific effects. Ugh. So much is wrong. And yet I worry less.

I’m 56 and will be dead before the environment collapses and the world falls into chaos. In my youth as a soldier I joined the fight against worldwide communist aggression because, truly, they were the bad guys and evil, and their rapacious criminal enterprise collapsed in 1989 just as my military service ended. I never thought in 1989 that the world would be far more dangerous 30 years after the fall of communism. How naive I was at the age of 26. I thought democracy, regulated capitalism, and good will would triumph and uplift the world. It has and it hasn’t. Maybe as people were uplifted they forgot how we got to that good place, and now cannot wait to tear it down even if they don’t know why. It’s a weird world right now.

The anarchy, nihilism, and chaos we face today is far more evil and much more dangerous than anything since World War II. There is no singular entity or nation-state driving this chaotic madness today because it is driven more and more by powerful but not politically-connected people who thoughtlessly pursuit personal ambition over the good weal of humankind. Meanwhile hundreds of millions of people seem to have accepted this fate brought on by such dark forces without putting up much of a fight against it, or perhaps are thoroughly incapable of even acknowledging or understanding that it exists, and so the chaos, anarchy, and nihilism the world faces grows stronger and more deadly while more and more people get captured in its whirlwind of destruction and decimation. At some point good people will turn on each other in a savage pursuit of simple survival. This isn’t a science fiction fantasy; this is our future and I’m sadly pessimistic we humans can vanquish it before it engulfs us all. Or maybe we find our way out and the world thrives in the future. Maybe, a big maybe indeed.

All I can do is stay true to my beliefs and live my life being on the side that is good and just and caring. I don’t wallow in misery and fear of this future I see because I realize I will be dead long before it truly gets awful. What precious life I have left will be spent enjoying what is still good, beautiful, and wondrous about the world outside my door. To enjoy the company of good people, to savor all the good food, to enjoy every day I draw breath, to keep myself fit and healthy and not let the aging process piss on my parade.

That will be my role as a faithful witness to a life lived well. Please don’t try to get in my way.