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In Darkest Night

May 29, 2014

Issue 19
Vol 3.

55_JohnStewart

One of the reasons I like the Green Lantern is because of John Stewart. There are very few African-American or Black Superheroes. Fewer still good ones. He was one of the few. He was even done justice in the JLA Animated Series. I have said it before that on my frustrating or sad days I want to be Batman. On my good days and most of the time I am a Green Lantern.

As always I am glad you are here enjoying what I have created. Share with your friends.

Ambition, Power and Truth

I haven’t stepped foot in a school since the May of 2009. Not a class room or campus. I was never a good student and I frustrated my parents and teachers with my lack of effort and unfulfilled potential. I just never really was all that interested in much of what they had to teach me. And if I was attentive my lack of confidence would remind me that “I wasn’t smart enough” anyway and it was easier not to try and have everyone think I am lazy and not stupid.

A part of me also knew that I was being lied to. Not about history and the repeated myths that we are told or that the algorithms in math were wrong but that sense they tried to press into you that if you did not excel here in school that you were doomed to a life of drug abuse and homelessness. This is what they told me: “You will be fired from you job if you preformed like this Mr. Milton.” I felt judged and looked down upon, I was just some big dummy and they never really thought much of me. I remember once in 8th grade I was missing some assignments, so was the rest of the class. We were told we had to make up everything we were missing or we couldn’t go on a field trip. My teacher Mrs. Long straight up told me to my face that “You should give up. I don’t think you can make this amount of work up.” I was shocked not because she was doubting me but because a friend of mine a few moments before had straight up just quit. She encouraged him as he stomped off in a fit of obnoxious adolescent rage, willing to quit. I was willing to work and this bogus educator was willing to quit on me. That was the sort of thing that made me want to quit in school.

My parents never told me this but they would remind me that this, my studies were my only real job, at the moment and I should be doing it. But As I grew older school became more interesting and I majored in English and my minor was Political Science. Mizzou was the first time I gave that much of a fuck about my academics. A cross the board I was engaged in the way I always wanted to be and never thought I would.

The Navy says they encourage school but really, at least on the ship, impressing people comes first. Every slick, slimy and silver tongued department head will echo “One team, one fight.” but really they care more about their career and how they look. They gotta save their FITREP. They gotta look good.

Misson. Ship. Shipmate. Self. That’s what we are told, and on many levels this is true, but the mission isn’t Air Defense, or Power Projection its making sure Lieutenant Commander makes Commander and Commander makes Captain. If they came out and said as much then I would be able to tolerate it, at least way more than I do now. But its all the double speak about integrity and courage.

What am I talking about though? My disillusion with the Navy or my education? What I’m talking about is ambition and what it takes to get what you want.

In the Navy I have met my fair of liars, cowards and villains. I have felt the brunt of their choices and watched a lot of good people be thrown to the wolves if only because its easier than doing the right thing. I have also met a lot of incredible people. Driven and dedicated people. People that helped mold me into a professional. So now I am at a crossroads. The Navy would be the easiest thing to stay in and continue to do. As dumb luck would have it I found myself in the greatest opportunity I have ever happened upon.

My original ambition was to work in intelligence and 4 1/2 later I am working in the Office of Naval Intelligence. Surrounded by civilians that have the skills and know-how that I want. So when I am replacing a monitor, reconfiguring a network configuration or merely showing them how a mouse works I am asking them about their job. Opportunities and things I should learn if I wanted to have a job like theirs one day. I trade e-mails and they send me information. Even a handful sit me down and ask me about my ambitions and what I want to do.

The Navy was, in the very beginning, a means to an end. 4 years and I was out, that was my original plan. I first enlisted and loved it and I was set on doing 20. Now I look at the future, my pay check and where the Navy is going. It’s not for me. Not any more. I got everything I wanted from it and now I am done. So now here comes the hard part.

Its like I said. I haven’t stepped inside a school in years and last month was the first time I had done so in a long time. The dingy walls and floors showered in the dull buzzing yellow light of cheap fluorescent lighting and I hadn’t been so happy to be back on a campus in a long time. This fall I plan to enroll and start taking classes again and for the first time in about ten years I am excited to go to college. What I want will not be easy but I never really wanted easy.

I spent hundreds of dollars on books and downloaded thousands of hours of instructional videos. I want to learn Network+, CCNA and a whole host of other certifications that will make me more than competitive when I get out. Along with the three I mentioned in my previous post about new years resolutions I am also interested in CASP, RHCE, GCIA and GCFA. I know it will be hard to get like seven certifications this year along with my job and taking one or two classes.

The list of shit I want to do this year and I know that I will more than likely not get all of it done. But I am happiest when I am busy or working on something. There is a adage or whatever about always having your ambition outreach your talents or skills or something like that.

After the first time my mother beat cancer she told me she was thinking about going back to school and getting a degree in law. In her mid-fifties she was still looking to improve and educate herself. She was a happy woman but she was never content. That is one thing we always had in common but it took so long for me to realize.

In my post almost a year ago called “Summer like Sweet Tea” in the subsection “All alone in the night” I spoke about how empty everything felt. I followed up with “The Truth” and I seemed to have a better grasp of what I was doing, or wanted to do. I have an even better understanding now. I was afraid of complacency. I was afraid of stagnation.

I don’t know what the future holds. Hell tomorrow is up for debate I am not even sure I am going to the gym tomorrow morning. Even thought I know I should. But I’ll keep the promise, my first promise, like I always do: I’ll never give up.

Little Patience and “Here we go again…”

Recently I got into a Facebook argument with someone. I was just as much a fool as they were for taking the bait but if I am bored then I like to mix it up. I am going to rehash the argument here and if you look hard enough I am sure you can find what was said. Maybe not. What really pissed me off was how it went down.

When I disagree with someone sometimes I attack their logic and how they think rather than what they say. Take for example once in college I was sitting on the floor in the halls of McDavid talking with a handful of people. We started talking about issues pertaining to race and they ganged up on me. “I think Black people need to stop complaining so much.”

What?

No seriously.

No seriously.

There was an awkward silence and I was just dumbfounded. One of the two of them then told me she was related to black people. Again I was dumbfounded. Refer to the picture above if you want my reaction.

I have had this happen before and frankly didn’t expect it to come from these two super liberal feminists. Not so much with regards to the issues of race but people, my whole life, just open up and tell me insane shit from time to time.

I have a gift. People feel comfortable around me. Children like me and so do most dogs. This manifests itself differently in adults. People cross entrenched social boundaries to tell me how they really feel. And sometimes white people feel comfortable enough around me to announce their socially unacceptable ideas about race and what they are looking for is simple: They have always wanted to tell a black person this and if the black person doesn’t respond or can’t respond it validates how they feel and now emboldened they can feel more comfortable with saying it to someone they are less comfortable with. Black people have said the same things to me about white people. I was once standing in a damned Gamestop and a black women once touched my arm, got my attention (I was wearing ear buds at the time. THIS IS THE #1 REASON WHY I CONSTANTLY HAVE MY IPOD ON ME) and preceded to tell me  she thought “these are end times.” I have had people show me evidence about how bad the military is and just expect me to defend it.

In the end none of these people want a discussion or an exchange of ideas. They don’t want me to talk either. They want to preach and browbeat me. They don’t want me to be an individual either I am the effigy of what they want to attack.

When this happens to me now I walk away, as I did when I was younger. OR I respond with something over the top and insane. This goes along with my standard “make them regret what they want” methodology. “I think that if black people just worked harder they wouldn’t do so many drugs.” Someone thought that and said it to my face like I was going to nod and shake their hand for the kernel of truth. I looked him in the eye, bent over and said “Oh LAWDY Massa! Tank ya kindly for the wezdum! We’s simple folk and likes to sell the weed and shoot hoops.” Then I pretended, in an over the top, hyperbolic and mildly psychotic way, to shuck and jive out of the room.

An insane Bugs Bunny level reaction.

An insane Bugs Bunny level reaction.

Or there was the time someone took it upon themselves to tell me about all the bad stuff the US Military did. Or something honestly I wasn’t listening. Again I went into a sociopathic routine designed to both entertain myself and insult them. “Well first of all they give us pills that makes it easier to kill people and for practice we buy a bunch of orphans from third world countries and then they give us bricks and we just beat them to death. Ya know to get used to naked aggression, violence and their feeble cries for us to stop and spare their lives.” When I say this I make sure never to break eye contact even when I am done, I linger for a few moments and stare, unblinking into their face.

This response never helped matters.

I am only entertaining myself and I am not doing anything to help anyone. I am really just frustrated and don’t know what else to do. The situation calls for patience and communication but I find that most people don’t know how to listen, they just close their mouths and wait for their turns to talk. I was always taught that listening is important. So when I hear something like this and I become, basically, the comfortable stand in for the villains in their own mind I am annoyed. Annoyed to the point that I have become like them and I am not really listening. I am just waiting for my turn to talk, and instead of talking I use my wit as a bludgeon and exaggerate their points and call them stupid in the least subtle almost macro way possible.

I like to wrap up a section like this with a plan to move forward, a promise to do better next time. Not this time. I am tired and I have no patience for stupid, obnoxious people.

Out on the Edge

I don’t have writer’s block as much as I seem to have run out of interesting or coherent shit to talk about. I wrote  this whole section out and was really satisfied with it before I realized I had covered it at least twice before. Now I am going to do what I hate doing. What I do when I have no better ideas. My version of a Clip Show. Random shit section at the end of a post. I’m not proud.

I listen to the Monday Morning Podcast by one of my favorite comedians Bill Burr. I go through spells where I listen religiously and then I go weeks without listening only to catch up in 3 days. Burr’s comedy style is nothing short of brilliant and he is one of my all time favorites. Whats chilling is how he will frequently make declarations about something then immediately recant and repeating how stupid he really is and how he can’t believe they allow him to vote. He rarely has a guest on but when he does it is normally another comedian. Most recently it was Doug Stanhope. I am guessing that you don’t know who Stanhope is. Stanhope is a brutal comedian. He was apart of the second set of hosts for the Man Show and while I think he is funny I doubt many of you would. Simply put Stanhope is the type of friend you would love but your girlfriend would hate. And her friends would hate. And your parents would hate. Not because he ate the last chip at the party. Or hit on your sister’s best friend after eating the last chip at the party. No. Everyone hates him because after eating the last chip, after groping Lisa’s butt in front of everyone it was the 15 minute Rant how his piss stinks and he thinks he is dieing. The worst part is everyone was laughing, at least chuckling, but there is no way your Dad is going to let him back in the house. That’s who Stanhope is and what is really telling, I mean really haunting, keeps me up at night sort of nightmare is that left to my own devices that is the type of human being that I would be.

That’s no true though is it? I am not totally a malcontent. In fact in a lot of ways I am the exact opposite. People like me. Let me rephrase. Strangers like me. People who know me love me. And I love them. That’s the truth. I love my family. I really do. and I love my friends. When I was little I used to cry thinking about a world where there was no empathy. I don’t have a soft spot for all of humanity but I think we have a responsibility to make the world a better place. Whats the old story about the two wolves? One light and one dark. A child asks which wolf wins? If they fight which one wins? The wise old grandfather says “Which ever one you feed”. Yeesh. I am just hoping the light wolf likes jokes about punching the homeless as much as I do or else me and both wolves are fucked.

Remember...stick and move...this man clearly has nothing left to lose.

Remember…stick and move…this man clearly has nothing left to lose.

I don’t hate twitter and I feel like I should. The entire idea is insipid. Also the guy who started it was born in St. Louis but claims New York. So fuck that guy. But really it is just a silly little application that allows me to share dumb thoughts that I have throughout the day. Worse yet I can re-share other people’s dumb thoughts. Really it is just another dumb thing to look at before I go to sleep at night.

You know what made me happy recently? I found a real butcher. Yeah. I was wasting my entire Saturday getting my oil changed and watching this old woman look for the new tires I agreed purchase but she just couldn’t seem to find. I found a full service butcher. When I was a kid on a road trip I looked out the car window and saw a pasture full of cows and I said “I don’t see cows I see steaks.” That little boy grew up to be me and I still don’t see cows, chickens or pig. I see what they can become. I took a number walked in and told the guy I wasn’t going to buy anything but I was just looking. I swear to God I could hear Fanfare for the Common Man as I stared, wide eyed into the ivory marbled, juice crimson flesh of cuts of beef.

I was standing in one of the elevators at work and I hear someone say “I like vegetables but I don’t like fruits.” You don’t like mangoes? Cool. You don’t like apples? Fine. You don’t like bananas? Alright. What sort of joyless sad human being doesn’t like…any fruit. All fruit. The sweet soft shit that grows from trees. I judged him in so far as I just felt terrible for him. I love fruit. I blend and drink that stuff constantly.

You remember that show Arthur? On PBS? The dude with glasses and the bunny best friend and he had a sorta crush on the ape chick? Yeah. Either way there is an episode where he punches his little sister, Dora Winnifred, after she did some ignorant shit. It was one of the most satisfying moments in American TV history. I know she is like 4 in the cannon of the show but I would have done that shit years ago. I’m talking about a serious, show stopping, bring it from the hip, uppercut. She would have been retarded after I was done.

I'm doing this now...adding .gifs.

I’m doing this now…adding .gifs.

I’m not entirely right in the head. I never claimed to be anything but myself.

I used to harbor a raw and painful hatred for the rest of the Bunker Hill. I knew that no one seemed to get the credit they deserved. That’s not new to the Navy but it felt like no one really gave a fuck about the work that we did. I have been praised and told otherwise. The respect I earned on the ship was way more than I ever dreamed.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted an “Like this status and I will share a secret with you.” I knew this guy years ago. He was a party animals and he was always down for a good time. So I liked it and went on about my day. I figured I would get some wacky message or an insult. A few hours later he sent me a message. This is what he wrote:

Your confession You may not have known it but you were one of the first role models in my naval career. It’s not easy being black It’s damn sure not easy being black in the military But to be black and in the military and to not necessarily fit in with other black people, to be banished from the herd cause you speak proper English and there’s more on your iPod than chief keef… That’s a tough world You taught me how to navigate that How to be me and stop trying to fit in and in the process make real friends But on the other hand you got me addicted to true blood and for that I’ll never forgive you.

Psh. True Blood. I gave up on that show years ago.

~ Adam Milton

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