Why You Must Embrace The Darkness In The Window.

Status

He walks the parameter. His gait is firm, deliberate. Boots firm along the detritus that rises away from where earth meets rolled steel.

Dry underneath.

No blood mud.

At night the Georgia sky acts as a boundless amplifier.

The vocals of the dead embrace the clear. They strangle and replace the sounds of nature and absorb into the black pitch of forest decay.

Guttural moans shower from the pine tops in bloodletting cascades.

The steel girders around the complex of Alexandria might as well be toothpick. The walls, tissue.

He stops. He doesn’t believe in the wall. Yet thankful it’s there. For now it stakes a boundary between the then and now.

Life and death stagger along the same carpet of forest pine needles.

Quiet. Then a rising. The world is ripping itself apart in harmonized human, once human voices. A death train on the tracks. Only in brief moments does the drone of cicadas and crickets provide white noise to drown out the necropolis in the darkness.

The anguish of rotted cords are like a smooth-running turbine oiled in coagulation. It replaces the warm sounds of autumn with an off-tuned death prattle. 

He’s slipping. He knows. He hears the good. Listens to the evil.

Sooner or later the mind cannot separate fact from fiction. The barricade between them is a membrane pulled like taffy between sanity and insanity.

“I understand. The light and dark, the safe and the danger, can no longer be separated. The deep lines between them are gone.”

Rick places his ear against cold metal and listens to hell on the other side. He places his hand against steel. The wall vibrates a low hum against his palm. It speaks to him. He feels what it says.

“Safe is an illusion. No longer be fooled.”

It’s night. Past 11. He can’t sleep. The moon-shine exposes dread in his eyes.

He’s lived on each side of the wall for so long, in his mind and heart. He’s felt safe when he shouldn’t. In the world around him where good and evil co-exist, he believes the blackness is winning. It’s only a matter of time…

He speaks. Softly to no one. 

“I can’t tell the dark from the light anymore.”

Rick at walking dead wall

A character development analysis for the AMC hit drama “The Walking Dead.”

*******************************************

Right around 6pm. In the blue-orange shade of autumn dusk, the terror is restless.

The dark flows. It creeps on spider legs in a pendulum moving across the sky. It waits its turn. Away from low-evening sun’s reflection.

Slivers of black stay small in the shadows of a harvest moon.

shadow moon

Behind rows of single-pane glass, a ground-floor visual to the playground long ignored and overcome by ravenous scrubland. Built with good intentions. To entertain children of a post-war Brooklyn baby boom. Those kids were never to return. Grateful to be gone. I envied the ones who got out.

Good intentions were lost on the youth of the 70s who perceived the location as treacherous as parked cars along Shore Parkway. When the odds of Son of Sam shooting you in the face were just too great to risk the adventure.

A leprous, asphalt square, bordered by shake-chain fencing, littered with weeds (they seemed to live forever) and crushed beer cans. The shriveled after-life of condoms. Squirly, white rubber slip bottoms longed to push you from the earth. Return you closer to…

Spot droplets trapped in bottles of Boone’s Farm’s finest brew. The acidity of alcohol and apple close enough to your nose to water the eyes. Jagged glass longing to take out your eyes.

son of sam

After all, black sky, urban muck and human dredge combined are not for the timid. Best to be inside before nightfall. To keep out the demons, I used roofing nails through shabby wooden window frames to fortify my bedroom from intruders.

A typical (atypical?) 8 year-old boy’s bedroom: G.I. Joe. Nestled in the map room of his official headquarters. Every horror plastic model kit Aurora molded. Seams glued tight, parts painstakingly painted, proudly displayed on a desktop.

aurora monsters

Clear 100-watt GE luminaries (5) drowned the room in electric fire.

GE Bulb

White walls merged to sharp lines. Electric blaze magnified the reflection of gloss lead paint in the corners. Enough to make me squint.

I imagined the wall blades as swords. They were to slay the evil that gamboled among the cracked and pocked foundation beyond the bricks. I know they cavorted on fossilized wood of busted teeter totters. Day-glo orange paint appeared to be nibbled away from the ends of the sees. And the saws. Now, jagged like spears gnawed on by night creatures with sharp teeth.

I fooled myself into believing that I could protect against my fear.

In my mind, they were there. The strangers. Their stares real and imaginary, froze my blood. Through the pane they would enter. Eyes first.

Darkness was how the guilty busted through the membrane of the innocent. Eager to steal everyone and everything you love. Because people got killed in the black. Oh, there was plenty of death in the daylight. I could deal with that. Not afraid.

In the dark things changed. Danger was just more dangerous in the dark.

darkness eyes

The ice tumor block in my femoral told me so.

At 8 years old, my panic rose as weak sun slid below the horizontal dirt line where the feet of bums and other suspicious characters met piles of dog shit along McDonald Avenue.

My insomnia lasted years. I rarely slept.

I walked a quiet hallway most nights until dawn. White socks slid across cheap slat wood to cause less creak. A lingering odor of heavy shellac blasted my nasal passages.

I watched my parents sleep. Not sure how my mother slept through dad’s apnea.

Thinking: “How could they with all the horror about to break loose?”

Hell, I was dreaming “The Purge” before it ever became a movie idea. I should be a fucking billionaire already. Jesus.

The Purge

My transistor AM frequencies remained hot all night. With robotic and manly yet comforting resonance, the overnight voices working the microphones at New York’s “all news all the time” station 1010 WINS, feverishly reported on five boroughs of insidious nocturnal activity. Obviously, the radio aloud in full evening murder alert was stupid. Ironically, I was comforted by the voices. The radio people were the good guys. Go figure.

The dark I despised hit full steam when Channel 5 WNYW TV shifted over to death mode. Sounded its nightly warning siren – “It’s 10pm: Do you know where your children are?”

Where and who were these kids? Were they dead? Why was a local TV station asking? And EVERY NIGHT? Without fail. Was that necessary? The visual that complimented the ominous query was eerie –

Black & white. Picture an urban park deep in a concrete jungle. Rows of swings. Empty. Still. Except one. Moving. Like a kid just jumped and ran. Or worse – This child was abducted. Fade to black.

How would parents not know where their children were? If you didn’t know by 10pm, oh yeah, they were missing or dead.

And who the hell is swinging at that hour?

The demons required the playground for their evening monkeyshines. So they snatched the children of irresponsible parents, whisked them off to place cordoned from the light, and braised them as the main course of a hellish feast.

I knew it.

As I age, I’ve grown to fear “fear” less. As a matter of fact, I’ve grown exhilarated in battle. Facing the darkness in the window has made me stronger than I’ve ever been. My will, my mind is steeled to fight. To overcome.

You must embrace the darkness in the window. Then you can transform it. Tame it. Control it. No. Better yet. Let it be. You don’t need to control it. Why? Because you can see the light in the dark. It’s at that point, fear retreats or dies.

Rick Grimes is “in-between the shades,” as I describe it for the sixth season of The Walking Dead.

Rick Grimes dark

In our lives, we go through turbulent periods when we exist “between the shades.” It’s a vacuum of growth even though you don’t think so. It’s a time when you’ll fear the darkness because you haven’t embraced it. But you will. Eventually.

Victory arrives for those who can’t tell the difference “between the light and dark anymore.” What appears to be evil may be just the thing that saves you.

Random Thoughts:

Don’t fear the stranger in the window. He’s always there. It’s you. It’s the part of yourself you can’t face but must to move on. Nobody ever broke into our apartment. Never were there eyes in my bedroom glass. I created something that didn’t exist because something inside my light was missing.

The eyes of the non-nondescript stranger haunted me for years. I realize now it was the gatekeepers. Those who created rules, like my parents, I never wanted to follow but thought I must. Well, it was the gatekeeper in myself. In a dark place that taunted me.

It’s 10pm. I wanted to be one of the kids swinging in the dark. 

The demon in the backyard said no.

Once I learned to see the keepers, identify them, I learned how to fight because a corporate intruder came after me with a vengeance. I was pushed into a fight of my life. I emerged victorious.

I now can rummage through the black with comfort and find my diamonds. So can you.

Embrace the black. You’ll fight kicking and screaming as you get pulled into the dark. You’ll torch thousands of lightbulbs to avoid the stranger. Stop thrashing and get pulled in. Just for a bit. You’ll see. In the dark there are shiny lessons. You’re getting stared at through the window. What is it? Who is it? Is it you?

With age comes less fear. Kids fear stuff because they don’t know better. As adults we do too but should know better. The people who embrace the stranger, twill not feel comforted wedged in dark cubicle corners. They’ll show the stranger and his beasts they’re not afraid and fight to understand what lurks in the dark. Friend or foe?

As an adult, every pivotal experience has helped me take a footfall across the jagged bottle, a discarded condom. My fingers have slid gently across formed blades of a forgotten teeter-totter. I walk that backyard in my sleep now. Slow. I’m outside, exposed in the night. I place my hand against poor masonry of an aged urban dwelling. I feel like I belong. The hum. The cold is warm.

I can leave this space anytime I like. With a lesson. I wave to them, the devils. They return the favor. Nod their heads.

Where’s your dark place with money? There’s a black spot on your finances. It prevents you from embracing and building wealth. Not the gatekeepers definition of wealth, either. Yours.

Understanding your perspective about wealth is the first step. The discovery process will push you “in-between the shades.” Like when I closed the white shade in my childhood bedroom.

The thin membrane I believed protected me from the black rot on the other side. My thin wall. It vibrated when touched. I have a definition of money that crosses me emotionally, spiritually. Physically. You’ll need to face what holds you back from generating wealth.

Touch the wall of your soul.

Listen to it resonate.

Know what’s on the other side.

Embrace it to survive. Know your enemies in the dark. And in the light.

They thrive in both.

Now, you’re a force.

More dangerous than you’ve ever been.

In this world.

The world before.

You are more than one.

You are a herd.

You are heard.

the herd

How a Daughter Goes From Killer to Savior at 30,000 Feet.

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“I hate God!”

ten year screamng

I was less than an inch from my mother’s face. I could feel her breath. I spit in her eye by mistake. She was kneeling. Stare down at urban sunrise #1,201. This one? This one crossed boundaries.

Fleshy, fatty boundaries.

fat boy

The tiny, crucifix attached to my underwear every morning to “keep me under God’s care,” was a four-pointed golden thorn in my side. A ritual I had grown to dread. Years of passive-aggressive defiance went ignored. I had no say in this tradition passed on from God-knows-who.

It was a worthless exercise. At least to me.

Mom never missed a day. It was her thing.

The power of an undergarment idol was fleeting. I was hesitant to bring up the topic.

Perhaps it couldn’t get good reception or a signal from the heavens buried under three layers of clothing. The thickest corduroy Korvette’s carried. Like the rabbit ears on our old black & white Panasonic television, I didn’t trust “the cross” to do the job.

Religious “underpinnings” failed to protect from constant bullying (about my husky-sized everything). A huge miss.

Although, I come to believe that “God’s care” may have spared me the fate of the yearbook’s chubby road-bump of the year when Mr. K the third-grade gym teacher, speeding in his Pontiac, just missed turning my gut into the consistency of overcooked pasta.

To this day I believe he was intentionally seeking to run me down. I was never able to prove it. But I KNOW. The best news I heard last year was that he died two years ago.

Perhaps all that pinning finally kicked in. Nah.

Who am I kidding?

From diaper to big boy briefs, this small crucifix was a huge part of my childhood. A religious layer under layers. The safety pin increased in size, too – powerful and sharp enough to pierce undershirts and thick waistbands of white Fruit Of The Looms. It was the size of a small pocket knife. Against my skin it felt heavy, like an anchor. It was my personal spear.

Until that morning in October. I remember Mom’s delicate touch was uncharacteristically heavy. Her technique was sloppy. Like her eyes were closed. She had been fighting with dad all night. Non-stop since he staggered in from Delmonico’s after midnight. Her finesse now a fumbled mess of tangled fingers. I didn’t trust her to pin me with the usual grace. I kept looking down. Sweating. I tightened against what I believed was coming.

The pin penetrated like a hot blade. Deep through fat. Blood rolled down in a series of thick, bulbous drops and pooled at my feet now sweating and sticking to a heavily varnished wood floor.

All my exaggerated fears about this moment had come true.

What’s up Jesus? A nail in a cross. Now a pin in the abdomen? What gives?

Frustration and pain compelled me to unleash frustration in mom’s face. I was possessed. Perhaps she observed my father’s anger in me as I bellowed, cried at the top of my lungs.

“I hate God! No, I hate you, too!”

I knew I was dead. Disrespecting your mother in an Italian family doesn’t happen without dire consequences. It’s a no-win for a child. The repercussions are as close to fatal as you can get within the law. Not even police got in the middle of an Italian mother and her kid in the heat of a scolding.

The next move startled me. Her strike was a lightening bolt. Then a loud click between my ears. I felt warmth release from my nose and liquid down my throat. Since mom was lean, mostly bone, it was like getting slammed by a human sledgehammer.

The stab was nothing compared to the slap. The blood released immediately as my bleached-white crew neck t-shirt saturated red. To black.

I was petrified then.

And I am now.

Another female seeks blood. Terrific.

This time it’s my 17 year-old, 85 pound daughter.

Don’t let her petite frame fool you.

She’s a killer.

Hell.

All of us die a little each day as our children grow. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

killer daughter

I study her profile. Separated by an aisle on a flight from New York.

The salt of blood overwhelms my nose. I can taste it. I’m pinned to the aluminum skin of the aircraft.

I’m claustrophobic. I’m now the insane guy you read about who opens an EXIT door miles above the earth and gets sucked into the afterlife.

I’m sweating. Underneath my skin is ice.

It’s panic. Out of nowhere. My right hand is firm around one of the plastic handles on the door. The word EXIT is taunting, telling me that things will be better if I just listen.

One pull and I’m free.

Crazy thoughts bounce inside my head. They are loud enough to drown out the sound of engines.

I ring for the attendant. I need a Bloody Mary.

All I think about is how small I am. Insignificant. As a parent I hold little if any control over her. Or me.

I’m driving blind. I’m scared.  So is she. The thought escalates scare to hardcore terror. What roads will she travel? Alone. Together with another. With whom? I encourage her to consider a lesbian lifestyle. I tell her men don’t know how to wipe their asses good enough. Anything that gets her to switch teams. It’s not working. Yet. I give her advice that I know she can’t use. I’m not stupid enough to have a handle on most of what effects her. She’s her own person now. What did I miss? I know I missed something. What’s her greatest fear? I’m afraid to ask. Because I think it’s mine, too.

I’m headed for the handle on the EXIT door again. My grip is firm enough to white my knuckles.

I see my mother at 16. I study her delicate features. The cabin goes sepia. In her face and what’s beneath. In dark eyes. Pools of challenges thrive and collide. Nothing clear. Replete with angst.

From aisle seat to aisle seat I stare across and realize my mother has returned. The same edge separated by generations and together on this plane. Teetering between hope and hopelessness. A cutting blade. Back and forth inside me. The bleed I never wanted to experience again. A woman who shouldn’t have had children is alive again. Cast thee from my daughter, woman!

At times I’m hesitant to love her. It’s uncomfortable to be around her sometimes. I never closed the circle with the doppelganger. She’s a flesh mirror to the past. I see right through her and it’s my childhood, not hers. She clarifies and muddies everything.

I’m smashed in the nose thinking about the day in 2000 when my mother died on the other end of the phone while I was at work. I tried to give her peace, I did really. From my cubicle during a stock market crash. I cared more about what Intel stock was doing than stopping to comprehend that my mother would be dead before Ma Bell (she was a thing then), disconnected us.

I told her that grandpa was waiting. I heard her say she was sorry and then a man’s voice boomed in the receiver – “She’s gone.” I said nothing. Hung up. Went back to warm calling sales leads. Watching Intel. I didn’t leave work early. Didn’t think about it.

Until I finished the fake, expensive cocktail.

My daughter is frail. I see it. I accept and accommodate. Well, I accommodate. She’s delicate as a fine china plate with a crack in the middle. Her constitution sometimes strong, other times as light as tissue. I’m responsible. Well, my DNA is. It’s faulty. It carries the insanity gene. I was always scared of this. Now the ailments that took down a parent arise. The depression, especially. Today at least there’s medication. In the 70’s, psycho-doctors believed hooking your brain to electrodes and sending electricity through the head was a viable remedy.

I’m a marginal father at best. I’m not certain I’m wired for this parenting thing. I observe the actions of who I consider excellent dads and try to mirror them. I fail miserably. I hold back. Oh,on the surface I’m engaged but underneath I’m so nervous I can’t remain in the present long enough to enjoy the father/daughter moments.

I’m constantly slipping back 40 or so years to the time when I loved a woman so much yet she betrayed me by skipping out when I was a teen.

Maybe I’m not ready or mature enough to heal.

Until that return trip. Perhaps it was a lack of oxygen.

I realized that life-shifting changes do not need to arise from adversity. Sure, hardship ignites awareness. It happened for me in dramatic fashion on several occasions. However, I’ve learned that big decisions to alter course can be subtle. Uneventful. There’s a click in the head (I think) and a decision is made to change and never look back. And you don’t.

So I decide. Just like that.

She’s a savior. Not a killer.

Because that’s how easy it is.

To decide.

Random Thoughts:

I begin with gratefulness. My daughter is a connection to my past. I have been given another chance to heal by understanding through her, what my mother must have gone through at a time when depression and anxiety were ignored or denied. I know now mom must have suffered in silence. Little Italian girls were supposed to be perfect. No matter what. The impossible devil of perfection drilled into them daily. Now I get it. Finally.

All I do is try to be a better father every moment. In turn, my actions allow me to empathize and forgive a parent who battled but succumbed to the flames of inner demons.

I watched her burn. Did nothing to stop it.

I take that back.

I was ten years old. My mind was on Mad Magazine and masturbation. Not a 31 year old female with ignored mental illness in the midst of a seminal breakdown. I tried my best to understand and interpret adult situations.

I delivered cheerleader speeches. I’d stand on her bed pontificating like a midget politician  – “Mom, it’s you and me against the world – We can do it! We can get through this!”

Lots of tears. They did nothing. The drugs, the men, the alcohol, the fears, the electroshock treatments, drowned out my constant pleading for a short semblance of normalcy. Topless and drunk in the courtyard of our Brooklyn apartment building on a school morning was enough to seal my fate as the freak of the neighborhood. And still I tried.

Now I know there was nothing she could do.

woman burning

Through my daughter I forgive my mother for what I lost. A childhood.  I came to understand how the illnesses, the fears were too much to fight. I wish I had the opportunity to tell her that internal demons are scarier than hell. I wish I could say I understand why she had pinned that stupid cross to me every day without fail.

“Please God, don’t let him inherit my weaknesses. Protect him.”

female depression

It hit me. Sitting in the exit row. Finally.

Now I know. The ritual worked.

Big changes can happen without fanfare. Just decide. Don’t make it a big deal. Stay casual. Calm. Today I’ll save more. I’ll say no to lending money to others. I’ll find another job that pays more for what I’m worth. I’ll get up and go to the gym. The less you think about it and do it, the more successful you’ll be.

Like me.

When I decided. Released my grip on the exit.

And re-entered.

Accepted the truth.

I look down and read:

“We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other.”

Self Reliance – Essays First Series 1895 Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I have that cross. It’s a tarnished symbol after so many years.

Its power is gone.

Or is it?

As the plane landed, I couldn’t decide for sure.

I’m certain I never will.

And I’m at peace with that.

Stones to Gravel to Dust: 10 Ways To Grind Your Way To A Better Life.

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Amazing.

When you consider barriers in your mind and heart for the purpose of protection from the illusory risk of being hurt or disappointed, you eventually arrive at a crossroad. When regret over the moments you forgot to live intersect with the art you failed to create, the souls you missed to touch.

Something inside slams the life out of you. Your face is smashed against the stones.

heart wall

In time, walls absorb warmth and dehydrates the health of human vibrancy and a passion for discovery, the willingness to learn. It sucks the all color out of your elevation, dulls the tastes in the mouth; the art you once created withers into gray muck.

And.

Apathy crowds out empathy with each new brick.

The process occurs in great stealth, like absorbed vapor; slowly the walls drain life’s air from who you were before the shit bag of who you are (but it’s not who you really are.)

Walls destroy iterations of all that’s noble in you. The “you” back to childhood – when you were a sponge and innocence opened doors to enrichment (and a few worthy bruises).

photo

You’re.

Eyes wide closed. Blind in the dark. Blinder in the bright. Full steam forward, head down, guarded.

Numb.

Dumb.

Void of passion.

.blindfold cliff

Oh, the hours, the years, the efforts to create what you believe keeps you safe.

Until events outside your control (and those subconscious within).

Rock the foundation.

And reveals the wall for what it is.

Enemy.

evil shadow wall

The first crack in the wall rocked me good. I was sad to realize – I was living a sham. Lifeless corporate job where my sense of well-being was uprooted by assholes in ivory towers almost on a daily basis, an unhealthy infatuation with people I wouldn’t give a second glance at today, and too much alcohol to dull the bullshit, made it palatable.

I was running from pain. At least I thought.

Part of the agony came from the growing realization that I was needing to break free, get my life back, to survive and thrive for whatever years were left.

I helped myself as much as possible with mental stamina I absorbed from the energy of others; people no longer in my life were efficient wall destroyers, too. I’m thankful they were there to take pick axes to it.

However, as I live in peace, I’m grateful every day they’re gone. Ground to dust and cast to the winds of the past.

They no longer effect me.

All the precious energy wasted building and reinforcing structures that had one mission – to live and destroy the builder.

I’m still not sure about the genesis of the angst. Why or when do people decide to chip away at their wall beasts? The chisels, the motivations are different for everybody.

A shock perhaps (for me it was).

A morbid curiosity of what life would be like outside high walls.

The right teachers come along, awaken you, assist with the deconstruction?

Yes.

How much of yourself does it take to turn massive fortresses to stone and then grind them to dust?

How many times must you crush who you were to form a greater self that awakens in the present?

How much of yourself will you lose in the process?

Are you up for the job?

stooge pile

Every chip is a strand of DNA, attached to a part of who you were. And the rubble keeps piling up. Unsettling grit underfoot. The foundation is no longer smooth; the road is covered in rough-busted remnants.

You are troubled by the feel of gravel underneath.

And ahead.

An unsteady path wobbles your resolve.

But you must not stop.

Because to look back is to choke on the dust of vulnerability. Of failure.

It’s a fucking wonder there’s energy left for anything else you know – like working, or checking your e-mail.

As you.

Cut off the oxygen, sever rotted death lines, birth new life threads, and ultimately – a healthier way of being emerges.

A cleaner intake. An enlightened outtake.

Dying along the way is the ticket to a stimulating ride. Sucks.

But that’s the way it is.

Unfortunately, not many are up for the toll it takes on the body, or the weight of the job on the mind. Too immature or self-centered – they’re missing the emotional quota to get smashed by their own stones, pained by the gravel they don’t have enough guts to stumble over, too.

They’re too full of hubris, cowardice to breathe in the dust and puke it up.

breathing

Also, I admit – it’s difficult.

I was thinking:

Where does it say that everybody you encounter needs to tackle this fucking monster wall to get to the deep of you? You crush anyone who goes near it yet you seek someone to crack the code, find the weak spot? Confusing and exhausting.

What forms this barrier to entry?

How high does it go?

Who created this rule?

My grandmother, when something was beyond her comprehension (or outside her little Brooklyn neighborhood), would say to me:

“It’s sky-less.”

What seals this wall beast?

What makes up the mortar?

bloody wall

Oh, I don’t know. It’s a different blend for everyone. I think it’s rejection, disappointment, misguided conclusion, overthinking. Projection. Abandonment. Fetishes of sorts.

Blast-furnace in another quarter of trash from the past you thought was long dead, and watch how you lose control over the entire project.

And you’re gonna need a bigger bulldozer.

To smash your creation. Eye-opening, earth-shattering heavy lifting to get deep underneath this structure, uproot and topple it.

When the dust settles (and for me it took roughly two years), you’ll be thankful for the project. As the wall comes down, second chances emerge.

Relish each tragedy, every revelation; appreciate the loves won and lost. Your choice and challenge is to either forge the masonry or knock out a stone, look through the hole and observe the beauty beyond the barrier.

Consider these ten ways to grind your way to a better life.

Random Thoughts:

1). Tear down walls, erect sails. Create a structure that’s light and captures the air of your passions and creativity. Sure, even an ill wind may throw you off course a bit, however, unlike a wall, a sail will not allow you to stagnate. It won’t close you in. A great challenge is to navigate your course and learn when to expand or contract your sails.

2). Replace heavy bricks. Replace impenetrable bricks of sorrow and regret with a willingness to be open and pliable. Anything that will allow you to see farther than you have before and feed your resiliency is worth the possible risk of hurt. Living within the boundaries of the past to guide present actions will suffocate your rebuilt childlike quality of promise.

3).Take out assholes. Then work diligently to discover and value teachers who will fill mind holes. As walls are razed, it provides openings, even through the dust, for mentors to enter space once occupied by fear and denial. Once your teachers begin to invade, dangerous structures become less menacing. They weaken and crumble at a faster pace than you can accomplish alone.

4). Take risks of the heart and say “fuck it” often. Now that walls are falling, your heart is out there. No protection. Exposing a vulnerable self to others is throwing yourself in front of an emotional bullet; a pure act of love. Consider the act a peace offering to those in your world and ones you seek in your space. It’s not going to feel warm and fuzzy at first.

To evolve in an age of soullessness will never feel right, initially. What ostensibly makes you at ease will always take great courage.

If you make an error in judgment (and you will), consider how resilient your heart truly is. I have learned that the heart is a bottomless well of love and commitment.

5). The words you use mean everything. At one time, I would invite words that formed at the foot of the wall and bled into the foundation. Defeatist sentences that only served the wall and never served me. I’ve noticed the word “why” weakens my spirit. It promotes a victim behavior. “How” is empowering. Ask yourself better questions with positive words and see how your thoughts take you down roads no longer confined by false boundaries.

6). Take a wrecking ball to conventional thoughts about money. Saving all your money in company retirement plans instead of brokerage accounts limits tax flexibility when you need the money the most. It’s financial industry dogma. Why must you purchase a house? How is it the American Dream? Is it truly an investment or merely a place to live?

7). Create and maintain accountability statements. I will be credit-card debt free by January 2015. I will learn a (specific skill) by December 2014. My internal walls are slated too fall today. Right now. Be accountable to the moment you’re in. What it means. How you got here.

8). Find a force. What can you do to turbocharge a positive process? I’ve used anger, fear, passion, revenge, love, faith, hope, hopelessness, laughter, teachers, students, clients, wonderful friends in the media and those creating art for award-winning television fiction/drama. Suck whatever energies you can to propel you forward until you’re a self-sustaining accomplishment machine. I’ve learned that good people are willing to help. To ask for help is a wonderful force. It’s strength, not t weakness to seek guidance. Provide as much gratitude in return.

9). Build protection. Wait a minute. You just advised me to break down walls. OK. One exception: Build layers around your passions. Do it so others can’t discourage you. Protect your resolve with all you’ve got. I’ve observed how many people and organizations bust out the big artillery to focus solely on the destruction of your dreams. They thrive and multiply on failure. I have learned to tune the destroyers out so well, I laugh at their silliness. So will you. I can’t wait to see the smile on your face.

10). Relish what’s in store for you. Can you imagine what’s ahead without debilitating speed bumps and barriers to stop you? The influential people you will touch, and who will touch you. The elevation of mind and spirit. The long-dead exhilaration that comes from resurrecting your true self. The stronger bonds of love and friendship. Like you have never imagined.

A castaway of dead souls.

More “fuck you” in blank faces.

You’re taking “auto” out of “pilot” now.

Fully engaged in the present.

Take the wheel now, squeeze hard.

Feel white-knuckle excitement.

Plow pedal-down fast through what’s held you back. Beat you down.

Watch the dust dance as you create a path of your own.

Observe how the losers choke on it.

And laugh, laugh, laugh.

Dedicated to Amy Bishop.

Four Ways To Overcome Financial Inertia.

Featured

Five years after the financial crisis and those who cross my path tell me it feels like the recession never ended. They are stressed over personal finance, investing and debt management.

I get it.

dear ki

The concerns are valid. The stock market is up close to 200% since March 2009 so who wants to chase it; housing is sloppy but recovering. In several pockets of the country, real estate is expensive and prices are out of reach for many individual investors. Wage growth is dead (you receive a raise, lately?), we are spending more time in our death cubicles and missing soccer games. The masses burned out three years ago and saunter around today like the living dead hoping they can make it home to collapse in front of the television.

Sort of blows.

burn out

However, there are ways to take smart steps and overcome fear and procrastination:

To feel alive and in control again (remember that?)

Random Thoughts:

1). Go beneath the fears. Sure, I bet you can banter on about what concerns you. Until you use pen and paper to list what’s heavy on your mind, you’ll never completely weigh the implications of doing nothing. You may be surprised to discover that what really frightens you is merely a misunderstanding.

For example, I have a friend who was hesitant to save for retirement but his true dilemma was frustration over the limited choices in his current employer’s retirement plan; he failed to understand other retirement account choices were available outside his job.

Documenting fear will narrow down to issues you may explore with professionals or confidantes. An action plan outlining milestones will provide a sense of accomplishment and embolden you to accelerate positive behaviors.

2). Push ahead mentally 20 years to feel the pain enough to make one move. Who says you need to walk huge steps at once? Take small steps and move already. A way to create a urgency is to imagine what your life will be like two decades into the future if you remain in finance neutral.

What will your life be like 20 years from now if you don’t begin saving for retirement? Forget all the financial industry bull that makes you feel like if you don’t start socking away money from the age of 25, you’re permanently doomed to a life of poverty. It’s like me saying – “Hey, you’re 40. Too late to improve your health through diet and exercise, so just forget it. “

fat guy eating

I’ve worked with many accumulators who have hit their stride late, made changes to reduce debts and increase savings at a time when they believed – “why bother?” Along with an investing strategy they have caught up. They’re in a better place, financially.

So you’re late getting off your ass: Big deal. Just start.

3). Do some research. Knowledge is power. As you learn, fear will fade as you engage. A lack of knowledge will stir up uncertainty and freeze you in place. Sort of like what happened to us immediately after the Great Recession. Who the heck thought we could suffer another devastating economic collapse?

Don’t succumb. Dig in, a piece at a time until you feel less uneasy about the topic. Nobody expects you to be an expert; don’t be too hard on yourself. Gather opinions from professionals. Know the rewards AND risks.

Be wary of too much knowledge. Yes, you read that right. In other words, those who immerse in a subject begin to feel invincible. It’s at that point, dumb mistakes are made. You must remain humble in your quest to avoid overconfidence bias. Pompous asses usually don’t win. Don’t be a pompous ass. It takes too much energy for nothing. And nobody will want to help you reach your goals.

pompous

4). A little fear is healthy.  When it comes to money I find fear to be a motivator if used in controlled doses. Slight discomfort is healthy and will push you ahead. It’s through time and experience that fear will be perceived as friend. You should never get too comfortable when it comes to handling your finances. Discomfort breeds curiosity. Curiosity leads to awareness, especially of risk.

Eventually, inertia will be a memory; it will no longer prevent you from making improvements, seeking opinions and basking in accomplishment.

Household financial stagnation is still with us.

Doing nothing is detrimental to your long-term accumulation of wealth.

It’s time to get off the pot.

And unlock the potential.

Who knows?

You may even make new friends, get dates.

And reduce inertia, gain energy, in several areas of your life.

And get your head out of the urinal.

toilet guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Organs Go Wrong – 5 Ways to Get Them Right Again.

I stare at red life fluid in the toilet these days. Not a comforting condition.

The act of urination is a vice grip on what remains of a right kidney.

As I contemplate how I got here – One day you’re healthy, the next you’re compromised,  I begin to understand how the deepest fears, sorrows, insecurities can manifest themselves until a part inside your body breaks. An organ goes wrong.

I hold a new respect for the power of the mind to target internals for disposal.

For me  the mental triggers were (are) a relentless former employer attempting to break me financially, a broken friendship, and a breaking new business venture all hitting at once.

Lots of breaking. Broken.

An e-mail arrived.

In the early morning. The day of my surgery.

The Metaphysical Functionality of the Kidneys.

How timely.

Several eye-openers for me. Was it a coincidence that I received this e-mail?

Not a big believer in coincidence.

As I read through, I knew the information was right. I received this e-mail in the morning of my surgery for a reason. I checked my spam folder (which I rarely do) because it was supposed to happen.

Indeed – there are no coincidences.

  • The Kidneys are the fundamental cornerstones for the energies of the Yang and Yin. They are the organs that allow us to anchor the energies of  Xing (Zhi) or Jing, the congenital essence  inherited  from our parents, which determine our constitution, our strength and vitality, and are responsible for our growth and development, and how we process aging. Well this says it all – the congenital essence from my parents can occasionally undermine my constitution, strength and vitality. The freak right kidney represents the congenital worst of mom and dad.
  • Zhi is the spiritual energy of the Kidneys, is the hereditary memory or imprint of your past life and the ancestral energy of human beings, which records who we are and where we come from. It is the reservoir of life energy. The spiritual name of the Kidneys, Yuying , literally meaning “rear a baby”, emphasizes that the kidney organ system is related to the origin of our life. Through this trying period, I probably went to the kidney reservoir for life energy one too many times until the right one committed organ suicide.
  • The weakness of this organ can be manifested by individuals that are controlled by their fears, which can damage their motivation and their will; slowing their thought process, and generating the tendency of getting stuck in various life situational challenges. Holy shit, was I, am I stuck  in challenges and facing fears at this time. For a period of time, roughly three weeks, I barely ate and was severely dehydrated. I was in shock. I dropped 15 pounds.
  • It is believed that just one of the Kidneys do the heavy work for the purification of the body, while the other one  concentrates its functionality on  keeping the lightness of the spiritual life and the sustenance of the other bodies. There you go, I was in deep darkness and discarded my spiritual life force. 
  • Metaphysically the Kidneys can crystallize the criticism disappointed and failures. They are intimately related to fear, low self-esteem, insecurities, and apathy for the present moment, isolation and indifference. I experienced all of this, all at once and hard. It was concentrated on my right kidney like a mental laser which destroyed its function. 

Random Thoughts:

1). Understand how fear and insecurities can cause real damage. Some of my worst fears have not been realized even though I tormented myself with outcomes which had not occurred. They weren’t real. My mind, ego created false panic. It sparked a weak link in my body to snap. When in a fearful moment, it’s important to become incredibly aware of what’s happening in the present. Step away. Most important is to understand the panic you create is not happening in the now. It’s a blueprint of a false future.

2). Stop the bleeding. You may have caused irreparable harm. Cauterize it. Make sure the condition doesn’t get worse. Following a healthier diet, taking a  physical workout to the next level can help you maintain so the situation you’re in doesn’t worsen. Your condition may improve.

3). Disarm the anger. It was tough but I learned to completely release the anger created by the busted friendship. I still hold anger against the former employer but have channeled  it to create a tactic designed to turn the tables on their insidious motives. If you must be angry, think clear and direct the heat toward intelligent tactics that will burn its source.

4). Good money habits create less stress. If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck or beyond your means, there’s no doubt you’ll suffer. Working toward financial security creates feelings of well being thus reducing stress.

5). Watch your words. Your words will inspire thoughts. Those thoughts may result in an organ uprising. For a time, I felt that life wasn’t worth living and was hoping for a terminal situation to take me away. Looking back,  I realize how stupid and silly I was. Use positive words. Use words that display control – I seek to, I command myself, it’s in my control to change what I dislike.

As grandma told me repeatedly – “Don’t talk yourself stupid.”

grandma scolding

Positive self talk – I’m fortunate enough to have one working kidney. I will respect its function.

I knew there would be damage because I created it.

I just didn’t know when or where.

In an early morning, before surgery, I decided to check my spam folder. Out of nowhere.

No reason.

It turned out to be a blessing.

One day I’ll look down.

The water will be free of blood.

And I’ll know I’ve come a long way.

And I’ll be strong enough to work farther down the road.

In the clear.

How to get over, over. A Survival Guide for Riding Life Rails.

“If you keep crying, they’re going to mug us. Or worse!”

F train

It was my good friend Michael. And Me. A duo. Buds. – in the grip of a humid, restless haze. Saturday morning at 11. August, 1974. Off to a Coney Island adventure. My idea.

Bad idea.

 On an elevated subway. The “F” line. Nothing smelled Brooklyn summer like stale urine, heat and metal grinding as the train made its regular stop at the Avenue U station.

“This is going to be so great,” Michael said as we sat.

Then I noticed them. After a few seconds. It was too late.

The travelers.

Two cars down. Then one.  Even though the yellowed, scratched Plexiglass of the exit doors between cars kept bouncing, turning, as we headed closer to the destination, I could see them. Trying to get over. Over other riders. Fear and intimidation were the first weapons of choice. And if they weren’t getting anywhere, most likely a weapon was waiting – ready to make an appearance. Usually a knife. Stiletto blade. Sharp. Sharpest.

I glanced over at boy wonder. Staring out the window. He could barely stay in his seat. Turning his head toward me, talking rapidly about all the cool things we would do in urban America’s (in)famous amusement park. Michael was younger. Two years. Unaware of the travelers. I chose not to alarm him – It was too late anyway. The psycho train had left the station. Next stop was an eternity away. Best now to figure a way to get over, over the travelers. 

Two of them. On my fear radar. I felt panic rise and settle in my throat. I couldn’t swallow. No matter how many times the travelers find you there’s fear and panic. There’s a throat collapse.

Frequent riders had a sixth sense about this stuff. They always knew when travelers were closing in. After a few trips, you just felt when their cold shadows were near. They rode the rails at all hours. Young, angry, looking for prey. Money mostly. But if you set them off and god knows what set them off, they would hurt you. Urban train ghouls.

Michael kept squawking  One long excite-ence. Strings of syllables peppered with exciting thoughts – rides, games, food,  more rides, games. food! It all comforted me. Nobreathinbetweenwords. His energy was contagious. This morning I needed to catch it. His positive vibe was my strength.

“Where you kids headed?”

We looked up. Travelers above us. Facing us. Towering over, over our minds, our thoughts. Overwhelming. They were kids too – but old. Old, evil souls. Having the upper hand must age travelers. I kept a mental note.

Michael knew quick. I could see it in his face. Fast learner. His excitement stopped. It was there and gone. In a second. From chatty to quiet. Split-speed breathless. I thought I could hear his heartbeat. Or was it mine?

“We’re headed to Coney Island.” I threw in: “Our parents are meeting us at the station.”

I could see the parents commentary threw them off a bit. They weren’t expecting that. Time to throw another blow before they could continue their terror-sales pitch. You see, years ago, travelers would warm you up to a mugging. Feel you out a bit. You can detect them – mentally processing a next move. Go in for the take or travel on. To others. Was it worth it this time? Could I hold a poker face? Who would win the game in the tunnel shadows? I looked down casually. I could see the switchblade. Gleaming white, oyster-like handle. I slowly, casually, moved my eyes higher to meet theirs. The travelers.

“Yea, my father is a cop. He works Coney Island. Tough dude, too.”

I could see progress. It was working. I was calm, collected. Solid delivery. It was all in the delivery. The belief. The get over, over was in the belief. Then delivery.

But

Michael.

He can’t get over, over.

Shaking, sobbing. Slobbering. Strengthening the travelers. Crawly traveler fingers working toward the knife.

“So your daddy is a cop, huh,” Traveler #1 snickered.

I maintained my composure. Surprisingly calm. Living in the moment.

“Yes, a good one. For years. He’ll be waiting for us at the station.”

In my mind, “dad” became, he WAS: Roy Scheider in “The Seven-Ups.”

Bad ass.

seven ups

Then it happened…

An over, over.

Random Thoughts:

1). Decide. Now. Right Now. Who Get’s Over, Over: – Life will overwhelm you. Ride over you. It’s a bitch traveler. We are travelers. You’re a traveler. Looking to get over. But who gets over, over? Who wins? You must. Size up your overs. They are in your life now. They’re there every day. A mindless boss is an over, a partner who saps your strength, a person who says they care, then they don’t, the guy who cuts you off in the parking lot. All travelers. Your mind is the ultimate traveler. Ready to knife you unless you can get over, over. Until you can convince it not to. True belief. Cool delivery. Think ahead. Work backwards.

Analyze a situation from the conclusion you seek and work backwards to create steps to get over, over. Oh, you’re in for a mugging. You can’t avoid it. It’s ok to be Michael. To wobble. To sob. Until it’s time. To turn it over. In your mind build the over, over muscle. Keep fighting. You will die without the over, over. Or face a life worse than death. Always afraid of the travelers.

2). Someone is going to get hurt in the over, over. Blood will spill. Your blood will run because you ride both tracks. To and from your destination the travelers await. You must board the train knowing the over, over is a healer. You’ll live to ride again. More aware of travelers than ever before. Cold shadows – warm now. You’re behind the over. You’re strong enough to get over, over. What’s in store for you on your next trip? Your next business venture? Failure is an over. How do you get over, over to succeed? How will you climb the carcasses, ghosts of past travelers?

3). Get over, over your financial derail. A mistake you can’t get over. Because you make the same mistake consistently. You sit on losing investments thinking they’ll “come back.” You can’t get over, over. Intel was at 90 bucks a share in 1999 and it’ll over, over at 100 again. Your cost basis is a traveler. Anchoring in on the price you paid for an investment is a mugger. It robs you of money. Instead of experiencing the cut, the blood, you sit and wait. Forever. When the money could have been over, over in a winning investment.

Michael was crying. Still.

“And what about you fat ass? Is your dad a cop, too?” Traveler #2 laughed. Directed his question. In Michael’s face.

“No,” Michael said. My dad is in the army. And he taught me something.”

Suddenly, Michael was standing. He grabbed the knife handle sticking out of Traveler #1 pants. Out of nowhere. Suddenly. He had the blade exposed in a second. Moving it rapidly, slashing at the cold shadows.

Red. Traveler #1 – Cut. Shocked. An over, over.

More red. Traveler #2 cut. Slashed on the forearm. More over, over.

Even. More. Red. In the over, over I was cut. Below the right ear. Blood will indeed spill in the over, over.

The wounded travelers fled. Gone. Michael was shaking. He dropped the weapon. I didn’t know. His dad taught him how to fight. How to disarm. The crying was a tactic for Michael. He was working backwards, acting vulnerable. Until the over, over.

“Did I do good? Your talking gave me time to think.”

I hugged him until we reached our destination. The candy. The rides. The happiness in the over, over.

I remember.

I know.

We create fear.

In others.

In ourselves.

You can feel it coming.

We are the travelers.

You are the over.

Work backwards.

Disarm the travelers.

Surprise them.

Feel fear move on.

Watch it flee.

Embrace it on the next trip.

You’re now over the over.

There’s peace.

And a great ride ahead.

Gold Is a Rock – James Altucher. And Continues to Be – Rich Rosso

I had lunch with a smartie last year.

A smart, giving, beautiful, industrious young woman with the entire world at her feet had something important on her mind. I attempt to solve the world’s problems in Truluck’s main dining room. Her world’s problems were my problems. I knew she’d pass on what I tell her to others.

“I’m thinking of selling my regular investments and putting all the money into gold.”

“Why?”

Now, I’ve heard this commentary so many times already it’s almost like my earwax is made of a precious metal. I don’t even know why I sought an answer. I could have guessed what she was going to say and I would have been right. I respect this young lady so much so I was prone to listening. My curiosity got the best of me. The answer was what I usually hear.

Because I’m afraid,” she said.

“What are you afraid of?”

Again, I would have been shocked to hear anything new but I always keep an open mind.
Taking a mental bullet to gain knowledge should be part of your game plan. It’s how I roll.

atom bomb Gold is at home here.

“Feast, famine, life, death, the dollar, the national debt, war, earthquake, Obama, congress,jobs, inflation, deflation, interest rates, certainty over uncertainty, death, recession, depression, global annihilation, the Olson Twins weight problems.”

Gold had become “mother investor’s little helper” there for a while. Like a decade.

Until. Said mother decided to detox.

Admittedly, gold and other metals have kicked the ass out of other avenues for money.
The greatest concern today is how to gain perspective as many are now fully enmeshed in the emotional whirlwind called “recency” bias. Gold has blossomed into a recency bias monster but now the monster is bleeding. And we’ll try to convince ourselves the bleeding is temporary, or is it? I’m not smart enough to know. I’ll take being lucky and unemotional at this stage.

It went from Godzilla to Mothra real quick. Or did it? Were there signs for a period that a faith in paper currency was beginning to re-emerge?

As investors we just can’t detect the changes until something dramatic happens. And as we know, everything is dramatic in stock, metals and bond markets now.

Jason Zweig in his book “Your Money and Your Brain,” writes:

“It is human tendency to estimate probabilities not on the basis of long-term experience
but rather on a handful of the latest outcomes.”

Recency bias dulls senses. It makes humans fuzzy and unaware. Even worse is how it
strokes the flames of overconfidence in the extrapolation of current events way into the
future.

It’s a hideous bitch of deception as it convinces your brain that a recent place will
always be tomorrow’s place. And the day after tomorrow’s place. I’m all for momentum, but one needs to understand when the direction of the wind changes.

The sun will come out tomorrow because it came out today.

Why again? (I ask why and why not, a lot). Don’t ask me why.

Storm clouds can overwhelm the horizon real quick. Have you noticed the weird shit going on with the weather lately?

The Earth is not as maternal as it used to be.

The Washington Monument was cracked due to a rare earthquake.The Washington Monument for God’s sake was CRACKED. This period too shall pass. (Or get worse.)

I have a job today. Tomorrow I will have the same job. This is plain silly to bank on in
today’s economy. Employers won’t even look at you if you’re not currently employed or
“recently” unemployed. After six months you might as well be invisible.

You’re that that valuable either. Companies (especially large, publicly-traded) will do whatever they must to preserve their precious margins and that includes quickly adding you to the unemployment or underemployment stats. This will eventually change too. Well, maybe not.

I’m thinking not. Part time is the new full time. Temporary is the new permanent. And gold is NOT the new medium of exchange.

Read on: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/business/part-time-work-becomes-full-time-wait-for-better-job.html?smid=pl-share

Gold always holds its value. Tis’ is true. Gold has never gone to ZERO in value. Tell me
how you feel though if you purchase it at $1,800 an ounce and it goes to $1,100. You indeed lost value. I know it’s not really a loss unless you sell it. It’s a paper loss. And this will never happen, right? Got it. Now wake up!

We’ve heard it all too many times. Still hearing it: Gold will continue to move higher.

Fine.

Even if this is possible based on the warranted lack of faith in global leaders, you must remain skeptical when various signs begin to literally throw themselves at you. No investment goes the way you expect it to indefinitely.

I don’t care if it’s stocks, bonds, metals, widgets, antique toys (in original packaging), nothing goes straight up forever. Nothing. And you know what I mean.

For example, back in the 1930’s we were convinced that radio stocks would never falter.

Radio was going to “change the world.”  And it did. And the stock market got bored with it. Been there done that. Ostensibly, what was hot goes cold.

That’s a fact. Remember tech stocks? How you feeling about Apple stock these days?

old_lady_phone

Yes, Aunt Bev, I know. Buy gold. How about my favorite meatballs did you make them? 

How do you sniff out a top in the shiny stuff (or anything else)?

Random Thoughts:

1). Know the signs from relatives. People stay sharp! Watch for Aunt Beverly calling and demanding you own gold because the world is indeed over or at the minimum, going to hell. People at bingo told her the bible predicts the end of days! Vengeful gods accept gold as a medium of exchange for souls. Didn’t you know? Ok, not that accurate an indicator. But count it as a warning light. Please?

2). You notice consistent bantering about gold in elevators, on escalators. Or on rude, loud cell phone discussions at the supermarket or the movies or in public restrooms. I give you  permission to eavesdrop on conversations. Listen carefully for bloviating. We all know privacy died a long time ago. Loud bragging about an investment is a bad, bad sign. Money loss is imminent.

Once you begin to overhear more about gold than the latest sexcapades on an episode
of Real Housewives of Whatever, demand Aunt Bev sell immediately! Trust me. She
can buy back if I’m wrong. Feel free to send me an e-mail calling me an asshole
(only if I’m wrong please). Have mercy. Something tells me she’ll still make your favorite
meal when you visit (have a friend take a bite first just to be sure.)

3). Metal detector sales are through the roof. It’s the latest, greatest craze! Now more popular than pretty girls selling their alleged used panties on eBay (not allowed anymore so don’t get any ideas). Top global retailers of such equipment are experiencing a revolutionary boom in volume. Minelab, a company out of Australia that sells high-end metal detectors (about $5,600 each, not a typo) moved $118 million worth in 2010. That’s more than twice the sales numbers achieved in 2009. In 2012, gross revenues for metal detection products was strong but beginning to tail off from the peak in 2010.

You’ve lost a spouse, significant other, or friend to metal detecting. If I’m out $5,600 not including shipping and handling you can bet I’m not getting naked with anyone anytime soon. I’m planning to be feverishly obsessed with uncovering precious jewelry you lost on the beach. Probably best you move on. I’m busy. This did happen to a female friend I know in 2011. She’s much happier now.

4). More people are wearing apparel professing their love of gold. I don’t care if it’s a hat, t-shirt, dress, doggie shirt, whatever. It’s a sure warning sign of a top. No need to explain further.

golden showers oops, wrong shirt. 

According to ElvisBlog.net, a comprehensive authority on all things Elvis, the King
wore a gold lamé suit for a performance in March 1957.

At the International Amphitheater in Chicago.

The suit was designed by famous clothing artist to the country stars, Nudie
Cohn. Yes, Nudie (go ahead and laugh, it’s fine).

In 1957, gold was $34.95 per troy ounce.

A decade later in 1967 (Elvis was making embarrassing movies singing to racing cars by then) gold was $34.95 per troy ounce.

Is it a coincidence that you made zilch in gold for ten years? Maybe. Maybe not.  Respect history because we do the same stupid things over and over again.

elvis and nudie Elvis and Nudie Cohn.

4). Gold-related kiosks begin popping up in interesting or unusual places. You probably noticed more of them in your nearby mall. Oh and watch out for the gold bar vending machines and gold ATMs. They already exist overseas. And you’ve seen and heard the commercials, so many advertisements to buy gold.

5). You’re beginning to believe the stories how gold always goes up in recessions and depressions. Dr. Robert Prechter, author, financial analyst and founder of Elliot Wave International dulls the shine from this story using historical data. Excerpts from his research that appear in his E-book “Robert Prechter on Gold & Silver” are below.

In 1970, investors lost interest in stocks and preferred owning gold instead. For a period of ten years.

The same sentiment occurred again in 2001. We’re never really that different are we?

In most recessions, gold has been flat or negative in return. The recessions in 1973 and
2001 were good for gold. Only two out of eleven recessions were beneficial for gold.
Ten-year U.S. Treasury notes beat gold during every recession since 1945. T-note provided a capital gain in ten of the eleven recessions and also paid interest. The average
total return in Treasury notes per recession is a full 10 percent, beating both stocks
and gold.

5). Forty year-old nerds who live at home with their parents start blogs about gold.They’re out there. I’ve read them. They are plentiful. Nothing against nerds or blogs, I love both but there are way too many nerds on the same side of the argument.It’s what’s called on Wall Street, “a crowded trade.” It’s like a boat with everyone fishing off the same side. By then the game is about to change.

I’ve been asked my opinion on at least 50 gold blogs in 2010 and 2011 and it went real quiet in 2012. I know for a fact that a majority of those I purveyed are written by unemployed loners who live in their parents’ basements. If they own CB radios I envy them. I envy them a lot.

6). Gold can be hoarded, confiscated (it’s happened already), can’t be valued as an investment (although some get real creative), and doesn’t pay a dividend. You can only make money if you sell it. If you truly have a sell discipline for metal or anything else you own including investments, you’re in the top .1% club as most investors are notoriously lousy at selling or trimming anything of value.

If gold can be hoarded that means you can’t access it. If it backs a paper currency and
it’s hoarded by the few, that means you will have less money to spend on what you
want and need. Governments can come break down your door (figuratively but don’t
test them) and take your gold away which means you should begin investigating an adequate burial place like under a tree. Watch “Shawshank Redemption,” for guidance.

Gold pays you nothing along the way. No income.

You can redeem for liquidity but human nature tells me you’ll wait for a top or at least what you perceive as a top and wind up selling in a panic as it heads lower.

Believe me. You will. We all do it. Money managers are especially guilty.

Gold can’t be valued to indicate whether it’s cheap or expensive. Valuation is based on
fear and uncertainty. Measuring based on those metrics is anybody’s guess.

As master mentor James Altucher said on a segment of CNBC’s “Fast Money,”

“Gold is a rock.” Genius.

If your paper currency, whatever it is, say U.S. dollars, gets stronger, gold and other metals will indeed drop like rocks and dent your net worth. Big dent.

gold

Notice how when dollar is strong UUP), gold is weak. Just keeping it real, here as I abhor charts.

7). You can’t use gold to buy toothpaste. Or anything else. I tried. I was tossed out of Walgreen’s. So those people telling you it’s a “currency” are wrong. I called to subscribe to a newsletter about gold and wanted to pay in gold. The operator and her “manager” told me they won’t accept gold to pay for the newsletter on gold.

8). It’s ok to hold some gold. Or other metals as part of a diversified portfolio. Two to five percent will work. And take your time. Examine GLD and IAU, the exchange-traded funds which actually hold gold bullion.

9). Expect “flash crashes.” In everything. Precipitous, explainable moves in asset prices higher or lower. Thank the Fed for what I call “freakish asset flows” as money strives to seek returns or rapidly avoid losses thus herding and creating big returns (or losses).

We like tangible things. Stuff we can touch and feel. I can intimately caress  my house until the cops get called and take me away for indecent exposure. It doesn’t mean my home is increasing in value. Or that it’s an investment.

A house is wood, concrete, dust (sometimes a rabid raccoon in the attic – true story) and gold is indeed, a rock.

If you remember it.

You’ll be better off.

And richer for it.