Unpacking The Effects Of End-Times Rhetoric On My Life

When I was a teenager I believed I would die by the time I was 30. I was convinced of it. I saw the moment in my mind’s eye, making every moment of my life seemingly more meaningful — carpe mother fucking diem! I was forced this summer to open up some of this baggage from my youth, as I worked to help my partner’s son with his own depression and addiction. While this baggage is still open I figured I’d go through some of it and figure out what should be thrown away, sent to “Goodwill”, or possibly items I might want to keep and learn from.

I came of age in the 1980’s, fed a steady diet of fear uncertainty and doubt from the Cold War era. It was the early 80’s and the Russians were coming to get us — WOLVERINES!!! The shit could come to end any day with nuclear bombs dropping on all the major US cities. I was fed a steady diet of fear from the US government, as well as the elders who surrounded me. I remember one of my mother’s early boyfriends giving me a book about nuclear holocaust which centered around the beautiful valley I lived in Southern Oregon, being one of the few places immune to the fallout, because our jet stream came from over the ocean — don’t move to the city young man!!!

This was reinforced as the black hawk helicopters landed in the fields of my friends homes, executing Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs. You could smell the fear as we got ready to go to the school bus, as my friends parents were being arrested under gun point, as his father yelled — I flew that fuck’n helicopter in nam you fucking PIG!! The smell stuck in my nose throughout the 1980s as me and my friends trained for warfare in the rivers and mountains, they weren’t war games — we were training for an inevitable future. I was on my way to be a Navy Seal — until my reality was diverted with some fine album cover LSD when I was 15. Which, looking back I realize is what saved my life and gave me the powers to manifest the reality I desired, and avoid death (and the end of the world) before I turned 30.

Having my life redirected from a formal military path, I settled into the guerrilla warfare in the world of marijuana cultivation during the 1980’s and 1990’s. My enemy became the US government, and my training allowed me to spend summers hauling water to remote grow operations and the fall days in remote trimming operations of my friend’s parents. By this time my mother had remarried and started a new family, and since we lived in a one room cabin, if I wanted to any space I had to build my own cabin up in the woods — which I did. This gave me the freedom I needed to continue my training, fed a steady diet of end-times at the hand of the US government, either from my drug dealing family and friends, or at home from my mom’s new husband who bought me my first gun(s), and possessing a bookshelf of end-times survival manuals to keep me well fed.

By my senior year in high school, I found myself kicked out of school, not due to failing grades, as I was in AP english, and AP History courses, in top mathematics and computing classes, maintaining a 3.6–3.8 GPA. I was kicked out because my principal liked to rub shoulders in the cafeteria, and he came up behind me and started rubbing my shoulders — I thought it was my friend, and I punched behind me and hit him in the face. He took me to the office, and used the excuse that I had too many absences (I had strep throat a lot as a kid), and he said he was sure my hippie doctor had fabricated them, and kicked me out of school. At this point in time it was exactly what I needed to kick my end-times belief into full gear allowing me to become a professional drug dealer.

Equipped with sufficient fear of the US government, and having been fed a steady diet of FUD about the world from my elders growing up, I became an invincible drug dealer. I will leave these details for another story, but from 1990 through 1995 I fearlessly sold any drugs (except meth) around the country. When you are equipped with a steady diet of end-times, and convinced either you will die, or the world will end by the time you are 30 — it makes for a pretty successful formula for dealing drugs. I made a lot of money, which I burnt through in real-time, until it all came to a screeching half on the freeway outside Effingham, Illinois in 1996.

As I stood on the freeway after a traffic stop, with 20+ police offers and their guns drawn at me — I had reached the moment I saw in my minds eye. It was the end time! My best friend was in the RV we had rented, with orders to come out with guns a blazin (we had a shotgun) if the pigs made it past me. I remember one of the one officer approaching me to talk to me, and I felt his sly pick-pocket had on my hip, and as I reached into my pocket I pulled out a 38 round, which I assume he planted on me as some sort of justification — I threw it back at him and called him a pig. He asked me if I believed in god, I said no — religion was not something I got out in the woods as a heathen, and I didn’t believe in his end-times bullshit (only now realizing I had been raised in a different, but overlapping religion — which now is indistinguishable from the Christian edition).

My head was clear. I was calm. i was not afraid of dying. My training was solid. Only….I could still see a life in front of me. I could see a beautiful woman whom I didn’t know talking to me, telling me that I could create any future I wanted (It was my daughter). I could! I could create any future I wanted. It was within my control to keep living. I could create any world I wanted! I had the power to change the world and see it any way that I wanted. As this emotion rushed through my veins I felt the blow of a nightstick on my legs, and the taste of the freeway on my lips, and my hands were being cuffed behind me.

Thankfully my friend didn’t come out guns a blazing, and I went to jail for a couple ounces of pot, a case of glass pipes, and the shotgun. Three felonies in the state of Illinois, which after a year on the run I came back to face. Luckily the officers who arrested me were “good ol boys” who were just “fishing along the freeway”, and each felony cost me about $7,500.00 cash, leaving me with no actual record. After a year on the run, and losing my best friend (not the one in RV), ironically to suicide by cop in Kansas, after he developed a nasty heroin habit I had introduced him to, I moved to Eugene, OR and began to get my shit together.

I was doing well, I had gotten clean, narrowly escaped death or life in prison (another story, as I had more drugs in RV, that police didn’t find), the end times rhetoric continued to follow me in my new life. Each time I was around my family I was still being fed a steady diet — this time it was centered around the year 2000. Stock up on food! I bought a case of SKS rifles, and a palette of ammunition — what have you bought? The shit is gonna hit the fan. At the same time, I’m being bombarded with job offers because I’m on lists of COBOL programmers from the 1980’s who have the skills to deal with the impending “date” issue. Thankfully in 1999 my then-wife became pregnant — establishing an immovable anchor for me to leverage as I continued to live.

September 7th, 2000, after it was clear that the world hadn’t ended (I think), I pulled this beautiful baby girl into the world, cut her cord, and slapped her on the back. This is why I wanted to live. This is why I wanted a world to live in. This is why I would work to make each day livable, and move towards a more functional, friendly, and loving world. It may not always be the reality of the world, but I would focus on this version of the future, not spread FUD about a world that might happen. I wanted to live. I didn’t want to dwell on financial collapse, war, death, and doom. I wanted to manifest a better world for the girl who had saved my life.

In 2001 through 2003 I decided to move back to my home-town and built a house on 10 acres given to us by my father in law. As the house was finished, my mom and her then husband decided to divorce in a spectacularly explosive fashion, and at the same time my father-in-law had an accident that left his brain swollen. After several early morning visits by him threatening end times, and saying he would burn down our house, we moved back to Eugene. My wife and our kids went to live with her mother, while I slept in my Volkswagen van and got a job, and began to pull things back together, with my mother-in-law loaning us the money (thank you) to eventually get into a house.

Shortly after we moved into this house, and began stabilizing ourselves my mother showed up with her new boyfriend to conduct a sort of intervention — you see I smoke marijuana and needed saving from myself. Ok? I had just escaped death, prison, heroin addiction, and gotten away from all the elders in my life losing their shit. Once back on my feet doing well, I was in need of saving?? WTF. This was the first time I had met this gentleman, I didn’t know him, but this would be just the first taste of a never ending wave of predictions of doom, financial collapse, continuing a long tradition of elders in my life trying to scare the shit out of me, when in reality they are woefully ill-equipped to deal with the world around them.

I’ve long since moved on from Oregon, and that marriage. I’ve dedicated my life to being out in the world and making change where I can — specifically focusing in the area of Internet technology, and how it is being used for good and bad. I know many people I grew up with see my traveling the globe and think I’m rich, and some sort of sellout. They haven’t seen me and my partner sleeping in airports, crappy hotels, eating conference food, and over-drafting our debit cards (as we don’t have credit cards) to get rooms and eat. We do this to make sure we are out in the world making change and getting to know people of diverse ethnicities, and backgrounds. We have dedicated our lives to making real change, not sitting back and spreading FUD about the collapse of the world — before anything will get better.

As the 2016 election played out I’m once again faced with the damage brought by people around me who perpetually believe in the end times. The world is always about to end. The financial system is always going to collapse. There are always people who are looking to hurt us, and make us suffer. Most of these people live in isolation and refuse to go out in the world and see the damage this perspective is doing to our children, and less privileged people around the world. We wonder why our children are turning to opiates to feel better. Our elders do not offer them any hope. Why should you live? The world is going to end right? I refuse to accept this, and I will take the life I’ve been given and work to make the world a better place for my daughter, and not let the “Illuminati” convince us that the world is a dark place. The world is beautiful if we choose to see it that way, and I am dedicated to making the world a more beautiful place despite the odds, and the belief of the naysayers around me.

At this point, there is no left or right to me in America. There is no Republican or Democrat. There are just those who are committed to making the world a better place, and those who are not, and let their fear control them each day — hang onto your guns!!