“I’m not ashamed to say that I won’t be voting for Rick Perry, but you don’t have to tune in to CNN every evening to know that there’s something wrong in this country when politicians can openly spew homophobic, unconstitutional rhetoric and still garner support. As citizens, let’s end Perry’s war on reason and tolerance, and fight against radical conservative attacks on our secular heritage. Separation of church and state made America strong, it can make her strong again.”—Charlie Needham
Think of Daphne, chased by dirt- crusted hands, calling out to the darkness of space, which saved her in a chrome transformation: her skin glittering to silver, and where the balls of her feet struck up dust, now fires and building exhaust. Think also of our hike on that craggy planet, how few words we spoke of each other’s tongue. Each word a ledge, an outcropping over rocky spires. I imagined us both spitted. But I knew, and the knowledge formed an armature for kindness, that you were like me — knew it from what I think were your eyes (hard to tell behind the fogged up helmet) and how you knelt toward the soil to point out the gnawed stumps of trees: something’s teeth, you said, had eaten them toward an hourglass; it had backed off without shouting timber. Under my space mitts, my hands itched to feel yours. Our laughter created brief islands of coolness as if the foliage had thickened or one of the suns had ducked behind a cloud. Then we arrived back at our ships, which hadn’t incorporated, mechanical fins not reaching out, wires not braiding. The shielding did not open like robes, like two creatures enfolding each other in their raincoats. Think, brother traveler, as you speed away from me, of Daphne — thrusting upward through the closing circle of the god’s arms, the smoke trail showing her ascent and the fires that must have seemed bright even against blue sky and sunlight. Think of her alone on an endless path through the galaxy, of her traveling and traveling and traveling.
My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.
I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”
As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA’s First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was “abandoned” by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.
This is explains perfectly why shit is so fucked. If you don’t care about hundreds of peaceful protesters getting beaten, getting nerve damage caused by being zip tied for 7 hours straight, and then held for 2 days without bail, then just skip down to the part about Charles Prince.
“When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose”
Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone
On October 11th, 2011, at 11:06 pm EST, I had an anxiety attack. Then, a few minutes later, I had an epiphany.
Several days later I quit the job I’d spent the previous 2 years of my life pursuing; a full-time comedy writing gig with full health benefits during the least stable economy since the Great Depression. I have yet to regret that decision. I doubt I ever will. It saved my career and, as long as we’re being honest with each other, my life.
My epiphany was not the lilting, radiant beam I’d gathered from artistic interpretations, but rather a blunt, downward, cerebral thud, induced by the sudden realization of a simple truth: The root cause of most every problem I’ve encountered in my post-pubescence could be traced back to the clinical anxiety with which I was diagnosed at age 15. Simple as that. Everything should be so easy.
I spent the next 4 days writing. What follows is the abridged version.
My hope is that my story falls not on sympathetic ears, but empathetic ones. If you’ve ever endured anxiety, depression, or addiction, I hope you’ll consider reading further. I wish someone had written this 10 years ago. I’m 25 now, and I think I’ll be okay. If even the tiniest morsel resonates, and if reading this helps you come to the same conclusion about yourself, then it’ll have been worth it.