The Hot Stove of Friendship


The O.E.D. defines Trust thusly:

Syllabification: (trust)

Pronunciation: /trəst/

1firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something:

relations have to be built on trust

they have been able to win the trust of the others


[with object]

  • 1believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of:I should never have trusted her

[with object and infinitive]:he can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation

(as adjective trusted) a trusted adviser

(trust someone with) allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence: I’d trust you with my life


It continues, but then, you get the point. I guess trust nthed is faith, or maybe blind faith, as though no matter what happens, you still have faith that things will turn out ok.

So then, trust doesn’t extend that far.  There’s a limit to it, a breakability of things such that one who had your trust can suddenly turn into one who no longer has your trust.  What happens then?  This person knows your history, things you’ve thought and said and confided, things you’ve kept from others in the hope that this one trusted friend might hold them for you.  And then it breaks, the trust, and you are left with this chasm in your chest, as if someone just ripped out a chunk of you and placed it on and ice sheet before dropping a hammer and sending it off into oblivion.  “There it goes,” you say, “that part of me that I’ll never recover, sent to sea with everything in my life.”

Next comes the fear, that someone will take what you’ve said and betray you to others, even if it is just a few soft words of cynicism, or an opinion about political leanings.

And then the sadness, knowing humanity has now assumed a different form, that the masses are potential predators to your honesty, threats to your truthfulness. What is left but to recoil, to slink back into the turtle shell of your existence, unwilling to peek out for fear of danger?  Perhaps these virtual worlds arise for the benefits of fraudulence.  Maybe the digitalk is really just an unconventional intimacy that allows for bullshit without accountability.

I had some other things in mind when I started this post, so I guess I’ve gone off the rails a bit here, but like a train, relationships built on trust can crash pretty hard.  Sometimes I think we’d all be better off back in the jungle, with Darwinian rules, where speed and strength and adaptability ruled the terrain, where one could trust daily life to be filled with threats and dangers and myriadother horrible things, where one didn’t have to be surprised when teeth appeared at one’s throat, where things like rampant shootings and terrorist bombings and gratuitous killings didn’t make us so fucking sad.



Catharsis noun

1the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.



By ccxander

What if I Don’t Want to be a Valued Customer?

Anyone else privy to these ridiculously uncomfortable conversations at the bank these days?  To wit:

“Good day, Mr.…Mr. Cingare…

“Cignarelli.  Don’t worry about it.  It’s pronounced exactly like it’s spelled so I can see where you’d get confused.”

“Thank you, Mr. Cignarelli. How is your weekend going?”

“I’m sorry?”

“I asked about your weekend.”

“Do we know each other?”

“You are a valued customer and we’re doing our best to ensure proper customer service.”

“And you believe absurd banter is contributing to the cause?”

“My apologies, sir.”


“So, do you have plans for the weekend.”
“What are you planning to do?”

“Seriously though, do you think this helps?  I mean, the whole bank-as-personal-life-intruder thing?”

“I mean no intrusion, Sir.”

“No, I’m sure you don’t, except, you’ve now asked me twice what I’m doing for the weekend, while wearing that professional smile and wielding that telemarketing voice and batting those severely-make-upped eyelashes – do you draw those on? – and we don’t even know each other, and now I’m really uncomfortable walking into my own bank without a pre-planned response for God knows how many questions about my personal life that I am quite certain I don’t want you to have access to.”

“Wow, Mr. Cignarelli, I had no intention of offending you.  I am sincerely –

“Look, no, you misunderstood.  I’m not offended.  I’m just very distressed about having to worry about conversational issues when all I want to do is deposit my money into my account and get on with my life.  But now I have to reveal my weekend plans to perfect strangers while they’re staring at my bank account and presumably determining whether or not I’m a financially responsible client and whether the plane tickets I’m buying for my trip to Greece are really affordable based on my available funds and thereby forming judgments and considerations and myriad other assessments about my character that I definitely don’t-


“No, let me finish.  I don’t like this whole valued-customer customer service thing you’ve developed.  I enjoy the glass wall between us because I can see you and not hear you.  I give you money and you protect it until I need it, and I pay you for that service.  It’s a great gig we have going.  But now, now, you’ve gone and broken the glass and made me feel awkward about our relationship, and plus, the way you stare at that computer screen just says mountains about your opinion of my financial interests and I’m more than a little freaked out by this whole intrusion into my personal life.”

“We do have ATM’s sir.”


After an audible sigh, I say, “I just want the warmth of a human being without the words of a human being.”

Behind me, at the front of the line, a male voice shouts out, “We all lookin’ for that!”

I turn to see the man smiling.

When I turn back around, the teller is glaring at me.

I ask for my checks back.

She says she’s already put them through and then adds, “Is that what you need the money for?”

Now I have to change banks.

By ccxander

Courage on Another Level

imagesI help support a charity called Project Child Save, a group of ex-military men whose life mission is to rescue young girls who’ve been kidnapped and sold into the sex slave trade.  Tomorrow morning, I am interviewing the team leader, Ty Ritter, in preparation to write his story.   The scars on his body are a testament to his heroism and I’d be hard-pressed to find a better man in this world. This morning, someone asked me why I stay involved in this mission, to which I responded,

“The answer isn’t convenient or comfortable because most people don’t want to talk about how depraved mankind can become. Ty and his team receive hundreds of letters about missing children and spend months doing recon to gather Intel for their missions. They travel under cover of darkness and without government support. They fly in rented helicopters and wear camouflage gear, bear weapons against the enemy and courage in their souls. They descend into locales where the terrain is dangerous, the language is foreign and the adversary is equipped to kill.  They risk their lives for our daughters and expect no reward.  They have never left a child behind, often going on missions to rescue one child and coming home with ten or more.  The team’s pledge is: “If necessary I will give all my tomorrows for one child’s today.”  While relating tales of brutalized little girls who require bodily repairs and reconstructive surgery, Ty recounts stories that will leave you in tears.”

I have met few heroes in my time on this planet, and frankly, the task seems daunting.  But then, imagine losing your child to the shadows.  Imagine heading off the bathroom and returning to find your life changed.  Imagine the unyielding determination you’d discover when the final note of your child’s life was a scream for you to help them.  Yep, tomorrow’s interview seems daunting, but in these circumstances, fear is unwelcome.

Tonight I prepare for something extraordinary.

By ccxander

Brain Bleed

screamingI’ve been trying to write this book as of late, and enduring the insufferable and rather pathetic madness of wondering whether phrases like “as of late” are even part of the English language or just some hatchet-refuse of the common man’s slang that is likely to get me kicked from the slush piles of publishers worldwide.  Then too, there’s the whole cliché thing.  Taking a turn of phrase – when life gives you citrus fruit, squeeze the shit out of it until you can sell it on sidewalks for $.50 a cup in some lesson-teaching middle American homage to entry level entrepreneurship – and crafting something spectacular out of it just seems wasteful.  Plus the whole narrative structure thing, where one should have acts and subplots and themes and character arcs and heroic journeys – I thought writing was about freedom of expression for God’s sake.

Point is, I’m several chapters into this train wreck and already making the mistake of all amateur writers – revisiting the first few chapters and hacking away at the chaff.  This is somewhat akin to wiping your nose before sneezing, except instead of mild snot, you’re left with some sloughed off gray matter and a stomachache (Can’t we contract this word to form stomache and be done with it?)

To be fair, I was warned this whole process might take some effort.  They (other authors) said I’d probably lose some hair, gain a few lbs., and begin to question the nature of humanity. They neglected, however, to mention the incessant desire to throw my laptop through a window, to toss some Xanax or Strychnine over the fence to quiet the neighbor’s barking dog (won’t happen) and the awkward Oreo craving when the little hand starts to head southwest.

Alas, the point of this rant was to breakthrough my writer’s block. I think I’ve managed that now. Thanks for the indulgence.  My apologies for this literary nail in your skull.

By ccxander