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Part Two: Idiosyncratic Insights and Other Out of Sorts and Annoying Out of Place Things

Part Two: Yeah, that was only one of my idiosyncratic Covid crazy insights and ideas in Part One. I have a few more. One of them is about a certain half baked idea to designate a certain day in the very near future for stir crazy Covid fearing citizens stuck at home (as well as other adult-aged individuals with OCD) to be allowed without criminal penalty or fine to venture outside with masks and fully sanitized chainsaws (courtesy of Home Depot and Lowes) to exercise and express their pent up feelings by chopping/sawing down two or three personally annoying, ugly, completely dead or grossly asymmetrical trees or protruding branches owned by their recalcitrant neighbors or random strangers, aka people who cant see or appreciate that something on their private property greatly offends Obsessive Compulsive humanity and the Universe’s fundamental need for order and perfect symmetry… especially at a stressful, tumultuous and confusing time like this.

Yeah, i realize this idea is right on the cusp of promoting a form of unfettered and untethered insanity and social deviance akin to “wilding for grown-ups” (if not unrestrained Social Darwinism). That’s why release forms and legal waivers will be needed in the event things go bad and seemingly normal citizen participants suddenly go “rogue” like lockdown crazed Leatherface characters and start hacking off other people’s heads or limbs rather than just a couple of emotionally cathartic landscaping improvements in ones suburban subdivision, etc.

Hey it’s just an idea and fortunately I completely forgot the rest of my genius insights while typing out this long weird but sincere blog. Peace Out. Love, CaptCliff

◦ P.S. Here are a few photo examples that have plagued me recently, er I mean bothered me lately. Plague…probably not a great word to use nowadays. Way too triggering.
◦ P.P.S. If you are trying to sell your expensive suburban house with “Master on Main” (EVEN in a strong sellers market) please chop down the creepy dead tree right next to the sign. I will even do it for you….

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Part One: Todays Idiosyncratic Insights and Other Out of Sorts and Annoying Out of Place Things

Sometimes interesting idiosyncratic insights emerge from unusually stressful circumstances including physical and psychological isolation, repeated Covid lockdowns, one too many lousy takeout meals and a seemingly endless pandemic accompanied by seemingly endless contradictory information. The situation is only made worse when one next door neighbor says, “Covid is a complete hoax” and another tells you on the very same day, “The hospitals are overflowing. Did you hear about Bill Greenbaum and his family?”

I’m sure solitary confinement and social isolation have led certain highly gifted individuals to come up with a slew of impressive scientific innovations and a number of philosophical and technological advancements in human history. I just cant think of any at the moment. Maybe that’s because lately I’ve been pretty busy during the day trying to manage my own anxiety, fear, anger, insomnia, confusion and bewilderment by watching Tik Tok puppy videos on my cell phone or scrolling through YouTube clips of movies all night I’ve seen before but somehow forgot in the haze of time, retirement and Covid craziness.

As a psychologist trust me on one thing. People are pretty crazy right now. The Covid virus is pretty bad and growing increasingly more deadly (again) but so are people. In fact it might be somewhat liberating to admit out loud that many quasi self- quarantined individuals are currently at their wits end and possibly approaching the mental state I call “crazy as a freakin’ loony bird” . On the other hand, the positive thing to keep in mind is how WAY WAY WAY MORE CRAY-CRAY other people are as vividly displayed on cable news. Multiple stories of random insanity on airplanes, trains, buses, etc. are occurring as well as in shocking YouTube videos taken by bystanders in grocery stores, shopping malls, Walmart parking lots and in the entire state of Florida. Feel free to compare yourself and your current personal delusions, irrational thinking, intermittent hallucinations and weird behavior to the average batshit crazy Florida resident, serial killer or elected politician. You will feel a lot more normal… if that’s even a thing nowadays. I’m not even mentioning all the random viral video violence, “knock an Asian or senior citizen out” games, car craziness and general “wilding” in the streets of practically every major U.S. city by young people without brains in their head.

Is it me or do you ever pause, reflect and wonder to yourself, “how the fuck did things get to this point?” or “wait, is this just a really long unusually dysphoric dream, completely wacked out election cycle or dystopian nightmare about normal people going insane and proceeding to form nonsensical conspiracy theories and bizarre cults promulgating bullshit beliefs”? Even worse is the dreadful feeling that one has already seen a much better and far more believable horror/zombie film before either on TV or in a proper movie theater with comfortable reclining seats and fresh popcorn about a raving lunatic narcissist President with apocalyptic aspirations, hordes of hive-minded undead people and deadly brain-eating baboon viruses spreading into the general population due to rampant denial, government incompetence, corporate greed or some other dead person’s evil spirit trying to get revenge on living humankind.

What did we (still alive American people) ever do to deserve such a prolonged pandemic, zombie-esque dead/dumb/violent prone citizenry and an impossible-to-kill relentless loudmouth pie hole president with the brain the size of a walnut? Ok, sure that last part was in the past and yeah we pretty much had to cheat, slaughter, rape and pillage our way to our Manifest Destiny, personal freedom and Declaration of Independence. Thats a given. All the other stuff like slavery, smallpox, Civil War, racism, pollution, political corruption, toxic chemicals, greed, gluttony, antisemitism, anti-asian violence, antiballistic missiles and anti everybody else except rich white people and not so wealthy white people with assault weapons, MAGA hats, and toxic artificial plastic Xmas trees from WalMart was just the necessary “collateral damage” of our human evolution/revolution, natural selection “survival of the fittest” as well as our country’s eventual emergence as a major Superpower among nations (translation: apex predator) and “beacon of light” to the rest of the humankind world. Right?

◦ You know what? Now that I think about it… if the novel Covid19 virus (in fantasy) did have a brain and not just its ever-evolving super contagious rDNA downloading medieval mace meets Alien Predator spike proteins that enable it to hunt us down like dumb unvaccinated cattle, fluffy white rabbits and docile ducks in a row by taking full advantage of it’s relative invisibility, attaching itself to our vulnerable respiratory tissue using a simple but elegant “docking maneuver” that both Elon Musk and NASA would be exceedingly impressed by and then injecting/infecting us in poorly ventilated spaces like crowded churches, choir practice, at home birthday bashes, rowdy late night bars, all you can eat buffets and anti-masker restaurants, etc. then I’m pretty darn sure the Covid virus would think the EXACT SAME THING about its own Mainifest Destiny, evolution and biologic Bill of Rights. In other words WE (humankind) are ITS collateral damage. We may turn out to be the dinosaur fossils and heap of brittle bones from an extinct race of hominids that inhabited the planet for a short period of archeological and cosmological time. As a result of our current state of human disunity and national divisiveness (versus sensible bipartisan agreement and unity such as was displayed during WWII) we are Covid19’s proverbial “sitting duck”. Hey you cant blame a pseudo-alive organism or even a single-celled microorganism without a brain or central nervous system for wanting to survive at any cost just like us. Right?

Speaking of sitting ducks: As a foodie and lover of good Chinese food who doesn’t love a wonderfully prepared and nicely plated Peking Duck on those soft fluffy little white rice buns? Only this time we’re the main entree and metaphorically speaking it’s our buns on the community acquired Sunday Special along with our smorgasbord of blood rich internal organs, ie. juicy hearts, lungs, blood vessels, livers, kidneys, bones, and brains ….at least what’s left of them. He/She/It/We/They/Alpha virus even invited their variant relatives Delta and recently arrived variant Lambda along for the rolling global pandemic/ progressive dinner with their soon to be discovered non-gender revealing vaccine resistant viral offspring. “Chi-na”!!

In my demented state I can almost imagine Gary Larson doing a future The Far Side comic circa 2022 or 2023 showing a bloated Covid virus getting up from a buffet table overflowing with human skulls and bones with a blood-stained napkin tucked into his bulging shirt collar only to remark, “Man oh man was that ever a super spread!!”

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Part Deux: The Legend of Mochi Mazer

Living with a hyperactive 12-13 week old Havapoo puppy named Mochi is an exercise in Barely Avoided Disasters…otherwise known as BAD. Even tho we scour the floors and living areas daily for health hazards and items forbidden to teeny tiny teething pups (basically everything), she still manages much like hardened criminals in prison to secretly acquire dangerous contraband and hide pieces of it in her cell, er I mean cage/crate. I’m talking about cleverly random but clearly hazardous items like a shirt button, a small shard of broken glass, a closed safety pin, a rubber band, pillow tags, and a punctured plastic sandwich bag. Is she planning an Alcatraz type escape attempt? Is she busy fashioning shivs and shanks late at night with her tiny razor sharp teeth and furry little paws while we sleep? One cannot know for sure with this miniature mastermind we call Mochi Mazer. What I can say for sure is that she remains utterly adorable while tempting fate and torturing us into questioning our fitness as puppy parents.

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Mochi Mazer the Adorable Havapoo and Criminal Mastermind Puppy

Once a quiet corner of whitewashed cabinetry and staggered kitchen tile now better known as Cell Block Z…home to one of the most incorrigible yet super cute toy puppies on the planet. Only the most adorable and alternately most vicious Hannibal Lecter like pups and serial escape artists are relegated to this Southwest Style Super Max canine correction facility in suburban Atlanta. Mochi Mazer is one of them.

On the outside an adorable ten week old miniature puffball and Toy Havapoo… but on the inside a scheming evil genius with the psychological manipulation skills to already dominate her sweet but gullible 10 year old Black Lab sibling Harmony either by making her 1) swallow her tongue like Miggs in the movie Silence of the Lambs 2) hand over her prized once a day dental stick or 3) just do her never ending adorable bidding…which includes consigning herself to being Mochi’s live chew toy 24/7.

Yes Mochi Mazer may only possess a 3 lb. canine body and a tiny puppy brain the size of a spanish walnut but she can already multitask like a criminal mastermind by plotting, executing and then covering up a brutal physical assault on a peace loving Pooh Bear stuffed animal all while still looking incredibly cute. Imagine being able to do that while simultaneously whining and begging for human food like pancakes and bacon that she has never even tried and certainly isn’t allowed to eat. The crime in question was committed swiftly and without mercy using extreme cunning and apex predator instincts on par with an adult Velociraptor as depicted in Jurassic Park. Clever Girl.

To wit: Yesterday Mochi “I want pancakes and bacon” Mazer ripped Winnie The Pooh’s stuffed animal face off even as He/she/them/Pooh sat on the bedroom floor silently pondering Existential philosophy and Zen Buddhism. Like Travis the enraged benzo-addicted alcoholic chimpanzee that tore visitor Charla Nash’s face off just for fun, Mochi Mazer pounced on Pooh and in a short time left him both non-sentient and without many of his well known highly recognizable facial features. Thanks to modern reconstructive surgery and Dollar Store superglue Winnie will recover to live a normal Disney animal lifespan but is destined to suffer lifelong physical and psychological scars including Complex Toy Story PTSD. Mochi Hannibal Havapoo Mazer on the other hand and much like the notorious honey badger in the YouTube viral video “just dont care” and “dont give a shit”.

Even now she is looking adorably cute as others slave away picking up her stinky poop, wiping up her little pee puddles with truckloads of valuable paper towels, laying down hundreds of square feet of overlapping doggie diaper pads, and fruitlessly attempting to fix a growing list of household items and valuables that Mochi breaks, bites, and tears into a million pieces just for puppy fucks. Tune in for future episodes exploring the devious mind and endlessly antisocial behavior of Mochi Mazer.

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CaptCliff Channels Captain Kirk

Stardate 5.2.2021: Some time after leaving the Trillium5 galaxy cluster around Stardate year 2003 we passed through a Lorentzian wormhole and spatial anomaly completely unknown to the Federation and reemerged in 2021 AD, a parallel universe and confounding dimension in space-time that resembles our home planet but on closer inspection seems to be a twisted version of Earth, one in which life is less like “a box of chocolates” and more like an uber demented Reality TV show…a kind of hyper exaggerated mock-up of human life at it’s ethical and moral trickle-down worst.

For example, simple logic and critical thinking appear to be nonexistent among a vast number of the planet’s current inhabitants. Contentious personal opinions and highly polarized viewpoints seem to be the norm. For a relatively advanced species living in a technological modern age it’s difficult to understand why these people choose to believe in absurd unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and endorse medical and scientific quackery versus proven science. Mr. Spock finds it “fascinating” but I frankly want to just punch them in the throat. Alternatively, former drug addicts and college dropouts like the My Pillow guy are considered to be a trusted source of high level political and military intelligence. In similar fashion, popular people on social media called “influencers”are perceived as highly credible authorities even while they spout disproven theories, false innuendo and scientific nonsense.

After beaming down to the planet surface our crew attempted to engage the inhabitants in civil conversation and open dialogue to find answers to these vexing questions. It quickly became an exercise in futility. First Uhura was “cancelled” by a rabid crowd of college students for not signing a petition to denounce every “former and future” US President and for not filing both civil and sexual harassment charges against Gene Rodenberry. Spock went insane and had to be physically restrained after initiating a mind-meld with a MAGA hat wearing Baby Boomer dressed like Paul Revere. We left as quickly as we could after our Chief medical officer McCoy was forcibly restrained and branded by Qanon supporters with a makeshift branding iron that said “Fauci Lies”. Near the end we were forced to employ phasers as we held off wave after wave of radicalized Evangelicals and insurrectionists wearing buffalo hats with horns and Confederate Civil War uniforms. It was only on our safe return to the Enterprise that we learned that Donald Trump not only had been the duly elected president of the United States (which seemed wholly implausible) but that he was also planning to be “reinstated shortly”even after having lost the following election by a wide margin. Total chaos seemed inevitable.

Not withstanding the Federation’s Prime Directive to never interfere with the natural development of any civilization, the mere thought of these life forms someday discovering warp drive and being able to propagate their species while going where “no man has gone before” is a frightening as well nauseating proposition far more troubling and difficult to ponder than the Kobayashi Maru Starfleet training exercise. Talk about a galactic no-win situation….

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Quantum Balidity

Quantum Balidity: There are earth shattering realizations and scientific breakthroughs like say Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Then there are powerful insights that finally and definitively answer certain questions that have dogged humanity for eons… however long an eon might be. Today I answered a persistent personal question I’ve had about my iPhone for maybe less than an eon but longer than I care to admit. In fact it bugged the living shit out of me. Why could i NEVER EVER type the word “valid” or “validity” correctly on the first, second or third try even tho I am a one index finger text typer?? Why would it always come out “balidity” or “”balid”? What the hell is wrong with this phone keyboard?? Could it be that I unconsciously miss my timeless stressless vacations to Bali?? Psychologists need to write, type, text and say the word valid a lot as in, “Your feelings seem totally valid… and our time is about up…” or “the theory is reasonably sound and demonstrates rather robust face validity”. Ok, luckily I don’t have to say or type that last part very often anymore…

Bottomline: I’m lying in bed text typing at twilight and I finally got to see the back (palm side) of my hand and typing finger.

Eureka! God I’m dumb sometimes.

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Election Update 2020: Insomnia Edition

ELECTION NEWS WARNING: While we wait with bated breath for final final for sure for sure election results and lest we experience the urge to indulge our collective bloodlust now almost four years in the making, let us remember this. We’re all human beings with our own character flaws and weaknesses. Nobodys perfect …not even President Trump even tho he keeps saying he is perfect over and over. Having persistent thoughts or florid fantasies of Donald Trump stripped down to his whitey tighties and unceremoniously booted from the White House are quite normal…all things considered. Were only human to have such talionic thoughts. Similarly, imagining Donald Trump blind-folded, duct taped, and rubbed head to toe with bloody red meat and rotten fish heads before being released into a pristine wilderness teeming with wolves and grizzy bears is also not necessarily “wrong” or “bad” or even all that abnormal…especially if the fantasy happens to include a National Park that POTUS planned to turn into a multi-use condo complex and Trump Tower. Such creative daydreams are often cathartic and possibly even therapeutic. Perhaps like myself you recently found yourself alternating between watching endless hours of CNN election return “news alerts” and simultaneously envisioning Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller in greasy rags rather than expensive slim fit designer suits being hunted down like rabid dogs and chased through the streets of Washington DC like Muammar Gaddafi. Unusual? Perhaps. Illegal, immoral or unhealthy? Not really.

As a psychologist I can assure you that part of the closure process towards achieving full body and mind reconciliation and radical forgiveness is eliminating judgement of self. That would include freeing ones mind and releasing the accumulated trauma induced “pain body” to go exactly where it needs to go …such as mindfully meditating on an image of unrestrained mobs of bank lenders, dissatisfied creditors, homeless people, Anthony Fauci with a meat cleaver , Hillary Clinton, the Squad, the Hulk, the IRS and 100 lottery winning metoo activists all descending upon the Oval Office with the expressed purpose of taking their respective pound of flesh.

That said, if you have followed my nearly defunct CaptCliff blog or read my imaginary 12 volume psychobiography of Donald Trump you would also know and remember to NEVER EVER EVER underestimate Donald Trump or his uncanny ability to get out of a tough spot whether its avoiding a full congressional impeachment, a maximum security prison sentence, touching someones kitty cat without permission, paying income tax like regular people, or winning and then losing a major presidential election against all odds. He is the guy in the movie who can appear to be hopelessly trapped and completely surrounded but then while pretending to negotiate his own surrender suddenly pivot on a dime and escapes, usually by using a friend, a foe, his own mother, a helpless baby or Mitch McConnell as a human shield. Once in the clear he is then likely to release a swarm of litigous lawyers with specious lawsuits like Air Force One deploying drones and antiaircraft chaff to thwart any and all attacks including out of office criminal complaints, sex assault charges and multiple unpaid parking tickets and alimony notifications.

Bottomline: what we all need to do at this sweat-filled juncture is to take a deep cleansing yoga breath, stay cool, and wait. This thing is STILL not over and we dont even know if this half man half honey badger incumbent president is going to leave. However, What we do know is that he is armed and dangerous, extremely clever, and very likely pumped up on steroids, junk food, diet coke and hydroxychloroquine. As a result, in the current circumstance and with his reptilian “back to the wall” the Trumpster is at his most desperate best and worst. He needs someone and/or something to blame and thanks to Hitler the Jews are already taken. He may well also be in a kind of crazed Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now type unstable mental state. Even cannibalism in the embattled White House is not out of the question. Besides hating to lose one thing is certain and that is that the accidental president of the United States woke up on Friday November 6, 2020 in a really lousy mood only to be told that Georgia, my adopted home state had turned blue. As a result and with many things still in doubt we CAN say with absolute certainty he is not only shitting bricks as we speak but is also more pissed off and ornery than an ill-tempered rattlesnake who’s been rousted from his feathered nest and repeatedly poked with a sharp blue stick, or to be more precise many different sticks by many people of various rainbow colors.

PS. This moment in time is reminiscent of certain similar situations and iconic scenes in history and cinema. Here is one such video that’s been cleverly adapted with dialogue and closed captions to the exact momentous moment that we and Donald Trump find ourself in….

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My 2020 Presidential Election Confession

Forgive me Father WordPress for I have not been to confession for a very long time….

Morning thought: I dont want to be right about this but my bad vibe based on a combination of things over time (and even more so lately) is that even tho its not what the pre voting polls suggest ( which show Biden at least slightly ahead in most states) I’m thinking/fearing Trump will pull off this presidential election much like he did in 2016. There are just too many disparate groups of belligerent anti Biden voters comprised of a heterogeneous hodge podge of apocalyptic doomsday cults, golden shower Sex and Satan worshippers, celebrity jocks, crazed football fans in body paint and loincloths and floridly psychotic pick-up truck driving good old boys with meth mush for brains but legal concealed carry permits and voting privileges. This partial list of handpicked Trump supporters alone have inconceivably come together to re-elect Donald Trump and are willing to say so on and off the record and without even getting pranked by Borat. I even know a few well educated nice people, fellow suburbanites with respectable lawns and fully paid up HOA dues who can express one or two reasonably intelligent thoughts who freely admit that the Donald is likely impotent as well as a horses ass but are still voting for him. Watching, reading, and thinking like a psychologist (or more specifically an FBI profiler of psychopaths, serial killers and predatory rapists) and then quite recently, having creepy dreams about dead crows and a red tsunami makes me fear (if not yet fully accept) that there might just be too many law and order lunatics, complete and total idiots, robotic Republicans who somehow lost their soul and private parts over the last four years, Covid crazy Cartman-in-the-basement Q-anon conspiracy theory dumbasses, White House wannabes, anti-antifa anti-socialist/socialism closet fascists, racist peri-menopausal Karens, tunnel-visioned evangelicals, extreme right wing Jews, Old school American isolationists, American flag waving red hat wearing nationalistic nutbags, Confederate flag waving automatic weapon bearing anti liberal everythings (ALE), Neo-nazi White Power militant bozos, clueless and “proud of it” Covid and Climate Change deniers, wealthy stock market dependent corporate junkies, golf-playing high income execs, finance and investment bank opportunists, and finally strangely confused and misinformed former immigrants (especially Hispanic Americans), etc. ———————————————————————————————Donald Trump may well be a dirty dog malignant narcissist but he’s also kind of a genius at rallying together and then herding his flock like a morbidly obese border collie on steroids…which having tested positive for Covid he might well be taking (translation: hooked on) and has administered before each longwinded mask-free rally by his preferred medical team the demon witch doctor lady and Dr. Morell, er I mean Dr. Atlas the chiropractic radiologist without portfolio or resume. Trump seems outwardly foolish but excels at collecting divergent fools and vulnerable sycophants and then getting each and every one of them to believe that his main opponent (Biden, Harris, etc.) are the EXACT thing they most hate or fear…..just like he did to Crooked Hillary. He’s also a prototypical bully. By all accounts George Bush should have had the balls to come out publicly against Trump by now but he wont (part Bush family values like decency and decorum and part fear/intimidation if Trump should win). Obama on the other hand was free to hit 3-pointers all day long but may have also remained on the bench a bit too long and too late into the 4th quarter even if Biden held a consistent and substantial lead in the polls. Hillary much? Hitler much? Joseph McCarthy much? ——————————————————————————————-Personally I think Biden kept silent (or was kept silent, bound and gagged in his own basement) for too long which was a reasonable early strategy given his tendency to fuck up and say stupid shit as well as the prevailing belief that Trumps forked tongue , foul mouth, bad hair and covid complicity would do enough damage to the general publics confidence in him by November (if not among his Waffen SS thoroughly propagandized fans then at least to undecided and independent voters). However, by not having enough time to demonstrate himself as a competent but not incontinent dementia-free person/personality and well-informed politician-leader (and not just Obama’s older white guy VP sidekick) he gave the big mouth/foul mouth Trump unlimited time to demonize both him and his wayward son Hunter and then throw their cursed and mutilated body parts like so much red meat to all the hate and fear groups and carnivorous individuals listed above. I think nearly everyone would agree including most of Trump’s White House aides, cabinet members, military generals and West Wing staff that President Trump is a truly a “win at all costs” hypercompetitive combatant and no doubt soulless snake oil salesman. He’s like the Wizard of Oz crossed with a ravenous and rabid honey badger. Not only does he have small hands, sharp claws and “just not care” (no f#%ks given) but he will tell you anything you want to hear while simultaneously sizing you up for his Ed Gein/Buffalo Bill skull and skin trophy room at the White House. Ok, that’s it. I just had to get this out and pray that I’m wrong because if im right… it will be ugly and the Covid19 virus will still not “just like a miracle go away” …..even if the liar-in-chief said we are rounding some invisible totally made up corner much like his corner-less invisible border wall that he just told his frostbitten virus-laden followers is “almost finished” (sound of wild cheering and dry coughs). Sorry for the depressing essay but i needed to tell someone….and confess fully for not keeping this mirth and irony infused blog going. Just like Jeff Goldblum in the original Jurassic Park movie I “hate it when I’m right” about such monumental moments and chaos theory inspired quantum entangled historical predictions. This time a really really hope I’m dead wrong.

PS. On November 16, 2016 I wrote a CaptCliff blog entitled “How Trump Beat Clinton in Game of Thrones Politics. It also implicitly and imperfectly compared some of Donald Trump‘s personality traits to Julius Caesar and suggested how some of these alpha male power and success-oriented characteristics might explain his annoying ability to avoid prison and win hotly contested presidential elections completely devoid of frontal lobe executive function and genuine empathy.

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My Sad Starbucks Story

A tall sweet young man who worked at my favorite local Starbucks (Abernathy Square) was run over and killed by a drunk driver early this morning.  He was riding his bike on the way to work around 4 or 5 AM. A coworker found him crumpled by the side of the road dead. The inebriated driver apparently temporarily fled the scene but later turned herself in to the Sandy Springs police and is under arrest. I found this out this morning when I drove to Starbucks for my morning ritual breakfast order, ie., “Hey hi, tall Pike’s coffee, room for cream, and a reduced turkey bacon sandwich please..”. 

His name was Marten and he was only 29 years old. Marten greeted me by my first name every single time I walked or stumbled in looking for my caffeine fix.  He struck me as a tad quiet but also seemed very smart, courteous and genuine. By genuine I mean his smile felt natural, real and not at all forced. By smart I mean one of those hard-to-find food and beverage employees who know how to keep the line moving and who remain positive and pleasant even if I’m a total jerk due to lack of sleep, old age, stress, schizophrenia or caffeine withdrawal. In addition, Marten (much like Allen the laid-back but hardworking store manager) was able to put up with my eccentric personality and quirky CaptCliff ways that include my tendency to make a ginormous mess at the cream and sweetener kiosk. I admit to being THAT GUY who cluelessly hogs the space while “doctoring up” their proprietary Starbucks beverage to get it “just the way they like it”. I also admit to sometimes leaving more spilled liquid, straws, sticks, Splenda and vanilla powder for Marten and others to clean up than the disgusting messes drugged-out disco patrons left in Studio 54’s bathroom stalls in the 1980s. I’ve already done a full Mea Culpa in a previous blog for also having swiped tons of Splenda and a small kilo-sized amount of those worthless but supposedly healthier for you Stevia packages. Plus, Stevia cant be all that healthy for you if it takes about 80 packets to make your coffee sweet enough. 


Like mindful meditation which I cant do very well due to rampant ADHD and chronic “spilkes” (see Yiddish) there is something calming and wholly reassuring in having a satisfying daily routine like going to Starbucks in the late morning and speed reading the front section of the New York Times on the stores newspaper stand without actually paying for it like normal people.  In my opinion, this particular Starbucks is notable for it’s ability (given its uber-suburban demographic) to do good work (professionalism) while still maintaining a very non-judgmental do-your-own-thing vibe. The good vibes and general sense of acceptance I am referring to seems to be present at this location no matter how quirky, weird, or different someone might seem to be. Such inclusivity and good humor stands in stark contrast to just about every single recent news article I’ve read for free off that newspaper stand. Furthermore, I remember hearing Marten joking and riffing with other employees behind the barista counter so i suspect he was not just a good guy and good employee but probably had a decently dry sense of humor and quick wit as well. What I didn’t know was that he was Dutch and was married. I also didnt know that Marten’s parents live in the Netherlands and that at the same time I was blown away hearing the devastating news about his senseless death they were still possibly not aware of what had happened to their tall slim good-natured son… who also happens to be the same exact age as one of my own sons.


As a father and not as a psychologist or faux pirate web blogger I felt and still feel absolutely awful thinking about Marten’s wife and family and how unbearably bad their day was about to become. Of course I felt even worse pondering my own not-so-very-perfect Narcissistic Starbucks Customer Personality Disorder (NSCPC) including my shameful caffeine junkie reaction when I first saw that the store was closed, ie.,”Shit! What the hell? I need my damn double tall cappuccino!!” Thankfully and graciously (especially for a monster-sized global corporation) Starbucks district managers were there along with a few others to inform customers about the tragedy and assure everyone that the store would reopen tomorrow. 


I know I’m not the only Morning Joe coffee customer or restaurant patron who has developed a certain special closeness and family-like feeling towards the ever smiling, ever kind and memorable apron-wearing people in their lives. Somewhat surprising even to myself, however, was that I actually cried like a baby today and got really mad thinking about Marten, his wife, his family, as well as the folly and stupidity of drunk driving. I also thought about  the rest of the staff that now have to collectively pick up the shattered pieces of this young man’s life lost for no goddamn good reason. I guess I’m thinking not just about Marten but about myself and my family too and how there has to be a better way to go on “in good conscience” when terrible things happen like this.  I know I cant solve all the thorny complicated social issues like alcoholism, drunk driving, and everything else that I see and read about at Starbucks, on the 24/7 cable television news or online. But today I just want to think and “mindfully meditate” about Marten. I especially want to understand and acknowledge who he is/was and what he represented in my normally self-absorbed privileged older white guy suburban life. In a world of people blaming each other for anything and everything, people like Marten are working hard, quietly pursuing goals in their life and not complaining. They ride their bike to work and get the job done. These are the unsung heroes and in many ways represent the under appreciated fundamentally “good people” in the world who are gracious enough, humble enough and patient enough to greet us all “equally” with warmth and genuine humanity…. and then serve us warm (or icy cold) drinks and warm crusty croissants and/or turkey bacon sandwiches just as promised… even if we the “paying customers” are grumpy as heck, haven’t shaved or showered yet or are just plain quirky as hell. I miss Marten already.

Courtesy FOX 5

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – A man riding a bike was hit and killed by a drunk driver without a license Wednesday morning in Georgia.

FOX 5 reports it happened around 5 a.m. on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

Police say a woman was driving without a license and hit and killed Marten Bijvank, 29, as he was riding his bike along the road. Investigators believe the woman was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police identified the woman as Antoinette Battle. She faces felony vehicular homicide and DUI charges.


I guess I was right about Marten. This made me cry even more:

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