Yeah, yeah- I know, I haven’t posted in a little while/been posting as much/whatever. I’m sorry about that, but the truth is that I just haven’t “had it” lately and I can’t force myself to write when I don’t. You’d see right through it anyway, being the intelligent reader that you are, so it’s best if I just let it be and strike when the iron is hot.
It’s no CIA secret or anything, I’ve been stuck in an ever-spinning vortex of depression and anxiety that had begun to feel like it would never stop. On the outside, I’m sure some of you would laugh. I’ve got a wife who is my best friend, two amazing kids, I have a paycheck coming in for now, and we live in a house that we’ve made our home. That’s the bitch of mental health though, sometimes it gets hard to see that stuff when your brain is actively trying to kill you.
Be nice, brain- I have shit to do.
Ever since the COVID-19 party kicked off my entire life has been in a state of flux. My day job has been sucking the life out of me for a long time, and when you also add in the fact that nearly NONE of my clients need me right now it makes things…tense. Readership of this wonderful little site plummeted months ago and left me feeling like I was shit at the very thing I was trying to build to get me away from the OTHER shit thing, and that’s a fucking cocktail of despair that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s been tough to find the energy to exercise like I need to, I’m unhappy in my skin right now, and to tie it all up with a pretty pink bow- I’ve felt like a near-complete failure on all counts and it’s not been a real good time.
I’ve been disconnected from my family, withdrawn into myself, and just about any interaction was steeped in frustration or, if we were lucky, a total fucking breakdown. I’ve felt alone in all this, I’ve felt ANGRY about being alone in all this, and there’s no point in sugarcoating the fact that I’ve allowed myself to get soul-obliteratingly lost.
This is supposed to be a lighthearted post, Aaron- calibrate.
Right, sorry- catharsis is kinda my raison d’etre. It’s been dark, and I know I’m not the only one dealing with this shit so at least there’s some sort of “standing on the gallows together” comfort in that knowledge somewhere.
Anywho, so my 40th birthday is coming up soon (9/19 if ya nasty) and my amazing and way-too-wonderful-for-words wife had been trying to plan some sort of epic excursion for us, partying down in Nashville sans-kiddos for a few days, you know- something rad. Unfortunately, the world took a big shit all over THOSE plans and she was left looking for plan B. We’re both at a point where we don’t really want anything per se, there’s things we enjoy and things we are stoked on, but we’re not crazy about “getting stuff” just because. We’re fucking AWESOME when it comes to gift giving with each other too, every “present holiday” is like a work of art for us, and we always fucking kill it. No exceptions, all killer no filler.
There’s always been this one thing though. I’ll never know beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I was either allergic to dogs when I was a kid OR we just couldn’t afford it. I’ve also realized as I’ve gotten older that it may have just been too much for my mom to deal with back then, but whatever the reason the one thing from my childhood that I’ve always wanted was a dog. I had one briefly, but it was at a really shit time in my life and I didn’t end up keeping her. That one’s a story for another time I guess, but either way- besides a period of about a year and a half from 2011-2012 I’ve longed for the bind of friendship between “a boy and his dog”.
I feel like a Jack London novel is starting.
No, I’m NOT comparing myself to Jack London so just “White Fang” that idea.
I grew up in a shitty place, I was abandoned and/or bullied by shitty people, and I’ve never had too many friends and the ones I DID manage to make didn’t treat me like a friend deserves. I’ve been the “second-place” friend, I’ve been the butt of the jokes, and I’m cruising into turning 40 without that epic “Nick/Schmidt” friendship that I always kinda wanted to have. Shit, I’m going Johnny SadPants again- Ok, here’s another angle- most people fucking suck, and I’ve always wanted the kind of love that comes from someone who has absolutely ZERO connection to society and their bullshit. Someone who just LOVES you cause you’re the one who throws the ball for them, someone who will never say “fuck you”, and someone who will never abandon you.
Unless you leave them in the woods. DON’T leave them in the woods.
There’s a pure joy, a loyalty in dogs that humans just don’t fucking have. Maybe they did at some point, but that shit is dead as a roadside armadillo in 2020. Outside of my wife I can’t count on fucking ANYONE, and while I’m trying to get used to that shit as time goes on, even after being alive for 40 years I find myself frequently heartbroken all the same. Maybe it’s a lifetime of being disappointed by people, but a part of me has always deeply wanted a dog cause I know a dog will never disappoint me. Might shit on my floor once or twice, but we’ll let that slide in the name of friendship.
Besides, find me a human who hasn’t done VASTLY worse things to you than the occasional poop on the floor and I’ll find you a singing unicorn in denim shorts. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
So, long and frequently a little sad story short, we’d talked about the puppy idea for a long time off and on but we decided to wait until both kids were fully potty trained. Our daughter has been good to go for a couple years or so now, and our son is well on his way minus a near-complete ability to wipe his whole ass, so that requirement was fulfilled enough for us in the “land of diminished returns” that we’re living in this year. Since our epic voyage couldn’t be realized, my raddest-of-the-rad wife posed the idea of finally making my lifelong dream of owning and raising a dog and that being my 40th birthday present.
We’re home most of the time right now so the timing of it all is perfect. I’ve trained a dog before so I pretty much know the deal. And, we have a nice big fences-in backyard that just got new grass, so all the pieces fit. Plus, the kids are old enough to be excited about it and tall enough to not get knocked around like babies can in the presence of puppies, which is a nice plus for them.
I’d hate for my lifelong dream to terrify my children.
So we set out about the frustrating, soul-sucking, and not real fun process of finding a puppy in 2020, during COVID-19, when EVERYTHING is a huge pain in the ass. There were ups, there were downs, and since I’m currently in my office with her in my lap I’m happy to report that we ended up with…..
Yep, Winnie is a 10 week-old Shiba Inu pup that we named after one of my favorite fictional characters of all time- Lamorne Morris as the fantastically weird Winston Bishop on New Girl. She is brain-meltingly adorable, feisty and stubborn as any good Hickman should be, and a little fluffy ball of pure joy that we ALL needed. I might have been the one in the biggest mental funk the past few months BUT- we’ve ALL been a little less than ourselves lately, and while our lives involve a little more errant poop than they did before they are also VASTLY more full of kisses, puppy snuggles, and games of fetch than they were before too.
Is it easy raising a puppy while also still raising two human kids? Fuck no, what idiot wold think THAT?! Nothing awesome comes too easy, but the reward of our little Winnie being around overshadows any challenge faced by a million miles. She is wonderful, she is beautiful, and she is currently on my lap telling me to get this shit over with so we can go home and chase the ball for a while.
I’m not saying that getting a puppy will cure depression, or fix your family, or whatever you might be dealing with right now. What I AM saying, is that what WE needed was a little bit of joy to shake things up a little and Winnie has given us that in an incalculable abundance and I’ll never be able to thank my wife enough for making this a reality. Check one off the bucket list folks, and it was a big one.
Before I go, regarding my absence…
I’m gonna do my best to get back to posting more regularly here, I’m also working on some really big changes and there will be some new things coming to The Ghost Generation in due time so let’s just say that this is an extremely positive “transition period” and you’ll see it when ya see it!
For now, it’s Winnie’s turn for my attention and I’m happy to give it to her. Did you SEE that face?!?!
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration