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Life: The Solitude Conundrum

Posted in 104, bad ideas on June 26th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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I won a scholarship for oratory when I was in eleventh grade.

Two debating trophies, numerous appearances in school plays and talent shows, multiple shows singing in choirs and being told “do that thing, show your uncle” at family gatherings. I raised $175,000 for USC, $50 at a time on the phone, one of maybe a dozen telemarketing jobs I held between the ages of 15 and 21. I hosted karaoke for six years, dealing with the anxious and the drunken and the jolly and the frustrated. I edited a community newspaper for six slightly different years, and have been a crucial part of four start up companies. I have over 1,400 friends on Facebook and over a thousand followers on Twitter, many of whom are probably actual real people.

I dressed loudly — brash colors, Hammer pants in high school hallways, weird hair and more. I spoke (and in some cases still do) loudly, my laughter and voice filling rooms without any conscious effort on my part. In high school I was in twenty extracurricular activities. College found me center of a very active group of politically minded souls seeking change but desperately, unconsciously running away from it. I made myself seen, I made myself visible and stood out without seeming to try.

I think, in retrospect, that I hated it all.

At forty, I will go so far to avoid even regular, every day interaction with people that I will listen as I walk through the monochromatic cubicles of my days, turning if I suspect someone walking in a way that will intersect my path. I go to the bathroom on a floor that has fewer guys in an effort to seek solitude, even in my bodily functions. I don’t call my friends, even the ones I really like. I seek to convert the hobbies of associates into business opportunities for us so if I do interact with them at least I can envision the possibility of profit.

Given my preference, I would sit in a room with headphones on, typing and coding and designing and making songs, all day. I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t have social networking — I do it so people don’t forget who I am, for the day when my product comes to market, and hopefully help drive the profits I seek. If not for my ambitions, I could easily become a hermit and recluse without much thought.

I drive about a half hour, to and from work, every week day and after dealing with personalities that desperately make me wanna drive my car into traffic, the silence and the songs I sing to myself are a balm that allows me to continue.

I think I actually lost the paperwork for the scholarship, and I remember being too embarrassed and unwilling to find someone to talk to, so I never used it.

This is not something I say to tell you all to bugger off. That’s not my goal. It’s just coming to a better understanding of who I am, and how we’ll all deal with each other.

We are all walking a difficult path.

Watching (TED Talks): Susan Cain, “The power of introverts”

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Life: My Heart Will Go On … Really!

Posted in bad ideas, life, randomness, shameless pandering, wife, work, writing on June 10th, 2013 by Hannibal Tabu
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wait, the marvel character cardiac is black? really?


So, a few weeks ago, there was a little bit of a scare regarding my cardiac health. I’ve been busier than a dude with one leg who’s the MVP of a kickball team, so let me do an organized update …

  • I’m fine: Under medical advice, I’ve begun a very conservative regime of pharmaceutical treatments and have been responding well to something called “beta blockers.” Honestly, they use a lot of words I don’t understand, but they keep reiterating that I am, as of now, okay.
  • What happened? I had a tachycardiac arrhythmia (although, with the dips, it actually seemed like bradycardia too, but whatever), which basically means my heart didn’t beat in the regular kick drum fashion it should, instead adopting more of a drum & bass attitude about its operation. I did not have a heart attack, although it could have become one, apparently.
  • Ooh … what happened next? This led to some other interesting discoveries and riveting discussions, all the way up to me getting an angiogram (which a cardiologist scoffed at as “not even really surgery, but it was the closest I’ve ever been). As noted, I responded to beta blockers but — honestly — they don’t know why it happened.
  • Am I okay? Physically, I’m technically okay, and they’re doing more tests and research to see what’s up. I’m almost back to normal around my kids and wife. I’m back at work.
  • For real, am I okay? Not really. I’ve been healthy pretty much my whole life. My arteries are crystal clear. Blood pressure, cholesterol, all basic tests they could take show me as wholly “normal,” which makes this freak me out even more. The idea that all the curation and careful taking care of myself (aside from the scary amount of stress I’ve been under since maybe September) could be for naught and I could just fall over regardless, leaving a widow and bereaved kids, is the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered and I’m honestly not dealing with it so well. I’m here, and that has to count for something, but I’m pretty much completely wigged out.
  • What will I do? Try to calm down. Try to say “no” sometimes even though I’m getting some amazing opportunities. Take my medicine. Hug my family. Keep writing — all my projects are pretty much in track, being Waso: Will To Power in July from Stranger Comics, an issue of Watson & Holmes with 2 Guns and Punisher writer Steven Grant from New Paradigm Studios in October or so, plus of course my issue of Artifacts from Top Cow (an imprint of Image Comics) in December or January. Learn how to slow down, somehow.

That’s that, pretty much. My wife has been outlandishly supportive, taking on the daunting task of most of our move and establishing our new home. Some really amazing friends have stepped up and helped make a way out of no way. I’m moving forward, you know? Even with trepidation, it’s still forward.

I don’t want to talk about it, though, since that freaks me out even more. I’ve done research, I’ve had research and options presented to me, I just … I just want to live, I guess. To keep going. Accomplish. That’s what feels right. I turned forty in January, it maps out that I couldn’t remain physically flawless forever, right?

Anyhoo, here’s hoping this update answers enough of the questions floating around.

Playing (Music): “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato (my wife and nine-year-old love that song, ironically enough)

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