Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Profile: Barry Baxter Birney

Hello there --
Knowing Mr. Swindle deeply and long-like, I have agreed to share my own experiences with the batshit. This is not a profile mind you, as the complete record is too scattershot and loving to fully summarize here, and it’s possible that this isn’t over quite yet. I do feel some commitmentalisms to those reading this, though, so I suppose I’m just gonna be on retainer here so as to not short-change you all (like that midget toll booth attendant did to me)…that is if you find this funny and if Jack and Sophia aren’t too lazy to object.

Oh, me? My name’s Barry Baxter Birney. I hang my hat on my ring-to-index-finger-ratio.

Not so long ago I started having intense, debilitating anxiety attacks. I’d dealt with some anxiety the couple years prior, but was more comfortable and familiar with the vague malaise of depression. The unnerving feeling of panic was manageable at first. It made me mad though. That doesn’t help to ease the nerves.

Then I went bananas. I had four or five episodes in about a six week period where I lost touch with reality. I guess I wasn’t eating or sleeping due to this fucking anxiety and often drank to try and combat it. My brain didn’t much like it. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know how to read street signs. I tried to drink a glass of water from my girl’s empty hand. And much more.

My friends came through for me and took care of me when I called them confused, mixed shoes on my feet and full of headwraps. They tore the drinking fountain off its foundation, threw it through the window, and told me when it was safe to make a run for it. One was caring and thorough enough to write down the following so I could show it to my doctor.

His name is Gary Mathews III (disowned).


Here's a rundown of events Sat-Sun night.

--You called around 11:30 thinking I was Jack and that I had called you -- you
seemed more upset than anything.
--When I got there ~12 I thought you were just really upset, but it became clear
as we talked that you were highly anxious and confused.
--We were up from 12 to ~ 7 AM. We didn't drink anything but water, you didn't
eat anything.
--You were talking most of the time, but NOT in a manic or hyper way.
--Mostly you asked questions, generally about where something was, whether we
had enough of something, how many of something we had, when we would go do
--You were focused intensely on 'phones' and talked mostly in terms of numbers.
How many phones do I have? How many minutes/hours before we left and went to
your house,  Did we have 3 or 4 (of what, ??) and would that be enough? This is
where you were least coherent -- numbers rarely correlated to actual amounts or
quantities, and phones included television remotes, car keys, belt buckles,
--When you asked for your phone and I gave it to you or pointed it out, however,
it would appear foreign to you, or broken, or incomplete. At times, it was
almost invisible to you, though it would be right in front of your face, or your
hand would be on it.
--Your perception of time seemed non-existent, and was further distorted by your
focus on numbers/quantity over units.
--Your motor skills were intact, and you were very tactile -- constantly picking
things up and asking me to put things in your hand. You would occasionally drop
things, but I believe that was because you forgot you were holding them. When
you were looking for something (which was often) you would pat down the table,
floor, etc.
--Though you were not generally wearing your glasses,it also seemed like you had
trouble seeing things or recognizing things that were in your sight without
touching them.
--Tried to leave numerous times, putting on multiple jackets/hoodies each time
as well as shoes. You were not happy when I physically prevented you from doing
so, but I was never afraid you would get violent. You understood that we were in
your house, but also insisted that we had to go to your house. In terms of where
you wanted to go, it ranged from getting food, ann’s house, your house, and
just to walk around the block.
--While in general, I could speak to you and be understood, there were occasions
where you were incredibly frustrated and confused at what I was saying, claiming
it made no sense.
--You kept calling me Jack or Donald, but understood that that was incorrect and
would generally correct yourself.
--Your understanding of yourself, as well as your memories, and your
understanding of our relationship (which I successfully appealed to in an effort
to stop you from trying to leave) were intact. You got jokes, references, knew
your cats, and were generally 'you'. Just an incoherent, anxious version of
--You kept complaining that your arms felt weird, pins and needles, tingly, etc.
--Eventually, you began having moments of clarity, and improved, and finally
went to sleep.
--You woke up around 1 PM when Donald came over, and seemed to have recovered

I'll regale you with further tales at your leisure.

I just read that too. A friend, patient for hours, dealing with true psychoses. Gary Mathews III (disowned) represented.

I tried to make phone calls with my shoe for fuck’s sake.

After The Madness I pushed aside the alcohol, drank a lot of Earl Grey and got a bad haircut, just as my doctor suggested. I made sure to eat and sleep. My mom came and helped. While I drink alcohol again, I still hit up the tea and I talk to my mom regularly and meaningfully.

My hair still stinks though. Hit me up if you have a hairdresser restitution guy.


Diagnosis –
Acute Anxiety Disorder
Insomnia Induced Pyschosis
Bad at Things Syndrome      

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Being Normal

I'm not really in favor of stability or normal-ness, so when I found myself the other day talking to Jack about my life I realized I was using the word "NORMAL" and was maybe a little shocked.  I may have achieved, thought he magic of pharmaceuticals and therapy, to NOT be an Fabulous Fucking Mess anymore.

For starters: I have a boyfriend.  He's a chemist with a house and two dogs.  He says "I love you" to me and everything.  This is an upgrade over what I had before: numerous nebulous relationships with interesting people who neither have achieved what is thought of as financial stability nor do they want to achieve anything resembling stability of any sort.  It is easy to see why I was single and confused. 

For seconds:  I am gainfully employed.  This is also an exciting prospect for me after living from hand-to-mouth in the Non-Profit Sector.  I sold out and went Corporate, something that not many Artistic Types have the chance to do.  It's hasn't had a negative effect on me and I view it to be quite an accomplishment.

There was something to be said for short spurts of insanity.  However, for those of us who have a special talent for absurd situations, the longer the situation extends itself the further we are pulled from our moorings because WE ARE SO GOOD AT BEING ABSURD!  I guess my point to Jack was that: it's sometimes nice to have moorings.  Moorings go with ALL of my shoes. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Locationator

I have a friend on Facebook that I am about to block because he posts stuff about every 15 minutes.  He'd be extra easy to stalk, if I was so inclined, because he updates his location every time he moves to a new location.  He even "checks in" to work in the morning. 

This is only batshit because no one cares.  He hasn't had a comment on any of his posts for well over a week now.  There IS such thing as oversharing on Facebook, and this is one of the many ways that it can happen.  Someone needs to introduce him to Yelp.  Just not me.

Who is your least favorite Batshit Facebook Overshare person... and what do they do? 


Diagnosis: friendless alcoholic trying to impress us with his "social life" ...such as it is. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


When not drinking, he was a nerd.  A nerd who is getting his MA in Military History.  He collected portraits of Wellington and was painting a portrait of Nelson.  He claimed to be a portraitist and had a BA in fine art.  Anyway, Admiral Nelson appeared to have been carved from that deli meat where cheese bits are worked into a bologna.  His other portraits appeared to be of half-flounderpeople whose eyes were slowly migrating to one side of their head or the other.  He only talked with one side of his mouth, which I have never seen a man of 33 accomplish.  Most of his media horde consisted of post-punk, opera, historical nonfiction movies about war, and 19th C. costume dramas. He hated porn and strip clubs. He was an eccentric trust fund baby... and a super-nerd.

When drunk, he became Baltimore's Most Racist Person.  There was nothing that a person of color or a non-Protestant could do that would escape the rubber/iron trap of is mind. Also when drunk, he told me in detail about how he ogled waitresses and the chick that cut his hair.  I guess it's a good thing that he hated strip clubs because he brought a strip club mentality into all of his tipping arrangements with women.  He told me these things because I was not really a woman.  I was more than that.  He'd never DATE any of those girls.  Check.  Add misogynist to the racist.  Ever see someone drunk rant about things?  Well, up the volume and make it everything that you've ever wanted to punch someone in the mouth about.  Bad drunk.

Let me explain: 2pm on a Sunday.  He was down a 1.75 liter "big" bottle of white wine.  Then he opened a regular sized red wine, and we finished that.  Then he opened A 2 LITER of cheap scotch.   He couldn't walk and was running into things when he decided that it was time to grill some steaks.  He put some coals in and squirted them liberally with lighter fluid (yes, he WAS smoking a cigarette while doing this) and then put the steaks on and closed the lid.  In five minutes, the fire was running low (he hadn't put enough coals in) so he picked up one of the steaks and then squirted more lighter fluid on them.   Then he put the steak down and squirted more lighter fluid IN BETWEEN THE STEAKS.   I didn't have steak that night.  He passed out in his living room and when I walked him up to bed he apologized for getting drunk.  Then got all frustrated because he couldn't get it up.  That was the last night I saw him.

He wasn't on anti-depressants because you "can't drink and be on anti-depressants."  As to the upswings: One weekend I stood by and watched him spend about two thousand dollars.  Over five hundred of it was on food and drinks... and four hundred of it was on jeans and music.  Three hundred on a hotel.  Two hundred on our train tickets.  This was planned the day before because he suddenly felt like going to NYC.

Diagnosis: Mollycoddle. Bipolar and impotent co-morbid with alcoholism.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Profile: Jack Swindle, Ladies' Man

This is from an old, pre-diagnosis dating profile I put up on some site somewhere. Strange how accurate it all was; equally strange is that I never got a response from anyone. Huh.--JS

I drink too much. I have high blood pressure, probably from drinking too much. Sometimes I talk so much I annoy myself. I’m terrible with money, and I have anger problems that I think are finally resolved but only through a precarious balance of prescription drugs, an attractive therapist and a campaign of aggressive honesty against my own BS.

Meeting women is not a problem I have. The reason I’m here is that my last few girlfriends have been smart, interesting women who don’t know sh*t about literature, science or history. So, if that describes you, you can still message me but you should be exceptionally attractive.

If you’re still with me, let me tell you the good stuff: I’m Hilarious (capital H intended), extremely witty, very well read and culturally ambitious. And even though I probably come off like a complete prick here, I’m actually a respectful person who will listen to your Russian novel-esque tales of family intrigue with sincere interest. I have an insane amount of energy, a natural tendency to organize people and things around me, and a genuine appetite for life and people.

Oh and you should know: sex is important to me. You should be an open-mouthed kisser and a sensualist at heart; otherwise we’ll just be good friends who drink together, which is fine in its own right.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Krysztof Cuzmeerski (names changed to protect my blog)

I think I might have trained him, and I definitely worked with him.  One day I noticed he was hanging around a lot.  The next day he walked up to me and stood with his face a foot and a half away from me and kept me in eyelock until I told him to go away that he was bothering me.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  He cornered me in an elevator.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  He continued to follow me around outside of and inside of work.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  I quite literally saw him every time I turned around at work... he was always sliding off just out of eyesight like a cockroach.  This went on for two months.  He was fired.  I quit.  He returned every day in a three piece suit looking for me.  He harassed my work friends for four months until one mentioned that he had been in bothering my ex for my phone number using "because we were going to get married, he just had to find me" as his reason.  Then I ask around and he'd been bothering a bunch of my friends there but they hadn't said anything.  I went to Middle Park Precinct and filed a stalking order.  They said that it would take a little bit for the temporary one to go into effect because he had to be served with the papers.  I told them that he'd be at the Cosmopolitan Museum of Art at 5:30 when the staff leaves.  They went out of curiosity the next day and served him the papers.  Of course he was there, with the three piece suit.

I do not lie.  He thought he was going to marry me.  If you google his (real) name and my (real) name you'll find that he has filed a Federal civil rights case against me, the management of the Cosmopolitan Museum, and the City of New Amsterdam.  I hope he gets deported.

Diagnosis: Decidedly THREE FLAVORS BATSHIT.