(Here’s the first draft that should soon appear in a page in addition to the “about” section – it’s as-is so far, without pictures. I hate reading anything without pictures, but you’re smarter than that, so enjoy.)
The Real Fake Zappa Story
Someone recently offered to look into my story and I mentioned I have my story on the web, although it takes some time to search for it, a lot of time to read through all of it, and perhaps even more time to digest it. “My Story” has taken various forms throughout the years, focusing on surviving conversion therapy, mental illness, my travels, my art/music career, and the occasional thing that someone might want to know about. As much as I hate to winterize, I am the absolute worst at summarizing anything. There’s so much about my life that’s difficult to explain, and big, very big things; and a lot of very big surreal things, including a lot of stuff that people seem to block out – I guess I don’t blame them. Heavily recognized public figures seem to have a better time getting folks not to question their lives if there’s too much graphic and sensational stuff. I also hate it when someone asks me to do something just to keep me busy, distracted, and pacified; only to get the eternal run-around. This spiffy little piece is dedicated to y’all – especially the guy that recently asked about it.
It’s Kinda Chronological
I was born in the Buckle of the Unchurched Belt (Portland, Oregon) in 1973, the second of two kids. My sister was only one school grade ahead of me, and she had to grow up fast to hold together a very strange family, and at times had to do a lot of parenting. When I was two years old, my dad had to move out and I started developing some disturbing and unusual behavior. I was also vulnerable to predatory men, desperate for feelings of safety and acceptance, and exposed to some unsafe environments.
My grandma was convinced that I played Ravel’s Bolero (by ear) on the piano at age 5. I don’t think that happened (or at least that marked the beginning of being fake to where I could convince someone that I knew what I was doing). A few years later, I did teach myself to play Chariots of Fire (in D-flat for some reason). When my sister lost interest in music lessons, trying nearly a half dozen instruments, I was asked if I wanted to learn an instrument. Duh. I was given too much stuff to learn juggling, no matter how awkward and clumsy I was. I was getting tall, so I was encouraged to get into basketball – therefore my dad bought me a Portland Trail Blazers hat. Since we had a piano, and I had already been playing a lot of piano (in addition to the fact that I sort-of would feel guilty if my mom would spend any more money on musical instruments that I would eventually lose interest in which never happened because I never lost interest in music and soon became a magnet for everyone’s musical stuff collecting dust that I would teach myself to play and borrow/keep).
I lasted about six months learning classical piano; and at around age ten, I quit. I hated notes on paper. My mind rarely worked that way, and doesn’t really work that way at all anymore. The teacher complained that I seemed more interested in how the piano worked. I also was frustrated that although I wasn’t being taught any music in F-sharp, I had to learn a fucking F-sharp scale, with no way to use it, so why? To make matters worse, everything was either using a sort of four or three beat thing, and never in five. (If nobody by the year 1984 had composed in 5/4 time, I basically would have invented it.) I hated practicing out of that tedious piano book, especially when my mom would get drunk and threaten to discontinue lessons if I didn’t practice that shit.
It was some kind of big secret that I would sit through Home Economics classes (yeah, it was starting to be really cool to teach little boys that stuff in those days) and instead of taking notes, I’d be composing music on notation paper; of corse, in 5/4 time! Luckily, I spent all twelve of those years in this “hippie” school where I got to do pottery, mixed media artwork, performance art and theater, dance, photography, African drumming, creative writing; while on my own I was obsessed with music. I was not only un-hip enough to do drugs, music was my drug; so I am grateful I had a healthy way to find escape. Listening to Steve Reich, Gong, Igor Stravinsky Henry Cow, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, and of corse, Frank Zappa and the Mothers; I could not just hear the music, I could see it and feel it. Some music became “tangible” to me.
By the time I graduated from high school, I had done experimental videos, visual art shows, dance, acting, graphic design, sold tapes of my original music and composed chamber music for the class of 1991 ceremony. Although one of my classmates referred to me as a “musical genius”, I guess I was more of a hyper-creative-prodigy. I wasn’t the kind of kid that was put in center stage though, I remember being mostly shoved to the back. I wasn’t very likable; and by the time I was finishing school, I had no friends. I was too weird and geeky for drugs, and remarkably un-cool, although I dressed as a queer-punk-hippie. The times people would see me, they’d say something like, “Jason doesn’t need drugs, he’s already there man…” My dancing, my music, my art, it was very trippy, that’s just part of losing your mind. I would try weed a half dozen times or so and I’d cry like a child. I was sometimes seen riding a city bus at night, holding a plush toy of a seal or a bear; then I would go back to my bedroom, crawl under the covers, cry, and even suck my thumb; and do other little-kid things – however nobody realized how sick I really was. There was also a lot of denial, even from myself, that academically, I had the abilities of somewhere between a fifth and eighth grader, depending on the subject; while having the social skills of a twelve year old and very often the emotions of a six year old.
This was also not the end of decades of missed opportunities. A lot of people were exposed to my work who could have significantly boosted my career, however it seems like for most artists who lose their minds, when you go crazy, you’re as good as dead. Fighting the onset of mental and emotional disorders, I further immersed myself in my art, focusing on experimental multimedia performance art pieces, a failed and very short career in professional theater, radio appearances, starting my own bands, producing more tapes, and eventually becoming institutionalized and forgotten about. I was a part of a lot of local Portland history, rubbing shoulders with several powerful artists, composers, and even some of the epic “grunge” scene of the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990’s playing in some iconic venues around town. This was my first of three times I became an outcast and banished from my own communities as a result of things beyond my control.
By the time I was twenty, I was experiencing dissociative episodes, hearing voices, panic attacks, psychotic and delusional disorders in addition to all of the cognitive and mood disorder symptoms. I’d be plastered to the floor for long periods of time only to lose control, screaming, and ending up destroying the drywall in our very sad and very brown house. I couldn’t even get half-way through a pre-college test and there was no hope to get a degree in anything, which branded me, in a family that worships education, as a total dingbat. There was constant denial about my learning disabilities (in addition to everything else I was suffering with) and I was put under a lot of pressure to get a job and go to a major university.
It’s hard to rebel when you have cool parents. They are indeed, really interesting and highly educated people. In fact, my mom and dad met studying, out of all things, psychology. They even worked (for a while in Kansas where my sister was born) with mentally disabled kids. The irony gets even more weird. Although my dad was more able to admit how much he’s suffered mentally and emotionally, he’s had his share of denial on and off. His job history should be enough evidence to show how much he struggled, until he was rescued by a remarkable younger lady who ended up running a big Unitarian church in Canada. My mom on the other hand, who also is a recognized public speaker and who also has a lot of brilliant ideas, has been quite successful compared to a lot of the family, especially for being a female born before World War II. She would admit a few times over the years about her suffering with depression, however from my perspective, her pathology is (and I hate to use this word in the context of mental health) spooky. Although I am grateful that twelve-step programs seemed to help her to nail alcoholism, the forms of mistreatment just wore different hats. At the same time, you have to imagine what it’s like for a single mom to run a business over several employees while raising two high-maintenance children. She’s also an abuse survivor, and I admire her for her strength and courage to stand up publicly against the Gulf War, and fight for gay rights. She was also instrumental in helping to lead the formation of a political party, was a co-author of a Best Seller, in addition to other remarkable accomplishments. In many ways, she’s my hero.
It’s no wonder I escaped to Alaska and found my new family with Born-Again Bible Believing Christians. They are the only ones who were willing to listen to what it was like to suffer the abuse of a hypnotherapist who’s well versed in the psychic arts. I was also tormented with voices, nightmares, and would even awake at night having unconsciously scratched my chest until I bled. Before my radical conversion experience, I had a very bizarre personal background in metaphysics, eventually even working in the intuitive arts with some startling results. I went from being a practicing psychic (well, I only remember actually giving one paid session) to being a street evangelist within just a year or two.
As a kid I was exposed to Ouija boards, experimented with mind reading and ESP, and was tormented by terrifying uncontrollable out-of-body experiences to the point where I insisted on moving into a smaller bedroom because I believed my old room was haunted. My mom held me under constant hypnotic suggestion (including undergoing actual hypnosis called “regression therapy”) and often influenced my sister to bully me on a regular basis, which ended up being one of the tactics she used to control my life even as an adult. In the late 1970’s, I would cry myself to sleep at night with chronic nosebleeds to the point where I smeared blood on the wall just because I felt like nobody believed me about how much I suffered. The next day, the wall would be cleaned off. I was told that my chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, and my weak immune system was all in my head, to the point where I was labeled as a hypochondriac. I did get allergy shots when I was thirteen. Yay.
I had such a bad stuttering problem that it made me often unable to speak at all, even at school. By the time I was fourteen, I began to take on other identities and personalities, later to the point of believing I was someone else; which sadly improved my speech disorder. I was taken to some alternative practitioners, one of them in particular had me jump on a trampoline to improve my eyesight. I would often spend weekends in bed getting yelled at for not doing chores; and even as an adult, I am still often viewed as lazy, irresponsible, dishonest, and other “character flaws” relating to when I am symptomatic in addition to having my motives judged frequently.
Alaska was amazing for me, although very depressing. Summers were hard too because I would get very manic, and very lonely. I was actually getting jobs even though coping with a lower back injury in addition to all the other health issues I lived with and not being able to afford healthcare. My faith was most of what I had for my mental and physical health, and that faith owned my life and became more and more of a sincere devotion as it was an insane obsession.
Being asexual wasn’t too difficult for me, since I was really dorky looking when I was younger, but the Alaska days were the first time where I felt free to express my true gender yearnings: I wanted to be a dude! Sounds funny considering that male was my birth gender, however I had a lot of pressure in my community to conform to a hyper-gender-non-conforming culture in urban west-coast progressive ideologies before I moved to the Last Frontier. I was getting shorter haircuts, shooting rifles, killing and eating innocent salmon, wearing leather jackets and jeans, and even the occasional baseball cap. It was so freeing for me to be “normal” for once. I also liked having a huge faith-family to spend holidays and have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with actual dead animals.
After becoming kinda successful in running my own music teaching business, working at a music store and being featured around the area in various venues and churches, I threw it all away to become a missionary. After two bible schools in Oklahoma, and nearly three months living in Russia, I was burned out. Back in Alaska, I taught music again, played in churches, traveled around the state working with native youth groups, playing Christian hard-scream-metal, grew my hair long again, played jazz, played the sitar, cut my hair short again to teach music in private schools (not public schools, because they demand full-time employment and this weird thing they call a college degree) and although I was convinced that I’d find a woman to marry, have kids, and some kind of “ministry” raising money and preaching the Bible. Year after year I yearned more and more for a male companion. I blame Alaska and Oklahoma. I love big men, with big hats, big beards, and big bellies. They drove me nuts.
In my late 20’s I started searching online and found I wasn’t alone. Other people find bearish men attractive! Not only that, some of them kinda liked me too, but it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I actually touched one of them. During that time, I started a five year mission to boldly go where no gay man has gone before: to be entirely “cured” of all my gay-ness. This obsession through several abusive groups and cruel leaders, quacks and bizarre aggressive prayer sessions, I actually got “more gay”. Damn you sexy alaskan grizzly-looking men! This led me to seek help out of state, and I sold my failing business and soon flew down to Kentucky for a residential program.
I find it funny that I got “more gay” in church culture. I also find it funny that growing up with gay waiters and gay hairstylists while being close knit to the 80’s and 90’s Lesbian and Gay communities was instrumental in putting me in the closet in addition to the AIDS crisis scare being very apparent to me as a youngster. In those days, LGBTQ subcultures weren’t as accessible or visible to most of us, and mainstream stereotypical gay culture was something I developed an aversion to. It still annoys me.
So, that was my “choice”, to be a part of that annoying and fake world and go to gay churches and gay bars and gay dances and date some annoying twink that wears pink. That choice was also, based on my very real reality (you must understand that many adult converts are really hardcore/devout/intense and not to be in the same category as those who were raised in bible-based communities) that made my whole world view and everything within me totally convinced that being gay was going to cause eternal punishment for me and deplorable influences to those I “corrupt” as being a bad example. Therefore, I really didn’t have much of a choice. Most people get stuck at that part. This is the point where they say, “but why did you do it?” I just told you. Read it again.
I had no logical and conscientious choice based on the way my life was. I was stuck in an annoying and fake anti-gay world instead of an annoying and fake gay world. I also could not afford any of the residential programs I looked into except for one that worked with a lot of men who were “doing” men. Again, the “choice” was clear. Although I was told there would be hard work and a sort of “militant” atmosphere, did I really have much of a choice? My family was freaking out and taking extreme passive or aggressive attitudes toward me while not meeting me where I was at and not providing any reasonable means to find a life worth living. Another choice I had was to sign the legal paperwork the first week of being admitted into the program. These people demanded an awful lot of power over my life, however, I don’t remember consenting to the cruel forms of abuse they practiced on me and the other “students” in the program.
Forget everything you’ve learned about conversion therapy. The men’s sexual addiction residential recovery program at Pure Life Ministries was nothing like what you may have heard about the “ex-gay” movement – like the programs that were associated with Exodus International; in particular, the iconic (and expensive) Love In Action. This was different. Pure Life Ministries was started by an obsessive ex-cop without a professional background in mental health but rather military law enforcement. They used unusual tactics to gain power over the minds and wills of their subjects. There was a lot of cult-like tactics, forms of punishment, sleep deprivation, humiliation, among several psychologically harmful and traumatic forms of mind control.
I was held longer than my six month stay and felt threatened to leave because of the financial ruin it would have caused among other bizarre ways to keep men in the program. They were not only unusually strict with written (spoken, and even unspoken) rules, if a student was considered valuable, they’d show favoritism to certain men and allow them to bend the rules. I had to keep my art and music a secret in addition to my “gay” past. I had no choice where I was to work and was sent to minimum wage and entry-level-pay jobs an hour from the “ranch” where I worked in factories, warehouses, and even sweat-shops (quite literally in fact, 106 degrees making automotive parts without a lunch break, or other jobs like industrial laundry…) I got physically injured a lot too.
I was instructed not to go back to Alaska, in addition to the fact that I was held into October (2005) and missed my opportunities to regain my teaching career again for the season. I graduated from the program and was counseled to take a job in North Carolina to work for a con artist minister who tried to take the little money I did have. I took a thirty hour bus ride back to Kentucky where I remained another five months trying to get follow up support from this cultic organization that I had given my will to.
Those of us who identified as “ex-gay” could do pretty well for long periods of time. My grandpa died in early 2004 which triggered a major depression which made me unable to wear my “straight jacket” where I started actually meeting with a few men. This happened again in 2006 when I was so burned out and suicidal I couldn’t keep up that lifestyle. So I got on a phone dating thing and talked to a creepy trucker named Bob, among a few others. Then came a guy named Tom. His charming Kentucky accent and deep voice made me melt, until he had to suddenly put his mother to bed. I was to get back on the chat line later that night and we talked for four and a half hours. The next day he picked me up from Florence down to Dry Ridge in his big blue Buick. I expected to meet someone that looked more like George Wendt and instead found a rather unattractive pale-skinned wrinkly balding guy with a sheepish grin that seemed to say: “yeah I’m ugly and I don’t blame you if you don’t get in my car”.
It wasn’t “love at first sight”, I already fell for him the night before. Also, he never wore pink. I thought it was refreshing that he was a caregiver for his elderly mom suffering with dementia, went to his baptist church, ate a lot of KFC, and was very close to his family. That’s the kind of gay life I wanted. He was also bananas for me, and I wasn’t used to that kind of attention. I was very torn, and after some very disappointing social experiences with trying to make friends from the (Rhema) church I was attending, and hanging out with other Pure Life graduates, I began to fall apart. One day, I started attempting suicide, and the moment I started trying to harm myself, I ran out of the apartment building, and up the Dixie Highway. I walked for miles until a violent storm started brewing. It got to the point where I wasn’t going to make it back to my apartment without putting myself at risk, and failed at hitchhiking my way back. That was the depth of my experience as an outcast from my adopted family, and the second time I was banished from a community.
Luckily I had just enough minutes and just enough charge on my cheap little second hand drop-phone I had recently got. I called Tom. He was surprised to hear me, considering the fact that he assumed he’d never hear from me again because one of the last things I told him was that I am going to find a woman and marry her. He was as giddy as he was worried, and he must have literally jumped out the window into the Buick and raced over to find me just before the storm got too heavy. It felt like I was home, and finally in a “safe” place.
On one particular visit, Tom brought out a cheap old musical keyboard from a closet and I proceeded to play “Cry Out To Jesus” (by Third Day) and he was very moved. Some time after that, he noticed some tiny pieces of metal that had been embedded into my hands due to the factory work I had to do back in Dry Ridge. At that time, I had to work nights, 10PM-6AM, sometimes 10PM-10AM, working an assembly line putting together parts for axels to be used in U-Haul trucks and stuff like that. I would walk several blocks back to the creepy old apartment building (with the thin metal doors and sinking hallways) throughout that winter, and try to get as much as four hours of sleep a day. Tom asked me to stay with him. I was to be his “guest” in a little room in the basement. (That was the very room we started fooling around in.)
How silly of us to have me sleep downstairs. It’s obvious that room was just to tell the rest of the family that “I lived downstairs”. That first night, not even an hour passed and walking up the stairs and then I’m cuddling with Tommy Bear all night, every night. We were in heaven. He even smelled good. I actually liked his snoring. We also seemed to have a taste for “morning sex”, which later became a regular thing for us. Then I got scared again, tried to move back to Alaska, and after a few weeks, I’m calling my beloved Tommy-Bear again. He followed me to Anchorage and we had this sort of “honeymoon”, as we mailed my stuff back to Kentucky, and I showed him glaciers and mountains and reindeer sausage. He had started growing a beard, which I thought transformed him from “unattractive” to “Sexy Santa Daddy Bear”. The chemistry was electric. We’d flip-fuck throughout the week, drop Mom off at daycare, go to Panera Bread, walk in the park, go back home and fuck again, and so on… It was, for the most part, the best life I have ever had. The best way to describe us was like Gilligan and the Skipper. He worried about me so much, and I was so unpredictable. He came out to his family, it was almost gay-storybook, yet with a very tall old “bear” who tipped the scales at over 360 pounds.
The other times I got scared about the relationship weren’t because of God. It was him. Tom had a violent temper, and me, as a recent and past trauma victim, I’d end up very symptomatic, which made him even more abusive. Then the gay community also got abusive to me, and later my mother visited. She got into his head even though I warned him, and although he soon snapped out of it, she was using him to falsely accuse me of refusing mental health care. The fact was (and Tom knew it) it simply was not available, and I was on a waiting list. I ended up hospitalized soon after mom’s visit which led to me applying for disability, and getting urgent mental health care that enabled me to be bumped off the waiting list – getting therapy, medications, and support groups.
After a string of dysfunctional and abusive relationships, I gave up on men for a while, started dating women again, and even had an awesome girlfriend for a while – fucking guys again, dating guys again, and then going after some serious creeps. Some of these guys were into underage boys, and there started to be some serious trouble brewing. There wasn’t really much I could do with some men who are very powerful, but I tried and gave up. Looking back, I have actually come in contact with a handful of pedofiles in my adult life. Working as a missionary, I had a housemate that I nearly caught him in the act with a boy about the age of three. Remembering the little I knew about the creepy preschool I attended, it’s no wonder why I have been such a perv-magnet in my relationships, and even with some of my friends and housemates. (Also, whether these were lovers or not, all of these men had strong biblical beliefs and church backgrounds.*)
Me being more and more of a “creep magnet” also has to do with how getting older, while disabled, single, and more and more unrecognized as an artist and having less and less friends: this all has made some kind of appraisal change in the minds of others – cause me to be continually marked down. (I’m like a fucking K-Mart item.) The more mental health care I got, the worse I got. I got barred from a local venue for losing control. Luckily I have no legal issues due to my illness, at least not yet. If a member of law enforcement happens to see some of my episodes, I would be on record as being some kind of threat to society. That’s cool I guess. I’ve basically been labeled as being a bad-guy among the LGBTQ Community, the music and art communities, those I worked with in mental health nonprofits, the “white buddhists” I had associated with for those early post-christian years, and just about everyone else.
August 20th, 2016 was the day I started pursuing my solo career. I got connected to an artist manager, or agent, or some asshole like that; and on that same day, I lost my reputation as a professional (rock and roll) keyboard accompanist. That work was insulting and tedious to me, not worth all the belittling and panic attacks, and sadly it was way better than being alone, and it took me nearly eight years to fade out of church music and then out of church, and by the end of 2013, rejecting the Bible as well as the faith. I started smoking weed in late 2011 about the time I had my eyes zapped, I later started being a social drinker, I started doing this thing: having fun/regret when it came to gay bathhouses and cruising, then more fun/regret, then a bunch of fun/regret with a bunch of weed. Than I also had some weed-regret. On that 100 degree day in August, it all started to fall apart after several months of bipolar mania. After staying up nearly all night, when I tried to leave that particular music festival, I had to force myself to leave because I was being held against my will by a paranoid druggie (that actually wasn’t the first time that happened during this 2nd Oregon period of my life).
That was followed by a nine month depression and agonizing over how my solo career and new business was going and how I was being treated. I was not only denied vocational support based on my skills and limitations, I spent a lot of time and money in training and mentoring only to get nowhere. It also became more and more difficult to get adequate mental health care, and was even sent home from the emergency room without being allowed to stay in the psychiatric ward, and without even a ride home, nor my medications. I also uncovered scams relating to vocational rehabilitation and medication management. Basically, people were empowered, relieved their guilt, and were even paid money to waste my time and resources only to leave me without any significant support to my mental health nor my business, leaving me unable to resolve these issues. I was also being discriminated against about who I am able to do business with, left only to disreputable businesses and individuals who I got taken advantage of.
So, why the mustache and the big hair? Why Fake Zappa? You’d think people ask me that however it’s clear to me that they have already made up their minds what a Fake Zappa should be. Apparently I am supposed to be some kind of historian and tribute band rolled up into one. We have plenty of those. I found that I like to find other artists that I identify with: Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt, Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett, and others who’s life and music has made me relate in various ways. It wasn’t until March 14th of 2017 when I was getting baked in bed and I really can’t tell you what all was going through my head. Chances are, it’s me trying to find something funny to post on facebook about; typically making stupid puns. I guess, one of those puns was a play on the name “Frank” which sounds (although doesn’t actually rhyme) with the word “fake”. I thought of that professor who dressed up as the images of various phases of the career of David Bowie and it occurred to me that I have never really had a good stage name or a decent long-term solo project. It was just a few days after I had met with my mother (who I had been close to again for eight years living back in the Portland area) and she started revealing some of her true beliefs about me that Sunday afternoon. It reminded me of when she started acting like a little girl with a screechy voice and told me she hated me, but she remained calm the entire time, acting just like a psychotherapist. I find that awfully strange considering she’s recognized as being one of the most successful psychotherapists to treat dissociative identity disorder (formally known as multiple personality disorder) using hypnotism in the form of Regression Therapy, that she would behave like this (while sober). Also, it was soon after she practiced hypnotherapy on me (in 1993) and I confronted her about what it had just done to me. Based on my experiences with a lot of unexplainable things, I’d admit that psychology and any other “science” really can’t fully explain some of these things. When she hypnotized me, I was taken to a sort of hell, but it was very realistic, like numerous creatures trapped deep underground in the dark. This screechy “I hate you” voice came back in 2018, but in a very surreal form. That’s another bizarre story, resulting in me losing some of my closest friends.
Wasting away again in my gloomy house, I started losing control again. All of the mental health and vocational support I was getting failed me miserably and I was stuck in a place where my work was killing me in addition to the fact that giving up on my dream was killing me even more. I gradually continued to cut off more members of my family until I felt like their influence was undermining my very will to live. It was the same with most of my peers as well. They were scared that my career would kill me, never asking what giving up would do to me. Basically, I had been branded as being a “follower” and not a “leader” (with the exception to much of my time in Alaska) and I just couldn’t change anyone’s minds about the realities I was living with. Converting my living room into an audio/video production studio while being torn about needing to leave the Northwest, but through a federal grant, purchasing even more gear while very unfocused and doing mostly everything alone; I was still not finding sanity.
When my home-studio caught fire March of 2018, the best option for me was to travel; even though my crisis went from bad to worse. If that wasn’t bad enough, the handful of people that I still associated with in my life became desperate to control me, and in ways that would have probably killed me or cause even more loss. That started a long tedious period of being cheated and taken advantage of by several people, businesses, and organizations because I was so vulnerable, in addition to being resourceful. I seemed to have been seen by greedy people as the “crazy old bum that nobody listens to that happens to have a lot of insurance settlement money”. Trying to move back into the rebuilt house was too triggering, traumatic, and even more lonesome. I reluctantly got back together with a former friend (with benefits) and while he was helping me to pick out shower curtains at Walmart one day, I fell for him, and suddenly I had a partner again for the next year.
Selling the motorhome and switching to a travel trailer was a better way to travel the region for us, his two deplorable weiner dogs, and the new cat – until the house sold. I knew I had to leave the Northwest. The relationship was dying, the few friends I had left were no longer supportive and basically turned their backs on me. The two guys that were currently members of my band seemed to show the most support, but I felt bad for the simple fact that those were the only people in the world that I had any recognizable influence over. I gave away and stored the rest of my stuff, left my partner behind, got a mailing address, and hit the road in late 2019, and after a debilitating lower back injury in Southern Oregon, I headed to Arizona for the winter, slowly recovered, and got back to work. I also made it a habit of introducing myself as “Fake Zappa”, and tried hard to get gigs and collaborators in various places I stayed.
Whenever meetings, events, gigs, and other opportunities are canceled, I have had to take my art more and more to the streets. Things have gotten more absurd since the Pandemic while I see venues and organizations re-open for business, (although with limitations) holding special events, yet making excuses to exclude my work. This has made me stuck again, even more so, and every time I run out of ideas, I have to fight, get creative, heal and recover from the stress and feelings of anger and frustration while I plan for my next “scam” (that’s the affectionate label I put on my business efforts). I have put myself more and more at risk emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially; in addition to the fact that I am traveling alone with debilitating disorders. Trying to find the time to run my business while working on my self-care. I am grateful that throughout these recent years, I am slowly finding sanity while everyone around me is slowly going crazy.
The conclusion is that I am an epic loser. At least, that seems to be how I am so often dismissed as. If I were to sum it up in one concept, I believe that I have been someone with something to contribute while being branded as a follower, and some sort of disposable object. I believe that (since I was an infant) I have been made into someone who is vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion. This has made me susceptible to cult-like relationships with organizations and individuals, easily victimized by con artists and abusers, and thus being drained of whatever resources I have for the gain of the greedy.
Western society is taught from our culture and our media that there are people we have labeled as “vulnerable” that need advocacy and support. I happen to have the characteristics of someone that doesn’t have any recognizable disabilities in addition to the fact that I also come off as looking like someone to be afraid of (especially when it gets cold outside and I bundle up in my camouflage warmies and big clunky boots). In some ways I don’t blame folks. Lone, older, anti-social, weird-looking hippy-type white men like myself to wander around the country in a travel trailer have been, in my experience, mostly prone to being abusive, deceived, delusional, abusing substances, and having an overabundance of self-importance with nothing significant to contribute to society and no regular self care.
Stage hypnotists can look into the eyes of members of their audience and discern which subjects are most vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion. I’d imagine there’s a purely psychological explanation to this, however it does seem creepy that so many greedy people have succeeded to use me, even those with outstanding reputations have also used, abused, and discarded me with no resolve or acknowledgment. I’ve been homeless a handful of times in my life and know a little bit about what that is like. It’s even more weird to have funds and assets while being viewed and treated as someone with the social status of something somewhere between the working-poor and a houseless individual.
Chances are, I haven’t gotten through to you in over seven thousand words. It wouldn’t work with seven hundred, or seven million words if a reader makes up their mind that I happen to be one of those people who are simply not heard. Paleolithic people had to think this way for their survival. Modern humans not only still think this way, we are bombarded with so much information that our nervous system has to put an immediate value on everything and everyone around us for the simple fact that we just don’t have enough time to take the effort to really look deeper into everything that comes at us. I happen to be one of those people that gets “filtered out” and “blocked out” because I am not only labeled as a lifelong follower, but as an aspiring public figure, the treatment I get is that I am one of those people that others shouldn’t listen to. Banished. Outcast. Out-caste, rather.
The unfair disadvantages I live with should be recognized the same as those who dish out a lot of cheddar to make their place of business ADA compliant. Invisible disabilities, like the stuff I live with, are typically a lot cheaper than building wheelchair ramps, and often free of charge Wouldn’t it be funny if those who identify themselves as benevolent and helping the underprivileged would be able to discern vulnerable people as much as the victimizers can discern a vulnerable person? (Rapists can watch videos of women walking down the sidewalk and identify who would be vulnerable.) It takes a certain kind of douchebag to pick on a sweet old widow in a wheelchair, and he rarely gets away with that. It takes a professional to pick on someone that they know will not be heard. The older, weaker, and further from the system I become, the more I am branded as the “unheard”. This isn’t such an issue most of the time, however, when I get symptomatic, when I am in crisis or some kind of major depression, I don’t have the luxury of being that discerning. This is all a clusterfuck of combinations that makes for a life that is tough to find a reason to live. I wish my dream is to sail around the world, or something that doesn’t require me to have a lot of visibility. Artists are way more powerful than we realize. I think that’s one of the reasons why powerful people are simply not able to share their power. They will throw me their advice, their money, their ideas; and are determined to keep my life and my work a big secret.
The pen is not mightier than the sword if nobody understands or even reads what is written. Not only that, although this old rebuilt MacBook is way more nifty than any ink pen. It’s got spell-check. Most pens can’t do that. My MacBook can. It’s durable and even has text-to-voice which really helps anyone with dyslexia. I put a spiffy sticker on it. Other than that, fuck you Apple. I wish I could compete with other businesses, however they not only have unfair advantages over me, I am regarded as an outsider and I really get tired of having special “connections” only to be told to basically stand at the end of the line while I wait forever seeing privileged, powerful, popular, (and the occasional lucky) and high functioning people get to go inside and do their work. Not only that, most of the time, their art is really shitty. For those who hate me, there’s actually a website for the things that people don’t like about me and my work. For those who think I’m making all this up to get attention, I just let people believe that. For those who are unsure if I deserve what I am asking of the world, I am reachable, and have a lot of useless things on the web in addition to some surprisingly spiffy products. If this lifelong punishment is just a result of my times of being a egotist, a control-freak, and coming off as a total asshole, I think it would be funny if all the other entertainers who act like that all the time while being significantly high functioning would suffer this kind of banishment. Well, at least porn-star Ron Jeremy got busted this year. Hopefully, the prison will bless him with enough woody-pills to bugger his cellmates regularly. Perhaps by now, he figuratively as well as literally prefers the bottom bunk. Chances are, by the time you’re reading this, he’s already gotten free and is back in show-biz.
AKA Jason T. Ingram
South Padre Island, Texas
December 3rd, 2020
*I asked Jesus about this and he said that all those pedofiles being christians was just a coincidence. Then I asked Jesus about those annoying mustached merry men who used to style my hair (and serve me at restaurants) as a kid and he told me that those guys surprisingly weren’t pedofiles. Then Jesus kept talking and reminded me that this writing is dedicated to some random Episcopalian that was camping next to me and I thought to myself how tacky it is to quote Jesus as if I am mocking someone’s faith and Jesus told me to stop falsely quoting him, so never mind bye.