“Maybe we’re all accidents.”
On Thursday, June 22, 2017, I would have missed encountering a neighbor on my morning run through the trails in the park, and chatting with her and petting her Chihuahua — and laughing and being complimented on my physique — a reminder, as I dashed away afterward, that I will probably always be alone. I would have missed receiving my largest ether retainer so far and holding it for the day until after I attended another Ethereum meetup at Gem in Venice. There I would have missed speaking for a moment with a Hungarian who claimed he doesn’t work and has an idea for a gene-modification ICO to raise one trillion dollars. I would not have missed smiling my way out of the conversation instead of giving him my card. Nor would I have missed that kernel in the back of my mind as I looked into his pupils and listened to the words coming out of his mouth that he might be a hacker — just like the poignancy that has lined the eyes with which I see men ever since the sexual assault so many years ago. I would have missed asking a Tall Young Man at the meetup how old he was — after he claimed that bitcoin would never drop too much in price because all the miners and others with vested interests would stop such an event from happening. I would have missed him blush deeper than I can remember anyone doing since Professor Farouq Mustafa teased a friend (whose name I forget) in Arabic summer school at the University of Chicago about falling in love. My goodness, that moment was 21 years ago — one year less than the age of the Tall Young Man at the Ethereum meetup. I would have missed selling all my ether as soon as I got home because if crypto is being held up by people with that mindset then the market is in for it. I would not have missed going to sleep saddened by the reality that, no matter how much I wanted to believe this new technology represents a step forward for humanity, greed nevertheless threatens to ruin it — but I would for sure have missed wrapping myself in the comfort that I am taking measures to protect myself against the coming storm.
On Friday, June 23, 2017, I would have missed working on my project to restore independence for the indigent defense function in the federal criminal “justice” system and seeing — more clearly than ever since I conceived the project a year-and-a-half ago — just how deeply judicial corruption infests the process. I would have missed the insight that, even though I believe the position I have advanced on behalf of my clients is correct, it will not matter because the whole shebang is so utterly fucked up. I would have missed deciding to stop work at 4pm, taking a nap in the hammock after eating a peach from the tree at the bottom of the hill, and starting a book about a man’s relationship with his father who was killed by the Libyan government. The writing gripped me and tightened in a noose around my neck especially when he wrote of his wife. And so I would have missed wondering, yet again, why must I be made to live alone for the rest of my life, and then not caring when I reminded myself I can put a bullet in my head at the end of this project. The apples dangling from the tree branches above the hammock are ripening, and I can reach up and pick one if I get hungry — provided the wild flock of wild parrots that have returned again this year do not peck everything down to the core. I would have missed an eerie calm in the crypto markets that seemed to presage a storm. Among other things I also would have missed a man I have loved very much since we first met nine years ago marry a real woman.
On Saturday, June 24, 2017, I would have missed the JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) on ETH misbehaving and dipping down into the low 290s every once in a while, dragging BTC along with it. Right now the entire thing is way too subject to manipulation and I fear that crypto is — for the moment — no better than the corrupt financial mechanisms we are rebelling against. I would have missed missing a morning spent on this shit, followed by a hike in Temescal Canyon with my good lawyer friend who remains in the midst of a nasty divorce and whom I have not seen since Christmas Day when we took a bike ride along the ocean in a windstorm so severe it blew sand in between our teeth. We stopped at our usual vantage point to look out across the coast but were swarmed by flies — which reminded me of that scene in The Sheltering Sky (based on the novel by one of my favorite writers — Paul Bowles) right before the main male character gets sick. How dreadfully much I miss the Middle East sometimes. Oh to be 19 and exploring the world again! I also would have missed hanging out at Voda — the Russian Baths in West Hollywood — with a Semi-neurotic But Loving Famous Friend who just got back from a trip to Europe where a project he was involved with won various awards. I would have missed explaining to him that I have felt the happiest in my life over the last month since I started this writing project because nothing fucking matters anymore and I just don’t care and it’s only one more year.
On Sunday, June 25, 2017, I would have missed playing water polo while a swimming cameraman collected footage for documentary that I did an interview shoot on, and, afterward, watching two straight guys sign the ball that one of them bought on behalf of the team as a wedding present for two of our gay teammates. I am so grateful to live in a world where such a moment materializes so naturally, so instinctively and so unstoppably. “People are people,” Mom said when I mentioned how touching the experience was. I also would have missed a goodbye brunch for one of the players, in which I witnessed a straight (potential) couple interact across the table and smiled inside at the poignancy of burgeoning affection. I would have missed the JOMO on a bloodbath in the crypto markets in which ether plummeted down to the low 250s before sputtering back up, and then down, and then up again. I would have missed stumbling into this tweet through my exploration of the crypto caves on Twitter: “’Love’ is what we call it when things maintain beauty up close.” And I also would have missed declining sex with the Energetic Latino Cyclist who once kissed me beneath the trees at the bottom of the hill where I lived in Echo Park when I first came to Los Angeles, on a night where the breeze mingled with the electricity of him coming close to me — all in an instant when I was hyper-aware of his arms and legs and his rolling curly dark hair and lithe power.
On Monday, June 26, 2017, I would have missed this quote from Ludwig von Mises during my morning reading:
Fiat money is a money consisting of mere tokens which can neither be employed for any industrial purposes nor convey a claim against anybody.
— and LOLing at how people say the same of cryptocurrency decades later. I would also have missed working on an appeal all day and the satisfaction of filing it at 7pm. I would therefore have missed doing something I love — an activity that engages my mind and heart and soul — banging on the doors of so-called “justice” and just doing it again and again a crack in the façade appears — and then doing it some more. The day was mostly spent on what I might be inclined to consider bullshit — revising and editing and proofing and assembling the record and the tables of contents and authorities and so on — but then I reminded myself of the question Mom always asks, which Grandma passed down to her: What else would you rather be doing? Come to think of it, at a Continuing Legal Education seminar some time ago a judge from the Second Circuit remarked how lucky we are to make our livings by reading, thinking and writing. Lucky indeed. And that is why I remain so determined to wrest the defense function out of the arms of that Wretched and Bitter District Judge who controls everything in the Central District of California and clings to more power than any one human being should ever have. I also would have missed eating too much at Whole Foods and even stuffing down some eggplant, which I really do not like unprepared because it tastes like a flavored rubber inner tube that has been left outside in the elements for a few years. And omg can I please also just say — even though I promised myself I would not do this — that I am just so thrilled about what has happened tomorrow (when/as I write this entry) with my computer science studies. More to come, but only after these two sentences: I almost forgot that I would have missed the JOMO on the entire crypto market losing about $13 billion — more at one point, I think — and ether dipping down to $201. Sometimes I happen to catch highs or lows that don’t make it into the charts, which is kind of troubling really.
On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, I would have missed the immense gratification of seeing my first computer program — the product of so much time and effort! — actually work:
I would have missed not really knowing whether my solution was good, let alone elegant — and, frankly, not really caring. I also would have missed hitting a brick wall around lunchtime, by which point I was only having breakfast, and spending the rest of the afternoon in a disarray rivaled by the lassitude that overcame me inside. But then, at the end of the day, I would have missed calculating my profits from cryptocurrency and blockchain-related legal work that I am way up on my initial cash outlay — even accounting for the little chunk that was stolen in the hack. And I would have missed the happiness that that discovery gave me — however fleeting.
On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, I would have missed wrangling with an inverse pyramid of hashtags in the C programming language until I finally just gave myself up for lost and went running. I also would have missed a fun meeting with co-counsel over at the Federal Public Defender’s Office and saying Hi to other colleagues I recognized there and at the shoe store nearby. I would have missed a hug from one of them after he said, “Keep inspiring us,” to close a conversation that had begun with how he was liking California and concluded with my war against the federal judiciary of the United States of America. I would have missed his hug and those words and floating away on a cloud — very much. I also would have missed falling asleep on the heated marble floor at the Korean spa, and the smile of the guy at the Indian vegetarian restaurant on Sunset — (where I ate twice with Jimmy after he started our friendship and I ended it) — as he recognized me from a couple of nights ago. I would have missed talking to Mom on my drive home about whether I should just go ahead and apply for an opening at the Federal Defender’s Office and then realizing that: (a) I am, despite all odds, making it on my own, just as I have done these nine-plus years since I hung up my little shingle in the world, and (b) I like being on my own and the latitude to try new things is invigorating and you know whatever because foregoing exploration enervates me. It occurred to me that, though I want to be cremated, I otherwise would prefer my tombstone to read: “WHOA” — a reminder that I would have missed one more day of trying to get one step closer to that ideal, if I had been dead.
On Thursday, June 29, 2017, I would have missed starting to wonder if crypto, and, at the moment, ether particularly, has already begun a tango with the America economy:
I would also have missed, after two morning and hours upon hours of work, achieving success with my first computer program that required solving a problem:
I would have missed the flows of joy that overtook me as I marveled at the beauty of programming, much like the majesty of law — but perhaps more like acid laced with MDMA. I kept trying and trying to understand why and how the program works via a discussion thread on Facebook… as another hour passed to no avail… until finally:
On Friday, June 30, 2017, I would not have missed missing running into a wall and feeling like a useless piece of shit for most of the day. But I would so have missed texting with a friend I have known since first grade who sees right to the core of me — and I to his — and the message that he understood. I would have missed getting into the car to go to the spa and be alone, but then saying fuck it and joining the ladies’ night out with a group from the Los Angeles Athletic Club. I would have missed having fun and lightening and being a part of something that I too often remain on the outside of, looking in. I would have missed an introduction to these ladies’ subversive sides and conversation topics that never would have surfaced with men around. I would have missed saying Yes also to the second bar we went to, and on the way learning that one of the group was indeed a lesbian, and then, at the next stop, which was kind of a cross between a hunting lodge and a greenhouse and cauldron of hipsters, staring into her seductive black eyes — I swear those irises are like the universe — and wanting to leap onto her and make out with her right there, the rest of the world be damned. I also would have missed getting home much later than usual and still having energy, which made me feel young. I would not have missed feeding my obsession watching ether drop further more or less all day, but, I almost forgot, I would have missed the British Dandy Grifter asking me for $500,000.
On Saturday, July 1, 2017, I would have missed watering all the houseplants and front yard succulents that I planted and fruit trees in the backyard. I especially would have missed making sure the avocado saplings that have sprouted out of my compost pile — I know I shouldn’t add seeds but what the hell — were sufficiently drenched. I would have missed posting this thriller on Facebook:
And I would have missed driving down to Mom’s for the holiday weekend, sitting with her and talking about the job I applied for and my life in general and petting her Chihuahua Shellie — whom I affectionately call a Wretched Little Thing — while listening to her encouragement, and later looking down at the age spots and wrinkles on her forearm as she reached over to show me the lever sweet spot so I could enjoy a bath. I would not have missed tossing and turning from dreams about crypto and decentralization for the second night in a row — I am so antsy.
On Sunday, July 2, 2017, I am admitting I cheated and wrote this entry yesterday: On my morning run in Crystal Cove, the antsy-ness finally lifted and my brain could breathe again. But the President’s tweet of the doctored video showing him beating up CNN still haunted me. And so I resolved to follow my heart and, as a form of political protest, buy back into bitcoin again. I realize that we are just as poised for a crash as we are for a rally — and that one might look at a crypto market graph and say that I am totally insane — but I just could not shake the premonition that our leadership is a void, the dollar is due for a nose dive, and there is a possibility that cryptocurrency — and especially bitcoin — could be a very decent hedge against economic catastrophe. During the past couple of weeks I’ve been considering how our lack of crypto-infrastructure has been a problem and hampered growth — the ether flash crash on GDAX, Coinbase always going down whenever there’s a bloodbath, and all the ongoing liquidity issues — but then I thought, Oh, hell, those pieces of the puzzle are just as much signposts of progress as they are warning signals, the graphs — depending on how you look at them — are just as promising as they are worrisome, and, in any event, I just think that the value of bitcoin is more likely than not to be higher than it is now (around $2500) by year’s end. And, if I’m wrong, I will only have thrown away the “profits” I made on trading last month — a gambler’s mindset over “house money,” I suppose — but goddamnit I did research and learned about “pennants” and wrangled with all the pros and cons and watched the price go up and down and then up again, and so I flipped a coin and the toss was buy and so I risked it. At the moment I am inclined to simply put this chunk in the vault and leave it there as a backup in case all the world goes to shit — on the outside chance that it’ll be worth anything one day. Of course, it immediately went down, but not before I spent a lovely, restorative hour at my favorite beach thinking about how, if I lose on this bet, my idiocy won’t matter because by this time next year I could just as well be dead:
As for what happened later: I would have missed dinner with Mom at our go-to Indian place down here in OC and, during our conversation, realizing that my visits mean just as much for her as they do for me — if not more — and maybe that aspect of things is alone worth living for. Last year, around this time if I’m not mistaken, a famous friend who also struggles with suicide mentioned that devastating our moms is reason enough not to go through with it, and that the precious moments of life are so beautiful anyway and we wouldn’t want to miss those. Still no consolation when you don’t believe you deserve to be alive and the world would be better without you in it — but I guess there’s an element of faith going on here. At the end of the day, I would have missed bitcoin bouncing right back up and smiling inside from having what appears — until the next crisis — to have been a solid decision.
On Monday, July 3, 2017, I would have missed returning from my morning run in Crystal Cove followed by another swim at Thousand Steps Beach — to a hot bath that Mom drew for me to enjoy in her new jacuzzi tub. I would have missed lying flat on my back afterward as the tension of the last two or three months escaped me. I would not have missed missing litecoin go up after I decided on my run that it was time to buy some, only to chicken out of it about an hour before it indeed rose. Oh I just knew it! But I certainly would have missed spending an hour or so with Mom and her 95-year-old neighbor June and discussing politics and the downfall of America and listening to all her stories and absorbing her perspective and wisdom like a sponge. I would have missed wishing I could stay another couple of days, or even a week, or just give up everything and live out the rest of my days like this — which I could if I were to put a time limit on my life. What is all this striving for? What good does it do? I would have missed going to bed at 9pm and petting Shellie nestled next to me until I fell asleep.
On Tuesday, July 4, 2017, I would have missed a day that began with a run in Crystal Cove and concluded on the roof of the building where I live in New York City:
And yet, I would not have missed cracking my phone screen and cursing my idiocy and clumsiness for dropping the phone in the first place — and therefore incurring yet another unnecessary expenditure in life — all because I had the stupid idea of taking those photos to begin with. I would have missed litecoin bouncing all the way up into the high-mid-50s on my flight, and the gratification and joy of working and making progress on a couple of cases while munching on free meals in my upgraded seat — and seeing the fireworks from the plane as we flew into the City. I also would have missed the guy who sat next to me reminding me to grab my hoodie which I otherwise would have forgotten, and my taxi driver’s sweetness of tone as we chatted about traffic on the BQE. I would very much have missed that relief of coming home that always floods over me soon as I open my apartment door.
On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, I would have missed trekking out to Newark to visit a client in a place that made me think, Why travel to foreign countries when there are so many other worlds to explore right here in the United States? I would have missed a letter from a lawyer I met at Consensus who represents the secondary exchange from which some of my crypto was syphoned away. We were supposed to get together for lunch or coffee this month — so much for that. Surely I would have missed the information he provided about where they believe my stolen crypto now resides. I also would have missed seeing friends at the Baths — including a blockchain/crypto acquaintance and a good friend who gave me a massage — but mostly I would have missed an encounter with the Self-proclaimed “Israelite” who sat down to talk to me about Aristotle’s Politics and then appeared totally stunned when I interjected, “Do you realize that you make me feel like a second-class human being?” I would have missed, more than anything, the afterward: being alone but feeling more empowered than I had in my entire life:
On Thursday, July 6, 2017, I would have missed a lackluster day that still somehow left me feeling as though I were walking on a cloud. It began with a text message from Jimmy with a potential referral that I would be willing to hope never materializes. How my heart skipped a beat before I read the substance of his communication! I would not have missed the depression that weighed me down during most of the day, but I would have missed the discount that the store manager of where I had my phone screen replaced gave me because I had to wait an extra hour. I would have missed leaving with a smile on my face from the warmth of interactions with a stranger that appeared born of mutual respect for one another as fellow human beings on the face of this earth. And I would have missed the three guys at the Baths who were talking too loudly and in circles about crypto and different asset strengths and weaknesses and litecoin being the next big thing — for they reminded me of when I was their age, day-trading in the stock market in the 1990s during the dot.com bubble and seeing the universe through rose-colored glasses because everything was happening for the very first time, exploding so hopeful and energizing and wonderful and razor-sharp and this time was going to be different. I would have missed talking and interacting with them, and learning about their perspectives, and thinking, Thank God I am the age I am now and they are the age they are now, too. So basically I just would have missed another spin around the axis of the earth.
On Friday, July 7, 2017, I would have missed One of the Loves of My Life sending me a picture of a puppy that may or may not be his — our first exchange since April when he drove me back from Malibu without saying a word. I also would have missed the thrill of walking to court in a downpour that sent rivers rushing through the gutters. The degree to which I appreciate New York City despite its agitations and shortcomings and nonsense and horrible weather seems proportional to the extent that I appreciate life itself, notwithstanding its struggles, when I remember that I could be dead. I would have missed an afternoon nap because fuck it. And I would have missed lulling myself into productivity afterward with another appeal in which I am trying against all odds to persuade the United States Courts to listen to reason, apply logic, facts and the law, and reach justice. A radical proposition, I know. How absurd that such a goal remains idealistic. Whatevs. I would have missed talking about crypto with a software engineer at the Baths (who surprised me with his naivete about blockchain), and another young man — a 25-year-old with extraordinary bone structure and skin quality who smelled faintly like a battery and had bought bitcoin at $6. Once again it amazes me how interactions with men spring into action in the Russian Room when I am topless. Jesus Christ our conversations can spin anywhere in minutes. Is it so wrong to say I would have missed the guy who walked by me on Avenue A and said, Wow — as I was turning in to the park — especially since I was wearing athletic attire and Vans? Maybe it was the shortness of the shorts. I also would have missed walking home under the leaves of the trees on the street where I live, most of which have grown back into a canopy overhead for the first year since Hurricane Sandy ripped them to bits and felled my favorite one.
On Saturday, July 8, 2017, I would have missed exchanging genitalia photos with One of the Loves of My Life, relinquishing myself to my instincts, and relishing the surrender even after all these years of drama. Especially after all these years of drama. I also would have missed taking either four or five little naps on a lazy Saturday afternoon that could have been spent in a beach house on Fire Island with the windows open, but, in the moment, seemed just as relaxing and wonderful from right here in my little East Village hobbit hole. I would have missed welling up with tears at this passage from Love, Africa by Jeffrey Gettleman, in between dozes:
“The last thing I want to tell you guys, and it might sound weird, but just hear me out,” he said, avoiding our eyes. “When I was your age, I did the same thing. I traveled around the world. It was the best two years of my life. I think about that trip every day, even now. You will too.”
I would have missed heading over to the Baths and then stopping in the park for a while just to sit and watch the world pass by, during which moment I also would have missed the pride of living in a time and place of such diversity and integration. At night, over yosenabe at Beron Beron after the Baths, I would have missed the former Prime Minister of New Zealand liking a tweet in which I suggested insects as a protein source solution for human population growth:
On Sunday, July 9, 2017, I would have missed a bike ride up and down hills through the trees so full of leaves with green everywhere along River Road. Afterward I would have missed riding through Manhattan instead of taking the subway home from the GW:
I would have missed a tasty salad at Whole Foods and appreciating the colors and life on my walk over to somewhere in the West Village that I’ve been going to for over a decade:
Then I would have missed checking the time and saying, Oh, fuck where I’m going — and just sitting in Washington Square Park for a while among all the people. At the Baths, I would have missed seeing a ConsenSys friend and having my ass complimented by an editor at Vice and staying until the lights went out in the Russian Room and hanging out on the stoop outside later as The Israeli Bodybuilder came up in randomly in the conversation, and suddenly materialized irl less than 30 seconds later to envelop me in a hug with this:
I would have missed sushi afterward as we all talked about crypto and decentralization and watched a video of some girls who eat crazy stuff and then make videos of it — one of them ended up in bed with an oxygen tank after a hot chili experience — and hugging my friends goodbye and receiving a kiss on the neck and walking home afterward with maybe a little bit of a bounce in my step.
On Monday, July 10, 2017, I would have missed filing my third appeal on behalf of a client in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit challenging the indigent federal defense system across the country. I would have missed depositing some bitcoin in a vault, and then saying what the hell and picking up some ether and, for the first time, litecoin. I would not have missed the letdown of watching them immediately drop; but I would have missed the euphoria of seeing them immediately bounce right past where I bought them; and I can’t remember whether I would have missed ether then plunging down into the 180s shortly thereafter. I would have missed wondering if this whole thing is over already. I also would have missed hitting The Strand — where I have been going to browse books for 23 years as of next month — to pick up a copy of Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber. I read it in thrall on a bench in Washington Square Park, while listening to EDM from the aerobics/sword dance class nearby:
On the other hand, when we say someone acts like they ‘don’t owe anything to anybody,’ we’re hardly describing the person as a paragon of virtue. In the secular world, morality consists largely of fulfilling our obligations to others, and we have a stubborn tendency to imagine those obligations as debts.
On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, I would have missed buying a little more ether and litecoin, and then of course watching the price go a little up and then drop — meanwhile of course bitcoin went down into the mid-2200s and the crypto market cap dipped below $80B for the first time in like two months or whatever — and so I would have missed spending the rest of the day achieving peace that I fucked up and the whole thing really is over — until I woke up the morning after (tomorrow, July 12, as I write this entry) and was up on my new purchases — and then down again — which maybe I will write about tomorrow, or maybe I’ll just get over it. I also would have missed spending literally two hours gaping at the news that the President’s son apparently conspired to commit treason against the United States of America, reporting my crypto theft to the NYPD and — after a 20-something couple involving a female with unshaven legs barged into the precinct and monopolized everything for a good half-hour with some bullshit about their landlord — sitting across the desk from a Young Italian Detective whose eyes virtually hypnotized me. In the evening, I would have missed seeing another crypto friend at the Baths and talking to him about sex and the upcoming Ethereal Summit in San Francisco this fall.
On Wednesday, July 12, 2017, I would have missed a complimentary upgrade to my favorite spot — an aisle seat in the third row — for my flight back to Los Angeles. Because somehow the free food and free movies and sufficient leg room in “main cabin select” — you know, everything that everyone used to enjoy — make me feel that I am getting a deal. What the hell is it exactly that makes men stare — especially in airplanes — it’s just a pair of goddamn nipples through a t-shirt. You’d think they’d never seen any before. I would have missed reading, as my jaw dropped further and further into the over-dry, pressurized cabin air, Graeber’s chapter on “Primordial Debts”:
If one were looking for the ethos for an individualistic society such as our own, one way to do it might well be to say: we all owe an infinite debt to humanity, society, nature, or the cosmos (however one prefers to frame it), but no one else could possible tell us how we are to pay for it. This at least would be intellectually consistent. If so, it would actually be possible to see almost all systems of established authority — religion, morality, politics, economics, and the criminal-justice system — as so many different fraudulent ways to presume to calculate what cannot be calculated, to claim the authority to tell us how some aspect of that unlimited debt ought to be repaid. Human freedom would then be our ability to decide for ourselves how we want to do so.
I really would have missed Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams mesmerizing me in Nocturnal Animals, which seemed so true to how the world turns that it almost hurt beautifully. I would have missed landing to ether being way up to like $225 from its low of $185 yesterday or the day before or both or whenever the hell it was, and watching the crypto market inch its way back up to $89B (before of course falling back down this morning, as I write this, once more leaving me with the impression that I fucked everything up and stupidly got back in at the wrong time — or even at all — and maybe this whole thing really is just all over). I still wonder about the downward pressure from ICOs cashing out of crypto into fiat — thereby undermining the whole idea probably — but then I suppose they only account for a total of less than $1B this year, so what the fuck. I also would have missed dinner at Guisados on Sunset with my Dear Baby-Faced Lawyer Friend who climbed over a table to talk to me when we first met on the rooftop of some hotel downtown where I sponsored a law school event three years ago. I would very much have missed appreciating how lucky I am to live in a place where I can go to a restaurant and order fish tacos served on cabbage — rather than tortillas — to limit my carb intake for the evening. And I also would have missed a phone call with another soulmate, My Dear Friend From College, and together lamenting the state of our nation and the stream of crises that bombard us daily. The political situation I would not miss at all — but I would miss the hope, despite all indications to the contrary, that maybe, just maybe, someday things might change and humanity will seem warm and kind and good again.
On Thursday, July 13, 2017, I would have missed falling asleep on the heated marble floor of the Korean spa I’ve been going to ever since I first started exploring Los Angeles several years ago. I also would have missed a few bites of some fruit concoction that was way too sweet and synthetic for me, but which I smiled over anyway because the Materialistic Armenian Girl who is always very nice offered some. She keeps talking about how the professions are such a horrible way to make a decent living of $300,000 per year. She’s right tho. Even so, I would have missed thinking that I do not need nearly that much to maintain an okay life — although it would of course be nice as a baseline — and that if I were dead I would not need anything at all. I would have missed exchanging pleasantries with the cashier at Whole Foods — I asked her for a receipt before paying and she asked me if I wanted a receipt after I had paid, so we joked together about needing some sleep. My nap at the spa was indeed only the beginning; I would also have missed falling asleep on the floor of my living room as well because it somehow just felt so warm and surrounding and perfect and accordingly I just slipped into a dream or two before dragging myself to bed a half-hour later.
On Friday, July 14, 2017, I would have missed tearing a government law enforcement witness to shreds in the Central District of California at a hearing on a motion to right a wrong and suppress illegally seized evidence. Not that it matters. The criminal justice system in the United States is so intellectually and morally bankrupt that I wonder whether we ought to just give up on the whole thing. I would have missed submitting bills for money that I will need — especially with all the crypto losses to come. More than anything I would have missed dozing in the hammock in my backyard, swinging by the club for a steam and Whole Foods for dinner afterward, and driving down the 5 with my car windows down on a summer night and the EDM cranked the hell up. The crypto markets have been in a bloodbath this week, and bitcoin and ether are fighting for their lives. I would have missed bitcoin dropping below $2100 for the first time in a long time, ether appearing to hold steady until it didn’t, and then the usual up-and-down madness for the rest of the drive down to Mom’s. I would have missed being like, You know what? I think this really could be the end — and so what. The warm air on my face with the music blasting and carrying my thoughts and dreams and worries away to other lands that exist only in the imagination! The temperature of the world so that I could not tell where I ended and the rest of the universe began! OMG it was all so perfect and nice and wonderful that the experience alone was enough to carry me through each moment, and the next, and whatever and wherever the world spins next after whichever instant I find myself in — and I very much would have missed this feeling: a sort of weightlessness — or emotionlessness — in space! I would have missed how happy Mom was to see me — she had stayed up past her bedtime watching Law & Order until I arrived — and how happy I was, too.
On Saturday, July 15, 2017, I would have missed Crystal Cove giving me a tree bath in the basin of the canyon I run down and back up again whenever I’m visiting Mom — unless rain closes the trails. I would have missed the sounds of crackling branches and bird chirps and leaves rustling in the breeze as I wondered what the crypto markets were doing and then let go. I would have missed the drive down to Thousand Steps Beach and the sand giving way to the ridges of my feet and bulging between my toes and the refreshing invigoration that came over me walking into the ocean and body surfing and curling up like a potato bug into a wave that spun me in a ball either toward or into the shore — I kind of knew where I was but also I lost track. I would so much have missed all the men and their chests and arms and faces and legs and feet — all compiled into wads of protoplasm that walk the earth for the blink of an eye. And I would just as much have missed leaving my phone at home the entire morning and floating around as to the price or ether and what I would do if I ended up in an accident and had to call help from the side of the road and what if someone was trying to get ahold of me and in this way I would have missed it being like the 1990s all over again — you know, back when I grew up without a phone, imagine that. And, speaking of accidents, I would have missed thinking about — during a conversation over dinner with Mom concerning the family — how a human being can be an accident. The entirety of a human life — perhaps any human life, for that matter — an accident that expulses a living being. Maybe we are all accidents.
On Sunday, July 16, 2017, I would have missed awakening to a bloodbath in the crypto markets and buying some shit in the fire sale. I would have missed prices teeter, stumble, and then blast off into the air and stay there — at least until next time. Somehow I kind of feel like that was it, though, and we really may not see those levels again unless the whole thing implodes and goes to hell. I would have missed another run in Crystal Cove and then just hanging out in LA for the afternoon and inhaling Graeber’s book while appeasing my anxiety with BTC/ETH/LTC price checks too frequently. I would have missed firing off a short, one-line email to the guy on the water polo team who has in the past said things like, Hello, beautiful — and I think he invited me to have grasshopper tacos with him but I am not sure. I wish there were a computer program to advise me on these things — i.e., the motherfucking dynamics of human interactions. I would have missed choosing the steam room and sauna facilities at the club downtown rather than my spot in Koreatown — thinking all the while that I now have the foregone admission fee of $20 to spend on bitcoin instead. I would have missed propping my eyes open to get through some more Graeber at home that night, as the breeze ambled in the front door and through my little home and out the back window — and going to bed early to escape having to spend any more of such a pleasant evening awake, and alone.
On Monday, July 18, 2017, I would have missed a federal judge reciting my arguments that the federal drug sentencing scheme is unconstitutional and racist. Granted, he phrased those criticisms the way I did in my written submission on behalf of the client — the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was promulgated without adequate legislative deliberation in Congress and the result has been a disproportionate effect on African-Americans ever since — but it was at least a moment of defibrillation that he had for realz digested the arguments I fucking raised. With an adroitness that I had not expected, he simply did not rule on a motion by the government that would have triggered a mandatory sentence of life in prison — thereby avoiding an unjust result that the law otherwise would have called for. I would have missed, more than I think most things so far, the encouragement I received on Facebook from friends and family in response to that news. I would really not have missed the girl who turned on the light in the sauna and was a bitch when I suggested it was more relaxing to keep it off — since it’s a bright, exposed bulb — and then proceeded to sprawl out and get on her phone. But I would have missed ether rallying back up to a couple of my pre-fire sale purchases, and I think back over $200 at one point if I remember correctly — and bitcoin staying over $2100 and making it back over $2200 twice before I fell asleep — just after receiving a new ether representation request.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, I would have missed realizing, as I ran up the second little mountain on my morning run, that I have worked very hard to achieve competency as a lawyer in the blockchain space and can take pride in my efforts in that regard. I would have missed seeing a project I was working on for a client start to come together. I would thus have missed being a part of something new and exciting — a cog in the wheels of a machine that’s churning humanity toward another phase of growth into Web 3.0. I would have missed achieving a potential resolution to one aspect of my hacking attack last month — but I would not have missed scrolling through my phone after I couldn’t think of anyone to bounce around thoughts with — and not finding anyone. It is when I most need someone with whom I share an understanding and mutual support that I feel most alone; I would have missed bucking up to face a decision here on my own. I would very much have missed the sound of a water polo teammate’s voice as I slumped over my dinner at Whole Foods that night, and the glimmer in her eyes when I looked up. I would have missed kvetching together about the state of the women’s locker room facilities at the club — which she had just come from — and telling her that I still didn’t mind her cajoling me into joining when I did because the group discount rate I somehow managed to achieve at that moment in time resulted in $650 in savings that I could then spend on bitcoin.
On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, on my morning run, I would have missed a young boy delighting in the dozens of turtles swimming toward him in the pond atop the mountain overlooking downtown and Northeast Los Angeles. I would also have missed the gift of an hour going from consciousness to dreamland and back a few times on the marble floor of my go-to spa in Koreatown, after sweating in the sauna and steam room, rinsing off in the cold plunge, and drifting weightlessly in the spa. I don’t know what it is about that marble floor that just does it. I would have missed flitting away before the Materialistic Armenian Girl saw me and started talking about money again. And I certainly would have missed the BIP91 signaling from bitcoin miners exceed 80% and breathing a sigh of relief while it rose back toward the highest remaining level where I bought in. And I would have missed another summer evening with all the windows open and nothing between me and the night.
On Thursday, July 20, 2017, I would have missed the lull of a normal day. I would have missed not caring that I got a late start as I do every morning, and having breakfast topless because the weather is that good. I am not actually sure whether I would have missed delivering work product in a new area of law in the cryptocurrency space for a client — to his apparent satisfaction at this stage — but I feel like I probably ought to imagine I should. I would have missed seeing BIP91 lock in and watching bitcoin climb all the way up. I bought a little just to show support even though I knew it would fall again — which it did — but it’s not really all that far down from the purchase price, even as I write this. I would have missed attending an Ethereum meetup and learning about UnikoinGold — an upcoming token sale by Unikrn, a sports gambling endeavor backed by Mark Cuban and Ashton Kushner. Mark Cuban said bitcoin was in a bubble a couple of weeks before the most recent crash, so there’s that. Ashton Kushner is hot and I’ve had a movie star crush on him ever since No Strings Attached — in which Natalie Portman plays a character that I might very much like to be, if given a choice between all the possible outcomes of the universe. Oh fuck I would have missed eye contact with that guy in the parking lot elevator after the meetup. And here’s something I only realized a couple of days later (and have gone back to put in): I would have missed the 15th anniversary of sobriety on my sexual recovery plan.
On Friday, July 21, 2017, I would have missed watching the turtles in the pond from my perch on the same boulder from which that little boy watched them a couple of days before. I also would have missed the LA tickle as I drove around Glendale and Burbank trying to find a goddamn bikini that’s sturdy enough to handle the Pacific Ocean and yet cute enough to wear. I would so have missed the weightlessness that freed me from the shackles of the week as I drove on the 2 toward the 134 and the mountains rose up to form a bastion of majesty protecting us from the bigotry, propaganda of divisiveness and opiod-fueled delusion that ravages the former world power we once knew as America — as a song with lyrics like “Me and you were made to be in love” came on Alt Nation on Sirius XM, only to devastate me moments later when I tried to Google the lyrics and came up with nothing. I would have missed giving a toddler the squeals by making faces at her over my brown rice combo at the Indian vegetarian on Sunset — and prompting laughter from the guy at Trader Joe’s who rang me up and asked about my weekend only to learn that I was looking forward to seeing the Grasshopper Taco Invite Guy tomorrow because “something fuckin’ better happen with that soon” — and not one, not two, but three flocks of geese flying giant Vs overhead along the 5 on the way home. And I would have missed a tweet from Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, about encouraging a friend in the midst of a maze:
The credit belongs to the [wo]man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends [her]self in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [s]he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that [her] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
If this project speaks to you, please feel free to donate in crypto. Thank you for reading.