kenyon ledford

My Search for My Lost Lens

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My Search for "Sports Bar" The Lens I Once Created

While Sports Bar still exists, I am told that I have ZERO lenses. While that sting settles in, I am asked if I would like to create my first lens. I shake my head. "I already have a lens," I say. Now I'm going to find it, so I can add new material."
"Whatever." Is what I'm told. The mission begins.

The Same Old Beginning

It happens to us all. We drink too much, take one too many hits of acid, proposition the wrong prostitute and end up by the side of some freeway, disheveled and disoriented. The information in the wallet is all wrong. All of the keys no longer fit where they used to fit. When the cops question you, your ID is a picture of somebody else. When you finally end up in front of your house, it is dark, and there is a different car in your driveway. I already told you about the keys. You pound on the door but your wife cries out that she is calling the police. You don't want that. You've already had some of that. You turn away from the door and start walking, a howling wind swooping in on you from the setting sun. A journey has begun. Again.

With the advent of the internet the preceding scenario, while more convient, happens to me more often. Drugs, alcohol, porn sites and penis enlargement ads swirl around in my head and on my screen. Perhaps I click the wrong site. Maybe I pushed the wrong buttons. Maybe I was shown something so horrific that my mind swept all the characters from the chessboard in my mind. Whatever happened, I have been locked out of my site, "The Sports Bar." This is my attempt to put the pieces back onto the chessboard. This is my story. This is my journal.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step

And a Folk Singer

I begin by wailing in sorrow to my internet muse, LurkeyLooie about my lost site. He gave me a link to my Sports Bar page and a folk singer named Joe Riley. Hi, Joe. I checked the link Looie gave me. It's the regular site. I can look at it, but I cannot edit it. I turn to Joe. "It's a no go," I say. Joe answers by playing "Blowing in the Wind" Again. He says he's a songwriter, but I've only heard him play that song, and "Lemon Tree." However, I see what appears to be a break in my search! While looking at this site and smiling at how clever I am, I notice an edit button! Hmm, could it be that Sports Bar has an edit button and I just didn't notice it? I ask Joe, he says, "Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon, is impossible to eat." I nod my head, because Joe is very wise. I know because he gazes toward the heavens when he sings. For my part I hurry to the Sports Bar site. Could it be that I had the power all along to add to the site, yet never noticed because I am too fed up in my own exa...excsest...existentis...

"Existentialism," Joe says. He strums a "D" chord to back up his claim. I scour my site with my eyes, and not a scrubby brush of course. The edit button, where is it? I scroll up and down, my eyes scan left and right. There. is. no. edit. button. I remain locked out of my own site. Meanwhile, the ninny squid comes on and says, "Hey, nice to see you, you earned ten points for logging on today." I jab him in the eyes.

I've earned THOUSANDS upon thousands of points since I've been here, you hideous piece of sloppy harpoon bait. And it's gone! All gone." I break down into tears, something that became a habit when "The Brady Bunch" went off the air. Joe is sad for me. He strums an "E minor" and looks at the ground. Then he says something interesting.

"Hey, man. Have you tried emailing support?"

My sobs subside. The skies--I forgot to tell you, they were really cloudy--open and a ray of sunshine breaks through. Perhaps that is the answer. I tell this to Joe and he responds, "How many roads must a man walk down...?"

He is wise. Perhaps this new road shall not be a dead end. I'm coming, my little Sports Bar squid page, I am coming.

Certain Doom

The Yellow Brick Road to WTF City.

Endings always end. Do beginnings follow, or just more endings? I ask Folksinger Joe this question. He plucks a daisy to clean his ear with, shoots a glance of annoyance at me.
"I thought you were going to email support?"
He seems kind of edgy. He needs a bag of weed. "I had some problems there," I say, telling the truth.
Joe flings away the daisy and gives me the speech I can tell he's been saving up: "Whatever." He snatches his guitar and walks in the opposite direction from which I am headed. I hear him strumming and singing, "How many roads must a man walk down...?" I think about strangling him to death, but before his face turns blue, telling him, "The road to hell has wheelchair access, bitch!"

How many days has it been? The squid site tells me my last update was four days ago. Four Days Gone. (Sorry Stephen Stills.) My journey to my sports bar brought me not to support, as Joe had suggested. I knocked upon the Door of the Giant Squid. Nothing. There was a note on the door, and I squinted at it: "Try Users Forum"

Hmm, a forum for drug addicts? I don't recall asking for help i that manner yet, but then it dawned on me: of course! the HELP forum for users! Now I was getting somewhere. The sky lit up an emerald green and my path turned to gold. I sprinted down the road to the glistening forum. "Help!" I cried. "I'm locked out of my Sports Bar lens and I--"

"Log in."
Oh. Okay. "Help! I'm locked out of my--"
"Dude," (or whatever cool slacker jargon they used) "We don't remember that password, man. Um, try again?"
I rifled my pockets for my password and username. I have so many I just can't...
*You have been redirected for too many loops*
The sound of crickets is the only thing that interferes with the pain in my cranium.

The crickets give way to singing voices in the distance. As it approaches it sounds like a choir of madness, and not the 80s SKA band either. My heart makes a lurping sound, and then a troll falls from a tree and looks up at me. He has the body of a wreck on the highway and a face like crawling rebar. "You," he says, "have too many cookies. Mayhep I gobble some up so you can find your way off this endless loop?"

I don't know what to say. The singing becomes louder. The troll's tongue pushes through his lips and waggles at me. "Gobble gobble gobble?" he repeats. "GobbleGobbleGobbleGobble..."

I black out. The last thing I hear is a hissing sound. "Yersh, shooo yummy cookiesh. orsh, orsh, orsh..."

When I come back from the brink, or where'e're I may have been, there is a piece of paper laying upon my chest. I pick it up and focus my eyes. It reads: "2bg3k016" My new password! I can gain entrance to the help forum! Oh, but the night approaches, and demon howls swirl among the shadows. I must find shelter. Tomorrow my quest shall continue.


Past and Present

Has your head ever been filled with power tools, crying children, laughter, barking dogs, and conversation? Well neither was mine until I embarked on this journey. It may have even picked up some hitchhiking mimes doing that trapped in a box thing--I don't know! I'm angry and frustrated. It's morning, there's leaves in my matted hair and a crumpled up piece of paper in my hand, so at least there's some sense of familiarity. Oh look. That paper is the combination that the goblin or whatever gave me.

I arise, brush myself off and take note of the scenery. I recall thinking I was in Oz or something like it. Now the sky is blue and the sun is yellow.
"It's not yellow, it's chicken."
The earth is dusty with the ashes of dead trees. The voice behind me is dusty. I turn around. "Oh look, it's Bob Dylan, imagine that."
"Joe said you may need my services."
"I need to use this combination, is what I need."
Dylan takes the paper and looks at it. Then he blows into a harmonica that's attached to his guitar. The trunk of a massive tree opens. "After you," Bob says. I begin to wonder if I have fallen into one of the "Zelda" games.

Inside the trunk is an elevator. The tree closes behind us and the elevator rises, then the doors open. I blink. In front of us is a rough tree house built by either a child or a left-handed adult predominantly using his right hand. A plank, scrawled in crayon reads: "SQiDoo MeMBeRs Oly." An "N" is written outside of this as an afterthought.

"Ask your question," Dylan says.
I scan the offerings. "I need 'Support' It's not here.
Dylan closes his eyes, mutters under his breath, then says, "Try 'Critique My Lens.' and mention you're searching for your lost lens too.'"
I hesitate.
"Go ahead, everybody must get stoned."
I feel like a jerk, but I tell the air, "Um,I want to get this new lens critiqued...and I'm also trying to get my lost lens back." To both my utter surprise, and absolute lack of astonishment, from above, five Royal Crown Cola bottle caps clatter down onto the plywood we stand on.
"Cool," Dylan says. "You got some 'Likes'
"What about my Sports--?"

There is a sudden commotion. Some guy climbs up the ladder and peeks in on us. Behind him is a barrista doing some beat box. The guy looks around, nods at Dylan, then says to me: "Your Lens is good," (brrt brrt, pakachoo) "Try reclaiming your lost lens by seeking a new web browser." (Brrt-brrt, pft-pft-book-atchoo) The beat box barrista peeks around him, raises his eyebrows at me and says, "Fix your profile." (brrt-book-atchoo) And then they scramble back down the ladder giggling. From below, one of them makes a couple of exaggerated fake fart sounds followed by more giggling and laughter, then they are gone. Bob Dylan ushers me into the elevator and we descend to the desolate landscape. The sun is setting.

"Well," I say. "That wasn't much help. I guess I'll try the browser thing, though."
"Sometimes," Bob says, "the least help is the most help, and the most help IS the least help. That is if you can get any help at all. But sometimes, no help at all is all the help you need."

I'm already walking away. I'm getting pretty sick of this shit, probably something you, yourself, are uttering right this moment. Now, with the darkening skies, all the roads look the same. I turn in circles, looking for the path I remember. I hear a harmonica's whine against a driving A minor progression: "There must be some kind of way out of here..." I'm really starting to hate folk singers.


Bob Dylan's song fades away with "...two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl." My head feels boozy, so all systems are go. So many roads to choose, so many wrong choices to make. I choose the road west into the setting sun, walking, and the wind begins to pick up a bit. To be honest, I'm starting to lose interest in my Sports Bar. All of this trouble, and for what? A few snarky sports articles with un matching pictures. This lens is doing pretty well. Maybe it will even make me some money, but then a dismal thought occurs to me and my spirits sink. I forgot to set up a PayPal, so anything I earn is going to go to charity. I kick a stone in anger. Just my luck, they'll probably use the lens to cure cancer.

Outside in the distance I see a glow. I start jogging toward it. Neon lights. My pulse quickens. The Neon lights spell something...S.P.O.R.T.S...B.A.R. COULD IT BE? I'm coming Sports Bar! Did I say I was losing interest? Ha! I begin to whimper-cry as I run: "" Red and blue lights flash behind me, a siren bloops, and a police cruiser darts up beside me, and then slows to my running pace. I keep running. My peripheral vision sees a side window open. An officer in the passenger side calls out to me:
"Hello, sir?"
I don't look. "Yes officer?" *Sports Bar...Sports Bar...Sports...*
"Sir, could you please stop running?"
"I know my rights." *Sports Bar...Getting CLOSER...Sports Bar...Sports...*
"Sir, you need to put on some clothes."
I look down, and ding-dong-damned if my thangy isn't bobbing along to its own tune while I jog. I note with a mix of panic and pleasure that it is erect.
The cop keeps blabbing: "And you can't jog on the freeway, sir."
"There's no freeway here, officer. Just a bunch of cactus and--" An 18-wheeler blows past me with a long toot of its air horn, kicking up gravel that pelts me in painful places. The cops approach me, faces serious, flashlights bright.

"It's all good, officers," I say. 'I was just about to reclaim my Sports Bar. I don't know where this freeway came from, or where my clothes went."
"Sir, could I see some form of ID?"
I produce the link to Sports Bar: "Sure, officer, here."
The officer takes it, grimaces, and shows it to his partner, who pushes it away. "I've seen that. I think I hit it with an *unlike*
His partner hit me with an unlike in his eyes. "Sir, I want you to step over here. I'm going to read you your rights."
The lights in the Sports Bar flickered, but the juke box wailed: "On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair..."

So Long, It's Been Good To Know You

End of the Journey, No, Not the Band (Unfortunately)

I'm a glass-half-full guy, so it was with glee that I received my free spraying in the jail before being given a shower, free jumpsuit, T-shirt, and slippers.
"Okay," I told my new group of friends. "Deloused and good to go!" All smiles turned upside down, so I added, "Hey, is tonight fried chicken night?"
Apparently not, nor was it "Glee Night" because I was asked if I could shut the fuck up. However, my night of winnings continued, because a jailer handed me a free cardboard box that I could store all my possessions in. Next, I was given a towel, which was my possessions. A list of jailhouse rules was included in my goody box, and I noted that the rules strictly prohibited fighting. I ear-marked the page and tucked it away. If anybody started any trouble with me, they would get a good swift look at rule #5-B.

Before I could settle into my new life, I was visited by a dill pickle wearing a viking helmet. "Hey," he told me. "Your case has been registered. It is #45632. If we have made a mistake on locking you out of your Sports Bar lens, we will contact you immediately, and reverse the decision. In the meantime, feel free to urinate on the floor, drink free tapwater, and enjoy the vast library of torn paperback books with the pages ripped out of them."

Hell. Yes. If they set me free I may just murder somebody so I can stay longer. Did I mention the free gym up on the roof? Part of the fun of staying in jail is the free field trips to a municipal courthouse. You pack a special viewing section with all your friends and enjoy being entertained by guys with shaky voices talking to a judge who is probably going to send them in to sit with us pretty soon. One poor guy broke down into tears while the judge sentenced him to four years for being drunk and running his vehicle through a crime scene in progress, shattering a deputy's pelvis. I flashed the guy a smile, gave him a thumbs up and patted a spot next to me on the bench. Actually, I think that is when he began sobbing.

I had only been in jail for three short weeks when I heard my name called out for mail. "Mwa?" I exclaimed as I pointed at my chest. So much goes through your mind when you are told you have a letter. Maybe your wife died and left you everything. Perhaps your subscription to Maxim magazine was approved, or that big funbook of grocery coupons had finally arrived. My veins tickled with excitement as I drew in my breath and opened the envelope: "Dear Kenyon, your Squidoo account, "Sports Bar" is registered under the name, 'Everton11'. You also have an account registered under the name, 'Everton 1'. Perhaps if you were to try logging into your Squidoo account using the name, 'Everton 11', you will find that you are able to access and update 'Sports Bar' again. Thank you for using Squidoo, and we hope this helps."

My cellmate would have asked me what was wrong had I been housed in general population instead of being isolated in 'Psyche Ward'. I broke down into tears. My journey was over, they were going to release me. So much time lost, so much experience gained. My search for my lost lens was over, but now I had a new journey. A journey of rediscovery. I was being forced to assimilate back into the Sports Bar lens. Could I do it? It has been so long! When I lost my Sports Bar lens, it was ranked #23,003,020,001 on Squidoo. Surely, it must have lost some of that momentum while I was away. I would see. I stood up and waited for the jailer to rattle the keys. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The return journey too begins with one step...backwards.