Everybody hears "new blog" and they think I’ve migrated somewhere else. Well, I tried that. Blogspot, to my mind, sucks a wide variety of donkey cock. Myspace is for preteens and pedophiles, and I am neither, as far as you know. I like the layout and editability of MSN.
I’ve been wanting to do standup for a while, and we have a local comedy club that has an open-mic night. Last year I promised myself that this year I would do it. I’ve made the first few steps; this new blog is solely to document my comedy career, in case I get one. It’s going to be a straight diary of the process, more or less. My thoughts and feelings about life and so forth will still go on this one.
I used my real name on the new blog for advertising and marketing purposes in case I do make it big; it’s the first part of my marketing campaign. Next, teeshirts and other merchanidise. But I won’t leave this blog behind, I like it too much. This one is my life.
In fact, I’ve been gleaming my archives if this one for material to work with for stand up. It won’t be a straight recitation, it can’t: Things that sound good on paper often times don’t sound good spoken in front of an audience. But the material is there, the ideas are there–I just have to work with them. So wish me luck, and check it out once in a while. I’ll let you know here, too, if anything big happens.
Christ, are they even going to remember me?
Tags: 2000s, funerals, mom, my childhood
I think my attitude towards my birthday is best described in this one word:
I’d really like to feel bitter and cynical about growing old, but I can’t muster that emotion. Don’t get me wrong: growing old and dying scares the living piss out me. But I feel pretty good. And today–today is just another day. And age–age is just a number. That determines whether or not you can be
arrested for statutory.
I may, in fact, feel better about my birthday this year than I have in some years; despite the impending divorce and all the signs and portents of looming tragedy, I feel pretty good. I’m happy, I’m in love, I’m in fair health,
and I feel I have a direction to go creatively. Not bad.
Even though my mom died last week.
Okay, not really “last week,” but three years ago last week. It occurred to me around Valentine’s Day that I wasn’t really sure of the date. In fact, a few months after she passed I wasn’t sure. All I know is that it was between my dad’s birthday (the 6th) and mine (the 20th.)
I still remember the events leading up to her death fairly well: the sickness, the relapse, the operations, the return to the hospital. Talking with my brother and learning things about my family that I had never known. The nightly visits, going to see my dad and take him something to eat–otherwise he wouldn’t. He stayed, dutifully, by her side.
And then she was going to come home for in home hospice care. I was there at the house, waiting for them to come home to help set everything up, when we got the call. . .
And then the funeral, if you can call it that. My mom was unapologetically a heathen, and there was no service, no body to view (cremated), and I even missed the scattering of the ashes, because my brother called me while I was at work–when I couldn’t leave–to tell me they were going to scatter them in the bayou near the casino.
I was left with a horrible, aching gap, a supreme lack of closure. Later I had the chance to. . .get over it. Of course, the burning pain I feel in my chest right now reminds me that I’m not over it, not really.
I’m a little surprised at how much I still miss her, especially in view of the fact that we weren’t very close. Her choice or mine? I don’t know. She was a little distant and hard to get close to.
Detroit has met my father, and things I am “just like him.”
But she has never met my mother, so she wouldn’t know. . .but I have alot of her in me. Mom was a reader. Voracious. Me too. I think she wanted to be
a writer when she was younger, but never pursued it. Work and family took too much time–
She worked hard at work, but found it easy to not do to much around the house. Housekeeping was that thing that other people do. She never communicated much, but when she did, she meant it. I guess that
part isn’t so much like me. She had opinions–about life, the universe, and everything. God, the heavens, the afterlife. Strongly held opinions, I found out, but she had the quiet wisdom to not share them with people she knew wouldn’t understand.
Mostly, she was quiet, and kept to herself. I didn’t know what “introvert” meant as a child.
So. . .I don’t know the exact date. I’m sure I could look it up, but I don’t want to. Like the day my granddaughter died: I think I know the exact date, but don’t want to give it too much. I know approximately when it is, because we spent our wedding anniversary in a funeral home. Life, that’s the important part. I don’t want to celebrate or remember the day they died.
I catch myself doing something my mom used to do, which I never understood as a child, but now I do. We would be driving together, or she
would be puttering around the kitchen, or whatever. But she would be quiet, lost in thought, with a smile on her face. She was completely gone, in her head. Her imagination was in control, and there was no telling what was going one. You may as well have hung a sign on her that said, “Be Right Back.”
I do that. I do that alot. Even just briefly, I can completely leave. I can’t explain where I’ve been. I can’t describe what I was thinking, I can’t remember what I was feeling.
But it was good.
I was born a coal miner’s daughter?
I was born to raise Hell.
I was born in 1965, in St Louis. For those of you curious about whether I have a turtleneck or a helmet, I was born at Jewish Hospital–draw your own conclusions. I’ve been told that for the first few years after I was born, we moved around alot. I don’t remember much of that; I guess they never asked me to help. I might have been busy.
When I finally became cognizant of the outside world–(Beyond peeing and eating and pooping, I mean–and, to be honest, is there really much more to life than that? Getting back to the basics. When you get older and add getting laid to that trifecta, you then have the four cornerstones to a solid foundation for happiness.)–we were living in Pine Lawn, a small community bordering the City of St Louis. This was before we moved to the country.
The neighborhood was fair to middlin, but this was the late sixties and the urban sprawl/white flight was about to begin. For me it was a happy time: being a child I was oblivious to most goings-on in the world. This how I’ve spent most of my adult life as well, by the way.
I went to a little pre-school, which I don’t remember, and I had a friend next door, a little black boy whose name I don’t remember but my dad does and some day I’ll ask him but for now I’ll just call him "Robbie." And breathe! Wait! His name was Jamie! I knew it would come to me.
My brother Carl had a friend on the block and his name was Carl also. The houses seemed gigantic back then, as I remember my brother standing on the sidewalk in front of his friend’s house and calling his name up to the upstairs open window. But I have visited this Land of the Lost in the last ten or fifteen years, and being a grown- up, or at least being taller, I have a different perspective.
The houses are smaller, much smaller than I remember. The house we ourselves had lived in on Crescent Street is long gone, abandoned, derelict, bulldozed, and trees and wild grass hide the memory of its existence.
But at the time it was a clone of Leave-It-To-Beaver World. The sun was always shining, even at night. The sky was always clear, and it was always late spring or early fall, when the weather was perfect. And everything was in black in white, until about 1967, when everything started to be in color. Ultra-man, that me and Jamie used to watch after school–that was in black in white. I think because even though America was in color, Japan was still in black and white.
[You may think I’m kidding about this, but I have proof: My ex grew up in Jennings, which is adjacent to Pine Lawn, and I have seen the home movies her father took in the sixties. Everything was pristine, like a commercial for mop n glo: happy, shiny people in a parade down the main drag, typical birthday and holiday and vacation footage–all in black and white. And they had no reason to lie to me.]
Maybe the sun was a different color then. Do you remember? When we were younger, the sun was different. It’s very subtle.
I remember only bits and pieces of that early life, which plays like a montage on the screen in my mind, complete with the scratch-clicking of the projector and slightly off-speed music much like the Little Rascal’s theme, intersperced with the "berp!" of the slide projector to advance the frame.
Narrator: "Here we see Bryan’s childhood home." Berp! "He played in the living room, and kept some toys behind his dad’s big chair, the "Archie Bunker" chair." Berp! "He and his brother shared a room upstairs–" Berp! "–and many mornings they would come downstairs and pee in the toilet together." Berp!
A fond memory Bryan has is of a magic show that was at some hall only a few blocks away–" Berp! "–that his brother took him to. The same cut-through they took–" Berp! "–to get to the magic show was the same back alley area, where there was a small pond, that he and his friends often played at. For some reason, Bryan remembers this unusual kid–" Berp! "–who did a fair but creepy imitation of Tiny Tim." Berp!
"This girl was also a friend of Bryan’s, named Lucy. Lucy and Bryan and Jamie would often play together in the street." "Don’t worry; it’s safe! Nothing to fear in 1969!" Berp! Berp! "We go to Lucy, now a middle-aged accountant, for some insight:–"
Lucy: "Oh, God, yes, I remember Bryan. I remember one time I had some M&Ms, and I was going to share them with him and Jamie. They both held out their hands, and I gave some to Jamie, but Bryan’s hand was dirty. We were all four years old, remember. I didn’t give Bryan any; I told him his hand was dirty.
"He told me, ‘Well, Jamie’s hand is dirty, too!’ and I said, ‘Well he’s black so you can’t tell.’ I don’t think he ever forgave me for that." Berp!
Narrator: "Bryan enjoyed Halloween alot as a child. He remembers waiting outside on Halloween patiently, for it to get dark enough to trick or treat. He had no concept of the sun or sunset, but he knew that when he saw the bigger kids, the 9 year olds walking along with their costumes, that it was finally time." Berp!
"That year, at the behest of his mom, Bryan’s brother took him around trick or treating. The older brother, trying to teach him the ways of the world, convinced Bryan at one house to say, "Trick or Treat! Smell my Feet! Give me something Good to Eat!" Berp!
"The lesson Bryan learned here was two-fold: One, candy is too precious to joke about, and two–don’t trust your older brother." Berp!
"We caught up with Jonathan Emmitt Randall, now almost seventy, who was an ice cream truck driver in Bryan’s neighborhood:–" Berp!
Ice Cream Truck driver/Pervert: "Yeah, I saw alot of crazy shit in my day. People wanted to trade drugs, and cigarettes, and even pussy for some ice cream. Them’s was the good ol’ days. Kids tried to give me toys and whatnot. One kid, I remember, he was about 5 years old, gave me a handful of pennies and some Poker-keeno chips. I asked him what the hell, and he tries to tell me that it was money that just got paint all over it. A real ice cream junkie; you have to nip that shit in the bud. I thunked him lightly in the head with my tire thumper so’s he would back away–I had a chick in back willing to give me head for half a dozen ice cream sandwiches. That shit was like gold, back in the day–" Berp!
Narrator: "On another occasion–"
Ice Cream Truck driver/Pervert: "Hey, wait! I got some more ice cream truck stories! I thought you was doing a special on me! Hey!"
Narrator: "Sir, please step back or we will thunk you with the tire thumper!"
Ice Cream Truck driver/Pervert: "Oh, all right. Got to respect the tire thumper." Berp!
Narrator: "Ahem. On another occasion, Bryan’s latent violent tendencies emerged with deadly alarm. Eye witness accounts tell this story: Bryan was playing with his friend Jamie outside, when an altercation ensued. It escalated quickly to violence, with the boys pushing each other. During the Mêlée, Bryan fell backwards and fell, and he began to cry. Bryan ran quickly into his house where his mother was in the kitchen. Bryan ran to a drawer and grabbed a big knife and screamed, ‘I’m going to kill that Jamie!’ as he began to run for the door.
"Luckily, his mother stopped him, retrieved the knife, and made Bryan sit quietly for quite a while to calm down before letting him go play again." Berp!
"Another vivid memory Bryan retains he tells in his own words:" Berp!
Bryan: "I remember my dad trying to teach me to ride a bike. Our street was basically a dish: hills on each side, valley in the middle. Dad got me this green Schwinn he bought from somebody he worked with for 2 dollars, or some ridiculous price like that. He set me up at the top of the street by our house on the bike several times, always with the same result: I would start at the top on the right hand side, coast down, refusing to pedal because I was too scared, and drift to the left side of the street and crash into the curb, right near the sewer drain.
"Over and over and over and over. Until my dad ran out of patience. This was 1969, he was 33 years old. Relatively young, and still fairly patient. I spent the entire afternoon coasting down the hill and crashing into the curb.
"It became a test of wills: his refusal to give up on his pathetic, untrainable son, and my steadfast defiance to learn anything except how to crash and burn. And later, how to coast down the hill while screaming and crying.
"Eventually, night came, and we called it a draw. The next morning, my bike had been stolen because I left it out, and I didn’t get another bike for a year, after which time I was ready to learn to ride.
"My dad thinks I left it out on purpose to get stolen. I don’t think I was that smart, but it sure was a good idea if I did think of it." Berp!
"Then, in 1970, we escaped the city and moved to the country, were we lived from the time I was five until I was eighteen."
Narrator: "Please rewind tape and return to archive. Thank you."
It’s a nightmare, and it’s usually a similar theme. No, not the dark, possessed house. No, not the endless stretch of desert. No, not the post-apocalyptic world. No, not the bunnies.
It’s about Domino’s Pizza. I’ve had nightmares about Domino’s for the past 20 years, since I went to work there. Most are stress related, induced by the infamous 30-minute guarantee that has been gone since 1993 and yet still remains as a ghostly cultural icon. No one can remember exactly what it was or who had it, but people know it existed. Soon it will vanish into urban legend. . .
Those nightmares wake me up with the vague sense of unfinished business, like I have pizzas to make in the kitchen. I have to look at the clock, focus, and think: Okay, it’s 5 am. Domino’s is closed. We aren’t open for breakfast. I don’t have to get up for several hours–do I? There are no pizzas in my kitchen waiting to be made–but I want to go look, to make sure. I have to talk myself down.
But the one that keeps me from going back to sleep right away is a reliving of the past–when this memory, for some reason, bubbles to the surface.
I can’t believe I haven’t told this story already.
What year was it? Hmmm. I want to say 2004. Late winter or early spring, before we had started looking into buying a house. I was working at Scooters full time and at Domino’s Pizza part time. My last year of that shit. So far, I mean. Who knows what life changes could happen to me in the next several decades that would bring me back into the Unholy Fold. . .
My career was winding down, you might say. I was driving part time. This particular evening was a Sunday. Although I like to have Sundays off, if I were to choose an evening to deliver, Sunday would be it. For several reasons.
First, traffic is very light. Through the week during dinner is typically rush hour as well, so you have to deal with being busy *and* not being able to get anywhere. But on Sunday, the road belongs to us, the delivery people.
Also, Sunday is free of the rigid structure that the weekday implies. Dinner rush doesn’t start at any particular time, and isn’t over at any particular time, either. And by 8 pm, the roads are even more deserted. For a few brief minutes you can feel like Charleton Heston in Omega Man–the scene that has stuck with me for almost 30 years is Chuck driving down the boulevard–very fast–in a Mustang convertible, paying no heed to the traffic lights . . . because he is the only one there.
You almost don’t want to go home because driving in this environment is so compelling, it’s almost addictive. It may be why, time after time after freaking time, I get sucked back into delivering.
But this Sunday I leave about 830, and go home. We decide what we want for dinner, and it’s pizza. Well, hell–I wish I would have known that before I left. I head back up to the store, about 5 minutes away.
I’m going to have to change some names here, because I don’t remember them all. I do remember Arthur, however. He was a mildly retarded guy–he has Down’s Syndrome–and he was running the shift. Yeah, it’s kind of hilarious. Then there was "Jeff," a piemaker, and "Tom" and "Barry," two drivers.
Arthur was a good guy. Nice, smart for a retarded guy–I would guess his IQ at about 80. The fact that they trusted him to count food, count money, and make management decisions about labor says something. . . about both his ability to perform and the company’s inability to find someone smart to put in that position in the busiest store in the county.
Affirmative action my ass, by the way. This company was totally profit-driven. Even if they were getting some kind of dowry in exchange for employing Arthur to offset the potential losses for which he would be responsible, if that were the case they would put him in a slower store if they could. The sad fact was, there was no body else. They drove off all the smarter people (like me) and this is what was left. A sad commentary on restaurant management when the only people you can sucker into doing it are legitimately retarded. It says alot about the program.
Jeff the piemaker was of dubious origin. In his mid-twenties, he was a little old to be doing this job if he wasn’t an assistant. No car, no license, he lived in the apartments behind the store. Tom was a driver for life. Mid-thirties to mid-forties–it was hard to tell how old he was–he had aspirations of being a cop but his self realization skills denied him the personal clarity necessary to see that he had a serious personality disorder: he was a dick.
Barry was a good guy. Recently retired from his day job, he worked a few nights a week and collected his pension. He had the bitter cynicism of a public servant, but had a really good work ethic despite having worked for the county for 25 years.
So I was off, but I drove back up, still in my uniform. I had made my pizzas, and some wings, and they were out of the oven on the the heat rack. I was in the office talking to Arthur, making sure I could skate with the food for free. This is one of the privileges of working for the company for so long: I did what I want. Barry was on a delivery. In the back room, Tom was unlocking his individual drop box to get his money to check out and go home. It was at that moment that Jeff decided to step out the back door to have a smoke.
A few seconds later Jeff came back in. Hands up. A man behind him, a black man–with a gun. He ordered Jeff and Tom to the ground, and took Tom’s cash that he had just laid out and was sorting. I had just started to walk out of the office when I saw the thing that my brain could just not reconcile. I froze and it seemed to happen in slow motion while my brain tried to process it, frame-by-frame:
There was a man whom I had never seen before, with a bandana covering his face and the hood of his jacket up, walking rapidly towards me, with a pistol in his hand. Pointing it. He was holding it sideways in the tradition black thug way, and he shoved it right into my chest and pushed me back into the office.
I’m sure when I first saw him, I muttered the standard exclamation of disbelief: "Holy Fuck-shit!"
And then I was standing next to Arthur. The guy had the gun in my chest, and said, "Open the safe motherfucker or you’re dead!"
[This is the part, this is the reason why I had to explain that Arthur is retarded. He has Down’s Syndrome, and he looks retarded. Something else genetically because of it, he also has a speech impediment. Not only that, but it affects his immune system, and he always had sore, red patches of skin and occasionally open wounds the he itched, leaving little piles of dead skin on the desk or where ever he sat.
[Yeah, this is gross. Even more gross to think about him handling food and making pizzas. I always made my own. We got some complaints about him from people that came in, uneasy about the hygienic level we were able to maintain with a shedding retard scatching himself and then putting his hands in the food. Upper management really thought this one out. "Well we can put the shedding retard on the line, or the monkey that throws his shit at the customers." "Let’s take a vote."
[But my point is this: This guy with a gun comes in, points it at me, because I’m just a regular looking guy, and I’m supposed to convince him that it’s actually not me, it’s the retard that’s in charge. I’m lucky I didn’t get shot in the face.]
The barrel of the gun was in my chest. He was pushing it hard, as if to make a point. The point was, he had a weapon. He was looking right at me, watching me. I was trying not to look at him, while at the same time trying to glance at him while I talked to him, in hopes of retaining something in memory to identify him.
I should have cold-cocked him. I should have side-stepped, grabbed the pistol and bent his arm all in one smooth motion. I should have stomped on his face after that. I should have taken him.
These are the thoughts, after the fact of the unarmed and the impotent. Rage inspires me to wish I had a second chance to take him. But I know better. I thought of my kids, and my wife (who at the time I still liked). I thought of the security videos I had seen, which showed the blood-stained crime scene after the victims’ bodies had been removed. I thought a thousand things in the space of a few seconds, and then Arthur spoke up.
"I’m the manager in charge. I can’t open the safe; it’s on a time delay. But I can open the cash drawer."
The nameless, faceless, relentless intruder looked at Arthur. I could see the gears clicking within his head. He looked at me again. "You! On the floor! Now!" Then to Arthur: "Open the drawer now! Move!"
I dropped to the floor. Arthur went out, the gunman followed. I stayed on the floor, and tried to listen, but my own voice muttering, "Oh my God, oh my God," drowned it out.
Then it was over. The guy left, running out the back door.
I’m not proud of the way I acted, or reacted. I don’t think there was much else I could do, really, except act like less of a pussy. Take it like a man. My face was white. Ashen. As the story was reported to employees later, someone said that I had cried. Now that is a complete lie, probably made up by Tom, who was trying to make himself look more like a hero.
Jeff never showed back up to work, and a police investigation led back to him. He owed some drug dealers money, and offered to let them rob the store for the money he owed.
But the next week, Donny, a young guy, the other assistant manager–who incidently did become a police officer–heard about the crying thing and believed it, and then he just continued to give me shit about it. Until. . .
He had his fists in in eyes, rubbing them and mocking me, saying, "Boo-hoo, boo-hoo!"
I reached out instinctively and grabbed his nipple–and did not release it. He started screaming, and pawing at my hand, but not trying to pull it off. In between his screams he said, "My nipple is pierced! My nipple is pierced!"
I replied calmly, "I know."
. . .Too little, too late, for one reason: I have something else in mind. For another, I may have already done that. I don’t want to be repetitive. Let me repeat myself: I don’t want to repeat the past.
But I am writing about my life, and this was a part of it.
My initial feeling after hearing of Anna Nicole Smith’s death was, "So?"
My residual thought afterwards was to ask, "Do you feel smarter? Because I do. Everyone on the planet should feel smarter, because she brought down the collective average of the human race. If you took an IQ test last week, and then take one this week, you will probably score 10 points higher."
But whenever someone dies of a drug related thing–and this certainly was, even if her toxology report comes back negative; her past behavior is proof, if not an idictment–it gives me pause for reflection.
I don’t want to take away from the contempt I feel for ANS for the life she wasted, but I can see similarities to mine. Maybe that’s why I feel the contempt. Kindred spirits? Ugh. Other than the fact that during the brief periods of time when she was thin and I wanted to bang her silly, I really wanted nothing to do with her and scarcely gave her a second thought.
Our similarities? Other than our good looks and promiscuous attitude, you mean?
Well, we both had something. She had looks, and I had brains. And we both may have been destined for something great. She had attempts at fame, I should have done something. . . er~ ~something *great.* Big sigh here.
And we both had weaknesses. We both had an addiction-craving personality, we both wanted the easy way out, and we both had little control over our addictions.
ANS lived in a world of glamour and the rich and famous, full of decadence and deviant lifestyles and no one to tell her no. She became a public embarrassment and spiraled, deeper and deeper.
I lived in a fog. I flitted along, from event to event, not really attaching myself with any real conviction to anything. I used to think the drugs robbed me of some of my brains, my intelligence. Now I don’t think so.
I did just recently take a test, and it shows me to be as smart as I ever was, as smart as I think I was. . .which, without bragging too much (more to make a point,actually, so let’s just say–) I was very smart. Maybe enough to be considered a genius, or at least near genius.
I think the drugs robbed me of something as equally important if not more important: Ambition. Ambition and drive are the things that make people way less intelligent than I become way more rich and successful. What little ambition I had got sucked right out of my body. If ambition is your life’s blood, drugs are a vampire that eats at your soul, until yo become one of the walking dead.
Surprisingly, I remember many of my drug-induced moments, the ones that mirror ANS’s public displays of idiocy. I see people acting like that and I just cringe–
I heard someone talking about the pain they are hiding behind with their drug use. That makes them sound like a tragic, romantic figure. Trust me, it’s not that. I was there, and I know. Maybe alcoholics occasionally use it to alleviate the pain in their lives that was caused by their alcoholism in the first place; if so, it’s a vicious cylce: "My wife left me because I got drunk and beat her. Now I miss her. I need a drink." Et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
You do the drugs because you like it. You like the feeling. The happiness, the euphoria, the wandering mind. My mom liked to sleep. I know why–she liked to dream. She enjoyed living in the dreamworld moreso than living in the real one. I like it to; I can hit the snooze button in perpetuity, having one 8-minute dream after another. Drugs provide that same thing. You’re not hiding from pain, you’re just seeking pleasure. An easy fix. And it is. . .addictive.
But you have to live in the real world, the here-and-now. Have to? Well, you should, okay?
I cleaned up, of my own volition and through strength from God. Not any numerically-defined step program–I just made a decision. And I stuck with it. Thus, ANS and I parted ways.
And so I lived my life, and she lived hers. I have no idea what her live was like, barely an inkling. And she had no idea of mine; that’s fair. I worked, I raised a family, I made plans for the future.
And I always wanted more. I had no idea what I wanted, and definitely no idea how to achieve it; I floated rudderless in a sea of ADD-powered indecision and inaction.
There were so many things I wanted to do: Writing, drawing, designing, creating. I wanted–
I wanted to be Leonardo DaVinci, and be the architect of a new Renaissance. I wanted to be Plato, and usher in new age of reason. I wanted to be Euclid, and think about and teach math to the philosphers. I wanted to be Ben Franklin, and have a hand in everything, but be responsible for nothing; I would be the secret vazir, wise counsel to the leaders of the world, but not involved in government directly, for I would be above that sort of thing.
I wanted to be Bill Patterson, and draw a cartoon strip that would inspire and delight millions. I wanted to be Thomas Edison of the computer age, and develop and build robots for household use, just like on the Jetsons, only better.
I wanted to be Edgar Allen Poe, or Jack Kerouak, or Ernest Hemingway, and write the great American Novel. Or I at least wanted to be be Carl Hiassen or Dave Barry, and be published. I wanted to be Charlie Chaplan, or Henry Youngman. Or Bill Cosby. Or Jeff Foxworthy.
Or Hell, even Larry the Cable Guy. . .
So here I sit, spinning my wheels. I think I’m starting to pull out of the mud, however. I have some rocking action going, and I’m starting to gain some traction. And some people have come along to help push; that’s important. Pick something you want to do, that’s what I decided. There is a list, a big list. I have it. Pick something from that list, and do it. Work on it, make it happen.
Like a basket of lottery numbers, I have picked out a few, and I am going to play them for a while, and see where they take me. If it doesn’t work, I can pull out some more. But you can’t win if you don’t play, now–am I right?
Otherwise you just sit and watch the basket spin, and wish.
Remember, I lost a tier? Axually, the hole weel. I put a nu nukkel on the front left, and thawt that wood solv my problems. It waz onlee the begginninng.
The front weels wer stil cross-I’d, and relatively incapable of yer standard mobility. Thussly, my kwandree. I waz forsd n2 axon wen deetroyts Kar got repode. we kneeded another vehickle, stat.
deetroyt tells me shit happinz fore a reezon, so eye ges this waz the reezon eye got nigel all thoze mannee months agoe. . .
fast 4werd 2 now. Nigel has had a kontrole arm replaisd, and an alinement. afta that, eye droev him several weaks, with a steddilee inkreesing noiz cumming frum the frunt end. eye cood taeck it know moor, and parct it untill Jerry, this gie eye no, cood werk on it. Heez the gie hoo put in the kontroll arm.
normallee, eye lieck 2 doo my oen werk. iam pertee handee. butt, kerrantlee eye doent hav all mi tules, and eye doent hav a plaes 2 werk. butt jerry iz kool; he werks 4 honduh derring the dae.
eye giv him the kar, ecksplane the sichyou-ashun, and he goze about the prosess of taecking kaer of it.
he cums bak with the dyagknoses, it kneeds a frunt weel baring and a mastur cilindur 4 the breaks. he ordurs the parts. we manetane fone contackt wile heze werking on it. he haz 2 ordur a master cilindur, and thae lye 2 him abowt wen it will cum in. thae sed mundae, butt knott until tuzdae did it arreyeve.
he did get the baring ficksd, tho, witch iz gud. it waz axuallee *krunching* az it roled. he sed wen he opind it up, the barings fell owt in pesez.
sow now eye wate wile he werks on the breaks, and hoepfoollee kan pik it up 2nite.. .
Serprize! its dun! me and detroyt went 2 pick it up, and eye droev it hoam. the bak baring iZ stil bad, but not neerly az bad az it waz. eye will need to get break kallippers sune, and the bak baring dun, but 4 now, he iz fien. toetallie fien.
Its gud 2 hav mi lyttel pokkit rokkit bak on the rode.
But with age comes the bitter realization that all of these things you have done before, the old ways, the previous style, the former life–these things may no longer apply to a new and improved you. The changed man.
I’ve always been a loser.
–Of things. Keys, wallet, cell phone, keys again. Money. Check book. Where *Did* I park the car? Pocket knife. Several Pocket knives, actually. Oh, shit, did I have the kids with me? Oops. It seems only right, with all of this going on that I would start smoking, and therefore pickup a few more belongings, like a lighter and cigars. Add a flash drive, which I can’t live without. Uh. . .getting older, and need reading glasses. My business cards, too. Oh, and the Bluetooth for the phone. Don’t forget your keys, two separate sets.
This is too much shit to carry around in my pockets. And it’s winter, when I have more pockets–what’s going to happen in the spring and summer when I am back down to 4 or 5 pockets, including a shirt pocket? Provided I even wear a shirt. Or pants.
Well, I can put my wallet in my back pocket, keys, money and pocket knife in my front pocket, and despite the fact that it never works and always gets hung up on shit, I can go ahead and try once more to hang my cell phone off my belt. Reading glasses in my shirt pocket. Cigar case in the other back pocket to balance out the wallet, and lighter in the other front.
Blue tooth in one of those pockets. It doesn’t matter which; it’ll fall out and get lost on the ground as soon as I reach in for something else. Then there’s my business card case, and my flash drive. I could hang that around my neck, but that is way more chic than I really care to be.
And even if this works, I am bulky and bulgy and uncomfortable. You see my dilema–I need a tampon and have no where to carry them.
I needed. . . a man-purse.
I looked at actual purses in the store. Some too big, some too little, some to pink, but practically all were too effeminate. I needed–
I needed help. "Excuse me, miss?"
"Can I help you?"
"Yes. Where are the lesbian hand bags?" I was directed to the Lilith Fair Collection, a small selection of earth-tone and camoflauge bags, with a little rainbow on them. Nice. But not quite what I was looking for.
I ended up in luggage. I found a small overnight bag and it looks like a small brief case. It was either that or a fanny pack, and I know how fashion trends follow me; I do not want to be responsible for bring those back.
But this thing is nice. It zips open and lays flat, like a briefcase, and it is about the size of one of those bags to fit a large print Bible in, like the one I stole from the last hotel I stayed in. I can zip up the sides and leave the top open, so it is like a purse, and I can lay it flat or stand it up. I can push it down the stairs like a slinky. It has two pockets inside, to divide shit up in, making it just hard enough to find things, and a pocket on the outside that I would use for my phone, wallet and keys if I had any sense of consistency.
I wondered, just how much stuff can I cram into this thing? I can fit both feet in it. I stood up, fell over, and took them out. Hmmm. I had more shit that I *could* put in it, but was *essential*?
I added a spray can of nacho cheese, a cordless drill, and some porn. Now my bag is complete–and no way can it be mistaken for a purse. It is a man sac. It might as well have hair on it.
The Scanlons were an odd clan. The dad–I forget his name. Everyone new he was crazier than a shithouse rat. Lela was cute, but about as bright as a refrigerator bulb. Her younger brother, Lloyd, was dumb enough to be called retarded. Big, dumb and ugly. But we had small, rural schools, so they were going to push him through the system until he quit and joined the army got killed in a farming accident.
One could hope.
During the summer of Lee’s unrequited love, we would walk over to Lela’s house and I would hoist him up to her bedroom window (it was a split level) and wait patiently while they talked about God only knows what and kissed alittle.
Dumb as her father was, after a while he caught on. We had gone about a week, off and on, performing this ritual of the late night Romeo and Juliet club for the illiterate. On this particular night, it was about 9:30. Lee was supporting himself on a ledge, I was there to hoist and retreive. He had his upper torso almost fully inside her window, and I was milling around, waiting. I think I had much more patience then than I do now.
When I saw Lela’s father come from the carport, I froze, like a deer in headlights. He walked out casually, slowly, but it seemed even slower. 25 years later I remember it well. As he turned to face me, I saw a pistol in his hand. A large pistol. He didn’t point it, exactly. But he motioned with it as he spoke, for punctuation. His words seemed slurred from beer up at the tavern, but they rang very clearly in my ears:
"I want you boys to leave and I don’t want to see you comin’ around here anymore."
I think I saluted. "Yes sir, we’re leaving right now."
I have never been skinny. I have always been pudgy, husky, fat, big-boned, whatever you want to call it. I am not a mover.
I ran like a scared rabbit.
I turned straight away from him, ran to the edge of his yard, and made a hard left and ran down the edge of the bean field that was next to his house. I didn’t stop till I got to the road, about a quarter mile away.
About 10 seconds later, Lee came running behind me, laughing his ass off. I just left him in the window and ran. When he turned to see me, all that was left was a cartoon cloud of dust.
The next time it happened, it wasn’t nearly as funny.
up, and I looked through my peephole. Lisa, looking distraught and
haggard. I let her in.
She came and collapsed on my couch. I got
her a drink of water. And added some Tang. She looked at me with
soulful eyes. "I need him, Glenn. I need him bad. I can’t live
without him. I can’t stand the thought of him being with Colleen."
She nodded and began to cry again. I gave her a special heat resistant
tissue. Sobbing, she told me her story. Of friendship that turned to
attraction. Of unrequited love. A story of heartache and heat shields
and retractable arms. Solid fuel boosters never seemed so full and
firm and powerful. . .and erect.
She said, "You have to help me. You have to help me get him."
I said slowly, thoughtfully, "Or, get her out of the picture."
"What? No–I just need to show him how much I love him–"
"The best way to do that is to show him the lengths you are willing to
go to." It was 3 am, and I do my best thinking when I have been kicked
from a sound, happy sleep.
"Listen, you go find that bitch, and you tell her to stay away from your man, or you will fuck her up!"
"What?" She was bewildered.
"Here, take this." I handed her my BB gun. She just stared at me.
"You need to be able to threaten her, without actually hurting her.
Take this, too." It was a bag of miscellaneous items I had been
gathering for a B and E. I was going to show those bastards at the air
and space museum. . . I went to the garage while she looked through
the items, and came back with some pepper spray while she tried on the
disguise. "You’ll need this."
I said, "It’s quite a drive–"
A plan was starting to form in her mind, she started to smile. She said to me, "Got any of those space-diapers. . .?"
Thusly prepared, I sent her on her way. She was ready. She was
confident. I had her believing she could really do it. As long as I
could get back to sleep. I was the first goddamn man on the moon, and
she comes banging on my door at 3 am? Ditzy bitch.
I’m an old man, and I need my sleep. Getting up in another hour.