Friday, June 23, 2017

The Wilderness Years - One Car Parades (part 2)

 Cocaine Mike was the consummate criminal, he was a street level hood who wasn't a direct menace to society, at least not yet, but if one asked me if i thought he could commit armed robbery or something a bit more serious (like shooting people) my answer would unequivocally be yes, of course he was such a good petty criminal that it would take a serious dry spell to push to those extremes but still i would not rule it out, not at all, he was menacing, usually armed to the teeth, and yet he was smart and knew how to work people, knew how to get them to let their guard down, to get information to use to his advantage, i'm quite sure he was an expert at breaking and entering, he was always trying to give me a ride home from the bar, i knew he was trying to find out where i lived and we'd go back and forth, didn't matter if i lived on the second floor of a fire code violating death trap (we had no fire escape on the building but a rope ladder our landlord gave us) he'd find a way in, and so i never let him figure it out, on occasion i'd placate him and have him drop me a few streets over, then i'd make sure he left before hopping a few fences ala Ferris Bueller and sneaking back to my place, it was hide and seek with your money at stake...

Hippie Jack was not that careful or wise, though we'd had conversations about the ethics or apparent lack thereof possessed by Cocaine Mike, when Jack was fucked up and happy he was what we'd call a trusting soul, it didn't help that his blow intake was now a full blown problem, one day as i stopped by to pick up the usual pound or two, he had somehow lost an eight ball of coke, lost being the operative word as Maggie, one of the infamous Glimmer Twins, a pair of rich suburban white girls turned local hoodrat junkies, had just left his place after purchasing some flake, as it dawns on my Hippie friend that he's just been fucked he begins yelling at me and accusing me of snaking his blow, to which i tell him to go fuck himself and get his shit together while pointing out who just happened to be sitting here when i walked in, when i asked if he left her and her fucked up boyfriend alone his face went blank, i then turned out my pockets told him to fuck himself again and get my shit, i paid him what i owed and paid for another 1 1/4 lbs because i didn't want to owe him shit, he stammered an apology and i told him it's cool but shit wasn't, i could see the end and all i could do was think of finding a new connection, this one was on shaky ground at best...

Of course if i give the impression that i was some kind of savant i was... that is if you put the word idiot in front of it, i had a singular focus of keeping my business up and running, i was over-paying the student loans and had become accustomed to the lifestyle slinging afforded, i wasn't buying a BMW anytime soon but i usually had enough pocket money for a few forays to the strip club every week, i had enough to buy another beer every time i needed another beer, i could order pizzas with impunity dammit, i was a fucking hood and this was my glamorous life...of course i also stood just slightly north of raging fuck-up or to put it more aptly, my own one car parade...

Right before shit really hit the skids i had once again gone to Jack's for the re-up, it was nearly 5pm and i had called at least 4 times because i was out and needed product, Hippie Jack had been sleeping off another coke and booze bender and was a Class A fucking asshole when i got to his place, he was pissing and moaning and i was about to remind him of which one of us was the fucking meal ticket when he sat down and pulled out a plate of rock, he took a big hit and became the most pleasant guy in the world, i'm sure this would have set off warning bells had he not loaded the pipe again and passed it to me, i of course took said pipe and ripped a winner... the drug myth goes that one hit of rock can kill you and i have first hand knowledge that the myth makers might have been right on that count, the instantaneous rush was stupefying and frightening, my heart racing and breathing elevated, Jack looking at me and wondering if i was going to kick it right in his living room, i got up and tossed some water on my face and tried to slow down my fucking ticker, twenty-six was the wrong age to kick it dammit, i realize now how close i was to punching the ticket that day, i think i knew it then too, you could cue Perfect Day by Lou Reed as Hippie Jack dragged me out his apartment and down the porch steps to prop me next to the pedestrian overpass that ran over Bigelow Blvd, he'd put me next to the pay phone and hopefully have the change to call the EMS before running back into his place and slipping out the back door and hightailing it to the boozer, i'm sure hoping the whole time that i didn't die because hell, i was the best mover he had...

Spoiler alert... i didn't die, though i did learn something and that was it was time to quit the fucking rock, i did, Hippie Jack didn't... and then one day it happened.  He came home after closing the bar to find his apartment had gotten robbed, of course he had once again loaned himself Mr. Big's money to fund his coke business which was he was now using the profits off of to fund his own personal coke habit, Jack was no longer at the edge of that Downward Spiral he was hurtling down it head first... the blow bought with Mr. Big's money was gone, his stock of grass was gone, most importantly the roll of bills, the money hidden in his coat pocket, the money that could have paid his debt but put him back at broke was gone,  and of course the only way for him to make any money was hustling and the only guy willing to front him gear was now going to be short $4,000, this is not a business to short money in unless of course you don't want to be in it anymore, hopefully you don't take a beating or worse, in Hippie Jack's case he was written off, Mr. Big didn't to fuck him up, Jack was out plain and simple, i was out a good connection, it didn't take fucking Sherlock Holmes or Jessica Fletcher, The Hardy Boys or Inspector Clouseau to know who jacked him, it was the guy who knew where all Jack's shit was, that menacing motherfucker who lived upstairs and liked to shoot guns in the basement, Cocaine Mike... it was time for me to scramble...





Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Wilderness Years - One Car Parades (part 1)

By X-mas of 96 things were running like a well oiled machine, if of course that machine was being supervised by idiots and fuck-ups but up and down the ladder money was being made, i was towards the bottom of the ladder, i didn't mind, i was now steadily making over 4 bills a week, sometimes 5 or 6 on a good week and when you consider my take home pay from the warehouse was less than $345 for two weeks it was easy to see where my energy would be put, granted it was all balanced on a tenuous edge and the slightest shift in the cosmos and it would all be a crumpled heap on the floor, and of course this business was filled half-wits capable of fucking up a one car parade... so it goes...

A few days before the birth of Jaysus H. i stood in Hippie Jack's apartment and presented him with a fifth of his favorite booze, Jack Daniels, Jack fumbled around his place and tried to give me a Reggae Sunsplash visor but i told him i didn't expect a thing from him and that the bottle was my token of appreciation for the fine business relationship we had cultivated and that i hoped we could keep it up, he was damn near misty-eyed by the time i was done and he plopped down on the couch cradling his bottle and said, man you're the best thing to happen to me in years kid, you sure can move shit and you helped me get out of the hole, paid off my debt to Mr. Big and actually got a few thousand saved, all because of you he said, i told Mr. Big all about you man, how you're the guy who moves almost all the shit i get from him... and what could i say? i was proud of my up and coming hoodrat status, i was the tall white-dread kid who could move shit, i was doing exactly what i had set out to do...

Now one of the things i had learned from Cowboy Dan back in my college days, a lesson in dealing, was that it helps to have a legit gig, my job made me do shit other than sling for 40 hours a week which is good because my informal study has shown that too much free time and drug money can lead to what? excess? bad habits? all of thee above? and so it wasn't long after that when Hippie Jack decided to walk up to the edge of what is commonly known as the Downward Spiral, like most things it always starts fun and with the best intentions but as we all know that shit goes out the window real fucking quick... so since Hippie Jack spent most of his afternoons and evenings at various bars, the last of which he would close before inviting people back to his place, he made what one could call an unsound business decision and decided it might be smart to get into the blow business, of course the blow business and weed business are two different things entirely as are the clientele and soon the busiest parking lot you could find from 3 to 5am was the shady uniform company next door to Hippie Jack's place, luckily it was in such a no-man's land only those in the know seemed to notice and somehow the cops weren't in that group...

O' Shea Jackson once wrote, that to be a dope man you must qualify/ don't get high off your own supply, this naturally leads us back to those one car parades because i've seen more wanna-be half-wit shitheads fuck up their fool-proof plans by doing exactly that, the longer the gear is in their hands the more likely they are to do it, if ever i showed discipline it was in the taking of the personal stash and then selling the rest, i knew how to crunch the numbers in order to make the venture as profitable as possible and it's in that fact i differed from 98% of the street level hoods i knew, and when it came to powder the odds of fucking up increased exponentially... and here we have Exhibit A, our man Hippie Jack...

Now while Hippie Jack liked to sell you powder, when he was sitting on his couch he much preferred to smoke his coke, he called it freebase, the news media dubbed it crack, he of course justified his term by stating it was much stronger and purer than the shit you got on the street, i wouldn't know, i never bought that shit, i only bought it from Hippie Jack until he taught me to make it myself, i once stated somehow in the legends of the lounge about just how good the first hit of the day was, like the best orgasm you'd ever had, needless to say much like an orgasm it didn't last long but there was no refractory period and though it wasn't as intense the second and every hit thereafter was still really fucking good, of course this is also how people keeled over dead but we weren't really concerning ourselves with that...

There is another pretty steadfast rule to live by in this business and also a pretty regular occurrence among those prone to fucking up one car parades, it's the old money shifting game, using money that's not yours, say Mr. Big's weed money, to buy coke under the assumption that you'll move the flake before Mr. Big calls in his note... if everything goes right it's fucking hunky dory and you make a bundle and the loan doesn't exist to the unknowing loaner and it's all puppies and sunshine, and sometimes that actually happens, not very often mind you, say twenty percent of the time but sometimes and it's also not the wisest thing to make a habit of it if you pull it off, once is usually down to luck and any more attempts than that is pushing that luck, but that is exactly what Hippie Jack did, pushed his luck, not paying attention to that Murphy guy who was winking from the closet or standing on the fire escape or to be more exact, living in the apartment upstairs...


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Awaydays

And now for something completely different...  it can't always be sex, drugs and rock n' roll around these parts, as much as we'd like it to be the sheer fact is that our time spent on this third stone from the sun is filled with many ordinary extraordinary days, of course there is a vast majority of the human race that feels as if it should always doing and social media documenting and planning and looking forward to what comes next and never stops to take a look around or appreciate exactly where they're at (see Ferris Bueller, Alan Watts etal) , i'd say it's a crisis but most people are too busy to worry about what some shut-in stoner has to say about their meta-physical well being, they don't give a fuck about their meta-physical well being, they put the money and the plate and hope the good Reverend isn't full of shit,  another example of not paying attention to where they are but worried about where they're gonna be...

I'll be the first to admit i don't know much about parenting, in fact i'm quite sure i fuck up on a damn near hourly basis but i do try, (stop fucking laughing), i often try to explain to the boyos that their old man is full of shit and to think for themselves and question everything around them and take an active view of their surroundings even if that means taking it from a hammock strung between two palm trees while sipping a tasty beverage, fucking live, it's pretty simple, enjoy those little things cuz they will mean more to you in the end than all the BMWs and golf clubs ever will... and for the record i could give fuck all about cars and golf...

Around this time last year the I-mac tried out for club football (soccer) and made the top team for his age group, he's tall and skinny like his old man was and runs like a gazelle, one of the great joys of my existence is watching the boyos play, usually footie or basketball, they're both good athletes pulling from a state-placing gymnast momma and a dad who went to university on an athletic scholarship for basketball, until of course he chucked it in for drinking, drugs, art and poetry, quite possibly one of the smartest moves he ever made, now this foray into club footie was new to me and what i soon discovered is that there's a fair amount of travel and time and there are certain parts of it (mainly dealing with other adults/parents/coaching types but mainly fucking parents) that suck a big, stinking, dong but that those things are far outweighed by the time i get to spend with the boyos... and some of those times i call awaydays...

I'm roughly 7 inches taller than my old man and i remember him telling me that i was a better basketball player by the time i was 12 than he'd ever been, my old man is a gem, he didn't live vicariously through his son, he let me play and fuck up on my own and succeed on my own and i do my best to emulate him and stay out of the boyos way, i also know that watching them play is one of my favorite things on this planet to do... the club footie has these days where the team will play a couple games against competition from other states, it usually involves a two hour drive or so and it's these days that i've come to love, usually it's just me and the I- mac but on the last one Nick Disaster came along as well... we roll along the interstates listening to music and talking about all kinds of things, we discuss and debate and tell stories and daydream out car windows, i get glimpses into how they think and who they'll be, i know these days are finite and rare, it's the most fascinating stuff in the world to me, i'm sure it is to most people who actually take an interest in their offspring, i also know some people don't take that interest, i'd call those people fucking idiots...

And so on this last one we traveled up to the lovely shores of Lake Erie, in the town of the same name, we played a couple games and then went to an indoor water park, we rode water slides and went in a wave pool, we ate burgers and fries and drank Coke, it was an ordinary extraordinary day, and as we left for two hour drive back i watched them climb in the back seat and each curl up, headphones on gazing out the window, i turned on some of my favorite music and headed towards the interstate, by the time i had gone 10 miles Nick Disaster was passed out,  the I-mac hung on a little longer but by 20 miles in he was sleeping too, before he fell asleep he caught me looking at him in the rear view mirror, he gave me a smile and closed his eyes... the most beautiful things can never be bought, they usually just happen, it's why we need to pay attention, the extraordinary ordinary... i love the awaydays...

(Somewhere on the lounge there was a live version of this song in Iceland with Anything More, when the boyos were young and i would give them their bottle and put them to bed i used to sing this song to them, sometimes i'd sing it to them at after that 4am bottle, my neighborhood asleep, it'd be my hoarse whispering of the lyrics and the subtle creak of the floorboards, the things that i will keep...)


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Wilderness Years - Missed the train to Mars

When one is working 70 plus hours a week it's the small things that keep you sane, the three or four minutes of a pop song that allow you the respite of an oppressive universe, allow you to daydream and to forget those three inches in front of your face just long enough to get you through til the next break or off shift, it was the 95th summer of the twentieth century and i spent my days and nights covered in fry grease and sweat and when it wasn't fry grease and sweat it was hunks of bloody beef and an open pit, and when it wasn't fry grease and blood it was booze and acid and smack, i'd call it a nightmare but it wasn't, it was just living and how well i was doing that at the time is debatable...

If that debate had actually been held there would have been a predominant amount of witnesses arguing that i was an asshole in the business of alienating everyone around him and they probably were not far off but when one is a miserable motherfucker making friends and influencing people is not high on the things to do list, on the other side of the room i'd have found myself and a few others but there would have been plenty of empty seats, of course we cannot change history only document it so there will be no apologies, only the cold, hard, edge of the knife blade known as memory...

There was a dishwater blonde with long curls, a sultry voice and a these dark pools of eyes that were soft and sexy, i had spent the previous year (flunking out of grad school) asking her when she was going to take me to bed? she was good-natured and worse a sorority girl, i'd give her the business about the latter bit and assure her that i wanted nothing to do with her other than the fucking, i would attend no "Greek" mixers or formals and would not be her boyfriend but i promised her all the pleasure she could handle, her laugh would bring those curls cascading around her face, you're so full of shit she'd say, you wouldn't last ten seconds, her attitude told you to fuck off but those eyes would suck you right in, her pouty lips curling into a sly smile and then that laugh again...

That 95th summer i was a broke motherfucker, but broke motherfucker's need to get wasted and blow off steam and so i would find the ways and means to stay well and truly fucked, be it the kindness of friends or the graft and hustle, there was a bar on 8th and Philadelphia that had $1 import beers twice a week from 9-11pm, on the occasional off night i would stake out a stool at the bar, usually accompanied by a friend or co-worker who had heard about my game, there i would sit nursing a beer until the special kicked off, by 9:20 you couldn't move in the place or get to the bar, i casually knew the bartenders and being 6'4 helped but i would procure beers as long as one was bought for me, i spent the next two hours doing this and getting roaring drunk with a half dozen pints of beer still in front of me, after a few nights of this game the bartenders starting giving me chips, they knew i couldn't drink all the beers i got and none of us wanted them wasted so a drink chip it was, sometimes i'd accept cash when i had a few lined up but in the end the chips went further, they let me drink free at my leisure...

They often played this song in this particular bar, at night you couldn't hear it but during the day when it was quiet and mellow there were those few minutes of reverie i'd mentioned, Lizzie of the Curls and i would go drinking there in the afternoon, i'm sure i annoyed her with my usual offer of mind-blowing sex but then we'd settle into our normal conversation, always quite good and entertaining, when i was broke she'd stand me beer after beer, when i got my scam going she'd laugh at the number chips i'd have, i'd return the favor and tell her that chivalry lives, usually followed by how chivalrous i'd be performing cunnilingus on her, i was a right fucking twit and yet she put up with me, it was the company of a beautiful and intelligent woman, she came across as having it well together but she didn't, there was a sadness behind the eyes, a loneliness in the pauses between words, one particularly drunken afternoon as we exited into the blinding sun so i could make it to work on time she stopped me on the corner and kissed me, she said she was waiting for the answers, it looked like she had tears in her eyes, i was too drunk to know if i was supposed to have them and then she turned and walked toward her place...

That's how it went for her and i that summer, i was living with a girl, Lizzie knew that, we'd meet and drink and talk and except for that one kiss there was never anything sexual, except of course for the tension... i was working the day shift at the fry joint when she walked up one afternoon, she asked if i was working a double that day and i said no, i had already worked three that week and had a night off, she told me i should meet her at the bar, i asked what time and she said early, around 7 or 8 before it got crowded, i said i'd stop up for a quick drink or two... and therein lies the best laid plans of the wasted motherfucker... my shift ended and i went to the bar around the corner to play some Foosball with my co-worker friends, a few games turned into a dozen turned into a dozen beers and shots of Irish Mist, then a ride home on the bicycle and a few joints, a shower, a couple slices of pizza, more beers, more joints and the night was gone, i passed out in my room to the sounds of muted voices and distant waves...

I wouldn't see Lizzie again for a few days after that but when i did she gave me a hard look, slightly confused i asked her what was up? she said where were you the other night, i told her how i had gotten sidetracked after work at the bar and then went home to a semi-party and shrugged and told her i didn't think it was any big deal, she gave a wry smile and said well you missed out mister, i did i said baffled, yeah she said, it was your lucky night, her dark eyes were burning into me, wait what? i stammered, a girl can get lonely AND horny she said, you mean you were gonna? wait, you're fucking shitting me i said, she shook her head, you fucked up, after the second beer i had plans to take you to my place and fuck YOUR brains out, my jaw was bouncing off the floor, i began to do what any lovelorn alley cat would do and started begging and pleading for the opportunity to correct the situation, she stopped me cold, it was taken care of she said, who i said incredulously, my vibrator she spat back, it's my best friend until i get back to school... and off she walked...

I didn't see much of Lizzie after that, she'd leave the beach early and head home and then back to her final year of school, i'd move a few blocks away towards the bay side and get into a interesting month or so of hard drugs and acid and high infidelity, but every time i hear that song i think of those curls and how one night she walked back to her place alone, counting stars, while somewhere a scant few blocks away i was missing the train to Mars...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bim Skala Bim


The article said that Americans aren't fucking like they used to, that the average married couple just a scant decade ago was banging 65 times a year and that recently it had dropped to somewhere around 56 times and i scratched my head and thought well if that's the average some dude with a dad bod is getting mad laid because in these parts it's either feast or famine and these days i'm like that Jewish-Pole pianist stuck in the Warsaw ghetto, fucking thin, real fucking thin, and so as i wandered aimlessly through the fifth grade math carnival i studied all the moms and dads and debated and pondered, all in my own head of course, which of these happy couplings was coupling once sometimes twice a week, at what address were the bed springs squeaking as i drove the suburban streets stoned out of my mind and cursing the fact there were no decent massage parlors out here in the burbs or more correctly that i didn't have the money for a decent massage parlor out here in the burbs because off hand i could count half a dozen within a 15 minute drive, which then led me to think that there are either a lot of single and lonely men out here or that people are lying on those fucking questionnaires and those good and faithful types aren't as good and faithful as they'd have us believe...

One thing for sure is that i'm not fucking like i used to though not for lack of trying on my end, trying being a subjective thing and there are times when i try more than others, granted John Thursday would try on an almost minute to minute basis, the good lad thinks and acts much younger than his age but the soul and the patience get weary with the years and all these transactions of the flesh seem to cost more and more, there is a disconnect between the sexes and the fairer doesn't mind fucking behind hubby's back as long as their emotional needs are met more so than say the physical where as some old dogs just want to get down, get off and get the fuck out, maybe not as impolite as it sounds but there is the balance of the empathy earned and the empathy paid and if the balance is off then the deal goes south, quick-fast as we used to say...

When one is a chronic wank addict you almost have to be an atheist, you can't have a proper jerk if you think some creepy fucking deity is always peering over your shoulder, though i have to admit the wanking can make you lazy in the fucking department, it'll take the starch right out of the hunter and before you know it you'll be baking brownies and nodding off to Dr. Phil, it's strange days out here in the lily white, and on the usual morning i get up long before the sun due to a mind that clicks on as soon as the last vestiges of ganja have kicked it's way out of the system, i make some coffee and read the news, i make the boyos breakfast and pack lunches and shuffle them off to the public education, i work out, have a wank, take a shower and get on with things, i avoid the internets and it's fool's gold of sexual promise, everywhere there are women waiting, and there are 20 men waiting for every woman, it was like walking past that stall in the red light and seeing a line outside, no one really wants to see who went before them, at least in the red light there was order and rules and dare i say honesty, in the wilds of the web it's a fucking free for all, every one on the take and all trying to make a buck, the risk high and the reward low, the opportunity cost that once again feeds on a disproportionate amount of the soul, a sucker's game and yet there it sits like a fat, juicy, peach just begging you to take a bite, i'm not fond of fruit... but i've been known to get hungry now and then...

So here i stand at 46 and i'm really nothing more than horny 15 year old, i keep a running mental commentary on the Yoga pants set that would make a blue film seem like the Sound of Music and that's just in the Target fucking parking lot, some days i'll have a go at myself two or three times, this can't be fucking normal for someone my age can it? and yet how did this existence get so onanistic and monastic? the wanking monk... there was a time when it all came so free and easy, sometimes i wonder if it still won't it's just the rules have changed and there are things like decorum and manners and maybe i'm just clueless, just a caveman dressed up and pretending to be civilized because you can't go round asking, wanna fuck? polite society does not go for that shit and a man my age is supposed to somehow understand this, as a cocky seventeen year old i once walked into the mall and asked the girl at the pastry shop that very question, wanna fuck? and it worked, but now i'm supposed to be actively interested in the problems, thoughts and feelings and i don't have the patience for that anymore, we're old and bitter darling can we just get to it and be on our way? i'm gonna do my best to please you as many times as i can in the time allotted but make no mistake it's all for my damn ego, believe me, so when you and your girlfriends are at the local Starbucks or Panera Bread or what not you'll say my name, like Heisenberg, with an awe and respect for the work i've put in...

And so where does this leave me? stoned and standing with my pants around the ankles, in a world of imaginary friends and past fucks, bright yellow light and cold tile floor, an Ipod stuffed with caustic love songs, the platonic complacency of familiar strangers, a lusting for sticky fumblings in foreign foyers, the faint static of a clock radio on a Knights Inn bed stand, the green numbers illuminating somewhere past midnight, the bed sheets rumpled and wet, the quiet closing of car doors, the cat picking his teeth of the remnants of the canary, there is no need for justice or faith, there is only the need to feel the pulse and the cool air stinging the skin and the clandestine drive through the same streets with different names, in different states, in different times, empty bottles labeled the wine of youth are strewn on the floor, the sweat drips slowly from the tip of the nose leaving patterns on the floor, call them tea leaves and read of it what you will...














Friday, April 21, 2017

Kurt - 4/11

Today i sat in my car while the rain beat steadily down and read The Sirens of Titan while the eldest boyo got soaked at his futbol practice... if that isn't nice i don't know what is... it was the tenth anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut's death, a thing Kurt himself would have found funny or at least the fact that people who never knew him were somehow honoring his memory, you see i took enough online surveys to earn a gift card from the world's biggest garbage dump and found a good copy of his early work all bound up in a nice hardback with a swanky piece of ribbon for a bookmark, a dust jacket, the whole nine yards, those kids at the Library of America sure do make some fine books and a modern day robber baron provides me the means to find a good copy at a price i can afford, yeah i know i could go to the library, sometimes i do, sometimes i just need shit on hand to satisfy some silly question that pops up in my stoned head, there was also this article on the importance of bookshelves and their contents and more importantly the contents of said bookshelf that had not been read, somehow the article made me smile and might have reaffirmed a tiny nugget of my sanity...

I came to Mr. Vonnegut late and in my usual stubborn and roundabout fashion having been told for years to read him by various friends who i'd say had excellent and disparate tastes in books but all seemed certain i would enjoy this Kurt character, and so one day about five years ago i got a copy of his book of letters published after he had died, not one his novels or a short story collection but letters, and in those letters i saw a guy i could relate to and so one fine day i went to that library and checked out a book called God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and never laughed so hard in my life, it was all downhill from their and his work now gets devoured on a regular basis and soon i'll be close to having read all his novels...

They say Kurt Vonnegut wrote science fiction and i'd laugh and say that Kurt Vonnegut wrote nothing close to science fiction, that what he wrote was life, was humanity in all it's folly and glory and arrogance and beauty, you can't classify it and there are times when i'm sitting around doing whatever i do and i wonder what the hell it is? then i remind myself not to worry about it, the reward is in the doing and not the buying, selling or consuming of it, by the modern world's standards i don't do much, yes i cook and clean and mow the lawn and wash clothes but the real men don't call that work, i don't earn any money, i about earn my keep and nothing more, of course Kurt would say i actually do quite a bit and what he'd most like is that in those spare hours not spent cooking and cleaning and mowing i type out pages of my life, i type out stories and ideas and half-assed philosophical babble, and so in my own half-assed way and without ever really knowing it, i went into art.. the art of living...

"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." -KV.... let it be stated that i spend a good portion of my day singing and dancing around my humble abode, i also spend a good portion of it conversing with cats...

And he's right, it's no damn way to make a living, selling weed or shining shoes is a much more effective means of supporting oneself and he's right about that reward, i always seem to be in a better mood when i get things done, things that might sit in a folder or file (digitized and otherwise), there is a satisfaction in the doing that i simply do not get from anything else, yes when i demo'ed the bathroom or pulled apart and fixed the toilet, that was all well and good and there was a modicum of accomplishment in figuring out how to do something i hadn't done before but it was nothing like the simple act of staring at the page and typing away, even when it goes badly, which it often does, there is nothing like pissing away the hours, the same goes for the paints, i have no talent or ability but i still i fritter about, making things, for no one and for no reason other than i want to, and so while i may be failing wonderfully at earning money or advancing a career i have gotten quite good and doing nothing at all, a man can work up a mean thirst after a hard day of that, Paul Westerberg said that not Kurt, but thanks Mr. Vonnegut, for helping an aging slacker stay the course...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My Old Man




Today as i was dragged through the aisles of multiple Big Box Stores, the type of which let you improve upon that most cherished of all things American known as "the home", the dream foisted and sold and fucking shoved down our throats as if once that purchase of said property has been made you have fucking made it!! as if there is nothing left to do with your life? but there is one thing left to do... and the thing to do apparently is to improve that dwelling and make it the domicile of your gawd damned dreams i tell you, whole industries are there to enhance this process, there are television networks dedicated to helping you bring your dreams to fruition, there are people whose whole career is predicated on selling you shit to do this, D-list celebrities i guess, people who look vaguely familiar on the front of some Murdoch-like gossip rag adorning the front end checkout of the local supermarket usually occupying a small space on the lower left cover, and i stood in these aisles of toilets and chainsaws and washer/dryer combo sets, the dutiful soldier, the faithful and solid sounding board for the Breadwinner's thoughts and dreams, i had not a clue what i was fucking doing there, having been forewarned of Breadwinner's plan i spent the early morning sneaking to the garage and ripping clandestine hits of Jamaican Dream, Leafly said it was good for stress and made one happy and energetic, (i might beg to differ on the latter trait but the first two were pretty spot on), i spent a lot of time nodding and looking serious, i listened to a man prattle on about grout and glass tile, the whole conversation could have been in Mandarin Chinese for all i fucking knew, i was thinking about the weird yellow lights and the sounds of birds coming from the rafters, but i'm a good nodder and have mastered the art of masking stoned confusion with the look of utmost interest...

When i was a kid these behemoth Box Stores were just coming into existence and they weren't that one stop cash grab they are now and i remember being dragged along to multiple stores and the look on my old man's face as he nodded and looked serious, the dutiful soldier, that faithful and solid sounding board, of course the difference between my old man and me is that when my parents did this it was his/their money being spent and when Corporal Kono is dragged along there are no doubts left as to whose money is being spent, it is the Breadwinner's and though i may have some suggestions on how this money could be put to better use, legit uses too, like investments and shit, i am not so stupid as to offer my suggestions, i'm like the gawky and nerdy assistant in some female-centric rom-com, my duty is to compliment the star, of course in the American television sit-com scheme of things my old man could at least expect a piece of tail out of the deal (just like the commercials sell us) while i could expect to unload the car and lug stuff into the house... so it goes...

And what started this little reverie was a song i've been hearing on the satellite radio, a small perk thrown my way at least until it's discovered the free trial is over, it came on this morning in the drizzle and i sat and listened as i drove my way towards the stores and i thought about my old man, about how i was doing all the same shit he had done and for what?  to make someone happy? to please? was that the fucking theory? i couldn't really figure it out, maybe i could blame the Jamaican Dream or maybe i just don't really want to figure it out for various reasons though i'm pretty sure i got it sorted but those are the rambling and circular thoughts of the stoned and this isn't about that...

Since the old guy gracefully took leave of the house he paid for he's lived in an apartment on the West Side of Cleveland, first in Lakewood for 8 years and then two blocks over into the city for the last 16 or so, the apartments are like a time capsule, they are also the antithesis of the whole aforementioned industry and television networks, he has the old table that adorned his ex-wife's beloved dining room, it's covered with junk mail, a newspaper, books, a six pack of Pepsi, various coats or jackets hang on the chairs, i'm quite sure he hasn't sat at it in years, the same two couches he's had for ages though i think one may have been replaced with a newer model in the last decade, an old stereo with a tape deck, glasses and dishes salvaged from the divorce that until said divorce were probably being stored in boxes in the basement, but what the fuck does he care?  it's just stuff, why would he spend his time worrying about stuff? the old man reads too much and thinks too much, he goes to work (for something to do) he talks to his lady friend, he converses with his brothers and his son and doesn't really give a shit if he talks to anyone else, and that's enough for him, he's a self-contained kinda guy...

So i guess as the apple i didn't really fall that far, if i was in my old man's shoes i'm sure my place would look exactly the same as his (except i'd have an old turntable and a milk crate of records), i wouldn't give a rat's ass about the furniture other than that there were a few pieces to drop my ass on when the need arose, to this day i can honestly say i've never bought a bed of my own, it's never crossed my mind, and if i'm being perfectly honest the odds are probably pretty good  at some point i'll be in that same boat, i'll have my stack of books and the newspaper, instead of cigarettes i'll have the bong or better yet a plate of ganja cookies to go with my coffee, i'll watch the footie and the hoops, i'll talk to the boyos and laugh and listen to all the things they're doing, i won't sweat my old couch or the fact my few dishes and glasses are as old as the boyos, because the more i go sliding along the more i see how much i'm like my old man, and that's not a bad thing at all, at least not in my eyes, there are ways in which we are completely different and there are unmistakable traits that leave no doubt i am his son, he's a cool cat, i'm surprised his wallet doesn't say Bad Motherfucker on it, so as i walked the hard concrete aisles of the American home improvement dream, i just sat back and grinned, i nodded and looked serious, that faithful sounding board, just like my old man used to be...