Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A History of Addiction

I was never going to be an alcoholic. I'm just too fucking lazy. Being a drunk takes work and if there's one thing i'm averse to it's that word. There is a certain amount of discipline and drive when it comes to drinking and i just don't have it. Booze has always been the sidekick to various other substances, the accoutrement to the main course. So while booze has always been invited to the party it was more like that quiet friend who crashes on your couch, you don't really realize they're there but yet there they are.

Now had Tricky Dick Nixon rolled out some fancy add campaign like his boy Dutch Reagan did a few years later maybe this post wouldn't exist and maybe mom and dad would have hid that gas can in the garage so that Junior here wouldn't have discovered just how lovely it smells and how lightheaded it can make you. Hell i was young and didn't realize i was killing brain cells but i quite enjoyed it. Somehow i even realized i should keep the whole gas huffing thing to myself so as not to arouse suspicion or get in trouble. The subconscious works in mysterious ways.

A few years after i learned gas huffing was an interesting hobby i discovered the joys of wanking. One could say i was addicted to it but let's just face the facts about teenage boys... they jerk off.. a lot. There are two types of men in this world, those that claim not to jerk off and those that lie about not jerking off. Then of course came the introduction to the female form and my relentless pursuit of it. In my youth i fooled more than my fair share of parents, mother's being particularly smitten, with my friendly ways and utter mastery at the art of bullshit. I knew what they wanted to hear and while the daddies remained more skeptical of my intentions usually even they were won over eventually. Until of course i cheated on their daughter with her best friend. Those guys always should have gone with their gut i tell you. Now as i got older one could say i was a borderline sex addict but i just prefer to think i liked to fuck a lot. Now of course i realize that one of the largest obstacles any male faces in their lives is the ability to overcome their own penis. For the most part they never do, sometimes i think i've made great strides in that area and other times not so much. But alas aren't we all works in progress?

Then of course there were the very brief and short dalliances with pcp and then the unfortunate knowledge of learning how to rock up your own coke but those were short stints though i'm sure my body would have preferred no stints at all. The dust was more like a crash course to see how much i could scramble my brain and there is a whole post from years back to devoted to smoking rock and wanking so there's no need to delve too deep here. My old friend the Engineer once remarked at how i seemed to have this innate ability to quit shit before it got out of hand. He was wrong of course and while i did give that impression usually it was a moment of clarity in a drug addled and drunken haze that made me realize it was time to kick shit. When the impending doom crept in the dust was done and that little episode of thinking the ticker was about to burst at good old Hippy Jack's made me quickly forget the recipe for homemade rock.

Now one might think that would be last time i'd ever see that fine white powder again but alas sometimes the universe looks you squarely in the eye and kicks you firmly in the nuts. Let's just say that shortly after making things legal with the old Breadwinner things went pear-shaped quick fast. In order to ease the mental anguish, pain, what have you, i was hanging at the lowest place i could find, a mini-mart that sold beer ( a rarity in Pennsyltucky in those days), it was home to the halfway house crowd, a veritable island of misfit toys all drinking 75 cent cans of malt liquor while staring at a shitty little telly usually turned to the local news. One could often smell the familiar scent of crack wafting from the bathroom and one fine day i met a lad who just so happened to have the skyline of Pittsburgh tattooed across his belly. Somehow the talk turned to powder and pills and weed and since i was feeling like a mutt that had been kicked in the face, when he told me his cousin got some decent blow i placed an order. That slope wasn't just slick it was treacherous. When one is examining how fucked their life has become, has a suitcase full of money and access to blow, things usually don't turn out so well. Of course it always starts so innocent but before i knew it i had Cousin Franco on speed dial with a damn near standing order for an 8-ball every Friday night. There were points where i couldn't hit the bar for a few pints on a Tuesday without hitting him up for a gram. Needless to say a few years later and i had managed to piss away a healthy chunk of illicit cash, the one time genius weed dealer of North Oakland was now nothing more than a pathetic coke head who people would do anything to not be cornered by in the pub so he could spill his tales of woe in a splattering of verbal diarrhea between trips to the can to key up in the stall. And yet one day i said that's it and never touched it again.

But alas our hero was not out of the woods yet, there were other things to find and find them he did. In the years that Big Pharma was pushing it's pain relief one could very easily find those little sweeties in every local bar. Seems there was no end to people being prescribed opiates and soon people realized they had more than they needed or could get so many they could turn a nice little profit. Soon the little pills of all shapes and sizes, percs and vikes and oxys, were easily and readily available and usually in bulk. There is a few years of the lounge that were written under the lovely haze of opiates and coffee. The routine usually involved downing a pill and then walking to the coffee shop a few blocks away, scoring a concoction of steamed milk to help with the stomach and then walking back while the pill kicked in. The walk would stimulate the mind and kick in the drugs so i could come in and sit quietly at the typer and twiddle away. Luckily for me i had a rather strange respect for the opium poppy and understood it's power, much more than i had for those coca leaves, and so i'd use the reduction method ala Bill Burroughs to attempt to periodically take breaks which usually resulted in a finale of a rather sleepless night while dealing with a slight to mild case of the creepy crawlies/ heebie-jeebies. When the connections finally started to dry up with the "get tough on addicts" and prosecution of docs writing too many scripts there was one final reduction method and a ride off into the sunset.

The addictive personality will always find something though and i think the trick is to find something that may be a bit less harmful and so as the Big World Bank Machine was set to close i decided i wanted to get into some kind of shape, to be able to chase the boyos and not be the daddio in the park panting on the park bench. And so the workouts started, of course i overdid  it to the point i ended  up with back spasms down the road. My ability to push and torture myself being both the proverbial blessing and curse. I've gone through various forms of physical fitness regimens but have since settled on swimming, something that is excellent for the back and the creaky knees and ankles of an ex-hooper/warehouse grunt. Add to the mix my new found love of smoothies and at least these days i'm addicted to something that isn't supposed to kill me until of course one reads the statistics of how many people kick it while working out. I don't much worry about it, having gone full organic between the herb and the fungus i've discovered a discipline i never really realized i had. Having kicked all the nasty shit i'm now hooked on raw fucking oats and flax seed, bananas and berries and Greek fucking yogurt. I've gone full Mark Renton and have chosen life or something like it. Being addicted to reading and having gone down the rabbit hole of some half-assed Eastern mysticism mixed with my own off-kilter philosophical musings i sit here today laughing like the Buddha of suburbia understanding the present informs the past much more than vice-versa. Now it's time to change the laundry.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

St. Lucia- A love letter

When i dwell on these little rocks tossed into the large sea i am a bit lost in the meaninglessness, the joy and beauty. This year the little rock was a place called St. Lucia, an island in the eastern Caribbean sitting on the border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. An absolutely gorgeous place with a rain forest so dense that there are barely an inhabitants in the center of the island, everyone and everything settled around the rim. We stayed at the southernmost point, where if i stood and looked to my left (east) there was the Atlantic and if i turned my head to the right (west) there was the Caribbean. There was an absolute lovely wind that never seemed to stop blowing which provided a template for some of the most gorgeous clouds i'd ever seen, where the weather could go from hazy to sunny to a downpour and back to sunny in the course of an hour. Mystical was how i thought of it and i spent hours staring out to sea past the outcroppings of rock, listening to the wind and surf and generally just contemplating nothing more than the fleeting nature of each breath timed to the waves.

Within an hour of landing i had already scored my weed. I'm nothing if not diligent when it comes to preparation and procuring of my favorite plant. In fact i had not one but two sources, the bell hop, who would bring me some a few hours later and a fine chap who carved birdhouses out of coconuts named Shane. The brilliant thing about St. Lucia is all the beaches are public so even though some conglomerate can set up shop in the most prime place anyone can still use the beach. Hence there were a few guys selling necklaces and coconut birdhouses and Shane looked the most likely to have what i needed. We became pals and there was a young chap named Jaid who hung about offering tours and taxi service and over the course of the 9 days i was there i would score them beers or apples or waters if they needed them. I wasn't the only one mind you so over the course of the day they remained well hydrated and fed, i liked their style as it reminded me of my days as a migrant beach worker when you relied on the kindness of others to help you out. Needless to say Shane helped me out a few times over my stay and while it wasn't Jamaican quality it wasn't too bad either. Some of it was actually excellent and i attributed it to the fact that some was more properly harvested and cured and some it wasn't.

St. Lucians are a mellow and easy going type and the island as a whole has embraced tourism as their bread and butter. They want the Yanks and Brits and Canadians flocking to their little paradise because other than agriculture and fishing there isn't much in the way of industry on the island. Tourism is what drives the economy and everywhere you turn the Looshins are asking if you are enjoying the place and if you'll come back, if you'll tell your friends, thanking you for coming. Yes there are times when the neo-colonial guilt comes creeping in but for the most part you are helping this little island survive so their seems to be a balance. The little island was a pawn in the wars of Britain and France and changed hands numerous times and the influence of those countries can be seen everywhere. Most of the towns sit on the little inlets and bays that dot the coast and are beautiful places reminiscent of a more colorful New Orleans. The food is fucking fantastic but then again i'm biased. I've always been a fiend for jerk chicken and pork, chicken roti, fried plantains and peas (beans) and rice. Harley and Marveous, the jerk hut crew, also made some excellent smoked fish which changed daily depending on what was caught that morning, needless to say it was good stuff.

So what does one do on a volcanic little island in the eastern Caribbean? Well a lot really. The boyos got to see an active volcano and smell the glorious sulfur the earth spews out like one long noxious fart. It was then a short walk down the hill to the mud baths where we all jumped in and covered ourselves with volcanic mud while soaking in the warm black water. The driver, Danny aka Danny Boy, then drove us to a gorgeous waterfall where we washed off the rest of the mud and swam around in a the cool freshwater pouring over the cliff. Danny was a great guide and even better human, we had an interesting discussion about the current state of American politics and Danny and i were well in tune with our views of the events happening in the asylum located to the north. Danny found the old stoner's view on the environment and man's place in it an interesting point and claimed that i was a wise man who seemed to think deeply on the state of things, i smiled and told him that i don't really know a thing but am trying to do the least amount of damage while doing the most amount of good. Needless to say it was a fine day and after a busy morning we cut the afternoon short as it was an island holiday (of which we were unaware) and wanted Danny to get back home to enjoy the rest of the day with his wife and son.

There was a snorkel trip on a large catamaran where to boyos and i saw some rather large lobsters and the stray eel (at Oprah's favorite place apparently), a place called Sugar Beach. The whole trip along a coast that was some of the most gorgeous i've ever seen, outcroppings of volcanic rock and small mountains that seemed to be dropped right into the sea, the towns and villages dotting every inlet and bay with the bright colored roofs. The second stop was at a deeper spot and luckily Nick and the Breadwinner sat this one out. The current was challenging to say the least but all that swimming came in handy. The big problem was the invasion of tiny, translucent jellyfish which had everyone, including the I-mac, losing their shit. Of course the dumbest guy (see me) was attempting to swim in between and around them but the I-mac was having none of it and so we turned and headed back, me helping the boy get safely back on the boat in a current that was strong and moving the boat back and forth. I managed to only get stung twice and once on board realized that we were practically the last ones out of the water.

Most of the week was spent ambling along a beach and listening to the waves. There was a brilliant mento band that played one afternoon which was a highlight for this Jamaican music lover. Three older gentlemen playing acoustic guitar, a drum, and maracas, all while singing, they played one of my all time favorite songs, Shame and Scandal, and it was an hour well spent. There was Maurice, a tall waiter who struck up a conversation about the Trojan Records shirt i was wearing. We discussed a ton of music and of course the futbol. Maurice was a Chelsea fan, a fact i told him was most unfortunate as we had a good laugh. Of course the Trojan shirt was a bit of a laugh in itself. An older woman approached me and said she had never seen it so blatantly advertised, i gave her a puzzled look knowing full well she thought it was a condom t-shirt, i then explained to her the it was a record label from England specializing in Jamaican music. She was dumbfounded and smiled while telling me she had learned something today, i politely smiled back and told her she should look into it as there was some great music put out by this label.

There was the infamous goat incident, where a little goat i had dubbed Nick the goat, because of his trouble-making demeanor, took a nip at Nick Disaster. There was Rufus the stray dog who i would have taken home if i could have. There was a respite in the battle between the Breadwinner and i. I made it a point to make sure the trip went smoothly and did my best to hangout and listen and not wander off as i'm prone to do. Of course the ganja helps with that because the only place i really wandered off to would be the jerk hut followed by a lounge in the lazy river. It was a fine time indeed and i look forward to the day i can get back there again.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Mushroom Diaries Vol. 3

According to Terence McKenna you should take a nice dose of mushrooms and sit in a dark room. Terence was of the opinion that too many people liked to eat the boomers and then go out and party, and of course we do, last summer was a boon for the psycho-naut with the Lips and Father John Misty passing through town and while it's a well documented fact that i like good night off my tits and riding the trains to and fro i figured i'd put my psychedelic research hat on and listen to Terence. So last Friday night i took a dose and laid on the couch in a dark room and stared at the ceiling. It was fucking brilliant. I can't really describe it other than it felt like floating in space if space was warm and cozy. I can't tell what i thought about because i thought about everything and nothing. I drifted in and out of sleep from time to time with the slightest of grins on my mug. How do you sleep on shrooms you ask? You just let go, you drift, you cease worrying about this or that and just ride where the magic little fungus takes you. It was like an exercise in wu-wei in a dare i say purer form then i can currently get to without the aid of my favorite fungi. Needless to say it won't be the last time i try this little experiment. My cats enjoy it too because i've found that no other animal relates to the tripping human like cats. Having experimented in this area for going on 30 years i always marvel at their sixth sense. Syd and Zuko were my constant companions for the night and would follow me if i got up and come right back to the room when i returned. Kono's best friends indeed.

As of late there's been a steady diet of mushroom eating taking place. If you're thinking how does one just casually eat mushrooms it's pretty easy really. I just grind them up and eat them, to think about it would be a mistake. It somehow dovetails into all those books by Allan Watts and Bob Wilson and copious amounts of ganja. If in that moment the proper thing to do is down the boomers then down they will go. I usually end up sitting on some one's couch and yapping away for a bit before returning home for the comedown, for the amazing way it feels when i stretch, as if i was one of those gigantic pieces of taffy you seeing being pulled at the local confectioner at the shore or the way a cat feels after a good nap when they perform a fine and pleasant stretch.  A feeling of knowing each and every nerve and muscle and being awe-struck by how they work and feel. There is a neat symmetry with the psilocybin, an equilibrium between body and mind, sometimes when i stand up as they kick through the system it's as if i'm walking for the first time and i'm amazed at the feeling, weightless yet grounded.

And so this little experiment will continue, sometimes to play, to ride the trains and hear the music and see the lights, sometimes to see if i can open those sixth, seventh, and eighth circuits, the circuits that Leary and Wilson talked about. I was watching a video of Robert Anton Wilson the other day, (a video where he interestingly stated how the advent of drug testing now means we don't even have autonomy over our own bladders), he talked about the way meditation, psychedelics, cannabis, can trip that fifth circuit (thus leading to 6-7-8) and how once tripped the person will look to get back there but will also become more at ease with the universe, how they will be more philosophical and conscious of things. It struck me because i've recognized those traits more in my existence in the last 18-20 months, about the time i really got on board, about the time my father told me about his health. I remember the Breadwinner telling me that my sons were surprised at how well i handled the passing of my dad. I know why, i can't tell them yet but i will someday. I'll be open and upfront about things, like how they should avoid cigarettes and alcohol, speed and smack but that there are certain organic compounds out there that grow on their own that are interesting ways to both relax and learn about your mind and the world you're a part of, yeah i sound like a fucking hippy but so be it. It's the truth.

An interesting study has shown that the use of psychedelics tends to make people closer to the planet we live on. That fact is we are not the all-powerful masters we think we are but just one small part in a larger system and that if we continue to abuse that system the system will correct itself without much regard to whether we survive or not. I know my re-discovering and the way i use these substances has made me a more empathetic and compassionate person to all the things around me. I know i have more patience. Yes there are times when i "lose the Buddhist" as i like to say but as any sentient human knows we are a gamut of emotions and it would be fucking dull to walk around smiling all the time. Hell i'm not sure what's happening and i've probably forgotten and unlearned what the powers that be call "conventional wisdom" but that's cool, i wasn't much for convention anyway. Now on with the show.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Takin' a Walk

Sometimes the best laid plans can backfire a bit. The Breadwinner likes to take walks. She's always asking the boyos or myself if we'll go for one and it's become a bit of a game now. We all take turns and it just so happens that my turn came up the other day. The boyos were busy doing boyo things and since the Breadwinner won't walk by herself it fell upon me to be the tag along. Collectively the boyos and i have figured out that if the Breadwinner is happy it's easier on all of us and so i quickly hit the vape pen and inhaled a deep and tasty draught of Cookies and Cream, a fine strain which i figured would enhance my enjoyment of the blue sky and fluffy white clouds as i walked along and listened to the Breadwinner talk.

And so it began. My city is nothing if not filled with hills and so while the walk is good for the legs and lungs it can be a bit of a pain on the old back. I donned my shades and hit the pavement and took in all that was around me. I examined the state of various lawns and compared them the state of mine, something so profoundly absurd and suburban i got a good giggle out of it. I clandestinely gazed through windows and harbored secret hopes of catching a glimpse of my favorite neighborhood Milfs. I pondered how many other mild-mannered mushroom eating maniacs lived in my quiet little suburb and guessed i most likely could count them on one hand. Really there was exactly two that i knew of and i was one of them and most likely the only one who took them on a regular basis.

I walked and listened. It was the usual stuff from the Breadwinner, mainly talking about work and how her co-worker/best friend was having a rough time, being depressed and blaming it all on the job and etc etc... This is often the Breadwinner's line but she's taken a new track and downloaded some app that is all about lifestyle changes and such and so has tried not to bitch and moan about her job so much. Mind you the Breadwinner is part owner of several successful restaurants, pulls in a decent amount of cheddar, and basically can make her own hours, often times working far less than a 40 hour work week in a country where even a 40 work week has become something of a myth... and so we ambled along her talking about her friend and how she needs to take a look at things and not just blame the job when suddenly things took a left turn. It was at this juncture, about halfway home, that the soliloquy-slash-diatribe started.

It began with the phrase, do you know how lucky you are? At this point i took a fine meditative breath and nodded. It continued with myself being told that i was lucky to be a stay at home parent and how if she could trade places with me she would. How that she would enjoy being home, something i almost laughed out loud at, and then began a list of all the things i didn't do well, basically comparing me to her mother and how her mother kept a much cleaner house and did so many things better than i do. This was followed by the caveat that she wasn't criticizing me but that i should have a schedule and this and that and by this point i had tuned out and began thinking about the lovely sight of home that was just a few twists and turns away. She kept asking me if i knew how lucky i was? as if i needed to suddenly stop and grovel in the middle of the street and thank her for her benevolence of letting me stay in our humble abode seeing that i was obviously lacking in so many basic skills that i was a wonder i could function at all.

It was at this point that i was glad that i've found a bit of discipline when it comes to my mouth. I could have pointed out that while i do get behind on things the simple fact is all the housework/yard work/driving to practice/cooking and such falls on me. I understand i don't have a job but i actually have two seeing as i do all the so-called traditional "male" duties as well as the so-called "female" duties as well (though i loathe to use those terms). Hell i was half tempted to burst into Kate Bush's This Woman's Work but thought better of it. The fact the boyos schedule is in constant flux didn't come into play, the fact she often leaves things lying around for me to pick up wasn't mentioned (on the odd occasion she does go and weed the yard she likes to tell me to go clean up the piles she left as well as being almost incapable of placing anything in the recycling bin preferring instead to leave it on the counter for me) add in the fact that i'm often yanked from actually getting shit done to play tag along while she ambles the aisles of (insert store here) it's often hard to get anything completed in one go and in between  other things come up. Then of course the whole issue of my swimming came up, something i was told took up half the morning, in reality it takes me roughly 90 minutes from door to door, and is two-fold as it keeps me in shape and more importantly keeps my fucking back from shitting the bed which in turn would lay me up for any number of days or weeks.

But alas i'm learning something in my old age, there was no reason to argue, i did mention that i'd do whatever i had to do for the boyos and if that meant going to work or whatever needed to be done then i'd do it. That statement was met with a look of derision, cloaked with a good-natured smile, but i knew to let it go and resume my position as whipping boy so that the rest of the night wouldn't be some pissing contest. Besides i've figured it best to entertain whatever comes my way from the Breadwinner cuz if she's happy and satisfied with things then i don't get the harangue treatment as much. So i kept putting on foot in front of the other and soon the lovely view of the house appeared and i thought how wonderful that pull off the pen would be followed by a long drink of cool water. It's the simple things. I walked in and smiled at Stretch and his long legs sprawled out on the couch, had Nick Disaster run around the corner and give me the usual hug and quick "love you dad"... basically it was enjoying the yin after suffering the yang. It's just how it goes. Then i went out front and picked up those piles of weeds.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Future of Saturday Night

Reading too much philosophy can really fuck up your head and when your head is as fucked up as mine from the get go that's probably not a good thing... or maybe it is. Let's just say that i vacillate back and forth between the uselessness in typing anything and the fact that the only semi-meaningful thing i do (outside of the boyos of course) is writing down shit for my own amusement. When you come to the realization that all this folly we call modern life is non-sense it can be hard to motivate yourself to do anything other have a good wank and get stoned (actually reverse the order of that), i've gotten to the point where the only real purpose in this temporary detour is to enjoy yourself before being tossed back into the void from which you came, you being an arbitrary symbol for a bag of skin and some organs and an ego we subscribe to much importance.

A recent Saturday night saw the I-mac at an amusement park with his friends while Nick Disaster was at a baseball game with his friend which in turn left the remaining denizens of the house alone and while i am a staunch believer in the here and now it offered a brief glimpse into the future... and the future looks fucking bleak. Of course that bleakness of what might never happen is a relative term for a situation that is more akin to a rotting roadkill baking in a July sun than a flower blooming in the warmth of May. Needless to say as said denizens sat down to an oddly quiet dinner while the cats all stared and the birds all chirped and attempted to pretend that there was something to talk about. There wasn't but i'll give the Breadwinner points for at least attempting to keep the silence from becoming deafening though truth be told i much prefer the silence.

Now in the hustle and bustle of the raising of the boyos one might think that a free Saturday night might raise the opportunity (or more aptly described as the spectre) of some sort of adult activity. You know something fun, something the therapists and counselors of the world call, "re-connecting", a prospect that i believed frightened both of the people sitting at that table. Jah forbid one of them raise the idea of sex or what i used to call the great white elephant standing in the middle of the room (and most likely taking a giant dump on any possibility of that happening.) In fact stranger still, it would have been the male of this sad and depressing scene who would have done his best to avoid at all costs this suggestion coming up while picking at the remnants of his sandwich, in fact said man had already subtly mentioned his aching back while mentally rolodexing all the things he might do to escape this possibility. Of course there wasn't much to worry about, the chance the female would float this idea was roughly the odds of one hitting the Mega-Millions but as we all know somebody wins sooner or later so it's best to keep the bases covered.

And so there they sat. That white elephant had let out a yawn, closed it's eyes, and took a snooze, thus sparing the parties any uncomfortable conversations and excuses as to why such an activity would not be taking place. For my part i had managed to list all the things i needed to do before giving the back a break. A list that included dishes, scooping cat litter, folding laundry, possibly watering the plants, stretching and doing some exercises for the back, pretty much anything and everything to run out the clock in hopes of the Breadwinner heading up to her room and assuming her usual place in her bed with Ipad, telly, and new favorite cat. As i took my time with my slate of chores i kept a clandestine eye on things and soon i was in the clear. The last instruction being that i stay up and wait for the boyos to get home because someone was tired. No problem. My sigh of relief was palpable.

My work done i opened the front door to listened to the night, opened the biography about Peter Tosh, fired up the vaporizer with the finest weed in the shire and occasionally glanced at a muted television. I understand what the future of Saturday night holds. It doesn't bother me in the least. In fact i'm quite honest with myself as to what state this relationship is in. I also understand that the Breadwinner is probably not quite as far along in recognizing the decay. Existence is fluid. Existence (and non-existence) is built on change, the building up and breaking down of all that is here and now. I don' dwell too much on a future that doesn't exist but every so often i'll let the mind drift to it understanding that i may need to plan a little bit just in case it arrives. Not much really but a little... mainly so i can get an apartment and keep a bit of food about if i'm hungry. I've got minimal needs really. As for the here and now i understand the rules and my role. Things change and while some view the disintegration of relationships as failure i tend to see it a bit differently. In the end the greatest act of kindness is to walk away.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

One spin around the Sun

One year ago today i lost the best friend i've ever had... and that's okay, it's how shit works. It's what he told me before he died, just like he told me not to worry about him and to take care of his grandsons and look out of for the ones i love, just like he did. Because i'm a stoner i laugh when i think about how much influence he's had on me since he stepped into the great void, like Obi-Wan Kenobi he may be a more powerful influence now than when he was alive and he was a pretty big influence then too. Funny how that shit works. Needless to say while i feel a twinge of sadness today i also feel an unbridled joy for having had the opportunity to know the man. He would not want me to sit around all maudlin, especially with the sun shining and the birds singing and so this morning i did what i always do, what he told me to do, and got on with it. I made the boyos breakfast and got them off to school, i swam 1-1/4 miles, i mowed the lawn and attempted to fix the fucking weed whacker which is a never-ending pain in the ass worthy of it's own post. I did laundry and made dinner and took Nick Disaster to his soccer practice. I came home and drank a Guinness and sat in the backyard, i listened to the birds and the wind and the silence and all day thoughts of my father would drift in and out like the tide. I bought the boyos each a donut to honor the dude cuz the guy loved donuts. The boyos knew what day it was, the Breadwinner has said nothing and that's probably for the best. The boyos have both talked to me about him today, each on their own and each in their own way. One spin around the sun, it's felt like an eternity and it's felt like i blinked and it's been both. I miss the guy and that's okay too... and now i'll do the various things i need to and get the boyos settled in for the night, then much like my father did when i was young i'll stretch out with a book until sleep comes calling.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Last Sunday at the Football Match

There was a point where i wanted to pull out the phone and snap a photo of the boy, he was standing there having just taken a shot to the face, red mark on his cheek, his hair and jersey soaked from the rain, the clock ticking down and his team needing three goals to assure themselves a spot in the tournament final, what a difference a year makes...

Last year at this time he was at a different club, had a coach who didn't know what to do with him and a team full of cliques and shitheads... now his team looks to him to make plays, he was the only offensive player not to be subbed off, to get a break, his new coach has given him back his confidence and belief in his ability and he actually plays for a better team, the oldest football club in America... the I-mac is coming up on his 13th birthday in a few months and already is taller than a good number of adults, almost 5'10 and creeping up on 130 lbs he's long and lean and runs like a deer. The words of various coaches to describe his athletic ability have included special and freakish.

And so with 15 minutes to go and the rain coming down and the score tied nil-nil and hope slowly starting to fade the opposing goalie shifted the ball to his left back who looked up and saw a flurry of legs coming at him, the I-mac stripping him clean, taking a touch and sprinting in on goal with the ball, a slight feint to his left and a shot back to the right and the ball was in the back of the net. 1-0. A few minutes later he won the ball again and played it out wide to his right back and ran into the 18yd box, as the ball came towards him he dummied the ball and let it run between his legs, freezing three defenders so his teammate behind could slot home the second. 2-nil. 9 minutes left. A frantic three minutes later the I-mac received the ball on the wing and dashed towards the box again, a move, a flick, and the defender put it over the line for a corner, 6 minutes to go. Off the corner there was a scramble and the ball fell to their striker, a kid who desperately needed a goal and who had missed a sitter shortly after the I-mac opened the scoring... and in a blink it was in, 3-nil!!! and five to go.

As is the usual the I-mac was shifted to center-back to lock down the defense for the last five minutes, his speed giving him the ability to run down pretty much anyone he's played so far this season. The other team wanting to ruin the party pushed up and i could see the boy looking to nick the ball in midfield and have a crack at goal from 50 yards out but instead they shut the door and when the whistle sounded there was much jumping and screaming, job done, third clean sheet in a row and a trip to the final to come...

Until of course the school district closed their fields canceling the final. Word came down not five minutes after the game had ended robbing these kids who had worked so hard. Sadly that's the way it goes sometimes but as we drove the four hours home i told the I-mac he and his team should be proud. I pulled out the Braveheart line and told him, he fought like a poet and warrior and a Scot and that Pops would have been proud of him, a little smile crept through the disappointment, the boy and his team wanted to play though technically by the tie-break rules they had won the tournament. It's not the way they wanted to win it though and i think it's pretty damn cool none of them wanted to get it that way. They wanted to earn it. 20 minutes into our ride home the I-mac was passed out in the back seat. He did earn that.