Friday, January 27, 2023

The Suburbs #2

 In the realm of fascinating and grotesque there is no better channel to study than CNBC... yes it might shock one to know that a degenerate stoner sits around to check the markets and listens to the talking heads, not out of some abiding need to make money but more for pure entertainment and a bit of research, call it cultural anthropology. The most amusing segments of this channel involve the panels of talking heads who all wear expensive suits (or pants suits for the women), who gibber and jabber about what they think is going to happen and how what they think is damn near the word of god... if one is inclined to believe in such deities, it's a good old-fashioned cock-off as they say and while this shit is supposed to be serious and civil it often teeters on the brink of uncivility... which for some reason gives me a good chuckle. Out here in the lily-white suburbs i am surrounded by residents whose whole existence is based on the acquisition of goods and the accumulation of wealth, it is a bubble that is disturbing as i watch the youth be brought up thinking that they're "special"... it's not only limited to my little hamlet, there are a good three or four more with roughly the same demographic, about the only saving grace of my burb is that it leans heavily blue, though there are those blips of red, mostly they run for school board and pretend not to be fascists while waving a bible and yapping about taxes... (note: one of my favorite pastimes when meeting those in the brokerage world is comparing what they do to going to the track, it never fails to make them testy and disgruntled as i lay out my argument that betting on the horses is no different than betting on the stock market, it all comes down to the research, the crunching and comparing of figures, the good old fashioned hunch, the brokers all act as if what they do is some mystical endeavor that takes years of schooling and experience... that my friends is complete bullshit.)

And yet the suburbs are home to any number of freaks and weirdos... there is a man who lives up the street from me who appears to wear only a few things... either blue work coveralls or pajamas and a bathrobe, in fact the other day he was wearing his coveralls with his bathrobe and a ushanka on his head. He was standing in his front yard in the drizzle doing absolutely nothing, it was brilliant. In fact i often see him puttering about his front yard for no apparent reason smoking cigarettes and muttering to himself, in my head i've concocted many scenarios about this man, how he got here, what he does, how i enjoy the fact he does not give a fuck, yes he might have a slight mental issue or two and i'm sure he annoys the living shit out of some of his neighbors which is a beautiful thing out here, there are no by-laws stating you have to conform even though it seems like there is an unwritten rule that one should conform... i often wonder if that conformity doesn't lead to madness hence why i believe a man standing in the rain wearing coveralls and a robe may be the most sane man i've seen out here...

Then there is Mrs. Robinson. You can find her on Only Fans under that name, an  ex-ad exec, software something or other, teacher and what have you, she practically lists her resume before stating she found it more lucrative to do porn. Fucking Bravo!!! She was up for awards at the AVN and has become a bit of a celebrity in these parts. The oldest boyo and her son are in the same grade and he keeps me up to date on things, her son being one of the local high school pot dealers due to his mom's connections. Apparently at the start of her new career she basically threw money at her kids while she was jet-setting back and forth to California to do promos and films but her real gig is her web page which promises new content almost daily. Her daughter, who was a singer, a singer with enough talent to score some parts in New York and was invited to sing the National Anthem before a Steelers game, has also gotten into the act. Having seen how much cash her momma was raking in the girl approached her mom and said she might want to get into the business as well... and now she has her own page. 

The level of scandal among the soccer moms when the news first broke practically annihilated the scale... a porn star in our midst? think of the children! more like think of your husbands who are probably all subscribed to her site and wondering what they should say if they happen to bump into her at the local coffeeshop... a few years back, probably right before she made the career move, her kid was trying out for the travel hoops team, he was a right shit basketball player but we parents were standing in the hallway and there was this tall, attractive woman standing there and we just happened to strike up a conversation, turns out we both played college basketball. The I-mac actually remembered walking out and seeing us talking because when her first told me he said, remember that lady you were talking to outside the basketball tryouts? Yeah, i said. She's in porn now. I smiled and said, damn... to bad her kid didn't make the team she could have been my assistant coach, to which we both had a good laugh... and while i at first felt a bit bad for her kids thinking this is going to be rather rough on them, it turns out i was an idiot... they seem to be doing just fine... other than the son getting busted with his stash and a big pile of cash. I'm sure the local boys in blue are well aware of her profession out her in the land of missionary style and are constantly prodded to "keep an eye on that place." Personally i stand and applaud the woman for not giving a fuck and doing what she wanted. I've seen a few interviews where she talks about it being her decision and how she controls what she does and who she does it with. More power to her. 

And then of course there is the flip side to that coin... the self important assholes who are the very essence of shitbag, self righteous, suburbanite. Enter Coach Dickhead. Coach Dickhead's day job is... financial analyst/stockbroker.. he's a Kiwi with a rather fetching better half and i often wonder how an asshole of this magnitude landed such a lovely woman. Coach Dickhead has been the coach of various sports all which he seems to have no fucking clue about, granted i'll give the guy some credit for donating his time, but when you see how joyless and miserable he looks doing it i can't understand why he bothers. If you're going to coach the kids at least make it look like you're having a good time. He used to coach the I-mac in soccer back when he was in elementary school, it was the crap rec. league the I-mac played for fun but the fact is the I-mac doesn't like to lose and his team sucked. The I-mac scored about 90% of his teams goals that year (including 7 in one game for which he was chastised for) and basically set up the other 10%. Coach D would put him at center back to keep him from scoring so the I-mac would win the ball and then dribble through every kid on the small field and score... i would stand on the sideline laughing. Coach Dickhead would be screaming at him. The I-mac didn't care. 

Now it's basketball. He has a daughter a grade below Disaster and sometimes are practices bump into each other or run concurrent. It started last year when he was running over on his practice by a few minutes and my assistant coach politely asked if they were going to be done soon. Dickhead copped an attitude and started saying, "really dude?" like some prick as if because my assistant and i, both the working class type, didn't wear suits to work we were somehow beneath him and felt it his duty to use a vernacular we'd understand. It was bullshit and i wanted to warn Kiwi boy that my assistant is the kind of guy to knock his ass out and worry about it later. Fast forward to this year and a few weeks back we had practice at the same time. There are two gyms right next to each other and while i didn't give a fuck which gym i used as my team lined up to enter he looked at me and said, what are you doing? I politely stated that we were getting ready to practice. He snootily shot back, no you're not, we're in that gym. I explained that i had checked the schedule and i could assure him that his team was not. He kept his haughty attitude up and i finally said that i could show him the schedule if he'd like to which he replied, you do that. He then took his team into the other gym while i pulled the schedule up and then walked over and showed him, he barely glanced at it and muttered a dismissive, 'yeah". 

I was never one to suffer fools when i was younger and can firmly attest that has only gotten worse as i've gotten older. Fuck this guy was my thought and while my merry band of pit bulls loved their coach stating the guy was a dick i was done being polite to this cock. As luck would have it they would be practicing after us our next practice and while my assistant said we should run over i told him we wouldn't, that i would not be the classless dickhead that he was and that i'd be off the floor at the appointed time. As the practice was about to end i could see him and his team waiting in the hallway and i waved him them in, told my team to get off the floor and meet me in the hallway for a quick meeting. He wandered by and said thank you to which he got no reply as i packed up my bag and left. A few days later he saw me at the high school game, it was after the game and i was talking to a few people in the lobby waiting for Disaster and his friend to give them a ride him, i could see him looking over at me a few times out of the corner of my eye and i pretended not to see him. I could see the look on his face as it seemed to have dawned on him that he acted like an ass and i could also see him going home and moaning about me to his wife who probably then told him he acted like an ass. 

(In the raging ego department... his wife never fails to chat me up when we bump into each other and  smiles and waves every time she sees me drive by their house when she's out in the yard doing the gardening she loves so much, having been around the block a few times i know the vibe and i'm quite sure she knows she wouldn't have to ask me twice... i'm also well aware that the successful suburban male breadwinner type has much loathing and is highly suspicious of the stay at home dad, half assed philosopher artists type especially when one's wife has a degree in music... granted i don't think she's about to take me to bed but she doesn't have to... he knows she digs the weirdo and that's enough.) 

At this point there is nothing really left to say to Coach Dickhead and if i ever was forced to have a conversation with him it would be short and not so sweet. The only thing i'd ask is why are you such a miserable prick? i don't need to be his mate and i don't feel the need to even be all that civil any more but i might advise him that he should really try to enjoy life cuz it goes by pretty fast and that walking around being a miserable asshole may not be the best way to go through it... or i might just tell him to fuck off... could go either way. 


Epilogue- As luck would have it Buttermaker's team came out of the holiday in a funk. We barely got by the worst team in the league and then lost our first game in the league to a team we had beaten by 23 points last time we played. That said we're still 7-1 in the league and 10-2 overall. This past weekend was a visit from Shitbag Township and as usual smarmy prick was his usual smiling self before the game. Then of course the game started. There was a play when his kid drove down the lane and Disaster blocked his shot, a clean block in my book but the refs called a foul and while i stated it was clean i didn't see that the player, his kid, had fallen and banged his hand. Mind you this had nothing to do with the play other than the fact the kid was flying and out of control. When i walked out to ask if he was okay smarmy prick started mouthing off which then started things. The kid was fine but smarmy prick felt the need to keep running his mouth. He went back to the bench where he kept saying shit and i finally let him know that, no i didn't think it was a foul and the player was out of control resulting in him falling. He muttered something and i stopped and politely, at least i thought so, asked what he said? He turned away and i said a bit louder, what did you just say? he mumbled nothing and ran to the other end of his bench. Granted we're grown men coaching kids but the street sometimes comes out and as i stood there glaring at him for a good 30 seconds it was obvious who might be shitting themselves and it wasn't me. After the game i had multiple parents come up to me laughing about it and how he scurried away. One mentioned that i could be a rather intimidating guy and i laughed and explained i'm really a cream puff. After beating them smarmy prick once again acted like a dick in the handshake line to which my trusty assistant let him know that if someone needed lessons in how to lose with class they would be taking place in a few weeks when we meet up again. Never a dull moment out here in the burbs... though sometimes i wonder why i ever leave the house. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Buttermaker's Revenge

 "Revenge is a meal best served cold."  John Creasy - Man on Fire

The problem with youth sports is with the adults.... Once again  Buttermaker here is coaching youth basketball, a hard thing to wrap your head around when one reads through the annals of the lounge but here we are.... funny thing is i appear to be a decent coach, (current career record 37-12) and being an ex hot shit high school baller who then played in college and was actually paid to play in what i termed the "rich guy league", the kids actually listen. I'm not just someone's dad pulling shit off the internet to teach, i've done it, and at a high level and these kids respect that.

This is my last year coaching. Next year Disaster goes to high school and then unless i decide to take the reins of some AAU team i won't get to coach him anymore. It's cool and that's how it should be. After Disaster broke his foot at hoops practice this summer we did everything we could to get him back in time for tryouts. He made it back six days before his school tryouts but missed the travel team tryouts, hence why i get to cheat with a B team. I have a couple of players (Disaster being one) who should be on the A team, Disaster would not only be on it but be a huge part of it as i can say in all honesty there's only one kid who is currently a better guard but Disaster is closing the gap... that kid is also going to be 5'8 while Disaster is already 5'10 and on his way to what the docs think is 6'3. Basketball is like porn, size matters. Of course all this i believe was documented previously so i'll just get on with shit now cuz this past week was a great time. 

This being my last go round i've dubbed it Buttermaker's Revenge Tour. The holiday tournament i entered was in a community i term the white privileged fascist asshole township. Having dealt with these people at different times and in different sports i can honestly say i believe the township has an asshole test you must pass with high marks in order to live there. These people suck. A few years back, at this same tournament when the I-mac played in it, shit kicked off and i had a coach actually step to one of my players after he committed a hard foul cuz the refs lost control of the game. As i calmly stated to said coach to never step to one of my kids i was being called all kinds of shit by the head coach and simply gave them that famous look that said, "don't try." Needless to say honcho asshole Fat Frank, the townships resident basketball administrator had much to say on the subject trying to get my player banned from the league tournament, which had nothing to do with the holiday one, while subsequently trying to get me suspended. He's a short silly fuck who drives a gigantic Maserati mainly to cover up for his deficiencies in both his height and what he lacks in his trousers. The guy talked shit on 5th graders for shit sake and according to people talked a bunch of shit on my current team as we played in the finals. 

Which brings me to this week's tournament. When i saw the schedule i shook my head and knew what was coming. When you get the host team in the first game of their own tournament you don't play five opponents you play seven. It seems there's an unwritten rule about this and sometimes the home cooking is so obvious it borders on the comical. I explained this to my squad before the game, i've been around long enough to know and i was not all that shocked when it came to pass. The discrepancy in fouls was 20 called on us to only 5 on our gracious hosts... and the game went to OT. Every time the ball went out of bounds it was mysteriously awarded to the host team, in fact we only got the ball once on the roughly 15-20 times where it wasn't blatantly obvious they touched it last and even then a few times they were awarded the ball. There was a play where the defender ran over my play player forcing the ball into the backcourt resulting in one of the worst calls of the game when we were called for over and back when my player touched it. I actually called timeout, walked over the ref who made the call and stated that was either a foul or a deflection but no way was it a backcourt violation, which was it? He looked at me blankly. I asked again and got the same dumbfounded gaze and told him that's all i needed to know. This idiot actually walked up to me after the game and said, "good game coach", to which i responded with a snort while returning the same blank stare. 

And yet even with all the shenanigans the score was tied with ten seconds left and we had the ball. Overtime brought the same bullshit calls and down four with 20 seconds left we hit a layup to pull within 2 points when i called a timeout i didn't have. As soon as i did it i knew i fucked up and told my team as much afterwards, Shitbag Township would have had to inbound the ball and we'd have a chance to steal before fouling. Our press is wicked and we turn teams over constantly so i shouldn't have called anything. The result was a technical foul, two free throws and the ball back. After the game their coach was giddy in the handshake line, smiling and telling me great game, blah blah fucking blah. I told him the same, good game and well done when what i wanted to say was what the fuck was that? you had the officials in your pocket we still should have beat you. How bad was it? i had strangers come up to me after the game and tell me it was the worst officiated game they'd ever seen. I had other coaches who saw it say the same, one of which had to play us the next day. After the game i told the team that we had our work cut out but that if we won the next two there was a good chance we'd get another shot at this team. 


TCB- as Elvis used to say. The next morning we went out and stifled our opponent to win 35-23, they scored 23 points in a 32 minute game. Our gracious hosts lost a high scoring affair which made us all 1-1 in the standings creating a single elimination playoff. Win on Thursday and play Friday night in the final. As my team loves to do we started slow and led 18-15 at the half with Disaster hitting a big three right before halftime. The second half we cranked it up and won 43-24. Shitbag Township was losing 17-9 at at the half of their game but (ahem) miraculously came back to win 37-27. The rematch was set. 

As the coach of impressionable youths i like to teach good old fashioned American values... my pre-game talk consisted of class warfare, how these kids living in their mansions thought they were better than us... and then i turned to the real crux, in the game of basketball you must crush your opponent, you must break them physically but most important mentally. Like i said good old fashion Merkin values. We were the better team, we had more talent, better coaching (ego much Buttermaker?) and now we just had to go out and show it. Before the game Shitbag Township's coach decided to come to half court where i was standing and yuk it up. He was all smiles while telling me he thought we'd be meeting a lot like this, meaning in the finals, i smiled and nodded while thinking no we fucking we wont' cuz your team isn't that good. I could tell from his demeanor he felt it a forgone conclusion his team would win. I relayed this to my team before the game and stated nothing pisses me off more than smarmy fuckers who think they have shit in the bag. Believing you're going to win is one thing, acting like a arrogant prick is another. 

Tip-off. The game was tight throughout but we jumped ahead 19-13 only to see ST battle back and take a 28-23 halftime lead. I'll even give smarmy prick coach credit, he made adjustments which made me make adjustments. It's actually fun to coach against other good coaches, he knows a bit about the game but i take great pride in never being outcoached and i'd be fucking damned if this prick was going to do that. So after talking with my players at the half we made another adjustment. Furious, my trusty assistant for my three seasons in charge, pulled the one kid aside and told him to attack the kid guarding him cuz he couldn't handle him. This player had some tough health issues and his brother had played for me previously, his parents actually wanted him to play for me, and watching him suddenly take over for a few minutes was awesome. He scored six quick points and suddenly our five point deficit was a one point advantage. 

Enter Nick Disaster... after scoring just two in the first half Disaster upped his game. He chased down a player with
an open layup and blocked it. With the game tight he hit a couple of tough jumpers and then drained a three pointer that gave us some breathing room. Smarmy prick made another adjustment to our pressure and kept it close which i countered with another move to keep us with a 4-6 point cushion. We started running the clock on offense, moving the ball and looking for an open layup, forcing ST to intentionally foul us to try and get the ball back. The hope was we'd miss our free throws and to be honest we haven't been the greatest free throw shooting team. Disaster got fouled and stepped up for a one and one. You have to make the first to get the second. Pressure. He dropped them both in the middle. In fact he'd drop four more in the middle sinking six consecutive free throws in the last minute and a half to effectively ice the game (he finished as my team's leading scorer with 15). My quiet assassin. He might talk a bit of shit but most of the time he buries the dagger then smiles at you. The other coach was screaming foul anybody but #21. His old man was beaming. 

There's a certain joy in watching your team celebrate in your opponents gym. That it was Shitbag Townships gym, with another one of their teams sitting on one end heckling my players, yelling shit at Disaster as he shot free throws, (at one point after making the first he turned around and smiled at them), made it all the sweeter. Add in the fact smarmy prick was yelling all kinds of things during the game, complaining about calls, something i found hysterical considering the previous game, and it was like drinking an ice cold beer on a hot day. Full disclosure, as the game went on things got less cordial between Smarmy and i, i got a bit tired of his screaming, "traveling" every time one of my kids dribbled and i pointed out right in front of him to the official, that his point guard carried the ball every time he was pressured. Then his kid tripped over someone's foot and when the foul was called i calmly stated it's not a foul if he trips over his own feet. Yeah, i was pushing buttons... he gave me a disgusted look and said something and i smiled. After seemingly wanting to be my best friend before the game he acted like a royal ass after. He could barely bring himself to shake hands after the loss and mumbled a barely audible "good game" to me. All class... minus the CL. 

And so it was that Buttermaker had his revenge... standing under the scoreboard as the parents snapped pics of my team in their champion shirts i was proud of my team. A shit loss followed by two wins where our defense smothered and then winning the title in front of a packed gym that was SRO, being heckled by kids, screamed at by opposing parents, i'm sure the denizens of Shitbag Township were irate as i took my team into the corner where we celebrated loud and long... how good was my team? even their old coach was smiling. (That's my boy Disaster on the right with his jersey off showing off the guns, lol!)

Thursday, December 15, 2022

State of the Nation - Hairy Soccer Mom Edition

 Where were we? where are we? what the fuck is going on here? hmm... i don't know... the lounge has been in a state of disarray as half finished posts lie on the floor like so many stale crusts of bread. Sometimes things flow more like molasses than water and these are one of those times, not to say it's writer's block because it most definitely is not, there's too many ideas rolling around the copious amounts of space in my head but there is a dissatisfaction with what is being produced and so it sits on the shelf to be left forever in blog limbo... a hell if ever there was one... or discarded all together... yes i know it's hard to believe but there have been whole posts banished to the ether due to my ambivalence towards them. Quality control? who the fuck knows... So here we are... 

It's been strange days around the lounge... how can some things go so well while others go horribly pear-shaped? This mainly has to do with the boyos and their various athletic endeavors and so we'll go with the good stuff first. It is basketball season again kids and it's Buttermaker's last ride. El Kono and his trusty assistant (coach) the Furious one are back at it for one last season with Disaster's hoop squad. It was an interesting tryout because Disaster actually didn't get to tryout. The boy broke his foot at the end of July, played on a broken foot for a couple weeks before he finally stated that it felt a bit weird and his overprotective and worrying father dragged him to the doctor where we soon found out he had broken the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The injury was in a tough spot and was non-weight bearing so the boy couldn't even walk for over six weeks and made it back five days before his school tryouts and once again made that squad and is having an excellent season. I call Disaster the glue because he does things that a coach, or a smart one anyway, loves. He takes care of the ball, sacrifices for the team, plays excellent defense and in general is smart an unselfish. He can also shoot which helps too. The problem was he wasn't able to attend the travel tryouts and so would have to attend a make-up which of course never materialized. Why? you'll see. 

The brain trust at the Association, as it's called, think they are slick when they are mainly a bunch of pompous asses. Before the season started my record over my last two teams was 29-11 (currently it's 31-11), including a regular season title, a runner-up last year in the league tournament where we played an undefeated team and almost beat them, a runner up in one tournament and a championship in another. I have the best record, far and away, than any other coach they have. This is not some egotistical rant because as i often say my players make me look good. It's just the basic facts. Exactly one team, A or B, made the championship game last year and i'll give you one guess who that was. So as i tried to arrange Disaster's tryout i slyly asked if the coaches have been named yet? Of course the A team coach had but low and behold the B team had not. I knew the fucking fix was in and so while Disaster said he didn't care i pressed the issue a bit and then listened as the Association capo did a song and dance. 

The amount of sunshine these guys blow up my ass is astounding. They fawn all over my ability to teach and coach the game yet why then wouldn't you want your best coach coaching your top team? They have their reasons, mainly political bullshit, but the fact is the A team coach barely knows the game and his kid shouldn't be on either team cuz he's fucking awful and that's the nicest assessment i can give. The one saving grace was this, which damn near brought a tear to my dry and grizzled eyes. Disaster looked at me when i told him they had named the A team coach and said, "i'd rather play for you on the B team than make the A team." (and from a basketball perspective he definitely would have made the A team) I was already penciled in by the Association boys and i knew it but the fact was in my mind it was bullshit. Of the five kids playing guard or small forward there is exactly one who is currently better than him... (and it won't be long until Disaster overtakes him). That said i had parents who were pleading with me to coach, some actually told the Association they were waiting to see who was coaching before committing and it was common knowledge why. They wanted the tripping wastoid as coach. Funny huh? 

If there is one gratifying thing about this coaching gig it's watching kids and your team get better. It's kind of funny the respect i get from these kids cuz they know their crazy ass coach is in it with them. They know i was a pretty damn good player back in the day and that i understand the game. Once i was named head coach i received numerous emails from many parents stating how happy they were i was the coach and a couple who flat out told me their kid wasn't going to play if i wasn't coaching. I've already told my team it's my last go around and that i want to win it all. We have the talent and if we work together, i stress team, we'll be fine. I tell my team all the things i've never done. Oddly i've never won the first game of the season. We did. Then i told them i've never started 2-0 (which no one caught on but Disaster about the whole first game thing.) We're 2-0. I've also never won my first home game which takes place this weekend and i'll tell them that at practice. Someday maybe i'll post all my pre-game and post-game talks. It would be a right laugh to see what i tell these 8th grade kids, dropping in philosophy, literature and a few old school hip hop lyrics. I don't think these kids know just how much i love doing this shit. 

Now the flip side. 

In the spring of his freshman year the I-mac tore his PCL (knee) playing in a game for his academy team. It was a fucking dirty play which caused it and he was coming off a layoff from turf toe and i can remember thinking, why did i let him play today? it was the third game of tournament his team was already out of and it was a meaningless game, having been on the shelf for three weeks i should have held him out because all sorts of injuries were possible and yet he would have been fine if not for some shitbag trying to cleat his knee causing him to avoid it and landing flush on his PCL. Six months of rehab later he starts back with his high school team as a sophomore, a kid talented enough to go straight in to the starting line up of the varsity team. The last day of his first week back they were scrimmaging when he torched the starting center back so badly the kid hauled him down from behind to prevent him from scoring fracturing his arm and spraining his MCL. Another month on the shelf rehabbing and when he finally gets back he's tossed in with the JV team where he abuses every defender on the team while showing he's got more skill than most of the kids in the program. Unfortunately the varsity coach is a moron, a point he more than proved this last season, incapable adjusting his tunnel vision to help his team or his players. The CB was never spoken to about what even his own teammates called a ridiculously filthy play in what effectively ended any chance of the I-mac having a productive season.

About the only good thing to happen between then and now was his last academy season, where one of the most respected coaches around had him move three age groups up, from U16 to U19, to play with his team. The coach wanted to see how he fit and by halftime of his first game the older players were asking to keep him permanently. The boy had a good season playing three years above his age group, scoring a couple goals, adding a couple assists, working hard for his team and earning the praise of his coach. They were one of two teams to make the playoffs and lost 2-0 in the game that would have sent them to nationals. His team had exactly one shot on goal that game... guess who?  Another knee sprain kept him out for a few weeks which of course butted right up against tryouts. Then the most disorganized club around fucked up his tryouts due to a lack of communication. He was supposed to tryout with the 04/05 team and then the 06 team. Coming off the layoff he lacked a bit of fitness and sharpness but still played well. In fact he torched the top 06 team, scoring and tearing them to pieces in a scrimmage (in the two years at this club he's the only player to score, multiple times mind you, against the top squad). This team could care less about any player on the second unit other than the I-mac, they usually surround him with three players, one of whom man marks him all over the field. Respect is what it's called and yet they still can't keep him under wraps. The only person who doesn't seem to notice is the shitbag Jock coach who is disgruntled because he only ever made it to the USL, the second tier of American soccer. 

Since i've experienced it for close to the last decade i can say confidently that the purpose of American youth soccer is to make money. They don't develop players, the cost prices out some if not many, it's a fucking joke really and when i hear the pundits ramble on about how we're getting there i fucking laugh out loud. We'll never get there with the current system. Nuff said. The I-mac was then dumped back on his (now) U17 second team with no explanation. Basically a step back. 

The silver lining was that he was playing well in his summer high school scrimmages and the coach had penciled him in as his starting #9. He was going to be the focal point of the offense. This part is on the I-mac though... i explained to him it was important for him to train hard this summer, to work on his game and his fitness if he really wanted to achieve his goals. The fact is all the club coaches around here are affiliated with high schools and they pay attention to the local media and if he had a good season he could walk into any club and get a spot on the top squad. But he's 16. He spent the summer doing mostly the opposite, partying with his friends and ex-girlfriend and by the time he got to the season he had torched his stomach so bad he was having acid reflux and couldn't run and slid down the depth chart behind far inferior players. 

I'll refer you to the part above about his high school coach being a bonehead. The man is incapable of critical thought and implementing a plan on the fly and so two days before the season opener he changed the whole system. While this baffled most both the I-mac and i knew why. The original system was based on the I-mac doing what he does, he's a monster sized forward/winger with good skill and freaky speed, wins everything in the air cuz the kid has hops and basically occupies multiple defenders. Problem is what does a coach do if he thinks he can't rely on a player? I understood where the coach was coming from, of course once the I-mac got his shit together bonehead could have adjusted but didn't and took a team that should have been competing for a section title, a region title and maybe even a state title, and ran it straight into the ground with shit tactics and man management. As previously stated there are a ton of shit coaches about. 

Since the I-mac didn't really get a tryout this year as stated he was dumped back on to his old team and while this might sound like his old man inflating his kid's ability it is not, i'm a coach who trains a rather critical eye on things when watching. The facts were this, the I-mac had outgrown this team, he played the game far more intelligently, was technically superior, and was getting more frustrated by the day. Add in a new coach who did almost nothing to learn about his team, didn't talk to them much, didn't find out where his players played in school or at the club, and once again the frustration mounted. The first showcase they went to the coach didn't even bother to set the team up, he told the players to do it themselves, resulting in kids who never play certain positions suddenly saying they were playing somewhere else. The I-mac ended up as a center mid, a position he could play but never has, in fact he could play just about anywhere on the pitch really but since no one would work to benefit the team he sacrificed for the good of the team. Two scoreless draws and one win over the worst team in the group and they were all patting themselves on the back, except the I-mac who thought it was a bit shit. Had his teammates let him play up top i can say with confidence they would have walked away with three wins. The boy knows how to find the net. To be fair a few of his teammates argued in his favor but to no avail. As we drove home from Maryland i told him i'd never seen him look so joyless playing soccer. He simply stated that's because he was, not with the game, but with this team. 

Fast forward to the next showcase and the boy was finally put up top. He played really well when he could touch the ball but when you play striker you rely on service from your teammates and these kids just aren't up to it. He'd make a great run into space and all they needed to do was pass the fucking ball but many of these kids, even at this advanced age, don't understand the game or how to play and feel the need to take a minimum of three touches before usually playing backwards. I was watching his frustration mount. Then came the breaking point. He played a nice little pass to his midfielder and then bolted into space, the CM finally played a pass but an awful one and as the I-mac sprinted to chase it down before it went out of bounds he slipped on the turf. Watching from a mezzanine my hurt fucking sank. It looked like he did his knee again and as he pounded the turf i thought i might throw up. I watched  as he went to get up and then went back down. The linesman kept his hand on his shoulder and was talking to him and when the ball went out he got up and headed towards the bench, blood streaming down his leg. 

At this point i could see the tears in his eyes and not knowing what has happening my stomach was doing somersaults. Once on the bench the I-mac almost punched his hand through the plexi-glass dugout (something i told him never to do again though i understood his frustration but he needs to understand and channel that energy elsewhere). Now had that coach maybe got to know his players at all he would have known that the I-mac had suffered a pretty serious knee injury in the past and that the way he went down probably freaked him out (it did). The silver lining? his knee was fine other than a nasty cut, one in which he actually pulled little turf pellets from, but mentally he was broken, done, finished. He was visibly upset when the coach made him sit down and then said, "oh you're mad, you gotta boo-boo." When the I-mac told me this it was probably a good thing we were in the car heading home or i may have had to have a very candid conversation with said coach.... or i would have knocked him the fuck out. Of course this team seems to be the afterthought of the club and twice in the last two years have suddenly replaced the coach at the last minute, all without informing the people paying the fees, meaning the parents. 

What we didn't realize was the amount of jealousy and ill will stemming from him being moved up last year. Some of these kids have a bug up their ass about it, not all, but more than a few. Some parents as well, one in particular who'll we'll get to. There are blatant examples where certain players look up, look right at him, and then pass the other way. As a coach the question i ask when i see this is, did you not see him? or did you just not want to pass to him? there is no good response, especially at this age, which means on my team you'd ride the fucking pine. Let me be clear, not all the players but a more than a few and in a game that relies on cohesion and teamwork this is not the way to play or win. Though winning at this club seems to be an afterthought. 

Now to the asshole. Last season after the I-mac was moved to the U19 squad i was having a conversation with this guy, his U19 coach suggested he get a few games with the U16 squad to remain connected to the team. When i mentioned this to Mr. Dickhead he immediately and nastily spit out, "i wouldn't take him back." I stopped and gave him a quizzical look and said what? He then said it again, i "i wouldn't take him back." At this point i almost laughed and said, damn sir wear that jealousy right on your sleeve don't you? I almost explained to him that it was the coach who wanted him on the U19 team and made him the offer, would his kid turn that offer down? i think not seeing as he once got the opportunity but not the invite to stay on that team. This guy has his PHD in psychology and loves to tell stories of all the things he's done, (not in the documenting the life of a once weed kingpin turned loser suburban dad sort of way just to clarify), he's one of those pompous and arrogant assholes who i've come to recognize over the years and who i most definitely despise. He's seen and done it all. He can learn nothing from you but you should definitely listen to him as he is all knowing... fuck him. 

The thing is i don't give a fuck what you say or think of me but when it comes to my boyos you better check yourself. So it was, that after the I-mac was breaking down and i was waiting for him to get off the field and out of there i was walking from my car to find him... and guess who happens to be coming the other way? at the time i had no idea if the I-mac's knee was okay i just knew he was upset. This fucking clown comes walking by with this shitty smirk on his face and says, hello. I respond but as i'm walking by i'm thinking, what the fuck? was this asshole really reveling in my kid's hurt? Fast forward a few hours later, i'm talking to the I-mac and have said nothing about what happened when he relays to me that the same guy was giving him the fucking stink eye before the game. I stop him and say what? repeat to me what happened? He tells me again the guy was glaring at him and so he basically just stared him down until the guy looked away. I then tell him about the episode after the game and now i'm fucking furious. Another silver lining about leaving this club is that if i happen to run into this fucking clown again it's not going to be pretty. I understand i should let shit go but this fuck-o doesn't even know what he got himself into, you can take the man out of the streets but you can't take the streets outta the man. Funny thing is his kid is the nicest kid you'll meet. He was actually on the bench talking to the I-mac and telling him he was worried about him and asking if he was okay. I chalk this up to his asshole father traveling for his "career" most of the kid's life and being raised by his mother. 

And so there it was... a weekend of highs and lows... the hoop team keeps rolling right along (we won again this weekend to go 3-0) and the I-mac is on the hunt for a new club. He goes to one this week to tryout, a club that suits his abilities a bit more and one that truly does give it's players opportunities to move up. I did my due diligence and spoke to parents from said club and the I-mac plays high school footie with a kid on the team. The boy may have made some mistakes (a little too much fun this summer, though at 16 i understand good decisions aren't always part of the process) but the kid deserves a break at this point, he puts in the work and hopefully he'll find the right fit. Now back to the program. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Revisionist History - Podunk Summer pt. 11 (the not so electrifying conclusion)

 And so Podunk summer went strolling right along, the days melting into each other in a stoned and drunken haze so that after a while it became nothing but a blur, the only points of demarcation being those days i didn't have to get up and drag my hungover self to some dorm to sleep away the morning. In fact there were only two sojourns outside of Podunk that summer, a July 29th trip to Cleveland and an August 16th trip to Pittsburgh. Google those dates and you'll find that Lollapalooza was rambling across the country, the second edition with Pearl Jam, Lush, Jesus and Mary Chain, Soundgarden, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the real highlight... Ministry. Of course seeing Ministry and JAMC in the sunlight was a bit weird but when one takes enough illicit substances one can make up for odd start times... 

Strange how things float back into the mind, i'm not sure if the Pittsburgh show was added late or not but a bunch of us had plans for the Cleveland gig. I can honestly say i wasn't the biggest Pearl Jam fan back in the day and i'll admit being blown away by how good they were both times i saw them that summer, before Eddie Vedder began his jaded rock star schtick that then morphed into the wise old sage act. They (we) were young and up for it and came out swinging, aiming to blow the roof of the place... even if it technically was roofless. Going back to Blossom was like a homecoming, having been the scene of the first Lollapalooza the previous year but also having spent some of the best nights of my youth there. Two songs into Pearl Jam's set and it began pissing down rain. We all know now what happens when the rain starts and the fields become mud pits and the grown kids become children again, covering themselves from head to toe in mud... granted i avoided this shit, instead preferring to be soaked and not covered in mud but it made for a fun spectacle for us tripping kids to watch the many goofballs continually slide down a muddy hill. I often wondered what their cars looked like when they got home and what a fucking mess it would be to clean that up. I remember thinking it back then which was pretty rational for a guy on acid. Oddly enough since none of us were huge Chili Peppers fans we started making our way to the gate during their set which proved to be a brilliant move as we'd later learn that some people never made it out of the parking lot until the next morning, the lot turning into a muddy swamp and cars sinking and getting stuck. 

Other than the rain the first show was rather uneventful. Was it good? fuck yeah, Ministry was brilliant that day, i think the rain and mud inspiring Al Jourgenson, but it was the second show that would etch itself into my head, another tale of fuck-ups and lost love... because i always loved the women more after they told me to get fucked... funny how that works. 

Once again a bunch of us piled in a couple cars for the two hour trip south to the old Starlake Amphitheater, this time there would be no rain just a bright sunny day which would turn into a starry night. The bands were all good, with once again Pearl Jam kicking ass, Ministry being, well, Ministry and the JAMC being both beautifully melodic and noisy as is their hallmark. As per my usual regimen i was on my usual couple hits of paper and in general wandered around with my friends doing what a young Kono would do, mainly looking for girls. Of course nothing came of all this wandering other than a few funny conversations and there was one point where i lay in the grass and occasionally hit a joint that was being passed by people i didn't know, those friendly days of the early Lolla's, where all the kids in the know felt like we were in on something secret. A scant two years later i would write a paper basically outlining how Lollapalooza was the first domino to fall in the subjugation of alternative culture being absorbed and accepted by the mainstream... call it the birth of Hot Topic... 

It escapes me now who played before the Chili Peppers but the Poet, (my soon to be roommate and an excellent poet) were strolling along the grounds of the place when who should i practically run into in my wastedness? It was MJ, my girlfriend from the previous summer that i had spent working in Ocean City. The story of MJ, told years ago here on the lounge, could probably use an update but for those lounge scholars keeping track MJ was the girl i spent most of that summer with. She was thin and wore glasses and had long, shiny, dark brown hair. When i first met her i was working in a warehouse in West Ocean City or what one would call the shittiest gig in OC. She was working in one of the t-shirt stores i delivered to, a store i'd end up working in after she quit (the illegal Israeli who worked the store was a pig who would hold her check and ask for a kiss, a hug, or whatever, shit that was wholly inappropriate and while our boss would tell him to knock it off he really didn't do much about it, maybe the real karma was that Tiran got to soon spend the rest of the summer with me.) 

She was the highlight of my day back then. The second to last stop before i could quit for the day and since it was the smallest store it was the easiest delivery. I was so broke i used to use a piece of rope for a belt that summer, something that made her laugh the first time she asked me about it. From the start there was an attraction and we'd subtly flirt with each other until one day i finally got the nerve to ask her if she wanted to hang out sometime. She said sure and explained that a bunch of guys she knew lived right below me and that they were having a party that night, i told her i didn't know when i'd be done but that if she felt like it she could stop up and hangout, i said i was a bit leery of the second floor and their parties cuz they were ripe to get busted and the paranoid and budding smackhead who lived down the hall from me liked to keep all the doors tightly locked when they partied to keep the cops out. 

I lived on the third floor, oceanfront, above one of the stores i delivered to, a prime spot if ever there was one for migrant summer help. It cost me $800 for the summer. My room was frighteningly white walled and i replaced the light bulbs with blue and red lights so at night the place was gorgeous, especially for those inclined to eating acid and once again one can consult the archives about this summer and my acid eating. It was around 10ish when there was a knock on my open door... and there she stood. She had an almost demure way about her, and once i got to know her more what i would call ( to steal a line from a song) that she was born with an amount of inherited sadness. The dissolution of her family dong a serious number on her and a stepdad who was a raging asshole. She came up that night, stayed the night, and never really left. 

The place she was staying was the typical summer hell hole, a semi-basement shithole crammed with four beds for the four girls staying there. It was a bit Mean Girls to say the least with two of her roommates being almost openly hostile towards her and one being somewhat okay, she scored the place because she was a last minute replacement and she was also the youngest of the group. Needless to say it wasn't the best place to stay so after a few days i basically gave her a key and said she could stay at my place. She'd stop back at hers now and then only to be met with derision for now "not being around" but she didn't really care. Our summer was bliss after that, her keeping me out of jail once or twice for being a drunken shithead and our days and nights spent naked and in bed. I left early that summer, the last week in July, mainly cuz i could hitch a ride back with my parents instead of taking a bus. MJ stayed two more weeks before leaving for school. I remember the look of sadness on her face when i left, that this summer bubble we were living in was now popping and we didn't know what would happen next. 

The hope was we would keep it going as she didn't live that far from Podunk but the reality was i was a dick. Once i got home we talked a few times on the phone, mainly she was sad to be back home and missed me and after a few calls of this ilk i told my mom to tell her i wasn't home when she called. I was out hitting the clubs, being felt out by someone named Cherry and in general on the lookout for a new girl. Someone with a modicum of class and decency would have told her it was over but not the shithead here... 

Her first visit to Podunk was brilliant and though it started a bit awkward we soon fell back into that summer vibe, i remember her beige skirt and her sweater and how after talking about things we easily fell back into bed. Of course our hero here could fuck up a one car parade and it didn't take long for the Cro-mag to appear. By her fourth visit, on her arrival, i basically grunted and led her back to the bedroom. As Mr. Dulli once sang, i gotta dick for a brain, and my brain, is gonna sell my ass to you. Once sold the tables were flipped and i ran the show... or so i thought. Afterwards we sat in Wendy's eating and i had a strange feeling something had changed. She didn't say it then but it was hanging in the air like the smoke from a stale cigarette. When we finished eating we walked out to her car, she gave me hug, and then drove away. I walked back to my place feeling slightly odd about things but seeing as i had just gotten laid didn't dwell on it too long. Then next day i got the call.

The call was simple and quick. She was done. I was too fucked up at this point, taking her and basically tossing her in bed while reeking of booze and weed, grunting away like some fucking animal (hmm, sounds familiar) and that with all the shit going on in her life she didn't need another problem... and i was a problem that could easily be solved. She stated that there was a guy she had went out with once, who was stable and not half (or maybe full on) crazy, who wasn't wrapped up in being wasted and who treated her really well. I was served my walking papers. I tried to mount a defense, a case for why she shouldn't do this but really there was none. My voice was hushed as i stammered through excuses but there was no softening on her end. I always loved them most when they were walking out the door... at least when i was a younger man. Granted i did my best to make women take that door and i could look in the mirror and ask myself why but one could only guess. At the time maybe destruction, to the self or anything i loved was how i coped. Now to that strange night under the Pennsyltucky stars... 

It was the end of the night, the second to last band had just played and for the life of me i can't remember who... there would be a break before the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage and a friend and i were roaming around trying to find our ride, strange how things worked pre-cell phone, we wandered, the last of the drugs kicking out of my system, the acid wearing off, pleasantly stoned, we were towards the back of the field on a sidewalk when we practically ran into each other... she stopped, smiled and said "oh my god!" I immediately swept her up in my arms and kissed her, we stood there kissing under the stars as if we were the only two people in the world... when we stopped we began talking, asking what we were up to? how we had been? she kept hold of my hands and her friend leaned in smiling and said to her, "is that him?", she smiled back and said yes as her friend gazed at the wild man. We talked and laughed, i never thought that maybe she was there with a guy (turns out she was, the same guy she had dumped me for)... then her friend tugged her arm and they said they needed to get back cuz they wanted to catch the Chili Peppers, we made plans to meet up after the show but we never did, in fact we talked briefly on the phone after that where we both admitted to not showing up at the spot we were supposed to meet. It was cool. It was over but at least it wasn't the shitty finale i had helped orchestrate with my lovely behavior. 

The final phone call was the last time i thought i'd ever talk to her. Once my last year started i made a futile and half-hearted attempt to get her back and i thought i'd never see her again. Lounge scholars can look up the story of our hero wandering the parking lot of a suburban mall waiting for a ride to Ocean City when who should pull in but MJ... strange world... by the time she ran into this the tall guy with his hat pulled low ambling towards a Denny's to order the cheapest thing on the menu and drink coffee while waiting for his ride, that tall guy had just spent a brilliant final year in college. Graduated and was off into the Wilderness, i never told her i was wandering that parking lot because my dick had led all the way back from Maryland just to try and sleep with her hated high school rival... strange world indeed... and so that Lollapalooza was the summer's kiss, in a week or so after the semester would start and Podunk would liven up a bit... or as much as a sleepy small college town can liven up... but a summer in exile was over... and truth be told... it wasn't all that bad. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

All the Darkness and a Thirst for the Light

 In a way i am grateful for this outlet, for a place to scream into the void, for an opportunity to vent and rant and work the strange thoughts that rumble around my head, a place to write it all down, take a deep breath, and then get on with the day. The lounge, as much as i like to joke as it being an experiment in futility, is also one of the activities i enjoy the most... it's part diary, part memoir, part ramblings of a sentient imbecile... and in all it's ridiculous non-sense, in a world where in most circles no value is placed on the common man sitting down and creating something not for monetary gain but because he (i) has to, a compulsion? a purpose? whatever you want to call it, maybe making sense out of the human meat grinder of modernity, i thank those twinkling stars i gaze at each night that i have this place to wander into and do what i do, to settle and relieve the mind... in fact i'd posit to you dear reader, that you know me better than most people who actually know me do... as the BW would tell you i'm  hard case and the fact is i keep most things close to the vest, as i've gained a bit of knowledge over these last 52 years i understand now what to share and what to keep hidden when dealing with the denizens of suburbia... but here at the lounge the veil is lifted and the truth (whatever that may be) spills out in little black blinking letters... 

Yesterday afternoon i found out a guy i know had taken his own life and it struck me how hard it hit. As i've said before i'm a very hard shell with a very soft center, i understand how much things affect me. It's not like this guy was my best friend, he was just a guy i knew because i coached his son, a great kid, one of my favorite kids i've coached. His father was one of my biggest fans when it came to my coaching. He always got a kick out of my antics and had my back when opposing organizations came after me or my team with nonsense. He was a successful lawyer with a beautiful wife and five kids. On Monday he killed himself... and in my head i keep rolling it around and it confuses and confounds and i think of his son and his four other kids and can't fucking fathom how they must feel at the moment. 

Suicide, mental illness, addiction, they are all difficult things to grapple with. I won't pretend to understand suicide though i've read some thought-provoking articles on the matter which have shed light on what may drive people to do it. In a way it is the ultimate and final fuck you to a life and society and culture... yes it's much more complicated than that and it is also a horribly selfish act and while i've never considered it a viable option (the void will come soon enough and i'm quite fond of bouncing along my merry way until i get there) i've thought long and hard about the reasons people do it... how someone with five kids could do it? 

The BW has an undergrad degree in Psychology and when we first heard the news she looked up his obit and then said to me, "i wonder if he may have committed suicide." It was an interesting observation which she gleaned by what was written. There was no mention of loving father and husband, just a brief and very cold description of his education and who he left behind. How he was a partner in a law firm and married into a very prominent and powerful family in political and legal world of this city. One the outside everything looked great, his wife could be a model, his kids were all good kids, yet out here in suburbia things are never really as they seem. I used to see him at the pool and we'd talk, bump into him at basketball games and what not, he was always a super nice guy and it was always a pleasure to talk to him, we'd discuss our respective older sons who both played different sports now and i think he appreciated the fact i wanted to know how my former player was doing. But things are not as they seem sometimes. 

I can't claim to understand depression on a personal level because i've never experienced it, the usual melancholy? well yes, i did grow up listening to The Smiths, but clinical dark, debilitating depression? no. I've been around people who've had it but i can't sit here and honestly profess to know what it feels like. Addiction? That is something i'm much more familiar with as i've more than flirted with that on a few occasions with various substances and somehow have managed to come out the other side while not ending up in rehab or dead. This man here it turns out had been sober for over a decade when for whatever reason he fell off the wagon. It then turns out that at one point he had moved out, whether that was because of his drinking or what precipitated it i don't know but what i do know is that once again there is this culture in America where the image is more important than the reality. Out here in the lily white suburbs the word divorce still seems to carry this scandalous connotation though half of all marriages end in it and half the people here are remarried. Does it make sense? no... and seeing as i live in one of those more affluent suburbs it seems the more affluent you are the more pressure there is to be "perfect". 

The fact is that here in the land of milk and honey middle aged men (lucky for me i still think i'm 18) are more likely to die by suicide than any other age group. It's one of the leading causes of death. Part of this comes from what i believe is the American male mindset of success pushed on men by the culture, by outdated stereotypes of what it is to be a "man" in this country. Fact is we are a culture where we are defined by what we do, it's something i think about a lot because i don't actually do anything and i'm all the happier for it. In the great middle management purge of the early 90s i worried about my father, men being kicked out the door by their corporations were suddenly devoid of any purpose or meaning because their purpose and meaning were defined almost solely on their job, their standing, their earning. It makes one glad to be a bum, at best my "career" could be defined as a factotum, a drifter from warehouse grunt, to service lackey, to modern day serf. I'm not all that concerned with what i do because in the end while what i really like doing is of no monetary value in a culture that places none on creating and thinking and pondering... unless of course it's to somehow generate a revenue stream. Fuck that. I do what i do in the margins and hustle in between to get by. 

When i think about this situation, speculation really, what i see is a guy who felt like his life was falling apart, the facade crumbling, a troubled marriage most likely, an old demon popping up and enticing him back, the pressure to keep up appearances in a place that places way too much value on such things. In the end it drove him to something hard to fathom, to leave five kids asking why? to leave a lot of people asking why? 

And so as i sat alone thinking about this i tunred on the old telly, it just so happened the cable news was on, or what the denizens of Faux News call the radical left media, they were talking to a man whose child, a kid he was guardian of, was one of the victims of the Uvalde shooting. I sat there with tears in my eyes listening to this man talk about his son and i couldn't fathom the pain and hurt he was going through, watching him barely hold it together, listening to him talk about demanding answers from the shitbag named Abbott and combined with the previous news i thought about how dark and horrible we humans can make this world. Once again i sat and asked myself why? Why would someone leave five kids behind? why would someone feel the need to gun down children in classrooms? why are humans so fucked up? Yes i knew there were quantifiable things, mental illness and a culture still coming to grips with it and understanding it's a real illness and should be treated as such, not stigmatized and whispered about, the access to fucking firearms which i've never understood, a violent culture obsessed with this "right" which by the letter states "for the purpose of a well regulated militia". A "right" which has led gun deaths to become the leading cause of death among young people. The young gunned down and the men offing themselves... what was that about American exceptionalism?

I sat there thinking... the world can crush you if you let it so it is good to remember there is always light, even in the darkest of places, the yin and yang, the way of the Tao... and so amidst all this i began thinking... about the glimmering stars on cold and bright night, about the the laughter of my sons, about the purring of my cat as he sat in my lap and slept, about the hymns i hear each day as the wind winds its way through the leaves, about the sound of the waves crashing upon the shore, a stream flowing over rocks... and how it is up to each of us to navigate this temporary state called living to the best of our ability in the face of the darkness that creeps in... as Robert Nesta Marley once said, my heart can be as hard as stone or as soft as water, wise words when it comes to navigating this world but in the end we need to help each other, to show each other love instead of all this animosity and hate, to understand that we're all one and that this one is also just a miniscule part of a greater whole... but what am i? just a guy in a chair petting a cat and trying to make sense of the nonsense... 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Revisionist History - Podunk Summer pt. 10

 When we last saw our hero, a term applied very loosely here, he was standing in a dusty parking lot nursing a middling hangover and being a right shit heel to a girl who had been nothing more than kind towards him. To get a better grasp of our hero here we must understand that at this point in his young life he was more than enamored with his own sub-genius, as if every little thought that bubbled up in his drug and booze addled mind was a golden nugget to be cherished and preserved for all time... i mean he was a fucking poet maaaan!  I mean what more could we say? What a fucking twat! 

To say the Podunk summer had gotten off to a flying start would be a bit of a misnomer. Two females had come to see the young protagonist and two females had roundly told him to fuck off by the time they had left. Sometimes batting 1000 isn't all it's cracked up to be. But there was always Julia... or was there? Oddly enough she seemed to disappear for the summer shortly thereafter... I'd bump into her now and then but there seemed to be an even greater disconnect than before and i couldn't help but wonder if somehow word hadn't gotten back to her about my shenanigans with women who drove cars with Ohio license plates. Fact is i don't know now and i didn't know then other than before i knew it the one promising prospect of a summer fling had vanished like a bong hit in the wind. So there i was... 

I soon settled into a routine... i'd work, then party, then sleep a little, then do it all over again. If there was one constant in my life it was the diminutive gay man who worked the graveyard shift at the Uni-Mart. On many nights i'd close the bar across the street and then go stumbling into the Uni-Mart to score some horrible convienance store grub before then stumbling the two blocks to my place... only to wander back into the same place some four odd hours later to get a cup of coffee, a donut and a large bottle of water to help with the hangover. At this point and time the hangover was a way of life for me, i was usually somewhat functional but for the most part my whole goal was to get to work close to on time so i could go pass out in a dorm room and sleep for a couple hours before pretending to work and then going back to sleep again. 

The graveyard employee of the Uni-Mart at first gave me rather quizzical looks as i wandered in late at night only to be seen wandering back early the next morning. I often wondered what his life was like in this little backwater where being a gay man would not be the easiest of existences. This was the land of deer hunting and monster trucks and overblown machismo. Back in the early 90s being gay in places like this could get you killed. He did his best to sort of straddle this line, he obviously didn't want people to think he was gay but it was rather obvious that he was... i was always cool to him, polite, making small talk, laughing at the bullshit he had to put up with working the graveyard, little did i know that roughly a year later i'd be working the same shift myself at 7-11 in Ocean City. I could tell he was wary at first but then he realized i was cool, that i wasn't some redneck asshole and that i was mainly just a wasted college kid maybe a decade or so younger than himself. By the end of the summer he was even tipping me off to the fresh crap baking under the heat lamps, we never exchanged names, just a few words between my drunk night and hungover morning. It had become a routine and i could see as the weeks went on how i provided a bit of amusement for him, probably giving him stories to regale whoever with, about the drunken college kid who closed the bar each night only to walk back in a few hours later, usually in the same clothes, as he hauled his ass to work. 

As for working i was doing my best to get myself canned even though i desperately needed this job. It was quite apparent that the early start time was not conducive to a lifestyle of closing the bars, smoking weed and eating little bits of paper. By midsummer i had gotten in the habit of showing up around the time of the first break. Peanuts being a bit oblivious to almost everything never really noticed and i'd tell the big boss that i had been running late and so went straight to the dorm we were working in. The big boss was no sucker though and had seen enough smart ass college kids to know that i was full of shit and so began docking my pay when i didn't show up at the main plant before heading to the job. He pulled me in and told me i needed to be on time or at the very least call and let them know i was going to be late. He wasn't exactly my biggest fan but the lovely Admin would smile every time i got called in, i had this theory back then that she had a soft spot for the troubled youth and that she secretly wanted to sleep with me... yes i was very much full of myself but seeing as she was nothing but kind to me i was always polite and respectful and she'd whisper bits of advice to me about keeping my ass on the payroll. 

With my warning well heeded i didn't exactly straighten up and fly right but i got by, calling in on the occasions i was too hungover and actually filling out my time sheet truthfully. It was around this time that i began taking long lunches at friends houses where lunch usually consisted of multiple bong hits and a few beers, then running back to the dorm and sneaking in, Lars would sometimes warn me if someone had been around or if i smelled a bit too strong of the booze, by this time Lars was well corrupted by my ways and had taken to doing even less than i did. As i told him, you have an in here kid, you ain't getting fired without seriously doing something stupid... say like doing the shit i was doing and getting caught, so relax and fuck off as much as possible, cuz in the end who gives a shit? 

And so went the cycle of Podunk summer... after a few sex crammed weekends i was left to my own devices when it came to getting off, meaning a steady summer of wanking, usually on the clock cuz there's nothing better than wanking on the job and getting paid for it. I'd work, head home to read and get high, have a few beers and maybe some dinner and then head to the bar to stare at the same small town faces and dream of all the action i was missing. I made a few calls to some ex's, was even dumb enough to try and persuade Cherry one last time only to be met with such icy disdain that i knew there was no chance... which still didn't stop me from trying but mainly i went back to counting the days until the semester started and i would move in to my new place and start one of those years that would be the stuff of legend as they say. (to be cont.) 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Revisionist History - Podunk Summer pt. 9

 Friday finally rolled around and i spent the better half of the afternoon cleaning up the apartment, drinking and getting high, all in anticipation of Sharon's arrival... sound familiar? When she arrived i gave her an even quicker tour of the place then Cherry had gotten before leading her into the bedroom and getting down to business. Yes i was all class, a quick five minute tour and then get to the fucking, subtle as a flamethrower this one here, nothing like making the intentions known, i could have at least been honest and stated that i only really wanted you here for the sex, after which i'll spend the evening getting fucking wasted before we adjourn back to my room for more sex, then sleep, then a bit more fucking in the morning before you're sent packing and i go back to bed. 

By the time of this get together Sharon and i had gotten even further apart on the social spectrum type thing. She had joined a sorority where she attended school, the late 80s hair had calmed down a bit but was still bigger than an art star like myself would find acceptable, in fact to me at this time she was very white and suburban (and somehow i wasn't?) and entrenched quite firmly in her views of how life should go. College, husband, work, children etc etc... I on the other hand was just as firmly entrenched in the teachings of one Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski... i wanted to drink and fuck and write and live like a bum with the main point being  to live... if the demise of my nuclear family did anything to me it was driving home the point that this "American Dream" myth was pure horseshit. I had no use for conventional society or it's ways, i wanted to eat acid and ponder the universe, write bad poetry about guys like Robinson Jeffers, i wasn't about to "get married" or "procreate", fuck all that, i was livin' man!! Fuck that white picket fence and two car garage, i was all about shit rooms and cheap wine. Honestly i was an unsufferable bastard, i'm sure given a time machine i'd travel back and punch myself in the face for being such a knob end. Then again that's the beauty of it, to make those gorgeous mistakes and keep on going, hopefully learning something in the process... or maybe not. 

This particular Friday night was shaping up to be a rather slow one to say the least. It looked like it would be another small party at the apartment and maybe a walk to the bar. I wanted to keep Sharon hidden as i was such a callous prick i was a bit embarrassed by her, yes i was a fucking asshole who thought he was too fucking cool for a semi-big haired chick from the burbs and the last impression i wanted to give was that i actually cared for or liked this girl. I was quite the cock to say the least. I also didn't need any of Julia's friends spotting me hanging with Sharon and so i did my best to steer us towards a night in... which i did. I think the highlight of the night was taking a walk down Main St. due to the fact Sharon was sick of all the smoke in the apartment, ah the early 90s when smoking was so cool everyone did it, when the phrase "i only smoke when i drink" should have been a temporary tattoo stuck on every forearm of every grunge wannabe... and so when she could stand it no more we took a walk. 

Walking Podunk's Main St. in summertime was like walking a Norman Rockwell painting... quaint streetlights, sparse traffic, small businesses, all of which were closed of course except for the mini-marts and the two bars that sat on the street, on of which was the "swanky" bar/club where the town professionals and professors hung out along with what seemed like all the foreign exchange students. The other a dive with a pool table which played mainly the commercial radio station dialed in from the big city south of here. Yinz know the one. There were no chain stores at all except for a 7-11 and a Uni-Mart... my how times have changed. We walked and talked. We didn't hold hands and i did my best to now and then make some physical contact but i was also on the lookout for anyone who might know me or Julia. Being summer the chances were slim because the place was deserted especially by 10pm. The only saving grace of attending university in a place so devoid of action (unless you made it yourself which i was quite adept at... with the help of psychedelics mind you) was that it made it easy for me to get through school and graduate. 

When we hit the end of Main St. we turned and walked back. By the time we got to the apartment things had begun to mellow out. Of the maybe ten people that were there only a few were left so we loaded up the bong for a session. Sharon didn't smoke weed and wasn't all that fond of it but did her best to pretend not to mind. After an hour or so of getting stoned and bullshitting, an hour in which it seemed as if Sharon enjoyed herself, probably due to me not worrying about us being seen and the people remaining being laid back and wasted, we adjourned to my room for what was ostensibly the whole reason for this visit. Sex. We walked in, shut the door and began kissing, it was old hat to us, there was no fumbling or messing about and i can say if there was one thing i liked about Sharon is that she enjoyed sex. Not in the sleep with anyone type of way but in the way that if she liked you she was always pretty much down for it. I had special standing as "her first". 

And so a pleasant night of rutting and slumber gave way to the dawn... oh yes the dawn, the light of day, when things come into focus and we realize what a mess we've made... that is of course if one is not oblivious to the situation and being in a lovely state of an almost perpetual stupor i thought everything was hunky dory. So on stirring from our slumber in slowly slid my hand between Sharon's thighs, the joys of sleeping naked, we again went at it and when finished i rolled over and fell into a half-sleep. I felt Sharon roll out of bed and put on some clothes and make her way to the bathroom. When she came back she began packing her things. I sat up on my elbow and asked why she was leaving so soon? I need to go was all she said. I asked if she wanted to come back next weekend? She laughed and sarcastically said, yeah right. She gave a wry smile and said, you're an  asshole. She slung her bag over her shoulder and walked out of my room. I jumped out of bed and threw on some shorts and followed her down the steps and out into the parking lot. 

The sun had come up quick and hot and the parking lot was a dry and dusty wasteland of cracked dirt. There sat her Camaro and she opened the door and threw her bag into the back seat. Then she turned and faced me and unloaded... you're a fucking loser, she began. It was about this time that i realized that i had a bit more than a mild hangover, nothing epic but a decent enough one that would necessitate a bong hit or two and few more hours sleep, a Gatorade and with any luck a bacon and cheese omelet. Sharon continued, you're a burnout, a fucking pothead loser drunk, i don't even know what happened to you but all you want to do is get wasted and be an ass, this was horrible, i don't know why i even stayed the night, i show up and you reek of weed and beer and lead me straight to your room, you're an asshole. I stopped her for a second, you didn't seem to mind i said. I didn't, she shot back, probably because i'm a fool who has always had some feelings for you but realize now you're just a dick, the only reason you had me come up here was to have sex with you. There were times last night were it seemed you were embarrassed of me, like your so fucking cool you pothead! Nice life you have, i felt bad for you with what's happening with your mom and dad but fuck you! you're just a jerk and you don't have to worry about this ever happening again. 

I stood there in the baking heat of the parking lot, not a cloud in the sky as the sun beat down on my pounding hangover, my head throbbing, my stomach turning, my mouth dry, i wanted to crawl back in bed and pass out and here i was being berated at 9AM. It wasn't exactly the way i wanted to start my day, granted i did get laid not that long ago so there was that but it was little consolation at the moment. Sharon stood there glaring at me in bicycle shorts and t-shirt, an uncool ensemble for an art star like me though comments like that only provide more evidence of her assessment of my being a dickhead being spot on. Well, she said, don't you have anything to say? 

I stood back and smiled. As a matter of fact i do, i began. Shall i start at the beginning? thus began my soliloquy... First off i never wanted this suburban dream you seem to fantasize about so much, fuck that, i don't want to go to some job i hate, i don't want to get married or have kids, i want to fucking live! i'm gonna write and paint and fuck, you think you're the only girl i've called up here to Podunk? no sweetheart you were just the surest thing and boy was i fucking right about that, this disdain you seem to have for the way i live didn't seem to stop you from spreading your legs every chance you've gotten for the last 24 hours or whatever the fuck it is... Sharon stood there, here lip beginning to quiver and her eyes welling which of course just egged the asshole in me on even more... What's the matter? i continued, hitting to close to home? well you go ahead and fucking cry, like i give a shit, i don't want what you're selling, so why don't you fuck off back home and find some willing sap to marry you and fulfill this fantasy of yours, go crank out a couple kids, get fat, be boring as hell, in short everything i despise, sayanora Sharon! It's been a pleasure, now fuck off! 

Yes I had cranked the asshole up to 11 and poor Sharon just stood there trying to hold it together... you're a dick!! fuck you!! she spat out again, enjoy being a druggy and a bum... I most certainly fucking will, i smiled... and with that she wiped the tears from her eyes, got in her Camaro, and peeled out of the parking lot and sped down the street. I laughed thinking i hoped she'd get a ticket. At the time i was quite impressed with myself and my lovely speech, the universe, in my egomaniacal view, was spinning lovingly around my dirty ass and therefore i was obviously right about everything... i was a dickhead almost without peer. About this time as i stood in the cloud of dust left by Sharon's tires i realized just how hungover i was going to be, the sweat beading on my brow, i trudged back up the steps and packed up the bong, ripped a gigantic hit, coughed for a minute, threw water on my face and grabbed my last Gatorade from the fridge. I walked back into my room and fell into a bed with dirty sheets, the remnants of a days worth of screwing, and passed out. (to be cont...)