Monday, October 25, 2010

Good News?

As I mentioned in the previous post (quick go read it, and come back, I will wait) last week I decided to 'go off the rails' a bit, and drink like a Roman Emperor. I have yet to total up the damage done either to my bank balance, my liver, or my relationship(s) with some of my fellow humans, but I am sure it is as high as a Georgia pine. People who know me, or people who used to know me know that I have a local. I actually have two locals because one isn't enough to handle the full force of my personality. However, I have been 'branching out' a bit as of late, and have acquired another place in which to drink myself stupid.

I am a man of habit, many talents, and a firm belief that you can never be friendly with too many bartenders. A good bartender is almost, if not more important that a good doctor. I mean you don't have to make appointments to see your bartender, and none of the multitude of the bartenders I know have ever asked me to turn my head and cough. They take it on faith that I have the present ability to pay the enormous tab I am running up in their establishment, and a couple of them have even let me 'bounce' on a tab when I became to drunk, or they were too busy, for me to pay. It is a proud moment in a drunks life when he walks INTO his bar for the first drink of the night only to be told he already has a 40 dollar tab from the night before. 'I knew you would be back, so I just let you go' where the words that my bartender greeted me with on that occasion, my father, rot him, would have been so very proud.

All of this is just a set up for the news I received on my last expedition in my second local that I made on Saturday night. Wing man in tow, I was drinking myself into a stupor when a oddly familiar voice called my name. I was a bit bleary eyed, but when I turned to the sound of the noise I was happily surprised to see one of my 'old' bartenders, one that I had not seen in almost 2 years. I was quite shocked to see him in the place, he had left to start his own bar, and I figured that he was gone for good. Plus, his parting, like most people at this bar, was not on the best of terms. A series of sad events that were beyond his control resulted in him losing his bar, and I was quite excited to hear that he had been re-employed at my bar.

Drinks were ordered all around, and some time was spent 'catching up.' Then a sort of horrible realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I think the major impetus for this moment of horror was I was just wrapping up a six day drunk, but as I sat there and reminisced about old times, I concluded that this news, while joyful for my buddy, might be fatal to me. He is a GOOD bartender, a fair bartender, and (most importantly) an attentive bartender, very rarely did I ever have to wait longer than 7 seconds for my empty drink to be magically replenished.

The 'bad' part to this tale of woe is quite simple, I have been drinking like a fish at this bar with a series of inferior barmen (and women) since this fellow left, now that he has returned I can only imagine that my drunken behaviour will increase fivefold, and I am not sure that my liver (even though I have recently been turned onto the wonderful healing powers of milk thistle), or my bank account will survive. I guess this is a simple problem of be careful what you wish for, because I have bemoaned his absence on more than one occasion. I guess this post is a bit of a drunkard's prayer (which is more than just a cornball song by a band called Over the Rhine), it is simply this let's hope my bank account lasts longer than my liver, because doctor's need to be paid as well, and transplants aren't free.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm OK, You're OK?

"Are you OK?" That was the question one of my fellow citizens directed towards me on the Tuesday night of this week. Generally, that simple question, one that we get asked numerous times in our lives, would not be worthy of commenting upon, but as with most things with me lately it is all about context.

That context is the reason that the question was, for me at least, another low point in my life (seems I have having a lot of low points recently). Tuesday was the night before a legal conference, which I was required to attend, began in my fine city. In other words, I didn't have to go to work the next day, but I did have to attend the conference, since the conference's start time was about 2 hours later than I generally get to work, then I figured I might have a few drinks with some buddies.

That day's drinking began a bit earlier than usual, and it was the first day of a week that has seen me eat, drink, and be merry like a Roman emperor. I figure I have gained 6 pounds this week, so next week, I will be eating like a Roman slave, but at least this week has been entertaining. The drinking was going as planned, and it was looking like another night that would find me bleary eyed the next morning. However, as with most of the plans that I am involved in, things went a bit off script rather quickly. A change of my drinking plans ensued (I asked a question I didn't know the answer to, and my drinking was curtained, serves me right).

The new plan entailed me not drinking like my ship was sinking, and I had to drink all the rum before it was too late, and sobriety began to rear its ugly head. That being said, I am not sure my next career move was a product of my residual buzz, or just extremely poor judgment. Either way it was a piss poor decision, and I was duly punished for it. It is a long story, and isn't worth getting to deep into right now, but it would soon provide me the reason for the above quoted question. Keep it mind, the is TUESDAY! Not generally a day that finds you facing the kinds of life tragedies that make you feel like you need a Greek chorus following you around to help narrate your life.

Again, I was foolish enough to ask a (very lengthy , and important) question that I did not know the answer to, and I was, once again, duly punished. It was this punishment, and my resulting reaction to it, that sent me reeling down the street in one direction while the person delivering the blow walked calmly off in the other direction. I decided that taking one of the convenient seats provided for citizens of my fair city by the city fathers, would be a good idea. A few moments of calm reflection were clearly going to be needed, and I also had to find some sort of cash dispensing machine, because my car was in 'hock' to a parking garage.

As I sat there wondering where that cash was going to be obtained, and feeling a bit like Lupus from 'The Bad News Bears,' a fellow citizen decided that it was imperative to speak to me. Of course, it was my own fault, it was 10 p.m. on a Tuesday in downtown shit city, and I was just begging to be panhandled. In retrospect, I guess I am lucky that I wasn't swarmed by panhandlers like a sugar cube in an ant farm. The one 'bum' that did manage to get his 'handle' on asked me for a cigarette, and wasn't even upset when I informed him of the bad news, that I am a non-smoker. To my surprise he merely thanked me and turned away to try his luck elsewhere. Well, clearly my demeanor must have been awful, because he stopped turned back around, and asked me with dead seriousness in his voice "Are you OK?" I am sure the shock was evident on my face as I replied 'I'm fine thanks.'

Which bring me to the eventual point of this post. The fellow was nice enough, and just because he is what is commonly called a 'bum' he was still human enough to notice that a fellow human seemed to be having a bit of a rough moment. Which was true, but I was unaware that I was so obvious about it. However, while I have grown to appreciate his humanity, it was still a low point in my life. If I look so bad that bums are asking me if I am OK, then my life has clearly taken a wrong turn. It certainly changed the focus of my calm reflection, and perhaps that it something I should be thankful for, it became much more focused on the whole of my situation rather than merely the disastrous episode that had just occurred.

I suppose that is the thing to be thankful for, a polite 'bum' that is willing to take the time to find out if maybe the fellow he just tried to cage a ciggy off of, was going to be a bridge jumper. Maybe he didn't want that on his conscious, or maybe he thought that if he asked, I would find some forgotten cigarette, or some cash for him ( I didn't so unlucky for him), or maybe he just thought that a bit of humanity was called for. I didn't have the heart to tell him 'I am far, far, from fucking OK.' That was the closest to humanity I could come, and I hope he appreciated it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Over Due Part II

Of the 366 heroes of the day,

276 or 75% are dead

and 84 or 23% are still alive.

Those who are not still alive died at an average age of 62.9 years, a bit surprising, I figured it would be younger than that.

Over Due Part I

Since it has been over two months since the ending of the hero parade, this information is long overdue, but I am lazy.

We will start this with the easy part.

Of the 366 heroes

339 or 93% were Male (guess I am a sexist pig, big surprise there)

21 or 5% were Female


6 or 2 % were Things (i.e. words, things, animals)

Monday, October 11, 2010


'I do not ever want to speak to you again,' then the loud 'click' of the phone being hung up on me with a fierce determination. The dial tone didn't have much to say to my reply, which was just as well since my reply is not really fit for publication (at least in a non R rated forum). After a few seconds to realize what had just occurred, I hung up, shrugged my shoulders, and crossed her name off of my xmas list. I mean, she sounded pretty serious, and she was usually pretty good at doing what she said, not at all the type to hold in her emotions, which I figured was probably a large portion of our problem.

Being the unemotional type (her words,not mine, but I didn't deny the accusation when it was made), I had sorted out that our 'styles' were probably going to clash eventually, but I didn't figure that it would lead to the complete break down of all communication. Being the optimistic type, I kept her contact information just in case, I mean you never know when you are going to need bail money, and options are good to have just in case. And, if you have true friends, you won't be able to call them for bail money because they will probably be in the same holding cell that you are. Thus, keeping someone's number, who while not a fan of yours, might still feel enough pity for you to get you out of a tight spot (though the cost will be quite high), is not the worse plan to have.

Now the above glimpse into my life would not either be so bad, or so interesting (if it is interesting), if that had been the first time it had happened to me. Sadly, it was not, and it was not even the first time recently. It was the third time such a thing has happened, and since it happened recently, I am beginning to detect some sort of trend where things might just be 'me not them.' Each of them ended under similar circumstances (although a couple of them put more colourful language into their declaration of our relationship independence). All three were lovely girls, and each of them had their reasons for never wanting to speak to me again, the foremost being I am 'a raging jackass' (that seemed to be the underlying theme in each case).

Unfortunately, after a long think, a few Internet searches, and a couple or three beers, I was unable to find a cure for being a jackass that did not include ceasing to exist. Since that route seems a bit drastic for the situation(s) at hand, I figured that I would just have to get out of the house more often and meet 'replacement' people. I quickly determined this to also be a bit of a shit plan, since me and people just seem to have entire day's worth of misunderstandings, and just went out and bought a 1200 page book to fill up my (now free) time, and to hopefully avoid these types of 'misunderstandings' for the near future.

Misunderstandings or not, I took each of these people at their word. They had each, independently of one another, expressed the strong desire, and in no uncertain terms, of never wishing to communicate with me again. Fair enough I suppose, I can not imagine that my presence in any one's life is a necessity, and therefore I figured they would live 'happily ever after.' Therein lies the rub, 'ever after' means exactly that both 'ever' (i.e. never), and 'after' (i.e. again). Saying you never wish to speak to or see me again is fine, I can understand that wish, and in some ways I applaud the decision. To be quite honest, some relationships need to just end without the hope of revival. Years may pass, but the death of those types of relationships should be permanent. There is no need for a reopening of old wounds, or a digging up the corpse of the relationship to determine the cause of death. It died of its own causes, and no further examination is necessary. In my opinion, it is usually best if both parties sign the death certificate, but if one party is really determined, one signature is usually sufficient.

In all three of my above mentioned cases, one signature was enough, though in one case I would have signed if they would have told me that I could have. My signature wasn't there on the other two, and one of them didn't bother me at all. I might not have signed it, but I was pretty indifferent as to the relationship ending. The last one didn't have my signature either, and truth be told, I was saddened by the loss. It was mostly my fault (take that to mean it was all my fault), and maybe one day I will explain that further. However, for our purposes here that is all we need to know. It is the two other 'deaths' that concern us here, and the fact that it seems my relationships have a zombie like quality (meaning they are hard as shit to kill).

Case A (pick a name if you want, it won't be her name, and it doesn't matter), was the one that died over the phone. A fairly impersonal, but quick way of doing things, and one that I accepted. Calling someone that has just hung up on you with that last sentence is very rarely a good idea, and besides she was the 'take the phone off the hook' kind of girl. Fair enough, she sounded serious, she seemed serious, and she was serious, for about six months. Then out of the blue, as I am minding my own business, and not bothering a soul (it does happen once in a while), I get a text from her. 'Hey' that was it just hey, nothing else just three little letters, one little innocent word. No explanation as to why I got it, no apology (if I deserved one is debatable), and no reason why six months later I was suddenly worth talking to again. It was a bit like the six months of silence did not happen, from that 'hey' we just sort picked up where we had left off in our relationship. It was odd, but then again she is odd, and I am odd, so odd is pretty much par for the course.

Case B (again pick a name, any name will do), was a bit more entertaining, and had the 'decency' to tell me to my face that 'I never want to fucking see you again, get out of my sight!' She was also very clear, and used plain English (and a dramatic gesture or two), that she had no desire to ever set eyes upon my person again. Once again, more my fault than hers, and fair enough. I got the message, and slunk away to lick my wounds, and to begin to ponder why it is I do to inspire such passion (and not in a good way).

Two weeks later, guess who shows up in my life? You guessed it case B, it was odd for about 30 seconds (at least for her), but it seems that all was forgiven. It also appears that it is VERY easy to get mad at me, but slightly more difficult to stay mad at me. I am not sure how I feel about that. Since I like a good grudge like an Albanian likes a blood feud, I almost prefer someone to actually stay mad at me for a bit. At least they are sticking to their word. After all, never means never right? Unless 'they' have significantly changed the meaning of the word never without telling me, then something is horribly wrong with both of the 'cases' outlined in this post.

And then what is the protocol here? How do you pick up the pieces of a 'broken' relationship so quickly. I mean if two weeks, days, or months ago it was determined that I was just this side better of cancer, then what happened to improve your opinion of me? I certainly didn't change, and seeing the error of my ways become some 'better' version of myself. I have been working on that, and I can say with some confidence, failing at it. I am not a 'better' version of myself at all, I am the same 'version' just X amount of time older. Nothing about me has improved, and it has only probably gotten worse since you decided that you had had your fill of me. Having enough of me is a decision that I can respect. Coming back after saying 'never again' is something I have a problem with.

Which brings us to Case C, our third, and (so far) final contestant in the get fucking rid of me game. I know I promised not to mention it, but hey its my blog and I will write epics if I want to, you don't have to read them you know. This one was a lot simpler, a lot shorter, and in many ways, a lot sadder. Details of it are a bit fuzzy, and I am sure memories would be vastly different depending on which one of us you asked as to what happened, but the end result is the same. Over and done with, in a slightly less dramatic fashion, but done with nonetheless. I am not sure I wanted this one to be over with, but I understand why it needed to end, and that it was going to have to end sooner or later, but I wasn't quite prepared for it to be the 'sooner' bit.

The major difference with case C, and the reason I have vastly more respect for that person is she meant it. Never meant never to her, and I haven't spoken to her since the funeral rites were read over the casket of our 'relationship.' In many ways that is quite awesome, and in many ways it is quite sad. It is awesome because it shows that at least she was a woman of her word, and is not likely to change her mind, and she shouldn't. If she were to pop back into my life now, I would lose a lot of my admiration for her. It is sad because it shows how, at least on this point (and a couple of others) how truly compatible we were. Not compatible enough to keep the relationship alive, but compatible enough to make it interesting while it was. And that makes it all the sweeter, like apple pie and ice cream on a hot July day.

Case C is, mostly, the point of this epic. If you are going to 'think of someone only in the past tense' then you should stick to it. Expressing the desire to NEVER speak to another person again is the little red button on the console of interpersonal relationships. It is mutual assured destruction, not something to be trifled with, and not something to be used at someone because they bought the wrong type of milk. Not something to be used on a daily basis, but something to be brought out only when absolutely necessary. It should not be used in the heat of passion, but only after calm, icy, reflection. After all, it is some serious shit, and the person you are using it against might just take you at your word. When nuclear winter hits a relationship it taints everything, and if anything survives , it is probably so mutated so as to be unrecognizable. 'C' did that for us, she turned that key, entered the code, and pushed the red button. The resulting mushroom cloud and fallout killed our relationship as dead as dead can be, and it isn't coming back to life ever. Which is in some strange way, the best possible ending of any of the sad tales in this story. I guess the lesson to be learned is that all things end badly, or else they wouldn't end.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


To quote Coleridge, ". . . this lime tree bower; my prison." It is not quite as dire as that either for Coleridge when he wrote those words over a century ago, or for me, but I needed some dramatic flair for the opening line of this blog post. Although not as dire as prison, I do feel something akin to how Coleridge felt all those years ago. He was forced to stay beneath his lime tree, and watch his companions enjoy a lovely day without him. Hence, the poem, and hence the reason for him writing it.

There are no lime trees where I live, and I am mobile (except for being very sore from soccer practice) so I could just trundle my ass around where ever I wanted to go, if I had somewhere to go, but I don't. I sit here in my own mental lime tree bower trying to sort out what to do with my free time. There are piles and piles of books on a chest next to me that are demanding my attention, and certainly the trees that are still alive on my own little half acre of hell are shedding their leaves like a stripper at a high dollar bachelor party. At some point, they are going to have to raked by my yard staff (i.e. me), but for now I sit here pondering exactly what to do with the time that I have to waste.

Writing this post will pass some of those idle moments which seem prone to led me into mischief, but it can only achieve so much. After all, it is just a little blog post, and shouldn't try to get above its station. It has only a limited purpose, and a limited shelf life. One it shouldn't try to exceed, and the other it shouldn't try to last longer than its 'sell by' date. The problem is that its content is limited by several things, and I will leave it to your imagination (providing you have an imagination) to figure out the limiting parameters. While not a lime tree bower, and not exactly a prison, this post, this forum, this way of 'communicating' my, ever so brilliant, thoughts has severe limitations. Limitations that have shortened this blog post by several pages, much to the delight of my more attention challenged readers I am sure.

Limitations so severe that my inability to articulate them, becomes another limitation, thus making the circle of this particular medium complete. How to best explain, what it is that I can't explain? How to best explain why it is that I can't explain? I am not like Bruno Antony, in Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train', a very clever fellow, and therefore cannot explain what there is to explain. Perhaps if I were a clever fellow, or a more talented writer, or a man with more ability to obfuscate, then I could write something that would explain it all, and my equally clever readers would be able to sort it out. However, I'm not, and therefore, the cleverness (or lack) of my readers does not get to be tested. Lucky you, dear reader, you do not have to take the test that I, quite obviously, and with some aplomb, have so spectacularly failed.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dear Me

After celebrating Thursday like it was the end of the world, I tottered home to quietly pass out in my bed, and snore away the hours until work forced me to get out of bed. However, it seems that the farce that passes for my life wasn't entirely done with me for the evening. A difficult (at least the parts of it I remember) phone conversation, led me to stagger out of my living room in the bathroom, where awaiting me was a very large mirror image of myself. One dirty look at myself was all it took to set me off on myself. There I was, drunk as a lord sneering at my reflection in the mirror. He (my reflection that is) sneered back, and since I didn't care for that I decided to give him, err I mean me, a bit of a dressing down.

It was a lot of things, but the one thing I am certain of was that it was just fucking awful. Only a person who has reached a certain level of intoxication, and fueled by the recently concluded difficult conversation can give himself the blow dryer treatment. I started with my looks, of which according to me, I should not be proud, I pointed out all the surface flaws, and found quite a few of them, with my person and did so in some very 'glowing' terms. I don't want to repeat what I found these appearance flaws to be, because one look at me (if you happen to see me) will give you a general idea what I focused on (with the limited focus I was able to muster). It was like having on anti-beer goggles. Whereas the women get better looking when I am that tipsy, I seem to get a whole LOT uglier, at least in my own estimation. It was not pretty, and I mean that both as a pun, and truthfully.

Perhaps things would have been better if I had stopped there, I mean a few coarse words about one's slovenly, ape-like appearance might sting a bit, but it isn't something that is going to deal any lasting damage to my psyche. However, since I am in fact, a total jackass, I could just let my appearance flaws be the only flaws of mine that I wanted myself to know about. Emboldened by the hurt look I had managed to make myself have by pointing out my own ugliness, I then proceeded to start at the top and tear myself completely down. It was a demolition job that would have done a stick of dynamite proud.

The worse part about it all, other than the fact it happened, and it happened in the toilet, was that I achieved a minor miracle. One that I am not too sure I should share, and one that I am none too proud of, it seems that while I was gleefully pointing out to me all the awful character traits I possess, I made myself cry. Isn't that just wonderful? I hurt my own fucking feelings. It was both extremely funny, sad, stupid, and pathetic all at once. The other problem, as if I didn't have enough problems already, is/was that this morning when I staggered out of bed, and trundled off to work, I remembered pretty much every bad thing that I said to/about myself. In the harsh (and with my hangover it was harsh) light of day, I was able to revisit all those awful things I said about me to me, and was still unable to deny the truth of any of them.

I would like to say that it was a experience in character building, and if anyone need to build character it is me, but I think the tear down job was so expertly done, and so meekly resisted that any attempt to rebuild is going to have to put on hold for a while. I didn't quite sow the ground with salt, but I certainly came close to replicating the damage that Rome did to Carthage. I guess there is no critic as harsh as yourself, and yourself drunk, and already a bit pissed off at you, is just plain awful. I mean, for fuck's sake, I made MYSELF cry. That is something to both be proud and ashamed of all at once. I had thought about writing some of these flaws down in some self-indulgent fit of pique, but I decided that perhaps that isn't the best idea. Because, after all, I may be sober, but who knows if the same reaction won't happen again, and making myself cry both sober, and drunk on back to back days, is just more than I can bear.