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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The South Texas shuffle...

As I had relatives in South Texas who had no idea I was as screwed up as I was I boarded a Greyhound and headed south. I was wired to the gills on cheap speed as I made my retreat.

I arrived so wired my hair was standing on end, but no one seemed to notice. They noticed however after a few days when there was an unfortunate incident involving Irish whiskey, Valium and a loaded .45. There were young children in the house and civilized folk did not behave that way, blackout or no.

I was given a choice, ala tough love, prior to Dr. Phil and the rest...either another bus ticket to anywhere (I sure should have taken that ticket), or enroll in a halfway house, attend a 12 step program and give my head a firm yank from my ass. I did, and when I heard the pop I went cold turkey...the first of many such episodes.
I gave sobriety a very feeble try, but knew there was something missing. I thought a relationship might be in order as my last girlfriend in Germany had said goodbye as she threw beer bottles at me while I stood in a duck pond, waist deep in duck shit, crying and usual.

She failed to see the earnest desire in my heart. Damn good shot though...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Running through the fire

To deviate from the autobiographical venue for a bit, I recently determined what my favorite animal is. No, it's not cute and fuzzy, nor will it wrap itself around it's prey and squeeze the bejaysus out of it. It is simply, the Zebra.

The cool striped patterns, (of which no two are alike) notwithstanding, the Zebra has some pretty nice attributes. As a herd animal, if another member of the herd is injured, the remainders will form a protective circle around them. Not too many humans would do that.

But the coolest thing is that in the wild, while others run from a wildfire, exhausting themselves and subsequently being burned alive, the Zebra inherently knows there is safety on the other side of the fire, and runs through the fire to get there. So if you're faced with your personal fire...face it and run through it...there's safety on the other side.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holiday fun...

My Father married for his fifth and last time my first year in the Army. I can't blame him. She owned her own home. Came complete with a hot tub and pool. At least he was marrying 'up'.

The new spouse and I failed to see eye to eye as is more often than not the case. And once again, I was following a good intention with really poor execution. I was trying to win her over as it were after I was discharged and staying with them during the holidays. I cashed in all my terminal leave so I was in hiatus. Loosely translated that means I was drunk in the hot tub most of the time.

As the folks were working and I was clubbing till dawn, then sleeping till noon and recreating in the hot tub while consuming liberal quantities of hops and barley was the norm I was pretty happy. But being the altruistic sort I was divinely inspired to assist in the holiday preparations. Hot tub plus frozen turkey equaled good time management. My step mother had been bitching about the bird and all the trimmings so I felt I would be in her good graces by acting on this impulse. I eased the poultry into the tub one crisp fall afternoon and began demolishing a case of Coors.

The bird kept to one side of the tub, bobbing and weaving, and I sat on the other, mentally congratulating myself with a fervor.

About five thirty, very close to being really, really drunk, I heard the family car arrive in the drive. Oh goody. I would soon be rewarded with many applause and good will towards everyone. There I sat, grey giblet foam surrounding me...(the bag had broken) empty brown bottles littered the deck and a chlorine soaked turkey still bobbed upon the discolored waves.

My step mother stood in the doorway, frozen. A look on her face which defied gravity...and she screamed, "YOUR SON IS IN MY HOT TUB WITH A GOD DAMNED TURKEY!" My father never missed a beat. He hollered back, "What's he doing to it?"
I was headed to South Texas the following day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Never trust an 'institution'.

Marriage. The very word makes me shudder. Not that I think the institution is inherently wrong, just that we've outgrown it. To be fair, that I have outgrown it. The days of being married for the long haul seem to be a very long time ago.

We live in a disposable society. If something breaks, don't fix it, get a new one, a better one, a shinier one.

I have three failed marriages to my credit, and as I am the common denominator in all three take the blame for all three. And I'm not proud of any of them, or should I say I'm not proud of my behaviour during and after the marriages. Yes...honesty counts.

(I am proud of my three daughters...I have four but the oldest only views me as an ATM machine and wants nothing to do with me. Fair enough. I have to be bigger than shutting down completely on that front but there are days when I'm just not up to it. But I digress...)

My parents were married five times each. They were my role models, my examples of how things worked.
On the flip side I'm close to my Aunt and Uncle, who have been married to one another a very long time indeed. Irish Catholics to the bone, five kids...they made the long haul work, but in my world they were the exception, not the rule.

I've now been marriage free for eight years. I've learned how to be alone. I've even learned to like it. This was not always the case.

I joined the army when I was seventeen. After three disastrous years I was somehow honorably discharged. Three years of drugs, alcohol, European travel, the cold war, and headbutting authority every chance I got. When I enlisted my head was filled with naive romance and adventure. I performed well in basic training, but knew I didn't fit. Skinny assed white kid with a big mouth and a decent vocabulary. I should have known.

When I reported to my permanent duty station in Germany I tried to fit in, but knew I was different. Then I started trying to make the burnt out lifers see it my way, so I threw down the gauntlet, and they responded in kind. They begged me to pick it up, and when I did, I'd find myself picking up teeth. It was then I read James Crumley's 'One to Count Cadence'. That, along with Earl Thompson's 'A Garden of Sand' and 'Tattoo' sparked the romance into a fire and I yearned to write, and drink, and travel. Life imitated art, and I stayed a private for three years, and stayed drunk for even longer.

I was a mess, but so were all my literary hero's. I thought that was the way it should be done, so I drank, and threw typewriters out of windows, and screwed my way across south Texas. After my enlistment, I stayed with my father and his last wife for a bit, until I backed my grandmothers car over a gas meter one night, drunk, after a one night stand. So I packed and got on a bus for South Texas. I had cousins who would put me up while I tried to get it together. The only thing was, they expected me to have it together already. Who knew?

It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.-Joseph Conrad

My mother died before I was ready for her to go. I suppose that's the way it always is.

I was living in a converted attic; renting space from a friend and dubious business partner. The room was in the top of a one hundred year-old home in the historic part of Irving, Texas. My landlord had been my business partner for several months while we attempted to breathe life into a fledgling private investigations business, I hadn't had a drink in almost seven years but I was on the marijuana maintenance plan. Smoking almost a quarter ounce a day didn't seem to be helping. Not many folks wanted to hire a stoned P.I.

To make ends meet I was working as a banquet waiter; corporate functions, private parties. This freed me up to smoke weed, read Raymond Chandler and play disc golf.

It was the week of Christmas, 1994, and the banquet business was decent. A jumping Friday night and I was working a gig in Ft. Worth. A big corporation, open bar and rubbery chicken-with a special appearance by Chuck Berry. That was surreal, but pretty run of the mill. Chuck had finished duck walking through his set, which for someone 107 years old was pretty commendable.

We had cleared away the main course dishes-black tennis shoes, silent on the thick carpet, which complimented the cheesy bullshit tuxedo's we were forced to wear, and I was due a break. My fantasy of seducing a society matron was not playing out. It must have been the shoes.

I slithered into my overcoat, walked to the parking garage and cranked up the heater in my pickup, the Ft. Worth Skyline, frosty in my windshield. This was no way to make a living, but it kept the wolves at a reasonable distance. As we still had to serve dessert, I held off on the joint in my pocket. I finished smoking a camel and returned to the kitchen.

The headwaiter stopped me as I entered the hot, noisy space.
"You need to call your wife." His eyes were big.
"I'm not married." I shed the overcoat and threw it onto a serving cart.
He stammered, "She said it was about your Mother." Ex-wife. Great. What the hell could be wrong with mom. I lived three blocks from her and her last husband, whom I loathed with every fiber of my being, but I hadn't called for a week or two.
I was sure this could wait but I was in no mood to sling watery creme brulee.

I sat in the beverage managers office and dialed my ex. She answered. "it's me," I said, opting for curt instead of pleasant.
"Oh..." I could hear her breathing."I don't know how to say this....Patty's dead." Her voice quivered and the line buzzed. I had gone deaf and all I could see in front of me was the heavy, black telephone. I faintly heard the sound of my own voice from the bottom of a well.

"How..." was all I could manage.
"They think it was a heart attack. They found her at home. I'm at the hospital."
"I'm on my way." I was numb, and had no idea where I was going, my mother's house, the hospital, I just had to drive in an easterly direction and figure it out when I got there. Then I remembered, my ex-was going to meet me at the hospital. I thought, "Why the hospital, she's already dead."

I wheeled out of the parking garage with the weird soundtrack, "My mother's dead..." playing in an endless loop in my head. I figured I had every reason now to smoke that joint. As if I needed one.

I wondered if I would grieve, or how stoned I would have to stay so I couldn't.

The scene with her husband was fucking grim as he was in the hospital having been victim to a stroke. Thanks God...she goes and he stays, albeit pretty fucked up, but he was still alive. I couldn't see me coming to visit, or bringing him soup, in fact I couldn't see me doing anything at all.

I guess she died the way she wanted to; dressed in her favorite nightgown, curled up in bed watching an old movie, a glass of scotch within easy reach. The drink was next to the telephone. I wished I had called.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Mothers Love...

When my Mother met my second ex-wife she offered these words regarding her baby boy : "Honey...he's pretty much useless, but he's ornamental as hell." Anybody want cookies?

Endearing words from my Dad...

Regarding beautiful women: " matter how good looking a woman is, somebody somewhere is tired of her shit." Thanks Dad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good on ya Apple...

The marketing guys at Apple have got be geniuses. One can only imagine the high/low fives going around the corporate office. Whatever they did to get the brain-dead to stand in line for a week to purchase a boggles the mind.

It's a phone folks, and for some of you I'll slow it down a notch a p-h-o-n-e...yeah, you punch in a certain number, it calls a very similar unit, someone answers, you say hello and information is exchanged. You have established a communication relationship of sorts, but that's it. It does not make you a sandwich, blow you or do your taxes, as far as I know.

I went in to the neighborhood Apple store yesterday to get my computer worked on. It was like someone selling life preservers on the Titanic. I watched a woman purchase three iPhone a the same time, while others watched from in the hallway of the mall with a hungry, wild eyed look like "That bitch...she got her phones...and I do not have mine...I shall kill her by the dipping dots!"

Wow...and to think I don't like people very much.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My life changes today...

No, I'm not getting married or having surgery. I am simply "thinking" my way into a new and abundant life. Just like the promises say, I am going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. I am going to live an authentic life, laugh often and help others. I claim all the abundance the universe has to offer and I'm going to make all the money I need to do so. I am going to travel to beautiful and exotic locations, eat very well, and fall in love again with the tropical climes.
I'm even going to put in a water slide at Lake Me...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Success requires no apologies...

Success requires no apologies, but punching you in the fucking face would.

I am so angry today. At what, one may ask? At the world and the people in Insurance faceless drones who live for paperwork and redundant behaviour...blood sucking ex-wives.

This mood is the result of two jobs with no time off. Meetings are keeping the badgers at bay, bills are being paid, but I'm about to come unhooked. I need a day that requires no thought and even less action.

I need to hold a woman in my sleep and wake to her breath in my ear, the smell of sex lingering on the sheets. Or a chili cheeseburger and a nap...who the hell knows?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What dreams may come...

Other than the above being the title of one of my favorite books/movies my dreams mess me up. They are so vivid, I can feel their effects for days. Usually a dead relative (parent), ex-wife (see dead relationship) or I'm smoking, drinking or doing drugs (dead addictions). On the rare occasion I dream of one of my daughters... it is a gloomy few days after that. Fucking guilt and remorse.

Now there is the school of thought that our vibrations change when we sleep so we, or our astral selves actually travel to these places and experience these things, which would explain why after I dream of travelling to India I am totally shagged out for at least a day.

Last night I dreamed I bought a carton of cigarettes. I haven't had one in 70 days. I felt like shit for doing it too. And I wake up with that mood permeating the rest of my day. I know, I know, I can start my day over any time I want to and as often as I need to. That's not the point. I have this mood on like a an old sweater. I could easily take it off, but it's just easier being a grumpy fuck.

So self centered. Here I am again, swimming in Lake Me and as usual I bring only one towel. I'm going to a noon meeting...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Invisible is as invisible was...

I love the fact that I can post whatever ramblings come into my head on my blog, and while this is a public journal, open to whomever chooses to read it, not one soul has done so. Or if they did, had something better to do than post a comment.

Look at me, oh you can't, but wait I'm covered in marmalade twirling a screaming badger over my head, sure you can't look, oh that's right, you're doing texting, and by the way gang, it's a telephone, not a tiny fucking typewriter, you say hello, someone else answers and a relationship of sorts is established.

Give and take, a verbal exchange, dare I say reading between the lines, listen you dimwits, then respond. Oops, note to self, do not let go of the badger! AAGGHHH!!!

It just wasn't Christmas...until a Nun was punched.

I come from a large Irish Catholic family. Holidays were mixed anticipatory events. Oh boy, food...and lots of it, and oh no, drink...and lots of it. Guaranteed tears and at least one fistfight.

But that was thirty years how we have all mellowed. Recovery is the theme these days, and if there are tears, they stem from joy and gratitude...and no one would even consider punching a Nun. Well, not most of us.

Thirty years ago I had different dreams and ideals regarding the world at large than I do looking down the barrel of fifty. I suppose we all did. When I think of the woman of my dreams today, (if I still have one) she is much different than the one in my noggin' from days gone by. Then-she wanted sex, and more sex and took care of me, and wanted sex again. Oh yeah, she had to be beautiful and not be on my ass about drinking or the use or recreational drugs.

Two small concessions, I thought. Wrong.

Today she would still be beautiful, but comfortable with it, not pushing it, sex would be great, while enjoying a good meal and conversation just as much. A wicked sense of humor coupled with a fine sense of self...and endless patience. And yet I still live alone. Go figure.

Okay, I don't even date. Why. I'm scared. Half the time I can't stand to be around women as they frustrate the crap out of me and smothering them with a pillow seems like a healthy choice while the other half I yearn to be embraced.

Any takers? Just kidding about the pillow reference...sort of.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

One down, the rest of my life to go...

Yesterday there was simply no possible way I was going to call my ex-wife and tell her I was glad she was getting remarried. I wasn't. I was pissed she turned her back on us and decided to live her life without me. Then I found the phone in my hand.

I was calling our daughter but before I could stop myself I told her "I hoped the next part of her life was everything she could want and she was perfect just the way she was and I truly wished her the best."

So that was part A of the assignment. The odd thing was I found myself meaning what I was saying. Now part B is going to be harder. The second ex- not getting remarried, but I'm stuck in the story I have developed about her and the goal is to get unstuck.

I'm sure I'll simply find the phone in my hand and the words coming from somewhere else, just not sure where or when.
Work has slowed down...back in survival mode...I hate survival mode. There is no joy in survival mode. There is work, stress, not spending money and lack of sleep, followed by more stress and worry. God that's fun!

Ah screw it...I'm not worrying. Work will either pick up or it won't, and if not, the universe will let me know what to do. After all, I'm just passing through...

My new disclaimer...yeah I know.

Okay, the old disclaimer was tired. The ideas were outdated and keeping me stuck in a place I don't want to be now for something more refreshing.

I have recently changed my views regarding women. Seems I had some issues with the fairer sex due to past pain and self- centered fear. (Yes...duh applies.)

I'm done with that.

Being in recovery has helped me change my entire life, perceptions and attitudes. I cannot change my history but I can change my today and my future.

I recently realized that the women I know in recovery are some of the strongest, bravest, most gentle and kind teachers I have ever had. You exemplify integrity and spiritual growth, and I hope you know who you are.

Some may know of my past marital and relationship history and been a participant in them as well. It's past and that's where it the past.

I own my part in those failures but claim no more responsibility in any misery you may be experiencing. I am sorry, but it's time to get off the cross. We need the wood.

Thank you all...