Friday, December 24, 2004

Ho, Merry Christmas!

For some reason, writing anything specifically for the blog is more difficult than when I write in my hard drive journal. Maybe it is the idea that what goes into the blog becomes fodder for public consumption. Knowing someone else may read my words creates a kind of stutter or awkward silence like when two people meet for the first time.

My purpose this Christmas Eve morning was to pen a nice seasonal post that would be upbeat and offer glad tidings to all. And I have nothing to say. 10 minutes ago at the kitchen table while I sucked on that first coffee, I was full of clever seasonal words. Now, sitting in front of this screen, my mind has taken a holiday.

Christmas is a time of year when most of us shed the armor that protected us throughout the toils of the previous year. We drop our guards, our pessimism, and our anxieties for a brief period and actually become decent to one another. It is a shame these feel good vibes only show up once a year. In my mind, treating each other with kindness and dignity throughout the year would go a long way to taking the edge off of some of the evil and mean maddness that envelopes our lives. I know there are folks who are kind and caring all the time. And they remain so, even when Life deals them some harsh blows. I envy these folks. I have not the strength to always see the silver lining or be kind in the presence of idiots.

My Christmas Message
May Christmas lift everyone's spirits for at least a little while and allow all of us the time to consider one another without judgment or sanction. May we have the ones we love close so that we may bring the ones we don't a little closer. And most of all, may we not forget that Christmas is not all about Malls, ornaments, and mailing on time. Christmas is a time of re-birth. It reminds us that Life is ever re-newing and the mistakes, foibles, and ill-advised words are in the past. We can break our cycles if we want to. Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Never lost, just Misplaced

I have never been lost. Misplaced maybe, but never lost. The term "lost" indicates defeat, a final judgement from which there is no return. I prefer to look at being off track as nothing but a temporary setback, thus my usage of "misplaced" instead. I usually have a handle on the general location. The State, the county, and the direction. That is not lost. That is just off course. My wonderful wife, God love her, has a harsher view of being misplaced and my tendency to not worry about it.

I have never been afraid to change directions. This drives her crazy. But 24 years of marriage has made her more tolerant of my fast and loose usage of America's great highways. Because in the end, I always get us there. I just look at the little detours as part of the adventure of travel. Stopping in some backwater burg and asking some toothless local where the interstate is can be interesting and add some needed comic relief to an otherwise dreary and boring road trip. Ending up on a dirt road that becomes a goat trail deep in the outback is no cause for alarm. Just turn around and retrace. Or in lieu of that, back up until you can.

My wife will mutter, "Oh great, now we're lost. Whatja gonna do now big boy?". By the time she says this, we both know that meeting her rigid schedule is not going to happen. I resign myself to sucking up abuse in the form of haughty silence and responses that take the form of grunts. That's okay. By that time, I've pretty much run out of anything cheerful to say anyway. But I always get us there. So I am never lost, just temporarily misplaced.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mis-Spent Youth Redux

Got a "Best of" CD on. Jimi Hendrix. Whew! I knew I needed him in the collection. I was right. "Hey Joe" turned up to WOW - - I thought I was having a Flashback to the 1970's. One out of control night in particular comes to mind.

Snake and I had scored some Orange Barrels. Don't know how many mics, but one would hurt you and 2 would incapacitate you. In our hurry to get off, we dropped as soon as we got back in the old VW microbus. The run back to Snake's house was spent smoking lots of weed to blunt that trippy edge that had begun to sneak up us as we cruised through Bethesda.

Down in Snake's basement we began passing a bong and a joint, and laughing uncontrollably. I decide to put an LP on the record player. I pick Jimi Hendrix. I figured his guitar riffs would be felt more than they would be heard. By this time we were off solidly, but in that foggy period between sanity and stupidity. A very vulnerable time period. Snake pulls out the bag with the Barrels in it. " I think I’m starting to come down. Let’s pop a couple more hits" .

I’m in a stupor but I manage to mumble, "Uh, OK. But didn’t we just eat the first two 45minutes ago?"

But, happy as if I had a brain, I take the offered hit and gobble it down. Just as the it passes into my stomach, I realize we haven’t even started to peak from the first 2 hits. And I know deep in my soul, I’m am soon to be one of the mumblers. And all the while, Jimi, always Jimi pushing those Radio Shack speakers to their limit.

25 minutes pass. The shape I’m in, it is an eternity. Something from the deep recesses of my brain tickles my funny bone. I begin to laugh. It starts slowly and builds to a piss my pants crescendo. Tears shoot from my eyes and I see nothing but colors and trails. I am one screwed up buckaroo. But Jimi keeps me in this dimension. He sounds further away now, but I can hear "Red Bird" coming through the irridescent fog. Any movement creates trails that seem to take minutes to settle down. Like our bodies are having trouble keeping up with our minds.

And then "The Words" begin to appear in brilliantly colored fonts. Flashing words like "God", "Marijuana", and "Blast-off" form out of colors that dance around my brain and in front of my eyes. I get quiet. I focus what is left of my grip on reality and attempt to draw some conclusions. Can’t do it. The bright colors, the trails, and the ever increasing words win out. I fall back and settle into a haze. Eyes open, but not seeing. Lights on but definitely no one home.
At some point, I come out of it. I get some control. Shaking my head, I am able to focus for a second. I spot Snake crumpled in the corner, mumbling something about "the Wall People".

This sets off my funny bone and as the first licks of "Watchtower" erupt from the stereo, a rush runs the length of my body, and I know Acid is the grandest substance I have ever abused.
I saw God that night. And when I clicked back into reality 12 or so hours later, Jimi was still having his way with the Hi Fi. The same record had played over and over for 12 hours. Thank you Jimi. You probably saved my life that night.

I sometimes wonder, but not very often, just how and where I would have turned up if I hadn’t ingested so many drugs, so much alcohol and, in such large quantities. My memory of that 12 year period wouldn’t be so shaky. I am lucky to be here typing this tail at the age of 52. I pushed things so close to the abyss, I can only conclude that I have something important to do. The life giver has plans for me. It’s the only scenario that makes sense.

Disclaimer, or in Retrospect. Take your pick
Re-reading the previous yarn, I could see where someone could get the impression I am pro-drug. Not! When it is all said and done, avoiding the life I lead would have been a wiser choice. I had fun. Lot’s of Fun. I just can’t remember most of it. So where's the worth in that?

I also remember intermittent moments of negativity. Tripping a night away in the Ocean City lock-up. Crashing hard too many times to recollect. Getting an abcess in my arm from not being fastidious enough with my works. Staying up for three days, stinking and nasty from puking each time I got off. Hearing of friends who died as a result of drug use. Sleeping on the concrete in Oakland County Jail in Michigan for 6 straight days. Get out. Get on a plane Fly to Boone County, Kentucky. Get drunk in the airport and then spend yet another night in jail. Yeah, a really good time. A time to look back on with misting eyes. I wasted too many hours. Scratch that. I wasted too many days looking to score. No scratch that also. I wasted too much of my life in the pursuit, ingestion, and culture of drugs.

Spending 12 years out of control has a way of making the mundane and ordinary look mighty appealing. The last 24 years or so in the slow lane have been excellent. Raising a child, growing a garden, running a business have been the hardest things I have ever done. I am so glad I snapped out of it in time to watch it happen.

I won’t preach. In good conscience, I cannot. We all do what we do. Self-determination and all that shit. I will offer some suggestions though:

~If it seems like it is too much fun, it probably is. You might want to crank it back a couple of notches and re-assess.
~Moderation, Moderation, Moderation.
~Learn where the line is and don’t even come close.
~Thinking the answers to all that perplexes us can be had through
ingesting stupid amounts of drugs is just that-stupid.
~Assuming a posture of invincibility will haunt you. If not sooner, then later for sure.
~Learn to pace yourself. Massive drug use can dramatically reduce your time on this planet.
~Drugs & Alcohol will suck the life out of you. Leave you at best running at 75% or so. Worst case, you become a permanent member amongst the Mumblers. Dying would be kinder.

Stop wasting your time

Time is odd. We have this arbitrary marker of our day to day lives. "It's time to get to work". "Sorry, but I don't have time for that". And one of my favorites, "Stop wasting your time".

How is it possible to waste something that does not exist? Or does it exist just because we think it does? Time. Once again I fall back on my fascination with Time. People talk ‘bout the "Beginning of Time" and the "End of Time". Hmm. If there was a beginning, then what was before, "Non Time"? And what comes after, "No More Time"? And if so, then how do we track how long Non-Time and No More Time exists?

Looking at some of the contradictory logic "Time" is based on makes me sure that there is no logic. Time is belief based. The logic evolved from wishes and expectations. Just the words Infinitum and Forever indicate that Time never ends. And people believe this. The words "Eventual" and "Certainty" point us to a certain ending and people believe that also. Hmm. Makes my head hurt.

I guess all there is Descartes. Existence or non-existence. Think and you are. Don’t think and you aren’t. Time, just being an extension of our wishes and fears. It only exists because we think it does.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I hate vending Machines

I hate vending machines. They are nothing but an extension of the greed and wanton disrespect that corporate America has for the consuming public. You have no choice as to what is offered and no complaint if what you picked does not come out. And then you have an even chance of not receiving your money back. I have always hated these box like clerks who stand there woodenly, silent, with a false brightness and cheery demeanor. They tempt us with visions of Palm Trees and bottles with droplets dripping seductively, giving the impression that once we have punched in the $1.25, 12ozs of thirst busting pleasure will envelope our taste buds. And what pops out, a warm coke that got dented on the way out and then explodes in your face. There's your thirst busting pleasure fella. Right there in your face. Enjoy!

Golly Gee, my very first blog

After hearing about these blogs for awhile, I figured I'd create one. The price was right. And the setup, relatively painless. I have been an on again, off again writer since I can remember. When I was younger, I filled notebooks with nonsense and penned letters on a regular basis. I still have some of those "journals". Hopefully, there will something in them worth sharing here.

I have always been interested in the written word. My problem has been consistency. Consistency in the operation of writing and the consistency of content. I feel my talent is average with an occaisional glimmer of potential. I am opinionated. I have a strong ego, and I like to read what I have written. Some narcisstic tendencies maybe.

Up until recently, my only public writing has been on the several forums I post to on a regular basis. The problem with them, is I am always responding and not just thinking. A poster will say, "Bush is an Idiot". I'll come back, "OH yeah, so's your momma". I seldom took the time to create an idea, a scene, a history, or an original thought that is not in the form of a reply.

Anyway, the previous words were just a couple of quick thoughts to get this ball game under way.