Friday, September 30, 2011

Fathers and Sons

I get my inspiration from the strangest of places. Watching the Bill Belichick documentary on the NFL network, which by the way, is tasty. I have only watched Part 1 so far, but 2 is waiting in the wings. If you dig THE PATS check this out. If you don't dig THE PATS get the hell out of my blog.
Seeing Belichick with his son on the sidelines and Kraft with his son in the owners' box got me thinking about the whole father/son thing. You do the best you can as a parent, try to love and protect your kids as much as is possible until they fly the coup. If you have any intelligence at all you try to laugh with them as much as possible too; they are a pure source of love and entertainment. When I got home from a day at work spent with career assassins and backstabbing ladder climbers, it was sweet release to play and laugh and act brain damaged with my sons. I could just be me and whatever transpired between us was REAL, intense, honest and natural. Medicine for the soul, baby.
In gentle moments of self reflection, I pride myself on not directing my anger and frustration at K&C. I despised every job I ever had during their years at home; I was unhappy and alcohol was a constant companion. In honest moments I cringe as I consider the very real possibility that I was cruel, insensitive and/or mean from time to time. I certainly was to Carol, so it's entirely possible some of that dripped down onto my sons. That possibility poisons my soul.
Money would have helped; we never had any. Still don't. I strap on my shoes, grab the truck keys and Carol asks "Where are you going?" "To buy some food", I reply. "Food? We can't afford food" she correctly points out. Off come the shoes, the keys are hung up and I hit the recliner thankful that we can afford whiskey.
I wish I could have bought K&C cooler stuff, taken them to hundreds of Sox/PATS/C's/Bruins games, I wish I could have financed their entire college education so they wouldn't have the burden of school loan payments through the year 2088.
It is unrealistic to hold up Belichick/Kraft as father models because they are 2 per centers. But money buys wiggle room. On those occasions when they lapsed as fathers, their kids still had cool stuff and cool experiences to fall back on. When I screwed up that's all there was, pissed off Dad and his pissed off life. I could have earned much more money than I did if I made the right choices, but I was lost as a human being. Unnecessary poverty was the result, and that haunts me.
STILL, it was and continues to be an amazing experience and I think we came out of it all right. I laugh a lot with K&C, which I consider to be magic and medicine and the very essence of life itself. I don't just love them, they ARE love to me.
Two songs that deal with the father/son thing honestly. Father And Son by Cat Stevens is an achingly emotional song about a father trying to give his son advice. (I always tried to stay away from advice, I am sure as hell not qualified to give any).  They are trying to communicate but they can't pull it off. Brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear it.
Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Dad's too busy with his career to spend time with his young son. (I foolishly pursued an MBA in night school for a while; when I got home K&C were in bed - I sat in their room in the dark with a beer and my tears). When dad's finally ready his son has grown and is too busy to spend time with dad. This is a punch in the gut song of reality.
If you are a young father, sit down and listen to these songs and learn from them. The mistakes have been repeated a million times over and they threaten the most precious relationship you will ever have.
Two apologies. To Keith - I'm sorry we didn't stay for Jack Clark's third home run  (Keith will slap me next time he sees me). To Craig - I'm sorry I never took you to see Michael Jordan play.
Other than that, I guess it is what it is. I didn't do the best I could, but I did all I could do with what I had to work with at the time. As with everything in life, I wish I could take the 2011 version of me and go back in time with eyes wide open and a more intelligent approach. In the absence of Doc Brown's plutonium-powered DeLorean time machine, I'll take right now and what is to come.
I'm OK with that. Keith and Craig are awesome and getting better. They are the batteries from which I will draw the power to conquer the world. I am not done yet, baby.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dark, Cold, Rainy, Winter Morning

It's a dark, cold, rainy, winter morning and I have to go to work.
I don't want to go to work. You don't want to go to work.
Nobody wants to go to work.
There is a collective vibe of anger and frustration.
Incredulous disbelief.
All I want is sleep.
I'm tired. I'm always tired.
I wake up tired, work tired, go to bed tired.
Today is a perfect day for sleep.
It's a dark, cold, rainy, winter morning.
The kind of day you want to grab your axe
 and dismember your enemies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Worst Person I Know (Mother in Law)

"The worst person I know.............sent from down below..............Satan should be her name." The song is Mother in Law and those are excerpts from the lyrics. A pretty accurate description of how most people feel. Except Emily, who is obviously a perceptive judge of human nature.
I don't get the whole in-law concept. Why is it necessary to classify these relationships? Marrying Carol didn't make Skip and Dolly my parents by law or otherwise. I love them but was never comfortable calling them mom or dad, nor was I comfortable addressing them by name, so I never called them anything. Weird. They had names for me but I can't get into that until I fire up an x-rated blog. Something to look forward to.
I lucked out on the whole deal. Carol's family is pretty cool; I think it was tougher for her because my family was kind of uptight. It is pretty much a crap shoot when you get married and it gets even riskier when your kids get married. Again I lucked out. Emily's dad is a career military dude, I am a ponytail wearing, ear ring sporting, underachiever. Thought he would hate my guts. Turns out he is pretty cool and has never once made me feel condescended to.
I have to focus on two relationships; brother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Sarge is one of my brothers-in-law and he is way cool. I have only known him since around the mid seventies but I have heard all the stories about his wild ass youth. He is a guy who has always been himself. Does his own thing his own way. Period. He is tough, smart, funny, insane and just plain like-able. People are drawn to him. People respect him. People love him. He is one of those unique people who has LIVED his life and continues to do so.
I was intimidated by him when we first met because I wasn't me then. I was an accountant. A hideous state of affairs by any measurement. And I have gone through half a million changes since then because I am still becoming me. In my opinion the brother-in- thing flows both ways with us. I love having him as a relative but I believe there may have been times (hopefully not now) where the feeling was not mutual. Which makes sense to me. I was a pasty faced, cubicle dwelling geek when he met me. It took me a long time to get to where I am now, whereas he has always been comfortable in his own skin. He probably didn't like or respect me when I was more like Gumby than a man.
We have a blast together now; we have gotten each other in trouble a million times and probably will again. I love the man and I hope that if he doesn't feel quite the same way, somewhere down the road the phrase brother-in-law will make him smile when he thinks of me.
Daughter-in-law is the real killer. I HATE describing Emily in this way. Feels like I am qualifying her - "She's not really family." Carol and I love her deeply and feel like she is the daughter we never had. I struggle with better ways to refer to her but they all sound hollow. If I call her my daughter, the relationship police will confiscate all my whiskey. She is way smart, amazingly talented, she is unique, funny, very human and impressive to be around. My son picked her out; how could she be anything but? I love the fact that she is trying to carve out a life for herself in a non-traditional way. She will succeed. There is just too much good stuff there to be crammed into a predictable life.
Speaking of sons, there is another woman lurking around the family in the company of Craig. We loved Karen the first time we met her; down to earth, great sense of humor, smart, at ease being herself in a family of eccentrics. We would be ecstatic to call her daughter-in-law (for lack of a more personal description) should that eventuality arise. If it doesn't happen we could only conclude that Craig is not the genius we think he is.
Qualifier: I try not to brag about my family. Everybody does it, so it becomes meaningless. But I know in my heart that if you met my sons and their women you would confirm my high opinion of them.
Brother-in-law. Usually has a negative connotation. But not for me; I love and respect the man and enjoy his company immensely.
Daughter-in-law. An unacceptable phrase to me. It cannot contain the size of the love we have for Emily.
That's all I'm trying to say.

Monday, September 26, 2011

RaceDay 2.0

It's the day after race day and I feel fine. Sorry Steve. I am maturing rapidly and learning not to cross the fun line into the land of stupidity. I came pretty damn close though.
I'm going to make one more attempt at describing the experience, then I'll leave you alone.
It is a mega-event. There's no other way to describe it. Here's how the day unfolds.
Up at 5:30 A.M. with no complaints, attend to your toiletries, then get to work filling coolers, packing just the right clothes to suit the anticipated weather conditions, dragging folding chairs down to The Peace mobile. Money, tickets, kiss the cats and we're gone. Dunkin Donuts, coffee, a plain donut, hit the highway.
Bleary eyed, we meet up with the Maine contingent at a convenience store on 106. They are bleary eyed too. There is the core, the hardcore core who attend every race. Warm greetings. There are usually other fans and acquaintances joining in; introductions, hand shakes, bathroom break, a Mounds bar, and off to the track, which is right down the road. Traffic is relatively light and we cruise into the parking lot. That's why we start so early. We are brilliant tacticians.
We park, set up the tables, break out the grills, lay out breakfast and settle in. We're usually set up four to five hours before the start of the race.
Sarge and I engage in an illegal activity (a tradition), I pour a little whiskey and my ass hits the chair. A city pops up right before your eyes. 100,000 race fans congregating in the parking lot. Cars streaming in, parking, setting up. Groups of people, couples, young folk, old farts, grizzled long hairs and pretty boys. You can feel the excitement building, slowly, but definitely building. You are surrounded by humans with a common passion; tossing bean bags and horseshoes (later they might be tossing their cookies), throwing footballs, music blaring in some locations, radios tuned to racing news. Colors, sights, sounds, aromas, happy people digging something they love. 100,000 people. I bet you can't even imagine this reality; how many of you have been in the company of that many people ever in your lives? Do you even have the guts?
Everybody wearing their drivers T-shirts, flying flags, pulling beverages out of racing coolers. Race fans are loyal and bold about it. There is a lot of ball busting going on but it is done jokingly. Never any fights, rarely any anger.
Alcohol is everywhere. Part of the experience. But you never see people attacking other people, physically or verbally. This has always impressed me about race fans. It says a lot about the character of the people who are into this sport. It says a lot about the people who ridicule this sport as well. Thirty years ago when I first got into this scene it was comprised mostly of toothless rednecks. Today that is not even close to being the truth. And yet people persist in using this stereotype as part of their arsenal for ridicule. And the "how can you watch cars drive around in circles for three hours" comment. Ignorant.
Some people find golf thrilling, or bowling or curling. They understand the sport and appreciate the subtle nuances. Everybody has their thing. And there are always mindless fools out there willing to poke fun at someone else's passion. They must be put to death immediately.
As if on cue, everyone is putting food away, re-organizing coolers, shutting up cars and heading towards the track. There is now a supreme buzz in the air. Thousands of people en masse walking towards the impending spectacle in glorious anticipation. What a sight. Again the colors, the conversation and laughter, the good natured ribbing. This is a temporary but huge community come together for the purpose of enjoying racing and having a damn good time.
 Make your way to your seat, endure the pre-race festivities, four words and BOOM the track rumbles to the sound of forty three cars roaring to life. Blows your mind. Gets even louder when they leave pit road, hit the track and drive slowly by you on the warm up laps. Blows your mind a little more. Forty three powerful engines, bunched together, make a lot of noise. Goosebumps, baby.
Gets even louder when they start the race. They are flying now and the engines are cranked. Your brain has just exited through the top of your skull.
Sometimes the race gets boring, but I have seen boring football games too. There is always something to keep your attention, and if it is a good race and if your driver is in contention, it is a blast.
The race is over and you are feeling pretty good thanks to the competition, the chemicals and the booze. Trek back to the parking lot, the coolers are much lighter now, and tailgate some more, wait out the traffic. People are spent, hot ,tired, some drunk and still having a blast. Chow down, laugh some more, say your goodbyes and head home.
You are home the day after the race because you were smart enough to take it off in advance. Gotta recuperate. The silence and slow pace is such a contrast to race day.
You feel good. You have just experienced something most people never will. It was intense, it was hectic, it was fun, sometimes slow moving and boring, but overall it was memorable and worth all the sacrifice. Your senses were assaulted and so was your liver, your emotions were all over the place, you talked, you laughed, you thrilled.
Beats the shit out of working.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Words

I am rushing to put words to paper. Just washed a stack of dishes and soon I must attack the exercise bike, shower and flee towards The Booze Emporium for another eight hour shift of merriment and mayhem. Race weekend and we are selling one hell of a lot of booze. It was insane yesterday and that was THURSDAY. Gonna be nuts today and there will be hell to pay for we inmates that work there.
Speaking of washing dishes - the last time I checked there are only two people living in this house. If I stay on top of the dirty dishes daily it is not a big deal. If I miss one day, suddenly there are 413 dishes piled on the counter and in the sink. I don't understand it. However I am The King of All Dishwashers - I cannot be defeated. Who knows, I may have to fall back on that precious skill if the NHSLC decides to screw the part timers.
I spent one hour doing football research this morning, so that has amped up the urgency of my schedule. I do not apologize for this. I am in a football pool, a pool that I won TWICE. I am a god. But the past couple of years have seen my ass get kicked. I am supremely motivated this year, as in everything else in my life. Watching NFL Live on ESPN for info, and I am amused to note that if I fast forward through the twitter garbage and the fantasy football silliness, I end up with 13 seconds of actual game analysis. Strange world we live in.
DeAngelo Hall says he'll target Tony Romo's ribs. Big controversy. To me it is another reason why I see football as a reflection of life. Everybody knows if a football player is hurt, you try to take him out. Cruel, but it is reality. In life, if you show any weakness you will be attacked and ridiculed. I know, I am a very sensitive man. Sometimes I break down sobbing uncontrollably at the cash register at The Booze Emporium. I get no empathy. The typical reaction is for customers to slap me, throw nips at me and pull a bag down over my head so they won't have to look at me. Then they demand that I process their precious purchase regardless of my soul-pain. My co-workers point at me derisively, laugh and avoid all conversation and contact with me. They force me to take my break outside next to the dumpster. We all act tough, pretend we are in control and know what we are doing. We do this because we know if we admit to our emotions and doubts, wear them on our sleeve, we will be ridiculed. By the way, I think defining weakness as revealing your humanity is ass backwards and indicative of how lost we humans are.
I live in abject fear. Three and one half months left to 2011 and I have nothing to show for my efforts. I NEED some type of feedback, some sort of reward by December 31. I have worked harder this year than in any year of my life. I'm still fat, I'm still broke and I have no professional prospects. No reason to believe that my life will be any better in 2012.
This is totally, completely, horrifyingly, paralyzingly unacceptable to me. So in response I will make more changes. Try harder. Focus more. I am going to attack the rest of this year with a fury never before witnessed in the history of humanity. I refuse to lose. Even given the fact that everything that could possibly be against me is against me. My age, my tenuous employment, the economy. A lesson to you young 'uns. Grab a hold of your life early. If you let it slide as I have, the odds for change and improvement are supremely stacked against you. But christ, this life may be the only one I get. I have to prove to myself that I can rise to the level of my own potential.
I'll keep you posted, as always.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We Are All Being Executed, Baby

I am absolutely bursting at the seems to put word to paper today. You will have to forgive me if I veer wildly off course or make no sense or connection. My work schedule over the past month has become wildly unpredictable. Maniacally motivated as I am in 2011, I have made adjustments, getting up even earlier to squeeze in exercise time and try to write. The way things have gone I often only have time for one of these. Exercise comes first because I know I will not do it when I get home.
I try not to whine too much because I need the hours. Twenty years ago I would never have predicted that phrase to become prominent in my vocabulary. I was a pampered salaried employee with a predictable paycheck. But the harsh truth today is - I need the hours. I have learned over a lifetime as a pseudo-adult that it takes money to buy food. And it takes work to get money. So there you have it.
As the writing opportunities become sporadic, my brain backs up with thoughts careening around my skull like a pinball. So here we go.
America is barbaric. Troy Davis was executed last night. I am not familiar with all the details but apparently there was enough doubt to put this thing on hold. The fact that he was a black man accused of killing a white cop in the state of Georgia is all the doubt that I need. If you don't think that racial prejudice is a huge factor in jury decisions, than you must believe in Peter Pan. If you don't think racial prejudice is alive and well in this country, think about how many times you have heard President Barack Obama described as a nigger.
I don't know Troy Davis' history and I don't need to know it. I know that humans make mistakes, I know they are prejudiced, I know that irrational emotion often trumps objective thought. I have only recently become enlightened enough to no longer believe in the death penalty. If we knew how many innocent people have been executed in this country, we would be horrified. Think about the last minute of life for a person wrongly sentenced to death, lying on that gurney waiting for the lethal drip to snuff out his life. Can you even imagine the panic, the fear, the sadness, the outrage at knowing you are about to die for something you didn't do? Barbaric.
republicans don't feel these emotions. Witness the applause when Texas' execution record under Rick Perry was applauded at the last buffoon debate. There are a lot of people who think this way. Blindly stupid, vindictive, cretins all.
And Perry stood there with that smug look on his face knowing that god is on his side. I'm sure jesus whips up a bowl of Orville Redenbachers Heavenly Pop Corn, heavy on the butter, and cracks open an ice cold Natty Light as he looks down on another execution with a benign smile.
Let me make it simple. As a species, we are not intelligent enough to guarantee anyone a fair trial. The death penalty is wrong.
Next topic: The American Dream is Dead. Watching Morning Joe on MSNBC this morning and the topic came up; got me thinking. Hope is virtually impossible for us 98 per centers who struggle to get by. And the 2 per centers laugh at us and exploit us. My life is going backwards. Used to be you would work all your life and look forward to a pension, social security and the appreciation of your house into a major financial asset. Today's reality is that a pension and even social security are not guaranteed, and your house is worth LESS now than when you bought it. Carol tried to re-finance to lower our rate and maybe improve our standard of living from cat food to dog food (fish food makes a lovely football day snack). We were denied because our house is valued at around $70,000 less than the last time we refinanced. We are trapped. We cannot get even a tiny bit of breathing room because the housing market has gone stupid.
I cannot envision retirement. We couldn't survive on social security and we have no pensions or goddamn 401K. I will drop dead at the age of 101 in Store 72 unless I engineer dramatic change. You can no longer work hard and expect to be rewarded at some point in your life. You are fighting against greedy corporations, an inept government, a cold hearted financial network, and a general disregard for the middle class. You are alone and that just doesn't work.
I have a dream. I write. I write because I have to. I have to because it is who I am. It is my heart, it is my soul, it is my very essence. I also write because I believe I can find a way to make some money from it. I do not expect to get rich; I would be happy making enough extra money to bring some dignity into my life. This dream is the only thing that keeps me going. It is probably unrealistic. Writing is a hard way to earn cash. If I knew for sure that my life now is the way it is going to be until I kick, I couldn't handle it. Seagrams' sales of Crown Royal would triple.
But I don't know that, so I keep moving. There are billions of people out there who don't have a dream. I don't know how they make it.
I'm done. That felt good while simultaneously feeling bad.
I'm so confused.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She'll beat you if she's able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can't get

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day
You're losin' all your highs and lows
Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it's too late

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Die, Borders, Die

Borders is dead. I dance on their grave.
The Booze Emporium is located in close proximity to an ex-Borders location. I had closet alcoholics (that includes anyone who drinks) coming into the store and saying what a shame it was that Borders went out of business. I guarantee you these people are coffee drinkers, not readers. And not drinkers of good old straight ahead caffeine rich regular coffee; I'm talking about the phony baloney Chai Tea Latte drinkers and the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino drinkers.
Coffee is a drug. Nothing more and nothing less. I drink only one cup a day but I HAVE to have that cup. If I do not, when customers at work ask me where the Kahlua is, I find myself steering people towards the Crown Royal section. Or they ask me what to mix Crown Royal with and I say heavy cream. The expression on my face is the same one on Elaine's face in that Seinfeld episode where she was not getting laid.
People who are kicking alcohol and drug habits drink 413 cups of coffee a day. And I guarantee you it ain't no goddamn latte. Tell me coffee is not a drug.
Borders took the sacred world of books and reading and turned it into a pretentious experience. When I walked through there, which I did not do very often, I had to discipline myself not to look at brain washed consumers sitting at the tables delicately sipping their over-priced beverages and flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine. Or the pretend-professionals with their laptops tuned into a porn site, with the Wall Street economic indicator website minimized to bail them out should anybody come within viewing distance. Because when I did look over there I would inadvertently scream "mindless sycophants" and be escorted out the door.
Now a book store that featured a full bar would intrigue me. You say "Now wait a minute Joe, aren't you allowing your prejudices to cloud your judgement?" Absolutely not; I remain objective as always. Alcohol is a natural craving. People do not need to be coerced into buying or drinking booze. They need it. As a painkiller, as escape, as a fun inducer, for the taste and for the release and relaxation. Trust me I know. I am a part time bartender and part time Booze Emporium clerk. Sipping on a civilized cognac while reading a classic book is better than sex. Designer coffee is a manufactured market. People were convinced by marketing manipulators that drinking lattes etc made them cool and more sophisticated. You can tell by the smug look on their face when they order one of these hellish creations that it somehow validates their very thin existence. Even if they cannot pronounce it and end up dumping it into the nearest trash can as they flee to the closest bar.
I was spoiled. Used to go to a place in Concord called Lauriats Books. It was part of a chain but somehow managed to remain personal. I am a voracious reader so I was in there a lot. The employees got to know me and would actually recommend authors to me based on other books I had purchased. And I enjoyed most of their recommendations. These people were readers, I had great conversations with them.
Borders employees were clerks and salespeople. They are illiterate and bathe only sporadically. Some of the men even sported long hair and ear rings. You can't trust a man like that. I called them once looking for a specific book and I was told they had one in stock. I drove half an hour to find out that they did not have that book in the store. That was the incident that destroyed whatever flimsy relationship we had.
When you were looking for a book but did not know the exact title or the author's exact name, a puppy dog clerk would walk you over to the computer and do a search based on a key word, like The. 26,000 titles would pop up and as you tried to back away in horror the clerk would keep on talking and searching. Sometimes the only way to escape was to drop to the floor in a feigned heart attack.
I will not miss Borders. They deserved to die. I'm going to keep on drinking real coffee juiced with caffeine, sugar and heavy cream. None of this caffeine free crap, no Sweet 'N Low and no skim milk. I will continue to drink civilized whiskey.
And I will keep on buying my books, used, from a small, personal book seller. Like

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two Passions and One Madman

Still reading New England Patriots - The Complete Illustrated History. It's a big, beautiful, hard cover book. The spine simply says New England Patriots in big block letters. It is like a bible, a PATS bible. I am learning stuff and re-living stuff.
Here's the deal. As I was reading it this morning it hit me like thunder that football and THE PATS are on the same level in my life as The Allman Brothers Band. This is a stunning revelation. I always assumed that music would be my first choice if I had to make one. Now I pray that I will never be forced to make that choice. And this truth came to me in the form of emotion.
Anyone who knows me knows that I will preach endlessly about the pure magic that is The Allman Brothers Band (editor's note:ABB from here forward). Discovered them at the age of fifteen, still hopelessly in love with them at the age of fifty seven. I have heard some, actually many, of their songs thousands of times and they still give me goosebumps now. I can't explain it but I surely dig it. We have piped in music at The Booze Emporium - if  you work an eight hour shift you hear the same stuff 415 times. Fortunately for me there is a lot of ABB in there and I will sing and whistle to each song every time it comes on. My co-workers hate me and want to see me dead. There are some who choose obscure groups like, for instance, America, to worship, and that is difficult to understand from the perspective of pure musical talent. But I do understand the obsession. I have been to a minimum of 25 to 30 ABB concerts, and still, every time they come out on stage, I stand in awe. When the music kicks in I get crazy, when the concert is over I get depressed. I saw Gregg in January of this year with his solo band, went with my magnificent brother. I saw ABB at The Beacon Theatre in NYC in March, went with my longest standing friend in the world, Phil. Both nights transcended the boundaries of this earthly experience. BUT ABB did not tour this summer; I typically see them twice every summer. I am having withdrawal, especially knowing I will not see them again until 2012. The point I am trying to make is that they take me to a place I want to be, a place of pure emotion, absolute joy and sweet, sweet release.
I read the chapter on the THREE PATS Super Bowl victories this morning. All three were discussed in one chapter. That was almost too much. Should have been a chapter each so I would have a chance to revive. I sincerely thought I would have a joy heart attack before I got to the end of the chapter. I had to stop repeatedly to get control of my emotions. That is the absolute truth. The pictures were blowing me away; I kept staring at them for minutes at a time. I re-read passages just to savor a little longer and a little better. I revelled in the triumph of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft and Troy Brown and Adam Vinatieri and Ty Law and Deion Branch and Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi; I re-dug the story of the team coming out as a team in XXXVI. That's when it hit me - the emotions I was experiencing were exactly the same as those inspired by ABB. You could have plucked me out of my recliner and dropped me into a seat at an ABB concert ( which I, or any ABB fan, rarely uses) and my reaction would have been the same. The truth became apparent - I have two incurable and joyously magnificent addictions that no 12 step program can ever erase. And I like it like that. Why it took me all these years to make that connection is beyond me. My mother said I was a late bloomer and maybe she was right, but that's a story for another place in time.
Here's the catch. THE PATS took my love of them and of football and, through THREE Super Bowl victories, transformed it into heroin. THREE championships should be enough for any fan but I want more. I need more. You would think at this point I would say "OK jesus, spirit me away to the afterlife and lay in an eternal stock of Crown Royal; I am coming to party with you, you long haired, crucifixion surviving wild man." Not the case. I'm trying to beat back the ravages of the last 57 seven years, and if I am lucky enough to improve my odds I might be around for another 25 or 30 years. Who knows how many more championships THE PATS will win in that time frame. I'm pretty sure I feel one coming this very season. However it works out I know I need more. More football, more PATS, more championships and more ABB.
It just occurred to me that I have the ultimate suicide combo, should I choose to go out that way. If I cranked up Whipping Post on my Ipod machine while simultaneously watching THE PATS win another Super Bowl, I'm fairly certain my heart would explode.
But ultimately it would be a happy ending. I'd wing my way to heaven, jesus would take one look at me and say "Get the hell out of here, you crazy bastard, heaven is not big enough for both of us." I'd float back to earth and Carol, Keith, Craig, Emily and Karen would be shaking their heads saying "What the hell do we have to do to get rid of this maniac?"
Sorry guys, your future includes me drooling in front of the tube watching THE PATS, and shaking my ass and jiggling my enormous beer belly to yet another Allman Brothers Band tune.
Luck of the draw, baby, luck of the draw.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tim Wakefield

Tim Wakefield got his 200th Tuesday night. Fenway fans stood and cheered until he came out of the locker room to acknowledge their appreciation. He was visibly moved. On the verge of tears. In addition when the camera panned the faces of his teammates, THEY were visibly moved. They understand, because they are in the trenches with him every day, how exceptional he is, what he means to the team, and what he represents within the sport. He tipped his cap to every corner of Fenway and he did it slowly and with respect. I thought he looked at the fans gratefully; he understands the relationship between rabid, knowledgeable fans and the athletes they pay to cheer. He appreciates the fans. I really believe he feels he is one of them. Not above them.
I hope you saw it. Because the opportunities for you to see something so meaningful in the world of professional sports are becoming increasingly diminished. Soon, the opportunity will be gone.
I have been watching sports since 1964. That is my earliest memory. I was ten. I remember watching football with my Dad. I'm sure I watched lots of sports - The Wide, Wide World of Sports was a Saturday ritual; I watched the Red Sox with my Dad too. I don't remember hockey and basketball being very big in my house. But football sunk it's teeth into my soul and it has never let go. Specifically I remember Jim Brown - the  simple orange helmet - his unbelievable power, his unbelievable grace. He always got up slowly from being tackled. He said he did it to save energy. I thought that was pretty cool.
Over 47 years I have watched professional athletes "evolve" from highly paid professionals who loved what they did and were loyal to their team, to highly paid professionals who love their paychecks and will bounce to another team any time it improves their financial standing, coupled with a better chance at winning a championship.
Tim Wakefield does whatever the team asks him to do. In other words, whatever is good for the team. He has been a starter, he has been a reliever, he has pitched on short rest, he fills whatever pitching role will best benefit The Sox.  He has an annual renewable contract good for $4 million a year. FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.   A-Rod spends that in one weekend on booze, fine food and steroids. Wanna know why Wakefield accepts such a puny payday? Because he loves baseball. Because he knows once you are rich, you are rich. Getting richer is about small penis compensation issues. I'm sure he doesn't have some loud mouth agent negotiating for him; he probably does it face to face with the team; like a man; like a man with dignity; like a man who knows what he has and what he does.
I am reading a history of THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS right now. The only thing that infuriates me about the book is that the author has repeatedly referred to football as "product on the field." Corporate fallout. A reflection of the fact that professional sports have become so big that they are considered strictly business. A business with a product. I despise anyone who describes sports or music or any creative endeavor as product. Sports is release, it is passion, it is a lifelong commitment for the athletes, it is a delicious way to get outside your life AND GET PASSIONATE. I doubt Tim Wakefield ever describes baseball as product. I bet he calls it baseball.
Manny Ramirez got arrested for hitting his wife in the same week that Wake got his 200th. Perfect contrast.Opposite ends of the spectrum. He played only when he wanted to play because he knew that he had enough money for ten lifetimes, and he knew that as a "superstar" he could get away with anything. He was a whining, lazy, egotistical, pampered baby. This is where sports is headed. I hope Wake secretly spit in Ramirez's Gatorade once or twice.
I had tears in my eyes watching Wakefield fight back the tears in his. I was profoundly moved by the looks on the faces of his teammates; the respect, the depth of understanding, the love. I truly believe they do love the man. I think they know in this impersonal age of sports as business and athletes as investments that Tim Wakefield is a throwback. A man who appreciates what he has, a man who worked hard to get to where he is at, a man who is unselfishly dedicated to helping his team win.
I sincerely hope you got to see this moment. If not, find it on line and dig it. Learn from it. Feel from it.
There will be fewer and fewer opportunities for you to do so and soon the chance will be gone. By then athletes will have dollar signs on their backs instead of numbers, and corporate endorsements on their sleeves. The playing field will be dominated by Manny Ramirez clones. It will have become product. About as appealing as enema bags.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Three Days and The Boogie Board Lady

Sweet magnificence.
Three days of peace, love and understanding. Plus one.
After working seven out of eight days at The Booze Emporium, working like a pig-donkey, I wrangled four days off. Spent three of them on Old Orchard Beach. Thursday we got stuff done, got ready to roll, Friday we were off like a wing-ed bird, flying northward towards paradise. And escape.
When you are a low wage earner, when your life is small, you have to take small victories. Most of the time this is the only vacation me and Carol get - three days on the beach in Maine - so you can imagine the significance.
The weather was perfect. I am always struck by the aura that people project in situations like that. Sitting up on our porch looking directly down onto the beach and watching the people. Young lovers, old lovers, dog lovers, children lovers, sun worshippers, exercise dedicates, fat people, long hairs, short hairs and everything in between. Everybody is relaxed. No rush. No worries.
I would love to harness that energy because it is powerful. It is the antithesis of the human condition. We are, all of us, stressed, hurried, worried, afraid and disappointed most of the time. That is how we live our lives. But when you are on the beach, no work, the sun is shining and suddenly your soul smiles. It comes to the surface and says yeah, baby I AM human. A stunning feeling.
We laughed, we talked, we lazed, we drank, we walked, we pondered - crammed it all into a leisurely three days. Saturday is THE day because you have the whole day. No travel. I am old now and can no longer sleep late. A bonus. Saturday morning I was sitting on the porch at 7:15, alone, the glorious sun full in my face. Digging the beach.
Fat old guy in a pink shirt walking behind his small dog, plastic bag in hand. The guy was waddling uncertainly in the sand, short, choppy steps. As he scooped up the waste, it hit me what a powerful relationship the pet lover/pet thing is; we will do anything for our pets. As he was following his dog off the beach, the dog got up close to a couple of women sitting on a bench. They shooed him away. I put them on my list. They will pay. I saw the same guy in the same pink shirt on Sunday morning. I know his dog appreciates what he does.
Another guy getting his puppy used to the waves. Using treats to lure him to the edge so the waves could wash over his paws. The dog was surprised and kept shying away, but it was such a cool scene. And the guy kept kissing his dog on the head. I loved that. If you are going to love your pet, LOVE your pet.
A related scene. A mother holding an infant so the waves washed over her feet. Delighted squeals. Puppy, baby - same thing - pure love, pure innocence. Watching people or animals experience something brand new was powerful. We are jaded. We must re-capture that thrill.
The Boogie Board Lady. Woman sat down on a boogie board in the wet sand, wearing a big, floppy hat, her head bowed. Waiting. A long time. Finally Joey went down to find out what she was all about. Joey has no inhibitions. She was not interested in talking to him. Another small slice of life, another observation. I imagined her to be an insane asylum escapee; this kept me entertained.
We celebrated Paula's 64th birthday. A person worthy of celebrating. To some people, birthdays are just markers. Another year, more wasted space on the planet. Other people add something to life with positive attitudes, laughter, a sense of adventure; you enjoy their company. That's Paula. She has been through the worst hell a parent can endure and she finds a way to smile. I am learning a lot from that.
Went to dinner at Sarge's Tailgate Grille. Carol's brother Kenney and his wife Cori own the joint. In Saco, ME. Magnificent restaurant, has everything you want; atmosphere, excellent food, a great, comfortable bar. GREAT place. They are struggling because chain restaurants have opened around them over the last ten years, stealing their business by serving inferior food at inflated prices while offering zero atmosphere. Another reason why the world sucks. The economy hurts them too but I think the chains are even more evil. Sarge and Cori made us comfortable, they fed us like royalty and we had a drink or two with them. Fantastic night.
I held Carol's hand more over this weekend than I have over the last 33 years. It was cool. We took a long walk on the beach, we walked downtown, we were a couple in love with no worries. What a supreme release.
I haven't even begun to capture the sheer beauty of this weekend. Paula, Bill, Rhonda (H - no H - not sure), Joey, Carol, Joe, Sarge, Cori, Lorraine - this is a group of people who laugh together A LOT. A small group of people in a huge world who came together for three days and dug life. Dug it simply, freely and with abandon. And it happens every time we are together. I deeply appreciate that.
When your life is small you have to dig small things. A three day weekend. Small potatoes to some people. But as short as it was, as small as it was, it was huge.
And I feel it in my soul.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Impressions of Booze Emporium Clientele

Just finished a stretch at The Booze Emporium where I worked 7 out of the last eight days. Many of those days were physical and stressful. In fact Tuesday night I couldn't wait to get home so I could pour medicinal booze down my throat; I was in physical and mental pain. Top shelf medicine did the trick. I was healed.
I am bone weary, dog tired, broken down and beat up.
None of the above matters. Everybody has stretches where they work hard. Even cubicle dwellers. I remember when I was a cubicle dweller and close minded manual labor idiots would laughingly say "You call that work?" It may not be physical but it is stressful and can drive you insane and you do go home tired. I discovered alcohol as a teenager as a means of escape, but 25 years of cubicle dwelling sharpened my understanding and use of alcohol as medicine. Probably the only benefit I ever got from decades as an accountant.
Impressions of Booze Emporium Clientele:
First of all, the only customers who would want to be described as clientele are the wine snobs. These people need to be slapped. Continuously and with extreme prejudice. They stroll in, buy a case or two of wine, drop a couple of hundred bucks without batting an eye, and stroll out. But not before they ooze condescension. Try to talk to them at the register and they offer smug smiles and one word responses. They want you to know you are there to serve them. I have a fantasy that involves slapping one of them across the face with an expensive bottle of wine while simultaneously yelling "Wake up, Thurston Howell III - you are no better than me. In fact your false air of superiority places you below me on the food chain."
The nip crowd. There are two types. The ones who have to make excuses or apologies and pretend that they are not going to swill those nips as soon as their ass hits the seat of their car. Some don't say anything but there is an air of embarrassment about them. The real and ragged folk are the ones who openly admit they are trying to hide their drinking from their wife, or that they are sneaking a nip before going back to work. They exude the excitement of people who enjoy breaking the rules. My kind of people.
There is one woman who I call The Mouse, in my head. She looks and acts like a librarian, very meek, very quiet, very proper. Yet she comes in regularly and buys two nips of blueberry vodka. Makes me wonder what's going on there. She blew me away recently by buying a full sized bottle of vodka, and one night she bought three nips instead of two. Those are the only two times she has strayed from her pattern. I imagine her going home to her love basement equipped with whips, chains and velvet handcuffs and having her way with her love slave, Raoul, who is chained to the wall.
The Zhenka crowd. Purchasers of cheap booze. They don't give a damn what the stuff tastes like, they just want to get drunk. And they are definitely regulars and not ashamed of it. They deserve a certain amount of respect for keeping it real. And for living within their budget.
The desperate crowd. A few people who come in with hands shaking, desperate to grab a bottle of medicine to fight back against society's tyranny. They usually buy pints, which surprises me, because if things are that bad, I would think a jug would be in order. Unless they are guzzling the thing on the way home. This I can understand.
The guy who maneuvers his Market Basket wagon into the store with three 30 packs of Busch beer and proceeds to pick up two jugs of booze. Heavy duty, baby.
The true american who walks in with a bag containing two cartons of cigarettes, an 18 pack of Bud and buys a jug of booze.
Then there are the people who don't know their way around a liquor store. I cannot trust these people. Standing in front of the vodka wall with a blank stare and as I walk buy they ask me where the Kahlua is. Or people who do three laps around the store and finally ask where the Jack Daniels is. How can this be? Booze is in the DNA. Besides that, can't they read? There are signs above each section.
Except brandy. An evil woman, after wandering a bit, asked me where the brandy was. I walked her over, she looked up and asked "Where's the brandy sign?" I told her there isn't one. "THAT'S why I couldn't find it," she snapped. I almost punched her in the face.
Some people walk in, wander around for a while and leave without buying anything. Are you kidding me? I cannot trust these people either. I could never walk out of a liquor store without buying something. It just isn't acceptable.
Some people dress like bums, some smell, some look spiffy, some try to look spiffy. Some are self conscious and some don't care that their immense beer belly sags below the T-shirt that is ripped and stained.
The one common thread is the need. People need their booze. I love the irony that because it is legal, it is OK to display your addiction. Gotta hide pot, gotta hide coke, but it's OK to buy 1.75 liters of Canadian Hunter every single day. I wistfully envision the day where, along with the vodka and bourbon signs, there are signs for marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. Truth in advertising, baby.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jesus IS a Football Fan

I ordered the complete illustrated history of The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS  a couple of weeks ago through Amazon's used book deal. It arrived yesterday. Two days before the beginning of the 2011 NFL season.This confirms my belief that jesus is a football fan.
The used books must be delivered by mule - they take weeks to arrive. If I buy a new book it is here in days. Used - weeks. Anyway it is a big, beautiful book with lots of pictures and lots of words. Many times illustrated books are not wordy and you feel like a kindergarten kid when you "read' them. Not the case with this bible - it thrills me just to have it in my hands.
Now I can learn everything about THE PATS. Everything that my son Keith already knows. He has a brilliant sports mind. A gifted intelligence in general. One of my goals is to be able to hold a PATS conversation on equal terms with him. A lofty goal indeed. Now I have a weapon.
I owe Keith. I always loved football. He taught me to love THE PATS.
The cover has a picture of THE PATS Flying Elvis helmet and a smaller picture of Brady with his arms up in celebration. You know, the way he does when WE score a TD. Or when we win a Super Bowl or two.
The first couple of paragraphs talk about how THE PATS didn't even have their own stadium for the first 11 years of their existence; no potential Hall of Famers, no playoff games. The last page has a glorious picture looking into Gillette Stadium directly at the THREE championship flags. I have goosebumps.
This is part of my master plan to become a thoroughly knowledgeable football fan. To know the game in my bones. It is pure emotion for me and always has been. I want to add a little brain to the experience this year.
I worship this book. I will sleep with it under my pillow. I will carry it under my arm everywhere I go like some nerdy school child.
Truthfully I will never know what Keith knows about any aspect of sports. He was BORN with sports knowledge. One of my favorite stories to tell was the time he won a weekly newspaper sponsored football pool. I believe he was 10 years old at the time. Or younger. Competing against adults. I was and still am amazingly proud of him.
I will caress and pray to this book. I will kiss it secretly when Carol is not looking. Hopefully I will gain enough knowledge about THE PATS that I can hold my own in a conversation with Keith. One of my goals because I respect his knowledge and I want to share in and bask in the glow.
Thank you, jesus. And GO PATS.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Melancholia

A member of my family who I love and respect made it clear to me a while ago that my "the world sucks woe is me" writings were not a lot of fun, and he was right, so I'll try to keep from becoming too maudlin. However I am human and some human-ness, some sensitivity, might creep in.
I dedicate these words to the people who do not get long weekends, who only get two holidays a year; the people who are the grease that keeps society moving. Low wage earners and noble humans worthy of everybody's respect ESPECIALLY the phony elite who earn much and condescend even more. I am writing this on Monday night, Labor Day 2011, after having worked today.
My Labor Day weekend consisted of one day - Sunday. I worked Saturday, I worked today. It hit me hard, harder than Memorial Day, harder than July 4th. I think because Labor Day is all wrapped up in The Death of Summer. The summer we never had. Friday night in The Booze Emporium was complete insanity. People bouncing into the store, grabbing as many bottles as they could possibly hold, skipping gaily up to the registers while merrily proclaiming their three day independence from soul sucking jobs. Hell bent on getting a tiny taste of freedom, wringing every last drop of fun out of the weekend as they possibly could.
Saturday was equally twisted. More people clutching bottles of liquid happiness, wild eyed, footloose and fancy free.
In addition, Thursday was nutsos because of a combination of medical emergency and vacations, which also heavily impacted Friday and Saturday. Three days of pure unadulterated hell. We were short handed and running like inmates escaping the asylum. Only we couldn't escape. Happy weekenders kept grabbing us and throwing us back behind the registers to process their precious purchases.
Friday and Saturday people kept saying "I hope you are getting a weekend." I kept replying "I have Sunday off, so that's a good thing." As if that made everything all right. IT WAS NOT A GOOD THING. I WANT THREE DAYS OFF - IN A ROW - JUST LIKE OTHER PEOPLE.
Sunday off, for me, then back to work today. Driving in, in a complete funk. People coming into the store and saying "I can't believe you guys are open on Labor Day." To which I wanted to reply "If it wasn't for the greed heads I work for and people like you who cannot plan ahead, I could be home licking chicken grease off my fingers and contentedly belching and sipping a civilized whiskey." Instead I kept saying "Yup, people need their booze." That was the best I could muster.
In the interest of full disclosure I want you to know that I got paid time and half for today's efforts. So it wasn't complete sacrifice. Of course when you are earning 4 cents an hour, a bump up to six cents an hour is not thrilling. Sorry, couldn't resist.
That's it. Just the facts. My words are dedicated to everyone, and there are a lot of you, who had the same experience as me. Essentially making it easier for everyone else to have three days of freedom. 
And my thoughts go out to those who WISH they were in my shoes. The unemployed. I am not ungrateful. I have a job, however humble, and I laugh a lot at work. My co-workers are severely brain damaged and fun to be around.
I am merely trying to make a point. There are a hell of a lot of people who don't get the beautiful bennies, people who HAVE to work to get paid, people to whom weekends mean nothing, to whom holidays mean nothing. It is that much harder for this segment of society to get by because in addition to not getting these precious gifts everybody else takes for granted, they have to absorb or deflect some of the happiness these lucky people are flashing out there.
I salute and respect you all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Thoughts Friday

Today is Random Thoughts Friday:

Started a new book today. This is always an awesome feeling for me. I have read 14 million books in my life and still, every time I first crack one open, it gives me a thrill. And this one is a HARDCOVER. I covet hardcovers, I worship them and I love the way they feel in my hands. Books were meant to be hardcover bound, not paperback. And yet, we are paupers. I rarely read hardcovers; paperback is cheaper. Isn't that a sad commentary on how low you must sink, how deeply you must compromise, just to survive? Just to line the pockets of that greedy, soul-less, life sucking Mortgage Vampire?
And when the first line of the book, the very first line, blows me away, I know I am in for a tasty ride. Dig this: "His life's work and ambition fulfilled, Francis Brimm believed the only metamorphosis left him was a slow, affable decline toward death, and so at the age of seventy-three he returned to the town of his youth to retire." If that doesn't spark a reaction in you, you are already dead. Th first part is what interests me, it is the feeling I am after. I actually read those first six words and stopped, I was so blown away at my reaction. Fulfilling my life's work and ambition. I want that, I need that, like Bukowski needed his booze. I'm not interested in the second part, not ready for death yet. I am cranking at 233 m.p.h. towards overwhelming Joe-ness and I will punch the Grim Reaper in the face, knock him down and step over him to get there. Anything else that happens to me today will be anti-climatic; this book started my day off with a BANG.

Twitter can kiss my ass. The more we develop and indulge in "social media" in this country, the more we encourage mass stupidity. What idiot decided that putting twitter quotes up on the screen should be part of a "news" broadcast? I was watching the hurricane coverage Sunday and they start putting this garbage on the screen. "Mike Moron from Stupidity, Massachusetts tweets -  Wow it is really windy today. And rainy too." "Kathy Clueless from Cretinville, Rhode Island tweets - Oh my god - my clothesline got blown down. How will I dry my clothes?" I DON'T CARE WHAT THESE PEOPLE THINK - THEY ARE IDIOTS. Anything that is embraced by the masses reflects the intelligence of the masses, which, on average, is just below that of Vinny Barbarino. I see this on MSNBC, which is a station I respect. People tweeting about President Obama or country-killing republicans or Hillary's newest pants suit. PLEASE. Stop it. We are putting our ignorance out there for the rest of the world to laugh at. Someday we will be attacked again and just before we go down there will be a tweet from a foreign country on everybodys' TV saying "Tweet this, America."
Shoot me if I ever tweet. Go there, give them your money. If you have money to blow and you want to do something positive, help feed hungry people IN AMERICA. Don't give your money to organizations that aid foreign countries, there is enough suffering in this country to warrant your attention. We like to pretend that we are so superior here, but that is no longer even close to being true, and maybe never was. It drives me crazy to think that there are people starving in this country. How can that be? And I'm not talking about your 350 pound neighbor who is starving in his car on the way to McDonald's because he hasn't had a meal in over an hour. I'm talking about people who are suffering. Go to the site, educate yourself about hunger in the suburbs, rural hunger, senior hunger, child hunger, and the working poor. Child hunger and senior hunger twist my gut. Why is it that the most vulnerable are the ones who suffer the most?
I am cash poor. I eat cat food three days a week. But when I get my life vibrating at the pitch it should be, I will be donating to this organization and others who cater to the needs of Americans.
And check out Good Charlotte. They are a rock group who is heavily involved in this cause. Benji and Joel Madden had it tough growing up and now they are using their success to help people who need it. IN AMERICA. You have to respect people like that.

Dig it, baby. I am spent. Gotta go fight flab.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Gotta Have Me One of Those

You got to shake things up. Funk up your funk. Or de-funk your funk. New experiences are food for growth.
Tuesday night I went to one of those classic car shows, with my close friend Alan. He's one of the magic five. Met him somewhere around 1988 or 1989 when I was in one of my lost periods, working as a temp accounting clerk at a manufacturer of major logging equipment. My first day there I'm sitting in the windowless cafeteria eating my pathetic lunch, alone, and Alan walks up and introduces himself, asks if I want to get the hell out of there, go for a ride. Is that cool or what? I was a pasty faced accounting clerk, he was a real man doing real work and he offers me a shot at friendship. Amazing.
Eventually it developed into supreme insanity. We had half an hour for lunch. We'd bolt out the door, drive to a nearby lake, eat our sandwiches and split a six pack of beer while listening to the radio LOUD. I Won't Back Down, and Free Falling by Tom Petty are the songs permanently attached to that memory. On the way back we'd pop into a little convenience store and each buy a sixteen ounce beer and pound it on the way up the road. That's three 12 oz. beers and 1 16 oz. beer IN HALF AN HOUR. I spent many sleepy afternoons at HMC. Our friendship went much deeper than that and it survives to this day, strong, loving, respectful and appreciated.
Beautiful night for the car show. I appreciate the beauty of these vehicles, Alan has actual knowledge - he understands the engines, the history, the work that goes into them and the value. It made the night more interesting for me. I have been to one or two of these before but it is not something I seek out.
I was blown away. I am attracted to the old gangster style cars with running boards and to the sleek, fast and sexy Vettes and other racing type cars. But they were all so goddamn gorgeous. I got there early, before Alan, so I got to watch these cars roll in. It's another world, baby. These people are fanatics. It costs money and it takes a lot of time to restore and maintain these machines and there is a lot of pride in that parking lot. As with any unique group, there is weirdness. One hell of a lot of beer bellies, and I'm talking major how the hell does that guy stand up beer bellies. Weird senses of humor, inside jokes, that to me were not funny. More amusing and entertaining. People sitting in portable chairs behind their cars, they all knew each other, talking their mutual passion and digging the warm sunshine.I dug it. Of course my head is off a bubble, so my predominant reaction was why the hell can't I own one of these babies? Pissed me off. Will I ever be able to own one? That would make the shortness of summer more bearable. To cruise the streets in a vintage black Vette, to scream up the highway when Carol is not around, to sit inside mechanical beauty and feel indescribable power. To rob a bank in a genuine gangster car and retire to Jamaica. That's living, baby. Of course I am not a car guy, and I would have to buy it already restored and ready to rock, but there is no shame in that. Just owning a car like that commands respect.
I was surprised by my reaction. I really got into it, and experiencing it with Alan made it even better. I want more. I want to hit a couple more shows before winter imprisons us in the house. Picked up a trade magazine there and that also wet my whistle. Got me a little more exposure to that culture.
I also convinced myself that owning one of these babies is not outside my reality. You can laugh all you want to, but this is the 2011 version of me, the positive thinker, the believer wrapped around the dreamer. I'm heading somewhere, and wouldn't it be cool if one part of my destination was the driver's seat of a sleek, beautiful and oh so fast car, or a stylishly tasteful and mind blowing gangster car?
A kid pulled in with a truck that looked to me like a piece of shit. Early sixties, he had just acquired it and was just beginning to restore it. Rust, chipped paint, banged up, primer. When he parked it, the body settled pneumatically down towards the tires. Cool effect. Many of the car owners walked over and admired the truck, checking it out, standing in a group, looking into the engine. I thought, man, that is all about hope and commitment and pride and understanding. I'm sure every admirer had his own educated vision of what that truck will eventually look like. And the kid was beaming with pride. I KNOW he knows exactly what that truck will look like when he is done.
Passion, baby, it's all about passion. Passion is rocket fuel to life.
I funked up my funk Tuesday night. New experience that I really dug. With one of the coolest guys I know.
Not a bad way to spend one night.

September 1, 2011

Disgust. Summer ended yesterday. Today is the first day of winter. Temperature is 13, there is two feet of snow on the ground and it is dark, cold and depressing. We had no spring, a half assed summer. Why New England, why?

I am burrowing underground. When I come up I will be a super hero and a god.

Watch out.

Vital Stats

It's September 1.
I weigh 175.
Let the games begin.