Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Amazing Archeological Discovery

You people are in serious trouble. I keep notebooks, scraps of paper, and now ripped up quart sized booze bags lying around the house with notes and ideas and thoughts and inspirations to write about and from.
I found one yesterday that is three years old. I know this because there is a reference in there to The Allman Brothers Band upcoming 39th anniversary. That was in 2008.
I read my own thoughts with great relish and affection.
First of all I titled the notebook "Small Thoughts of a Restless Mind with Deadly Overtones." That is an absolutely fantastic title. I will use that somewhere. Its perfect.
One note says the perfect epitaph is "Happily Dead". Love it. That's back when I thought being dead was preferable to being a low wage earner and kissing the ass of the Mortgage Vampire. Which it is if you have no hope. In 2011 I have hope.
Got another that says "Love is for ugly people". My theory there was that beautiful people don't know what love is because they can have anybody they want. So their relationships are all about sex and narcissism.
Another entry - "When the phone rings..............Jonathan, Lisska". Was thinking about my hatred of phones and it was inspired by two bad news phone calls.
"I would like to live alone in a small sparsely furnished room and slowly drink myself into a stupor every night while writing poetry."
"If I don't have secrets, how can I know who I am?" Another one that I love.
There is a very bizarre dream summarized over two pages that involves me, Johnny Cash, the Jaworskis, an elevator that rises to the thirteenth floor and then "rolls over the top like a ball", my parents, Jack Lemmon and Room 1308. Wow. I am not kidding.
"So much sadder when the owner dies before the pet". Humans understand death (to a point); pets do not.
Try this one on for size:
"I do not know how to be happy in this world
I do not know how to "succeed" in this world
But I keep trying
I don't care about their rules
I have my own definitions
I just can't read them yet (don't know where I left them)."
Very tasty.
There are some horrible failed attempts at poetry. There is one called "My Friends Keep Picking Up The Tab." This references my constant and crushing poverty and how when I meet up with two of my old friends they always pay. The poem sucks but the idea still resonates with me. I can work with this.
I was in a much darker place back then. "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." Thank you Mr. Zimmerman, I had to steal that line; it seemed to fit.
What blew me away was reading these words, thoughts, ideas from the perspective of the 2011 version of The Joe. It was like reading someone else's writing.
There is a lot to work with there, and now the interpretations will come from a slightly or, at times, a vastly different place.
So you are in trouble because I am jazzed. When I'm jazzed, I spew. Even if I don't use any of this stuff (which is highly unlikely; I am narcissistic and love these notes), I am throbbing and humming and thrumming with inspiration and fresh, rehashed ideas.
I am a very dangerous man in this state. I hop around and bop around in a creative frenzy and forget to drink my milk and take my vitamins.
I can't focus on the picayune details of life and will sometimes leave the house wearing one cowboy boot and one slipper.
This frenzy amplifies my already unstable state. I am a creative person; I have no common sense. Typical conversation with Carol: Me - "Every time it rains I get soaking wet. I don't understand it." Carol - "Have you thought about wearing a jacket and a hat or maybe carrying an umbrella?" Fifteen second pause. Me - "No, actually I haven't tried that. Maybe I'll give it a shot." Carol - "Idiot."
Sometimes when I write every day I get stale. Every great once in a while I feel myself forcing it. Which I hate because I am spontaneous and speak best from the soul.
I am energized now. Feeling good about myself. The way I should about myself.
I like my bizarre mind and I like the way I write. Sounds cocky, but you have to have confidence to do something as risky as writing. I mean, give me a break, I gotta feel good about something.
Duck - strange word happenings are about to come your way.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Lamb is a wonderful meat,
and so damn delicious to eat.
Its all that I need,
whenever I feed.
Fine wine and the meal is complete.

What I Want

I want to prance like a race horse
Dance like Astaire
Write like HST
and speechify like Lincoln
I want to drive like Earnhardt Sr.
and earn like Jobs
I want to love like Valentino
and laugh like Eddie Murphy
I want all of that and I want
to    be    me    too


Death you are a coward.

You’re powerful but you hide,

rarely tipping your hand, unless

you feel like torturing someone.
Why not tell me when I’ll die,

then we can deal with it face to face.
And what will you show me,

eternity or finality?
Playing it close to the vest even

though you have nothing to lose,
I fear you but do not respect you.

I won’t cower when we meet;
I refuse to give you the satisfaction.

The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band is playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston tonight, tomorrow night, Friday night and Saturday night.
I will not be there. I am on the FUP list. Financially Unable to Perform.
This breaks my heart. Once again poverty cripples my happiness.
Saw Gregg solo in January, saw ABB at The Beacon Theatre in NYC in March. Both concerts were exquisite. They did not tour this summer which is extremely rare. I see them every summer. Twice.
My heart and my soul will be with them on those four nights. I can close my eyes and picture them on stage, I can listen to their music in my mind. I can dream about a day when something as simple as a fucking concert is not outside my financial reach.
You ask me - Joe - Beatles, Stones or ABB - if you could attend only one concert who would it be? The Allman Brothers Band. The Beatles and The Stones mean everything to me. They defined my life (in my mind). They freed me (in my mind). ABB came along a little later - 1969 was the year of their first album and my epiphany.
My choice may surprise you. It is a visceral thing. I cannot put into words what ABB does to me. I can only tell you they speak directly to my soul, my heart, my essence, my spirit - it is something I feel when I listen to their music and it is a direct connection to the vibration of my life, my existence. It goes that deep. It is that natural. It is that mystical, magical and surreal.
So you can understand my disappointment at not being able to attend.
See you next summer, boys.

The Stones

The Stones are gearing up to celebrate their 50th anniversary. FIFTIETH. Getting serious about going out on tour next year. They haven't toured since 2007. I already warned Carol that we will see them even if it means taking out a second and a third mortgage on the house I live in which the bank owns.
I'm always amused when people say they own a house. You don't own the damn thing until you make that last payment. Until then the Mortgage Vampire owns you.
We have seen The Stones twice but they were tiny specks. Foxboro Stadium. Steel Wheels. Voodoo Lounge. Rocked my brains out but spent more time watching the video screen than the stage.
I blew it in '02 - The Forty Licks Tour -  because they did an arena/stadium/club tour. They actually played the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. That was the place to be, but I had to spend money on food and clothing instead. I regret that deeply.
I think Keith is pressing for something like that as part of this tour, but Mick ain't into it. I doubt it will happen.
However, with the money collected from a second and third mortgage I CAN get front row seats. This is what I want.
People mock The Stones and I hate them for it. Too old to tour. Too old to play rock 'n roll. BULLSHIT. Old blues dudes, the masters, played concerts into their nineties. Still do. Look at B.B. (86), Buddy Guy (who absolutely ROCKS for a 75 year old), Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson (72).
The Stones are musicians and damn good ones. The only one who might slow down is Mick and I personally think he still struts his stuff pretty damn good.
The Stones celebrating fifty years is like me celebrating my life. That's when I was really born, when The Beatles and The Stones blew up the world. I would give anything, anything you ask, to have John and George still alive and The Beatles touring every few years. I never got to see them in concert. It is one of many reasons that I am warped and dysfunctional.
The Stones are the keepers of the flame. They still rock, they do it with class and style, they are respected within the world of music. They are not an oldies act or nostalgia on display; they are still at the top of their game. Keith would never allow them to embarrass themselves. He understands and respects the music, their legacy and their place within music history.
I will have that front row seat. I expect Keith to outlive me but it is a risky bet. I would rather be out there next year, just in case, recharging and electrifying my soul close up with the music that changed my life and privileged me with a glimpse, a feel for what my life could be. I haven't lived up to that promise yet but I ain't done, baby.
If I have to eat cat food four days a week and only water the other three for the next ten years following the concert, it will be worth it.
Are you with me babe?

Anxiety Is A Tool, Bubba

Anxiety is a strange little animal. Furry, ugly and quite bizarre in origin and intent.
Just read an article in Time magazine about anxiety. It focused on the potential good effects or uses of anxiety. The point, as far as my tiny brain could interpret, was that if you can teach yourself that dire consequences typically do not follow the things you worry about, anxiety will not consume you.
Richard Lewis, the king of anxiety, performs his stand-up without a fixed script, insisting that he needs his anxiety to make it through his time onstage. "Before I go on, I'm a nervous wreck. But ultimately I feel more comfortable being uncomfortable.  I spend about 30 to 40 hours looking over thousands and thousands of ideas on my computer before a show, and I tell myself to let it go, have some confidence. The anxiety will creep in there really fast, but I eventually embrace it and say enough is enough."
Athletes use anxiety to their benefit. There is a definite relationship between stress and performance and the pros take it to it's peak and then walk away. In other words they don't torture themselves with anxiety, they use it as a tool.
The article caught my attention because anxiety is my most constant companion. I have spent more time with anxiety than I have with Carol.
I can't seem to make the leap from useless worry to a "screw it what's the worst that could happen" attitude. I'm working on it, just not quite there.
I have consulted with Dr. Joe Testa who came up with the diagnosis that I am not comfortable in my own skin because I am living someone else's life, and this causes me relentless anxiety. I respect Dr. Joe, he is knowledgeable and free with the prescription pad, so I believe in his theory. I got off track way back in my childhood and have floundered in the wilderness of lost souls most of my life. I am just recently trying to swim back upstream in attempt to fuse the ethereal me with the physical me.
It's quite a struggle.
One thing that bothered me about the article was the negative physical effects of unfocused anxiety on your health. Weakening the immune system and so on. Makes me wonder why I am not dead. Also makes me think I am pretty invincible if I can survive 42 years of stress and still keep moving.
I have this theory that it will all come home to roost one of these days. I'll wake up one morning with a face like Morley Safer (60 Minutes), boils on my back, a curmudgeonly attitude, stooped over and rapping people on the ankles with my cane.
Deep breathing helps, but at my level of dysfunction I have had to learn how to survive while hyperventilating 73% of the time.
I imagine most of us are anxious. Life ain't no cakewalk, baby. Maybe other people handle it better than me. Maybe not. I see a lot of anxious people every day lovingly clutching their bottled elixir as they walk happily out of The Booze Emporium towards the sanctity of recliner, TV and oblivion.
After 42 years of self imposed stress, those thought patterns get hard wired into your brain. That's why what I am attempting to do now is like trying to dismantle the Empire State Building with a spoon. What I need is a blowtorch, sledgehammer and a fiercely focused laser scalpel.
I laugh sometimes when I realize I am stressed about some meaningless thing, when I think about how often I feel this way, how it creeps in over and over again. I fight it back with logic and breathing (and whiskey when it gets really pernicious) and then, when I am distracted, it is right back there again. Apparently my brain is receptive to illogic and repels logic.
I'll keep chipping away at it. Reading Time magazine, maybe erecting a Richard Lewis shrine in my writing room. He turned anxiety into a pot of gold.
I can respect that while worrying about the odds of my own success.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Momma, I'm Coming Home

More words from the Fiery Trail. I told you that reading this book is like eating a fine meal. It continues to amaze me with the beauty of the words, the precise way that situations and emotions and philosophies and life itself are captured.
Describing the feelings of a mother and father on the day their daughter left them to wed her husband. "The days were to come and go for them, with an emptiness they were under compulsion to fit into the pattern of their lives........."
I fell out of the recliner and rolled around on the floor like an errant bowling bowl when I read those words.
When Keith graduated college he moved back home for a year and he brought with him his new girlfriend Emily. Suddenly the house was ablaze with youthful energy and a gender ally for Carol.
Keith, Emily and Craig under the same roof.
Strangely enough, about a year later all three of them moved out on the same weekend. Keith and Emily to their first apartment, Craig to Keene State.
That first night alone, Carol and I were devastated. It was if a skilled but evil surgeon had surgically removed the light from our souls. The house was still and we were down. Way down.
But we were under a compulsion to fit into the pattern of our lives this emptiness. We had no choice.
You want choice in your life. You want to make decisions. You want to feel that you are in control, that you are consciously moving forward, that your life is yours to do with as you wish.
Truth is, for most of us, about 1% of your life is within your control. The percentage increases as your income bracket does. In my case that means that 1/2 of 1% is within my control.
You can't control your kids and that's the way it should be. Little birdies have to fly. My parents came from the enforced school of family commitment. I moved 30 miles away from home the year I was married, and 100 miles away eight years after I was married. We were expected to visit for Sunday dinner every Sunday. This meant from NH we were driving 1 and 1/2 hours each way for Sunday dinner every week. With two young uns in tow. We would drive down for Christmas Eve, come home that night and drive back on Christmas day. If we didn't do these things there was shouting, anger and guilt creation.
This did not make me feel closer to my parents. It made me resentful. Obviously I didn't have the guts to stand up to them for a long while, and when I finally did, refusing to drive down one Christmas Eve, it was all out war.
As much as I would like to see my sons and their women every week I know I cannot demand it. I learned that lesson. So we enjoy them when we can. Luckily they both live within shouting distance so we are not completely abandoned.
But even after all these years there is an emptiness. Carol and I have our own rhythms now, we live our life as we started it, a party of two. It is richer now than then because we have the memories, the child rearing years that filled us with joy and pure unadulterated happiness. And the family has expanded to include Emily and Karen which has added to our pride.
But just because we were compelled to fit this emptiness into the pattern of our lives, it just becomes a part of your existence. It doesn't go away. You dribble along in life and don't think about it every day, then Thanksgiving comes around and your family explodes around you in laughter and conversation and then, ten seconds later, the house is quiet. And you think "Goddamn it, I miss my sons."
It's always all about words with me. When I come across words put together in a way to capture my exact feelings, I am overwhelmed.
I am going to write them out one more time. Every parent knows this feeling. It is natural and it is hard. I have to end with this quote because I cannot say it any better.
"The days were to come and go for them, with an emptiness they were under compulsion to fit into the pattern of their lives."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby

I met you in 1972.
You married me in 1978.
You are still with me in 2011.
You must be insane.
Through 33 years, the lows have been lower
than we ever expected.
The highs not as high as we would have liked.
Except Keith and Craig. They were and are the
ultimate high, and they will never be topped.
That's the way it's supposed to be.
And they would never be as cool as they are
without you as a mother.
The ultimate compliment.
You worry about being 58; I love you now
more than ever, with a love that has been forged
through the fire of survival and is stronger for that.
You are sensitive, unselfish, loving, positive,
talented, intelligent, hard working, natural, strong,
beautiful on the inside, beautiful on the outside,
and straight ahead honest.
You live by your convictions.
We, your family, are lucky to have you and we
know it. I am the luckiest of all.
The strength and beauty of your spirit are inspired
by your ability to just be you. No pretensions.
I love you. I am grateful that you love me.
Happy Birthday, baby.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Day In The Life

I cranked out a couple of sit ups yesterday in the kitchen, and then elevated my bloated carcass up to walk into the room that houses the exercise bike. On the way I passed "the table and chairs." The same table and chairs that on Thanksgiving were inhabited by my family. With laughter and conversation. Yesterday they were empty and the house was silent.
It struck me how fleeting those moments are. Your life is 99% sweat, worry and toil, and 1% purity. And those short, sweet moments go by at a faster clip than normal time.
A day at work can seem like 137 hours. Eight hours with my family felt like 3 seconds.
Life is strange, people. Life is strange.
Today is a bonus day. It is Saturday and I do not have to work. Typically, low wage earners like myself do not get to enjoy such a luxury. I have tomorrow off as well. Two days in a row. Might as well be a month.
Today is Carol's birthday.
So before she arose I was sitting in the recliner, in quiet, thinking these thoughts.
I had big dreams for her birthday that our budget would not allow. I so deeply want to spend $1,000 on her, pamper her, buy her something extravagant. She deserves it.
I spent considerably less than $1,000, and I am not happy about the gifts I gave her.
As I sat there, though, a strange thing happened. I thought about the fact that I was sitting in an expensive, comfortable and well worn recliner with a sweet cat in my lap. Cup of coffee. Book. The house is warm. It is not snowing. The electric bill has been paid, there is food in the fridge and booze in the bar. The Mortgage Vampire has been held at bay for one more month. I have the freedom of two days. To be with my wife. To be with myself. To be myself.
Pretty good deal.
I am not satisfied. I am yearning and striving and trying to improve and change our lives. But until I get there, moments like these are valuable. It signals a sea change in my tiny brain that these thoughts can even roam freely up there. In the past I would destroy the day with regret over having only $1.98 to spend on birthday gifts for my wife of thirty three years. Instead I will accept my limitations THIS YEAR and vow to spoil her in 2012. Actually surprise is a better word than spoil. I want her eyes to light up like lightening in the sky next year. I want her mouth to form the word WOW without actually being able to say it.
The trick is to enjoy everything in between. Another lesson learned this year.
I am killing myself to improve, to change, to conceive, believe and achieve. I realized that I was so focused, so determined, that I was burning myself up. Missing things and torturing myself over not getting any signs at all that what I am doing will be rewarded.
There has to be a balance. Make the ch ch ch ch changes happen and dig what you have along the way.
Small movie called When A Man Loves A Woman. Carol and I have watched it 123,657 times. Meg Ryan is an alcoholic wife, Andy Garcia her long suffering husband. Watch it. It's cool. There's a scene at an AA meeting where Meg is talking about how she pushed her husband away and how she dreams about getting him back.
And she says, in part, "And I don't know if I'm going to get another chance, but I have to believe that I deserve one. Because we all do." She says it with tears in her eyes, and with enormous pain and loss and longing and hope in her voice. Knocks me out every time.
That's how I feel this year. This year was the beginning of my second chance. I have to believe that I deserve one. That's why I am so determined. I have traded regret for hope. The fascinating lesson I have learned is that I can miss "the now" just as easily when I am inspired by hope, as I did when I wallowed in regret.
As usual I have gotten off track talking about myself.
Carol and I have today and tomorrow. We have her birthday to celebrate. We will spend these days washing the dishes, going to the dump, going to a movie and probably not being able to afford a restaurant, watching THE PATS, enjoying a belly buster breakfast and delicious leftover turkey. A kiss and a hug here and there.
I want a lot more than that down the road, but I would be a fool to not enjoy this magical Saturday and this magical Sunday.
I have been an enormous fool before. But I am learning, baby. I am learning.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 2.0, and Other Thoughts

Sweet enjoyment. A triumph, my dear, a triumph.
Great Thanksgiving. Keith, Emily, Craig, Karen. And of course the original source of all this greatness - Carol and Joe.
Massive meal (we're gonna need a bigger table). 100 pound turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce (for me - I'm the only one that eats it), gravy, awesome sweet potato concoction and a pumpkin corn bread innovation courtesy of Emily.
Pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple crisp.
Conversation, laughter, revelations and contemplations. Football. Contented sloth and expanded stomachs. A dog and two reclusive cats.
Carol and I enjoy the gift of an honest family, loving and fun - no pretensions, no bullshit. It is a true joy and a celebration for us to enjoy their company in such a relaxed setting. They were tots, then there were not. They all have their own lives and perspectives and hopes and dreams and struggles and disappointments.
We get together as a family and there is love and respect and the soul deep reward that comes from blood connection.
Today is quiet and contemplative by way of contrast. Thanksgiving gone too fast but enjoyed to the max.
One major holiday down, two (or three depending on your perspective) to go. T-Day is the real one. Christmas is on deck. It's cool, it's fun, but there is stress involved and financial pressure and crazygonuts rushing around. I still dig it. I dig the strangeness of it. A tree in your living room. Lots of lights and colors and Christmas music. Packages wrapped in oddly festive paper. It is it's own fantasy world, kind of like being high without ingesting a drug.
New year's Eve and New Year's Day. Is that one holiday or two? I say two.
NYE is typically get stupid time. You get loaded to celebrate the relief of having survived another bizarre year of life and to carefully anticipate another year layered on to all those that came before. I have gotten drunk 10,000 times on NYE, but in my soul I always thought it was stupid. Makes more sense to me to celebrate the passing of time with reverence. But what the hell do I know? My station in life prevents my opinions from carrying great weight.
New Year's Day. A day to recover. A day to ease into a new year. A day to throw up. My birthday. I have always found it strange to know that 99% of the world is gobbling Advil and kneeling in supplication before the toilet on my birthday. And god knows I have been there myself many, many times.
Coming from an Italian family, a huge meal was always prepared on my birthday, many relatives in attendance. I would stagger out of bed, head pounding, stomach roiling and fake my way through the meal. What a shame. So many magnificent meals prepared by my mother that I did not enjoy.
Odd to me that all these celebrations are concentrated in a two month period. Blam, you are getting emotional and reflective and digging family and examining your life and engaging in insane escape and suddenly the new year is here and you are back to work in the coal mine with no holiday in sight for five months.
How bizarre, how bizarre.
But I'll dive in and wrestle what I can out of what is to come between today and 01/01/12. I'll get happy and I'll love and be grateful for my family. These holidays offer an escape from predictability and monotony and that is a special opportunity.
Yesterday blew by too fast. I dug my heals in but I could not slow it down. My brain has memories locked in of looking across the dinner table at the five magnificent people in attendance with awe. Even thought I have to work today (so do Keith and Craig) which sucks royally, I will take a few minutes here and there to draw on those mental images, and that will give me what I need to stumble through a day of obligation.
Bring on Christmas. Bring on NYE and NYD. Bring on my 58th birthday. I'm ready for all of you guys. Gonna make the most of it. Try to etch wrinkles in my face to approximate and remind me of the perpetual smile that will accentuate and express the fun and contentment.
2012 looms ahead and weighs heavy on my mind. But that is a topic for another time and another place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I planned on popping in here tonight to wax eloquent about Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It is a pure holiday. No bullshit. No presents to buy or shopping to do. You get together with your family and enjoy a miraculous meal, you talk, you laugh and dig each other for the sake of digging each other. I love that.
I hunger for purity in everything I do. That's why I am eternally frustrated, unhappy, lost and just plain stupefied. Pure moments are few and far between.
I am lucky to have a family that magnifies the beauty of the holiday. Thanksgiving in my home is easy going, laid back, loving and fun. Carol is The Queen of Thanksgiving and we are all her lucky subjects.
So the anticipation is building. The Booze Emporium was Insane today and will be Beyond Insane tomorrow. People need their booze during the holidays.
Got home tired but one day closer. Quiet house, the wife is bowling. Note from Carol: My brother had called to tell us his ex-wife's mother had died.
Death has a way of creeping in or blowing in or marching in and waking you up and shaking you up.
The death of a family member is always sad. It doesn't matter to me that my brother is divorced or that we really had little contact with his mother-in-law over the years. She was a human being that was brought into my life, which means that she matters. And I know that Kathy is hurting tonight and that this holiday season will be painful for her.
I think for it to happen at this time of year is even sadder. Especially Thanksgiving.
You are gearing up to celebrate your life and your love and your family and hopefully your good fortune. And death steps up and says "Hold on, buddy - here's a heavy taste of reality. There will be no celebrating this year."
As a parent you have to be flexible during the holidays. The perfect setting for us is when Keith and Emily (possibly Cooper), Craig and Karen, my brother Ed and his woman, Carol and me gather at our home. All the pieces of the puzzle are there and the result is perfection.
This year Karen cannot be here because she will be with her family. Which makes perfect sense. Eddie will not be here because he wants to stay closer to home. Makes perfect sense. On top of missing two important pieces to this happiness, death has decided to attend. Just invited his bad-ass self with no regard for the effect.
We will have a magnificent day. Thanks to Carol, the meal will be amazing as always. We will laugh and enjoy honest, easy going conversation, watch football and get fatter.
It won't be such a good day for Kathy, her father and the rest of her family.
You have to dig the good days. I have loved many amazing Thanksgivings thanks to my magical family. This year will be a little different. But I will go with that, content to see my beautiful, precious sons, Emily, (maybe Cooper), Carol, to eat supremely, to laugh effortlessly, to watch my favorite sport, to sit back in amazement after everybody has gone home and count my blessings for the loving woman who will be sitting beside me and for another chapter of memories written by our kids and their lives.
I'll be a little more focused, a little sharper. Because reality has intruded to pierce the dream a little.
That's OK. The next time we all get together I will dig it all the more.
Kathy will not have that chance. Her mother is gone.
Dig it,people. Grab this holiday, 11/24/11 and wrestle every drop of happiness you can out of it. You never know when you might lose that opportunity.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Even in New Hampshire

I am so disgusted with New Hampshire. I want to think that our free thinking, rebellious spirit is tempered with intelligence. Then I saw a Perry for President sign in my own town. Idiots.
And now this.
Four republican members of the New Hampshire House are supporting a legal challenge brought by Orly Taitz (idiot, and a California lawyer) questioning President Barack Obama's right to be on the Democratic primary ballet. She questions the validity of his birth certificate and Social Security number.
The four NH reps are Harry Accornero (idiot), Larry Rappaport (idiot), Lucien and Carol Vita (idiots).
I wonder if any of them run around with bedsheets over their heads at night.
These people are disgusting and should be immediately ousted from office without benefit of a trial just for wasting the legislatures time. New Hampshire might be better off than the national average unemployment-wise but I still come into contact with many people who are struggling and suffering. And there are lots of other substantive issues to be dealt with in this state. Real issues that affect people's lives.
republicans continue to make a mockery of our political process while completely avoiding the issues that threaten to bring this country down.
I am sick of it, I am livid and so are a hell of a lot of other people (OWS). This type of incompetence should be punished severely. If voting was fueled by intelligence, not one republican would survive their next election. And President Barack Obama would be guaranteed a second term.
But politics in this country does not work that way. We allow for a lack of professionalism that drags the average intelligence quotient of the political world below that of a kindergarten student. And these assheads are not even embarrassed. They are proud to put their stupidity and lack of concern for this country openly on display.
If I went into The Booze Emporium tomorrow and held everything up, stopped people from shopping, so I could conduct an experiment supporting my theory that placing bottles upside down on the shelves can increase sales, I would be fired. On the spot.
These morons should be treated the same way.
I will go to each of their websites and tell them so, because I have to get this out of my system. But I know I am wasting my time. Nothing will change and they will dismiss ME as a crackpot.
Wake up, America. Your future is being sabotaged by small minded, unintelligent, blindly partisan fools.

What A Ride

Riding home from Maine last night, Carol pops in a home made CD into the Peace Mobile CD machine. Four songs in a row blew the top of my head off. Now, mind you, there was alcohol in my veins. We were heading home after an enjoyable day spent at Sarge's Tailgate Grille in Saco, ME. THE GREATEST RESTAURANT AND BAR ON THE EASTERN SEABOARD. GO THERE.
Anyway, I was feeling fine and the lyrics dripped directly into my blood stream. You may think me an overly dramatic idiot. That is your prerogative.

Maggie May - "I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school. Or steal my daddy's cue and make a living out of playing pool. Or find myself a rock 'n roll band that needs a helping hand." I like the idea of having free and easy choices. Two out of three are kind of out there. I'd love to be in the position to sit back and mull over a variety of strange things I could do with my life.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters - The most amazing "I care about you and I will help you" song ever recorded. Majestic, powerful, emotional. Art Garfunkel is mind blowing. I truly believe he will help me when I'm down. I FEEL it.

Slip Sliding Away - "And I know a father who had a son. He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he'd done. He came a long way just to explain. he kissed his boy as he lay sleeping, then he turned around and he headed home again." AND: "God only knows, God makes his plan. The information's unavailable to the mortal man. We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay. Believe we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." BAM a blast of reality right in the face. And right after the magical beauty of Bridge Over Troubled Waters. An emotional roller coaster. Paul Simon, baby. He tells it like it is. We hurt each other and cannot explain ourselves. When we try, we realize there are no words. We fool ourselves into thinking we're doing something with our lives, but we miss the soul deep magic and mystery that is the precious gift of life.

Air That I Breathe - back to pure emotion, baby. The Hollies. "Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you." This is what all of us long for. Said so simply which makes it so powerful. Sung beautifully and emotionally. We all want to love and be loved, to lose ourselves in the warmth and meaning and feeling of that, to have that and nothing else. Even if only for a moment. If you have that kind of love you can stop during the day, close your eyes and go there in your heart. And the hell with your job or any other human being. Pure medicine.

That ride last night was an emotional roller coaster fueled by music.
The amazing thing is that I was awake at all. 99% of the time the return trip from Maine is made with me snoring and Carol listening to Ray LaMontagne. Carol will be stunned to learn that I even remember listening to this majestic music. I have commissioned a team of NASA scientists to study just what combination of factors helped me to beat the odds last night.
Ciao, baby.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Santa's Got A Hangover

Santa's got a headache
He's drinking way too much
Christmas is approaching
And whiskey is his crutch

Mrs.Claus is worried
Drunken Santa in his sleigh
Might get lost on Christmas Eve
He might just lose his way

But Rudolph is the bomb, man
He knows just what to do
They'll get it done with time to spare
They'll get your gifts to you

So screw the milk and cookies
Give Santa what he needs
A glass of top shelf whiskey
And maybe a little weed

Next year in December
You'll amaze at what you get
A Cadillac for Christmas
Santa doesn't forget

Tiny Dollars

My paycheck is a very tiny thing.
What size is yours?
I need a microscope to read it.
Then I get depressed.
The bank teller laughs at my deposit.
She tries to hide it but I know the difference
between a cough and a snicker.
I'm gonna get money somewhere.
Piles of it.
I deserve it. Don't I?
Until then I will appreciate
the holes in my socks.
The way my bare heel feels against
the inside of my worn out sneaker.
That's Living In The Now at it's best, baby.

Pepper Spray. It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore.

I warned you.
Go to YouTube. Pump in "Police pepper spray peaceful UC Davis students." If that video doesn't make you vomit, I don't want you in my life. I don't want you on this planet.
Student protesters are sitting on the ground, arms linked. PEACEFULLY.  A campus cop very calmly walks up and down the line and sprays these people directly in the face with pepper spray. This is immoral, it is brutal, it is an abuse of power for which these cops should be punished or fired. They'll probably get away with it.
The surrounding crowd could have responded by throwing rocks at the cops, rushing them and trying to beat the crap out of them. That would have been justified. I'm glad they didn't because they would have lost. It would have escalated and the students would have been painted as the bad guys. That's how it worked in the sixties. That's how the power brokers knew it would work in the sixties.
These students responded by chanting "Shame on you. Shame on you." And "Who do you serve? Who do you protect?" When the cops decided to leave, they formed a circle back to back, guns raised, as the protesters gathered around them. The cops edged backwards step by step. It was an ominous sight. One cop clearly had his finger on the trigger. I don't know what kind of gun it was but that vision disturbed me.
This is going to get worse. This movement is for real. People are going to die and it won't be cops, it won't be the financial elite, it won't be gutless republican politicians. It will be students, it will be a jobless protester, it will be an 84 year old woman.
On the surface of it, you might consider the students' response a weak one. But that image, that powerful image, has been broadcast around the world. Millions have seen it and millions know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cops were wrong and brutal, the students were right and they handled the situation non-violently.
This is the difference between now and the sixties. This is why I am all in, and my "child of the sixties" juices are flowing through my veins faster and in more volume than whiskey usually does.
Social media. Instantaneous communication. The financial elite, the power brokers cannot hide in the dark anymore. The darkest place they can go is in their own minds. Their crimes are broadcast as they happen and the world recoils in horror. People respond. Unions and protest organizations are working hard to fight back. republican scum politicians are being booted out of office, regressive republican agenda are being voted down. Guerrilla projection. A small thing but a cool one. Images projected onto the side of the Verizon Building in New York as OWS supporters walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. They chanted along to the words that were projected. That type of thing has happened in many places.
The point is, there is a unity to this. Protests are happening in all shapes and forms but they are all somehow connected. The whole country and the whole world is involved. Protesters have the technology to broadcast their agenda, the means to communicate it immediately and the ability to expose the brutality and corruption of the power brokers as it happens.
This movement is more powerful than 45 years ago because of that. I am jacked up and ready to roll. I will find a way to get involved. My generation failed the first time around. This is a chance to get it right and there are millions more involved in the fight.
But that UC Davis image remains in my skull. Especially the cop with his finger on the trigger as he retreated from an angry crowd that he and his compadres had just provoked.
The power brokers killed, jailed, beat and harassed the spirit out of the protesters last time around. They will try this again because it is what they do best. I'm sure they also have more sophisticated methods of undermining the protesters in 2011 as well and that thought frightens me too.
We cannot afford to lose this time. This country has become infinitely more corrupt, more unjust, more unbalanced in the last 45 years. It's all out in the open because the financial elite and the power brokers have gotten cocky.
If they crush this movement, what hope can there be for this country? I heard a stat yesterday that said nearly one out of three people in this country live at or very near the poverty level. If that number is even close to being true there is hell in the future of the pampered elite.
Poor people, unemployed people, are pissed off people. Especially when they have to watch rich republican moron politicians wasting time trying to defeat President Barack Obama instead of cooperating in an effort to save this country.
Anger can be a tool. A motivator. Let's use it wisely this time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brushing Up Against Beauty

Dig this and tell me what you think.
On my ride home from work last night two deer crossed my path in separate instances. Blew my mind. When was the last time that happened to you TWICE in one night? I doubt that has ever happened to me before.
The first one was on 202 and that was the one that worried me the most. He came out of the woods on the passenger side of the car and pranced out in front of me. I had to swerve right for him to get by me without hitting him. There was a car approaching in the other direction but the deer made it safely into the woods. The speed limit is 55 and most of us exceed that.
Five minutes later as I thought about that, I turned onto a typical country side road and another deer made an appearance. From my left, in front of me into the woods. I had to tap my brakes to avoid him. I am a spiritual man and always looking for meaning in certain circumstances. If it had been two porcupines or two aardvarks I would not have given it a second thought. But deer are beautiful, magical, graceful, majestic animals and I associate them with spirituality.
Maybe it was a sign from above that I am about to be rewarded, that I am doing the right things and my Joe-vibration is FINALLY in harmony with the universe. More likely it was a sign that man has encroached upon and upset the balance of the deers' world.
What would make a deer run across 202? They are intelligent and intuitive animals; they sense danger and know they are no match for the man-made killing machines on wheels.
They were both probably trying to find a better place to hide from the hunters who will be out to kill them today.
I don't dig hunting. Especially the way the white man goes about it. I understand that there is an argument to be made for it, the thinning of the herd thing, and maybe I could be convinced that that makes sense. But what it boils down to for me is that if I came face to face with a deer I could not kill it. Could not even come close. The fact that a hunter can pull the trigger tells me that there is a fundamental difference between us that disturbs me. These guys are not killing for survival, they are killing for sport. They can look at pure beauty and grace and put a bullet in its brain.
Hunting to Indians was a sacred ritual and they WERE hunting for survival. They could have done it coldly and moved on. Instead there were rituals to be followed and prayers to be said after the kill. Carol and I visited the Indian Museum in Warner recently and I read a post hunting prayer that moved me. I wish I had written it down because I cannot find it online. I found one with similar sentiments and I will paraphrase: "I have killed the deer, the grasshopper and the plants they feed upon, I have taken fish from the water and birds from the sky, in my life I have needed death so my life can be, when I die I must give life to what has nourished me." Indians understood that we are one with the animals, and that taking an animal's life disturbs the balance and that the balance must one day be restored.
In fairness to the white man, a hunter came into The Booze Emporium recently after a failed day in the woods. He had been hunting all his life and he spoke about deer reverently and with respect, commenting on their intelligence and grace. I liked his attitude but could not reconcile that with his ultimate goal.
Two points have to be made here. First, I established a spiritual connection with those two deer last night, and if they get killed in cold blood I will know it. I will hunt you down, deal to you the same fate and proudly display you on my dinner table on Thanksgiving.
Secondly and selfishly. I truly hope there was something spiritual, a message from those beautiful, mystical creatures directly to me. I have to believe in something. I need inspiration to keep me going at this pace. I am trying to become one with myself and one with the universe. Ain't no human gonna show me how to do that.
I need beauty, grace, intelligence and purity. I brushed up against that last night and it kissed my soul.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh, oh - Here Comes Prohibition Again

I am surprised the republicans have not introduced a proposal to re-instate prohibition. It would seem consistent with their general policy of taking everything away from the working class. In fact it suits their profile perfectly because after destroying hope and any chance at a comfortable and dignified future by killing medicare, medicaid, social security, pension funds, union rights, and jobs, people will be driven to alcohol for relief. That is all they will have left. That's when the republican scum will outlaw booze once again just to further torture and humiliate the 99%. I can just picture low life fools like Gingrich and Perry and Bachmann and Romney and Cain standing outside jailhouses clapping, jeering and laughing as alcohol outlaws are herded into cells and eventually sent off to prison with murderers and rapists and politicians and corporate executives. And then GPBR&C would all prance off to the nearest speakeasy and consume gallons of high quality bootlegged booze while lighting their cigars with $100 bills and giggling uncontrollably over their good fortune and undeniable wisdom.
Have you listened to Gingrich lately? What an absolute and arrogant moron. I wasn't a lobbyist - I was a historian. "Did you get paid 1.6 million?" "I don't know - we're going back to look into that." If somebody paid me 1.6 million dollars, it would be hard for me to overlook. "The money wasn't paid to me, it was paid to the Newt Gingrich Foundation." You call that a defense? If you want to appear innocent for at least 3 to 5 minutes give your foundation another name. Like "The Destroying Middle America While Laughing About It" Foundation.
I have to air these rants from time to time just to keep you honest. I hope there are no republican sympathizers soiling the pages of my blog, but if there is even one, and I can knock some sense into your head and get you to vote FOR America (Democrat) rather than against it (republican), than my cup will runneth over.
The violence that is escalating at the Occupy Wall Street protests is beginning to disturb me. Greatly. Typically the power brokers can just laugh at civil protesters because most of them play the drums badly and wear goofy hats. When the privileged elite begin to respond with violence, you know they are worried. Which means the protests are getting attention. If not becoming effective, at least giving the impression that they have the potential to become effective.
Protesters were beaten bloody in the sixties, they were killed, jailed and stripped of their rights and their dignity. Break them up, threaten them, hurt them, rob them of any continuity, harass them and you can weaken the message. That whole OWS library bullshit in NYC really disturbs me. That is low level, petty, obvious harassment.
This is America, mind you. America. Rules and laws get bent and broken in this country when the status quo is threatened and the privileged elite get away with it. THEY GET AWAY WITH ILLEGALLY BEATING AND JAILING AND HARASSING CIVIL PROTESTERS AND FIRING TEAR GAS CANISTERS DIRECTLY AT PROTESTERS' HEADS AND TEAR GASSING 84 YEAR OLD WOMEN.
They get away with it because it is easy to make the protesters look like fools, easy to take advantage of their passion. Many people probably assume the police violence is a proper response to instigation by the protesters. That's what the police count on.
Take a closer look. The police response is often way out of line with the situation. Once those canisters start flying, once those clubs start swinging, evil human nature takes over and it becomes a sport. And the cops know they can lie about what triggered the violence with ease.
Did we learn anything in the sixties?
I have a sense of unease this time around. A touch of hope as well. The protests seem to be gathering momentum. Voters are striking back, repealing grossly unfair republican "reforms." republican scum politicians are being re-called, voted out of office. There are many organizations out there fighting vocally against the raping of the middle class. The whole thing seems more organized this time, more noticeable. Maybe forty five years of anger and frustration over the failure of the revolt in the sixties has fermented slowly and bubbled to the surface. I hope so because there is a lot of anger there.
I just don't know how far the privileged elite will go to maintain their stranglehold on this country. They killed in the sixties. I think that's a pretty good indicator of their concept of morality.
These are dangerous times and becoming more so. I am excited, worried and nervous.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


You think you know me?
You don't. And I don't know you.
We are both desperate to find our souls,
before time runs out.
If we ever know ourselves we might get
to know each other.
That version of knowing is lightning.
It is thunder.
It is rare.

I Can't Be Happy

I have a wife who loves me no matter what.
She has weathered whiskey and worry, stress and struggle.
She believes in me as I have not.
I can't be happy.

I have two magnificent sons.
They are smart.
They laugh, they make me laugh.
Their women are intelligent, independent,
pretty and real.
I can't be happy.

I have friends who are honest and interesting.
A range of personalities. Always there for me.
I would trust any one of them with my life.
I can't be happy.

I have a magical brother.
For him I have endless respect and love.
Positive, funny, accomplished, and searching.
True friend as well as blood.
I can't be happy.

I have a job.
I have a dream.

Upon further review I am, apparently, happy.

Smokin' Joe

Joe Frazier died on November 7. Did the media ignore this or was I zoned out on quaaludes? I didn't see a lot of coverage.
Maybe a result of toiling in the shadow of Muhammad Ali.
Frazier was the enemy to me because I worshipped Ali. Still do. Early in Ali's career I was too young to stay up and watch the fights but I hungered to know. My father would watch the fight and leave me a note in my bedroom to wake up to. "Ali won in fifteen." That is a very fond memory of mine.
Frazier was the son of a South Carolina sharecropper and became heavyweight champ of the world. Amazing. "Undisputed Heavyweight Champ of the World." I love the sound of that. I want to become the "Undisputed Heavyweight Champ of the Written Word." I might have to start training a little harder.
That was back when being heavyweight champ really meant something. Wilbon and Kornheiser on PTI were talking about how people today talk about a great Super Bowl or World Series as an amazing spectacle. They made the point that no sporting event today can compare to the spectacle of heavyweight boxing back in Frazier's and Ali's day. I agree with extreme prejudice. Everybody watched, everybody talked about it, the media hype was enormous and it was just way cool.
Frazier beat Ali in their first bout in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, which was described at the time as The Fight of The Century. Frazier landed a thunderous left hook that smashed into Ali's jaw in the 14th round knocking him to the canvas. The memory of it makes me shudder even today. Frazier won by decision in 15. That blew my mind. Kind of like beating jesus at preaching. I suddenly realized that Ali was not invincible and Frazier is the man who taught me that lesson. They fought two more times. Ali won a twelve round decision in 1974 and then in 1975..............
The Thrilla in Manila. The hype, the spectacle, the insanity of it all was mind boggling. Mother Theresa herself had money on Ali, and she was sitting ringside yelling "Knock the son of a bitch out, he ain't even qualified to carry your jock."
Unbelievable fight. Brutal and punishing, but the spirit of both fighters shone brilliantly that day. Each refused to lose. Until the fifteenth when Frazier could not come out of his corner, his eyes practically swollen shut. Many consider it the greatest boxing match in history. Afterwards Ali said "It was like death. Closest thing to dying that I know of."
Ali is also quoted as saying: " Of all the men I fought, Sonny Liston was the scariest, George Foreman was the most powerful, Floyd Patterson was the most skilled as a boxer. But the roughest and toughest was Joe Frazier. He brought out the best in me, and the best fight we fought was in Manila."
High praise from the greatest boxer who ever lived.
I miss those days. Boxing is a joke now. Manny Paquiao boxes every other weekend and what passes for hype is embarrassing. I know he's not a heavyweight, give me a break. I'm just trying to make a point. I miss Ali and I respect the men who had the guts to get in the ring with him and, occasionally, beat him.
If Ali says Frazier is the toughest guy he ever fought, that's good enough for me. I can't say I followed Smokin' Joe's career, I was too busy worshipping at the alter of Muhammad. But understanding his greatness through Ali's eyes tells me that the world has lost another great one.

Trembling Before..............

Abraham Lincoln in a debate with Stephen A. Douglas quoted Thomas Jefferson as saying that he: "trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just." Jefferson was referring to slavery, even though he himself was a slave owner.

Heavy duty words. Applicable today to cretinous republicans who blatantly sacrifice the welfare of the citizens of this country and destroy any chance at a better future. They are destroying hope.

I am not a God-fearing man, although as I continue to age inexorably towards death inevitable, I become more inquisitive about whose legs exactly are dangling over the edges of the clouds. But I dig the heaviness of the comment. You can substitute karma or destiny or the general concept of righteousness for God in that sentence, but the truth is that this country has a lot to answer for. And the current crop of idiot republicans are number 1 on the list.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are You Serious?

Briefly saw an interview with a Philadelphia Eagles player this morning. Didn't catch his name, don't want to know. He skipped a team meeting, subsequently stood up before the team to explain himself, now he was telling the media what he said.
Part of it was: "It's hard for me to come to work and feel happy." Really?
If you are getting paid millions, happiness doesn't enter into it. We pamper and baby these athletes and they respond appropriately. It disgusts me.
I earn 13 cents an hour. I have to hump boxes of booze, stock shelves, deal with the idiot public, dust, vacuum, wash and wax, I have to serve tea to my Evil Boss at 4:00 and then wash the dishes, I have to paint the walls and clean out the latrine, and wash out the inside of the dumpster. All this for a weekly take home pay of $2.73.
If I skipped a day's work and then explained the next day that it was hard for me to come to work and be happy, I would get egged.
His teammates should have wrapped his head in their dirty jockstraps, stripped him naked and forced him to shop at Wal-Mart.
That excuse is only acceptable to a kindergarten student. And I don't know too many of them with jobs.
What the hell is going on here?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Best That You Can

This is my first shot at writing a song lyric. Kind of a country feel. Be gentle with me. I am an infant.

Good time friends on bar stools beside you,

You laugh and drink and don’t stop to think

the tab will run out and they’ll do the same

Your wife is alone and she’s crying

Searching for something that cannot be understood

‘cause you don’t even know what you have

When you’re unhappy you know it, when you’re happy you don’t

 mistaking the bad for the good

Drinking whiskey with no justification

 telling everybody you’re doing the best that you can

Wasting your life with no explanation

The laughter is hollow, you’re playing the part of a man

You crave respect knowing it can’t be bought

and too lazy to earn it

Drawn to the darkness at the end of the block

wondering why you feel so shallow

You got what you need, she’s all that you need

Have another shot, laugh a little louder

Kill the truth that’s inside you

and try not to bleed

Drinking whiskey with no justification

telling everybody you’re doing the best that you can

Wasting your life with no explanation

The laughter is hollow, you’re playing the part of a man

More Than Just A Commute

I got Kristofferson-erized again Saturday morning. Got home from work at 9:00 Friday night and was back on the road to work at 8:15 Saturday morning. I was vulnerable.
Driving The Peace-mobile. Carol's car has this new fangled thing called a CD player; I took full advantage of it. Kris Kristofferson - This Old Road.
I can get vulnerable with a belly full of booze or half a joint, but I like it the natural way -tired and receptive.
"Look at that old photograph, is it really you?" Meaningful on many levels. You can look at old pictures of yourself and laugh at how young you looked or the clothes you were wearing (or not wearing). If that's all you get out of it you are probably the type who took one shot at reading Shakespeare and said "These people talk funny."
I look at old pictures of myself and see a piece of me. But it ain't really me. The me that is me right now is a lot more me than the me I was then.
Haven't listened to this CD for a while so when those words floated out at me I careened all over the road, bounced off the guard rail, did a three sixty back across the road and ran over a hunter. No great loss.
"Am I young enough to believe in revolution
Am I strong enough to get down on my knees and pray
Am I high enough on the chain of evolution
To respect myself, and my brother and my sister
And perfect myself in my own peculiar way"
Those are words born of wisdom. No twenty year old could ever write those words (unless they were named John Lennon or Paul McCartney or George Harrison). Those words cover a whole lot of ground and rise up out of a wealth of experience.
Fueled by the weight of those words I'm driving down 89 at 85 m.p.h. and thinking that this is the source of my frustration. The way these words make me feel, the way they make me think and question and evolve, that is the way I want to feel every moment that I am awake. Which lately is about 23 hours per day.
My essence vibrates when I come into contact with lyrics or poetry or music that has depth, and I realize that that is the parallel universe within which I should be living. That is why I am anxious all the time and uncomfortable. The life that I live that separates me from meaningful creativity simply does nothing for me. If I am not reading poetry or listening to music or reading literature or writing, than I am just marking time.
I was tired but those words woke me up and roused emotion in me. It was cold, I was going to work against my will and my concept of masculinity was being challenged by the chariot I was piloting and yet I was suddenly smiling and thinking and analyzing and evolving.
I am trying to learn to live in the now and eliminate whine and worry. My guts can't take too much more regret or concern, they are twisted and bubbling over as it is. Those two songs blasted me out of past and future and anchored me firmly to The Now. Just like that. That is powerful stuff, man.
The subtext to this is that I should probably learn to deal with what others define as reality because it is impossible for me to live in the world of poetry 24/7. But I'm 57 years old. I have been this way all my life. Have always preferred poetry, song lyrics and music to people. Frankly I don't want to change. Asshead surgeons can't find the time to talk to my son but they could probably perform a gut transplant on me if needed. I'll have to move forward under that assumption.
I'm looking at the cover of This Old Road. Kris is staring right at me with eyes filled with knowing. The man has lived a life and created a lot of beauty.
I would like to contribute a little towards that in my own peculiar way.

Leather and Lace

"Sometimes I'm a strong man, sometimes cold and scared, and sometimes I cry"

I love those lyrics because they're so honest.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Words For Breakfast

Yeah, you know I worship words and take note of well written and/or interesting quotes. Here's one from The Fiery Trail spoken "by a fugitive slave quoting a Negro field hand on a Tennessee plantation" - "I DON'T TRUST THE LIVING AND I WALK CAREFULLY AMONG THE DEAD." That pretty much says it all, baby.

Here's a strictly commercial blurb that I love. Jim Beam has created a bourbon called Devil's Cut. Here's the angle: "As bourbon ages, a portion of the liquid is lost from the barrel due to evaporation - that's the Angel's Share. After aging, when the bourbon is dumped out of the barrel, a certain amount of whiskey is left trapped within the wood of every barrel. We call that The Devil's Cut."
They go on to explain how they extract that bourbon from the barrel and blend it with six year old bourbon to create Devil's Cut.
The explanation is not necessary. They had me with that Angels' Share/Devil's Cut business. This is a bourbon I absolutely have to try, and all because of words.
Please join me.

The Fiery Trail

Certain books when you read them demand your full attention. Just started The Fiery Trail by Carl Sandburg. Written in 1948. The back drop is slavery and the Civil War. It is so well written that your mind cannot wander for one second. Each sentence is a delicious meal for your brain.
 I have read 10.3 million books. Sometimes my mind wanders. My eyes are seeing the words, my brain is wondering "When will I die? How will I die? Will I ever have Money? Will work suck today? Do I have enough whiskey to get through Sunday?" And I still manage to make it through the book.
My favorite books are the ones that do not allow this. If my mind wanders, I get to the end of the sentence and my brain says "Whoa, baby - what did I just read?" I go back and re-read it and blammo I am fulfilled. Thankfully my brain seems able to take note when I am reading high quality writing and refuses to allow me to miss it. I love this type of experience because I have to concentrate while reading and I get so much more out of it. These types of books seep into my bloodstream, battle their way through the whiskey and find a home in my soul.
I live for books like this.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Running Dog, Buddy, and Sundance The Younger

I am the strangest man I have ever met. I adopt animals in my mind, love them and consider them to be my own. Even though I have never met them and never will.
The Running Dog lives right down the street from me. He's my buddy. I can only see him in the wintertime WHEN EVERYTHING IS COLD AND DEAD. During our brief two month summer, lush vegetation surrounds his yard with a wall of beauty.
His property intersects my street along a curve. As you drive past the yard he runs along a track of dirt that curves in the opposite direction than the street is curving. Picture a left parenthesis and a right parenthesis back to back. I'm terrible at describing stuff like that so if you can't picture it you are on your own. How about the edge of two circles that are tangent to one another? OK - I give up.
I am not sure if he wore the track in the dirt with his vigilance or whether his owner created it, but I am glad it's there. So, as you drive by he chases you in his own way. He never leaves the track, never rushes out into the street. He just runs at top speed along this path until you curve away from him and he curves away from you.
I love it. I love his energy and I love his intelligence in not running into the street. I have almost gone off the road many times as I watch him fly.
But I'm worried about him this year. Now that EVERYTHING IS COLD AND DEAD I look for him every time I drive by. I have seen him a number of times at the foot of his steps but he hasn't chased me. This disturbs me. Is he getting old? Bored? Is he preoccupied with agonizing concern that a republican might actually take over the White House? Maybe he has decided that I am not worthy of his performance because he is an overachiever and I am an underachiever. I don't know but I really miss his enthusiasm. I hope he chases me soon and I hope he is OK.
When I need to indulge in a few last moments of peace before going to work I take the back roads. It is a peaceful and a beautiful ride. Harsh contrast to the insanity and high intensity testosterone bluster that is my work environment. There is an old dog along the route that I don't even have a nickname for, which is strange because I have nicknames for everything. I'll call him Buddy because when I do see him I say "How you doing, buddy", as I give him the three fingered wave - pinky, index and thumb. The house has a picture window and Buddy sleeps in this window in the warm sunshine on a blanket. On rare and lucky days I see him outside. I don't know for sure he is old but he projects an air of ancient wisdom.
There was an agonizingly long period of time when I didn't see him at all. As a staunch optimist I was so afraid that he had died. But the blanket remained in the window and I remained hopeful. He has recently re-appeared and I have seen him a number of times, even saw him outside last week. He adds a little love to my commute.
Before you get to Buddy's house there is a house with a platform cat scratching post in front of a picture window. The cat is black and white and sometimes I see him sitting intelligently and looking out the window. Cool dude. I don't have a name for him so I'm going to name him now - Sundance The Younger - in honor of the first cat I ever fell in love with.
The original Sundance was an outdoor cat who used to greet me at 2 or 3 in the morning as I came drunkenly home. This was when I lived with my parents. I used to sit on the concrete ledge at the bottom of the backdoor steps and pat him and talk to him for a while before I ascended up into the war zone. It was a precious tender moment after a night of posturing and pretending and peer pressure conformity.
I'll never get to talk to Sundance The Younger, but I dig him enormously along with the quick shot of sweetness he injects into my commute on the lucky days.
When I am rich and famous I'm going to surround myself with animals. They are real and they bring me peace.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dreaming Into A Cold Wind

I am dancing down the road
Carrying a heavy load
I don't know where I'm goin'
I feel a cold wind blowin'
Dreaming 'bout a pot o' gold

More Booze Emporium Observations

I hate this. I say "How you doing?" The customer says "I'm fine. How are you?" I reply "I'm doing all right." The victim replies "Atta boy." ATTA BOY? I am 57 years old. The phrase atta boy has not applied to me since I was seven. I don't care if the customer is 93, the phrase is still unacceptable. I feel like saying "Here's your change, Little Johnny."

The people who come in with their precious wine bags. I don't have a problem with the bags, its probably a good idea. Anything to try to keep this planet alive. But if you are going to use them, load them up yourself. I hate putting the bottles in them because they flop around, fall over, and slow me down. And you always get the optimist who wants you to cram the 1.5 liter bottles into a 750 ml hole. Do me a favor, save my sanity while you save the planet. Bag your own damn booze.

President Randall P. McMurphy

Sorry about yesterday's lecture. That was pretty dry. Occupy Wall Street had caught my attention and I wanted to write about it so I did some research. But when I do research it can kill spontaneity. I'm better when I'm flying with emotion. However I dig the movement and hope it develops some teeth. And hopefully you learned something and your life has been changed. (My god, Joe is a pompous ass).
Watched the 114th republican debate last night. Supreme entertainment. These people are consummate fools. Gingrich is an arrogant bully, Romney is wimpy and conviction-less, Bachmann has the Juju eyes, Perry is a drunken, racist, good ole boy, Santorum looks like a whiny teenager, Huntsman doesn't even exist, Cain is an arrogant sleezeball, Paul has no pizazz and no chance (although he's kind of like-able because he is not a polished liar, I mean, politician).
I think the republican party would do better if they scoured insane asylums for candidates. Do insane asylums even exist anymore? I like the old school approach, the ones with straight jackets and electro-shock therapy and torture and lobotomies. Today's asylums are probably country clubs. Although as I think about this, the modern approach is probably better for me because there is an excellent chance I will end up in one. I don't get life at all, or more specifically the world we live in, and the harder I fight against it, the better the odds that I end up drooling in a corner somewhere. I prefer to do my drooling in front of a lake rather than in a straight jacket.
Imagine the cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest televised in a republican debate. There would be more substance to the discussion and it would be more entertaining. Win win.
Can't you just picture Martini, Cheswick, Taber, McMurphy, Chief Bromden, Fredrickson, Harding and Billy lined up behind those podiums? McMurphy would be saying stuff like "Which one of you nuts has got any guts?"  Nurse Ratched would be the moderator and she would ask Billy about his stand on abortion. When he says he's in favor of it she would reply "You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this." He would begin stuttering uncontrollably and cry silently behind his podium. The conservative audience would boo him and throw rocks at him for being weak and emotional.
When she asks McMurphy about accusations of sexual harassment he would say "They was giving me ten thousand watts a day, you know and I'm hot to trot. The next woman takes me on's gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars." Chief Bromden would avoid answering anything all night (the ultimate politician) until the very end when he would pull out a piece of gum and say "Mmm, juicy fruit."
Martini would keep saying "Hit me. Hit me."
It would be complete chaos but it would be real and it would give conservatives exactly what they deserve; a bunch of loonies running wild.
It really is frightening to see the low quality of the candidates our political system spits out. What scares me is that we have a brilliant man in the White House, but because of his lack of political skills, his lack of balls and the juvenile insistence of the republicans to block him at every turn at the expense of the welfare of this country, we might be missing a moment. The ultimate moment.
Given a second term I believe President Obama will kick some ass. If he is defeated the inmates will be running the asylum.
And President McMurphy will be justified in asking "Who's the head bull-goose loony around here?"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I want to believe in the Occupy Wall Street movement. At first I ignored them, but lately I have been paying more attention. What they are trying to do is exactly what needs to be done - an uprising of the people, the hard working, ain't got no money and no future even though I work two jobs people.
My gut tells me this will never succeed because they are going up against the very people who own and run this country. Very powerful people with absolutely no conscience. People who do not care about the fate of this country or its citizens.
But I'm not sure. Voters in Wisconsin just rolled back the absurd laws that destroyed union rights. Voters in Mississippi defeated the life at conception ballet. I think maybe people are starting to fight back.
There is a huge amount of anger in this country and it is ripe to tap into something like the Occupy Wall Street movement. Frightened homeowners, unemployed and under employed people, people whose retirement has been raped, might get so frustrated that they decide to fight back. That is beautiful but the whole thing has to be focused. Matt Taibbi in a Rolling Stone article came up with a list of five demands that the movement should focus on. They are excellent. My favorite one suggests changing the way bankers get paid. Instead of paying bonuses up front to these greed-heads "for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later," Taibbi suggests that "if you make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now." That way you are invested in your company's financial health instead of raping it for immediate wealth at the expense of investors. Think these assheads would go along with that?
People sitting in front of tents banging on drums, dancing and singing will only attract derision. We've been there before.
The baby boomers rose up a generation strong and pointed fingers at the government and corporations and protested the Viet Nam war and racial and gender prejudice. Their rage was 100% justified but they also painted their faces, wore flowers in their hair, took drugs openly and encouraged sexual experimentation. There was nothing wrong with any of this except for the country it was being done in. The United States is juvenile in its moral judgements; we are teenagers, the rest of the world are adults. I was blown away by what my generation tried to do and I have always believed that it could never happen again.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began on September 17 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's financial district. In less than two months it has spread all across the country and has supporters around the world. This gives me hope. There have been revolutions, civil war and uprisings, major and minor protests in 17 countries in the Arab world since December 18, 2010. The same tactic used in the Arab world - the Arab Spring approach - using civil resistance to protest and using social media to organize, communicate and raise awareness, is being used in the Occupy Wall Street movement.When people are oppressed they will fight back and its a new world, baby.
In the Occupy Wall Street website there is a list of criticisms of our social, political and economic systems which are dead on. In the economic section they cite a "general degradation of the employer and employee relationship" and point to the tinkering with pension plans, paid sick and maternity leave, outsourcing of jobs, and the reliance on part time workers to avoid paying benefits and overtime (which is exactly where I am at).
I am disturbed by the violence and arrests in Oakland, Denver, Portland, and Boston. We saw that  in the sixties as well. The financial elite will use every tool at their disposal to fight back when challenged, and with no conscience, nothing is off limits. Think Kent State.
Financial injustice and the oppression of the working class has been status quo in this country for too long. I would love to see a successful uprising that turns America on its head. But I'm not sure. I am cautiously optimistic but I have been burned before.
If I didn't live in an arctic zone I would be out there with my shoulder length hair, poetry, rage and Matt Taibbi's demands fighting along with you. I fervently hope something comes of this. The power brokers in this country need their asses kicked.

Where's The Beef?

I am feeling very human today. Fifty two days until the end of the year and I am wondering what all my effort this year has gotten me.
I can honestly say that I have never before in my life put so much effort into trying to make change. Change in me, change in our standard of living, change in my way of thinking. I'm am 57 years old. What a shame. Had I expended this much effort consistently over the last thirty five years I would be a god right now. Supremely happy and in total control of my life. But I cannot dwell on that. Because I know in my heart that I am doing the right things. When you feel it in your heart and mind and soul then you know you are on the right track.
Time mocks me and I worry about that. Too little too late? Since I don't know what the future holds I have to keep pushing, and I am OK with that.
Its entirely possible that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31 that I will have accomplished none of my goals. That would be very hard for me to swallow, but I have learned the pace of change is slow, especially when you are trying to reverse a lifetime of inertia. I have already begun to tell myself that at the very least I have laid the groundwork for success in 2012. I do not believe that all this effort has been wasted, I cannot believe that because if I do I will lose my mind. What's left of it.
The dedication has resulted in a fundamental change. I know I cannot go back to who I was. I get up almost every day at 6:00 a.m. On days when I don't have to be at work until two, on days when I don't have to be at work at all. I cram every moment with doing. Whether I am exercising, writing, doing chores or cooking, I am doing.
There were times I hated my professional life so deeply that when I had free time I would do nothing. If I was up before 10:00 a.m. I felt cheated. Sleeping was a way to avoid life. I felt I had to sit and read and drink and watch movies, be completely selfish and non-productive because the time I spent working was robbing me of my life, destroying the real me. I existed for a very long time in a state of shock because my life had become exactly what I did not want it to be.
Most days now if I am sitting in my recliner when Carol gets home from work I have probably only been there for fifteen minutes. Every time I finish one thing during the day I'm immediately thinking OK what can I do next.
This may not be revolutionary for some of you. I know many people who are productive. Its revolutionary for me and that's all I care about.
I would like some kind of sign before 2011 ends. Some reward, some encouragement. Its beginning to look like weight loss may be the only area where I succeed, although I don't take that for granted. I know I am one cheeseburger away from gaining thirteen pounds. If I do weigh 169 on 12/31, of course I will celebrate with a heaping plate of Fettuccine Alfredo, a bottle of wine, three glasses of whiskey and an entire pecan pie. Makes sense to me.
Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living." I believe that to be an ultimate truth. I thought I was examining my life for decades but what I was really doing was READING about examining my life and filtering the information through a lens of self loathing and whiskey anesthesia.
Lately I look in the mirror and actually see somebody in there. I have actually smiled at my own reflection and then stepped back in amazement at what is going on in my head. There have been thousands of moments when I stood in front of that same mirror and looked into angry eyes, eyes that radiated self hatred and disappointment, eyes that were so dark and frustrated and lost that it twisted my guts. Imagine looking at your own reflection and being intimidated by the venom that is reflected there.
I am examining my life in 2011. Under a microscope and I am looking for answers. I am initiating change and following up on it and I want to see where I land.
I deserve this. I have beat myself up mercilessly forever. I don't want that anymore.
Peace of mind, baby - I want peace of mind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brief Thoughts and Observations

At 4:45 p.m. yesterday, I looked through the over sized windows of The Booze Emporium to see a gorgeous sunset. Clouds were low hanging, the sky was red and I was in awe. The feeling was in direct contrast to the drudgery that sometimes defines the job.
By 5:30 the sky was pitch black and my thoughts turned to cold, wind, snow, ice, the ending of everything and the beginning of nothing.
In 45 short minutes I was reminded of just how little warmth and beauty we get here in New England and just how much cold and ugliness we have to endure.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Medical Rant 2.0

A ticker at the bottom of the TV screen this morning said "A new study shows that drinking two glasses of wine a day may increase the risk of breast cancer in women by 50%."

Eggs were good, eggs were bad. Coffee was good, coffee was bad. Sugar good, sugar bad. Wine good, wine bad. Red meat good, red meat bad. Vitamins good, vitamins bad. Jogging good, jogging bad. Too much exercise, too little exercise. The right way to work out, the wrong way, wrong equals right, right equals wrong.

The medical community can perform organ transplants, install pacemakers, re-attach severed limbs, remove tumors, separate Siamese twins, perform delicate brain surgery.
The medical community has absolutely no clue how the human body works on a very basic level. Why what is good for you might be bad for me.
Maybe surgery is more profitable than promoting and maintaining health. Too cynical?

Its just that I find it odd in 2011 with all the information and expertise and research and analysis that our esteemed medical professionals cannot come up with a consistent recipe for health.

My advice: Do what feels right to you and ignore your doctor's contempt when he criticizes your lifestyle. He doesn't know a goddamn thing about you.

A Sidelong Glance

As I walked in to the swap shop with my box of junk,
she glanced sidelong at my treasures.
My hello was met with silence.
I hadn't shaved for two days
and apparently neither had she.
Looking beat down, dressed poorly,
with mistrust in her eyes, we both knew our
lives were different.
She was sifting through boxes and piles carefully,
maybe for something she needed as opposed
to something she wanted.
I do it the other way around.
She would spit on me if I complained about my life,
as I do constantly.
Her contempt would be deserved.
My ingratitude was revealed in a penetrating sidelong glance.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Love and Respect for the Medical Community and Especially, Insurance Companies

My son is having back problems. He is 31. Too young to be having back problems. He visited the general practitioner and was scheduled for an MRI. He had the MRI and waited something like four or five or six or seven days to get the goddamn results. Whoever was responsible for reading the MRI just didn't get around to it. This is so unacceptable it borders on malpractice.
I'm sure he had to get a referral to even get the MRI so he lost time there, then an incompetent asshead can't be bothered to read the MRI because he or she was too busy worrying about Kim Kardashian's mental state concerning her divorce.
Once the MRI was finally reviewed it was decided that my son should talk to a surgeon. More referrals, more delays. He still doesn't have an appointment with The Almighty Surgeon. The surgeon is obviously too fucking busy researching next years technological advances in golf clubs.
The whole process has taken a couple of weeks. Maybe more. At my age all time lapses seem like decades.
We are talking about my son's health here. I am entitled to be worried, I am entitled to be pissed off. If his last name was Trump, I guarantee you he would have seen the GP on Monday, had the MRI on Tuesday, gotten the results on Wednesday and talked to The Almighty Surgeon on Thursday.
This is why I despise the medical community. First of all, if you have money you get preferential treatment because you have the Cadillac of insurance policies. And even if the insurance won't cover enough to make the hospital or surgeon smile, they know you are good for the excess.
Worse than that, the insurance company is not making a decision based on the best interests of your health and well being, they are making decisions based on your level of coverage.
It is disgusting to me that your health takes a back seat to financial concerns. This is the most immoral and corrupt aspect of our society. Any doctor or insurance executive who can be proven to have held up medical treatment while evaluating financial considerations should be executed. Tortured first and then executed. And their family should be denied any and all life insurance proceeds.
We call ourselves a civilized society. We are not. A civilized society is based on compassion and cares about its people.
We are a greed driven, cold hearted, selfish and cruel society.
Keith will get through the red tape, get whatever treatment he decides is best and move on with his life.
Keith is a writer. I hope he gets the chance some day to expose some asshead doctor or some immoral insurance executive for the scum that they are. I hope they lose their job and their fortune as a result. I hope they apply for a job as a journalist gopher at Keith's paper. I hope they come begging into Keith's office for the final interview, sobbing uncontrollably because they have no money and no place to live.
And I hope I'm around to hear Keith say "Sorry, you do not qualify."

Music or Religion - Should We Really Have To Choose?

Went to church this morning.
That blow your mind? It should. Me and church don't get along. My background is Catholicism, an angry, vengeful, vindictive religion based on fear. Kind of turned me off. I have done a lot of reading on various religions but I have not conducted much of that research inside churches.
Truth is, I went to the Henniker Congregational Church to see my daughter-IN-LAW sing some jazz. She is the musical director. And to see and hear Delfeayo Marsalis. Delfeayo has two brothers named Wynton and Branford. If you are not familiar with them, do some research -  they are jazz royalty. I have heard and been blown away by both of them. I am not pretending to be a jazz aficionado - honestly I never heard of Delfeayo before, but he performed at New England College here in town last night, and graciously agreed to sit in with the Prodigals Jazz band at today's service. A jazz service. How cool is that?
First impressions: The church. Pretty simple. Not overly ostentatious like most Catholic churches. I dug that. It ain't about the building, its about what happens inside that building. No kneelers - dug that too, and not just because of my age. I always hated kneeling in submission during church services. Is god's ego that damn big that he needs to see me on my knees to feel worshipped? I cannot dig a god who feels he has to humble me.
I was not prepared for the emotional roller coast I experienced during this celebration.
The music was first and foremost. Jazz, baby. A collection of jazz tunes and religious anthems performed joyously with the congregation singing along, clapping their hands and tapping their feet. This is what religion was meant to be. The combination is perfect in my mind; music is religion; to the people that perform it, it is a spiritual experience, to the listeners that get it, it is inspiring.  I got to thinking that all churches should be jazz churches or blues churches. A soul that is liberated through music is a soul that is closer to god.
Listening to Emily sing with these talented musicians brought tears to my eyes, as it always does. Digging Delfeayo filled me with awe. I have played musical instruments (badly) and I have a tiny understanding of the technical expertise and inspiration involved in playing a musical instrument in a way that allows you to express what is in your soul. It ain't easy, baby.
The emotions were just beginning. Bob Maccini from the Prodigals got up to explain that their trombone player, David Dustin, couldn't make this performance due to emergency heart surgery. I got the impression that he is doing all right, which is what counts. BUT here's the cruel irony - Delfeayo plays the trombone. This blew my mind. David must have been heart broken. If I had the chance to sit in Hunter S. Thompson's kitchen, but couldn't make it because of boils or aggravated diarrhea, I would have been crushed. I wish David well and I wish him another chance to sit in with Delfeayo.
While prayers were being offered up, the name of a friend of ours was mentioned because she was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. This was a horrible jolt and I fought hard to choke back tears (unsuccessfully). Her own daughter beat cancer at a young age, now Jeannie is battling it. Who does this to us fragile humans? And why? And what can religion do about it?
More prayers for people recently dead, sick people, newborns; prayers for what life is and what life does. Again, I was blown away by the scope of life being recognized in a few short words.
I am two months away from completing my 58th year on this planet. I think about death and I think about religion. I want to believe in a higher power but I cannot believe in one that uses hell as a motivator. Eternal suffering? What god could sentence his own creations to something so hideous?
Today will not convert me to a church goer. But it nudged me a little to give the idea of religion some more thought. My impressions were all wound up in the interrelationship of music and faith and church and a community of people with the same hopes and fears coming together to worship, to celebrate, to dig music and to hope. The pastor gave a sermon but the music was the sermon to me. And I bet it was to a lot of the people there as well.
As we walked out, there was an old lady in front of me negotiating the steps with a cane. I heard her say "Well THAT was lively." Said in an appreciative tone. I cracked a huge smile. How cool is that? Maybe that was her first experience with a service of that kind and maybe it changed her thinking a little.
That is the power of music. And should be the power of religion.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Carol's Beauty Expressed

We humans are a curious lot. We spend 99% of our time, our lives, mired in drudgery. 1%, if we are lucky, soaring in dreams and magic. Work takes up all your time, food shopping, cleaning, paying bills, doing the dishes and the laundry and on and on and on. You hit the recliner or the couch exhausted and medicate yourself with whiskey and TV.
I would like to believe that every single person has a talent, a dream that keeps them hopeful to make life bearable. I'm not sure this is true. Maybe there are millions of people with no dream, who trudge through their lives dead emotionally until they die physically. If that is life than it is a cruel joke.
Carol is participating in a craft fair today. She crochets. She crochets beautifully. We were up at 6:00 on a Saturday morning. I watched her pull all her stuff together, get it organized, helped her load The Bug, kissed her and wished her luck.
There was an air of excitement and nervousness in the house. She was very alive. This is what she does, it is who she is. She crochets every single night. It is therapy to her and an immense talent. Everybody admires her work, and rightfully so.
What struck me this morning was the contrast to the mood in this house on weekday mornings. Every day I watch Carol get ready for work. She literally mopes around the house. No enthusiasm, no excitement, sometimes it feels like dread. This is so opposite to her true nature that it hurts me to watch it every day. Carol is a positive person. She fights life with a positive attitude and appreciates the meaningful things. I'm the one who walks around saying that life sucks and the world is a cesspool. It hurts me to watch her Monday-Friday because even though I have the power to liberate her from this torture I haven't been together enough to do it. Yet. But that's a story for another place and time.
She has participated in other craft fairs and come away disappointed. Selling only one or two things, making little or no money. As a human she interprets this as a commentary on her talent. She even said to me today "What if my stuff looks like crap compared to everybody else's?" My god, that is like Picasso saying "What if my paintings don't measure up to that kindergarten kid's stick figures?"
But that is the nature of dreams. We have so little time to devote to them that every defeat seems enormous by way of comparison.
Carol was alive this morning. It is the way she deserves to be every single day of her life. Creating beautiful things comes from her soul, it nourishes her and satisfies her. Tangible proof of the beautiful spirit limited by the nine to five grind.
She is very excited about this particular craft fair. She described it as a real craft fair. Her hope is high. It will break my heart if she does not do well, if she is disappointed. I have seen it before and I hate it. She comes home down after all the effort, all the pride, all the work, all the hope. She deserves so much better.
If people don't buy her stuff it is a reflection on them, not her. Maybe they don't have the money, maybe they cannot recognize beauty when they see it, maybe they are just damn cheap, maybe they don't realize the effort and the talent and the love that goes into the making of these things. Maybe we are in the wrong place, maybe in another town or city or state, Carol could sell everything she makes as fast as she makes it. Make a living from it and kiss nine to five goodbye.
I watched my wife be alive today. I felt her anxiousness, and saw her dream alive in her eyes. I am stopping by on my way to work and I pray that she is doing well. I hope she kicks craft fair ass today.
If she does not, I take comfort in knowing that she is a fighter. Carol never gives up. Her spirit and her talent won't allow it.
Her momentary doubt this morning really bothered me, especially in contrast to her excitement about participating in this event. But I got to see her soul, and that is a special moment between a husband and wife because it is so real, so raw and so real.
Kick some ass today, baby. I love you with all my heart.