Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 (and the little things)

On Friday night, November 10, Carol and I and the cats shared a bed together for the first time since November 1. Unfuckingbelievably comforting.

Carol and I spent November 1 in a dingy hotel in Lebanon, NH. Complete with rats and cockroaches, hookers roaming the hallways and tequila flowing out of the bathroom tap.

Had to get up at 4:30 the following morning to get to Dartmouth-Hitchcock on time for two surgeons to spend 7 and 1/2 hours inside my wife's head. While I read and paced and slept and ate. Waiting for the fucking buzzer in my pocket to go off alerting me that it was time to meet with the surgeons as I held my breath.

Between November 2 and November 5, I spent 2 nights at home and 1 night in the hospital. I would get home around 9 or 10 at night, stay up until midnight or 1, get up at 6, head back to the hospital.

The cats were confused.

Carol came home on November 5 and had to sleep on the couch because she could not make it up and down the stairs. She chose the couch, I am not that much of an asshole. I slept in the spare room directly across from the couch to keep an eye on her.

Until Friday night November 10, when Carol decided she had had enough. I helped her upstairs and into bed. When I came out of the bathroom, both cats were sitting up at the end of the bed as if they were not sure things were back to normal. I looked at Carol curled up on her side, looked back at the cats, and a big, goofy smile spread across my face, even as a couple of tears wet my cheeks.

It's the little things, folks. It is the little things.

That was my first Thanksgiving this year. The second one came when Carol could make it up and down the stairs on her own. The third came when she drank from a straw for the first time since the surgery. I cannot accurately express to you how much happiness it gave me to see Carol conquer these milestones.

Tomorrow is the real deal.

I have been waiting a year for Thanksgiving 2017. To redeem myself.

Last year I got drunk and was exhausted after only four hours sleep. I got stupid emotional and made a farce out of my family's favorite day.

I did not know and could not know that in my waiting Carol would be diagnosed with breast cancer and a tumor in her brain.

I did not know that Keith would be preparing for divorce, I did not know that Craig would split up with Karen.

My immediate family has taken some painful hits this year and I do not understand it. It is the first time the four of us have had to deal with so much adversity simultaneously and it breaks my heart.

It    fucking    breaks    my    heart.

It will be a small day in numbers tomorrow. Just the four of us. Going back to where we started.

It will be a huge day for us as a family. Being together, pulling together, supporting each other, sharing empathy and pure, unadulterated love. It is what family is all about.

Safe harbor, baby - safe harbor.

 I am looking forward to Thanksgiving 2017 with all the love and sensitivity in my heart and in my soul. My sense of life's unpredictability and fragility has become finely tuned. This year has rocked us.

But I know intuitively that my family is magic. Pure fucking magic. We laugh together, we share honest conversation, we are comfortable in each other's company.

That is a precious gift and it means everything to me. Everything.

Tomorrow we will relax and catch our breath. We will absorb what is happening to us.

And we will move on.

2017 has been a rude awakening. It has taught me a lot. It can also kiss my ass.

I am excited to see what is in store for my family in the future. We are four good people and I know that more good things await us.

Tomorrow will be the most meaningful Thanksgiving we have ever shared.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Week

Tough week.

Probably the toughest of our young lives. And that is saying a lot because this family has been through hell. My immediate family and my extended family.

The fucking suffering and heartbreak and loss is overwhelming to me. I have witnessed the unjust suffering and wondered why? What does it mean to be a human being? What is the fucking point?

On Thursday morning, the good people of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center will wheel my wife away from me and towards the operating room. Where she will spend at least the next eight hours enduring delicate surgery inside her head.

There are specific moments from Carol's experience with the mastectomy that will stick in my mind forever. One of which was the moment when they wheeled her away from me to begin "the procedure".

A kindly individual was explaining to me where I could go to wait out the surgery and what type of support they would provide for me, but I heard nothing. I was not openly crying but you better believe there were tears escaping down my cheeks.

Helpless. Fucking helpless to protect my wife.

That surgery was estimated to take 3 hours. It took 5 and 1/2. This surgery is estimated to take "every bit of 8 hours", as the most recent surgeon we spoke to put it.

On the positive side: this is not technically brain surgery. The tumor is situated on the three nerves that affect Carol's hearing, balance and facial muscles. It is called an acoustic neuroma. It is benign 99.9% of the time. It is a slow growing tumor. If they cannot remove the entire thing it is not exceptionally dangerous because she will be 90 before it becomes a problem again.

Logically, we should be able to take great comfort in those facts.

But we are human. We are nervous.

This black cloud has been hanging over our heads for 4 months now, beginning with the twin diagnosis of breast cancer and the tumor. This reality is a palpable presence in our life, in our home, in our minds. It affects everything and it is relentless.

You cannot get comfortable; you cannot feel at ease.

The plan is to have Carol home by Sunday. Then, and only then, can we begin to reclaim our life. Slowly, and step by step because the recovery process takes at least a month and Carol will have to do exercises religiously to regain her balance.

But at least at that point we will be past this evil and know that these fucking cancers have been removed from Carol's body.

Carol and I used to watch "Hill Street Blues". Loved it.

I picked up an expression from that show that I have always loved. When someone got sick or went through a tough stretch, in support, people would say "I'll have a good thought".

Not "my thoughts and prayers" or any other clich├ęd bullshit. The phrase caught my attention because it is so basic, so simple. Which is what makes it so powerful to me. It strikes me as something a real human being would say.........................and feel.

So, beginning at 7:00 am on Thursday morning, or even earlier if you are so inclined, and if you care about Carol, my precious wife of 39 years who is an amazing balance of gentle, unselfish love and a warrior's spirit  - please do one thing for her.

Have a good thought.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

More Than Words

"When it seems like the night will last forever,
And there's nothing left to do but count the years,
When the strings of my heart begin to sever,
And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears,
I will walk alone, by the black muddy river,
And dream me a dream of my own,
I will walk alone, by the black muddy river,
And sing me a song of my own, sing me a song of my own."

"Black Muddy River";   Grateful Dead

Not Just Gregg's Reality

"Still on and on I run, it feels like home is just around the bend
   I got so much left to give
 But I'm running out of time, my friend"

"My Only True Friend";   Gregg Allman

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Frightening Thought

"Hell is truth seen too late."

Thomas Hobbes

My Ego Is HUGE

I have an intimate relationship with our cats.

I love them deeply and they love me right back. I talk to them, pat them, kiss their heads - constantly.

I give them a lot of attention and they give it right back.

Of course I assume they always want my attention.

 I was in the kitchen this morning when Lakota jumped down from the back of a chair and walked towards me. I got down on my hands and knees so I could give her some love.

She walked right around me and went straight to the food bowl.

I laughed.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

And more...............

Feel the need to flesh out the Letterman thing a little more.

Might seem like a little thing to you if you don't see things the way I do. For me, it was huge.

The reason it was huge was that Carol and I are on uncharted waters right now. Every day when we crawl out of bed, it feels like we spend the rest of the day like two drunks on a small boat in rough seas.

Slipping and sliding, bouncing off of this and crashing into that. It is unsettling. There is no sure footing. We don't know where the hell we are or what the hell is going on.

It has been going on for months now and will continue for a couple more months.

This is not what we signed on for when we were born.

The Letterman thing crept up on me. I still had a 10 pound ball of lead in my stomach from the day before; I just didn't know it.

I was watching the show, digging on the man, and slowly, a feeling of comfort spread from my body to my brain. Or vice versa. How the hell do I know?

It was a weird but very good thing. I eventually realized that I was feeling good. I started laughing. Then I shed a tear or two. In gratitude? In relief?

It hit me in the face how down I was, how worried.

That brief 15 minutes lifted everything off of and out of my body. It felt 1,000 times better than it normally would because of the darkness that Carol and I are currently navigating.

It was also a connection to someone who was a regular in our life for many years; David Letterman. A man who made us laugh and informed us on a regular basis. A man who we have been missing since he retired.

It felt like going backwards in time, which is extraordinary, because that is exactly what Carol and I would love to do right now.

Go backwards in time and then negotiate a path that would take us around and help us avoid this present reality.

Ahhhh, but life doesn't work that way, does it? And a fucking shame that it doesn't.

So I was grateful for that brief moment. It allowed me to catch my breath.

Friday, October 20, 2017

I Love David Letterman

I was home Wednesday afternoon watching a Sarah Silverman stand up special on Netflix.

I have been burying myself in comedy lately; I will discuss that in a subsequent post.

Anyway I was digging her irreverence when the phone rang. I did not answer it because I saw that it was from Dartmouth-Hitchcock; I guessed it was related to Carol's next surgery; I knew Carol would have to talk to them anyway.

And, truthfully, I did not want to take the call.

The message left was: "Please call us regarding pre-registration for your November 2nd appointment".

At that point in time we did not have a November 2nd appointment. We have been waiting to hear for weeks. What they should have done is have someone call and say "OK, we finally have an appointment for your surgery. You will be hearing from people about pre-registration etc.".

That's not how the fucking medical community works. They would rather slam you in the face with your "November 2nd appointment".

I could not focus on Sarah Silverman. I suddenly had a discomfort in my gut as if I just swallowed a 10 pound ball of lead.

We have been waiting to hear and simultaneously hoping not to, I guess. At least that's what I translated from my emotional and physical reaction.

Carol got home, called these people back and eventually started yelling at them about the lack of information and, by inference, their lack of compassion.

She also admitted that she is nervous. Very nervous, which is killing me. Because my role is to comfort her as much as possible. I am working hard at it but at times like that it is so, so hard for both of us.

Thursday morning before I went to work I was watching the Jimmy Kimmel show, which I had recorded because David Letterman was the featured guest.

Carol and I love David Letterman. We watched his show avidly. There is no questioning that he was the next Johnny Carson. No one came close and no one ever will. His unbelievable wit, his intelligence, his low key delivery, his sensitivity, his insanity. Fucking amazing. And fuck Jay Leno.

As I became drawn back into Letterman's persona, a feeling of comfort and familiarity came over me. I smiled, couldn't help it. Then I shed a few tears, couldn't help it.

Because he lightened my load. He made me forget for a few minutes. I got lost in my admiration for the man. He made me laugh, for Christ sake. He made me laugh.

The little things, man. The little things get you through shit like this. At least it helps.

Although big things are there to lean on and for comfort.

Big things like Keith and Craig. Who love their mother so much and she takes such comfort in that.

Thank God for our sons.

But since I cannot lean on them 100% of the time I guess I will continue to look for the little things.

Like David Letterman. And anything else I can find to keep me spirited. Got a feeling I am going to need this for quite a while.

And once again, and I will continue to do this, I need to emphasize that Carol is the one who is really suffering. The one enduring the indignities and soul-deep fear in a way that no one else can ever understand.

I am not looking for empathy. But I have to let this shit out or I will explode.

This blog is where I get to do that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tom Petty (and more)

It always comes down to music with me.

Tom Petty's death caught me off guard. For some reason I had an image of him in my mind as a clean cut guy, a well behaved member of the rock community.

And he may have been that. I don't know.

But I have a dark cloud in my mind hovering over all the painful rock 'n roll deaths that have hurt me over the last two years.

Gotta believe the rock 'n roll lifestyle contributed to lives cut short.

Anyway, I wasn't a huge Petty fan. I knew just enough of his music and just enough of his lyrics to be obnoxious in my own unique way.

"Free Falling" and "I Won't Back Down". Two Petty songs that are forever burned into my heart and my soul.

When those songs came out I was working a shitty part time job as a temp. It was one of those bumpy points in my life. I don't remember what the hell was going on.

It was a time I met one of my good friends.

Alan.

A wild man. I have always been attracted to insanity. I always will be. I am proud of that.

We would blow out of work at lunch and fly down to a corner store. Buy a six pack and fly down the road to a camp site by a lake. Park right on the lake - facing the water.

Wolf our sandwiches down and fucking pound three beers each.

With the radio blasting.

When those two songs came on, especially "I Won't Back Down", we would scream them out at the top of our lungs.

Felt like we were fighting back.

We would then buzz back up the road, stopping once more at the corner store to pick up two 16 ounce beers, which we would pound on the two minute trip back to work.

Fucking insane. And a bit questionable as a strategy when the beer wore off mid afternoon.

But fuck it. We felt good about it. And those two songs meant everything to us.

Musical segue: Recently listening to the Billy Joel channel on Sirius. They have a hot line where people call in and leave a message about what Billy Joel's music meant to them.

He wrote a song called "You're Only Human (Second Wind)". A guy called in and said he served in the military (I don't know where; sorry). Said when he came home from war he had a very hard time adjusting. He was writing a suicide note to his family when "You're Only Human" came on.

It hit him hard and inspired him not to give up. He did not kill himself.

You might say "that didn't happen Joe. It is pure bullshit". I disagree. I believe in the power of music. I believe someone else's words can resonate with your soul and affect your life.

A woman called in and remembered back to when her kid was little and the mom was working a third shift job. Before she headed into work she sang "Lullabye (Good Night My Angel)" to her kid. It connected her with her kid at a difficult time and made the mom feel a little better.

The second story sparked a non-musical memory from my life. At one of many misguided moments in my life I was going to night school studying for an MBA.

When I got home on school nights Keith and Craig would already be in bed and asleep.

I would grab a beer, sit on the floor in their room with my back against the wall and silently cry.

Anyway, music is everything. It is a powerful and a mystical force.

It can be a tool. Get smart and use it to regain your sense of humanity whenever you are feeling beat down.

Requiescat in pace Tom Petty.

I Am Afraid

I am just trying to make it to the promised land with my very special wife by my side.

Not talking about heaven or any other version of an afterlife.

Just looking for a little peace. A sense of accomplishment. A satisfaction related to the decades we have spent on this earth and the decades we have spent together.

Looking for some meaning. Some explanation.

A soul deep, earth shattering enlightenment revealing the justification for my birth and my life.

Life is on the attack high, hot and hard. Slinging knives at us, forcing us to sidestep and renegotiate.

Hard to settle into any sense of peace or love or satisfaction or meaning when life becomes so harsh.

The challenge is that this is precisely the time that that level of understanding is required.

I have an idea in my head of what the promised land would feel like for me.

I am not feeling it yet.

And I am afraid.

A Blunt Assessment

If you are still defending and supporting trump at this point in time, you are a fucking moron.

The man is the scum of the earth. He is not only hurting this country relative to the rest of the world and raising the possibility of war to dangerous levels, he is also hurting the lives of "average" Americans.

Given the chance, he will rob us of health care, allow our premiums to go sky high, ruin us financially with his joke of a tax plan, and on and on and on.

When the hell are you going to wake up?

This man does not care about working people. He does not even know we exist.

And yet working people, at least those who are easily duped by thinly transparent lies and blatantly false promises, are the very people who elected this jerk off.

The same people who still show up at his ego-stroking rallies and cheer to the rallying lie of "promises made, promises kept". Wearing their ridiculous MAGA hats like the blind sheep that they are.

Unfuckingbelievable.

How stupid, how gullible can you be?

What is even worse is the wimpy response of democratic congressmen.

They have been handed the keys to the kingdom by president moron and his spineless republican sycophants and they do nothing.

When republicans are forced into a corner, they lie, they fight, they stab you in the back, kick you in the balls and spit on you when you are down.

democrats form drum circles.

Here is our government in a nutshell:

democrats have no balls and republicans are spineless and amoral.

You think these people are going to look out for you? They are going to look out for themselves and nobody else.

In some ways democrats disgust me more than republicans because they come across as if they actually care about the working poor. Some of them actually sound sincere.

republicans make it obvious they only care about the rich and only about the rich. They don't even try to hide it.

So there you go.

Ball-less democrats, spineless republicans.

And of course, a festering turd of a president.

Good luck with your life.

A Bold Statement

If you are not using Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper, don't ever expect me to shake your hand.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

America Rocks. Americans Suck.

This country is filled with stupid, hateful, violence prone people.

trump is president. That is all the proof you need.

Think about it. 62.9 million people voted for trump. 62.9 million. I would have been disgusted if only 62 people voted for trump.

There are 326 million people in this country. That means that 19% of this country supported trump.

Actually the number is much higher because only a small percentage of registered voters actually vote. So between the assholes who didn't vote and the assholes who don't vote, the number of people who support trump is staggering.

And frightening.

Because trump spent almost a year and a half sliming around this country effectively saying "I am stupid and uninformed, I am a racist, I am a misogynist, I am xenophobic - vote for me."

And they did.

These are the people who piss on NFL players who don't stand for the anthem. People who think that mindlessly saluting the flag, or standing for the anthem makes them patriotic.

It doesn't. It makes them stupid.

The go to argument for these scum is the "Millions have fought and died for this country. They would be disgusted to see you kneeling during the anthem. You are disrespecting them"

They use the argument because it is an emotional topic and hard to argue against. They also use it because they are stupid.

The truth: Millions fought and died so you can kneel during the anthem. They fought and died to protect freedom of speech, among many other amazing rights that we have in this country.

These are the same people who go out and buy more guns after a mass murder, like Vegas.

People who blindly fallback on the second amendment as if Jesus Christ himself said "Go forth and multiply your weapons."

A deranged man kills 58 people in ten minutes, partly because he used "bump stocks", and the sales of bump stocks increases after the shooting.

You cannot defend the "right" to own bump stocks, or semi-automatic weapons, or any other military style weapon.

You don't need them. So fuck you.

Australia experienced the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. A gunman killed 35 people at a tourist attraction.

As a partial response to that, the Australian government initiated a gun buy back program, offering to compensate gun owners at market prices. More than 650,000 guns were handed in, reducing gun ownership by about one fifth.

There are over 300 million guns owned in the United States. There are more fucking guns than there are citizens.

Think about the sheer stupidity of that.

The United States should initiate a buy back program for military style weapons and devices.

You would think gun owners would go for that. It would give them more money to buy speed, porn and Spam.

Of course this is just fanciful musing on my part. It could never happen in America.

Because congressman don't have the balls to stand up to the NRA, and gun owners would cower in dark corners, hugging and caressing their semi-automatic weapons mumbling repeatedly "my 2nd amendment rights".

This country is filled with stupid, hateful people.

More proof: 20 children were massacred in the Sandy Hook Elementary School and there was no change to gun laws. That was all the proof I needed that there is no collective conscience in this country.

That is very sad, and dangerous.

America has become a stupid country presided over by a stupid president. A dangerously stupid president.

Can it get any worse than that?

Yup.

Because the only time you can fix stupid is when a stupid person expresses a desire to get smarter.

The stupid people in this country revel in their stupidity. How the hell else can you explain the existence of a TV network called WE TV?

If you are not familiar with it, check out the lineup. It will make you puke.

Please don't give me that "if you hate this country so much you can leave" bullshit.

I love this country. I love the freedoms this country makes available to me. I appreciate that, and I appreciate those who serve in the military and respect those who have sacrificed their lives so my life can be so comfortable.

What I hate is what Americans have done with the freedoms they enjoy.

Ultimately it feels like a commentary on human nature. Is this what happens when you give human beings the freedom to become who they want to be?

That thought is a frightening one.

This country has millions and millions of stupid, uninformed, racist, violent, misogynistic, xenophobic, unstable cretins.

And it is getting worse.

There is no hope for this country.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Question (Maybe An Answer)

"Could it be that this is all there is?
 Could it be there's nothing more at all?
 Save some time to dream,
'Cause your dream could save us all"

"Save Some Time To Dream", John Mellencamp

Fascinating Word

Anhedonia: Loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses.

To Pretend

Yes baby I been drinkin'
And I shouldn't come by I know
But I found myself in trouble
And I had nowhere else to go
Got some whisky from the barman
Got some cocaine from a friend
I just had to keep on movin'
Til I was back in your arms again
Guilty baby I'm guilty
And I'll be guilty the rest of my life
How come I never do what I'm supposed to do
How come nothin' that I try to do ever turns out right?
You know you know how it is with me baby
You know, I just can't stand myself
And it takes a whole lot of medicine
For me to pretend that I'm somebody else

"Guilty" by Randy Newman


The Wrong Shape

Sometimes you are forced to wrap your head around so much fucking negativity that it just doesn't work.

It doesn't fit. It is the wrong shape. Your mind isn't flexible enough because it is grounded in unrealistic beliefs birthed from a perspective that says life just isn't this fucking cruel.

But it is.

Life is as cruel as it gets.

And if you want to stay alive, you gotta roll with it. You gotta fight against this sudden unpredictability that pounds you like a heavyweight champ relentlessly working the body, with an occasional hook to the head.

A punch that drops you to your knees. A punch that drops you but, against all odds and knowing you will probably get dropped again, you get up and lean into the wind.

Sometimes that is what life becomes. Sometimes, suddenly, that is how life is defined.

Life seems so much smaller then. So limited.

You stagger one step to another wondering what is the limit and what is the point.

You create new perspectives that once would have been foreign to you.

And this is what you now must live with.

Your mind shrinks in horror.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

How Life Works (It Shouldn't Be This Way)

Got some thoughts crawling around in my skull.

Emotions and thoughts. A combo deal. Two for $9.99

Life is a bizarre and unforgiving little animal.

You get yourself married up and that is a pretty cool deal. Bump into this person you pledge to spend the rest of your life with. A term, by the way, that is a lot deeper and has a lot more meaning when you are 63 than when you are 24.

The marriage thing is fun, though - a new life. First apartment, and you got yourself a motorcycle, the wife drives a gorgeous and wicked Trans Am.

Then there is the first house and then...........................first kid.

Holy shit - a kid. What a change. What euphoria.

Things are moving forward. Your life is ever changing.

Second kid. The connections grow solid and emotions run deep. Emotions you never had before but feel exactly right.

Second house. 100 miles north in a pristine and bucolic setting.

You know you are doing the right things. You feel good.

The kids keep you occupied and entertained for 20 years or so and you are appreciative of the intense love they inspire in you.

They move out.

Now it is the two of you. And the cats.

Life settles into a dull hum. You don't have enough money to make your life interesting; can't travel, can't buy expensive toys - you become complacent.

You get bored; you wonder what the hell the point of this is.

Then the docs find a tumor in your wife's head. And, just for good measure and within a week - she is diagnosed with breast cancer.

You are in the hospital. They are prepping your wife for a mastectomy. They have to insert dye into her breast so they can check her lymph nodes during surgery. They warn her it will hurt.

She moans loudly during the first injection as she squeezes your hand. They have to do it two more times.

The second time she screams. She fucking screams in pain and all you can do is hold her hand. She screams so loudly the attendant who monitored her during the fucking four hour wait for surgery rushes into the room to try and comfort her.

You do not even remember how she reacted to the third shot.

5 and 1/2 hours later the surgery is done. Everything went well.

4 hours after that you are heading home. After seeing your wife in recovery, after seeing her transported into her room, after dialing up The Sox on TV and watching it with her as she fades in and out.

You go home. Alone. The cats say hi. You sit down with some food and a beer.

You realize that the love for your wife, the love that lay dormant for so long, or at least it felt that way, has come raging back.

With a vengeance.

Suddenly you understand what this whole marriage thing is about. The weight of it. The value of it.

The amazing fact of sharing a life together for 39 years.

And counting.

Now you wait. Wait for her to fully heal so they can then remove the tumor from her head.

Your guts are twisted into a vicious little knot; your heart aches.

And none of that means anything.

Because she is the one who is truly suffering. The one who has had her life turned upside down, the one forced to let go of her dignity as she is poked and prodded. She is the one forced to confront things no human being should ever have to confront.

The physical nature of it all. And the thoughts.

She is a warrior. That is to her benefit. She is a fighter and a positive thinker.

You have to keep moving forward. Together. To get through this thing and come out the other side.

Changed. With a completely different perspective.

Just like that.

Uncharacteristically, you suspect you will have the strength to help her through this.

And the love.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Something To Think About

In Italian:

un uomo con un sacco di chiavi ha molto da nascondere
Translated: A man who has a lot of keys has a lot to hide.

Roll The Dice


Roll The Dice
if you’re going to try, go all the
way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
fire.

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

Charles Bukowski

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why I Sing The Blues

"Why I Sing The Blues". Written by B.B. King and he sings the shit out of it.

It comes directly from his soul, baby.

"I've laid in a ghetto flat, cold and numb, I heard the rats tell the bedbugs to give the roaches some"

That's hard, man. That is really hard.

"Now Father Time is catching up with me, gone is my youth, I look in the mirror every day, and let it tell me the truth"

Carol and I are proactive about that shit. We covered every mirror in the house in black crepe.

Why I Love The Blues

The lyrics, baby.

Came across a song titled "Your Funeral, My Trial".

Written by Nick Cave of Nick Cave and The Bad Seed.

Is that not the greatest lyric in the entire history of recorded music?

Yes it is - don't you dare go up against me on this. If you do I will have to believe you are still pining away for the return of Donny Osmond.

Obviously the song is about how his woman done him wrong. Here's a taste:

"here I am, little lamb, let all the bells in whoredom ring, all the crooked bitches that she was, mongers of pain saw the moon become a fang, your funeral, my trial, your funeral, my trial, your funeral, my trial."

I live for this shit.

(Editor's Note: I have a CD by Nick Cave and The Bad Seed called "Murder Ballads". Every song on it deals with death.)

This CD should be a part of every record collection in America.

Period.

Small Enough To Fit

Rockin' my way into Concord this morning digging on the blues when the following lyrics slapped my face:

"I'm sorry that I looked your way, didn't know what I was getting in to,
and everything I had to lose, to get small enough to fit in your life."

From "Mama Can't Help You" by Doyle Bramhall II.

It's those last two sentiments that really rocked me.

"and everything I had to lose to get small enough to fit in your life"

So sad to realize how very many relationships those words describe.

321 Below

Follow up with the cancer doc this morning.

He noticed something on my face. A pre-cancer type thang. Would evolve into a squamous cell sort of situation like I had on my nose.

So he froze it off.

Apparently that is the hip treatment these days for pre-cancer type of stuff. It will eventually scab up, scab over and fall off my face.

And I will be cured.

He sprayed my face with liquid nitrogen. 321 degrees below zero.

Stung for about 15 minutes. Not a big deal really.

And what the hell.

I am always up for a new experience.

(Editor's Note: Wish I could get my hands on some of this stuff. I would spray a double shot into each of trump's fucking eyes.)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Now More Than Ever

"Don't pussy out on me now. They don't know. They don't know shit. You're not gonna get hurt. You're fucking Baretta. They believe every fucking word 'cause you're super cool."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One of The Things I Love About Myself

I was watching Hard Knocks a little while ago.

Really digging it this year. I mean gobbling it up like a gourmet meal.

It has been part of my ritual for getting hyped for the football season over the past few years, but for some reason this year I am really digging it.

Football is such a brutal sport and not just physically. This year features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are the object of a lot of "these guys are really gonna be good " hype.

Man, it is so brutal to see guys get beat out for their position. To see them get called into the coaches office and get cut.

It is so brutal to see a guy get injured and destroy his chance at making the team.

But it is cool to see these guys' lives up close and personal. The stress, the camaraderie, the wacky sense of humor, the shared respect for and love for and understanding of the sport.

I am really into it.

So episode #3 ends and I gotta wait another week for Episode #4.

So I switched back to a rock documentary I started watching yesterday.

On Lemmy. Lemmy Kilmister. Legendary bass player and singer for Motorhead.

This man was perpetually insane. A true rock and roll icon. Crazy man. Well known for his love of Jack and Coke, speed, gambling and strippers.

AND he lived to be 70 years old, living that lifestyle right up until the bitter end.

Check him out online. You will be amazed.

Anyway, what I love about myself is the wide spectrum of interests I enjoy.

Believe me, switching from the NFL pre-season to Lemmy in the space of about 20 seconds is traveling from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Most people would be driven into a seizure. Grand Mal.

Felt natural to me.

Random Thoughts On 8/23/2017

Random Thought #1:

Rolled out of bed around 7:45 this morning; had the day off.

Stumbled downstairs around 8:15, rinsed out and refilled the cats' water bowl, gave them some snacks, took some goddamn medications, did some chiropractor approved stretching, ate some yogurt (shared it with Maka - a daily ritual), pumped up a cup of coffee, set it down on the end table next to the recliner and then...........................threw the French doors wide open.

It was kind of cool, but not bad.

But the cats disagreed. Lakota went upstairs and curled up in the office chair in the "computer room". Maka curled up on the couch.

A big fuck you to this cold summer weather we have been enduring.

And that is my point.

This summer has been cold. Not cool. Fucking cold.

It is not natural.

I have made my peace with it however. I have been telling myself that September will be hot but I no longer believe that.

I don't give a shit any more. It is ridiculous to put all my eggs into one basket weather-wise. Living for July and August.

I am too old to be so specific. Gotta take life as it comes, baby.

Random Thought #2:

I was tooling around the world wide web doing Bukowski research this morning. Found the poem I was looking for. As I was preparing to commit his words to my blog I suddenly heard this disembodied voice reciting the poem.

I looked up from the keyboard and realized there was a window opened up above the words of the poem and something was playing.

His words were being recited by a computer. With all the wrong inflections and no feeling at all.

Are you fucking kidding me? Whose brilliant idea was this?

Bukowski is all about passion and violence and raw fucking truth. His words were meant to slap you in the face.

I almost threw the empty Jack Daniels bottle that sits on my desk through the screen.

But I could not. My fucking laptop died. I am stuck with this computer.

For now.

The Laughing Heart

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Charles Bukowski


Monday, August 21, 2017

If

If, on a beautiful late August Sunday night, you are digging Emmylou Harris and The Nash Ramblers at The Ryman, on NH public TV, and your sweetheart of a cat is in your lap and your sweetheart of a wife is next to you, well, then you really got something.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Why I Love David Crosby, Reason # 944

Ted Nugent is a right wing, racist, hunter, gun owner, closed minded jerk off.

He is also a rock guitarist.

He recently said the only reason he has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is because he is a gun toting member of the National Rifle Association. He feels the Hall is trying to be politically correct.

David Crosby, who has been inducted twice, responded with this short but sweet tweet:

"No the asshole just isn't good enough."


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Am Not Too Old To Evolve, Goddamn It

It's about to get raw all up in here.

Why?

Because I'm feeling pretty raw.

Worried about Carol's health. She's tough, she will get through it fine but, as Tom Petty said, "the waiting is the hardest part".

Fucking medical community. Saturday they tell Carol she has a tumor in her head and its gotta go because she is demonstrating symptoms. Tell her a consultation will be set up for Tuesday (yesterday) for me and her to understand what is about to happen.

She never got a call. We are still waiting. Carol called her physician and expressed her displeasure. The doc said she would contact Dartmouth-Hitchcock and give them a push.

Still nothing.

Apparently the approach of modern medicine is to tell you that you have something fairly serious going on, and then to take their fucking time dealing with it.

Cocksuckers.

If I am feeling this upset I cannot imagine how Carol feels.

So there is that.

As this all unfolds I am taking notes. This situation is definitely not about me but it has forced me to take a step back.

When I had the cancer thing I called Keith and Craig and cried like a bitch. I am a deeply emotional man, the drawback being I allow emotions to overwhelm me.

I am also a fatalist. I hear cancer and I think death. Even though Dr. Feelgood assured me that it was the lowest possible stage of melanoma and I did not really have a lot to worry about.

When Carol called Keith and Craig on Saturday they had awesome conversations. Carol was strong; they even laughed on both ends of the calls.

I sat next to her and thought "How the hell did she do that?" What she has is a lot more serious than what I dealt with and yet she handled it with strength.

The difference is she hears brain tumor and thinks "OK, let's deal with this and move on".

That, apparently, is the difference between positivity and negativity.

I texted Keith and Craig afterwards and thanked them for making Carol feel better.

They both said that her positive attitude gave them confidence. I thought "Jesus what an asshole I was to cry like I did and make the situation more awkward than it had to be".

I have never liked the overly emotional side of my personality, the craziness that allows emotions to overwhelm me and prevent me from functioning. But I have never been able to control it.

New ballgame. I am learning from Carol. What she is doing is amazing. And inspirational.

When you are 39 years married you know everything about this person you live with and settle into a "taking it for granted, sometimes making the wrong assumptions" perspective.

All of a sudden I am looking at Carol differently. With a great deal of admiration. And respect.

I will be strong for her whenever she needs it throughout this ordeal. I am determined to do so.

But I think she will not lean on me too much. She is a warrior.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

True That

I gotta start using this phrase. I like the way it sounds. Think it is cool.

If you walked up to me and said "Hey Joe - you are the greatest human being who ever lived. Omniscient and omnipotent. Talented and rather pretty. Intelligent with a wonderful sense of humor. Unselfish and giving. Thoughtful. With a remarkable capacity for empathy."

I would respond: "Yeah, I've been thinking about that lately. I guess I am super cool. It is utterly amazing what I have accomplished in my life. A statue should be erected."

But if the conversation went like this: "Hey Joe - I am amazed at your inherent greatness. Your greatness supercedes all greatness that came before. Your greatness is greater than the sum total of all the greatness of every great human who preceded you."

And I responded: "True that."

That would be a lot cooler.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And Just Like That

I intended to jump in here yesterday and gloat about the fact that I scored David Crosby concert tickets on Friday night.

Had to talk Carol into it because she experiences physical pain when we spend any more than $1.25 for anything that is not budget related, and these tickets cost us $160. But I was determined. I missed him earlier this summer at another small venue only an hour away from me and it broke my heart when I found out about it.

The man is a survivor. His life story is legendary. His singing is exquisite. His song writing is emotional, political, meaningful and inspirational.

We have seats in the front row of the balcony, which means we will be looking down on him when it should be the other way around. Still, it will be a spectacular night.

We saw Crosby, Stills and Nash a few years ago, outdoors on a beautiful summer night, and their singing brought tears to my eyes.

Croz is 75 years old and still bringing it, baby.

That news was eclipsed by a phone call yesterday afternoon.

Carol has been having hearing issues in one ear, and balance issues when walking. She kind of walks like a drunk, which she may have learned from me.

She had an MRI yesterday morning, and in the afternoon she was called by the MRI interpreter ( my description - I am not sure he was a doctor). They found a tumor behind her ear and it has gotta go.

We have a consultation on Tuesday, then they will get her in the hospital ASAP for a two day stay.

It was heavily stressed that this is most likely not as frightening as it sounds. That it is not entrenched in the brain, but rather pressing up against it. So that is good.

Still, we cannot help but be nervous.

And just like that our lives are changed.

We have had a pretty remarkable run. Been through some shit, had lots of ups, some downs, but all in all life has been relatively gentle with us.

Until last summer. Apparently now, August is officially the month of bad news. I was diagnosed with melanoma last August, Carol with the tumor this month. In addition I am dealing with the fractured hip thing.

So there you have it. You can't help but wonder exactly what stage you are in in your life. We are only 63 and the shit has begun.

But not anywhere near as bad as it could be. So there is that.

I don't think I handled the cancer thing as well as I should have. I am an emotional guy and it got me down.

Carol is strong and upbeat about the tumor and that is a very good thing. We will get through it together and come out the other side with a fresh and exciting appreciation for the good things we do have in our life.

Five I can name right off the top of my head - Keith, Emily, Craig, Karen and Eddie.

Fucking amazing human beings.

I am going to try and ride the wave of Carol's strength and learn from it. Her situation is much more frightening than mine was and she is standing tall.

You never really do know what life is going to throw at you. At the stage we are in and beyond, there is a higher probability that there will be more negative shit.

All we can do is try to learn from it on a personal level. Learn how to react, learn how to maintain positivity, learn how to pay deep attention to the sensitive and meaningful things and people in life every fucking second of every fucking day.

Speaking for myself I know I will fall short of these intentions on a regular basis. I am just built that way. A bit on the dark side, a lot on the emotional (interpreted as not rational) side.

We shall see what transpires.

I can, however, guarantee you that come November and David Crosby, we will sit in amazement at the beauty of this man's soul and his ability to survive life's evil side.

I hope we bring our own personal beauty and survivorship to that night as well.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I Feel Cheated

The summer that wasn't. So far, anyway.

Way too many cold nights and cold mornings that feel more like fall then summer.

Shouldn't that be illegal?

I know, you are saying "But Joe - I love the cold nights - it is good sleeping weather". I'm gonna go easy on you and give you that one. It is a better sleep when you can draw a sheet up under your chin in easy contentment. Sweating like a pig is not conducive to peaceful sleep.

BUT - everybody waits for summer. They pray for it, anticipate it, think about it and plan for it. It finally rolls around and you end up actually being cold 50% of the time.

What the fuck is that? Somebody is gonna have to pay.

For most people summer is the only thing to justify being alive. Everything else is torture. I can see morticians licking their chops even as I speak.

I must be getting softer because I'm telling myself September will be summer-like. I mean real summer. That is probably a safe bet; summer has been starting later and hanging around longer.

It fucking better be summer-like - I need warmth like a drunkard needs a drink.

Been an off balance summer karma-wise as well. Fractured hip, dead Lincoln, my laptop just died and my tablet is dying a slow death.

And nobody has offered me that 5 million bucks I feel I deserve. Christ, I've been around long enough. Shouldn't some wealthy benefactor just hand me the fortune I need to live out my life in dignity?

Every time I leave the house I keep my eyes open for bags of money by the side of the road. I never find them.

This is distressing because that approach represents the sum total of my retirement strategy.

Got me thinking about karma. What have I done to deserve this punishment? What could it possibly be?

Everybody knows I am a good boy. Avid church goer, teetotaler, anti-drug advocate, health nut, all around sweetheart, and a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, the Boy Scouts and three local food pantries.

The Pope calls me for advice.

After peeling back a couple of layers of self delusion I began to take a look at who I really am; the things I have done, the evil thoughts I have thunk.

Oh shit - so that is what's going on this summer.

The hell with it. Whadddya gonna do?

There was a line from "Penny Dreadful" that I really embraced; perked right up when I heard it.

"The best way to be free of regret is to embrace your sins".

I cannot open my arms wide enough.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Oh My God - Could This Even Be True?

"I mean, in the end, we must be that thing the world demands of us. We must take the lust and the avarice and the ambition and bury them. All the alien, ugly things, all the things we really are--the other one, the other man, we cannot allow him!"

Jekyll, from "Penny Dreadful"

Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Stupidity

Another stupid thing about baseball.

The pitcher throws a ball into the dirt, the catcher throws the ball away and reaches behind him to the ump, looking for a fresh new ball.

Doesn't seem to happen every time, and I'm sure there is some arcane rule I am not aware of, that decides when is yes and when is no.

But if on the very next pitch the guy at the plate hits a ground ball to short - which obviously takes a hop on the dirt - and gets thrown out at first, the ball eventually makes it back to the pitcher.

Who quite contentedly serves it up to the next batter.

I don't get it.

QUICK ASIDE: Baseball could probably reduce the national debt by 75% if 300 balls were not thrown into the stands at every game. Or maybe - and this is heresy - reduce ticket prices.

Are You Like Me?

Are you like me?

I wear my socks until every goddamn pair has holes in the heels.

Not little holes. Massive holes so that my entire heel is exposed. Right and left.

Every morning I say to myself "this is stupid. It's embarrassing. Socks are cheap. Why don't I just buy new socks?"

I wear them for 6 more months.

Finally I break down, bowing to the Amazon god, and shell out $5.84 for a 6-pack of Hanes Men's FreshIQ Cushion Crew Socks, White, 10-13 (Shoe size 6-12).

Two days later I am slipping them onto my feet and thinking "oh my, my - these are so comfortable."

So very silly.

Still I am consumed with crippling fear and self-doubt. Now I need dressier socks, colorful socks, the more flamboyant the better.

But I wait. Hesitate.

And the holes grow bigger.

You Can Cut It With A Knife

There was a palpable melancholia in the air.
It came from within.
It came from without.
He felt it most disturbingly from those
who tried hardest to hide it.
Pretty ironic, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

If Only It Was This Simple

"And I wanna grow old without the pain, give my body back to the earth and not complain."

From "The Perfect Space" by The Avett Brothers.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lennon In The Morning

Got John Lennon on the Victrola this morning.

Waiting to go to work. Not feeling it this morning and this disturbs me. If I gotta have a part time job this is the one to have. But I have worked four shaky shifts in the past week and a half and my spirit is limp.

Yet I like the job. I like the people. No problema - I will shake it off.

Lennon was so fucking tough he had no problem being publicly vulnerable. This I love about the man.

He was who he was and he just put it out there. Ferociously. Unapologetically. Can you imagine having him around now with this fucking incompetent dictator in the White House?

Lennon would be in his face.

His music was so deeply personal that it traces the arc of his life and his emotions and his mistakes and his love and his inspirations; his thoughts, his philosophies.

"Whatever Gets You Through The Night" just came around. Love the story of this song. John recorded it with Elton John, who bet Lennon the song would get to #1.

It did and Lennon paid off the bet by making a guest appearance at an Elton John concert on Thanksgiving night 1974 in Madison Square Garden. Lennon had been out of the limelight for a while, indulging in his "Lost Weekend".

To top it all off, he reunited with Yoko backstage that night - they had been separated for 18 months.

Sadly, it was also Lennon's last live performance.

Anyway, I am sitting here wrapped in vulnerability and feeling the vibration in my soul. In my emotions.

I guess that is what I am getting at in here all the time - wishing people could be more openly vulnerable. More honest.

Christ knows I put all my shit out there in here. Of course maybe if I could do it in real life without getting devoured maybe I would not have a blog at all.

Anyway...................Mr. Lennon was a straight ahead, emotionally raw guy. Yeah, he had lots of problems, many weaknesses, he made a lot of mistakes BUT he kept on moving and learning and evolving.

And he put it all out there so we knew exactly who he was.

Man, that takes balls.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Simple Pleasures, Baby - Really, Is There Anything Else?

Feeling kind of beat up yesterday so I decided to lie down on my bed with the iPod as my companion, ear buds in my ancient ears.

Honestly, I was beat up because I consumed a large amount of whiskey and beer Friday night in response to another tough night on the job.

I worked three shows the weekend before - one on Friday, two on Saturday - I had ticket printer problems for every show. Pretty stressful when you have a lobby full of people waiting to grab tickets and you have to stop to re-program from one printer to another. That holds me up, and the other person who is also selling tickets.

That was on my mind on Friday and sure enough - the place was fucking rockin' and the printers started malfunctioning. Back and forth - first one, then the other.

Although this time I reached a new high - both printers went down at the same time. Lobby full of people staring at me; the two people working with me staring at me. For a few minutes I could not print any tickets at all. Man, I got a sick feeling in my stomach until, somehow, I got one printer back up.

So I came home and got drunk. I have done that all my life when I have problems and it works so well. Definitely puts all your problems to bed. That is the secret to my enormous success.

Anyway I hit the bed and re-discovered my ear buds (one word or two?).

Are you fucking kidding me? The quality of sound these things provide is mind blowing. Sound right out of the middle of my skull, and sound that is so sensitive it transmits every little thing.

Very intimate; exceptionally beautiful.

I haven't used these things in years; I always jam the iPod into the dock and jam out (dance around the kitchen) when Carol is not home. I do this when alone because my dancing is so exceptionally amazing that it shames Carol and I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Listened to a double album by Jamey Johnson. He's that country dude I recently discovered and rambled on about in these very pages.

Perfect fucking moment. Heartfelt music beautifully delivered as I rested in supreme comfort on top of the bed, summer breeze leaking in through the screen door.

So yeah, I am going to start using the ear buds again. It is what I need.

That was Simple Pleasure #1.

Simple Pleasure #2 is Earnest Hemingway. I have actually been enjoying him all week but this morning the pleasure seemed to piggyback on yesterday's sweet joy.

Back when I was still Thrift Shop Boy, a young guy came in with a box full of books. His wife worked for a publisher in NYC so she accumulated a lot of books. They had just moved to NH and decided to lighten the load.

Of course I went through the box before putting them on the shelf. I am no fool - I am #1, baby.

Came across "The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway". Snatched that son of a bitch right up. Just got around to reading it this week.

Christ, when you read good literature you know it. Very tasty. And it is the complete experience for me. Beautiful hard cover book in pristine condition. I worship hard cover books.

Even the pages are printed on quality paper. Thick, luxurious paper.

I am simultaneously reading and loving this book, and enjoying the physical sensations that come from having it in my hands.

My nirvana.

Simple Pleasure #3. Whipped up scrambled egg tacos for breakfast. Onions, peppers, ground beef. Carol and I devoured them in Sunday peace in front of the television machine.

Simple Pleasure #4. This just occurred to me. I am writing on the screened-in porch. For the first time this summer. Can you believe that shit?

Gorgeous day. Maka curled up on the table next to me. Lakota curled up in her private bed on the couch. Bottle of water to my right.

Simple pleasures, baby. Little things that make my life extraordinary. Been tuned in to them in a more focused way over the last couple of years.

Why not? I ain't never gonna be no fucking billionaire. Might as well keep my eyes and the rest of my senses open to the beautiful things I do have in my life and just dig 'em.

Enjoying the day in a right peaceable way.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sometimes.............

when I drink coffee out of my Three Stooges mug, some of the coffee dribbles over the edge onto Larry's forehead and dries there.

It looks like blood.

It is quite disturbing.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Truth In The End

Gregg Allman finished recording his last solo album shortly before he died.

It is called "Southern Blood" and will be released on September 8th.

NPR premiered the first song from the album yesterday. It is called "My Only True Friend".

Dig these words:

It opens with the line: "You and I both know this river will surely flow to an end".

Later:

"Still on and on I run,
 Feels like home is just around the bend
 I got so much left to give, but I'm running out of time, my friend

I hope you're haunted by the music of my soul, when I'm gone
Please don't fly away and find you a new love
I can't face living this life alone
I can't bear to think this might be the end
But you and I both know, the road is my only true friend"

At some point in the recording process he knew he was dying. So he said good bye in the only way he knew how - honestly, through song, with soul deep bluntness.

This song is haunting; it faces the truth head on, it is soulful, it is deep. And it is gorgeous.

If you care about Gregg Allman at all, if you care about his legacy and the legacy of The Allman Brothers Band, you have to listen to this.

You will shed some tears the first time you listen to it. After that, your soul will come around as if it were jolted by lightening. You will lose yourself in the bluesy soulfulness of this man who lived a life like no other.

And who made music like no other.

We deal with a lot of bullshit in our lives, some a product of just being alive, some we heap upon ourselves. We get lost, we get unsure, we get afraid. We waste a lot of the precious time we have here on this earth.

But no matter what you do or don't do, no matter how you feel about your life, one day you will come face to face with death.

It hangs out there from the minute you are born, waiting to claim you. From the moment you are old enough to be aware, it is in your mind in one form or another. And when you come up on it, you gotta deal with it - there is no running away. It is as real as it gets.

You can avoid a lot of shit in life, you can fake it in so many ways and in so many situations, but death is the one thing you cannot outrun.

Creating beauty when you face death head-on, is the ultimate fuck you to mortality.

It says so much about the creative spirit that, when faced with death, you choose to create one more time. Most of us would curl up in a ball and cry.

It says that creativity is who you are and you have no choice but to express yourself in your own way, to let your soul breathe and, hopefully, to connect with others who need your words and your music - which is the ultimate fucking gift.

Gregg Allman does it with power and class and emotion in this song. Fucking amazing.

Bowie did it too. He too died from cancer; he knew it was coming. His last album was called "Blackstar", and on it was a song called "Lazarus".

With these lyrics: "Look up here, I'm in heaven, I've got scars that can't be seen; I've got drama can't be stolen, everybody knows me now, look up here, man I'm in danger, I've got nothing left to lose, I'm so high it makes my brain whirl, dropped my cell phone down below, ain't that just like me?"

The video for Lazarus is haunting.

By the way - FUCK CANCER.

I worship the creative process in any form or format. I believe creativity comes closest to capturing what it means to be human.

I especially appreciate it when it expresses hard truths head-on. No bullshit. Because that is what we all avoid.

I am glad to get a taste of Gregg Allman's final solo album. It will be mine on September 8.

My life will be better for it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen (But What The Fuck - Life Is A Fuckin' Roller Coaster Ride, Is It Not?)

Say good bye to The Big Ride.

Say hello to Black Beauty.

How the story ends: On this past Wednesday I traded my 2004 Lincoln Continental Town Car in on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I just wanted to get The Big Ride up to the dealer without the fucking thing breaking down. Had two cars in mind - the Hyundai and a 2011 Jetta. Had no intention of doing any type of inspection/comparison/investigation, and I did not. The Hyundai caught my eye and I went with that.

I did not even test drive the thing. Why the fuck should I? These people - Phillips Auto Sales - this is the fifth car we have bought from them. They are easy to deal with; the cars are reliable. Besides I just didn't give a fuck.

These people are so cool. I called Wednesday, told them I wanted to drive the Lincoln in and leave with another car that day. They made it happen. As far as I know our financing had not even been approved. No temp registration; he put dealer plates on it. We didn't even make a down payment.

I actually drove the car for two days before I technically owned it. Did not finalize the financing until Friday morning.

I wanted to hate this car. I mean, for Christ sake, I loved that damn Lincoln so much I committed objectophilia with it.

I can't hate the Hyundai. It actually leans toward stylish. Nice lines. And it is black. Black on the outside, black on the inside.

Black Beauty, baby.

78,000 miles. High/low, know what I mean?

I don't love it but I like it. It ain't no fucking Lincoln, I can tell you that.

But you know me. I am a positive guy. Cheery as fucking hell. Glass half full and all that shit. Always looking for the silver lining.

What I sacrificed in comfort I gained in technology.

This car has everything.

First of all the AC works. It did not in the Lincoln for the last two summers. I enjoyed the hell out of that since Wednesday.

This baby has a hookup for my ipod. A hookup for my phone. A navigation system. Access to Sirius XM (which you know I am going to activate immediately; I'll be drowning in the blues and The Beatles, baby).

It has 237 other technological marvels as well. Who cares about comfort, who cares about performance, who cares about reliability - I got the toys, baby - I got the toys.

I am just going to enjoy this car.

And I learned a lesson. I am not going to drive it into bankruptcy, like I did with The Big Ride.

In two years I will be looking to trade Black Beauty in. I am too fucking old to deal with automotive fuckology.

I do not want to sink three million dollars into a car again for the rest of my life.

So here I am. At least I am not holding my breath while I drive. This car feels good. It looks good. Its blackness matches the blackness of my soul.

Life is one motherfucking unpredictable son of a bitch.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jesus Hates Me, The Fucktard

Jesus hates me. He fucking loathes me.

That is the only thing that has prevented me from driving an ice pick directly into my brain all these years.

My toughest swear, the go-to of all go-to's, when I am really fucking over the top pissed off is Jesus Fucking Christ.

If there is a Jesus guy lounging around in the sky, I guranfuckingtee you he does not appreciate it when I cut loose like that. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, and all that shit.

I am sure I have uttered that phrase approximately 16 trillion times in my life.

So if I did decide to put the ice pick to good use and had to stand before Jesus' dad to be judged, his kid would be on the sidelines whispering "stick it to him good, Daddy - send him to hell for nine eternities".

Finally fucking picked up The Big Ride yesterday. Timeline: Car breaks down on July 7. Car gets fixed on July 18. Finally get it back.

I'm driving home and I get a little melancholy; I am going to trade it in this week - period. I fucking love this car.

Low on gas; stop at a gas station five minutes from my house, put in just enough gas to get me to Concord, where the dealership is located that I plan to visit today.

The car won't start. Did you fucking hear me? THE FUCKING CAR WOULD NOT START. I had the car back less than half an hour and it broke down again.

Of course it couldn't be something simple like a dead battery. Tried to jump start it - no luck. Had to get it towed right back to the place I just fucking picked it up from.

Timeline:  I had to wait 45 minutes for the first AAA guy to show up (neither me nor Carol has cables) to try to charge that puppy up. That didn't work so now he has to call for a tow truck. I originally called around 4:30. Around 6:00 Carol and I finally went home, leaving my car and the keys behind. The car did not get towed until 8:00. It was a whole fucking comedy of errors and miscommunication on AAA's part. A few phone calls back and forth between me and them.

I just called my mechanic this morning. Told him I do not want to spend one more dime on this car. Please just get it started so I can drive it to Concord. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!

I have an appointment to see a urologist this morning. The PSA count was up a bit at my physical a few weeks ago. You know, the supposed indicator of potential prostate cancer.

I am not that worried because Dr. Feelgood did the manual check while I was there and did not find anything alarming. It ain't the size of a grapefruit yet.

But I woke up this morning - somewhere around 4:30 ( I got up around 5:15 because I am so fucking irritated) - remembering the only other time I saw a urologist, he stuck a cue tip or a piece of fucking lumber up inside the tip of my dick.

It was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. Except for the twenty some odd years I spent as an accountant.

I am hoping that does not happen today. That would just be the fucking icing on the cake this week.

So I gotta see the doc this morning, then check the status of The Big Ride, then make a trip to Concord to buy another car. Carol took the day off so we can get this shit done.

I have family members who have lost spouses. I have family members who have lost children. So lately when I vent in here I realize that my problems pale in comparison to the suffering of others. So I try to lighten up a little bit.

So here we go. I am the kind of guy, when I get furious, I need to break things. I need to punch, I need to express myself violently. But society dictates that when you have a spouse, you should not disturb said spouse through violent action.

So I kept it all in yesterday. As all this was going on and my anger built and grew and just fucking metastasized to gargantuan proportions.

I went to bed shortly after 10:00. Couldn't sleep. Tossed and turned. At one point I rolled over on my back and spontaneously started to bang my fists into the mattress. I beat the shit out of that thing. It came out of nowhere. I just exploded. Must have looked like a drooling madman.

Or a child.

Fortunately, we have one of them fancy foam mattresses. That thing took a beating and just bounced right back. No harm done. To me or the mattress.

Shit, man it is pure joy to be alive in 2017.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fractured Hip, Broken Car

Say good bye to The Big Ride, ladies and gentlemen.

My amazing car blew up on me. July 7 was the day. A day that will live in infamy.

Got it towed on July 8. Today is July 18. Still don't have it back.

How do you feel about that?

Needs some air bladder thingy, which apparently is being walked over to the U.S from Australia. Or maybe it's like getting a liver transplant. Maybe I have to wait for somebody else's 2004 Lincoln Town Car to expire before they can remove the bladder, pack it in ice, and ship it to good ole Henniker.

Doesn't fucking matter. I'm just waiting to get it back so I can trade it in.

When I bought this beauty I made the assumption that, because it is a Lincoln, it will last forever. Figured I would drive it for a bunch of years and when it finally gave up the ghost I would run right out and buy another Lincoln.

I was wrong. The car has not been a pain in the ass but the pace of repairs has accelerated over the last two years.

I don't want to deal with it anymore. I'm tired of it.

Breaks my heart.

I am not in the position to buy another Lincoln. My dream of riding in luxury until I am laid in a luxury casket is shattered.

Now I just don't give a shit. Just want a car. Any car. Preferably something that runs.

I'm thinking of making an ironic statement. Thinking about getting me a Ford Pinto. The one that was famous for bursting into flames in the seventies. Gotta be some fucking low life criminal that has one or two of those hanging around just looking to sell it to a guy like me.

I will drive it like a madman too. Tempting fate. I'll set it up with a secret compartment that can hold a 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Royal. With a hose. A hose I can suck on and easily conceal if the coppers come around.

So I'm just waiting. Not waiting on a friend, as The Stones sang about. Just waiting. Just fucking waiting.

Waiting to see some goddamn specialist dude about the hip. Got an appointment for this coming Thursday.

Fucking medical community. They get all up in arms. Holy shit - you got a fractured hip. We gotta get you in here. You gotta get a cane. You gotta be careful. You gotta ride in a car with a luxury air bladder in it.

Then they keep me waiting three weeks.

Meanwhile, unfortunately and disconcertingly, the pain has increased.

I am riding a bubble of negativity. Unfortunate. But that's the way it goes. You know the feeling. I know you do.

But I am a very positive guy. Always looking on the bright side. Cheerful and encouraging. With me the glass is always half full. Especially when it has whiskey in it.

I know that in a couple of weeks I'll be riding around in my Pinto and the hip will have been dealt with.

I will win Powerball to the tune of $675 million bucks, I will buy a second home in Arizona, a third in Hawaii. I will join a health club, lose twenty pounds and get a call from Johnny Depp asking me to co-star in his next flick. I will finally take Carol to Niagara Falls. I will be invited to tour with The Stones.

Yeah, baby, life is a thrill-a-minute joy ride, ain't it?

My future's so bright I gotta wear shades.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This Allman Brothers Thang

I work with a VNP.

Very Nice Person. Amanda.

We just started working together in May. For Father's Day she gives me a book about The Allman Brothers.

"One Way Out. The Inside History. The Allman Brothers Band." Very cool thing to do.

And an excellent book. Of course I already have it and have already read it, but I did not tell her that because I appreciated what she did.

At first I was going to slip it into the book case, but then I got to thinking that this was the perfect time to re-read the book.

So I did.

The book was written by Alan Paul, a guy who has been following and writing about the band for 25 years. The thing I like about the book is that it is an oral history based on hundreds of interviews over the years.

What I really like about it is that when he gets conflicting stories from different people about the same situation he just puts them right out there side by side, instead of trying to get at the truth (a concept that doesn't exist).

"Yeah, that's when Gregg bought me a plane ticket to get back from the west coast."

"Yeah, that's when Gregg sent him gas money so he could ride his bike back from the west coast."

"Yeah, that's when the crazy son of a bitch hitch hiked all the way back from the west coast."

Let's face it - memory is subjective - especially when you cloud it with a whole bunch of booze and drugs.

Anyway, reading the book was the right thing to do. I read it reverently and with a totally different perspective, given the finality of the situation.

It reiterated the fact that I loved the whole package about this band.

The music, obviously. But the rebel image too.

They looked wild, they looked tough. They were insane. They traveled throughout the south in the late sixties with a black man in the band. And took a lot of shit because of it. But they always stood up for Jaimoe - they never backed down. If he wasn't allowed in a restaurant then none of them ate there.

When they weren't making any money they established a rule that the roadies got paid before the band did. Who the fuck does that? The only other band I ever heard of doing that was The Grateful Dead.

They were a pure democracy. Come decision time every member got a say. Duane was the unacknowledged leader but he never imposed his will against that of the group.

They started what came to be called Southern Rock, a description they hated because they felt it pigeon-holed them. But they did start a movement, a genre of music that wasn't there before and that inspired a lot of other bands to follow.

I loved the book, it inspired deep emotion in me (again) and I'm glad I read it.

Then I decided to take it all the way and re-read Gregg Allman's autobiography next.

Excellent. He has his own story to tell in some ways, apart from the band's history.

He was such a sensitive and vulnerable guy who was thrust unwillingly into a leadership role when his brother died in 1971. Duane was the tough guy and a natural born leader; Gregg was shy and inward directed and it was tough for him to have to carry the Allman Brothers' mantle.

He did the best he could.

I am glad I re-read the books. The timing was right and I was emotionally raw enough to get a different feel, a different perspective this time around.

I would like to now declare a moratorium on the deaths of musicians who feed me soul. I need some time to regain my balance.

Unfortunately that reality is out of my hands.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Marsellus Got It Right

In Pulp Fiction, Butch asks Marsellus Wallace: "You okay?"

Marsellus says: "Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from OK."

Solid quote.

Universally applicable.

I Never Know What Will Save Me

Robert Klein. "Still Can't Stop His Leg". Just watched it. A documentary about his career and his life.

If you don't know where the title comes from, please don't bother me. In fact, turn off my blog.

If you don't know who he is, kill yourself.

You ever get your mind moving in the wrong direction?

I do. Happens a lot.

Got me a new job a couple of months ago. I dig it. I was happy to escape the thrift shop and the withering stares of the wealthy patrons of O's Steaks and Seafood across the street.

Went to work my first day and realized this was a job and these were a people I could dig.

Had the next day off. Motored my way into Concord and my car broke down. Got it towed, and fixed up the next day but I was late for my second day on the job.

I of course called apologetically and it was no big deal.

But a seed was planted.

Coupla months later I find out I got me a fractured hip. Last week, actually. Been playing telephone tag with the fucking doctors regarding follow up and so far I have gotten no where.

Pisses me off.

Driving into work yesterday, the car makes a strange sound as I negotiated "Keith's exit" off 89. Call it that because it is the exit we take to get to Keith's house.

Definite something breaking sound. I drove slowly for a couple of minutes (something I rarely do). Could feel that the Big Ride was not driving right, not quite as smooth as usual, but nothing really scary going on.

Drive home last night. Pull onto my road, go over a bump and literally heard an explosion. Sounded like a gunshot or bomb going off.

I said "What the fuck?" and slowed way down. Car started bouncing like a red rubber ball. I nursed that baby home, the car bottomed out as I pulled into my driveway. Rear end was way low.

Then I noticed this thing lying in the driveway. A piece from underneath my car. About a foot and a half long with a hunk of rubber flapping loose. A severely torn piece of rubber - the victim of the explosion.

Bummin' last night. Bummin' even more this morning. This afternoon got The Big Ride towed to Danny's for a Monday morning rendezvous.

Too much negative shit on my mind. Which I stretch all the way back to last summer's cancer bullshit. Start thinking about all the negative shit that has happened since I semi-retired.

What the fuck.

Just an average life keeping me from getting cocky.

Get back from Danny's and my brain is severely bruised. Looking for release. Distraction.

Got me about 300 things saved as favorites on the magical X1 Infinity machine. So many that I don't remember what I have saved.

Troll it and come across Klein.

Yeah, baby - I could use a laugh.

Fucking spectacular.

He is a funny dude, man, and a comedian routinely mentioned in the same breath as Richard Pryor and George Carlin as a pioneer.

By comedians like Jerry Seinfeld,  Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, Larry Miller, and David Steinberg, all of whom admit Robert Klein had a major influence on them.

Made me feel good. Made me laugh. Got my respect vibe working.

I never know what is going to save me. Today it was Robert Klein.

Christ I was down. I feel better now. Not cured, but better.

Not half bad, baby.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Stupidest Thing In Sports

A third base coach giving signs.

Run the hand along the bill of the cap, touch the nose, swipe across the letters right to left, swipe down the right arm, tug on an ear, swipe across the letters left to right, go to the belt, tug on the other ear, swipe down the left arm, clap twice and spit.

You have to be fucking kidding me.

Gotta keep the opposition from stealing signs, but that is serious overkill. I believe they still do it that way because it has become ingrained in the sport - it is a thing - and because they think it looks cool, and they feel cool doing it.

And the batter has to stand there for two and a half minutes squinting down at the coach to pick up the one gesture or combination that means something.

I think it is fucking hilarious.




Qualifying The Rant

Obviously I became emotionally invested in "Winter Passing" yesterday, and connected that in my brain to the Chris Gethard special, which also touched a nerve with me, and jumped out of my recliner and ran to the laptop to emote.

Actually I am not jumping out of anything these days or running towards anything either, but you get the picture.

When my emotions run deep, what comes out is the truth - but it is a little raw, a little unfocused.

I do hunger for emotional release, emotional connection, but it really is not practical in life. The characters I connect with in movies tend to be broken people connecting with broken people - that seems like pure honesty to me and the ultimate expression of what it means to be human.

But of course, it is the movies. That shit does not happen in real life. Can't do it. Gotta keep on keeping on.

People are too afraid to expose themselves emotionally. Too damn dangerous.

People who are consumed with emotion typically become writers. Or actors. Or musicians.

Or accountants.

Because there is no other way for them to express themselves; to be themselves. Society does not allow that.

If you travel in the bubble of creativity you are somewhat insulated from the "real" world. Although it is a harsh and a difficult way of making a living. Ironically, if you try to make it creatively you will face 100 times the rejection an average person faces. But for some people there is no other choice.

Because if you try to survive as a deeply emotional person in the every day world you will get eaten up. No emotions allowed. No vulnerability. Suck it up.

So yeah, every time I come across an emotional experience that resonates with me I fly away to "I wish" land, because I detest superficiality.

Because of this hunger that will never be sated.

And I bet I have done it 777 times in here. After a movie, after reading a poem, after devouring a book. I cannot help myself. Because as I am experiencing those things, everything else about me is stripped away.

And what is revealed is so powerful to me and so honest that it trips a breaker in my brain and I go berserk.

Small example: I was recently in the company of a friend. We had music on in the background. "I Am A Rock" (Simon and Garfunkel, if you are musically challenged) came on and I mentioned that this song has one of my favorite lyrics of all time. When asked what it was I recited: "I have my books and my poetry to protect me."

He replied something like "OK, I don't get it, but if it makes you happy...."

There are very few people, if any (at least in my life) who would say "I know exactly what you mean" and go on to have an animated discussion of the lyric, and then books and then poetry with me.

And yet to me, those words are powerful. They mean something to me. Deeply. They spark emotion in me; a response. Every fucking time.

And that is a very small example, tip of the iceberg type stuff. There is so much more that resonates with me deeply and meaningfully that cannot be expressed in every day life. At least not in my every day life.

How bizarre, how bizarre.

Apparently I have chosen the wrong friends. Or not enough friends. Or maybe I am not putting myself out there forcefully enough. Or maybe I have tried to put myself out there forcefully and been consistently rejected.

This is hilarious. I came in here to try to explain yesterday's rant because I felt like it was a little skewed.

Feels like I am bending it even further away from where you are.

I won't lose sleep over it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

EMOTION - Pure and Simple

The central paradox of my life is that I am pure emotion.

It starts at skin level and penetrates down to and through my heart and my soul and my essence.

And yet I cannot live my life in that way. Openly. Honestly. Emotionally.

Gotta put on the show; gotta deal with everybody else putting on the show.

It feels so disingenuous to me, such a waste of time. And life.

Because so many people are sensitive and deal with emotional pain and insecurity and doubt and confusion. I want to sit down with these people and talk - honestly. No fucking bullshit.

I want to open up. I want them to open up. No fear of retribution. No fear of ridicule.

It just doesn't happen.

There are many things about my life that frustrate me but, suddenly I realize, that is THE thing, the truth, that keeps me off balance and prevents me from feeling any peace at all.

Two recent experiences have sparked this violent reaction in my brain.

I watched a "comedy" special on HBO featuring a guy named Chris Gethard called "Career Suicide".

Heavy fucking duty.

The guy is a deeply sensitive, insecure guy who attempted to commit suicide in a spontaneous and somewhat bizarre way.

Obviously he survived. He decided to put together a performance where he airs out all his insecurities; where he talks about the suicide attempt.

There are long periods of time during the performance where you are not laughing. Where what is being said is raw and personal. Then he makes you laugh.

I love stuff like this. I do not need a laugh a minute riot. I need deep and thought provoking stuff that makes me uncomfortable - and then makes me laugh.

This is the kind of show where many insensitive assholes would describe Gethard as a fucking wimp. People who would say "What the fuck is this?" As he bares his soul.

Fuck them.

These are people who cannot admit to their own insecurities. Bluff and bluster. Actors.

I have no use for them.

Exactly ten minutes ago I finished watching a movie called "Winter Passing".

Fucking emotional.

I am not even going to bother summarizing the plot.

All I can say is that it dragged me in immediately, emotionally, and kept me there until the end.

Personal relationships. Family. Fuck ups. Unconventional connections and lifestyles.

Ed Harris is one of the characters. I love Ed Harris. If you want a real treat it also features Will Ferrell in a deeply emotional and vulnerable role.

Every fucking time I come a cross a movie like this - a performance like this - a book like this - a play like this - a poem like this - it breaks me down to exactly who I am.

And increases my sadness at not being able to live my life within this reality of who I am. Not being able to spend time with people who are willing to be brutally honest about who they are, what they are afraid of, what they genuinely feel, how they deal with their life and how they want to change it.

People who are not afraid to speak their dreams aloud.

I don't know what to do about this.

Words To Live By, Baby

"Quality of life is important. Time is as important as money at a certain point in your life. Maybe more important."

Oteil Burbridge, bass player, Allman Brothers Band

Wait A Minute...........What Did You Just Say?

Had a physical last week.

That is one thing I am pretty good about. Get checked out every year; been doing it for a long time.

That way I can keep track of how my health is deteriorating. That's how I know I gotta deal with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, and acid reflux.

Poppin' the pills, baby - every morning. But, what the hell - they are doing the trick and I have not experienced any nasty side effects. And the prescriptions I take have not been increased for years, so at least I am maintaining.

Which is good. Helping me hang around a little longer to drive Carol crazy and perfect methods of embarrassing my sons.

My right hip has been paining me for about a year and a half now. Typically a low level, annoying kind of pain. But it does spike every once in a while to a level that makes me grimace. And limp.

Mentioned it to Dr. Feelgood at last year's physical. She was going to set up an x-ray to check it out, but that was also the physical that led to the whole cancer diagnosis, so the x-ray got lost in the shuffle.

I brought it up again last week because it is a lot more annoying now. Got x-rayed that day; she called me later that day to tell me my hip was fractured.

What? Fucking fractured? How the hell did that happen?

I should have been suspicious when the x-ray technician asked me, while he was checking the x-rays to make sure they came out all right - "Have you had an accident or some kind of trauma to the hip?"

I didn't even think about it because I have been assuming it is arthritis or some other old person type thang.

Now, I did fall twice this winter in my fucking skating rink of a driveway, BUT I have been experiencing pain in the hip for a year before that. So who the hell knows what is going on.

So Dr. Feelgood wants me to get a cane or a crutch until this thing gets dealt with. Which of course I am not doing. I've been walking around on the goddamn thing for a year and a half; I don't think it is suddenly gonna snap now.

Except it does change the mind set.

Before, I dismissed it as arthritis. When you get old enough you deal with pain every day. I have learned to ignore it.

But now, every time I get a twinge or the pain spikes, I get a little worried. And of course the responsible voice in my head is saying "Get a goddamn cane, idiot." And, you know, if I do get a cane it is going to be one funky motherfucker.

So now I wait. I will be scheduled for an MRI to assess the extent of the damage and I have to see an orthopedic dude to figure out what comes next.

But of course the 4th of July holiday has put everything on hold.

In addition, Dr. Feelgood told me to stop exercising. That fucking sucks. Another thing I do religiously is ride an exercise bike, and she knows this. I average four days a week; sometimes I hit five on a good week.

I am already morbidly obese.

Carol and I stole a shopping cart from Shaw's just to get me out of the house. Shaw's sucks; we would never steal a shopping cart from Market Basket.

The way we work it is I roll off my recliner onto the floor, where Carol has the shopping cart tipped over on its side. I roll forcefully into the cart so it begins to tip upright; Carol guides it the rest of the way. She then wheels me out of the house and tips me into her trunk.

It all works just fine.

Anyway, I will have to live on carrots and water until this thing gets figured out, so I don't begin to resemble Jabba The Hut's long lost brother.

How does a fractured hip heal? I am probably going to have to use a cane or a crutch, keep the weight off, until I am whole again.

I am not happy about this.

But what the fuck - at a certain age you gotta roll with the punches as your body begins to betray you.

Another chapter, baby - another chapter.

This Should Have Been Me

Willie Perkins, telling the story of how he became the Allman Brothers Band road manager.

"Butch called me from Cleveland and said Twiggs was in jail and they needed me. They were on their way back to Macon. About a week later, they had a gig in Atlanta, at Georgia Tech, and I met them there. I got onto the Winnebago and Duane came and sat down in the lounge and said  'Man, we are a handful. We will sure enough drive you crazy.' I knew that he was shooting straight and telling me the truth but I was in. I told him I needed two weeks to give notice and then I'd start.

I was a suit-and-tie-wearing auditor for the Trust Company of Georgia in Atlanta and everyone thought I was absolutely insane. My colleagues and friends and families could not understand what I was doing. They all said 'You are throwing away a promising career to go run around with a bunch of crazy hippies who make no money.'