Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Just One Song

We play CD's where I work.

This breaks the ominous silence as deal junkies paw through the gently used merchandise. Although sometimes, when the CD ends, I let the silence ride awhile in the hopes that people will get uncomfortable.

Torturing the customer is my first rule of retail.

One woman pretty much runs the show in the story, reluctantly. Sometimes I feel bad for her. The manager is never there because he spends most of his time in the Manchester store and in corporate meetings. So the running of the store falls on the shoulders of this woman.

Elderly, indecisive, forced to answer too many questions and make too many decisions.

Sometimes I feel bad for her. Except for when it comes to the music. Then I want her dead.

She plays almost exclusively fifties music. I like some fifties stuff, in fact I like a lot of fifties stuff.

In small doses.

Not every single fucking day. Over and over and over again. Many times when the CD ends she just restarts it and I get to suffer through the same shit all over again. Back to back.

There is one particular song that I fucking hate. It is the one song that represents all I hate about fifties music. Every time it comes on I reach for the scissors to puncture my ear drums.

"Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows", by Leslie Gore. Jesus Christ, the name alone is enough to destroy my mental equilibrium.

And the song. The fucking song. One of those ridiculously upbeat, cluelessly positive songs they wrote in the fifties when they were trying to pretend there was no such thing as divorce and disease and alcoholism and crime and prejudice and hatred and death.

The song makes me want to puke. Go listen to it right now. Make sure you have a bucket handy.

The worst is when I walk in the door and that song is on. As I approach the entrance every day I am deathly depressed. With each footstep it becomes more inevitable that I will walk through those doors and spend the next five hours in a parallel universe where I am expected to care about the opinions and the lives of old ladies, where I am forced to have conversations with woman about how "cute" this blouse is.

If that song is playing as I walk into the store, and it happens, I immediately fall to the floor, curl up in a fetal position and begin to sob hysterically.

Typically, some old broad will lean down and ask if everything is alright, young man. Then I punch her in the face.

Had an old lady tell me the other day how much she loves the music we play because she hates all this "new" music.

New music? What, since 1950? Are you fucking kidding me? With one mindless comment she is dismissing 67 years of music evolution?

There is one song I would play, if we had it, over and over again. 100 times a day.

And the lyrics go: "We gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing we ever do."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Always Ducking

You never know where it will come from.

Been reading a bunch of easy reading books lately - flying through them like a stealth bomber through the sky. Resting my brain, I guess.

Reading a collection of short stories from Russell Banks. He wrote "Nobody's Fool", which I read, and which subsequently became a top five favorite movie for Carol and me.

Point is: I like the way the man tells stories.

So I am reading along, innocently, a story called "The Burden", when I got knocked to the ground with the following words.

"When you love someone for years, you lose sight of how that person looks to the rest of the world. Then one day, even though it's painful, you push the person away, and suddenly you can see him the way a stranger sees him. But because you know so much more about him than a stranger can, you are frightened for him, as frightened as you would be for yourself, if you could see in yourself, as you see in him, that you're not quite right, that you don't quite fit into the place the world has tried to make for you."

There is so much truth and insight in those words that I should have cautioned you not to read them.

But it's too late now, isn't it?

I hope you can absorb then without putting a bullet in your brain.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Butch Trucks

This one hurts a lot.

Butch Trucks was one of the founding fathers of The Allman Brothers Band. A band that got under my skin when I was fifteen and stayed there through today and for the rest of my life.

The founding fathers were: Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, "Jaimoe" Johanson, Dicky Betts, and Berry Oakley.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle crash in 1971 at the age of 24. Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle crash in 1972 at the age of 24.

Those deaths were devastating. Since then The Allman Brothers have motored on through various lineup changes and three break ups, to get their musical message out to the world.

Through it all they stayed true to who they were.

When they first came upon the scene nobody knew what to make of them. A six man band with two drummers - are you kidding me? - with musical tastes inspired by the blues, by jazz and by country - a band that would jam at length on many songs and then bring it all back home with a precision and ferocious emotion that would blow you away.

Butch put it perfectly in a Rolling Stone interview from last year: "We were out spreading the gospel of this music we had discovered. We never thought that we would be more than an opening act. Atlantic Records was riding our ass constantly to get Gregg out from behind the organ, stick a salami down his pants and jump around the stage like Robert Plant. We told them to go fuck themselves. 'We're playing this for ourselves. We've tried it your way before. We didn't make any money and we had a miserable time.'

The Allman Brothers Band had a unique voice, they knew it and they stuck with it. Butch Trucks was a huge part of that voice.

Jaimoe was the other drummer. He played with a jazz feel; he was not a power drummer. He added subtlety and accent. Butch was the power guy. Wailing away with strength, keeping the band in line, giving them a solid base from which to soar.

He had a strong personality too. Always spoke his mind.

At concerts, when the other musicians walked off the stage, leaving Jaimoe and Butch to jam, very few people moved. Typically, when there is a drum solo, people go to the bathroom, grab a beer and mill around. Not so with The Allman Brothers. Butch and Jaimoe jammed ferociously, delicately, powerfully and in a way that made your jaw drop.

We could always identify the rookies in the crowd - they headed for the bathrooms. They had no clue what they were missing.

When you get something special in your life, something containing the magic to make your life softer, you hold on to it with all your strength.

That is what The Allman Brothers Band was to me.

It has been almost 45 years since an original member of the band died. Plenty of time to get comfortable with having them around. Honestly, I have been worried about Gregg. His health has been fragile for a long time. He cancelled a bunch of shows last fall due to health concerns, and that really worried me.

So Butch's death came as a great shock to me. I did not see it coming. I don't know if he had health issues.

My closest friend Phil C and I saw Butch with his new band The Freight Train Band at a small dinner type venue last summer. Thank God for that opportunity.

What a night. We had dinner. Prime rib for both of us. We drifted into the hall, set up with round tables throughout the room, a small, intimate room with close proximity to the stage.

The band came out and rocked that place to the ground. Phil and I were blown away. We didn't know anybody in the band beyond Butch. Turns out his son, Vaylor Trucks, was playing guitar and man could he wail.

Butch Trucks gave Phil and I the gift of incredible music, a night we laughed together, and ate and drank together, stared in awe at the stage and jumped up for standing ovations again and again.

That was the power of Butch Trucks. That was the power of The Allman Brothers Band.

The Allman Brothers broke up in 2014. Thanks to my sons, I was fortunate enough to see their second to last show ever - at the Beacon Theatre in NYC, the Holy Grail for Allman Brothers fans, with Phil. My sons gave me the tickets. It was yet another spectacular ABB memory for us.

Since then I have been secretly hoping for a reunion concert. I kept that hope alive in my heart because I could not accept the possibility that I would never see The Allman Brothers Band again.

The death of Butch Trucks is too much. Too final. It hurts a lot.

When you get something special in your life you have to enjoy it at every opportunity, every turn, because nothing lasts forever. And when it goes away all you have is memories.

I have the music of The Allman Brothers Band and the music, personality and life force of Butch Trucks to keep me going.

But there is a void. Huge and final that will never be filled.

I am sad and empty today. I believe I will feel this way for some time to come.

Requiescat in pace, Butch Trucks.

Thank you so much for the music and the memories.

I loved, respected and appreciated having you in my life.

I will never forget you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just To Set The Mood

After a while - quite a while - the screaming no longer got through to him.

He sat in the dark, illuminated only by the glow of his television.

He lived in what he considered to be abject poverty. Ragged clothes, always behind in the rent, subsisting on Dinty Moore and tuna fish. Ramen.

Fuck it. Who gives a shit. Nobody promised him a good life, no one ever told him life would be easy. Christ his parents were both drunks. When they weren't drunk they were fighting and spitting back at bill collectors. Puking on the floor and scraping up change for the next bottle.

Fucking assholes. They didn't give a shit about him; treated him like an ungrateful dog. When they died in a flaming drunken wreck, trapped inside to hideously burn to death - he went out and got himself a bottle of premium shit.

Had himself a private little party. And pissed on their graves the first chance he got.

That's why he was confused. She was his savior. She was different. A sensitive, loving person who truly seemed to care for and about him.

At first he was standoffish. The only relationships he understood were violent and loveless; keeping his distance from people was his own private sport.

But she broke through his defenses; wore him down. He opened his heart.

Turned out to be a fucking mistake. The biggest fucking mistake of his life.

She was no different than anybody else. Picking at him to get a better job or even a second fucking job. Are you kidding me? What flaming asshole works two jobs? Doubling up on humiliation and degradation?

We need this, we gotta do that. Jesus Christ, he learned a long time ago that life was nothing but a very dark joke. If you had enough whiskey and could avoid being evicted you had reached the pinnacle; you were in fucking heaven. Doesn't get any better than that.

So he coasted; he floated. That was it. That was all he wanted; life would offer no more than that.

But she wanted more. And she never fucking let up.

Out of nowhere there came another scream. Jesus, where the hell did she get the energy for that? She had been chained to the oil tank, naked and cold, in the cellar for five hours now as he decided how to eliminate her.

Shut the fuck up! He threw the baseball he was squeezing at the door with all his strength. Sounded like a goddamn bomb going off.

He heard her crying.

Good, let her fucking suffer.

On the floor in front of him was a baseball bat, a Glock 17, and a kitchen knife.

He wasn't sure if he wanted to beat and torture her, or just kill her quick and be done with it. It was a question of how much energy he wanted to expend.

He had time. He could think it over, plug into his emotions at the appropriate moment and give her what she deserved.

A final gift to his lovely lady.

In the meantime, he dialed up Requiem For A Dream. His favorite movie of all time.

Just to set the mood.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Life Choice

I must become a vampire.

I have no choice. Eternal life. That just might give me enough time to get my shit together.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


"Illusion is the first of all pleasures."


Hey, I Was Thinking.................

Anybody wishing you a happy new year lately?

Anybody asking how your new year is going? No? What a surprise.

Wanna know why? 'Cause there ain't no new year. There ain't no old year. It's all the same fucking year.

Over and over and over again.

Janis Joplin had it right when she said: "Tomorrow never happens. It's all the same fucking day, man."

So what the fuck, what's the point? For Christ sake, it's January 19 and you haven't lost a pound. You're working the same soul-sucking job. You haven't even killed your boss yet, right?

You get home and go right for the whiskey and, three generous drinks in, you are fantasizing about crucifying your boss, you visualize yourself driving the spikes through the palms of his hands and his feet, blood spurting up into your face; dripping in rivulets down the front of your shirt, blotting out the writing on your name tag.

You raise the cross, making sure it is firmly planted. Then you begin throwing ball bearings and lug nuts at his body until it sags in agonizing death.

You dream about it but you haven't done it yet, have you. What happened to your to do list?

You haven't moved anyplace warm. You haven't bought that motorcycle you covet, you haven't picked up your guitar or started to learn to speak Italian.

You have not increased your earning capacity; you ain't got enough money. More sacrifice, no access to the finer things.

You have not begun to move in more interesting circles, you are not challenged by creative and interesting people.

You are moving in circles, like a dog chained to a post.

It's all a conspiracy, man. The holidays were created to inspire false hope. You get a little giddy with all the glitz and glimmer. You start to think that life could be better; Christ it could even be fun. You think, "Yeah, man - I can change. I can turn my life right around; reinvent myself and bring happiness, success, pride and money back home right into my heart and my wallet."

Yeah, baby - you picture that big fat wallet and all the good things it will deliver. Dinner out whenever you want; clothes to be proud of; nice car; bills paid, no worries, mon.

You realize that money ain't the root of all evil; the lack of money is the root of all evil.

Suddenly it is the middle of January. Cold, clear, winter skies reveal the truth.

You are shattered. You ain't gonna change, nothin's gonna change. You are stuck in a swamp, treading water, giving up dignity until you die.

You become empty. You put your head down and dutifully go to work. You pay the oil man and eat cat food.

You become legless, helpless and subservient.

That's what they want, man. They want you broken and servile. Now things can move ahead as planned.

For them. Not you.

happy new year, baby.

(Editor's note: Despite the tone of these words, I remain resilient and hopeful in 2017. I don't even know where the words came from. The Devil, I'm guessing.)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mass Hangings & The Presidency

People stood and cheered the bodies swaying in the trees. It was extraordinary; that so many people would simultaneously commit suicide; that so many would be pleased to witness it.

Of course the deaths received massive coverage on every network, except WE tv, which refused to interrupt their scheduled airing of endless Law & Order episodes, as well as the brain teasers Marriage Boot Camp, Braxton Family Values, Kendra On Top, Bridezillas and much, much more.

It all started with the presidential election.

Who could believe this guy won? Jesus Christ, he sacrificed virgins and babies on stage at his rallies and people cheered.

He raped and killed the pope and was celebrated on Breitbart News with exclusive coverage and enthusiastic support.

He shackled people to trees and whipped them, and ground lit cigarettes into their flesh until they agreed to vote for him. His supporters voluntarily threw rocks at these people as well, aiming to spill as much blood and break as many bones as possible.

Just for fun.

He terrorized the elderly, visiting assisted living communities and demanding their votes. If they refused to pledge allegiance, he punched them in the face and tasered them into submission.

They always came around. Or died.

He mocked the handicapped. He pushed wheelchair bound people to the edge of cliffs, dangling them there until they saw the light. Those that did not went for a short ride to a bone-crushing death.

He slapped and spit on quadriplegics, pouring motor oil on them and threatening to light them on fire. He really didn't care if they lived or died. What the hell were they contributing to America anyway.

The hangings were sporadic at first, but reached critical mass on January 20. Suddenly millions of people were looping nooses over the limbs of sturdy trees and kicking out the stools beneath their feet.

Necks snapped as the signs on their chests revealed the consistent message "I'd rather be dead."

Some people were horrified. The people who voted the new president in were entertained.

At first they stood beneath the swinging corpses and cheered and chanted. When that became boring they poked them with sticks and eventually got around to whacking them like pinatas, delighting in the crushing of bones and the interesting way the corpses became looser, giving the appearance of being relaxed.

This happened all around the country. Strange how so many different people in so many different locations could think alike. Strange how they were united in the support of this particular man.

At the inauguration the new president looked down upon his people with pride. People smeared with blood, carrying automatic weapons, brandishing hunting knives and chanting "We won, you lost, you die."

He turned to the former president, who was frozen to his chair in horror and asked "So what's next for you?"

Trembling, stuttering, the former president said "I'm going on vacation. Someplace warm. Someplace quiet"

The new prez reached into his topcoat, pulled out a Glock 17, said "No you're not" and emptied all 17 rounds into the former president, his wife and his daughters.

An enormous cheer went up from the crowd.

And so began a brand new era in America.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


What Would I A Dreamer Do

What would I a dreamer do
The rainbow already has its hue
The sea has long been salted down
And there are far too many clowns
For too many carnivals

Some tell me, Be like me
No one should be like you, you see
Hide your mysterious secret side
While hungry fools have died
Unlocking mysteries

I put on a nice, neat suit
Hide my straw hat and boots
Live the accepted normal life
Answer to Mr., how's your wife?
and your children?

Seems to me to fix up things
I should fly on brazen wings
Passing by all that conforms
Wear no raincoat in storms
And to hell with umbrellas

Why should I wait in my seat
Passing time for a glutton to eat
I may know no other task
But I won't wait, so don't ask
I'll go do something

I don't recall if any or what
Task or duty fell my lot
They say songs are for nothing but to sing
Say the never listening - unhearing
While the music plays

I don't have it all figured, I guess
Maybe I'm confused as the rest
But I won't live 8 to 5
Are the 8 to 5 alive
Even on weekends?

So, I'll walk a lot of streets
Get up and go, whenever I eat
Throw away that business suit
Put neat's-foot oil on my boots
And track mud on somebody's carpet

A poem written by Johnny Cash

Friday, January 13, 2017

Just One Line

There was so much blood on the floor he slipped and fell twice on the way to the whiskey.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Load Off His Back

He asked her a simple question. She responded by spitting back a venomous answer.

Out of the blue. Out of nowhere. Apropos of nothing. Out of all proportion to the situation.

What the fuck was that?

This woman was deranged, and not in an interesting way. She seemed confused with anger and misplaced emotion; her thought process was diseased.

Communication between them was a torturous process. Always had been. They were not on the same wavelength since day one and it had only gotten worse.

Time had distorted miscommunication exponentially.

He went down one road and she another. Parallel roads. No crossroads in site.

But this time she had crossed a line. This was the final transgression. This time she would pay.

He had nothing to lose. Nothing. Nothing to hold on to, nothing to look forward to.

What was the fucking point in even trying?

He would kill her when she got home from work and then kill himself.

He went down to the basement to fetch the shotgun. It was a Mossberg 500 Persuader 12 gauge shotgun with a pistol grip. She did not even know he owned it. He took great satisfaction in her ignorance. As the years went by his comfort level with owning the gun increased, and settled into a warm place in his heart as it became clear to him exactly how he would use the weapon.

A vicious weapon with a menacingly evil look. His father had always told him - if you are going to do a job you might as well do it right.

He would do this job right.

He came back up from the basement and settled down to re-runs and whiskey. Seinfeld. Jesus, this stuff was funny. Never failed to lighten his load and to validate his appreciation for an irresponsible approach to life. It made so much sense to him.

These people had it right. Why take life seriously? Why should anyone give a shit about anyone else but themselves?

You care about other people you get fucked.

Simple math, baby.

He watched. He laughed. He waited. He drank.

The crunch of tires on crusty, frozen snow woke him up. Shit, must have gotten a little too deep into the whiskey.

He took another sip. Heard her footsteps on the stairs and stood up from the recliner.

He blasted her with both barrels as soon as she stepped inside the door. Did not give her a chance to say a word. She talked too goddamn much anyway.

Her body flew backwards out the door and landed, broken and twisted, with a thud.

He had a box of double 0 buckshot on the arm of the recliner, ready, so he could reload and kill himself.

But he had doubts. Suddenly he felt lighter. Like a choke collar had been removed from his throat and he was breathing for the first time.

Suddenly he felt like he could do anything. He was happy. Holy shit he was happy.

He put down the gun, pulled the phone out of his pocket and called his buddy Zack.

"Hey Zack, you wanna go out for a beer? I'm buying." When Zack asked what the hell was going on he said "I'm celebrating. I just got a load off my back that is going to make my life a lot easier. I'll meet you at Zampisi's."

He pocketed the phone, grabbed the car keys, stepped over her body without even looking down and walked confidently towards his truck.

Double Digit Death

Double digits, baby - the beginning of the end.

When you get to January 10, desperation begins to set in. Possibly despair.

You are in double digit territory in the new year and nothing has changed. Nothing about your life has changed.

One foot on the slippery slope. Your stomach churns, your butt clenches.

You know exactly how this will end.

Might as well begin to make plans for New Year's Eve 2018.


One must become effectual if one is to put an end to being ineffectual.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Alone in McDonald's

Alone in McDonald's on New Year's Eve eve.

He came here from time to time to consider his
polluted soul; to wonder how it could possibly
have come to this.

Surrounded by people with that "look"; broken lives,
dead dreams, no money, no hope.

Trapped, with only one option for escape.

Easy to be alone in that sterile atmosphere; easy
to feel lost. Disconnected.

It felt right.

These were not his people, yet he wondered if
they soon would be.

Seemed that way.

His life was not his own and it was resistant to change.

It was getting late. Very late.

He watched the cars driving up and down,
past gas stations and convenience stores, fast
food joints and check cashing places;
meaningless lives, fleshed out with false justification.

Lives he once considered his life superior to, but
no longer.

He came here to dive deep into his despair, to just let
it be, in an atmosphere that welcomed it.

Without judgment.

No one to question him, no one to criticize him, no one
to expect more.

Sometimes that was enough.

Oh, So THAT'S Why They Make Booze

"People needed jobs and they needed shelter and they needed hope. When none of those proved forthcoming, they settled for a drink."

From "Live By Night" by Dennis Lehane

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Roll Call

The effects of 2016 linger. It was a harsh year.

I cannot move on to 2017 without reflecting on people who died in 2016, whose deaths hurt me; whose deaths leave a void. People whose deaths have made my life smaller.

David Bowie, Glen Frey, Paul Kantner, Keith Emerson, Merle Haggard, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, Greg Lake, Leon Russell, Guy Clark, George Martin.

That is a much abbreviated list. There are many more people I could have included but I tried to stay true to the pain and the sense of loss. Tried not to sensationalize.

The deaths of Leonard Cohen and Muhammad Ali floored me. Left me stunned and disoriented; brought the tears on and left such a hole in my heart.

These people, all of them, meant something to me. They had an impact on my life; they inspired me; they grabbed a hold of me in my formative years, they got into my heart and they redirected my vision of life; my understanding of it.

Everyone but Muhammad Ali and George Martin were musicians, and George Martin is the dude who produced the Beatles, worked closely with them throughout their careers, who was their musical guru.

This is not a coincidence. Music is everything to me. It is the thing that slammed me on the side of the head when I was ten years old and never let go.

As each death occurred, I felt a chapter closing on my life. Taken cumulatively, these deaths force me to face a harsh reality.

Obviously most of the people who have inspired me are my age or older. They will continue to die and my life will continue to shrink.

It is an ominous feeling. People who have done so much with their lives and touched so many people are fading away. In doing so they are making a commentary on my own life; forcing me to take a closer look at where I am, who I am and what I can reasonably expect or hope for as a future.

The window is closing.

In the past few years I have felt the hole in my heart growing and, as a consequence, I have felt my heart itself diminishing.

Took a heavy duty blow in 2016. It was rough.

Death, man. It is the final punctuation. The ultimate arbiter and the one thing that forces a life to be reviewed with finality.

Other peoples' deaths carry a message, especially if they mean something to you.

I am still a bit overwhelmed.

Revelations On A Dump Run

Motoring my way to the dump earlier, turned on the radio, randomly caught "Piano Man" by Billy Joel.

A straight ahead, rock solid, viciously honest, slice of life.

It's not like I didn't know this; I always knew this; it's just that things hit you differently as you age.

Snapshots of people; snapshots of life.

The old man who is making love to his tonic and gin; the bartender who believes he could be a movie star if he could just get out of this place; Paul who never had time for a wife; Davy who will probably be in the Navy for life; the waitress who is practicing politics as the businessmen slowly get stoned ( they're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone).

None of them happy; none of them where they want to be. And they know that will never change.

So they rely on the piano man to cheer them up; to play them a memory, to play them a melody, 'cause you got us feeling alright.

They look to the piano man for some happiness and "to forget about life for a while". But from the piano man's perspective the piano sounds like a carnival and the microphone smells like a beer.

He doesn't want to be where he is either.

Life for most people is one massive disappointment; Billy Joel captured it all in one song.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Planning Ahead

Winter is not a bad time to die.

At least you won't be missing anything.

Yeah, What About THEM?

And what about those fuckers at O? O Steaks and Seafood? What about those assholes in the new year? Huh?

They're still there. That's what's up with them. Sons of bitches. Nothing different. No changes. No need - they got the world by the balls.

Don't think the name of that joint was not carefully planned out. What are the most expensive things on any menu?

Steak and seafood, for Christ sake. Steak and seafood.

A not so subtle message. "If you can't afford steak, if you can't afford seafood, please do not set foot in our establishment. We do not want to smell the odor of failure that your broken down body reeks of."

The O probably stands for orgasm, which is what the regulars experience as they bite into their American Kobe NY Strip and Filet Oscar while watching poor unfortunates rush by on the way to their second job.

Nothing changes in the new year for these scumholes because nothing has to. They have made their deal with the devil and, for the rest of their mortal existence, all they gotta do is sit back and indulge.

Shit, even Hell has become elitist - the fucking Devil will not even talk to anybody who makes less than $175,000 a year.

Little known fact - the barstools have grooves cut out of one corner to accommodate fat wallets. 4"x3"x2.5". That way when a man sits down his body will not be tilted to one side.

Do you realize how much cash it takes to make a wallet 2.5 inches thick?

A fuckload, that's how much.

Sometimes I get out of work and stand across the street from this elitist hellhole and pull a couple of nips out of my pocket.

I chug the first one. I sip the second.

As I'm sipping I concentrate all my fury into a vicious, powerful, laser beam of thought. I try to cause fatal heart attacks in the patrons I'm staring at.

I have not succeeded yet.

But I will not give up.

Happy 2017.

Better Fucking Duck

He realized, with dread, that the situation had indeed become dire when he could feel his soul begin to flicker and wane.

A Fine Plan For The Remainder

My plan is to focus on hocus pocus.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Just One Line

He defied everyone's expectations by deciding to rush headlong towards his death.


Caught a few minutes of Sling Blade yesterday.

Heard some dialogue that moved me.

Frank the kid talking to Karl about Frank's dad:

"He shot hisself with a shotgun on purpose....................'Cause he didn't have enough money to take care of us the way he wanted to. That's what the letter said. He got laid off from work and had to just work odd jobs. I thought he took care of us fine."

Does anybody have a fucking clue what reality really is?

A Minor Incident

Fucking January 3rd. Another day just like any other goddamn day.

January 3rd is August 18th is September 29th is March 21st. What the fuck difference does it make? Driving himself to his shit-ass job just like any other day, driving himself home from his shit-ass job just like any other day.

All the mindless idiots throwing happy new years at him. What is so happy about it? Fucking people fooling themselves that they got a fresh start, a new perspective. Pretending. Most of them spit out the words without thinking. Because that's what you are supposed to do. Even though their lives still suck. Even though they will always suck.

It is all one long continuum of complete fucking bullshit.

He knew better than to get his hopes up. He had been around too long. Besides his hopes were buried so deep it would take a fifty ton crane to drag them back up.

And what about these assholes with the Christmas lights still on their houses? On January 3rd? They are not kidding anyone. The holidays are dead, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. It's usually the tacky ones, the people with cheesy multi-colored lights sagging along the side of their crumbling houses.

Probably still too drunk to get out and take them down. Maybe too stupid to even know the holidays were over.

Yeah there was no such thing as a happy new year. All there ever was was more of the same. More sacrifice, more loss of dignity, more struggling, more disease, and eventually more death.

This is what Rick was thinking as he ran over Janice Bulba's dog. He was taking a sip off the Knob Creek nip a hundred proof and delicious; when his eyesight came back down he saw the dog in the middle of the road.

Sam. The dog's name was Sam. He was 18 years old and he was all Janice Bulba had left.

Janice lived two doors and half a mile down the road. Rick spent time with her once in a while; they drank together and laughed about people who manufactured positive attitudes. Her husband committed suicide eight years ago because he could not face one more meaningless new year. He was worn and torn, beaten and down and lost.

So he checked out.

Since then Sam was all Janice had left and she latched on to him with an iron grip. She loved that dog; worshiped him. Hugs and kisses all around.

She had nothing else. No money. A fucking relentless mortgage payment that sucked her dry. Two part time jobs. A thin winter coat, and a broken down truck. Broken and buried dreams and a solid understanding of the cruel irony of life.

Rick should have cared for her but he didn't. Rick didn't care about anybody. Because life had fucked him bad. Caring was soft and soft did not survive.

He never even slowed down. Pulled into his driveway two minutes later, shut down the truck and sat for a minute.

Slowly, a warm feeling spread throughout his mind and his body.

Janice would suffer. For a little while anyway. Even more than Rick was suffering.

Turned out to be a happy new year after all.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bobby Tried

Bobby had struggled with drink for all of his adult life.

Never considered himself an alcoholic; he just did what he had to do to get by.

Only a moron gets up every day in anguish and comes home in anguish and does nothing about it.

Bobby did something about it. He drank. Brown fluids, baby, the sweet blissful escape of whiskey.

He crawled home from work and went right to the bottle and began working on that. Two or three swallows beat the pain back and made it manageable. Joyful sipping over the course of the rest of the night destroyed the pain miraculously.

Bobby like the way life looked through the prism of whiskey. He enjoyed sitting in his chair feeling like an outlaw drinking his whiskey in extraordinary amounts. Knowing the responsible people out there would frown at what he was doing.

He also knew those responsible people were the scum of the earth; vicious assholes feeding on hypocritical feelings of superiority. Kissing each other's asses, stabbing each other in the back, stepping out to high end bars where they themselves drank to excess.


But lately things had changed. Bobby realized he was making more frequent trips to the liquor store, buying cheaper whiskey and getting less benefit and more pain from his beloved ritual.

He hated his fucking life but did not want to die. Bobby decided upon an experiment.

The holidays were here and Bobby never liked to do anything the easy way. He decided to stay sober from Thanksgiving through the new year. Six weeks of sobriety. Maybe somebody could make a movie out of it; that would be a great fucking title.

It was painful at first, took one hell of a lot of determination. But he stuck it out and it got easier.

Bobby woke up on New Years Day in amazement with no hangover.

He had done it. He had pulled it off.

Of course willpower of that magnitude deserved to be rewarded. Bobby decided to get himself a little whiskey. Drove to the liquor store and got himself a bottle of JTS Brown.

Cheap but soothing.

He pulled out of the parking lot and took a left, stopping at the red light at the four way intersection. The Allman Brothers were on the radio and Bobby was singing along at maximum volume to "Blue Sky". Feeling good about himself.

The light turned green, Bobby cruised forward and was T-boned on the drivers side by a car screaming through the red light.

A drunk driver.

Bobby's neck was snapped, his back was broken and he was fried in his car after it burst into flame.

The drunk driver was not seriously hurt.

January 2, 2017

Ah, now this is a very different beast, isn't it?

You got a three legged stool of hope, happiness and illusion at this time of year.

Thanksgiving kicks it off, emotion kicks in and keeps on rolling right into Christmas. The whole month of December feels alive with possibility.

Christmas happens and then - boom - one goddamn week later it is New Years Eve/ New Years Day.

New Years Day represents a last gasp of illusion which, hopefully, you can enjoy if you're not too hungover or working some shit-ass job that robs you of holidays.

Then today rolls around. All illusion is stripped away and you come face to face with "reality", with your fucking resolutions and your hopes for a better tomorrow.

The holidays are dead and most won't see another one until Memorial Day.

That is one harsh fucking stretch of "reality".

When you wake up on 01/02 you know in your heart if you will really move forward in the new year, or if all your positive thoughts and words were just bullshit.

There may be a residue of hope there, of good intentions, but as day after day rolls by and nothing changes, inside you or outside you, resignation and dread settle in.

Your life will not change. You will not be a better person. You will not make enough money to live in dignity.

Your life's course is cast in stone and there will never be anything to look forward to. You become numb one to two weeks into the new year and there you shall remain.

So you have to initiate change immediately. If only to give you something positive to cling to, to give you a reason not to die inside for a little while.

Even that is hard. Most times you strike out in a new direction with something new and you become enthused. One month later, in the bitter cold and dark and depression of February, it has all slipped away.

January 2 is the first step. You gotta take that first step or slip back into the most vicious word in the English language - routine.

You gotta get up on January 2 and say fuck you, buddy, I got this - my life is racing by in meaninglessness and this is the year I dig in my heels.

You gotta puff out your chest and fight back.

And keep fighting back.

Tough day, today is. This "reality" things sucks; it grinds you down, makes you dead before you die and somehow keeps you getting up every morning filled with hate.

You have been filled with false happiness since Thanksgiving and it is really fucking hard to come back down. Hurts like hell.

I wish you luck.

I have failed over and over and over again to grab my life by the throat and make it mine. And now I am 63 years old and smelling the fresh earth being turned over to make room for my corpse.

Still, I am going to give it another shot. I haven't defined the rules of play for 2017. Don't know how the hell I am going to release my soul from captivity and get face to face with the life I should be living.

All I know today, January 2, 2017, is that I am feeling hopeful. Grimly determined.

That's all I got.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017

Well here we go.

New year for the world. New year for me.

My birthday. Again. 63 years old.

I tried to delay this day but was powerless to prevent it. Now it is here and it is in my face.

Feeling strangely ebullient today. Unusual. This day is usually well tempered with dread for me. But I got up with a smile today, inside and outside. I felt happy.

Strange holiday season. I fucked up on Thanksgiving, made it uncomfortable and I hated myself for being so fucking weak. And for putting that weakness on display in front of my family.

Especially my sons.

I vowed to myself that Christmas and New Years would be different.

And they have been. I crushed down emotion and experienced an internal feeling of reserve. It was odd but it felt right.

Christmas did not trip my emotional trigger, last night did not trip my emotional trigger, and, hopefully, today will not either.

I say that not in a bad way. I experienced these holidays in a calm way. Enjoying them quietly without becoming overpowered by emotion; I experienced them in accordance with my view of the world.

It was a foreign, unique, yet no less pleasurable way to go about it.

So here I am.

A man disappointed in himself with a whole new year stretched out ahead of him to do something about it.

Thinking about insanity. I got it in me, a lot deeper, a lot more intense than anybody really knows. Might have to unleash it.

Gotta lose weight. Such a cliche at this time of year but excess poundage is slowing me down. Taking it's toll.

Did it a few years ago but it took almost the entire year to reach my goal. Not interested in slow and steady this time. If I pull it off this year I will be using Christian Bale from "The Machinist" as my role model.

I am in a hurry. Regarding everything in every way.

Can't decide who I want to emulate. Vascillating between Jack Reacher and Tony Soprano.

Gonna resurrect some interests, stoke the fires of passion to bonfire proportions.

I want to feel. With intensity and focus and purpose. And for the sheer joyful result of feeling alive.

No more numbing myself down, no more dumbing myself down.

2017 will be an experiment. Another chance. Another shot.

Got a lot of thoughts and emotions swirling through my mind and my body as I approach 2017. Not sure where they will lead.

The only words I can use in my defense as the year unfolds are as follows:

"But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood."

From "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by The Animals

January 1, 2017

"This year I will be more thoughtful of my fellow man, exert more effort in each of my endeavors professionally as well as personally. Take love wherever I find it, and offer it to everyone who will take it. In this coming year I will seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me. I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can."

Duane Allman's diary, January 1, 1969.