Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Whats in your shorts?

Sometimes the great hand of fortune rests on us and leaves us with a, “How did I survive that?” feeling. After the excitement dies down and our pulse returns to normal we carefully reconstruct the circumstance of the event and are left wondering even more how we got away with it.

Friday morning I drove the WarWagon to Kannapolis to buy a 1995 Ford Windstar from a man. I had my trusty antique tow bar in the back and was looking forward to the extra money I would make when I parted out the van and sold it for scrap. I was really looking forward to finishing up the deal and going to pick my kids up at school to start our weekend together. I checked out the van and noted that only the right rear hubcap was missing. Then set about loading up all the various parts of the engine that the owner had removed and disassembled.

With the deal made and the van firmly attached to my trailer hitch I started back down I-85 through mid afternoon traffic in Charlotte. Things were going smoothly and I was calculating having a few minutes to eat a leisurely lunch and cleaning up the apartment a bit before going to get the kids. The van was towing smoothly and so I bumped up the speed to 65 mph and settled in for the drive.

Just before the Mallard Creek exit there was a huge chunk of tire that had been left by a transfer truck. Traffic slowed as both right hand lanes maneuvered around it. I made an easy move to the shoulder of the road and went around the obstruction then picked up speed again to head for home. Little did I know what that seemingly innocent maneuver would set into motion.

When the speedometer read about 63 mph I felt the van step to the right and instinctively I slowed and looked in the mirror. To my shock there was a tire rolling along beside my drivers door. It was far too small to be from the WarWagon so I knew that the van had lost a wheel.

The errant Bridgestone passed my front bumper and made a lazy turn for the shoulder fo the road and I breathed a mild sigh of relief. Then it decided it wanted a bit more freedom and turned left, crossed all four lanes of south bound traffic and rolled along the median. When it slammed into the cement barricade I began to really be concerned. It would have been funny had it not been so scary and potentially deadly as it leaped nearly 40 feet into the air and crossed into the north bound lanes. For a second or two it was out of sight, and then it appeared again as it hurtled skyward and vaulted a street light on the median. By this time everyone on the south lanes had stopped and were watching the show.

I slowly drove along the shoulder trying to stay even with the tire that had crossed into the south lanes again and headed straight for my front fender. I stood hard on the brakes as the tire sailed past the front bumper and charged up an embankment and went exploring in the trees along the side of the road.

After a brief scavenger hunt I located the tire and noticed that the brake rotor was attached to the back of the wheel. When I lugged the 90 pound assembly back to the van I saw what had happened. The nut that holds the wheel assembly on the van had been removed. I immediately pulled the wheel cover off the passengers side tire and found that the nut had been removed from it as well. A phone call to the man I had bought it from revealed that he had removed both of them not realizing that they held the wheel assembly on. He brought me the nuts an hour later and I was on my way again.

While I was waiting my guardian angel went and put in for hazardous duty pay – he deserves it. Me? Well I went back up in the trees and emptied my shorts.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Assault on Kings Mountian

In a daring afternoon raid a band of ragtag troops, lead by an experienced and devoted leader, William, invaded the rough terrain of Kings Mountain battle field. Jared, the tireless scout, forged ahead of the small unit and reported back with much needed information. Emily, communications officer, kept each member informed of the progress of the advance. Allison, moral officer, did her best to boost morale and keep the troops moving by constantly smiling and repeating, “Daddy, I love you.”

Before the invasion the troops fueled up with orange Bug Juice, peanut butter crackers, and apples, then rode onto the battleground in the trusty WarWagon and disembarked to begin the assault. A scene of utter chaos ensued as the troop checked maps and watched informative movies in the pre-assault planning session held in the visitor’s center.

The troops carefully inspected all displays of weapons and equipment while asking many questions about their usage. Every button that could be reached was pushed and each new discovery led to many more questions. When all information that could be gleaned from the displays was investigated the band rushed out onto the well worn trail and charged through the dense fallen leaves in their quest to reach the summit.

Close observation of the terrain revealed creeks, hollow trees, and holes that could be used for shelter and camouflage. During the raid shrieks and yells could be heard pealing through the landscape as the warriors charged up the mountain side.

When the assault ended and the troops were safely ensconced in the WarWagon and headed for home. Their leader, with sore hips and knee – the only casualty of the day, mused that if the British were still there they would have run in fright from the attacking horde. Either that or would have all died from laughter.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cosmic Revenge

Every religion or belief system that I have ever had any experience with has with it an element of retribution contained therein. Call it what you will – justice, judgment, karma, accountability or any thing else – it is unavoidable. I recently witnessed events that are irrefutably that intervention of justice in the life of someone I am fairly close to.

In February of 2004, my ex-wife decided that she would not allow me to see our children any more. Since I was not in a position to hire an attorney I was forced to accede to her wishes and stay away. It broke my heart to do. Recently I scraped up enough cash to hire help and my ex changed her mind and had allowed me to see the kids. I cannot express how overjoyed I was to be reunited with them.

The first Friday night that I kept them was like a dream. We hugged and talked and played and opened presents that had been accumulating in the closet. Late in the evening we all collapsed into bed. At 6:00 am my phone rang. It was the ring tone programmed for my ex-wife’s number.

When I answered all she said was, “If I die, tell the kids I love them,” and hung up. A call like that will wake you up faster than drinking espresso while soaking in ice water. I tried to call her back and could not reach her, each time I was sent to voice mail. Finally, thirty minutes later, I got her again. She said, “I’m on the phone with 911”, and hung up.

At t his point I was picturing her locked in the trunk of a Lincoln, headed out to Lake Norman to be fitted with concrete shoes. Thoughts of having to raise the kids myself, funeral arrangements, and possibly moving back to Tennessee to be closer to my parents stirred in my mind. I found myself trying to think of who may be that mad at her, other than me.

Finally, I staggered to the kitchen to start the first of several pots of coffee for that day. Around the time Mr. Coffee began his final gurgle her cell tone rang again. “I am upside down in the back seat of my truck.” To make a long story short she was driving too fast in the rain and flipped her Ford Ranger 4 times on Highway 110 in Cowpens, SC on her way to work. While she was not seriously injured, she was banged up enough spend the day in the emergency room. Somehow she only bruised her leg and her lung. I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person, but I had already vented my spleen when we talked about the kids the first time and told her that she would one day get what was coming to her and it would happen in such a way that no one could blame me. I didn’t feel the need to get that worked up again.

Since that morning she has offered no resistance to my requests to see the kids. She has almost been nice - something I am unused to. Perhaps spending a couple of hours upside down in the rain while waiting for the Rescue Squad to cut her free with their giant can opener she had time to reflect on a few things. Perhaps it will be the last time the balance of her life has to be evened out. Time will tell.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

20 things that make me smile

Things that make me smile

1. My children – They are the reason I exist.

2. Old friends – Those that are always there even when things go wrong.

3. My truck – Like the energizer bunny – still going.

4. Antique tools – They are scattered all over my apartment.

5. Old shoes – The ones that are so broken in that they start to break apart.

6. Morning coffee – How else do you start a day?

7. Winter chill – much better than the summer sweat.

8. Meeting new people – new people to laugh at all my old jokes.

9. Pictures – Moments frozen forever of life years ago.

10. Old barns – Exploring Mecca’s for a scavenger like me.

11. Pretty girls smiles – Seen too seldom but appreciated every time.

12. Old TV shows – Slivers of my youth.

13. Books – Other worlds to explore and hide in.

14. Apple pie – Especially when it comes with coffee.

15. Music – Real music that you can understand the words too.

16. Quiet conversation – Getting to know a person inside and out.

17. Word puzzles – Things that make my brain work.

18. Hot baths – Soak away your cares and aches.

19. Sunsets – Especially when viewed from a beautiful location.

20. Memories – Sweeter every day (some anyway)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ugly Daughters

I heard a song recently in which a father is giving his daughter away at her wedding. After thinking about the premise of the song ( and thinking of my own two daughters) I came to a conclusion (bear with me) - all fathers secretly, subconsciously, and selfishly wish for ugly daughters. They may not say it - or even realize that they wish for it, but they do. You see, all fathers, myself included, want to keep their little girls all to themselves. They want to keep boys away from their girls at all costs. Mostly because daddies remember how they felt about girls when hormones started to kick in. You see when girls are beautiful they eventually attract attention of the enemy - boys.

This villainous enemy is intent on taking girls away from their fathers. Boys are the nemesis for every father who has female offspring. (While I want my son to be married to a beautiful gal one day - I want all those insidious creatures to stay away from my girls.) Those disgusting beings who want to carry off and marry our beautiful daughters. They want to take our pony-tailed, freckle faced darlings and start new families. Of course- with their new families comes the possibility of having daughters. For the young fathers sakes - I hope those daughters are ugly.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I don't like funerals, although ,I don't know of anyone who does. However, I now am faced with the reality of attending one once again. And yet, with the funeral comes a sweet comfort. You see, my friend, Jo Dyer, was a wonderful, godly, sweet woman. A woman I never saw without a smile on her face. A woman who cared for others, and loved her family. She was devoted to her family and raised two of her grandchildren. In the nearly twenty years that I knew her I cannot ever remember hearing her complain about anything or any one. She was one of those special people who truly make the world a brighter place to be.

You cannot think of Jo without thinking of her warm smile and her long dark hair. I remember visiting her house and being amazed that she and her husband, Lester, were sitting and eating an onion like anyone else would eat an apple, washing it down with buttermilk and cornbread. I remember her and Lester singing in church. I remember rarely seeing one without the other.

Now, after a prolonged illness, she finally has the comfort that she gave others in her life. She has “shuffled off this mortal coil” and stepped through the gates of glory. Her race ended, she now receives that, “Well done.”

No I don't look forward to her funeral, but I am comforted in the knowledge that her struggles here on earth are ended. I will miss her, but one day I will see her again.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


A cold wind howls across the landscape of my soul.
Icy cold fingers bring pain to the depths of my being.
Cut off from those I love - I am alone.
The man who was afraid of nothing - now in fear of living alone.
Dispair and sorrow my only companions
I long for the warmth of loves touch.

Adrift in a black sea of nothingness,
Unable to fulfill my dreams,
Much less my wants,
And barely my needs.
Like a drunkard longing for the next sip
I long for love.
I yearn for comfort.
Yet I live

Friday, August 11, 2006

tiger by the tail

It seems that when the world starts to look sunny and bright it suddenly clouds up and begins to rain. Not that rain is always bad thing., but sometimes I would just like to sit in the sun for a while. This mold between my toes is starting to irritate me. The impetus for all this - well the transmission on the WarWagon died again. This is the first time that she hasn't got me home. I had to call my friend to tow it with his truck. Since he was at work when I called him I got to sit in a church parking lot in Charlotte for 5 hours. It was great fun. At least I had a book with me so I had something to read.
I know that all 2 of my faithful readers are wondering why I haven’t posted any new insightful writings so I will tell you. I have been busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking competition. I have been at home only long enough to shower change clothes and get a small amount of sleep each day. And on top of all that my laptop computer died. So for now I am holding the tiger by the tail. Problem with that is - when I let go there are teeth in the other end.

Friday, July 21, 2006

One for all my cop friends

I didnt write this.....but i wish I had.

Recently, a California website ran an e-mail forum (a question and answer exchange) where the topic was "Policing the Community." One of the civilian email participants posed the following question: "I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?" ------------------------------------------------------

From the "other side" (the law enforcement side) a cool cop with a sense of humor replied with this email: It's not easy! In California we average one cop for every 2,000 people. About 60% of those cops are on patrol, where we do most of the harassing. One-fifth of that 60% are on duty at any given moment and are available for harassing people. So, one cop is responsible for harassing about 10,000 residents. When you toss in the commercial, business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 20,000 or more people each day. A ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds. This gives a cop one second to harass a person, and three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. Most cops are not up to it, day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to help us narrow down those people which we harass. They are as follows:

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. "My neighbor is beating his wife" is a code phrase we use. Then we come out and give special harassment. Another popular one on a weeknight is, "The kids next door are having a loud party."

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars blasting music, cars with expired registration stickers and the like. It is lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, are driving drunk, or they have an outstanding warrant.

RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them for hours.

CODES: When you can think of nothing else to do, there are books that give ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called "Codes" Penal, Vehicle, Health and Safety, Business and Professional Codes, to name a few. They spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the code, you can just drive around for a while until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy smash a car window. Well, the code says that is not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy.

It is a pretty cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well. We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because the good citizens who pay the tab actually like the fact that we keep the streets safe for them. Next time you are in my town, give me a single finger wave. That will be a signal that you wish for me to take a little closer look at you, and then maybe I'll find a reason to harass YOU. Looking forward to meeting you...........

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Proper perspective

Whoever it was that said, "Time heals all things," was a liar. Time doesn’t heal, time simply allows perspective. Time only allows things to fester and hurt worse. Time never healed cancer. Time never pieced a broken heart back together. Time only allowed wisdom to bring perspective that put the pain in its place. In high school I finally got out the nerve to ask a girl out. I didn’t date much, or actually at all. I had, and still have, a hard time relating to females. When the time came for Christmas banquet – we didn’t have a prom – I managed to muster up the courage to ask Holly Grubbs if she would go with me. She said yes. The day before the banquet she called me and told me that she was going with someone else. I was stacking firewood out in the snow when she called. I am surprised that my parents had anything bigger than a toothpick left to burn. Then someone, I don’t recall who, told me that timeless lie – time heals all things. It didn’t. Still today when I think about that there is a twinge of hurt. But perspective has allowed me to realize that anyone who would do what she did wasn’t really deserving of all that much affection from me.
On November 17, 1996 I got married. In October of 2000 separated. After a few years of trying to make things work (at least I did any way) she told me on December 23, 2004 she was having an affair, our divorce was final on April 26, 2005. Time won’t heal that pain either. Perspective, however, allowed me to see what life was like trapped in a loveless marriage with an unfaithful spouse. It has allowed me to finally see myself for who I really am. It has allowed me to start living again. Whenever I come across a piece of our marriage it still hurts just as much as it did the night she told me about the affair. It may be a picture, a note, or just a stray memory, but it hurts. It isn’t healed and quite possible never will be, but I can see why I am much better off now.
I have lost several fronds to death. Car wrecks, natural causes, murder, disease, and even suicide have added to the toll of accumulated loss. Time hasn’t healed the wounds that thier passing left. Time hasn’t brought piece or even acceptance. Perspective has allowed me to see that I hold the precious memories of their lives in my heart. Perspective allows me to love them still. It gives comfort through their memories. But not time. Time just marks the length of their absence, but perspective marks the love that was shared through our friendship.
In every tragedy or unfortunate circumstance we face our greatest ally isn’t time. It is being able to see the good that has come from each and every moment of our lives. Each situation is a portal to the future. Without pain there is no growth. The pain of birth brings life, the pain of life brings experience, and the pain of experience brings perspective. Only with the proper perspective can we go forward. Only perspective can allow us to accept the fate that has befallen us and lead richer, more fulfilling lives.
May you never know hardship, may you never suffer pain. But if you do eventually perspective will allow you to see the good that came from it. Proper perspective heals all things.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back in the saddle again

Well after a lot of long hot hours of cooking in the July heat, numerous abrasions and cuts, 3 lost tools, and several sets of very sweaty and greasy clothes I finally did it. I resurrected the WarWagon. I am back to working out in the hot sun all day for the time being. Hopefully my back will hold out long enough for me to make a little cash so I can fix it more. Poor thing has been abused since she rolled off the assembly line, but then again it is a GMC she can handle it.
I also have the phone back on. Yippee. I almost feel liker a functioning member of society. Well it is time to go soak my sore tired body in hot water and see if it melts. Hopefully soon I will write something worth reading on here and things will be back to normal.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fresh gossip

Well, now my neighbors have something to talk about. Living in an apartment complex is somewhat akin to living in a goldfish bowl – just slightly drier and with walls, windows, and doors and curtains – OK so maybe it isn’t like a fishbowl at all but you get my meaning. They have two somethings actually. One was the rare daylight sighting of the nocturnal occupant of apartment 12, and two was seeing another human at my apartment. Well, not just another human, but a human of the female variety (and the attractive female variety at that) dropped me off this morning (sparing me the long hot sojourn home from the library.)

You see the usual visitors to my apartment are smelly simian males who want to borrow my tools. (I am still missing a wire stretcher and a left-handed metric pipe wrench.) Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t even come to my door. The mailman does but he gets paid to. The last visitor I had got fed to the veggie drawer monster (VDM) (refer to Paper and Plastic and Lint for more details on this mythological creature). I am sure that I have had another female around the place but she didn’t sign the guest register so I don’t have a record of it. That is unless you count the red-headed Amazon (RHA)(whom the VDM is afraid of), but I try to block those memories out. They are definitely not well assembled female type persons. (A few poorly assembled ones have staggered up on the porch, but they are usually scared off by the torch-wielding peasants.)

The daylight sighting will be talked about like Bigfoot around here. Usually everyone determines my living status by setting traps or looking in the dumpster for frozen dinner cartons (evidence of either me or that the VDM has learned to use the microwave - which is entirely possible). Usually as long as they don’t smell to many bad odors emanating from my abode they assume I am still alive. About a month ago I stumbled into a trap left by the little old lady next door, when she set me free she told me that she was getting worried about me. Good thing she came out when she did because I was starting to gnaw through my cane to get away.

So now there will be new gossip flying around the building. That is until something more exciting happens. Like the VDM getting out and eating all the cats or at least doing battle with the RHA. If that happens I will sell tickets.

My treatise on sports

I was talking to a friend about sports today. She said she didn’t understand what the point of racing was all about. I was going to try to explain it to her, but it is something you either like or you don’t. Not that she isn’t capable of understanding it, she just wouldn’t care to. (I include that last sentence in the interest of self preservation.)

If you know me you know that I like racing. Not just stock car racing, but all kinds of racing. I like cars racing, truck racing, boat racing, horse racing, bicycle racing, airplane racing. I went to visit a buddy of mine in the hospital this week and there were two guys in wheelchairs going across the lobby of the I stopped and cheered them on. Most racing has only one rule – get there first. I can understand that. Oh sure there are the three R’s of racing (rules, regulations, and requirements) but basically the first guy there wins. It is uncomplicated and you can take a nap in the middle and still be able to figure out what is happening. Other sports I am not so sure about.

Canadians are rabid about hockey. I can’t figure out why a bunch of toothless guys want to strap razor blades to their feet, pick up oversized tongue depressors and chase a Ho-ho around sheet of ice; trying to whack it into a fish net in between the fights. But Canadians also brought us curling – the sport that consists of chasing a broken bowling ball down a frozen hallway with brooms. Maybe it has something to do with the amount of ice they have up there – they have to do something with it.

And speaking of bowling what is the point. You pick up a chunk of some unidentifiable material and hurl it across a hardwood floor (which you aren’t allowed to walk on) and try to knock down little snowmen. If I had thrown heavy objects at my mom’s hardwood floor she would have chased me down the hallway with a broom(not to be confused with a curling broom), not to mention what she would have done when the snowmen melted.

The dumbest sport is golf. A bunch of supposedly sane people take deformed sticks and whack a ball across a yard trying to get it into a cup. The real art in golf is cussing. I know I used to work at a golf course. I heard things out there that would make a merchant marine go running for his mommy with his ears covered.

Then consider basketball. A mob of genetic mutants bounce a pumpkin across a hardwood floor (my mom wouldn’t like that either) and toss it into a broken fishnet. At least the Canadians have a whole net. When the genetic mutants get tired of chasing the pumpkin they amuse themselves by attacking people in the stands.

Soccer is a lot like hockey but it comes from ice deprived, warmer countries where they have to contend with things like sunshine and grass while chasing a pumpkin instead of a ho-ho. And they don’t have tongue depressors. They aren’t even allowed to use their hands. Sounds like a good sport for double amputees. (It was a joke please don’t send me scathing emails – I wasn’t equating double amputees with lower intelligence soccer players.)

Baseball and softball are other odd past times. Where else do you see a bunch of guys look like they don’t want to have anything to do with the ball. One who is standing on an anthill guy throws it to a guy who doesn’t want it so he hits it with a branch. Then a bunch of guys in the yard throw the ball at each other until it finally gets back to the guy who is standing on the big ant hill. Since no one wants to touch it if they don’t have to they all wear oven mitts. The guy with the branch has a pot on his head. The guy on the anthill doesn’t want the ball so he throws it at the guy who whacks it with a branch and the whole thing starts again. Sometimes one of the guys with the branch gets lucky and smacks the ball out of the yard and into Mrs. Petrofski’s petunias. The other guys are so glad that the evil ball is gone they let the guy run around the yard by himself then swat him on the butt. I am not sure why they do that. Then the dumb guy wearing the black coat flings another evil ball to the guy on the anthill and they do it again until all the people in the stands get tired of watching and go home. Mrs. Petrofski runs around her yard talking to herself about the hoodlums that are ruining her flowers and then puts the evil ball in a box with the others.

Football isn’t really football at all it is more like hand ball but that is another can of worms. In football a bunch of guys take a small watermelon and fight over it. Unlike baseball they all want the watermelons. The spend a couple of hours running all over the pasture chasing watermelon. When someone runs it to the end of the pasture (but not into Mrs. Petrofski’s petunias) they get a chance to kick the watermelon through a giant broken pitchfork, but first they have to fight off a swarm of ants that run into their pants (perhaps the ants are trying to escape the evil baseball too).

Tennis I don’t understand at all, or its cousins handball, racquetball, volley ball, badminton, or Ping-Pong. With so many different names and ways to play it seems that no one else understands it either. I mean if it made sense someone would have made a standard set of rules and equipment. The basic rule of these games is to hit the ball, birdie, or whatever back and forth and try to make the other person miss it. Either that or you try to hit your opponent in a sensitive area, but I am not sure.

Boxing isn’t a sport. You take two overgrown bullies, put oversized oven mitts on them, and put them in a pig pen and let them beat on each other. In school it was called a visit to the principals office, and if there wasn’t a good reason for it - a meeting with daddy at home. I personally always made sure I had a good reason. I am not so sure that the bullies in the pigpen have a good reason. I mean I can see the guy how got his ear bit off being mad at the psycho who bit him, but I don’t understand what they were doing there in their skivvies with oven mitts on their hands to begin with. On top of all of that they aren’t allowed to hit the other guy where the fight can end and everyone can go home. At least in wrestling (or wrassilin’ depending on where you are from and your waist to IQ ratio) they get to bite, kick, and swing furniture. But the bald headed guys should always be able to beat the dudes with hair down to their ankles. Maybe that is why most boxers are bald.

So as you can see racing is the only sport that makes any sense. They may only go round and round in circles, but the first one there wins – usually.

Paper and plastic and lint, Oh my. (With apologies to Dorothy and Toto)

So I finally did it. I took a deep breath and got to cleaning. No not the refrigerator (I simply shoved another sacrificial stray dog into it to appease whatever that thing is that growls at me from the vegetable bin) I am talking about my wallet. My wallet gets used for everything: filing system, phone directory, scheduler, and door stop basically everything but money. The impetus for this domestic undertaking was that I walked up to the CVS close to my house to get a drink. You guessed it a root beer.

I am not saying that my journey was undertaken in adverse weather conditions, but my shoes melted and the soles of my feet are now fused to my knees. In these conditions it is best to travel light. Recently my wallet has grown so heavy that it has begun to pull the left rear pocket out of my pants. It is so heavy that it forces my spine out of alignment. I have taken to carrying the engine block from the neighbor’s dump truck in my right rear pocket just to even things out. (Let me tell you he was mad when I decided to stop at the hospital to see a friend of mine who had just had surgery – who would have known that a construction contractor would need his dump truck on a Tuesday morning. I mean what ever happened to a wheelbarrow?)

At the counter I was asked for the thing every cashier wants these days – my (insert cute store name here) card. The little card that says you are allowed to have 3 cents off a can of Geisha mushrooms (yes an actual brand of mushrooms I found at CVS I was tempted to open one and see if a scantily clad mushroom woman popped out). The ensuing avalanche of bonus/discount/loyalty/makeyouthinkyouaregettingadeal cards (spell check just had an aneurysm), receipts, coupons, illegible phone numbers, decomposed business cards, forgotten appointment reminders, old prescriptions, and a half-eaten bologna sandwich nearly wiped out the camera display. So after stuffing it all back in and ferreting (yes I keep an actual ferret in my wallet) out the appropriate card (yes, it probably would have made more sense to look for it when it was all dumped out in the floor, but a little old lady had stopped screaming for help). (Now grammar check just stroked out.) I handed the card to the woman.

At my apartment I dumped the whole mess into the floor (and man is my neighbor mad about the wall) and began to sort through it. First came the receipts, notes, and business cards. I think I had a receipt for everything I have purchased in the last 75 years (and I am only 35) stuffed between the chunks of cow flesh that I have been lugging around. I found receipts for things that I have no idea what they are – like the receipt from Big-Lots for chemicals. (I am going to have to check around and see if I have a laboratory stashed in a drawer somewhere. Who knows, I may have discovered the cure for forgetfulness and… umm…what was I saying? Why hello pretty lady what a lovely shirt you are wearing today.) I found a receipt for all three of my kids. (If I could have found one for my ex-wife I would have tried to return her for a refund. I am sure that they wouldn’t have wanted her back either.) I found business cards for businesses that no longer exist. (Or possibly don’t exist yet. I think my wallet has an ability to influence space and time. I put money into the empty space and when it comes time to get it out it is gone.) Nearly all of the phone number have no name associated with them so I am either going to have to call the entire eastern seaboard to figure out who they belong to, or trash them all. The appointments have all been missed or rescheduled anyway so they got trashed. And I can’t remember what all the reminders were for so I stuffed them into a drawer. (Quite possibly the one containing the laboratory.) The coupons are all expires because when a cashier asks if I have one my Pavlovian response is, “no”. (That is until I get home and the wad of coupons falls on my foot causing me to have to hobble across the road to the hospital. (Which prompts more paperwork to stuff into my wallet. (I wonder how many parenthisis I can use in this one sentence. (My computer is liable to suck me in (like Tron) and give me a good thrashing for this (which would be funny (and I might find that part of my book that got lost (because I save things under titles and then forget what I called them and where I saved them (which is irritating (and causes me to think bad words (OK that last one was superfluous (how often do you get to use a word like that (I like big words (they sound neat))))))))))))). (13) (Grammar and spell check just cried out from their graves.) I unearthed enough paper products to recreate a Sequoia tree (leaves and all), any two works by Russian authors (they all weigh about 85 pounds don’t they?), a fully detailed 1/20 scale model aircraft carrier complete with a squadron of tiny paper airplanes (highly detailed paper airplanes), and three rolls of Charman Ultra.

Next I moved on to the makeyouthinkyouaregettingadeal cards. (At first I was going to build a house out of them but then I would have had to have zoning hearings and get building permits – plus I don’t have a coupon for glue.) ( I used to have bank cards and credit cards but the ex got those in the divorce – I just got the bills.) I have cards for stores that went out of business with the dinosaurs. I think I am going to invite all my friends over and have a makeyouthinkyouaregettingadeal card poker game. (I’ll see your Bi-Lo and raise you a Books-a-Million (BAM is consequently the only card I have which I had to pay for and which is currently expired (OK I suppose those cards for the out of business stores are technically expired too (let’s not get into the whole parenthesis marathon again.)))) I wonder how many forests of plastics they had to chop down to make all these cards. Somewhere a whole plastic ecosystem has been destroyed so we can save a penny on artichoke hearts. (Which will just get fed to the vegetable bin monster let’s face it no real human ever ate those things and lived to tell about it.) I even found a PetSmart card (which I got three days before my cat decided to take up residence in Kookamunga (either that or I left the refrigerator door open the monster got her.)

Once the paper and plastics were cleaned up and organized all that was left was lint. I am using that to knit a sweater – for the neighbor’s dump truck.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The boy and the snake

I was recently involved in a rather in depth discussion about a bad choice that I made in the past. The question was posed to me as to when I knew I had made a bad choice. My answer was I know it was bad from the beginning. I actually knew it was a bad decision when I still could have changed it. Then I was asked, “Well, why did you do it then?” My answer was in the form of an old story.

Once a boy was up on a mountain peak standing in the snow, holding his collar up against the wind, and he happened upon a Cobra. The boy looked at the serpent as it shivered.
“Little boy, I’m freezing. Please take me down the mountain where it is warm.”
The boy answered, “No, you are a poisonous snake and you will bite me if I try to pick you up. Even if you don’t then you will surely bite me when you are warm.”
The snake answered back, “No if you spare my life I will not bite you. You have my promise.”
The boy considered this all for a moment then carefully he picked the adder up and placed it in his satchel and began his hike down the slope. Soon he was home and he took the snake and placed him near the fire. Before long the snake began to warm and move around. The boy seeing how beautiful it was began to stroke its scaly skin. Then the snake bit him.
Incredulous the boy looked at his swelling arm and cried out, “but you promised not to bite me. Now I will die. Why did you bite me?”
To which the serpent answered, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

As for me I knew what I was getting into when I got into it. Why did I go ahead and do it any way. Perhaps it is in innate desire to be found wrong. Perhaps it was stubbornness. Perhaps it was stupidity. In the end it was a combination of these and other things. Now, like the boy, I must live with the consequences of my actions. And don’t we all from time to time look at the serpents we know we should walk away from and pick them up any way. Is it human nature to blunder headfirst into things we know we should avoid?
Maybe someday we will all learn from our mistakes and when it seems like we should run we will. Our survival instincts will win out over our desire to have the things that may come if we can somehow overcome our bad choices. Until then remember the boy and the snake. Knowing what not to get into will save a lot of wasted energy trying to get out of trouble we never should have been in in the first place.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Walking in the rain

For a while now I have been in a funk. I really haven’t felt like doing much and have had no inspiration to write. I have basically lived in a pair of old shorts that has become my uniform of choice while siting around the apartment. When you can’t work and basically have no life things can get fairly depressing real quick. Until today that is, today I went for a walk in the rain. As I sat watching television I heard the thunder begin and soon I heard the rain drumming on the vent pipe for the stove. I quickly dressed in an old pair of jeans, waterproof boots, jacket, and my dusty old hat and headed outside.
While others were rushing to get to their cars or inside buildings I was thoroughly enjoying hearing the rain beat down on my old hat. Cars passed and the drivers gave me strange looks. As they thought they were better off in their hermetically sealed interiors I was splashing through puddles and enjoying nature. I waded up the road to a store and bought a candy bar and a Dr. Pepper. Inside the store I got more than a few funny looks from people who were waiting out the storm; especially when I walked back outside and sloshed across the street to the little coffee shop. I was rather disappointed when the rain stopped before I started home.
Back at the apartment, I shrugged out of my soaked jeans and dripping jacket and replaced them with the shorts. (Thanks to the boots my feet were actually dry even though I waded through racing ankle deep water more than once.) Now my hat is dust free and I feel much better. Rain isn’t just good for trees and grass. If used properly, it’s good for people too.

I am still alive

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I know it has been a while since you have heard from me. I would like to say that I have spent the past few weeks in quiet introspection and meditation. I would like to but it would all be a lie. The fact of the matter is that I have spent them reading too many Zane Grey novels and watching waaaay too much TV. Summer always does me like this. I get the lazys - the terminal lazys as a matter of fact. I know that this technically isn’t summer but why wait is my motto. I have been doing a little writing. I have half of a new book written. One of these days I will finish one. I have so many ideas for this new one I don’t know where it will lead.
So here are a couple of things I wrote recently. I hope you enjoy.

Where have all the men gone

One of the greatest things about being a man has always been that we didn’t have to work at it. I mean women have to work at it. They obsess about an inch on their waist. They get up three hours early to paint on their faces and rebuild their hairdo. But men are supposed to look rough around the edges. That is until now. Now we are supposed to get manicures and moisturize our faces. Television commercials bombard us with hair care products and new razors that will shave our faces back to our childhood. We are supposed to worry about looking like actors and have no body hair. We aren’t supposed to smell like men either, but like a sea breeze or a winters afternoon. What ever happened to being a man? What happened to having a five-o-clock shadow and combing your hair with a screwdriver?
I remember a time when moisturizing a man’s face meant that the tractor had a hydraulic leak. I had a woman who cut my hair who asked me what I used on it because it was so thick and wonderful. I told her I routinely rubbed it under cars and washed it with dish detergent and I was telling the truth. What is wrong with having a little stubble? When I was a kid I couldn’t wait till I got to shave. Now it seems that men are supposed to look like they never reached puberty. What is wrong with a little dirt under a man’s nails and un-moisturized skin? I say it is time for the men of this world to be men.
Would the Marlboro man worry about his skin? NO! He would sharpen his knife on his stubble and then slice open a cow with it (the knife not the stubble) and have a steak then wipe his hands on his pants. He wouldn’t care if his socks matched his belt or even if they matched each other. Skin care for him is a pair of gloves and hair care is a Stetson. If he smelled like a sea breeze it was because he was on the beach. I can’t imagine John Wayne saying, “Let’s moisturize our skin, and make sure our belts and our hats match then go out and waft our fragrance over the hills until the bad guys surrender.” Never! He would say, “All right ya’ smelly dogs, get yer guns and let’s go after them scoundrels.” Now days Wyatt Earp would have been too busy conditioning his hair to go to the OK Corral.
So join me men. Let’s go out and get dirty. Let’s grow stubble and don’t shave till morning. Let’s wash our hair with unscented shampoo. I challenge you my brothers to shave with a razor that has fewer blades than a helicopter. Let’s smell like anything but a summer breeze. Gain a pound and don’t fret over it. Drive with the window down and let it blow through your hair. Toss that hair gel in the trash and let your hair be free. Throw out the tofu and quiche and have a steak. Be men. Get in touch with your feelings. Cry when Ol’ Yeller dies, but be men. Be a man or wear a dress. Let the women worry about facial hairs and hair fragrance. After all, they are supposed to make the world beautiful – not us.

Fell off the wagon

This week I fell off the wagon. No not that wagon. Not that one either. The wagon I fell off of is the sugar wagon. No not that kind of sugar. I am talking about the kind you eat. You see for the past many months I have almost completely removed all sugar from my diet. In the process I lost a good deal of weight. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pounds. As you can imagine I have enjoyed wearing a lot of clothes that have been lurking in the closet for a while. I have been doing real good with it too. Since I know myself and that I will have to have some sugar I allowed myself one candy bar a day. That is it. I haven’t bought any cookies or cakes or anything like that. No brownies or Little Debbie cakes. There has been no sweets in my apartment since sometime around Thanksgiving. I made it through Christmas and even Valentines day with no problems. Then came Easter. I suppose that if every one claims that Valentines day was invented by the greeting card companies Easter was created by dentists. Easter and possibly Halloween most likely pay for more boats purchased by those in the dental profession than anything else. I made it for a week after Easter and was doing good. Then I walked into CVS. As the door slid open I was assaulted by all of the goodies that I haven’t eaten in months. Reeces cups, Cadburry eggs, York peppermint patties, Jelly Bellies all lay in baskets waiting for me to enter and buy them all. All on sale half off. Being the savvy shopper that I am I grabbed them up. I debated for about .000000003 seconds over buying them. I knew that I had the willpower to resist the wonderful chocolate sugary goodness. At home I took them to the kitchen and put them in a drawer. There was enough sugar in there to last me for months. I even managed to forget about them. Then my sweet tooth, which has a terrific memory, reminded me about them. I went in and got two Recees cups. I walked back to my desk and worked on writing my book. (For the record I have started a third book. I finished one completely, one stalled halfway through, this third one has taken on a life of its own.) After I finished the two Recees my sweet tooth began to remind me that there was a whole bag of them in the kitchen. Before long my sweet tooth had convinced my feet to carry my hands into the kitchen. I was unable to contain the mutiny before I knew what had happened my sweet tooth had forced my hands to shove a half a bag of the delicious peanut buttery chocolate cups into my mouth. Then the tooth convinced my hands to grab a knife and cut open the Jelly Bellies. Of course it used the age old lie, “I will only take a couple.” In a few short minutes my hands had shoved almost a full bag of the candy down my throat. Finally I managed to quell the mutiny I forced my sweet tooth to behave and went back to the living room.
Sometime during the night my tooth woke my legs up and told them to convince my feet to take me back into the kitchen. While this desperate ploy was being carried out my eyes opened and told my brain that things were going awry. Since it was early in the morning my eyes decided that they wanted to read and told my feet that if they would take my hands to get my book things would be OK. OH my lying eyes. They knew that if I went to the desk that they would see the pile of little aluminum foil wrappers off of the Reeces. Then a rebellion that was uncontrollable took place. My feet sped to the kitchen and my hands grabbed all the sweets. Before I could get things reigned in again the bag of Cadburry eggs was empty, a tattered pile of aluminum foil lay on the table, and my teeth were full of jelly beans.
SO now my sweet tooth is in exile. It has been banished to the land of crackers and water for the indefinite future. Next time I go to the store I will have to close my eyes till I get back home.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Addiction

I admit it, I am an addict. I have always loved coffee. Not instant coffee, but real brew. From the first time I tasted it till today I have a soft spot for the dark brown brew. When I as a kid I would sneak into the kitchen after my dad had left for work and pour myself a cup out of what remained in the pot. Back then I had as much cream and sugar in the cup as I did coffee, but I loved it. By the time I started to drive my dad had quit drinking coffee for health reasons. I would stop at one of the many convenience markets I passed on my way to school., church, or wherever I was headed and grab myself a cup. After I graduated from high school I started to drink it black. I never was sure why I did it, but a woman offered me a cup of coffee and asked if I wanted cream and sugar and I said no. It was then that my addiction really began. I found that I loved the taste of good old black coffee.
When you have an addiction like mine you start to collect various means of supplying your habit. My first coffee pot was a $12 dollar Regal coffee maker. It took about 30 minutes for it to decide to make a pot of coffee. I loved that pot. It lasted five years before it went to the great coffee house in the sky. Then I bought the holy grail of coffee makers. I managed to buy a Bunn. It was wonderful. Coffee in about five minutes. After another few years of constant brewing (my addiction was bad at this time 4 pots a day on a good day, and when friends came over it was worse) it went off to join the Regal. I then came into possession of a percolator. It made good coffee and it had the added bonus of being able to take it to work with me and always have a fresh pot available. I became real popular among other addicts that were in the buildings I did security in. Given the choice between instant coffee machine coffee and my dissolve-your-teeth brew they came to me in groves. I think my ex-wife sold that one at a yard sale (same one she sold my juicer at too). Now I have two coffee makers. One is a 12 cup Mr. Coffee with a timer and all that cool stuff. I don’t ever use it much because of the other coffee maker I have. The other one is a neat little device that makes individual cups and put sit in an insulated mug. The original mugs are long gone but I have two One Stop mugs that work just perfect. (By the way, One Stop coffee is fresh ground. If you are an addict like me it is a great place to get your fix) Now I can make a cup of coffee in a few minutes and it is fresh and hot. When that one is gone I can brew another. Quick and easy.
I watch with amusement the news reports that say one day how evil coffee is and the next what a wonderful thing it is. I also have seen the same reports on alcohol, eggs, and yes even my beloved hot dogs. I ignore them all. I figure that one day someone is going to shovel dirt in my face, and when they do I want to have enjoyed the journey to the hole. And when that day comes someone will have to pry a cup of coffee from my cold fingers. Dark black coffee – just like there will be in heaven.

In memory

You never know when an old memory will come to see you. Not repressed memories but those you just shuffle to the back of your mind and forget about. Today I was walking to the store and I saw a car. Not just any car, but I saw a 1987 Toyota Supra. It was blue and grey. It was just like one owned by a friend of mine in high school. Tommy Searcy was two years ahead of me, but do to the vagaries of small towns and private schools there was no class between us. We got to know each other fairly well. His parents owned a small store in the bad part of Springfield, TN. The year after I graduated they were found murdered in their home. I heard rumors that there was some involvement with drugs but it was never confirmed. A year after that my mother called and told me that Tommy’s body had been found on a back road in Robertson County. There were rumors of drugs in his death too. I can’t hear the song "you’re no good" without thinking of him.
Thinking of him got me to thinking about other people I knew who died unpleasantly. Andrew Stephens was a college friend of mine. He left school to go home and help his parents out. A short time later he was murdered. Sharon Davis was my high school principals daughter. She got involved with a bad guy and her body was found in a hotel room. Phil Aycock was another college acquaintance, but one who went bad. He was killed by the police after he robbed a store and stole a case of beer.
The most personal loss was Jason Robertson. He was a closer friend of my little brothers but I knew him well. He worked at a junkyard in Springfield, TN. A guy came in to try and return an engine that he didn’t buy there. When the guy was told to leave he pulled a gun and shot three people in the shop killing two. Jason was one of the two. I still have his picture on my refrigerator door. He was the only one who left a family behind a new bride and a baby. Whenever I hear "I like I, I love it" I think of him. Once last year I admit that I pulled the truck over to the side of the road and cried when the song played over the radio.
It is easy to look back and wish that I had spent more time with any of them. There are things I wish I had said to each one. There were times that I didn’t spend with them that I really could have. All I have of them now is memories. And those I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Friday, April 28, 2006

My dream

My Dream by Ogden Nash

This is my dream,
It is my own dream, I dreamt it.
I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.


Over the Easter weekend I was sitting with my door open enjoying the cool night air. (For those of you who know where I live it was well after the gunfire had ceased and the blue lights had stopped flashing through the trees. It was very quiet because all of the people with good sense were huddled under their beds in fear, not outside making noise or even with their doors open so their TVs could be heard.) As the smells of springtime wafted through my apartment I began to hear a bird singing. Well I guess you could call it singing. It sounded like someone had taught a crow to imitate a whippoorwill, and then the crow had smoked three packs of Marlboros a day until he had to have a hole cut in his throat and sang through one of those little doodads that people who have had holes cut in their throat talk through that makes them sound like a bad special effect in a cheap science fiction movie. (Diagram that sentence. It’s a long way to go for an analogy but I have nothing else to do today.) What surprised me the most was that another bird of the same type (whatever type the first one was, either that or the crow had learned the song from a whippoorwill who really did smoke three packs a day and they were still in contact) answered from across the street. It amazed me that the terrible noise I that heard coming from the three in the yard was enjoyed by another bird. Even that it was understood. It made me think again that no matter how disgusting you may think something is there is someone who enjoys it. No matter how terrible it seems to you, someone will long for it. Pickled pigs feet anyone?


Life is like a game of solitaire. (This profound thought came to me after the zillionth game I played after someone woke me up at midnight. It was either my ex-wife or her sister. Since they both sound a lot alike to someone who took a strong pain killer and then was awakened three hours after he went to bed I am not sure which one it was, they left before I could get my pants on and open the door. And, just in case you are wondering, the urgent matter they rang my door bell for was bringing back my old family Bible. I have no idea why that couldn’t wait till a better time of day, or any time of day for that matter. The odd thing is that any other night I would have been up till three or four in the morning. But I digress.) In solitaire you have a large quantity of unknowns and very few knowns. With those cards you can see you must make decisions that may or may not be the right one. Sometimes you can do no wrong. Every hand is a winner. At other times you can do nothing right (sounds like my marriage). Every hand is a looser. Then there are times when you struggle and things look like you are going to win and then you are stuck with that one card left face down. Or you almost give up, knowing you are going to loose, and then you win. Just like in life. How many times have you worked yourself to the nub and couldn’t get ahead while you watched someone else do nothing and not be able to avoid success. Sometimes I think that the deck my life was dealt from is missing a few cards. I haven’t been able to win for quite some time. All I manage to do is spent time arranging new loosing hands. Every once in a while I get a good deal. The cards fall together nicely. Those times, however, are few an far between. Mostly though my life is like solitaire because of the name. I always seen to play alone. The greatest thing about solitaire is you can always reshuffle and play again.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Two weeks of exile

It has been two weeks, well, almost two weeks, since my truck died. And I am here to report that I am still alive. While the walking is making my back feel better it is making my ankle feel worse. I guess I can’t have everything can I? I may have to get a retread on my shoes.
I now know all my neighbors’ schedules. I have been able to observe the progress of the power line maintenance going on in my neighborhood. We even have a lovely new light pole in the back yard.
On foot you can see so much more than you can in a vehicle or even on a bicycle. I have noticed all kinds of stuff in people’s yards. I have found cars hidden in bushes. I found a cheap electronic organizer on the sidewalk. I keep looking but I haven’t found a new transmission laying in the ditch yet. And have been able to enjoy a myriad of flowers that are in bloom now.
I have even bumped into a few people I have not seen in a long time. If I had been in the truck I probably would have just honked and waved. I have made a few four legged friends too.
Strangely enough now that I have so much time to write I can’t seem to find anything to write about. I have reread and made corrections to my book, but I can’t seem to make any progress on anything else. I have about a million things I have started, but I can’t seem to finish them. I am sure that when I get busy again I won’t be able to stop the flow of ideas. I will be sitting on the side of the road again trying to scribble everything down before I forget it.
I have played my guitar for hours on end. My fingers are sore and I think the calluses are coming back. I have almost learned to adequately mangle Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. I don’t sound near as good as KT Tunstall though.
I have found the time to talk to a few of my neighbors that I hardly ever see. I have even started to cook again. It is amazing what you can do when you don’t have to rush off somewhere else. I even have plans to clean out the closet. I haven’t got brave enough to venture into the refrigerator yet. I cleaned up a couple of antique oil-cans and put them in the living room where they can be seen. Two plants and some decorating – if I am not careful someone will think I live here.
So if you are in my neighborhood swing on by. Most likely I will be here, talking to my plants. I may even cook something for you and play you a song.

Political Revision

I am not a very political person. I don’t often get involved in political discussions. I vote but that is my business. I am a conservative, but frankly both parties sicken me. I have gotten tired of arguing over the issues of each election. I don’t think that there are many politicians alive that know how to tell the truth, are ethical, or that I would trust with my life. I have an idea though. After being at home for two weeks and watching television I think we should have a new method of picking political candidates. Since reality (unreality?) shows are wildly popular now I think that each party should have their own show and the winner gets to run for office. It needs to be a combination of all the reality shows. They have to race to a deserted island, eat pig eyeballs and grasshoppers, and win a rose each week to determine which one can run. The danger would be that we might decide that we like them there and not send anyone to go get them.

Thank you?

I was at the library this morning checking my email like I am most morning. Things were as quiet as they ever are there. Kids were screaming, patrons were talking, and the librarians were making more noise than anyone telling them all to be quiet. As I sat minding my own business and reading all the unimportant things that I had been emailed, a woman walked up to me. Can you tell me how to spell “continental”? My first instinct was to stifle a laugh. Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the world’s top ten bad spellers. I quickly opened Microsoft Word and typed in what I thought was close. It was close enough for spell check to find a correct version of it anyhow. The woman thanked me with a compliment. “I thought you could help. You looked like the smartest person here.” Now if I had known the woman I would have laughed and known it was a joke. However, since I had never seen her before, my head started to swell slightly. This swelling was brought down quickly by a look around the computer area. Other than this woman and her husband, (who were at least smart enough to know that they didn’t know how to spell continental. I sat next to two girls one day who were writing emails and one of them corrected the other – “No it isn’t ‘more good’, its ‘gooder’.”) not only was I the smartest looking person there, I was the only one who seemed to be aware that they were breathing. Most of them looked like they didn’t know what a bar of soap was for, let alone a shower. Two or three of them actually surprised me that they had found the library, but then again they may have had help. One guy was there talking to the computer screen as if it was actually going to talk back. As the lady went back to her seat I suddenly felt like the best-dressed man at a nudist colony - not all that hard of an accomplishment to pull off. I am sure that the lady meant it as a compliment, but after looking around I wasn’t all that sure. I wondered if she and her husband snickered to themselves over the statement.


I have taken down all of her pictures. I burned all her letters. I gave away everything that reminded me of her. But she is with me still. The haunting memories of all she did to me linger like specters of another life. I never know when she will appear in my mind. I wonder about from day to day and wish for relief. There is none. I am tired of being alone. I am tired of living with her memories.
Life would be nice if there was a list of soul mates somewhere that told whom we were supposed to be with. Some way to know for sure who to be with. Some guarantee that a relationship would be happy. Some way to know that we wouldn’t be alone.
If women outnumber men so much why am I alone? Why must I live my days talking to my plants and strangers? Some day it will all end. My loneliness will be over. I will know joy again. Finally the ghosts will be banished. The past will stay past. The future will shine brightly. Dreams will come true. Someday, but not today. Someday

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

out of order

For an unknown period of time this blog will be out of order. Well not actually the blog more like my life. In February I hurt my back and it has prevented me from doing any work. For the past four weeks I have been limping my truck around with only two gears left in the transmission. Well yesterday the lack of funds and the mechanical problems came together in a perfect storm. I barely got the truck home and when I got there I found a letter in my mailbox from the DMV. In my lovely pain med altered state of mind I failed to pay my insurance and for some reason never got a statement. Either that or it got tossed out with the junk mail. Any way I turned the tags in today and I am on foot, which is why I won’t be coming to the library very often to check my email, or post a blog. (I think I will go home and set the truck on fire and dance naked around it till the firetrucks come) Also after tomorrow I will not have a cell phone. It has all of about 9 minutes left on it now. If you want to call after nine I can talk till midnight on the 6th.

I am not saying this for sympathy or charity; I simply don’t want anyone sending the cops by my apartment to find out if I drowned in my soup. However if you know where I live (no I am not dumb enough to post it here someone may come by and steal my truck…. On second thought I live at 1125 Sc@&#^da@*&^le Dr.) feel free to drop by. I am not sure how long my shoes will be my primary mode of transportation, but unless Ed McMahon drops by with one of those huge checks or a Brinks truck turns over in my yard it will be a while. I will get online as often as I can drag my carcass to the library. After walking here today my collection of aches and pains is having a reunion and partying in various locations throughout my body. And I have a beautiful blister on my right foot. I will send you a picture of you are interested.

And for those of you who were wondering, yes I went to the doctor today, No he doesn’t know what is wrong with my back, but if I had more money to pay more doctors they could find out. my back, but if I had more money to pay more doctors they could find out.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Out of the darkness
An Angel
Lowers a gossamer thread of hope.
It waves tauntingly in the dark.
Not strong enough to support my dreams
Barely tangible enough to hold my sight
It mocks me, hanging just outside my grasp.
Light glimmers down its length
Bringing illumination to the depth.
Slowly it comes lower into the gloom
I touch it; it shimmers in my hand,
My lifeline to the world above
Not enough to lift me from the abyss.
Silently another glimmer appears.
Another thread slithers down from above.
My hopes cling to their tender lengths.
Another and then another, hope comes to me.
The threads I weave together
Painfully slow they thicken and form,
Into a shining lighted braid
Slowly they take strength from one another.
Hope brings new hope and new hope brings more hope,
Expectations of freedom rise from the chasm that imprisons me.
The cord, still far too small to pull me upward,
Gives me hope and comfort that
One day
I will stand in the sun and know joy again.

Music and memories

This morning, for whatever reason, my little eyeballs crawled open at about the same time the sun came up. I lay in the bed for a while and listened to the rain as it fell softly on the window, then finally decided that it was time to start my day, whether or not I wanted to. I staggered into the kitchen and started my first cup of coffee then poured myself into my favorite chair – the one at my desk. As the heating pad warmed against my sore back and the computer reluctantly came to life the power went out. I suppose that somewhere a light pole got knocked over. For a few minutes it flicked like a lethargic strobe light and finally went off all together. Finally it came back on and I started my morning over again. The coffee brewed, the heating pad warmed, the computer booted up, and I turned on the stereo. The memories began to pour out of the speakers.
Lee Anne Rimes began to sing, “How Do I Live Without You?” When my ex-wife first got married we went to movies frequently. One of the first we went to see was Con-Air. The thing I remember the most was the song. There at the end when Nicholas Cage finally got to see his family. It is a beautiful song. I remember singing it to her. Those days were happy ones. No kids, not worries, and no infidelity yet. That question rang in my ears. “How do I live without you?” She was the first gal I ever dated. I was 26 when we got married. She was 19. When I met her I didn’t realize how young she was. She looked older. After we had dated for a few weeks she told me that she was only 18. I was stunned. I thought she was at least 21. She had been home schooled and had graduated early and was in college. I remember that when we got married my car insurance almost tripled because she was considered to be an inexperienced driver.
Her dad had tried to talk me out of marrying her. Not because I was bad for her, but because he said she would be bad for me. I didn’t believe him. Those were the days before reality reached out and slapped me. I believed anything was possible. I thought the power of love would conquer all and we would be happy forever. If I had only know then what I know now. All my friends told me not to marry her. I still have a friend who teases me about it. It was like buying first class accommodations on the Titanic. It was great for a while but we all wound up getting wet.
I sat and drank my coffee and listened to the poetry of the song. I closed my eyes and I could feel her next to me again. I could smell her hair. I could feel the darkness of the theater surrounding us. Then the words pulled me back to reality. How do I live without you? Well the answer has been a struggle -sometimes an uphill fight and sometimes a terrifying downhill tumble. But how do I live without you? Pretty well. Thank you very much.

Friday, March 31, 2006


I am bored. Not your everyday I’m too lazy to find something to do bored. I mean I am first class, counting the specks on the ceiling (4,489,653 and counting), and, searching my mustache for gray whiskers (4) bored. The kind of bored that makes you want to want to learn a new language or start a new hobby in brain surgery. I mean bored. So bored that you want to start a bad habit just so you have something to do. The bored that causes men to start wars bored. I am bored. I have organized all my pencils, cleaned my toenails to perfection, and manicured the hair on my knuckles. All the coins in my change jar are in chronological order and my shirts are alphabetized by maker. I have ironed my socks and cleaned out the dust bunnies from under the dresser. I am thinking of gaining weight just so I can loose it – at this point counting calories sounds like fun. All the clocks (7) in my house are synchronized and I have rearranged the pictures (13) on my wall. I tweezed the living room carpet and trimmed all the stray fibers. If I still had a cat she would probably be bald and hiding under the bed – which is nice and clean. I read through the dictionary and made what corrections I deemed necessary. All my pocketknives (7) and one spoon are sharp and my toothpicks (53) are aligned in the holder with a slight left-hand twist. I have yawned 57 times since 7:00 PM and I have 123 freckles on my left arm. (I would count the ones on my right arm but I am saving them for later.) I know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop (I will let you discover that for yourself) and I have arranged all the cans (88) in my kitchen cabinet by calorie content and color. All the frozen dinners (24) in my freezer are facing the same direction. The refrigerator is on its own. I reached in to move some stuff and got bit. I cleaned out the broom bristles and combed the mop. You could eat out of the dustpan (hey I am a bachelor I may eat out of anything) and drink out of the mop bucket. My shoes are all laced the exact same way and lined up neatly like soldiers waiting for battle. I have polished all the doorknobs (6) and shined the baseboards. I removed all the excess fuzz from my q-tips (114) and sanitized my toothbrush. If I had a roommate I might take up hair design but unfortunately I live alone. All my CDs (47 – mostly classical) are cleaned and fingerprint free and my fingers (10 at last count) are clean and CD free. I counted the staples in the stapler (87) and measured the footage left in the tape dispenser (4’ 7”). My bookshelves (94 books) are neat and organized (a first) and all my batteries (19) have been tested and are arranged according to remaining voltage. I have watered the plants and plucked away any growth that didn’t look healthy (I was talking to them but they quit listening). I dusted all the light bulbs (18) in the apartment and lined up all the thumbtacks (25) on the memo board in nice colorful patterns. I doodled until my doodler quit. And I have written most of this essay. I would go to sleep but there is no excitement in that. Besides I ironed the bed sheets and I don’t want to wrinkle them. My pillows (4) are impossibly fluffy and the nightstand has been polished. I may go around and mess things up just so I have something to do again. I burned all my candles (7) down to the exact same length and arranged all my kids stuffed animals (97) according to height and species (although some of those species I am not so sure about – what do you call a six-legged blue animal with two heads?). For now I am going to practice my rubber band marksmanship by trying to hang them on a nail from across the room. Later I may try to dig an escape tunnel through the back wall just in case I may need to escape from myself - now you know why I sharpened the spoon.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Pit

Deeper and deeper I fall
Into the darkness of despair,
Dark hands reach out to grasp me
And pull me farther into the pit.
I struggle, crawl, scrabble and dig with all I have in me
Yet I slide deeper still.
I cry for help but none comes.
Those things that were once my salvation
Now become weights to hold me down.
My efforts in vain are expended.
Loneliness my companion
I sink into the gloom.
Unending night descends upon me
No sunlight permeates my tomb.
Creatures of darkness cry for me.
I can not surrender to their sirens call.
Another day,
Another hour,
Another minute,
Another breath
I fight my battle.
No relief comes to my plight,
Yet I fight on.
I sink farther,
I fall deeper,
I grow weaker.
Yet I struggle
Unwilling to allow the darkness to win.
There is no hope of escape,
No light to run to
Only the fear of living on the bottom pushes me upward.
The fear of remaining always alone.
I pull myself upward.
In public
I wear a happy face.
In private
I remove my mask and sit in sorrow.
In private
I sink deeper into the nothingness.
Alone I reach for the surface
Alone I fight for life.
No help to climb out.
No rope of expectation is tossed into the blackness.
My fingers seek a handle
My toes grasp for holds.
I struggle,
Sliding farther down with each motion,
And yet I struggle,
Still alone but unwilling to give in.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bonnie - my first love

When I was a teenager my dad, for whatever reason, defied logic and bought me a 1972 Pontiac Bonneville (soon named Bonnie) for the princely sum of $500. The unbelievable part was that it had a 455 cubic inch engine with a two barrel carb under its incredibly long snout. That is about 7.5 liters for those of you who don’t remember cubic inches. (My full-size truck has a 5.7-liter engine.) It was a monster. It wasn’t the most powerful car since it only had around 200-horse power, but it cranked out 350 foot-pounds of torque. For those of you who don’t know what that means allow me to translate. If you held the gas on the floor it would spin the rear tires till the rubber came off. Nearly everyone has a story about a car that they wish they had not sold and old Bonnie was mine. She was seventeen years old when I got her, but only had 71,000 miles on her. She had a little rust in the trunk and a leaky rear window. But apart from that she looked pristine. None of my friends had anything that could keep up with her. She weighed in the neighborhood of 6,000 pounds.

Once, when I was in High School, my little sister was home sick. She called the school and told the principal that someone was going through our tool shed. He called me to the phone. She told me about the guy. The principal said that he heard my tires light up in the parking lot before the phone hit the floor. It normally took about ten minutes to drive home. It only took about two minutes that day. I have no idea how fast she was going, but I used up almost a full tank of gas. When I walked in the back door my sister said, “how did you get here so fast I just hung up the phone.” I just smiled. And for the record – there was no evidence that any one had ever been there. The drive back to school was made at a more sedate pace.

She regularly ate Fieros and Mustangs for breakfast, with an occasional side dish of Mopar. A guy I went to college with had a 1967 Ford Mustang with a built 289 and a four speed. I walked off and left him many times. Another friend had a 1972 Plymouth Valiant with a 318, a 4-barrel Holley carb, and a 3-speed auto tranny, couldn’t get close. I drove her for about 4 years back and forth across the mountains between North Carolina and Tennessee. She never gave me the slightest problem and got a respectable 18-mpg, and used very little oil. People still comment on her when they see me even though she has been gone for over 10 years now. I cannot believe that I let her get away, but she was broken down (bad timing chain after nearly 20 years imagine that) and I was moving and didn’t have the time or money to fix her, or any place to store her so I sold her. I keep looking on Ebay and other Internet sites to see if I can locate another one. Perhaps one of these days I will find her or one like her, and rebuild her. Will I let my son drive her? Probably not.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I can’t stand to see someone that I care about in pain. There is something inside of me that wants to take them and hold them and tell them it will be all right. I suppose I may be too empathetic at times but it bothers me to see someone hurting. Tonight I saw a friend of mine and she was not happy about something. All I know is that it is about a guy. Not surprising most women have men problems and most men have women problems. I know that there is no way I solve her problems but deep inside me I wanted to. There is a comfort in being able to give comfort. There is love in being able to give love. There is joy in being able to bring joy. When I left her tonight I had a feeling of failure because she still wasn’t happy. I almost turned around and went back but I didn’t. I hope that whatever, or whoever, made her unhappy is resolved soon. I don’t like to see her sad. I don’t really like to see anyone sad. I know how terrible that feels. I wish that there were some way to eradicate pain and sadness from out lives, but unfortunately there is no way to do it. I hope that for her joy comes back soon. I hope to see her smile. I only wish I had some way to insure that the smile would remain.

But then another thought hits me. If it were not for the sorrow we know in our lives, we would never know what real joy is. Without the rain we would never know the beauty of the sunshine. There was a song many years ago that said, "It takes a little rain to make love grow." And I suppose that is so true. We must know sadness to really know the meaning of happiness. Without one the other has no foundation. Without war we would never truly know the meaning of peace. Time doesn’t heal all things it simply puts them in better perspective. It allows us to have a better understanding of our sorrows and deeper enjoyment of out joys. I suppose that in some way my friends sorrow will enable her to know greater joy. I hope that is true in any case. And just maybe I can in some way help to make her happy again.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Today, now that I have slept, I have that restless feeling that I remember from years gone by. It has been a while since I have felt like this. I just want to do something. Anything. I want to pack up and wander off to anywhere but here. I want to go to where I can be in new surroundings. I want to be twelve years younger when I had so few obligations I could go any where I pleased and no one cared. I want to be able to go for a long walk in the country. I want to go for a long drive with no destination in mind. Just wandering up and down the roads till I find where I am going. I want to spend three or four days in the truck with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a fishing pole. I want to go away and be someone else. If just for a little while. I want to go play a pick up game of football in the mud. To jump on a bicycle and ride till I don’t think I can make it back. I want to disappear, not run away, just to be away from myself for a while. But time and obligations and injuries keep me from being that free again. Maybe someday when the doctors of the world find a cure for car crash injuries and pain in general I can do it again. For now I am limited in my freedom by the length of the cord on the heating pad and the availability of pain meds. Maybe someday I can be free again. Maybe then, but not today.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Just for those who wanted to know

I finally broke down last night and took some dimerol for my back. The stuff the doc perscribed wasnt working and I hadn't slept since Saturday ( which prompted my temper tantrum post). I went to bed at 11:30 last night and woke up at 4:20 this afternoon. I feel much better now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I amuse myself

Sometimes I amuse myself. (nobody else but at least I think I am funny) As a matter of fact I amuse myself quite often. Like tonight for example. My back was sore so I thought I would soak in the tub. However, I also wanted to watch 3 ½ Men so I fired up the old VCR, turned off the telly, filled up the tub, and soaked for a hour or so while reading a good book. (Well it was a book anyhow.) When I got out of the tub I came in the living room (yes I dried off.) Then I turned the TV back on and ignored this week’s episode of CSI Miami (well actually I was playing Red Alert on my computer). Finally the snooze – I mean news came on and I started the tape. (And yes I rewound it first). Well I was sitting there watching 3 ½ Men and my stomach reminded me that it wanted some attention. (My memory is poor and it knows I need reminders) So when a commercial came on I jumped up and raced into the kitchen to make a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I used a clean spoon that is as gourmet as it gets around here). Then I raced back to the living room and was irritated that I had missed a few minutes of the show. (I also stubbed my toe on the bookshelf; stupid thing jumped right out in front of me does it all the time, why one of these days I’m gonna get a hammer and a box of matches and…umm - Ahem I digress.) While I was sitting there irritated over my slowness (and my sore toe) I just started to laugh. If I had been another person I would have slapped myself (think about that sentence for a while). The whole time I was rushing (and bruising digits) I could have simply hit the pause button and made a jumbo ultra gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich (meaning I could have looked and seen the moldy crust before I bit into the sandwich).

A Special Report

We interrupt this pleasant blog for a startling development. A grown man who could not sleep last night is throwing a fit. Now we take you live to the site of William’s temper tantrum.

(spinning around in his desk chair)
(running wildly about the room waving his hands in the air)
THUD THUD ow ow ow ow
(whacking his knee on the desk while he spins )
(beating his head on the keyboard)
(running around the wall like a headless chicken) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
(spitting in the air)
(dodging the guys with the butterfly nets) AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
(Jumping up and down on one of the guys with the butterfly nets) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOO
(swinging his arms madly like a Baboon) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAEIOUandsometimesy
(laying in the floor kicking and screaming like a two year old in need of a spanking and a nap)
slurp aaa slurp slurp slurp zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
(sucking his thumb and finally falling asleep curled up in a fetal position in the floor)

This has been a special report. Please stay tuned for further developments. Now back to your regularly scheduled insanity.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Umm.... What was I saying

The gremlins have invaded my brain. They have over powered my synapses and rewired my hard drive to work backwards. The little monsters have taken my memory and rerouted it to make me forget everything. Or at least that is the excuse I am going to be using. I may need to get a PHD so I can be the absent-minded professor. What brings on this observation? How about the fact that I can’t remember anything? Yesterday I went to the gas station, I went inside, got a Mt. Dew and a candy bar, talked to the pretty cashier, and then left. As I pulled onto the road the truck began to sputter and choke I forgot to get gas. Now you would think that since I was standing in a gas station I would have thought of it. And trust me the cashier gave me a hard time. I could try to say that the beauty of the cashier overwhelmed my brain, but that wouldn’t explain too many other things. I am not sure that she would buy it either.
Later last night I went to the grocery store to get cat food for a stray cat that had adopted me. I went in the store, got a buggy, picked up a case of bottled water, a loaf of bread, and some mustard (all of which I needed), but I didn’t get cat food. Not that the cat minded because I gave him a can of tuna. And while I was at the store I bumped into a gal who I recognized. I couldn’t remember who she was, but we talked for a few minutes. I racked my brain for hours and finally realized where I know her from. She works at the CVS by my house. The CVS is the closest store to me and I am in there a couple of times a week.
A while back I ran into a librarian at a store. For the life of me I couldn’t think of who she was. I am in the library almost every day checking my email. Been going there for about five years. But I couldn’t remember who she was. Oh I recognized the face but I had no context to put it in.
I am worried that one day I will wake up and head to the bathroom and not know who the guy I am shaving is. Maybe I should grow my beard back, and then I won’t have to shave. Sometimes I am surprised I can remember where I live. Or at least I think I live here. The key fit the door.
I won’t even begin to tell about all the times I go into the kitchen and have no idea what I went in there for. Maybe I should write myself a note before I get out of my chair so I can remember. Maybe that is why my dad never gets up, he asks my mom to get him stuff. He is afraid he won’t remember what he was after. Today I went in the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. I poured in the water, dropped in a filter, scooped in the coffee grounds, and went in the living room to wait. Thirty minutes later I realized that I hadn’t turned the coffee maker on.
It is the gremlins I am telling you. They have escaped from my computer, crawled up my fingers and invaded my brain. That has to be it. I wonder if I can have my head reformatted. Maybe add some virus protection. Of course maybe they could upgrade my memory while they are in there.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Night walk

I have always enjoyed going for walks. It started when I was in high school. When most kids my age were spending their time driving around I was riding my faithful mountain bike down to the end of the road we lived on and then walking through the woods just enjoying the solitude. I never really did fit in and I would walk around and enjoy the beauty of the country. I would walk around and find deer and turkey, my friends who were hunters would get mad at me when I wouldn’t tell them where they were. Not that I am opposed to hunting, I just liked having some beautiful things to myself. Tonight I went for a walk. I don’t live in the country anymore, but I do live in a small town. I like to walk at night. There is a solitude to the darkness that wraps around you and give you an anonymity that is enjoyable. Tonight was cool so I donned a well-worn pair of jeans, my leather jacket, and battered hat and headed out into the darkness. At night I don’t have to worry about being accosted by the homeless people that are always asking for money or cigarettes. The cold kept everyone else off the street.
When I go for a late walk I always carry two things with me. Both are an old habit and I rarely leave the house without them, but especially not at night. The first is a good bright flashlight. I carry a small one. It is good for letting drivers know where I am since I prefer dark clothes, and it makes a handy weapon if I ever need it. The second is a lighter. The reasons for that are varied. It is a light source if the flashlight is dead and if I need to get warm it is handy to have a source of heat. Better to have both and not need them than need them and not have them. Once while I was out walking a cop stopped me and asked me if I had a light. A few days later the same cop pulled me over for a busted taillight. He remembered the light and let me off.
I always walk past this beautiful old house close to town. It is a huge thing that looks like it belongs in a horror movie. I always expect to see lightning striking it. If it weren’t yellow I would look for the wolfman to crawl out of the window. I read somewhere that it is called the Bankers House. I don’t know why but I always like to stop in front if it and wonder what kind of people lived there. I suppose that they were bankers.
I walked past a parts house where I found the slug of a bullet next to a set of tire tracks from a car that peeled out in a hurry. I never heard of anything happening there, but I don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that it wasn’t good. I still have the bullet somewhere. It was in a change jar for a long time, but the last few times I emptied it the bullet wasn’t there.
On the way back I turned down a street that isn’t so lovely. I don’t mind walking down it I am capable of taking care of myself, even with a busted ankle. I wasn’t looking for trouble I just don’t see any reason to walk back down the same street I just came up. There are some old houses back there too. I like to look at them even though most of them are run down. When I turn down that street I can feel the sixth sense that I have developed over time wake up and kick in. I don’t get paranoid I just notice things more than I do at other times. For instance I noticed the white Pontiac Bonneville that passed me three times. After the second pass I found a shadow to crawl into the next time it came by. I don’t think anyone has cause to follow me but I didn’t want to find out. I didn’t see it again.
Down the main street on town I heard a patrol car come by with the siren blaring. As he got close he shut the siren off and I could hear the engine as it sped through the darkness. I never did see the car but the sound was unmistakable.
I came to a dark place and stopped and looked up at the stars. There aren’t near as many here as there are out of town - the streetlights block them. The clear sky was dotted with silvery stars that looked down to where I stood. There was no moon, just the stars. I stood there for a minute looking out from under the brim of my hat. I shivered in the cold and then walked back to my apartment. The great thing about taking a walk is that it will all be there next time waiting for me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The WarWagon

Someone sang a song a while back that said something like if my truck was a horse I would shoot it. If my truck were a horse the ASPCA would come and shoot it and haul me off in chains and lock me away forever. You see my truck is a WORK truck. Not one of those work trucks that people in clean clothes ride around in worrying about spilling their non fat cafĂ© late on the interior. My truck is a work truck that comes home with 4,000 pounds of junk piled on it that came from deep in the woods where I had to knock over small trees and smash through heavy undergrowth. I only worry about spilling things that might eat through the floor and cause me to fall out in the interstate. Those sissy work trucks whose owners will not allow food to be eaten inside amuse me. I worry about something eating me whilei drive. If I get a few more layers of dirt in the passenger’s floorboard I am going to plant tomatoes down there to feed whatever lives under the seat. Worried about scratches? Not me, the WarWagon is covered in a protective layer of grease and mud. Dents and dings –HA – there may be a straight body panel somewhere in it. Maybe the left front fender well is unscathed, but it would take too long to clean out the two tons of Carolina red clay to see if I am right. Upset over things sliding around in the bed – not in my truck. It is currently covered in a layer of burnt transmission fluid from being used as a workbench recently; keeping the fluid from leaking out on the ground is a dam of dirt, rock, and vines. Somewhere in all that mess is a jack I found for a friends car and about 40 feet of chain. The duct tape covered window looks right at home on the back of the cab – I wasn’t upset that it broke; I was amazed that it went that long without getting smashed. I am constantly having people coming up to me and asking where I got the crane that is in the back of the truck – it has been a long time since anyone came up and told me it was beautiful – the truck or the crane. Last time I had tires put on it the guy had to dig through a ton of mud to get to the lug nuts. I can park anywhere without worrying about it getting damaged, although there hasn’t been a Mercedes parked next to it in a while. As a matter of fact when I come out of a store now there is a circle of empty spots around it. It looks like a quarantine area. I imagine that when I leave, a team of Haz-Mat workers come out and clean up. It doesn’t leak – much. I feel that I am doing my part to seal parking lots all across America. My parking spot at the apartment is so slick that the American Olympic curling team sublets it to train on in the summer months. Three tourists came by thinking it was the La Brea tar–pits, I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they were on the wrong coast. I just took their $20 admission fee and let them wander around. Some trucks are not allowed to get dirty. My truck thrives on mud and dirt. It is not uncommon to see it come down the road with a small tree sticking out of something. I tell everyone I am decorating for Christmas. My landlord got mad last weekend because someone had washed a car and left the hose running - I wasn’t even questioned. It gets washed when it rains. And it even has a security system – when the door is opened a stream of empty water bottles and stray tools fall to the ground altering me to unauthorized entry. Not that anyone in their right mind would enter it. A few weeks ago I came out and found a hand sticking out of a pile of Deer Park bottles, poor kid didn’t stand a chance, he wrote out his will in ketchup packets on the pack of a pizza box – very touching. Only one person broke into it and survived. He had to have tetanus and distemper shots, I still haven’t found his fingers – or whatever ate them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Wedding Bell Blues

This weekend I went to a friends wedding. I didn’t really want to but I have known her since she was nine years old and didn’t think I would survive much longer if I didn’t go. It is funny but I recall her telling me about two years ago that she would never get married. It was a beautiful ceremony I guess. I am not much of an expert on beauty anymore. I couldn’t help but remember when I had stood in front a preacher what seemed like a lifetime ago and said the same words to a woman I thought would be beside me forever. Things didn’t quite work out that way. “Till death do us part” became “till I find someone better.” She did. I didn’t. Life is funny like that. She spent the whole marriage suspecting me of cheating. I didn’t. She did. While I am happy for my friend who strapped on the old ball and chain, I couldn’t help but feel that I had lost something. Somehow I had lost the ability to enjoy her happiness. I hope she never had to taste the bitter things I did. No one should ever have to. I wish her great happiness in her new life. I left the wedding as quickly as I could. Remembering the bright-eyed nine-year-old I had met when I was 18. I hope that her future keeps her eyes bright and she knows only happiness. I think she will. It is too late for myself.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Loneliness is a pool. A stagnate slime-covered pool that taints everything that enters it. Its bottom is thick with muck and mud that hold tightly to everything that enters it. No one wants to go into it and no one wants to associate with those who are trapped in its muddy bottom. The stench of the fetid water clings to those who manage to venture away from its slippery banks. Inside there dwells a monster with long tendrils that reaches out to drag those escapees back into its rancid home.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Boogie Nights

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines dance as moving the body and feet on rhythm, ordinarily to music. I have never been a dancer. I am overly white, as I have been told before. I am the only man ever born who was genetically cursed with three left feet. Not only do I have no rhythm I have no coordination either. I can walk in a straight line just fine, but when you add music my feet try to tango while my legs waltz and my body rhumbas, and all in different directions and to different beats. It is not a pretty sight. Imagine if you will someone electrocuting a chicken standing on hot pavement. The chicken has grace and style; I on the other hand look like I am trying to capture a greased squid with my toes on a sheet of ice. I don’t even do that well at a cake walk. I like music – I can play guitar, the radio, and can even sing on key, but moving and music don’t mix, not for me anyhow. I am in awe of ballroom dancers they move with such grace and beauty – I however move with the grace of a beached whale being attacked by three-year-olds with plastic shovels. If I were to toss and twirl a woman she would need emergency medical care. The orchestra would have to be removed from various bodily orifices. I wonder what operation is necessary to remove a tuba or a bassoon or both. Watching the Olympic ice dancers was incredible; if I were to strap knives to my feet and go out on the ice there would be dismembered audience members everywhere – Freddie Kruger on Ice. In the 80’s there was break dancing. I can break dance although when I do it things and other people get broken. If I ever tried to spin on my head my chiropractor could buy a new house, not to mention a few personal injury lawyers and their new Mercedes. I can drive down any street on a hot summers day and hear the beat of music pealing through the air and see bodies flailing and flying through the air in perfect time – expressing what the music is saying to them. What the music says to me is that I need physical therapy and a few x-rays. I remember seeing a T-shirt several years ago that was an advertisement for some brand of alcohol, it said “Helping white people dance since ...” I don’t think there is enough alcohol in a truckload to help me, maybe after a truckload I could pass out and no one would notice that I didn’t even fall down in time with the music. I can’t even slow dance. I do fine as long as I don’t have to move. I can stand still to music just fine. I remember many years ago that a gal told me girls her height liked to dance with tall guys like me because they could hear their partner’s heartbeat. What she would hear if she danced with me would be breaking bones and ambulance sirens. The fact that she was short probably would have added an extra element of risk of bodily harm. I would probably gouge her in the eye with a rib – maybe one of hers.