Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
So here are a couple of things I wrote recently. I hope you enjoy.
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.
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
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.
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
Thursday, April 13, 2006
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.
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
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
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
I will stand in the sun and know joy again.
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
Thursday, March 30, 2006
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.
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.
I wear a happy face.
I remove my mask and sit in sorrow.
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.
Sliding farther down with each motion,
And yet I struggle,
Still alone but unwilling to give in.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
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
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
(spinning around in his desk chair)
(running wildly about the room waving his hands in the air)
AAAAAAAAAAA thud ow AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH thud AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR THUD
THUD THUD ow ow ow ow
(whacking his knee on the desk while he spins )
JGHIUYdasdfRTSFH HHHHHHHHHHHHH NMKNKM
JNBJHBH AAAAAAFLKUSGUOGELWYFGTA AAAA KHN
(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)
EEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH HHHHHHGGG GGGGHHHH
HHHHHHHH slurp AAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEe slurp AAAAAAAAAAAEEEEE slurp AAAAAaaaaaa slurp aaaaaa slurp
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
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
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.