Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Good Ole Days...

Remember when we had the good old days - when we were were eight, and the things we looked forward to were playing with sticks and cat poop?  A friend caught up with me on facebook, and my kids and I were laughing that I used to date her in high school, and that they, in their nine and twelve year old minds could not fathom their dad being young enough to go to high school - or even be amazed that there was high school with electricity and running water, even if we did have typing class (instead of word processing class) where we used actual dusty typewriters and were taught by a real administrative professional.  (Actually, I think it was the female gym teacher who was also the coach of one of the teams who had very few skills with the exception of womens basketball and typing...imagine that).  Let's think back to the Good Old Days for a thirty something - a very late thirty something - and see what was good about those old days (bear with me, my memory of those days is somewhat blurred by about twenty five years of liquor under the brain and water under the bridge, so if I mess up on some of these things, then I will blame it on the last functioning twelve brain cells that still have a relationship with their misfiring synapses)...

California Coolers in two liter bottles - colored bright orange, and exactly the same color when vomited on a blue Granada Station Wagon - that was a great invention - making alcohol that looked and tasted exactly like Sunkist soda - perfect, because you could walk into the grocery store, find the half blind cashier (we did not have those new fangled registers that ask for a date of birth back then) and have the hairiest guy in high school that you knew buy three cases of the magical spirit - and for me, in high school, I weighed about 11 pounds without clothes, so after one of those things, I always found myself cursing God, vomiting high speed orange sugar, and generally sleeping somewhere that I was not supposed to be - naked.  Now that I am older, I just find myself waking up every two hours, wondering why I had that extra vodka and cranberry with lime (not to be confused with the overused drink order of the Cape Cod - which is the same thing, but sounds really gay coming out of a 38 year old guys mouth in some dive bar in Portland, Maine) and having to take a leak without falling over my shoes.  That's when I actually care enough to get out of bed to take a leak, a few of my more unlucky friends have the tendency to piss anywhere - in suitcases, in stereos, in beds...

Curfews - now that was a novel concept.  I don't subscribe to the addage that nothing good happens after midnight.  As far as I was concerned - everything good happened after midnight.  There were parties where kids without curfews got to sit up and try to impress one another, and there was not such a sense of urgency about drinking all of the California Coolers.  There was the odd opportunity to get to third base after midnight - a home run was unheard of - even if folks said they had hit a home run - they were most likely lying, because those things don't happen before midnight - we all know that - now those things don't happen after eight thirty (well, that is not true) but on a weeknight - those things don't happen after eight thirty - because there are too many good shows on the food network.  Where do they find these people for Chopped, and why the hell does the food have to be so hoity toity - why not just give them normal ingredients - find a few construction worker judges, and then see who can make a freaking hamburger with cheese and mustard and cold pickles - without raspberry froth and a lemon zest edginess.  I don't think I am going to buy into the curfew model of things - I think for me, just knowing where they are is going to be the key - granted, six am is a little too late for them to show up at home, but telling them to be in by eleven seems a little old fashioned.  I know that being a good parent means being a hypocrit sometimes (this is possibly the worst parenting advice that I have EVER heard) and I choose to use honesty with them, so I hope they do the same for me - and don't end up like Palin's kid - knocked up, but still in love with Jesus. 

Whitesnake - who the fuck thought up this idea of half gay men in spandex with bleached blonde hair - I don't think I ever enjoyed Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Metallica, or any of those other androgenous looking rockers in zebra spandex telling me that every rose has it thorns.  At least now a days, we have iTunes - where you know the other nine songs on the album really really suck - but at least you can spend .99 and buy the one that you want - imagine trying to fast forward for six minutes on your cassette tape - just to find Hairshirt by REM.  Rock music these days may not be as grungy and as gutteral as it was in nineties - but it is a hell of alot better than it was in the eighties - it was almost as if every confused person that could wear lipstick and had a box of hair color not only started a band, but was actively searched out, and put in a band.  (Yes, I too bleached my hair blond and thought that I could look exactly like Billy Idol - what a fag I was).

Puberty - I don't miss the clusterscrew of hormones one bit.  One day, you felt like you were the king of the world, and actually woke up with no zits on your face, and were able to suck the air out of some girls face in the halls of your overcrowded school, the next day, you were trying to figure out why everyone hated you and why your friends all seemed so against your every effort - were they in cahoots with your parents to make your life misery? (I would go on to describe these situations, but the best thing I can remember is that this cycle repeated itself for about six years, and at some point in time just ended).  I like this age a little better.  Now, when you feel confused, you can actually do something about, like go read a book about Zen, or go to the gym, or surf porn.  Back then, the internet did not exist, the Victoria's Secret catalog was still five years off, and the world was still under the conservative spell of the Reagan Bush era - and Jerry Falwell was actually taken seriously - there were more ruffled shirts and blouses tightened around the necks of women than there were stray cats that needed a home - so hell, my puberty was encapsulated in days of frustration and wondering why my parents really really hated me and why they would make my friends their allies.

Minimum Wage - that was great creation- indentured servitude was a great idea too, but it seems like minimum wage has lasted a little bit longer.  It was great to work thirty hours throwing firewood out of a truck, and get a check for $83.00.  Not to mention that the car insurace was $81.00.  It was a good time to wear polyester uniforms and look like a raging dork, but be able to impress your girlfriend with all the free fish she could eat from the Captain D's drive through (preferably while she was blaring Whitesnake in her Dad's Brand New Chrysler K Car - what a bitching ride that piece of shit was).

The reality is, I am living the good old days right now - I have a beautiful girlfriend, two beautiful children, a great job, healthcare, and I actually like finding that there are new things out there - and the cool thing about all of it - is when it is really really quiet - it is supposed to be quiet - and it gives me time to appreciate for just a few short minutes that we are in the good old days - and not listening to Falwell and his buddies talk about the end times and not wondering what are behind those blouses and not getting $83 in a paycheck.  I can chat with someone in an instant, can get a phone call in my car, and someone can make me espresso in about three minutes.  Yup, I had fun when I was a kid - but in all honesty, the fun is only getting better, and the good old days - well, I will let you know when I run into them - because for now, these days are pretty damn rewarding...


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Panem et Circunses…

Pardon if the spelling is wrong, I am not all that good at spelling – it is one of those bothersome things that get in the way of getting words on paper – and so, much like most things that I attempt to rationalize through, I ignore spelling in hopes that the spell checker catches the mistakes. I know to every purist, this probably irks you and makes your legs twitch at night with that queasy feeling of uneasiness – but get over it, you can correct me in your emails that I occasionally get from some fuckwit concerning what I put in this thing, and how my improper usage of a noun as a verb or some other intelligent, but meaningless, comment that beckons me to take up artistic masturbation as a form of self expression, versus putting this out there. (Artistic masturbation – that’s a new one, from the inner part of my brain tucked way behind my eyeballs. Probably has some tissue paper, Elmers Glue, a couple of midgets, and some fireworks associated with it. Who knows)

No, I am not dead. That was another one that came across my Gmail account – “Are you Dead, because you are funny sometimes” – well, if I was dead, I would still be funny, in fact, I would even be slightly funnier, posthumously recognized as a wit and a prick – but well insured my friends, well insured. I am still here – and there, and just about everywhere in between – that’s what happens when you live in Saint Augustine, date a girl in Edmonds, are based out of Omaha, and work in Toronto – and frankly, I have not been too much interested in writing. It is a large amount of work to write. Talk to anyone that has to sit in a training session that I am administering – I tend to digress – you know, go off on tangents about the exhaust systems on antique cars, or better yet, what beer specials are running at the local pub. Writing, on the other hand, makes me focus. (Hence the reason the standing prescription for Xanax comes in real handy when I actually try to shoot a blog or two over your mental bow as a warning that I am actually focusing, and not able to operate heavy machinery). Nope – I am not dead yet – that gets to what I called this blog – Bread and Circuses.

That’s what my life has been this past thirty or so days – you know, we all have bread and circuses – that was the policy of the Romans back in the day – give them food, wine, women, and the occasional crucifixion – and there you have it – enough of a distraction to keep you going to work everyday making sure the lead lined aquifers keep getting water into the homes of the rich, or squashing grapes, or whatever it is folks did in Roman times for a living – that’s what I have been doing. Where I could not get some bread and circus – I went out and bought some – a drum set, with all accoutrements and attachments, some clothes from the Value Village thrift store, a couple CD’s, and a few books spaced over the past month. Between determining whether I am an atheist or just a really shitty Christian Apologist (imagine how dissimilar these two things are – rationalization of either position being the true question – one requires science, the other relies on history, and both, well in all reality, I guess if I have to try and explain what it was god was saying, then I probably have a slim chance of being the apologist) – I have filled the days with work and conversations about other peoples money and other peoples priorities. I flew from Omaha to Maine to Toronto to Seattle and then back again, and the whole time, filled the spare time with on demand movies and Sugar Babies and Stella and Vodka. I slept, I dreamed, I called my kids, I drank, I sang – I entertained myself with fancy dinners at Tom Douglas joints, I camped by the Columbia River, I walked to the grocery store with a four year old, I drank red AND white wine. I walked in a fourth of July parade in small town America. I over indulged, under indulged, and basically, just made sure my schedule was full of bread and/or circuses. Whereas in Rome, it was given to the people to appease the masses, for me, it was just to have bread and circuses. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was concerned about the oil in the gulf, and the loss of life in war zones, and expiring unemployment benefits, and whatever else Nancy Grace is spewing vile about on CNN (her and Anne Coulter – see previous blog) are both the most corrosive folks I have ever listened to or read – and both annoy me on a similar plane – they are full of hype and bullshit, but the good thing is that they are probably going to heaven. Amen. (I digress). I played piano on an antique upright with a few keys stuck; I sat in a bathtub with pretty scented bubbles and washed my feet with that fancy salt stuff. Bread and circuses – not such a bad approach to things every once in a while – and an even better approach to things when, all said and done, the legacy you leave changes little whether you leave a computer design or a working man’s debt behind – so, for me, the past month – bread and all out, balls torn, hell bound and bent, indiscriminate bread and circuses baby – feed me more of the panem et circunses – and I will be the first one to see how far I can distract myself –

I have not been to my place in five weeks. I have not slept in my bed, seen my kids, driven my car, eaten anything at my table, washed my clothes, or taken a shower in my house now for about 33 days. That, I suppose is the only issue with panem et circunses – the good thing is that a moving target is harder to find, but the bad thing is, now, that I am heading home, is the panic of 33 days worth of mail, the potential that bugs have infested my kitchen, the likely reality that the landscaping looks like shit, and the almost certainty that my neighbors have decided that I am dead – and I am sure the food that I threw in the garbage can in front of the house has pumped out enough odors to justify that belief (sorry folks, I forgot to take it to the street, the cabbage, milk, sour cream, chili, and fruit have probably all melded together to a very nice compost like material by now, or the biological hazard response team was called out and asked to remove the container from the premises.)

I have no idea if my power, cable, and telephone are still on – I know they keep taking money out of my bank account, so I hope they are. I have no recollection of what my bed feels like, and what condition I left it in. I am not sure if there is anything in the house to drink or eat. I don’t even know if I have toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap, or paper towels.

I don’t know if the place next door to me sold, and if new folks moved in, and are using my driveway as a spare. Hell, I just don’t know – I have been too busy with the circus and the bread –

We all have diversions – naturalist, hedonistic, spiritual, whatever you may choose as your distraction – but for me, not so deep and protracted – I want naked clowns and beer and food and music – spaced in between periods of intense work and deliverables – and then I want more – until the bread and circuses stop changing and being new and pretty and shiny – then that is what I want. Give me more bread, I will go to more circuses, and all the while – that is not such a bad thing.

By the way, to those of you who found more spelling or grammar errors – piss off – go to a circus, and enjoy yourself. And for the dolphin picture – ask one of them about the future, and they will say “Eke Eke a Reeky Eke” and eat whatever you throw at them, I like their spirit.