Rube Sunday night, passed out and dreaming and unaware
Rube and I have this ritual: At night after I hit the sack, he’ll climb up on the right side of the bed, stretch his front legs over the pillows and then drape himself over my neck and chest, purring while I slather with kisses his face or head or whatever he ends up sticking in my pucker space. He doesn’t do it every single night, but most nights I can count on him stopping in before going off and doing whatever he and Carol get up to. But he hasn’t come the last couple nights, and when he’s been out from under the beds, we’ve sat on the couch awkwardly or he’s yelled at me for giving him his prednisone. I wouldn’t give it a second thought except for I’ve no doubt he’s still pissed at me for the ordeal at the vet, but I’m also quite sure he now knows that I know he’s dying, and like, say, when a friend tells you they like the feel of weasels down their pants, there’s really no turning back THAT revelation.
I can’t believe I’ve never written about how Rube and I got together: It was April ‘99, six months into living on my own for the first time ever, and I’d just settled in to write a story about a gun show when I heard this obnoxious “REE-ER! REE-ER! REE-ER!” coming from outside. The windows were closed and I thought it was a bird caught in the bushes at first, so I went outside and quickly realized it was a cat, so I psssspssspsssspssss’d fully expecting a cat to come out and not what was essentially a fetus. Picked it up and ran upstairs, and then called anyone I knew who had cats to see what they knew about taking care of a cat fetus. (Also discovered rather unceremoniously that he was a he after thinking he was a she because I’d never had a cat before and all cats were she to me. “Ruben,” in fact, came from “Ruby” because that’s what I’d always planned to name a girl cat. Props to my quick-thinking seester.) After taking him to the office and (someone, not me) losing a valuable photography equipment thing we used to try and feed him some milk, got him some formula and started feeding him by dropper.
Dad, upon hearing after Rube’s first vet visit the next day that the vet thought he was about two-weeks old, promptly said I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that he probably wouldn’t make it. Over my dead body was that going to happen: I was between gigs at the time, so I fed him every three hours like the vet said, and he went EVERYWHERE with me—stayed in the car for job interviews, slept in my shirt during assignments, came to the office with me while I manned the phones on the Sports desk. I not only litter-trained him, but I taught him how to expel waste (not as vile as you might think, although I was the human litterbox for about two weeks until I got him using litter.)
For the last 13 1/2 years, this jerk of a cat has given me more scars in places you’d never believe and has shit in my laundry more times than I count. He never fails to step on my nipple while situating himself to bathe my hair in the morning, and he yells at me when I touch his tail in any way. He once jumped into the toilet and right back out before I had a chance to sit down after a night of drinking MGD, he’s horked hairballs on just about every wood surface I own and poked holes in all my yoga and jammie pants with his claws. He rolls around on the freshly cleaned bathroom floor, huffing the bleach. He beat on his little brother constantly and walks across my keyboard as I’m trying to file my stories ...
before he settles down and curls up to my left, sticking his head in my face and paws over my arm, purring away.
He hears my car pull up and watches out the window while I come up the walk, cheeking the window pane until I get in the door, or did at least until a few days ago. Every tear I’ve shed or ounce of anger I’ve wasted over whatever jackass, he’s settled in on my chest and purred until I can pull it together to get out of bed. (Fun story: The first night TOG ever spent at the resort, I woke to find Rube sleeping at the foot of my side instead of the right side (where he usually slept) because TOG was there. Rube looked at me, and then looked at the passed-out TOG—we’d gone to see The Who the night before and, well, you know—and looked at me again with this look I can only describe as, “Are you serious with this shit!?” There’s something to be said when even your cat knows what a rotten situation you’re in, and I might’ve saved myself about five years of absurdity had I listened, right!?) After Dad died, he looked for him for weeks when Mother would come over; to this day, we’ll be on the couch and Rube’ll put his paw on my shoulder every so often, and dumb as this sounds, I imagine Dad’s telling Rube to say “Hey.”
For 13 1/2 years, this damn cat has been my everything, and now he’s dying, and I can’t do better than try to figure out whether he’s in pain and keep him comfortable because the alternative holds no guarantee and would likely be worse. It’s so not fair.
Can someone put an explanation to the randomness to the songs that’ve been popping in to my head lately? Last week, it was the song which I associate the loss of my virginity: This song riiiiiiiiiiight here, folks, a very lovely song, to be sure—let’s give it up for The Isleys—but good Christ, I was 15! Just ... (shudder). I can’t be the only one disturbed by this. And then Friday, it was “The Legend of Wooly Swamp.” I ... don’t get it, except that this only seems to happen at the restaurant.
I’m a little concerned that my reading comprehension might be slipping. A couple weeks ago on Jez, there was this article on a young woman who was killed in a car accident. The young woman was white, a Yale grad with a job coming up at The New Yorker and other various and sundry accomplishments under her belt, and writing skills to give pause to the most seasoned among us—I mean, as in, “DAMN. That’s freak-of-nature shit right there.” THAT good. So I’m reading this article, and what I took from it was that she passed, she had a lot going for her, and when she in her last piece for the Yale paper said we need to embrace what we have because it’s all any of us will ever have and that’s not a bad thing, we really ought to consider it.
Well, fuck me, y’all, because I comPLETEly didn’t catch the part about how her story getting the space it has diminishes EVERY OTHER DEATH IN THE UNIVERSE because the media has a pretty-white-girl fetish. Jesus, ladies (and the guys in touch with their “feminine” side who, at least I’m convinced, are trying to pick up chicks on there). Yeah, there’s absolutely a coverage bias, and it has to be frustrating in ways I’ll never understand. I just don’t think Katie (the author) was going there with her post, and it drives me nuts to see all these people go nuts over something I’m pretty sure she never intended in the first place. Go read the article and tell me if I’m wrong, here. (Especially
punch-in-the-throat-worthyhelpful was the chick who didn’t like the way Katie wrote about how the accident went down, going so far as to write out how she would’ve done it. To me, if YOU weren’t asked to write the piece and YOU weren’t asked by the writer making a living writing things your opinion on how to make it better, nor are YOU the writer’s editor, YOU need to stfu, or at least do a better job of finessing your criticism—which I of course not-sosubtlely pointed out to her by praising her benevolence in taking the time to tell the professional writer how to write. And she responded, but I didn’t read it because that one tends to be a know-it-all, and therefore the chances are good she either got my condescension or wanted to tell me why her rude behavior was appropriate, and who wants to deal with that?)
Great weekend this weekend: Spent all day
recoveringrelaxing after TSB at the House of Blues Friday night, where it STILL costs $11 for a freaking 24 oz Bud Light (ferchrissake) (and yet it didn’t stop me from playing big balls and having several) and SBrown’s birthday shenanigans Saturday night, where the beer was better and the company ridiculously divine; became pals with the lead singer for this group and continued to shock Mark with admissions of my prowess. (Ok, not really because it’s not like he’s a prude, but it’s just not something he and I talk about, and we’re amused that our friendship has reached the level where I can blurt out something like, “Why yes, I’ve been known to (insert something sexual here),” and he looks at me all bemused and says “You know, I’m glad we’re at the point in our relationship where we can talk about these things.") Today, however, marks a year that I met in person the guy with whom I wanted to see where things went, and naturally, he’s been on my mind lately—the things we were talking about before actually meeting and so on and so forth.
I’ve been thinking more about that stuff I was not having luck articulating in my last post, and here’s what I’ve come up with: It’s not an easy task to live by the “Actions, not words” credo when you’re one of those people who always always ALWAYS separates a person from his or her behavior and will go to great lengths to not reconcile the two until there’s no other conclusion to reach. Doesn’t matter how shitty the behavior or whether I want friendship or a relationship; it’s just what I do. And I miss him—his brain and the way he made me want to be smarter to keep up, the way he slept on his back as if he were in a coffin just like I do (when I’m alone; I didn’t when he was here because I was afraid of snoring like a freight train), his skin ... OMG his skin! His skin was the most perfect skin I’ve ever seen in my life, so it’s good he had a tactile aversion like I do because I’d have probably never stopped petting him. The things I didn’t like, on the other hand, were to my mind all defenses I’d hoped he’d shed once he got to know me and not anything that had to do with who he was as a person. He just either couldn’t shed them because his issues run too deep or didn’t want to because he didn’t dig me at all, and what do you do with either of those?
Well, since the last time we talked ended worse than the time before, there’s nothing TO do but leave it alone, because you can’t force someone to like you, and since I vacillate between thinking he never even liked me as a person in the first place and thinking he got issues, I can’t imagine MY reaching out would be a good thing regardless of the “If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost” saw one of my fb friends posted today. He could certainly try, though, if he wanted.
Man, to think at this same time three weeks ago, I was sitting on a real live deck (not my puny little balcony) in a real live backyard at an undisclosed location in a pair of basketball shorts and a tie-dye while my friends’ hound guarded the perimeter (and when I say “guarded the perimeter, I really mean peeing on everything he hadn’t already peed on twice—prednisone sucks), and now I’m .... not. I got to grill out for my charge and me, and people, I GOT TO TAKE A SHOWER LONGER THAN A SLIGHTLY LONGER WHORE BATH. Do you know how long it had been since I’d done that!?? And my blowdryer didn’t overheat as fast, either. Perhaps there’s something to the whole home ownership thing. Today I spent ... sleeping, which is equally as awesome, really, but also has me on guard because between the sobbing I’d been bitching about all week and need for copious amounts of sleep, the cook at the restaurant better not have gotten me sick, is all I’m saying.
I’ve been instructed by one SBrown that I must tell the story of my first laser hair-removal treatment—no no, not THAT kind of hair because a) NO, and b) the Groupon that allowed me to purchase this
dreamprocedure didn’t cover that business. And anyway, what I went for is, at least to me, much more embarrassing: my face, or more specifically, what I refer to as my “meatbeard,” much to the dismay of my sister, who thinks that’s the grossest descriptor ever, but I (and other people, thankfully) think is hiLARIous.
So like I said, Sbrown wanted to hear all the gories—except there weren’t really any, other than I had to put gauze in my mouth to cover my gums and had to put cotton pads over my eyes beFORE the blonde, fuzzy-bunny, 20-ish year-old aesthetician strapped the solid-metal tanning-booth goggles over my eyes. She then spread ultrasound goo on the area, kicked up the jams to whatever voltage felt like a rubberband snapping, and it was all done in less than five minutes. I’ll go through it five more times, the end. The REAL bitch of it was that I was a mere five minutes from the greatest mall in the world ever (A FREAKING TESLA DEALERSHIP, PEOPLE!), but I had to be back for a finance meeting, so I didn’t get to go. Next time, you’ll have to pull me out of Nordie’s shoe department. Mark my words.
Meanwhile, chatted recently with a familiar character ‘round these parts—because of job crap, she’s asked me not to use her name, but I’m sure you could figure it out if you’re so inclined—and she was telling me about reconnecting with a guy she dated a million years ago. She friends him on fb, they talk for a few days and everything appeared to be fine until one day, when first he was all “Hey, when you going to be on?” and then when she gets on, he hits her with the following:
Then he blocks her as if after that, she’s going to pursue any sort of further contact.
So naturally, that guy deserves ALL of the scorn because WHAT!?? Who the fuck reaches out to someone to tell them they don’t like them!? More than that, though, I’ve come to really not understand what possesses someone to apologize when they don’t really mean it, and by “mean it,” s/he thinks the apology’s enough in and of itself.
Self-indulgent story time, and I’ll even throw it below the fold for y’all:
Long, long ago—like, 14, 15 years ago—I met a chick at this conference temp gig we were working. Nice woman, but we were complete polar opposites and just didn’t have anything in common. Still, she was nice, and she tolerated me, and you can’t have too many nice people who tolerate you around, right? So anyway, we hung out off and on for about three years—mostly because I kept her at bay—and a few months after Dad died (which she drove the hour to come to the wake, I might add), she came to the resort one evening; T was living with me at the time, TOG and I were having issues more than normal, and I had just started to realize the magnanimity of having to deal with Mother without the buffer that was Dad the first 32 years of my life; suffice it to say, I was a dick to her. She may have called once more afterward before deciding (rightfully so) that I wasn’t worthy of her effort.
I’ve always felt bad about the way I treated her (especially since at one point, I’m pretty sure she asked me point-blank if I wanted to hang with her, and I pussed out like a pussy from telling her the truth), and if there was ever someone to whom I should apologize, it’s her. She ALSO deserves someone who wants to put an effort into a real friendship, which I ... don’t, clearly, or I would’ve, so to me, if I don’t really intend to make a situation right full-stop, what difference would my saying “I’m sorry” make? Personally, I don’t believe it would, because them’s just words, man, and they cheap. Could my stance probably have more to do with the fact that I’m not good with letting out people who’ve I let in than it does ... reality, maybe!? You tell me—I’m just kind of thinking out loud, here.
Which leads me to self-indulgent story No. 2: Why I don’t keep grievance lists on people—no, seriously! I really don’t, and you know why? Do y’all remember me telling the story of how Dad kind of got us into a financial disaster and the shady way he kept the ship afloat? Can’t remember if I was specific or not, and the details aren’t important because looking back on it, he did what he had to do,and whatever. If you ask Mother, however, she’ll tell you about horrible it was and blah blah blah like it happened yesterday, and this was 20—yes, 20—years ago, and I know this because she reminds ME about it every month or so. And god forBID you bring up how her brothers—men SHE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE, FERCHRISSAKE—don’t call her to make sure she’s Ok or offer to take her out or bring her food or whatever it is she feels they should be doing for her; THAT you don’t even have to ask, because she talks about that CON.STANT.LY to everyone she possibly can.
That’s ... not me.
Sure, I beef with people, and unless I’m completely at fault, you’ll almost never see me make the first move to patch things up—can’t get rejected if you cut bait first, after all, says the Abandonment Handbook—but once we do, shit’s in the past, man, and I’ve welcomed back people who’ve done really shitty things, as we all know. So when recently, someone I care about told me there were things that bothered me that I hadn’t told him about, I was stunned because I just don’t work that way. I’m still stunned.
I don’t know what else I want to say about that, so if someone can give me some insight, have at it. Oh, and Happy Zombie Jeebus Day or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days.
When I was on my deathbed last week, I’d had a really rotten day and thus plotted out how I would explain why it is a nickname seemingly EVERYONE has taken to calling me gets on my damn nerves; about how I’d just gotten cool with—dare I say, even proud of—people calling me by my last name only in recent years and OH THE DRAMA and a whole bunch of other things about which y’all probably don’t give a shit.
Since my lover once again saved me from drowning in my own snot and blood (oh yes, there was blood this time around, and a lot of it, too), I’ll save y’all the histrionics and get to the point, which is this: The nickname everyone thinks is so cute! and fun to say! or whatever gets people goofy about it has a tendency to make me feel like I’m not being taken seriously ("Awwwwww, c’mon, [redacted] ...!"), and that’s offensive. Worse is when someone gets all butt-hurt because I lay down an edict to not call me it—it’s like, “Well, hell! I’m sorry for not allowing YOU to call ME something that’s making me want to stab you in the ear right now. Can you EVER forgive!?”
(And before I hear all about how I can and often do shorten and make a nickname out of anything resembling a name, ask yourself if a) you’ve ever asked me to stop calling you whatever I call you, and b) if you have, if I’ve ever blown you shit for it. That’s what I thought. No no, not someone on your behalf—YOU, and did you ask me in a straightforward way, non-dick way.)
So there it is.
The other day, our big columnist at the paper, who has an equally big fb presence, threw out to the
wolvesmasses a letter he’d gotten chastising him for giving money that readers donated to him to distribute to needy folks. In it, the person (who actually identified herself later downthread out of ... guilt, I guess?) had this to say about one of the recipients:
I, naturally, couldn’t resist:
To which I was promptly told my comment was “disgusting” and “totally inappropriate,” which I then said was my point because who the hell would deny a struggling mom first of all, but second, it was Jerry’s money to do with as he saw fit. But really, my point—and I did explain this as well—was that here’s a woman who’s chosen to have five children like
And—AND!—if I may continue on this soapbox for a moment, if anyone ever thought leaving charity solely to churches and people’s “voluntary kindness” without any sort of government safety net is the way it should happen, this is exACTly why it can’t: Individuals cannot be relied upon to neither not judge nor be consistent with meeting the needs of so many people, and anyone who says they’d rather be able to help on their own terms rather than ponying up and letting the government make the choice is delusional, at best. A guy with whom I went to high school, for example, was all stiff because he either donated to his church or gave to a needy family over the holidays or some shit, and he’d posted on fb about what a wonderful feeling it gave him to be able to give and “that’s how it should be.”
Well sure, that’s great, Richie, you helped out a family for a day or maybe even a week if you were extra-generous—now how ‘bout the other 51 weeks or 364 days? Who’s going to help then? And what about the other millions of people who need help? Based on the hard-on you got from how nice it felt to give, are you prepared to sustain that level of giving/ecstasy!? Because from what I understand, NO ONE can without benefit of really good drugs, and THEN you end up getting raw and hurty from the exertion, anyway. (Don’t do drugs, kids!) ANYway, I continue to be mystified by this idea many people have that those with money are the answer to everything, because they aren’t, at least not to any degree that eradicates even a little the suffering of the human condition. Let the government take its chunk and deliver it to as many as it feasibly can, and be done with it.
So things have gone on in the what, year and a half that I haven’t been here? Among them are these:
-- The little Gray Ghost passed a month after I last posted, in what had to be the worst way a person who’d never previously put down an animal could’ve experienced. (Stupid vile, hateful local 24-7 clinic I hope spontaneously combusts with every employee in it.) But we now have Hurricane Carol, who’s been a wonderfully kooky addition to the resort.
-- Rube, meanwhile, has been having tummy trouble again and could possibly have lymphoma, but the vet isn’t quite convinced of that, so we’re treating him for IBD first. And that’s what I’m sticking to.
-- Had some great stories, especially the last couple months of 2011. Besides the RCPM gig, there’s been the first gay National Guardsman to reenlist (big ol’ scoop, that one was), the private inauguration of Gary’s first black woman mayor (there was a public one the week after, but I muscled my way in to the first one when the press wasn’t supposed to be there) and the rescue and aftermath of two little boys whose mom was burned to death in a housefire, which wasn’t a scoop but I got some really good angles out of it. We have new overlords at the paper aGAIN, so who knows exactly what that means, but we ALSO have direct deposit finally, so I’ve been a straight-up ballah, what with not overdrawing my account and all. Like, one day I went to get $20 out of my account and discovered I had close to $1,700 left, and I really didn’t know how that happened! It was amazing!
-- After three-plus years of celibacy, sex even happened quite a bit, but let me ask y’all something: When was someone going to tell me that sex with someone with whom you can barely have a cogent conversation is SO MUCH FUN!?? Damn, yo! Now, I pulled some shit in my 20s, but the Summer of Slut/Autumn of Ass had me hearing, “You did NOT!” quite often by the crew. Well yes, yes I did, and with very little regret.
Because it’s me, however, there was someone with whom I’d hoped to see where things went—completely against my better judgment because also remember, it IS me and I’m nothing if not entirely too optimistic for my own good. (True fact: If someone says to you they aren’t with anyone because they haven’t found someone worthy of them yet (emphasis mine), have a hearty, derisive laugh with your friends about it, by all means, but then take it as the warning it inevitably is.) But it happened and, after a long, emotional (also: DRUNK) email exchange at least on my part, it’s done. Of course, as I’m sitting here achy and hoping like fuck I’m not coming down with death, I’m kinda feeling his not being around—the person I’d hoped he was, at any rate. Who he turned out to be? Not so much, and I REALLY hate the disappointment of that.
I’m sure the heifers will remind of whatever I’m forgetting, but for now, Ima take me a Tylenol with codeine and hope I don’t die between now and my shift tomorrow.
It was already published at my favorite music site, but I shall reprint here, because it was just. that. COOL.
Before the utterly gobsmacked throngs started filing out of the bar to mob him, and before he had a chance to absorb what just happened onstage, Brian David Blush sat on the hood of a stranger’s silver Toyota, massaging his forehead as if it would make the night’s events sink in faster.
He was a bit embarrassed, too, or a lot to hear him tell it. Just three and a half hours earlier, Blush wasn’t even sure he’d be allowed in to see his former Refreshments bandmates — Roger Clyne and Paul “P.H.” Naffah, the head and neck of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers – play at the roadside restaurant just outside Elkhart, Indiana. So to have joined Clyne, Naffah and bassist Nick Scropos on well-loved tune “Nada” from their 1996 breakthrough record, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy, was an event for which he was completely unprepared.
“Whatever you say, tell ‘em I was terrible,” Blush said, rather morosely assessing his first time onstage with Clyne since it all went wrong between them.
This was originally supposed to be a combined review of Clyne and the Peacemakers’ July 2nd performance at both the 30th Annual American Music Festival at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn, Illinois, and the band’s subsequent performance at Mr. G’s in Osceola, Indiana on July 27th. Anyone who’s ever seen an RCPM show knows how solid and fun they are, even (especially?) as Clyne tosses back shot after shot of tequila. Well, the band didn’t disappoint either time. Particularly heartening was hearing lead guitarist Jim Dalton come into his own, since 2009 was his first year with the band and he was a bit tentative and stiff with the music. But for Refreshments/RCPM fans, hearing three of the original Refreshments reunited for a short, impromptu jam session in front of the lucky 120 who came to the show is, as Veep Joe Biden might say, “a big f’in deal.”
The backstory’s been told a million times: After Fizzy Fuzzy propelled the Refreshments toward epic stardom, their second album tanked, the band lost its record deal and Blush dove headfirst into his already debilitating heroin and pill habit. He got kicked out of the band, and then he sold the Refreshments’ entire catalog – which includes the theme of long-running show King of the Hill — for $2,500 out of desperation. Bad feelings, naturally, ensued; Blush overdosed, then spent time in jail and went through rehab before landing in jail again and finally getting himself off the junk. He now resides in the South Bend area and plays in various bands.<
Which leads the story to July 27th: Blush’s buddy and bandmate, Mike Vance, heard RCPM was playing Mr. G’s and asked Blush if he wanted to go. It’s not that he didn’t, but after more than a decade of anger and resentment, he didn’t know how his presence would be received. Thanks to the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles, he almost didn’t get to find out; now that Indiana mails residents their licenses and other IDs, Blush didn’t have his new license yet, and the bouncer didn’t accept the photocopy the DMV provided.
Defeated, Blush started walking away when he saw Naffah outside the RCPM tour bus. He walked up, and the unexpected happened: Naffah met him with open arms, and the guys took care of his entry issues as only good friends would.
“They snuck me in through the back door,” Blush said.
Blush sat on the left side of the stage, donning shades and smiling the whole time, even firing up a lighter every so often in homage to his favorite songs. Being comfortable in RCPM’s air space was all he needed, really, but then Clyne came out for the encore and called on Blush to accompany him on “Nada.”
He was overwhelmed from start to long after finish. While neither a perfect version of the introspective song or the final encore, no one dared take away from his elation at playing with old friends.
“Roger Clyne and P.H. Naffah, I came up with them. We were lucky enough to catch a break (all those years ago),” he said. “This has to be the greatest moment of my life so far, and I just came here tonight to say ‘Hello.’
“They affected the course of my life, and I will die being a Peacemakers fan.”
The other guys – Clyne, Naffah and in his own way Scropos – also came away healed. Scropos wasn’t in the Refreshments during the troubles, but he knew enough about it to know there was “weird blood.”
“I thought it was really neat,” the bassist said. “Everyone’s really humbled by the experience, and I’m happy for the guys.”
When told that Blush called his own performance “terrible,” Naffah smiled while remembering how self-deprecating his old friend is. He also admitted to being a bit apprehensive at the thought of sharing a stage with him again and was glad it all happened as an impromptu jam, lest everyone be all twitchy about it.
“I haven’t talked to him in years, and nobody knew where he was – the last I heard, he was in Detroit,” Naffah said. “We needed this, though. I wish the guy the best and will jam with him anytime.”
As for Clyne, perhaps the most hurt by Blush’s actions way back when, he was a bit overwhelmed with the moment himself.
“This was the building of a bridge I burned a long time ago,” Clyne said. “Forgiveness is a good thing, and I hope Brian got as much peace out of it as I did.”
E! Channel’s been playing The Craft for the last few weeks, and I gotta say, I really dig that movie. To me, it’s a smarter, better version of Heathers, and I’m sure my angsty-cool card has been revoked for saying that, but seriously! Fairuza Balk BURIES Christian Slater in terms of over-the-top nutjobs. Just LOOK at her. Anyone who can have cockroaches crawling out her jacket arms? Is badass. Plus, she was hot in it, and all the other performances were nicely low-key for such a campy flick.
Those of you who still blog, do y’all still get spammed in your comments every so often? For as long as I can remember, I’ve been closing out my comments after 48 hours or so, but somehow they figure out how to get through and leave their droppings, or else the comment expire I put on expires or something, I don’t know. But anyway, I got a shit-ton of spam last week on entries I hadn’t thought about in forever, so I took a peek down Memory Lane as I zapped the spam. And as I was doing this, a particular entry grabbed my attention pdq:
That particular entry was about the e-mail the one guy sent me after Cat and I showed up at a party to which we were all invited; problem was, since the party was thrown by HIS friends (and God forbid I have anything to do with HIS friends because, well, they were HIS friends first), he was unhappy, and that was his response when I called him out on it (read: asked him nicely, like a sucker, why he was so rude to me at the party, because he not only didn’t talk to me the whole night, but he stayed directly across from me AT ALL TIMES, as if I smelled). Now normally, TOG doesn’t exist in any meaningful way for me anymore, but seeing that hed made my blood run cold.
But what REALLY kicked in the flop sweat was I wrote after it: I said I admired that he was able to protect his widdle feelings from my harshness (!) and that I would rather he be an asshole to me than ignore me, more or less. Just so I’m crystal here, let me break that down: I said in so many words that I was Ok with this guy treating me like shit—well, maybe not OK ok, but clearly Ok enough to not kick his stupid ass to the curb.
For all my bravada, that right there was—and still is in many ways—me. That scares me.
My issues with anxiety and depression aren’t exactly a secret to y’all, so it was about two weeks after my birthday that I fell into a sinkhole I haven’t experienced since after Dad died. Not sure if my meds stopped working or other external factors played into it, but it was bad enough that my peeps were begging me to get thy flat ass to the brain garage for a tune-up. The episode lasted a good month, month and a half, but for the moment I’m stable, in no small part because I’ve consciously started paying attention to and embracing the nurturing relationships I have and eschewing the ones that aren’t. The endeavor has and hasn’t been easy, but it is what it is, and I’m all right—horrified by what I’ve allowed myself to endure, but getting better.
In other news, Mother turned 75 this week. Do you believe that shit?
A couple funny stories for you that several of you have probably already heard, but you’ll live because to all youse who complain I never come here anymore, I’m writing for the second time this quarter, so ZIP IT and LIKE IT.
STORY NO. 1
A dear friend of mine has a young teenage daughter who, for whatever reason, thinks I’m pretty cool, so the last time I visited I told her I would friend her on Facebook, (Why kids that age find me cool still baffles me—and many do, believe it or not—but all right, I’ll take it.) Now, those of you who’re fb friends with me know that I can be kind of an a-hole with the swearing and the ranting and the so on and so forth, so I promised her parents that I would make sure to lock down my wall and any photos of vulgar t-shirts I might have cached in my photos because, you know, she’s smart, but she’s still a little young to really appreciate the humor in a “Fuck Me I’m Fat” shirt. Or maybe not, but still, that’s not something I or her folks want to find out right now. So I promise her folks she would be on super-sekret lockdown, and that’s exactly what I did ... except I didn’t get it locked down before she saw the pictures from my 40th.
You guys knew I turned 40 since the last time we talked, right? I did, and it was GRAND affair surrounded by my crew, with a limo, all the G-ball I could consume, a riotous performance by the boys and me in a sparkly sequined number and stilettos. Ten hours of nothing but drunken idiocy and mayhem—all of which was seen by the young lady in question because the next time I was over there, she proceeded to tell me how wasted I looked. (You would too if you’d spent 10 hours straight drinking and cavorting.) Well, me looking ridden-hard-put-away-wet isn’t exactly the image I want to convey to the young, but Ok, she’s seen me have a beer or two with the folks, and it was my birthday and I was having fun ... whatever. It’s cool, and her parents weren’t upset by it.
Anyway, so a few weeks go by, and the young lady and I are IM’ing on fb as we do from time to time. I think we were talking about how she was reading The Lovely Bones when all of a sudden, she asks me,
“Beated with ... wha ...!???” I thought to myself, wondering what the hell she was talking about; I didn’t get a chance to look at her clarification before I realized exACTly what she was talking about: the giant flesh-colored, double-headed DONG with which Cheeks delivered my birthday spankings.
Yeah ... see, whenever the boys perform a birthday thing, it’s Cheeks singing “Private Dancer” and giving whoever is the poor birthday-having bastard a lap dance. Well, since Cheeks is evil and knows my aversion to said dong (guys, he does really gross things with it involving tortillas and butt sweat), he and the boys decided to make the lap dance extra-embarrassing and went ahead and beat me with the dong in front of the whole bar. And it was all caught on camera. (Fucker BRUISED me with the damn thing, too, but I digress.)
After I got past the “Shit. Shit! SHIT!” running through my head, I determined there were two ways I could go with what was before me: I could either turn it into a great teaching moment and possibly give her an advantage over her friends in the ol’ sex knowledge department, or I could lie, lie, LIE and save us both a lot of embarrassment as well as the wrath of her parents, who would probably not allow me near her ever again if they knew I taught her about double-headed dongs. Though I’m sure y’all wish I’d have gone with the former—if for nothing else than to imagine me squirming trying to explain the concept of rubber appendages to a child who likely just learned about her period from the nuns—I’m a chicken. As far as she knows, Cheeks is a very strange man who thought it would be funny to deliver my spanking with a baguette ... a rather skinny, PINK baguette, but a baguette nonetheless.
(So y’all don’t think I’m a comPLETE dork, I told her she needs to wait until college before she sticks something she swipes from a dude down her shirt for him to retrieve. Because I’m cool like that.)
STORY NO. 2
Also at my 40th Birthday Party of Total Iniquity and Ill Repute(TM), G/BF thought it would be amusing to have Cheeks taunt and tantalize me with a Butterfly which, for those of you unfamiliar, is a “personal pleasure device” that’s supPOSED to look like a butterfly but to me looks more like an alien and NOTHING like anything I would want near my ladyflower. Said device was promptly packaged and tossed in the backseat of my car what, six weeks or so ago?
Fast-forward again to last Friday, when Li’l Kate and I got to see each other for the first time in 10 years. She couldn’t secure a rental to head down here from her training in the city, so I of course went to pick her up; since I spent most of the day screwing around, I didn’t get to shower before going to get her, and I painted quite the picture with my hair in a half-ass pony, no makeup and grungy sweatshirt I may or may not have worn all week. In other words, I wasn’t looking particularly ... feminine, if you will. Or clean.
I pull up in front of the building, and Li’l Kate comes out the door, her boss in tow because he wanted to go over a few more things with her on the elevator ride down. She comes over to the passenger side while I tell her boss to throw her suitcase in the backseat, to which he says
“Yeah, that’s fine,” I said, not thinking anything of it. But then we then arrive at the crib, where Li’l Kate pulls out her suitcase. And what should come FLYING OUT OF THE BACKSEAT WITH IT?
Li’l Kate and I stare at the little black box lying there on the ground for a second before she bursts out laughing and says, “Is THAT what he was talking about?”
“Shit, I forgot that was back there ... he’s not going to know what it is, though.”
“Uh, there’s a HALF-NAKED WOMAN ON IT.”
“Oh ... well, still.”
Still haven’t found out what Li’l Kate told the coworker who asked her, “So what happened when you left Friday?” Monday morning.
Talking to a friend and former colleague the other day, and she asks me if I’m still keeping up with ye old blog. I told her, “Well, I’m not NOT keeping up with it, but yeah, my last entry was in September,” and she was all, “You should at least let people know you’re not dead.” It’s always kinda been my thought that bringing attention to the fact that you’re not blogging is kind of trying to BRING ATTENTION to the fact that you’re not blogging, as in “Look at ME, everyone! Don’t you MISS ME when I’m not around!?” as if all y’all do is sit around to hang off my every word. But since she made the point:
No, everyone, I’m not dead.
So 2009 ended on an Ok note considering that Pimp’s alternator croaked in the lefthand turn lane of a major intersection during rush hour; interestingly enough, it was this final straw that snapped me out of what’s had to have been the most terrible, horrible, emotional no-good week I’ve been in months, kinda like “Yeah, this is the blood-clot cherry on a shit sundae, so I might as well just lighten up because the crying hasn’t helped!” There were mitigating factors to this terrible, horrible, emotional no-good week—like the reason I was home for NYE instead of out seeing the boys, for example—but there’s no need to hash, and some of it I can’t talk about here, anyway, because I promised. Anyway, I’m feeling better now, although the week made for some creative suicide ideation techniques!*
Hopefully this year will get me going and writing here again, but in the meantime I hope y’all are well, the holidays were full of love and laughter and that your aspirations for this year are fulfilled. N’ shit.
[*No, no no, I’m not and never have been suicidal, so don’t freak out or anything. That’s what meds are for.]
Some months ago, maybe around Thanksgiving or Christmas, I got a small package in the mail from Dad’s sister up in Michigan, and in it were photos they’d found of him. They were the usual you’d expect—elementary class shots, shots of him with his bike, his first car, even a couple sitting half-asleep in a ... well, it wouldn’t have been a car seat in 1934, but some sort of seater thing when he couldn’t have been more than a couple months old. Anyway, I’m looking at them and chuckling at his big ol’ jug ears and teenaged dorkiness when I shuffled to the above picture.
Now, those of you who’ve been in The Resort have seen the one photo I have of Dad on the bookcase: He had to have been about 1 when it was taken, and it’s one of those old-timey, hand-painted things they did in the early 1930s, where they painstakingly added some unholy shade of peach to make the sepia tones more natural. His hair brushed neatly to one side and way-serious expression, I don’t want to say there’s an inherent sadness to it because no one smiled in pictures back in the ‘30s. Really, he just kind of looks like a little old man-boy in a ruffly apricot gown.
So when I came to this shot—him slumped over with unbridled, toothless baby joy—I promptly lost it.
Eight years ago today was Dad’s wake. It was also the day where it was made abundantly clear by Mother to me that SHE was the only person who lost him. Yeah, he raised me and taught me to read at age 2, but he was her HUSBAND, you see. Because of that (as well as various other sundry reasons having to do with my well-documented aversion to feeling feelings), I don’t often talk about him, or at least not without people prompting the conversation. There’ve been quite a few people who’ve brought him up to me this summer, though, interestingly enough. Something else kind of interesting, at least to me, is that my aunt sent the pictures to me with not a word about sharing them with Mother. I struggled with that for a few days, too, over whether I should.
Yes, but if I may go on record here and point out that how the hell was I supposed to know G/BF was setting her son’s voicemail when I thought Buddy over on ”All Over the Map“ got Farrah Fawcett’s cancer wrong!?? (He didn’t, btw.) And anyway, if I heard someone yelling “RECTAL CANCER!” on voicemail, I would it hilarious. I may be the only one, but I’m Ok with that.
So it goes without saying that life is a shit-ton better when I’m not dying of some flesh-eating virus’ cousin or whatever. The Cat & Co. visit over Memorial Day was a great time—spent a lot of time in the city learning ... stuff, like at the Field Museum, for instance: We were walking through the Animals of Africa and Antarctica and whatever when we came upon a walrus skeleton. I don’t know if y’all have ever SEEN a walrus skeleton, but as I was looking at it I notice there’s a rather large bone situated between its legs, and not like a tail. I pondered this for a moment before I whispered to Cat “Cat, are you seeing what I’m seeing here?” to which she was all, “Yeeeeeah, I see it.” So we pondered it a bit longer before sharing our findings with Mr. Rags (her ex-husband with whom she’s reconciled, huzzah!) out of earshot of T-man, who’s at that age where anything scat-related is the greatest thing ever. Well, later at dinner (and I gotta interject here for a moment that for those of you who love Emilio’s Tapas: It was good, but I still think Arco is way better. Too bad it was CLOSED the Sunday we were there for whatever reason, forcing us to almost have to eat at a REALLY expensive little Japanese joint that looked good based on the recommendation of the two gay gentlemen we interrupted at dinner and California Rolls she and I scarfed down to use the bathroom), Cat whipped out the old Crackberry to look up whether walruses have ... bones in their bones. Sure enough, ALL animals have weiner bones except for, like, four of them, of which man is included. So as Cat’s sharing this information, T looks at us and said, “I know what you guys are talking about,” and we were all “No, you don’t,” when he looks at Cat and points at his unit. I of course started cracking up while Mr. Rags had to explain that we don’t point at that in public. Anyway, Mr. Rags isn’t convinced that Cat and I actually left the museum to go shoe shopping while he and T went to see the museum’s Pirate thingy; he thinks we just stood there marveling at the walrus bone.
[Fun fact: Did you know walrus bones can get up to at least 4 feet long and that one time, one that size went up for auction with a starting price of $16K? Tons of people bidded on the thing because it’s an oddity and why wouldn’t you want a walrus weiner bone in your collection? True story.]
There are other stories to tell from that weekend—like the yentas sitting behind us at the Cubs game and another scatological exchange with the BoyofWad, but I think my favorite parts had to do with T and me; it got to the point where all we had to do was look at each other, and we’d just start laughing for no reason, thereby proving once again that I’m nothing if not 12. That’s one groovy little kid, though.
Now, things have taken a somewhat contemplative turn up in these here parts—a turn that has me itching for trouble. And it IS a full moon this weekend ...
No need to get all excited about me posting twice in one week; I’m continuing a break I’m taking from the mass resort cleaning to which I’ve subjected myself for Cat & co.’s arrival tomorrow. Anyway, she and I were yapping, and she asked me if I’d read an article she sent about Post-Traumatic EMBITTERMENT Disorder, where a traumatizing event such as a death, break-up, divorce, job loss etc. causes someone to get so stuck on their bitterness and revenge that they become depressed and develop an inflated sense of entitlement, among other symptoms. You know, because that’s what kids who get everything handed to them on a platter need: a special diagnosis of their very own to hide behind.
I keed, I keed ... sort of.
I mean, Ok, I get that revenge is a common reaction to sudden, devastating loss; I can think of few times in my life when I haven’t wanted to unleash some diabolical plan on someone who’s hurt me, or at least wished they’d end up dead in a ditch through no fault of mine. And I have no doubt that these feelings are the root cause when someone goes apeshit and murders their family or picks off people at an amusement park because she or he got hired for the chorus instead of Daffy Duck or whatever. But I don’t know about a separate diagnosis altogether, because it seems to me that a lot of this can be placed under PTSD as a subset. What do I know, though? Thoughts?
[UPDATE 5/26: Check it out, yo! I beat the Jezzes to the punch: Lookit]
Here’s another thing I hate about being a grown-up: Coming home from G/BF’s Monday night, my throat was bothering me again, so much so that I couldn’t move my tongue without wincing, right? I get home and head to the linen/medicine cabinet for some Tylenol only to discover my Tylenol had an expiration of 02/06, and I thought to myself, “Wait, it really couldn’t have been THREE FREAKIN’ YEARS** since I’ve bought Tylenol, and am I going to die if I take it? And when did I have to start paying attention to OTC med expiration dates, anyway? If I barely pay attention to the expiration of milk—when I even have it in the house—how can I be expected to pay attention to something with a longer date? Deh.” I ended up taking a shot of lemon juice and throwing back some ibuprofen, of which I’m (pretty) sure was bought more recently than ‘06 because it all but quelled the tongue/gland pain and didn’t kill me. I do have strep, though, so you know, that might.
Two words for this past weekend:
Freek’s a local jazz quartet whose rhythm section is comprised of 2/3 of The Unit, and they played their first gig in awhile Saturday night. Yeah, I keep pimping out the guys as if I’m getting rich off doing it, and some of y’all are probably, “Jesus, whatever already” (I’ll tell you what’s “Jesus, whatever already”: The hillbillies at the end of the block who were neither drinking responsibly nor, more important, QUIETLY this morning at 2 a.m. This isn’t open acreage, you Cheech-sounding motherfucker, so how about taking the hootenannies inside!?), but ... unreal, people. Outside of a brief flirtation with Scofield when I dated the One-Eyed Wonder in high school, I know nothing about jazz other than it’s like a song that starts out as the skeleton, and it’s up to the musicians to weave the organs and muscles and skin and nerves and stuff around it, and it doesn’t always come out the same way twice. It was good, then, that I had no real musical reference on which to get stuck, because then I would’ve totally missed the sheer joy and artistry emanating from every pore as they played. The drummer, for example (yeah yeah yeah, it’s always the drummer, I know): I’ve seen him play just about every weekend since the end of January-start of February, and he’s always really good—hardly breaks a sweat, looks like he can do it in his sleep and probably does. Watching him play what he loves Saturday, though? “Visceral” comes close to describing it in that it felt as if someone just set him loose, and yet there was such control in everything he did. Just gorgeous to behold.
But here’s where the high drops kinda: As I was heading down 12 (which is one of my favorite drives in the whole world, but oddly just the heading-back part, not going toward) and flipping through the iPod looking for an even remotely challenging drumline, there wasn’t a one, and it reinforced the notion that playing in NWI really is a suckfest. Not that the guys don’t love playing, because they do, and they’re grateful to be as popular as they are. But like Cheeks and I were talking about earlier that evening, there’s a million other things they COULD play that would make THEM happy but would confound or completely turn off their audience, so what do you do? Still, just hearing how elementary the drum parts were in my playlist compared with what I now know he’s capable of was almost heartbreaking.
[*BFE = Brooklyn Funk Essentials]
[**See, I KNEW I’d bought Tylenol recently, because there’s a whole new bottle of it that I completely overlooked the other night. But I got good drugs now, so it doesn’t matter.]
Things that have struck me dumb since, oh, let’s say Saturday:
-- On tonight’s second Intervention episode, the dude took to drinking foamy hand sanitizer when he couldn’t get out of the hospital quick enough to hit the fifth of vodka he had stashed at home.
-- The customer at the restaurant who, when he discovered his order was wrong, said—and I quote—“If I wanted to be treated this bad, I’d have stayed in Afghanistan.” Seriously? You’re really going to equate not getting your burritos grande to getting shot at in the desert? That’s a tad dramatic, n’est-ce pas!??
-- Then pal and co-waitress Double D (as in “Designated Driver,” you pervs) told the douchebag that her brother’s been in the Middle East twice already, yet she still doesn’t get why we’re there. I mean, I love that she said it, but during work where other customers might hear probably isn’t the best time or place.
-- In the first episode of Intervention—and this is one I’ve seen before, so how I missed this, I’ve no clue—the love-interest enabler chick basically just told the world the drunk with whom she’s in love either can’t get or keep it up. Wow. Hope he didn’t see THAT when he got out of rehab.
-- On our way home from the boys Sunday morning, G/BF tells me her latest nightmare (who we now refer to as “Dumbass No. 3,” or DA3 for short) told her if he moves back up here, he would STAY WITH ME so she could feel safe in knowing what he’s doing. O RLY!?? Because I would WANT his dumbass germs contaminating the resort.
-- The blatant homoeroticism of the latest Quizno’s ads: “Put it in me.”
-- Cheeks wearing a blowup doll with an arm-sized appendage on his head. (Ok, that didn’t strike me dumb, but it needed to be mentioned. We have the pictures to prove it.)
Despite all the toy play, I didn’t enjoy the weekend—still felt rotten and had family nonsense, after which I should’ve just taken my ass home instead of forcing myself to be social, because that rarely works and then I end up all fired up about stuff that’s, like, whoa, what the hell are you talking about. But tomorrow, I have a Cubs game with my old boss, so a slight change of scenery should do me good, and she and I always have a good time. Actually, it’s going to be an expensive month: Cubs tomorrow, RCPM Friday, another Cubs game over Memorial Day and possibly Great America at the end of the month to see my niece in her dance recital. Maybe I should start enterprising stories more.
I just retrieved the following off my voicemail from a certain 8 year-old ginger:
If y’all haven’t read Cat Rags’ post on this very subject, do. That kid KILLS me, and he and I are going to be living it up in a couple weeks, when Cat makes her triumphant return to the north for a bit of mayhem.
So anyone hear Miss anti-gay marriage California’s defense for the cheesecake pics of her that’ve been leaked? She’s saying they were released to ruin her reputation and poke fun of her values ... (sigh). I mean, her idiot comments on gay marriage aside, I watch enough E! Channel to know that pageant contestants? Not supposed to pose for pictures without their clothes on, and I don’t think that’s changed from the ‘80s and Vanessa Williams, so if she knew she was going to hop on the pageant circuit, why would she allow the photos to be taken in the first place? I don’t know, I guess I’m just annoyed by the hubris of her trying to turn it into a religious persecution argument when hey! shouldn’t have been posing in your panties in the first place, dumbass!
Similar but not congruent, G/BF ... not so much into boyshorts, she informed me apropos of nothing the other day when we were on our way to Localpalooza II. Apparently, there are creepage issues that *I* don’t experience. And now I’m sure you feel better for knowing that.
I think my rock n’ roll lifestyle has caught up to me again, because my sleep’s all screwed up and I woke up with my throat on fire and bloody mucous, making me completely miserable and reclusive on such a gorgeous day. (And before anyone says anything about my hypochondria, whatever this is is NOT H1N1. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. I’m serious! I ain’t all freaked out about no stinkin’ swine flu. Now, sinus cancer? That might’ve been googled. Go big or go home with your pretend illnesses, I always say.) This is going to be one of them nonstop weekends, too, including a family Communion thingy that got thrust upon me this morning by Mother for Saturday, so whatever this is better get gone quickly.
Info meme #1
Typelogic says I'm an INFP.
Check my weekly astrological groove here.
Give it to me, baby.
Pssst ... My birthday's Feb. 3, and I want this, and this, and this ...
The Make-Believe Oral Cancer Foundation (M-BOCF) is now accepting donations on my behalf. Won't you please help those of us who jump to hideous conclusions regarding our oral health and help me get a root canal or two!??:
Wanna make a bunch of money doing what you're doing right now?
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Broad said: Like I said, my feelings are complicated on the matter, so ... I’m interested, however, in Her Highness’ thoughts on… ...[go].
Caterina said: ARGH!!! Not to deny you your goddess-given right of reflections and wishing what might-have-beens, but this guy was straight up… ...[go].
Wholovesya? said: By the by, guess who was most nasty about the charitable giving? The frigging church. My church and my mom’s… ...[go].
Wholovesya? said: By the by, I’m not the only one I know. I have friends who work at soup kitchens because they’re… ...[go].
Wholovesya? said: As you know, I was a voyeur to the beginning of this, and I was loving your comment! I have… ...[go].
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This explains that large bit of type at the top.
Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.
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