Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The one quote that is keeping me going right now:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. - Rocky

I'm just trying to get back up I guess.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lullabies and Bloodshot Eyes

Don walks into China P, heads over towards me. I'm so drunk I can't see straight.

I look at him through bloodshot eyes, try to focus for a second. I already gave up trying to go outside for a cigarette because I know that if I get off the barstool I will fall over, and then get thrown out. I clench my jaw, as I've been doing all day to keep myself from losing it.

"I'm in a bad way."

"You here alone?"


"How long?"

"Since 8:30."

"Christ, you been sittin here for two hours alone?"

"Well, there's those guys," I say, pointing to the two drunks that are always here. "We been watchin MASH. Alan Alda's my fuckin hero."

He's ignoring me. "Where'd Kathy go?"

"Don't know."

Don just nodded, took a seat, and ordered a drink. He knows that it's a woman that is killing me, and he also knows when it's time to circle the wagons; that if he doesn't help me I very well may not make it through the night. We talked about high school memories, as we always do when something horrific happens in either of our lives. We've both done this before, and he has pulled me out of the gutter and off of the side of the road more times than I can count.

I don't remember anything else.

He gives me a ride home at some point, and I try to drink a beer in my living room but pass out and knock it over. The next day my mother will talk to me about how I'm self-destructing, and how I need to fight this darkness in me. I will nod in agreement, and do a terrible job masking the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing.

Tonight when I take a piss, I watch the blood trail around bowl, rolling over itself like a cloud pouring through the water.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Rage rage against the dying of the light...

Life used to throw knuckleballs at me when I wasn't paying attention, and most times I would swing wildly and miss because...well, that's what I do. I've never been good at this game called Life, and I fuck or have fucked up many things in my time, and for the most part it's been because of a combination of an overactive mind and a whole lot of booze.

This time, instead of a knuckleball that I simply missed, I got a high fastball that's hit me in the temple and knocked me clean out of the game. It's not something that I'm going to go into here, but it seems that I've lost yet another who I would call a best friend, and it fuckin hurts.

And so.... I will hold it in, drink a lot, and then explode at the most inopportune time causing probably a great deal more pain to the parties involved than the initial actions. Cause that's what I do. If you don't like it, then fuck off, cause that's the only way I know how to deal with things anymore.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I found this on a lifting website I'm on. American capitalism can just be downright fuckin evil.

I work out on a pretty shitty piece of equipment (bench, dumbbells, and barbell) in my garage at home. My wife suggested that we join this gym that's new in town and asked that I "check it out". I'm speaking about Planet Fitness.

So I go to their website. First, they have a policy that is totally descriminatory against weightlifters. Period. You grunt, you are out. No deadlifts allowed. You will be banned. Dumbbells are limited to 80lbs. Seriously!? I was shocked. This supposed to be a gym, right?! RIGHT?! Then....I found THIS gem on the "About Us pages:

Fun Facts!
We give away 35000 free t-shirts every month!

Have you seen PF's famous candy jars filled with purple and traditional Tootsie Rolls?? We go through over 750,000 each month!

On Pizza Nights (the first Monday of every month) we go through 3000 pizzas. That's 24000 slices per year!

The second Tuesday of every month we serve up free bagels to our club members! Come on by and get your own! Only at PF! More like Planet Fatass....

You might never see so much of a disparity between places of business than in the gym industry. I'm a guy that has only worked out at two places: my basement, and in school gyms of some sort, be it high school or college. Both of these places are not for pussies. My basement has only a bench, a whole lot of weight, a jump rope, and a piece of metal tied to the cieling for pullups. There is nothing more that I need there. The school gyms I have lifted at are the kind that many football players and other athletes trained at, so the incline benches were always used, guys actually did squats once in a while, and the biggest guy in the gym was always in the corner doing snatches and clean and jerks. There was a fair share of runty frat boys doing curls in the squat rack, but it wasn't that bad.

Maybe I've been spoiled, because when I read the above, I was shocked. How do you have a gym where you can't grunt? I've been around guys that howled like banshees on their last set of Hammer tricep extensions, so I understand keeping it in line, but grunting? No deadlifts? Like, ever? So for my legs, I have to do one legged, one arm overhead squats on your swiss balls with those little pink dumbbells? I know, I know, it "hits the core hard".... I hope the next person that says that to me has a very large oak tree fall on them.

The dumbells only go to 80? I'm not a strong guy, but this is nearly the only reason I may join a gym in the near future: things like my DB bench are going past the point where I can use 65's in my basement, so if I want to use lower reps, I need the 80's. And that's me...I can't imagine the guys who are actually strong. I'd burn the building down.

So basically, this place doesn't want you lifting heavy, doesn't want you being loud, and doesn't want you to do the lifts that benefit you the most.... but goddamn, they got jars of candy everywhere! And they give away pizza. Loads of it. And bagels. If you fat fucks don't want to work out, or it gets a little to tough for you, there's always pizza night!

This is the gym industry, and I know that. They want a thousand people to sign up, knowing that five hundred will never show up at all, three hundred will go for two weeks and then quit, and one hundred will come but barely break a sweat, and the gym will stay nice and clean and their machines will last for twenty years. Of course, it's the less than one hundred like me that will go in there and bang shit around and nearly give ourselves aneurysms going for one rep maxes on squats or make ourselves puke from doing too many dips at the end of our workouts that they seriously don't want even applying to their beloved gym. Or they hope we apply, but then our car blows up so we can never make it, or our job transfers us to Seattle and we forget to cancel the membership (in which case we'd commit suicide, because that's what people in Seattle do, and then the gym could continue charging our credit card for long after we're dead.)

Dissapointing to say the least. It makes me want to go in there and miss a jerk on purpose because I'm grunting, flinging the Olympic bar right into the squat rack (killing the guy who's curling there), making chalk fly everywhere (because I hid it in my ass to get it into the place), puking on the floor (because it was my last set), fall into the dumbell rack (that only goes up to fifty pounds), and cleaning myself up in the bathroom all the while being a gentlemen while there (which means pissing on the toilet paper holder).


Friday, January 26, 2007

I saw a clip of the last out of the 2004 World Series on someone's Myspace page caught me off guard.

And yes, I still tear up when I hear the announcer say, "The Boston Red Sox are World Champions."

I know, I'm a pussy. Fuck you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On Writing

In my boredom at work today, I picked up Chuck Klosterman's book, Killing Yourself to Live. It's a decent book, although he is about as whiny as you'd expect a rock critic to be...he's kind of like Dave Eggers if he was a fifteen year old in a freshman seminar on creative writing.

There was a section in the book that struck me as, "Worth the Read", though. On pages 117 through 121, he is having an imaginary conversation with the four women he's been in love with during his life, and they're all in a car. Most of the time they're bitching at him for the way he deals with women, how insecure he is, and other assorted things...but one thing stood out to me. At one point, one of them says to him that it's hard for her not to feel like a character where he inserts different women and he is still the star. Eggers mentioned something similar to this in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, about someone getting angry at him for treating them like a character and trying to make them fill a spot in his life.

As a writer, you get caught in the strangest situation possibly in all of humanity. And I don't really mean a blogger, because most folks who have these things can't write worth a shit anyway, and either way it's hard to fuck a story about your kid puking on the carpet and how cute it was. No, I mean serious writers, people who write because they can't sleep if they don't and have metaphors and images exploding around their heads all the time like helium balloons held over a candle... those people.

Why, you ask? Well, for the same reason that Klosterman and Eggers say: everyone becomes a character. Writing this blog started out as a way for me to put together essays about humanity, politics, or other things I thought inspired. What it has turned into over the last few months is a chronicle of my life, which has become more intense than I thought it would (for the two or three of you that I don't know that read this fucking thing, I'm even leaving out huge chunks of my life that I can't exactly talk about at the present time.) Everyone I know has become a character for this endeavor, which may never go anywhere past a couple of computer screens in faraway states. However, if it does, or if I used this as a basis for something else, then things explode.

Everything that I remember happening has two or three different versions depending on who was there and how drunk I was. Someone recently told me that it seemed like I lived in a cartoon or a movie, because "shit like this doesn't happen to normal people."

I guess it is a little ridiculous, and more than a little cliched. A father figure dying at a young age, the resulting pyshological tailspin that resulted from it, the best friend dying just as I was coming out of the ten year semi-depression, the breakup with the long-term girlfriend, the fights, the arrests, the strippers, the whores, the drunken rage and anger and hatred and fear. A girl who I can't stand told me the other day, "You know, you're good when you're drinking for the first two hours. I mean, you're funny and everything, and it's fine. And then you get pissy, and then by the end of the night you're very... depressed." It is kind of like a movie in a way, a fucked up movie that I don't know the ending of. It is self perpetuating, I guess- I'm fucked up because of the things that have happened in the past, and I do fucked up things because of them that only end up fucking me up more. Even Ryer's (ex)girlfriend told me that I have to start letting go. Letting go of what? Of him? Memories are memories, they ain't going anywhere. Letting go of the anger? Well, that's not just Ryer, although he has played a big part in it- it's watching your family members die, watching their caskets get lowered, and then watching the repercussions of this, which, in my family, means more self-destructiveness then you could imagine, with painkillers and drinking and cocaine and addiction. Let go? How? It's still going on... like Faulkner said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Everyone is the star of their own life, we all know that. Most people don't write volumes about it though, volumes that could potentially harm the very friends that they're writing about, the girls that they love, or the people they work with. The pen is not only stronger than the sword, it's more painful to deal with because flesh wounds heal, but like Chaucer, I am laying everyone out naked for eternity (or at least until some hacker comes around and fucks my page up.) It's a strange kind of power to have.

Honestly, I am surprised that people like Egger or Klosterman are willing to lay all this out when they themselves are so young. I used to think that people wrote memoirs late in life because until then, they didn't have enough to talk about to fill a book... Now, I think it's because they know most of the people they're writing about are dead, and they won't have to deal with the repercussions.

I saw a question on a dumb Myspace survey that asked, "Are you more in the past, the future, or the present?" The most common answer among the Myspace crowd is, "pREseNt!! LOLZZZ", but then they're fucking retards so I'm not surprised (and if you're one of the broads that writes like that, can you please post a shirtless pic so your page is worth looking at?)

For me, it's undoutedly the past. I'm too busy thinking about what's happened before to worry about what's happening now, and I'm so fearful of the future that I can't even comprehend the fact that I may be alive next week and yet my life will be different. All I can write about is the past, and what I write may make people feel like I'm using them for my own purposes.

Furthermore, where is the line drawn between writing and character? I create a character here on this page even though I don't mean to, and everything I write here is the honest truth (aside from the couple short stories that I wrote a couple months ago). Yet, there are things that I leave out, things I stress more, lines that I change around, incidents that I blend together simply because my memory sucks to begin with and I drink a lot on top of that. There are things in here that I couldn't say in real life, and there are things I say in real life that I would never put in writing no matter how big the contract. It's like being scizophrenic in a way, and trying to figure out where I stop and my writing begins. Sometimes they blend together, and sometimes they are completely seperate...

It's funny because Klosterman says at one point, "Artists who believe they have any control over the interpretation of their work are completely fooling themselves."

No shit.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Big C

We're sitting around watching the Bears murder the Saints (fuck!) and drinking beer from a two week old keg of Bud Light. One of my buddies busted the TV in the basement, so now we're crowded into two bedrooms watching the Saints shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers.

"So Big C went fucking crazy," Frank says.

A lot of us had heard about this, but not from Frank. Big C was his college roomate until he got thrown out a couple years in. He's a huge guy with blonde hair that was known for being as wild as Frank, but with a darker side that involved massed amounts of cocaine, acid, and other fun drugs made only for killing people. In the last couple months, Big C had moved in with Frank, and had been trying to get a job and straighten himself up after a massive coke binge that landed him in the hospital in a coma.

"I brought him over by my house for the holidays, and he was acting really strange. Then we came over here for the housewarming party, and he was so fuckin out of it that we thought he was fucking with us. I mean, I told him, "You gotta go on the deck to smoke, you can't smoke in here." So he sees everyone getting up and going outside and all that when they want a butt, and what's he do? He lights a fucking cigarette right in the kitchen. I said, "What the fuck are you doing? I told you ten times you gotta smoke outside!" He just looked at me and was like, "Ahhh, sorry bro, sorry."

"There was other times when me and Scottie (his roomate) would wake up, and Big C would just be standing over us, watching us while we slept. Again, I'd yell, "What the fuck are you doing?" And he'd just say, "I don't know man....where the fuck am I?" He would lose all conception of where he was. We'd come home some days, and he'd be cleaning everything obsessively, lining shit up all over the place...I mean, I came home, and I saw his shoes lined up next to each other, perfectly square with the laces tucked in them and all, right in the middle of my desk. He wouldn't remember putting them there."

"Later on, he got into lighting candles and shit, like, all over the damn house. Then, of course, he'd forget that he lit them, so they'd just be burning all over the place and he wouldn't be paying any attention. Last week he was wandering around Paterson, and that's when the cops picked him up. They threw him in the psyche ward, and he was trying to pound the fuckin door down to get out. Then they gave him sedatives, and he figured out that he could just sign himself out. So he leaves there, then calls me up from some random phone number...turns out he was talking to some black guy on the street and asked to borrow his phone so he could get me to come pick him up. All I heard him saying was, "Man, you gotta come pick me up. I'm at some barber shop, and everyone is different colors here."

Now, because he's so fucked up, he sees random colors all over the place, but that's probably not what these Dominicans at this barber shop thought he was talking about. That is, to say the least, potentially dangerous.

"So I go to pick him up, and he's on the corner in a button down shirt and it's like ten degrees outside....and all he kept saying was how bad that psyche ward was, and how he didn't want to go back there. He told me that they're all crazy in there."

So where is Big C now? In a mental institution trying to rip the door off, screaming about how he wants to see Frank and Scottie and that they'll take care of him. He may have permanent brain damage, and he might never be like how I remember him from a year ago. What caused it? Bad ecstasy and loads of yak.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I am recovering from Friday better than I thought. I very nearly stayed sober last night because I had felt like such shit all day, but a couple beers led to to twelve and...ah, it was Saturday night. So I don't really care.

In my quest for some kind of peace of mind, I've been lifting like a horse and doing well- finally made a 120 lb. overhead press. Not much for most, I know, but very good for me. Right now I'm using the One Lift a Day written by Dan John, for those of you into lifting. Fuckin murderous, but it works. Gettin there...slowly but surely.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Ten hour drinking benders on the anniversary of your best friend's death are not good for the soul.

Friday, January 19, 2007

My Heartbreaking Wreck

On this day two years ago, she called me and was hysterical, a beautiful girl of 18 who was named after mountains and had already seen too much shit in her life.

"Someone just told me that Ryer died. Is that true?"

I was in the wharehouse, standing by a coffin elevator. "I don't know." My stomach was filled with rocks. "Let me call some people, and I'll call you back."

He had collapsed that morning, and I had been told that his heart had stopped, but he was in the hospital and it looked like he would pull through. I had a terrible feeling all day, but still this call shocked me. "Lightning Crashes" was playing on the radio, and I knew things were going badly, and the rocks were being juggled. I called Ryer's girlfriend. It rang a few times and went to voicemail. I was panicking. I called again, and after three rings an unknown voice picked up.

"Who the fuck is this? Where's Ariana?"

"I'm a friend of Ryer's mother."

"Someone just told me he died, what the fuck happened?"

She choked up and I died inside. She didn't need to say it, but she did anyway. "He passed away. I'm so sorr-"

The phone fell from my fingers and a cinder block fell from the sky and hit me in the back of the neck and I collapsed onto the elevator, my head in my hands.

That night, I drank more than I thought was possible, and I watched as the crying train of people filed in and out of the house where we, his friends that were closer to him than his own family, had our own wake and our own funeral for this friend we loved so dear. It was not two months after we celebrated his 22nd birthday that we would weep in sorrow, knowing that in three days he would be in the ground until whatever end this Earth comes to.


I'd known him since high school; we traveled amongst the same circles of drunks and delinquents. He was one of the only football players who was in our group, most of us being more of the rebellious type (and sorely lacking in the athletic department). He was a big motherfucker, sitting at 210 solid pounds at 5'10, and he would have been a great player if he wasn't, as a friend of mine said, "Made of shit and twigs." He had more oddball injuries than anyone I'd ever met before (or since), including the proclivity of his once-dislocated shoulder to just slip out at the most inoppurtune times. He broke every bone that was possible, and was always in some kind of cast or brace; he once got so sick of being in a body cast that he took a hacksaw to it, which stunned his doctors and infuriated his mother.

He went by many names amongst us, some because of his size, others because of his personality- things like, "Steroids", "Jocko", "Ry-Air", and, my favorite, "Cryer" (called this because of how often he was whining about something). We liked to break his balls, being as his demeanor just lent itself to good natured teasing, and we knew he could handle it.

All these jokes would fade, however, when we'd workout at the school gym. There was an old leg sled that had a thousand pounds and Ryer's name on it, and he would live on that thing, slamming the weights and breaking red paint off the sides while the metal wailed. I never told him, but I was impressed by the shear strength that guy had, watching the metal plates race up and down. He was a guy that you wanted on your side in a fight...or if you needed to pull an airplane out of a ditch.

When he was a freshman in college, he was looking for part time work. He wanted something blue collar where he could be outside, and being as I worked a local garden center at the time, I got him in there. Two weeks later, he was on the job. It fit him well to be working there, being as he liked moving heavy stuff but was so often injured that construction would have killed him.

These were good years. I learned that working with a guy that you're buddies with can make a shit job seem... well, less shitty. While moving rocks or shoveling shit into the dumpsters on raggedly cold afternoons, we would rage over politics, at which point the argument would always end with me calling him a "neo-fascist ignorant asshole" and him calling me a, "commi pinko pussy motherfucker." He would wear his black "Welcome to America, Now Speak English" shirt with pride, going well with a crappy trucker hat that had an American flag on and looked cheap even though it cost him $25.

There were alot of similarities between us. Neither of us were fond of people, and both of us liked weightlifting, drinking, and women (exactly in that order). We both hated prim metrosexuals, greasy guidos, and any man that wore capris during the swampy Jersey summers ("If there ain't no flood, don't fucking wear those things.") Neither of us did drugs, nor were we for doing drugs; any younger kid that started working there that had a coke or heroin problem would be subject to a constat beration of jokes and insults from us. We were harder on the ones we liked; we wanted them to see us and realize that the shit isn't cool, and the older guys that they were trying to impress thought lowly of it. I know of at least two cases in which we were successful, to the point where the guys said that we were like older brothers to them.

You talk about alot when you were work with someone for nine hours a day. Eventually everything comes up; drinking stories, religious beliefs, your girlfriend's favorite sexual habits, how many times you got caught by the cops while she was in her favorite sex position, etc. On Christmas Eve's and Fourth of July's when you're working, you need to come up with shit to entertain you, just like on the New Year's Eve's and the Easter's. Eventually, you end up seeing each other more than your own families, and it takes on a dynamic similar to cops who are partners.

He became the older brother that I never had. He was trustworthy and blunt, and if you wanted the absolute truth on something, he would give it to you without thinking twice. If you got pissed at his answer, he would give a sarcastic, "Sorry", immediately followed by, "Don't fuckin ask if you don't want to know."

He scared people because of his size and demeanor, the red goatee on his chin making him look meaner than he actually was, and I knew that he had my back in any scrap we got into. There was a time when he literally threw people off of me, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and dragged me from a fight, all the while I was spitting and cursing at him to let me get back in. Through a drunken haze, I remember him saying as he slammed me against the wall- "Good fight. Now fucking stay here and don't move." He grinned, and I knew that he was proud of me, the undersized kid who fought like a fury that night. Later on, he would tell people that he was impressed with how I did that night- it was the biggest compliment that he'd never give me. He knew me too well, knew that my ego would explode after hearing something like that, and so he kept it from me.

It might sound like I'm idealizing this guy- I'm not. He was what he was: a big man unafraid of anyone put in front of him, and even though he was an asshole to everyone he didn't know, he would have laid is life down in seconds for his friends, family, and country. He made many men back down in front of him, but still cared deeply for those around him. This, to me, made Ryer a better man than I.

This is where you might expect the happy ending, the moral of the story that makes all the tribulation of his death worth it. Well, this is real life, and that shit just doesn't always work out. He died of a ruptured spleen. No one dies of a fucking ruptured spleen. When they opened him up, he was as healthy as any 22 year old guy should be...with the exception of the time bomb that took his life without warning, without reason, and without care.

When I said before that my group of compatriots is like a family, I wasn't kidding. We all come from roughed up houses, sad pasts, and have seen tough times even though we're all under 25. Nothing, however, struck any of us harder than his death. We were the tough guys, the ones tempted fate constantly and always made it out- now, one of our best and brightest was dead. He took care of himself far better than any of us, and he was dead. He was 22, a guy, and invincible... and he was dead. The drinking has not really stopped. Some of us haven't recovered, and may never. I have not. I might never.

I'm paranoid when people call me late at night, or more than once, for fear that the news is terrible. I have cursed off God on bad nights, drunk on whiskey and anger, and have told Jesus that I'd kill him if he was here. I think of the empty chair in Ryer's house on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I punch walls. There is a section of the building at work where we were fixing rotting sheetrock during his final week, and I was painting it over the day he died; I can't go near it. I didn't sleep for months at a time, and for most of the following year I was going off of three hours of broken sleep each night; the only times I could get more were when I was I drank. I get panic attacks in old diners that smell like cigarettes, but you'll never know it- it's a feeling that rumbles inside me and I do my best to contain it, and the only thing that you'll see is my leg shaking. It's worse than that.

I get the feeling every day that somehow this will be my last day alive, and something will blow inside me and I will collapse and see the last lights of a beautiful life, and then die, as he did. I fear something happening to the woman in my life, one of the few who I have let get truly close to me- I have it too good, and it will somehow be stripped from me. I don't want kids, because those kids will die and I'll have to bury them, and watch more gray caskets get soaked into the Earth while sad songs like "Fields of Athenry" play on ancient bagpipes over the straight, silent rows of marble. I avoid the obituaries in the papers because my head spins when I read them.

While I weightlift during the day, eat as many calories as I know I need, and do sets of pushups that burn my heart out on my off days, during the nights I lead a slow suicidal push that grows as the moon does in the sky. I spend nights in alcohol induced slumbers, wondering when the fates will cut my string, and how many crying people will be at my funeral when God finally comes to judge me. I wonder if I died in a car wreck tonight, if I would go straight to hell, or if there is something after it that I never could foreseen. Or, worse yet, there is nothing but a cold darkness where time is dead and the world is gone. I wonder what, if anything, matters in this world, and whether our memories will survive when the sun expands in four billion years and incinerates the Earth. I wonder if what I say here, now, matters at all. I wonder if Ryer made it to heaven. Sometimes, I've thought that if I went too, at least he'd have someone to drink with, wherever he is. Sometimes I think that it should have been me.

This is my heartbreaking wreck, my vicious life carved out for me by memories that run and flail like eight year olds playing youth football. I try to keep on, though, and I just put my head down and fuckin fight, because, in the end, that's all that men can do.

Everytime I hear this song, I think of him.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I am drinking right now because tomorrow is the worst day of the year, and I don't want to be sober anymore.

More on that later.

Just as a comes for us all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fuck Winter

If you've read anything by me previously, you know that I fucking despise winter with a passion that can't be equalled. It's not just the cold, or the's the whole thing about how every goddamn thing is dead, and places that were once vibrant and green and beautiful are now gray and dead.

Maybe it doesn't matter so much to regular folks who work inside, or who live in the cities and don't see too much of nature anyway. When you are outside for the better part of the day, every day, you notice this kind of shit, though. They're little things, like when I stack pallets and the wood is frigid. Sometimes I go to pull one off of the ground, and don't see the black ice under the third or fourth board, and nearly pull myself over when the thing doesn't go anywhere. When I take a cigarette break, there are no birds chirping, weaving their way through the faded willows that drape over the stone yard in something that looks like a million black raindrops falling sideways....

Yea, it's fuckin seasonal depression, and I know everyone gets it. But I fucking hate it, and with a passion. Being something of a man of the Earth, of a guy who likes the woods and nature and rivers and waterfalls, I feel like a part of me dies off every November when the winds grow cold and the clouds lie low.

Whether or not this part of me returns in the spring is something I'm unsure of.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Foggy Nights and Misty Eyes

My Army buddy from Georgia IM'd me on the computer tonight.

"You know Nellis Drive?"


"A plane crashed there like twenty minutes ago."

Without asking how he knew all this from an Army base in Georgia, I got my shit together and headed out to my truck; five minutes later I was in Harry's driveway, and we headed across town to where this thing went down. Of course, there were cops everywhere, and with the heavy fog that has cast a shroud across Northern New Jersey the last couple days, we couldn't see a damn thing. My morbid side was hoping at least to see some smoke rising, but no such luck.

With nothing more to do and all the roads blocked, we went to a diner. Harry starts telling me about his adventures in Florida, where he's been for the last week.

"We stopped at this place called the Highway Inn. It was like Great Notch, but a million times worse. There were some fuckin hardcore bikers there, and me and Chud were talking to a couple of them. They were saying shit about the drugs they run and all that...they were dangerous fuckin guys."

Harry knows as well as I do how bad those types are. You can offend them without even knowing it, as something that seems completely innocent or conversational to us may come off as insulting to them. If you insult these guys, the bikers from backwoods Florida, you end up dead in a ditch somewhere.

"The guy told me that he knew I was a good guy when I looked him in the eye and shook his hand. I was glad that he said that... you never know where you stand with them. Then they started chanting this racist shit, like stuff they rehearsed. It was strange."

The backwoods amaze me, and so do the people that live there. It might come off as shocking to some people that stuff like this still exists, or ever existed at all, but it's there.

"Chud said something about how it'd be cool to be fighting our way out the door. I told him that it would suck, and that we should stay inside the bar...they might not kill us in here. It's when they get you outside that they pull the guns out and shit."

Harry knows his stuff about bad guys, a hell of a lot more than Chud does. Chud is incredibly friendly, but friendly doesn't help you with those kind of guys. You need to watch your step and your mouth.

We leave the diner and head back. As we're driving, we see an ambulance behind us, undoutedly heading towards the major hospitals in the area, and I pull to the side to let them through. The lights are on in the back, and I see hanging tubes that you see in medical shows. There is a blond woman back there with a panicked look on her face, and the medics are working on whoever is back there.

"Think that's the pilot?", I say.

"Maybe. I don't know how he coulda made it."

I drop him off and head home. When I get home, my mother informs me of something that is so terrible that it rivals the best Greek tragedy you could think of- King Lear has nothing on this shit.

"There was this guy on the paramedics that got to the scene. It was his night off, but for some reason he came out anyway; something about having a bad feeling. As he was walking up, he heard the firefighters talking about the name of the pilot who died, engulfed in flames. The paramedic stopped, and asked the firefighters to repeat the name. They told him... and he reazlied that the dead pilot was his father. Isn't that terrible? "

Suddenly, I feel horrible about wanting to see any of the wreckage.

"Yea. Yea it is." I walk downstairs and get a beer.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I walked into China P. last night with one of my buddies, and as soon as we sat down I saw AARP guy sitting there with his busted up face and an ugly woman who was apparently his wife. Three seats away sat the guy who saved his ass, the younger guy's buddy.

AARP was again loud and obnoxious. Bill came over and said something in his language that sounded like, "You should have let that fight go longer."

When AARP went to have a cigarette, the buddy told us that he harassed the younger guy in the bathroom while he was taking a piss, and that's where the whole fight stemmed from. Someone else there mentioned that a couple months ago he slammed his wife into the wall, holding her by the throat and asking her, "Do you want to die tonight?". When AARP guy walked back in, he collected his shit and walked out without looking at any of us that witnessed his ass beating.

I should have let that fight go longer.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Montreal Part III

We drank here for a while because we thought it said, "Cock and Ball Pub." It was a cool place.

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Me and Harry are outside having a cigarette on Sunday, trying in vain to dodge the frigid Canadian wind.

"Hey, you know those guys we fought with?" he says.


"They were from fuckin Jersey. Chud knows a couple of them."

I'm incredulous. "Get the fuck out of here."


As a lesson to the rest of the country, if guys from New Jersey bear down on your humble city, just stay out of our way. Eventually we'll find other dipshits from Jersey to fight anyway.

He laughs a little, like he always does when he remembers something that he thinks is amusing.

"I was outside having a cigarette last night, and this bouncer was standing out there. I told him, 'You know, I don't respect Canadian authority.' He gave me this confused look and was like, 'What?'. I told him again. 'I don't respect you guys. You know. You. The cops. Your government. I don't care.' Then I put my cigarette and walked back inside. He didn't know what to say. I wanted to let'em know where they stand, you know?"

"I'm sure he was glad you told him."

"Fucking Canadians."

Montreal Part II

"Where the fuck were you for New Years?" I ask him.

"The same place you were, dickless."

He's talking about Thursday's, some bar in downtown Montreal that I thought sucked but other folks thought was decent. I think I thought it sucked because I was just so drunk, and I'm uncomfortable pretty much anywhere after twelve hourse of drinking.

"We got into a fight at that bar, that club thing we were at. This guy there called me the worst person ever."


"So I hit him."

He started a bar clearing brawl because someone called him the worst person ever?

"Frank, he didn't fucking say that. What kind of guy fucking says that?"

He smiles. "Nah, he never said that. I just felt like starting a fight. I'm just gonna tell people he mouthed off to me because I don't want to look like an asshole. Anyway, me and Bulletproof were back to back on New Year's Eve, throwing haymakers and swinging for the fences."

I'd be lying if I said that I really wouldn't have loved to be involved in this, being as it's been a year or so since I got into a good fight, and a couple since I really slugged a guy in anger.

"You should have called me," I say.

"Well it wasn't the first thing on my mind. I was kind of trying to keep myself alive. I kept finding the same fuckin kid and hitting him in the face...there'd be a bunch of people rolling around and wrestling, and then I'd just see this kid's head pop up again and BANG. Right in the mouth again. Eventually we made our way to Thursday's where you guys were."

I found out later on that we got into a fight at Thursday's also, but I was miraculously MIA at that point, and I have no idea where I was for that time. One of my buddies got hit with a beer bottle and his girlfriend went after the guy, at which point some cop gave her a fat lip and held her by the throat against the wall. Like a champion, this skinny blond girl was howling, "Fuck Canada" with whatever breath she had left.


When I was a little kid, I never thought I'd be what I am now: a tattooed drunk sitting outside in the rain thinking about a woman smoking a cigarette wondering where my life is going. I guess I never though too much about where my life was going, but I never thought I'd be so bitter. Maybe bitter is too strong a word, but that's the only one I can think of right now.

For a guy like me who hates changes so much, I sure do a lot to fuck myself up and get myself out of whatever routine I'm in. I go through periodic upheavels where I change everything in my life inside of a week, and then sit there for a year and wonder if it was all the right thing to do. I've read too much Dave Eggers, and I've got that bitchy self-analysis shit down to a science.

If you all ever wonder why I drink so much, it's because the only times I've truly been comfortable with anything in my life are when I'm around my buddies and drunk. Those are the times where I feel nothing can go wrong, and that we're all enjoying the moment as much as we can. We all have dark pasts and fucked up families, and so when I'm around them it's like I don't have to explain anything, they just know. I am lucky to have what I have.

At the same time, I have been a model of the self fulfilling prophecy. I wanted to be a drinking, smoking, tattooed tough guy who was as blue collar as they come- that's what I grew up around, really. I am that now. Makes me think I should stop thinking that God is coming to kill me, though, because that might be a self fullfilling prophecy too.

I've been told that I've got a "Jackson Pollack death wish." I don't really want to die, mind you. I love being alive, I love experiencing things, I love doing stuff. Sometimes I sit and think about the songs that will come out in 2084 that I might love, but I won't be around to hear because I'll be dead, and I think that sucks. There's a lot of good shit about being alive, being in the streets and smelling the smells and feeling everything that comes my way.

There's certain things in this life that are specific to our time and place- people in 2100 New York may never know how good the boiled hot dogs taste on a warm day when you're walking around the city too long and are starving your balls off, or how immediately when you smell chestnuts you think of NYC at night during Christmas. It's these little things, these awesome little idiosyncracies that life is full of, that make it all worth doing. It's smelling your girl's perfume on a day when it's too damn cold to think, and knowing why you love her, or feeling every bit of that cement on your calloused hands and having people ask you, "Why don't you wear gloves?".

Some things are eternal, I guess. There's not a man who's ever lived on this Earth who didn't want to just feel a good woman in his arms at night, or didn't want freedom, in the purest sense, to choose his own way in life and not be a slave to those richer or more powerful than he. There's the beautiful moments when a man's personal life intresects with the course of history, and centuries hang in the balance, destined to go one way or another depending on one mind's thought process.

Ahhh, but now I am waxing poetically. What am I but a drunk who puts holes in hotel room walls and wanders around wondering whether anything he does matters?

Sometimes, I wonder if that's why I fear death so much. I figure, when you die, you know all the answers- if there's a God, it's probably pretty fuckin obvious (if there isn't, then I'll never know.) This has been my great struggle with all of life- whether or not there's something worth living for, if there's something worth all this fucking terrible bullshit that living life entails. Why are there people like Shane McGowan, who can make works of heartbreaking beauty but has condemned himself to death early from booze? Why are there world changing people that, with a stroke of their hand, change the course of history, people like Lenin or Washington or Rousseau or Napoleon? It is ridiculous.

Sometimes I think that if I knew the answers to all these questions, I wouldn't want to be around, in either body or soul. It's this fight that keeps me going, and without it I'd be like Rocky in a wheelchair....what's the fuckin point of keeping on going?

These are all musing from another misguided drunk, of course. Take them as you will.

If this was all too much for you, then enjoy this fucking great version of "The Irish Rover."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

China P

"You wanna die tonight motherfucker?"

The younger guy has this old man by the throat against the wall, and the old fuck is still sitting on his barstool which is now on two legs, giving the young guy a decided advantage. This guy he's attacking looks like an AARP member, and I don't see what this guy is getting out of it. He's not that young, mind you- probably in his thirties...far too old to be going after retirees.

"You fuckin hear me? You wanna die?" AARP guy's face is starting to turn blue, and this is getting serious. I know that we have to step in, because Bill is far too little to take care of this and the place doesn't have bouncers. Half of me wants to let it keep going, though, because the older guy isn't even trying to fight back and that, to me, is the greatest of all sins.

The younger guy lets go of his throat because his buddy is pulling him off, but in a last ditch attempt to solidify is "jerkoff" status, grabs the old man by the hair and begins stop signing him right in the middle of the fucking place. For those of you who don't know what "stop signing" is, it's when you grab someone by the hair and knee them in the face- by the end of the bout, their face is as flat as a stop sign.

Now we step in, and a friend of mine is pulling the other guy off while I try to help this old fuck off the ground. Gray hair litters the carpet of the bar and blood is pouring from a gash in between his eyes.

Me and Parella are standing in the middle of these two, and the younger guy still wants to beat up on the AARP guy who is standing there dazed, calling over and over, "I want cops. I want cops." He says something about us being witnesses, and in my head I'm thinking, Sorry motherfucker, but I think I was sleeping. I don't get involved with cops.

The young guy's buddy gets him outside, but he's still howling about something. By now, I want to hit this cocksucker and I'm kind of hoping he takes a swing at one of us so I can whack him. He doesn't, though, and the bar is quiet again except for the old man saying over and over, "I don't know how that happened." I want to say, "Well asshole, you were drunk and loud in a public place. This is the shit that happens." He didn't deserve the beating he got, but when you're drunk you take that chance. I don't say anything.

I see the AARP guy starting to go outside to leave, and I follow him out under the guise of having a smoke. In reality, I know the other guy is so heated that he's probably waiting outside, and I don't want to see anyone get killed. I light my cigarette, start walking around the side of the bar, trailing the old guy. Sure enough, the younger guy is driving around the lot, and I see a car door open, followed by another one as his buddy gets out to try and stop him. I start to jog towards it, but his buddy has grabbed him and the old guy is running the fuck away right back to the bar saying, "He's gonna kill me." He dashes inside, and the young guy gets forced back into the car and they take off.

The older guy waits for ten minutes, still babbling with the, "I don't know how that happened" shit. Now I want to smack him too. When he's sure that the guys are gone, though, he gets up and walks out, off to wherever he came from.

There's a brown bag that was left at the end of the bar. Bill grabs it and walks over towards us.

"You want food? He left here."

"Sure thing."

He hands it over, and we start rifling through it. Teriyaki shrimp doused in garlic and white rice.

I look at my buddy.

"Isn't this kind of like blood money?"

"Fuck it," he says.

Who Knew

I was extremely drunk when the below was written. So drunk that I don't remember it.

Take it with a grain of salt.


redemption- I'm gonna die soon.

God will have his vengeance on me.

I don't care. he can blow me.

There's no more misery that one can be put through than this life.

I am a man at the end of his line, who is staring the oncoming train in the face but still grabbing his balls and saying, "fuck you, you won't get me."

Whether or not I get out of the way of the train is not important.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Montreal Part I

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The view from my buddy's hotel balcony. Ours faced a dumpster and another building. Bastards.

It is the morning of December 31, and I wake up on the bed that I don't remember getting into. Something is digging into my ribs, and I'm hungover and pissy. Sure enough, it's Chud's hand.


I get up and punch his forearm with as much force as I can muster, and it scares the living shit out of him.

"What the fuck?"

"You keep your fucking arm on your side of this fucking bed."

He passes back out instantaneously, and his hand flops back to where it was. I shake my head.

I light a cigarette, and walk into the living room of the hotel room we're staying at. It was supposed to be just a regular hotel room, but it was upgraded to a suite because my buddy not only booked it ten blocks from downtown, but also in the gay section. To be fair, the broad at the counter lied to him and said it was right near everything, but still...the fucking gay section? Either way, the lady felt bad putting us an arctic trek away from everything good in this city, so they put us in a nicer room.

Frank is awake, and he's got the phone book out and the phone glued to his ear. It's ten o'clock.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

"Calling whores."

It's New Year's Eve, and he's calling whores.

"I wanna lesbian show. You wanna get in?"

All I can think about is that these girls are going to be fucking hideous, being as it's a holiday and I'd imagine even whores get the day off and their backups probably suck.


"You sure?"

"Yup. I don't want fucking crabs from some French whore."

"They're Canadian."


Bulletproof turns his head towards me from the pillow. We call him Bulletproof because the last time he was in Canada, he told one of the bartenders that he got shot fifteen times and survived, and so the bartender wrote, "Bulletproof" on his tab and nailed it to the wall. I don't think he even had to pay. It also fits him in that he starts fights everywhere he goes and somehow comes out unscathed.

Bulletproof looks at me. "He's been doing this for an hour. He already called five different numbers."

From the other room, I hear Chud start yelling, "Chud likes boobies....Chud LIKES BOOBIES!" He picked up the other phone and has started yelling while Frank is trying to get his whores.


We are a mess.

Eventually, Chud is brought to full hungover conciousness. He walks out of the bedroom.

"I knocked out a homeless guy last night."

"Sure you did, Chud," I say. He lies. A lot. About everything.

"No, seriously," and he holds up his hand, which is twice the size of what it should be. For once, he's not bullshitting.

I can only start laughing.

"I fuckin fell on the ice last night leaving the strip club, and all these coins fell out of my pocket. This homeless guy ran over and started grabbing all my money and shit. I got fucking pissed."

Chud is the kind of guy that would likely have given this homeless guy all he had, just because he's that nice.

"Yea, so he starts grabbing all my money, so I got up and said, 'What the fuck? I fall, and you don't even help me up, you just start grabbing all my money?' Then he fucking pushed me. So I cracked him. He got fuckin airborn."

Chud has what we would call "retard strength", and he's a big guy anyway, being around 6'1 and in the neighborhood of 250. On the rare occasion that he gets pissed off, it's best to stay out of his way.

"So you knocked out a homeless guy."


I think about it for a second. "Well, he fucking deserved it. He'll think twice before robbing a drunk American."

"Damn right."

Happy New Year

I am drunk yet again.

There has been a series of events which have occured that have stolen my thunder as far as writing is concerned, and you will not likely hear about them because of their personal nature.

I do, of course, have about a thousand stories to tell from being in Montreal for New Years', and those are the ones that I will record in the following few days that I have off from work. They are what you might expect from me, tales about drinking and fighting and strippers and whores, all the good shit.

What I can say is that I was not where I wanted to be on New Year's, nor was I with who I wanted to be with. Life is difficult sometimes, and you just gotta put your fuckin head down and you fight and hope for the best.

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet
I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire went wild...