To the five or six motherfuckers that actually read this thing, I got a message for you. If you ever want to understand me, and I mean actually catch on to where my head is at, watch the show Rescue Me. Every single fucking thing that's gone through my head in the last five years is on that show. The only reason I watch that show is because it's the only goddamn thing on TV that has a brain in it, that takes on the ancient old questions that we all deal with. It ain't no fucking "American Idol".
If you don't watch it, and don't know what's going, the odds are is I'm too drunk right now to explain it all to you. The fact is, they're mostly Irish firefighters. They work in an environment dominated by guys, and they act accordingly. They've seen terrible things, and they are fucked up because of it. What they don't tell you is that it more or less emodies the cursed Irish way of thinking and the wars that each of us has with Catholicism.
It was evident in the last episode when Denis Leary's father, a WWII vet, sits in a bar after both he and his son have quit drinking, and says to Leary's character, "I know I'm never seeing your mother again. I know I'm never seeing Johnny or Connor or any of them ever again. You die, then you go in the ground, and your worm food. Makes me want to have a drink.." He's kidding, of course, and at 80 he actually wants to quit. (Good for him.)
That ain't word for word, but that's the gist. Johnny was his cop son who got shot to death, Connor was Leary's kid who got killed by a drunk driver. He isn't gonna see either of them ever again... and this revelation comes just as Leary's character has been sober for a year and started praying again.
If you're not Catholic, I guess there's no way to explain the complex. The nearest I can say, or explain it, is that when you're little, they tell you if you do A+B+C, you'll = happiness. They tell you this shit, they say it to you when you're little and ugly and your family is alive and happy and Christmas reminds you of getting presents and trying to wait for Santa. It reminds you of that big fucking tree that your grandparents used to get every year, the ten foot one that seemed like it touched the ceiling, with the tinsel glittering and dancing under the track lighting. It reminds you of the old man's cologne, and how he used to fall asleep in Church on Saturday night, and how his snoring would alert the Monsigner that he was giving a crappy speech ("sermon" always seemed to Protestant for me to use, forgive me).
"That's right you little children, you lambs of God, huddle around the alter by the pointsettas, and worship the one who gave you life, who saves you, who keeps this world running. We will read this ancient book and repeat after me, "Lord hear our prayer". The world will fall at your feet, the meek shall inherit the Earth, you will live long happy lives and sit at the right hand of the Father, for all eternity. Et Nomini patris, et file, et spirite sante".
Then you get a call.
Then your parents bring you to your Godfather's house, where the Packers and Bears play in their throwback uniforms in the driving rain in Green Bay. It was 11:28 when they woke you up.
Then they tell you the old man is dead. Then you stop believing.
Hey God, I was pretty good. I was little, you know? Not much time to sin. If I did, it was nothing serious, nothing Earth shattering and groundbreaking, nothing that made me deserve anything truly terrible. It was little things. But I was a good Catholic. I went to Church, I went to Catholic school. I listened to them, the old gray haired fuckers, talk about Jesus and his moments of doubt. I believed anyway! That's what you told us, right? Believe! And you will be saved! You are terrible sinners, but we will save you anyway! Ain't this shit great?
Well God, you'll hold this against me when I reach the pearly gates, but fuck yourself. How many more do I have to bury? Who you gonna take next? My grandfather, the old man of 55, my best friend, the young tough fucker of 22.... who's next? What trial of faith awaits me? What could have been harder than kissing my best friend's casket, and throwing a rose down there on a frigid day in January, and watching those cocksuckers lower the gray shining tomb down into the ground?
What more do you want from me? You want me to sacrifice bulls? Virgins? What does it take to sate your bloodthirst? They say you carry those when in their time of need... when did you carry me? It sure as shit wasn't at Ryer's funeral, where the booze took me down and no one carried me anywhere.
If I knew you were there, boyo, I would do anything. All I need is a sign, something to make me think that all this horror and pain is worth all the shit, that one day I'll reside in a paradise with my family and we will be there for the rest of time. But what you ask me to do is to love others, to find a wife, children, others who I care about more than I care about myself, and you ask me to trust that you won't take them from me. Oh, God, I've been around the block more than once. I know that you are not reliable when it comes to such endeavors, and I know that you are merciless at times.
God, last night my heart fluttered. Nothing else. Just fluttered. But I sat up in a start, and I realized again that I am a heartbeat, one single miss fired something, from death. One burst of one thing... and I am with the gods. And I know for my doubting, I will be in hell. All I can do is hold out, hope that I live long enough that me and you reconcile. I want us on speaking terms again, Lord, and I don't want those old voices hissing at me through the low bushed of my church, the ones that told me to leave. I was sober that night, boyo, and I know what I heard. You made your point.
Maybe it is alot for a mere jerkoff like me to ask.. but I need to know. Mother Theresa, even she doubted your prescence. I know I am not like everyone else, because I think about this stuff every goddamn waking hour, but I need to know. I cannot sleep, I cannot live, without knowing what else is out there. You tell me I've sinned? I tell you that you have. To make your people live in shame and doubt... it hurts, God.
Some people, they've got the strength to believe anyway. They think it's all going to happen eventually.. they remind me of the people who play the lottery every week. Other people, they just assume it isn't. My uncle is one of these types. I don't know that he ever stopped believing in God until my grandfather passed... but he doesn't believe in it now. Then there's the fuckers like me. We want to desperately to be happy, to lead good lives, I mean, we fucking bleed God. I can't pass a homeless guy in the street without giving him money. I don't care if he buys food or booze, but either way he needs that shit more than I do. I help old people change their tires. I feel compassion for certain people, no matter how much I shouldn't, and I act on it as best as I know how. I care nothing for money, and tears force their way to my eyes when I hear that good men have made strong stands against tyranny. When troops die in Iraq, I close my eyes and think of their wives, their girlfriends, their daughters, and hope that they find strength in something. I want the best for the world, I sincerely do. I would give my life in a second if it saved a woman from tears.
But that doesn't matter, does it? I sit here and kill myself with cigarettes and alcohol, and all I can think about is whether it fucking matters or not.
Last night, I fell asleep between 2:14 and 2:20. I thought I was awake, but passed out instantly. Is death like that? Does it fool you into thinking it will not come? Or does it simply converge on you when you aren't paying attention? Is it like sleep, where you are never sure of when you are awake and when you pass out?
Too many questions, God. Your Bible does not suffice. I believe you are there. But I don't know how much I like you.
All this shit.... it kind of make me want a drink. But see, I never quit. So I'll see you later.