creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

Dancing in My Mind, and Memory is Bittersweet

snow white yeah right

No, I don’t believe in that “Happy Ever After” shit.

I’m one of those people who does a lot of living behind my own eyes.  I can be remarkably scatterbrained when it comes to things such as “where’s my stuff?” or “what’s that dude’s name?, ” but when I happen upon an experience or an event that I want to remember, those memories remain vivid and in living, breathing color.  Believe that.

For me the garden of memory is almost more alive than the real thing, if that’s possible. Sometimes that’s not so good, especially if I am stuck on a scene of disappointment or rejection, or mourning, but some trips to the garden of memory are positively magical.

Over the past few years I’ve allowed myself to fall into the pattern of being constrained by what I see as the limitations of my circumstances.  Admittedly being married to a chronic boozer who has ED and a laundry list of other physical and psychological issues is a huge downer, and not exactly good for one’s self-esteem.

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Jerry enjoys his beer drinking- and isn’t compelled to do anything about it.

I’m not referring to self-esteem in the vapid sense of “feeling good about yourself,” as in the phenomenon where some people treat their kids as though they deserve a prize for remaining vertical and continuing to suck up valuable oxygen.  I’m talking about self image in a realistic way: I may be scatterbrained and wired differently than most people, but I manage to function somewhat effectively.  I might be plain and proportioned like a mutant troll, but fuglier people than I still manage to have relationships, and fuglier people than I still manage to get laid from time to time.  So I may not be “normal,” but I’m not that screwed up, I hope.

TorridTeaser

Old, yes, but I’m really, really, really low mileage.

It’s as if his dysfunction colors my outlook, and to a degree it does.  I can’t say that going years without participating in the horizontal mambo is a good thing.  I didn’t ask for the celibate life, and I truly don’t care for it.  Being treated as a glorified maid and gopher doesn’t do much for feeling feminine or desirable or any of that business that I would like to say doesn’t matter, but deep down on some level it does.

A big part of me feels like a failure because in the back of my mind I guilt trip- what if I’d done more?  What if I’d been more perceptive, more loving, or maybe less frumpy and boring?  I guilt trip because maybe I shouldn’t feel the way I do (and I don’t acknowledge my feelings all too often, and when I do, I try not to give them much credence, which is probably a good thing) and that I should just suck it up and be glad Jerry can still dress and feed himself-for now.

turbovibe

I don’t think I could handle the guilt trip if I just picked up and left, and that’s messed up too.  I said I would stay with him, though it’s been a very long almost 20 years.  I feel like the life has been sucked out of me- to the point that a mere acknowledgment from a ghost from the past left me almost euphoric yesterday.   Someone still gives half a shit!  A half of a drink of water in an endless desert! It’s a sad state of affairs when I get that little affirmation.

But there is life beyond my limitations.  I did have a life in front of my eyes, at one time.  And I did enjoy myself for a moment in the garden of a particularly sweet memory yesterday and it did lift my spirits more than it probably should have.

There was a time- and maybe this is just my own wishful thinking- that I was desired and wanted and pursued.  As much as I don’t want to admit to having a need to be wanted by men or even by a man (this reminds me way too much of the fairy tale bullshit shoved down little girls’ throats as they’re growing up) even I want to be more than just the one who gets to clean up the cat puke or dog shit, (Jerry’s really good at spotting it, but apparently unable to pick it up for some unfathomable reason) or the only one to run errands because I’m the only one who’s sober.  Living like that – as a sort of an indentured servant- doesn’t do much for one’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  I’ve said it before that my marriage at best is sort of a symbiotic relationship, but at worst, is more like a parasite-host relationship, which is sad but often true.  I try to regard Jerry’s indifference in context because he really does care more about beer and football and cigarettes than pretty much anything else.  Therefore I need to stick to my own agenda and interests- and fantasy life if that’s all I have, if I have any hope of staying remotely sane.

drawing butts

I wish I had the courage to reach out to an old friend (though paramour would probably be a more accurate word) and lay it on the line.  Even if I risk rejection (oh, and believe me, I do,) my heart hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I have to come clean with how I felt then and still feel today, and admit it, even though the time and the circumstances probably aren’t any more “right” than they were back then.

That sort of honesty has always seemed to me to have far more risk than reward.  I am so terrible at reading the motives and behavior of others.  I have enough trouble with my own motivations to try to figure out what sort of mischief is brewing in other people’s minds.

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assorted rants, cougardom, gratuitous self pity, misanthropy, political commentary, theology

Examples of What Not to Do, Inner City Wildlife, and The Bright Side of Life

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I am never going to be one of those people who runs around spouting sunshine out of my nether aperture.  It just isn’t going to happen unless someone waves a magic wand and I’m suddenly permanently hairless in all the right places, that I’m about 5’9″ with perfect proportions, that I’m independently wealthy and can do what I want, Reagan is alive and well and back in the White House, and that I’m suddenly free from all of my various and sundry health afflictions. 

I am a perfectionist, but I’m also a realist. I know that nothing in the above list is ever going to happen to me in this lifetime.  I’m cool with that, but not because I like it.  I’m cool with that because I’m thankful that the sources of my discontent are so trivial.  Of course I am troubled by many other broader issues, but most of them are things for which I’ve done what I could and/or have very little power to change. 

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There are things that will not change for the better – current popular music, the rate at which my eyebrows go from finely sculptured to Sasquatch-like uni-brow,  the frequency and duration of Jerry’s whining episodes, etc.- no matter how much I wish they would.  The challenge in life is navigating around the Murphy’s Law outcomes and working within the parameters you get.  I may not have gotten the best box of chocolates, but I didn’t get the worst one either.  More importantly, as the esteemed philosopher Mick Jagger once noted, “You can’t always get what you want/ you can try sometimes/ you just might find/ you get what you need.”  Sometimes I really have to wonder about that, especially when what I get arrives packaged appearing as anything but a gift- but those who have everything handed to them without any blood, sweat or tears often have very little appreciation for what they have.

I guess I was supposed to get the box of chocolates with a lot of icky tasting maple and pecan ones in it- the one with the cellophane partially missing and the corners all bashed in, that’s marked down on clearance once the holiday’s over.  Even though someone else got the primo one with all the good dark chocolate and mint creams in it, I still got more than what I deserved.  Some people just get an empty box, or show up after all the clearance boxes have been sold.

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It’s only human to take a look around and observe (and feel a little jealous toward) the beautiful people. Knowing that the beautiful people aren’t always so lovely- in and out of each other’s beds and/or in and out of rehab and such- is a sort of cold comfort. 

A good friend of mine (who I need to call and have a nice long chat with- yes dammit-) once said that money can’t buy happiness but it does buy the misery you like the best.  I have to wonder how much damage I would end up doing if I had the resources to do exactly what I wanted all the time.  I know I would end up telling a good number of people to f-off and die – and I probably should do that with a few people in my life- but I’d go overboard.  I’d end up alienating everyone who ever had the audacity to piss me off, and that’s just about every human I’ve ever come in contact with.

If I weren’t forced to leave my ivory tower and interact with the unpredictable world I’d never be treated to such spectacles as the Canada goose who likes to hang out in front of the door at work. Right here in the middle of Little Mogadishu!  (Just like Blackhawk Down but with fewer helicopters.)  

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Of course if the coyotes can survive thrive here (the beautiful Central Ohio area is known for its urban coyotes) so can the geese.  From what I see in the article the coyotes are actually eating some of the goose eggs, which most people should consider to be a good thing.  Canada geese are pretty, but they do crap a LOT, and when there are too many of them they can get aggressive too. 

Obstacles and adversity and unavoidable unpleasantries force us to deal with the things we’d rather not.  I don’t enjoy waiting and I don’t enjoy crowds, but I’ve met interesting people and had enlightening conversations I would never have had if I had done everything online or on demand.  I could see myself- if I had virtually limitless wealth and therefore power- becoming like Howard Hughes- isolated and trapped in a hell of my own design.  I think everyone has to be forced into doing certain things they find distasteful in order to really enjoy the important things.  I appreciate being able to watch Ren and Stimpy episodes every once in awhile, but I think I’d get bored with them if that’s all I did 24/7.

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By the grace of God I’ve managed to steer clear of the criminal justice system for the most part.  I say by the grace of God because I know how evil I have the potential to be.  I believe that anyone can become a killer in the heat of passion, or fall for the wrong scheme, or be in the wrong place at the right time. 

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Full body tats are never a good idea- especially when you’re on your way to jail.

I don’t think Cadillac was looking for that kind of endorsement (his neck tat is a Cadillac crest) from a guy who ended up shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend.  I can’t say how he ended up this way but it sort of breaks my heart that someone born in 1988 (I was in college in 1988…) could have already screwed up his life so bad.  I know there’s hope but prison isn’t a nice place, and he’s likely going to be there for awhile.

I am thankful for a number of things, just a sampling are listed here:

I’m thankful…

That I’m not in prison.  That would definitely suck.  Especially because I’m straight and can’t fight.

For my beautiful dogs and cats.  Even though Fanny is really pissed about wearing her collar, bell and tag, she’ll get over it.  I’ll get a pic of that as soon as she will let me get close enough with the camera again.

For remotely understanding friends and family who have no idea what it’s like to live the way I’m wired- but who put up with my eccentricity anyway.

For going on almost three years of freedom from my 18 year long nightmare with pelvic pain. One thing I will stress about that- I don’t want to see any woman suffer through what I did for all those years.  There is help available if you persist and speak up.  (Here’s where I am another example of What Not to Do.)

For indoor plumbing.  For those who have experienced the unique olfactory joy (not to mention the company of the various insect and arachnid life that take up residence in the outdoor shitter) of an outhouse or outdoor latrine, you get where I’m coming from.   Two weeks of traipsing back and forth from the tent to the latrine in the middle of the night with naught but a flashlight and a roll of TP at Girl Scout Camp were more than enough to convince me that I prefer performing my excretory functions inside, on a flush toilet, with the light on.  Camping means (at the very least) “where’s the RV” to me- and in a perfect world, at least a two star hotel.

For not having to own, be seen in, or pay for the gasoline for this:

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assorted rants, cougardom, creative writing, dogs, misanthropy

It’s “Be Thankful It Isn’t Any Worse” Day!

With a tip of the hat to my fellow cynics and assorted other ne’er-do-wells like me, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should set aside a day to be thankful that things aren’t any worse.  For instance, if for some bizarre reason I were single and decided to troll the wonderful world of online dating, something like the above picture would be bound to show up, less the dog of course, as the dog would be his only redeeming feature.  I can just imagine the troll that some dating service would inevitably choose for me would actually look somewhat like the fashion-challenged ginger above, but would have a profile picture that looks something like this:

So much for truth in advertising. Of course, if he really did look like this, he’d have to be gay.  Straight men are never that hot.  So I should be grateful that Jerry is not nearly hot looking enough to be gay.  We all know what happened to the ugly gay guy. He had to date girls.

I am also thankful that I am sitting here in beautiful Central Ohio.  The weather here usually sucks to some degree, in some sort of way, but one thing we don’t get here are tsunamis.  If there were ever to be a tsunami massive enough to hit Columbus, rest assured that most of the rest of the world has been knocked out too.  We do get floods (frequently, but localized) and tornados, and snow storms on a regular basis, which can be bad enough, but even in the worst of the recent Downtown floods, I’ve never seen anyone in German Village floating on their house ten miles out at sea.  Granted, the Great Flood of 1913 was really bad, see the pics here , but that was before the Army Corps of Engineers built the series of dams and reservoirs on the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers.  I have seen Infiniti Q45s towed in filled up to the belt moldings (where the window glass meets the door) with poo-filled sewer water, and a whole shipment of used Corollas acquired in a rather shady auction deal with bizarre electrical problems and shift consoles packed in flood mud, but that’s pretty piddly compared to what’s going on in Japan.

There can be earthquakes in the Midwest, but generally the Central Ohio area is a geologically stable zone.  We likely wouldn’t get severe damage if the New Madrid Fault were to generate earthquakes as it did in 1895.  It would, however, really suck anywhere along the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers.

At least I’ve not gotten motivated to get these memos (yet):

I haven’t descended into that dark a level of depravity.  It would be fun to see the expressions on certain people’s faces should they receive such a memo though.

I am thankful for flush toilets and for not having to use them outside.  The thought of having to use an old time latrine or outhouse like we had to do at the Girl Scout camp is downright frightening.  There’s something most off-putting about having to a.) use a flashlight to get to the latrine, then once you find the latrine you have to b.) shine the flashlight in and around the hole to check for unauthorized insect, arachnid and reptile life, and c.) smell the acrid stench of hundreds of other people’s decomposing urine and feces.   To add fuel to that fire, I’ve not entirely overcome my fear of flying and crawling insects or wayward arachnids.  Reptiles never really bothered me, probably because there aren’t very many venomous species in Central Ohio.  Usually on the rare occasion anyone happened upon a snake, it was a small, harmless garter snake.  There are copperheads and rattlesnakes, but both copperheads and rattlesnakes are fairly rare and are found mostly down south.  Nothing terrified me more as a child (and everything terrified me) than flying, stinging insects.  I hated them- bees, wasps, hornets, anything with wings and a stinger- and there is no shortage of any winged stinging insect around here in summer, especially mosquitoes- believe that.  I can thank my sisters for that hyped-up terror, as they found it most amusing to throw flying, stinging insects in my hair.  

I’m thankful that not too many people would find it amusing to throw live wasps in my hair today.  Cougardom has its advantages.  So does short hair.

I’m thankful I don’t drink anymore, therefore I am not subject to hangovers.   I am still subject to Jerry’s “drunk and stupids” followed by the sappy, lingering,  pathos of his hangovers, but there is humor to be found in that, so it’s a wash.

I am also thankful that there will soon be a day when we no longer have to hear about Obama.

I am thankful that there will be a day when Steve-o is out of school, gainfully employed and fully financially independent of the parental units.  The sad part about that is he will probably move down South and then I’ll only see him on holidays.  But that will give me an excuse for a road trip and somewhere to go on vacation, so that has its advantages as well.   I might not be terribly averse to retirement in the South, as long as he doesn’t move into some backwater holler straight out of Deliverance.   I like living in the city despite the crowds and traffic.  You can find things like food and medical care and employment a whole hell of a lot easier in the city.

I don’t get to travel and stay in hotels, therefore I don’t have bedbugs.

I have three nice warm dogs who love me even when everyone else on the planet is screwing me over.  I think I saved the best for last.

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assorted rants, cougardom, dogs, historical interest, misanthropy, theology

Mortality, cont., Simple Thanks, “Sin Boldly,” and Whatever I Fear

 

I know it might be considered a bit morbid to troll about in old cemeteries.  As a kid cemeteries used to scare the living hell out of me (along with just about everything else, so go figure) but today I find certain cemeteries to be particularly serene.  In spite of the “buy one get one free” sign in front of the cemetery (Chapel Heights Memorial Gardens) where my grandparents are buried, it’s actually a very peaceful place to hang out.  People fish in the creek that runs in front of the cemetery which could be seen as irreverent by some, but I don’t think my grandparents would mind.  They always enjoyed fishing.

I’ve always loved willow trees.  This is the view of the creek that runs in the front of the Chapel Heights Memorial Gardens.  The peculiar thing about Chapel Heights, as far as cemeteries go, is that the only grave markers they allow are simple flat ones- like Grandpa’s Army marker. There are no obelisks, or statues, or ostentatious carvings. From a distance it simply looks like a park.  The beauty there is more natural than historical.   When the weather improves some (but before the mosquitoes take over) I will need to take another roadtrip up there to just sit and hang out for an afternoon.

My favorite cemetery (now that does sound morbid, but what the hey) from a historical perspective, is the Marion Cemetery – right across from the Harding Memorial on SR 423. The Merchant Ball is there, and you can see where it rotates on its base even though no one can explain how or why it does.   Some of the best examples I have seen of maudlin Victorian era gravestones anywhere are in the Marion Cemetery.  I have taken pics of a few of them (the one at the top of this page is one of my favorites) but I don’t have enough space in my memory card for all the really good ones.  I could literally spend a week in there wandering about and taking pics of cool old Victorian headstones.   There must have been a lot of people in Marion back in the day with a LOT of scratch to spend on their dead relatives from the looks of the monuments in the Marion Cemetery.  Today the place is so poor I’m surprised that anyone who dies now gets a burial or a grave marker at all.  If I would have to make an educated guess, cremation has probably become the dispatch method of choice for the dead, simply for the cost effectiveness.  From another practical viewpoint, I have to wonder about the wisdom of burying dead people in a reclaimed swamp.  Burying people in the ground- even in concrete vaults and steel coffins- doesn’t strike me as being terribly sanitary considering the high amount of rainfall and the poor drainage that is inherent to Marion County- and the rest of Central Ohio.

I am thankful the dryer works.  It can dry a large load in about 90 minutes which is encouraging.  90 minutes is a lot faster than 3 hours plus.   It feels good to have the laundry caught up. It is a relief to know that if I want to wash the dogs, or wash all the living room quilts that cover the furniture, I can.   I washed my bed sheets and blankets yesterday.  Since the dogs like to sleep in the beds I have to wash everything often, otherwise it ends up covered in hair and smelling like dog funk.  I’m glad that Lilo is really the only one of the three that ever gets much of a funk to her.  Clara has almost no odor, likely because of her short coat and sparse undercoat.  Sheena I can’t really explain.  She should reek to high heaven with her thick undercoat,  (Heidi and Kayla were purebred GSDs- and they both reeked no matter how often they were bathed) but for a dog with such a thick coat Sheena is remarkably clean-smelling. 

As far as my ongoing quest to live authentically (which is how I understand Martin Luther’s instruction to “sin boldly”- here is a link to a better theological understanding of that instruction) I can only appeal to the grace of God to overcome my fear.  I can only trust that He will give me the courage and the discernment to do the right thing- and the forgiveness I inevitably need when I screw up.

I’d like to have a spontaneous and unfettered approach to life.  Not being dead broke all or most of the time would help, which would require me to (somehow) get Jerry to pay for his fair share of things instead of just footing the bill myself because I know he throws major fits every time I request money.  He can go to the hell hole and blow hundreds of dollars and to him that’s quite fine, but if Steve-o needs $50 to pay his electric bill and I don’t have it, it’s a Federal case.  Jerry can be generous when he wants to be, (especially to his family, except Steve-o of course) but he simply doesn’t get it. No matter what method I use to explain it to him- spreadsheets, calendars, letting him see my bank statement, etc. he just doesn’t get it that I’m not randomly blowing money on frivolous and unnecessary things (such as beer, cigarettes or gambling, but I digress.) 

One time when I asked him for money because I was dead broke after paying the car insurance, he actually accused me of having an illicit drug habit!  I don’t.  I can’t even drink with the medical issues I have. Most of the illicit drugs out there would probably kill me outright.  He should thank God I’ve never been into crystal or the white powder, or I’d probably ripped his head off and shit down his neck hole years ago.    

Technically one could say that I do have a “drug habit” – but all the drugs I take are prescribed by my Dr.- and are pretty much essential to keep me vertical and above ground.  Otherwise I wouldn’t bother with expensive (though non-frivolous) things like blood pressure meds and insulin.  It’s not like I have the Dr. write me scripts for high dollar face Nair and that stuff that’s supposed to make your eyelashes grow.  (WTF?)  I simply don’t make enough money to pay for everything – stuff like car payments, the exorbitant amounts for various insurances, scripts, groceries, gasoline, etc. and so on- for both of us.  If I did have enough money to pay for it all, believe me, I wouldn’t ask.  I would just pay and keep my mouth shut.

I do draw the line at a few of Jerry’s vices.  I refuse to buy his beer, smokes, or to support his gambling habit. 

In his favor he does pay his own truck payment, and he has to buy his own beer, smokes and lottery tickets. 

Very few things terrify me and stress me out more than arguments about money.  I’ve never been a person of means, and I’ve had to scrape and pinch and rob Peter to pay Paul my entire life.  My parents were never people of means either.  Their most heated and (verbally) violent arguments were always centered around money and (almost always) the lack thereof.  Nothing would send Dad into a rage quicker than anything involving money.   I can’t blame him.  There were times when we were growing up when he had to make the choice between paying the mortgage and utilities or buying food or medical care. 

As a kid I remember weeks of eating pretty much nothing but Cream of Wheat or no-name Mac & Cheese to get by because there was no money for food.  I remember going without things like glasses or dental visits for years at a time, because there was no money in our household for preventive care. Before I could drive it really didn’t matter if I had glasses or contacts or not, so I just dealt with it.  Ignoring my health is likely how I ended up with rheumatic fever too, (you get it from untreated strep infections) because it came to a point when I would refuse to tell anyone I was sick, and I’d even try to deny it even if I was clearly deathly ill.  I knew they couldn’t afford the Dr. visit or whatever scripts he might prescribe- and I didn’t want to hear their fight about how much it cost and how they don’t have the money after the fact.  Now I have permanent heart valve and joint damage.

I should know better at this point in my life.  It’s not about lack of money, but how “household” money is being used.  Right now Jerry pretty much pays his truck payment and sustains his own vices and thinks that’s all he needs to do- while I’m footing the bill for Steve-o,  as well as Jerry’s scripts, Jerry’s food, all the insurances, etc. he insists on having even though it’s overkill, and so on. 

I am dead afraid of letting him get a taste of reality because I know he will do anything he can to punish me for it.

Why I am browbeating myself for expecting Jerry to act like an adult and take responsibility for his fair share is beyond me.  I’m glad he bought the dryer, because I really despise crunchy clothing and I’m not going to the laundromat, but in perspective, that dryer cost less than one month of all the various life insurance that gets deducted out of my checking account- on his insistence- every month.  The dryer is also a replacement for the one I bought for $350 back in 2000 that he has had the use of for the past 11 years, if you really wanted to play tit-for-tat.

I don’t think I owe him obeisance for anything.  For all intents and purposes I kiss his ass to keep the peace- but I of all people should know that feeding alligators only makes them hungrier.  Appeasement is Obama’s foreign policy and it’s not working for him either.

I know what I’m doing.  I don’t like it, but I need to find the courage to change it.

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cougardom, creative writing, historical interest

The Thankfulness of Lists, I Buy Premium Cable for This? Timing is Everything

I know, I’m writing about lists of things to be thankful for and I begin by waxing cynical.  I’m thankful that God has a sense of humor and I sincerely hope that He understands where I get mine.  Comedy is the flipside of tragedy, and there is certainly no shortage of tragedy in this world.  So why not laugh at what you can?  One need only try a little bit to find something worthy of a giggle, and if you have a particularly fertile imagination, the whole world is chock full of comedic fodder.

I’m thankful for stupidity.

It sounds weird to give thanks for the stupid, but we lose sight of the humor in stupidity simply because stupidity is so abundant.  I’ve said it often- the two most common elements in the universe are shit and stupidity. This being said, if you could harness these two ignoble elements and transform them into energy, there would never be a need for petroleum fuels or coal or anything else used to generate power or fuel combustion.

1. Stupid People.

I’m thankful for stupid people for one reason.  They make me look smarter.  It’s sort of the same logic that is behind choosing fat, ugly friends.  If all of my friends are fat and ugly, by comparison I look thin and pretty even though at my very best I am plain and frumpy.  I’m not the brightest light bulb in the hallway, but compared to 95% of the population I might as well be a rocket scientist.  It’s scary, but it makes me glad my parents were two of the very few who didn’t do drugs back in the ’60’s.  Another thing to be thankful for!

2. Stupid procedures, processes, ideologies, etc.

I hate redundancy.  Fewer things piss me off more than having to repeat myself.  I am reasonably skilled at the use of the English language, and the last time I checked, I don’t stutter.  So if I’m taking the time to explain something, pay freaking attention.  Take notes if you must.

I really hate it when I have to fabricate detailed and completely inane explanations for others who aren’t going to be doing what I have to do anyway.  I have a philosophy about that.  If you want me to do something, tell me what you want.  Give me the authority to do the task at hand and the necessary tools to carry it out, then leave me alone and let me get it done. Explaining it to a non-participant is a waste of time since the one requesting me to do the task isn’t the one doing it anyway, and frankly, incessant micromanagement gets on my nerves.  I care about results.  The process of getting results is negotiable as long as it is efficient, legal, ethical, moral and cost-effective.

I like being the only person with certain abilities. It makes me feel important, wanted, loved, valuable, etc.  It makes me all the more thankful for being blessed with the ability to suck up oxygen, and convinces me that I might just have been created for some purpose above and beyond respiration, mastication and defecation.   Having cryptic wisdom or unique abilities can be a double edged sword, however, especially when I seem to be the only one who can reset the cable box at 12 midnight or when I am the only one capable of coherent speech and rational thought.  Sometimes it would be pleasant to hold intelligent conversation with members of my own species.  It happens, but hasn’t for a very long time.

Which brings me to the crowning glory of stupid, which is Drunk and Stupid.

I am not a tee-totaler by nature and don’t really have a problem with social drinking.  I have a problem with shitfaced drinking, but I am thankful that shitfaced drunks have the potential to be funny, at least when I’m not cleaning up after them.  Again, comedy is the flipside of tragedy, as the following true story will illustrate.

A few years ago, Jerry got a fifth of Wild Turkey as a gift from the aluminum scrap guy.  We had brought him plenty of nice loads of clean aluminum scrap from the body shop, and in his gracious spate of Christmas giving the scrap guy was passing out fifths of Wild Turkey.  Jerry is a stupid enough drunk when he gets drunk on beer, but when liquor is involved the stupidity factor increases exponentially with each sip.

Jerry had taken the fifth of Wild Turkey as a challenge, as in “how fast can I down this fifth?”  By the time he had polished it off he was “Weekend at Bernie’s” drunk- flopping all over the house and pissing all over the bathroom floor, toilet seat, sink, etc. and by rights should have passed out, but he just wouldn’t shut up and pass out.  This really sucked.

When Jerry’s drunk he doesn’t just get happy and sleepy like a normal drunk.  He gets hyper and usually along with the hyperness comes an inexplicable urge to embark on pointless home improvement projects which he will completely screw up and that I will have to clean up later. (which reminds me I still have to clean up the bathroom from his attempt to re-glue the tiles last night…arrgh!)  This unfortunate Wild Turkey bender had awakened in him an inexplicable urge to light a fire in the fireplace- with a log, a square of toilet paper (???) and a Bic.  Usually Jerry is scared shitless of all things fire-related and won’t let me use the fireplace (which pisses me off, because I like a nice roaring fire in the winter) so this really boggled my mind that he would even be near the fireplace.

Anyone who knows anything about lighting a fire in a fireplace (and I do, because my parents have had a working fireplace in their house for years, and I’ve built many fires in it) knows that you aren’t going to do jack without some tinder (i.e. pine needles, small sticks and newspaper, etc.) under the grate and some kindling (a little bit larger sticks) strategically placed under the big logs.

So Jerry’s efforts at fire starting were not terribly effective.  In a flash of whiskey-powered enlightenment he decides that the log will ignite should he pour a little gasoline on it.  Then, somehow, through the Wild Turkey fog, he remembers there is still gasoline for the lawnmower out in the garage!  He starts bellowing for me to go and get the gas can.  I was sober at the time and had rather horrific visions of the entire house going up in a blaze of glory, should I honor that request, so I replied that if he wanted to get the gas can he would have to do it himself.   I went back to bed and prayed he would pass out soon.

Usually telling Jerry to do anything himself means it won’t get done, but  I should have known- drunk and stupid trumps “lazy” every time.  About five minutes later I hear what sounds to be a sonic boom followed by mooing noises coming from the living room.  Jerry apparently has never played with VW carbureators and has never experienced the lovely phenomenon known as “flashback.”  Flashback occurs when accumulated fuel vapors in a small space ignite, such as when one is spraying ether down a carbureator and the engine backfires, causing the little bit of vapor present in the carb barrel to go “poof.”   Back in 1980-whatever I once lost a few inches of big hair and (alas, temporarily) both eyebrows, trying to help adjust the carb on my sister’s ’68 Bug.  (Another reason why I love fuel injection.)   It is a very brief but hot fire that generally will not burn skin but is really efficient at removing body hair.

Jerry lost about two inches of hair off the top of his head, most of both eyebrows and pretty much all of his nose hair.  He also smelled like upholstery that’s been in a car fire which is a most distinct, and quite unpleasant smell.  The only other collateral damage was one of the Wise Men from my Nativity that was on the mantle- he fell and shattered.  Of course I always wondered about the three wise men thing to begin with.  Finding three wise men to begin with is hard enough without trying to get them together all in the same place.  So my Nativity only has two Wise Men now which probably makes it more realistic.

The moral of the story?  If someone gives Jerry a fifth of whiskey or any other hard liquor for Christmas it’s getting regifted with the quickness.  He’s enough of an asshole with a 12 pack of Natties.

I’m thankful for Late Night TV. Sometimes.

One of the reasons I spring for premium cable is that I am an occasional insomniac.  The logic goes like this.  If I wake up at 2:30 AM and can’t go back to sleep, then I want to watch something interesting.  Sometimes it happens that there’s something good on, like underwater exploration, a historical documentary, anything featuring Mike Rowe, or the investigative forensic shows I like to watch.  Other times it seems like there’s nothing on but those damned infomercials- but even those can have some comic value depending on the pathetic product being hawked.

I’m thankful that I know no matter how many skin care systems, exercise machines and other self improvement type products there are, none of them will make me look like Cindy Crawford.  Of course I have no way of knowing how many other plain and frumpy aging cougars out there will fall for the line and buy that crap, but at least I know that “three easy payments of $79.95” will only serve to thin out my wallet.   Mom has bought an entire gym’s worth of that crap on QVC and I can attest she hasn’t lost an ounce.  I don’t think Dad has the heart to tell her that in order for exercise equipment to work you have to a.) assemble it and b.) use it.

The absolute worst infomercial out there is for a device that for lack of a better term appears to be a pecker pump.  Worse yet, it’s being marketed toward impotent old geezers, and apparently they can be reimbursed by Medicare.  Our tax dollars at work.  No wonder the government is going broke.

There is a certain angst that I get from all the infomercials on TV, even late at night.  I pay big money for premium cable.  I should be able to watch the good stuff 24/7.  But then again, I have to admit I did really laugh it up on the pump commercial.  It used to be the only place one would see such devices advertised were in porno mags.  You gotta love the power of creative marketing.

I guess timing is everything.

Well, spelling counts too.

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