Monthly Archives: April 2014

What Type Of Writer?

Because I’ve always been lucky, a guy sat next to me in a pretty empty bar. He started right up prattling on about how many cars he has, how well traveled he is, how he could go to the Ritz Carlton to drink but likes the realness of the people here in what could be considered one of the worst bars still standing in the Continental Untied States. Trust me on this. I’ve been in a bar with Linda Kasabian and it was nicer.

He rattled off his vast collegiate career which included both stints at both ‘The Heidelberg’ and Harvard. Through his naming it ‘The Heidelberg’ I had to assume he wasn’t talking about the one in Ohio. Then he started naming famous people he knew. When he was talking about cars he brought up noted car buff and one time local boy, Jay Leno.

“I’ve known him since 1960.”

Something about that gave me pause. If he, in fact, has known Leno since 1960 (that’s what he said, not ‘the sixties’) the only vehicle a ten year old Leno would have been collecting was bicycles.

But I let it slide because I didn’t want to break his stride. Besides, I really didn’t want to turn it into a conversation. That’s much more work than ignoring someone. After he winded himself with his platitudes he got around to asking me what I do.

“Writer.” My voice crackled slightly because I hadn’t spoken in a while.

“Writer, huh?” He looked at me the way pretentious people do when someone says they’re a writer. As if now they really have to put on the ‘This is My Life: The Spectacular Version’ show.

I stare at him because I feel it’s a useless question due to the fact I must assume Mr. Heidelberg and Harvard could remember something said three seconds ago. I assumed he was using that as a stall tactic while his superior brain considered what discipline I wallowed in.

“So, you write poetry?”

“Yes,” I said staring directly at the only tooth in his head. “I’m from the eighteenth century, live in a hovel and have a bad case of consumption.”

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I’m sitting at a bar. . .

. . .minding my own business. Just sitting back breathing in all the bacteria that’s holding this place together to give my immune system a workout when this woman grabs my arm. I look at her and she’s a classy grandam you’d find in your sophisticated drunk tank.

“Ya wanna bust a nut?” She says, most coquetteshly.

I smiled and said, “Some times you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” I polished off the remnants of my beer and exited.

“I was thinking in my head. . .”

“. . .which is the best place to think.” I interrupt. “I tried thinking with my ass for a time but all those ideas turned out shitty.”

A Little Light Lifting

There was a request last night by someone more powerful than me to wake up ‘good and early’ because we’re going to take the leaves raked and bagged in October to the city yard.

Before I get to what befell me that morn, let’s take a look at the phrase ‘good and early’ shall we? That’s impossible. When I wake up early it’s seldom good. When I wake up good it’s seldom early. So why this request is made to me, more often than it should be, befuddles me somewhat. It’s not as if the person making this request hasn’t met me in the morning. They’ve seen me get up at the crack of ass because one of the fuzzy little bastards who squats with us has decided I’d better get up and feed them before they cause me to bleed ‘good and early’ again.

With my eyes open no larger than a pinhole so as not to let in enough light to actually wake me, I battle the little bastard while trying to do the one thing he’s requesting of me: nourishment. I crack the can, he rubs on my leg; I start peeling back the top, he jumps up crashing into my hand causing the can to clang into the bowl; as I attempt to keep the bowl from crashing to the floor the little bastard tries to jam his head into the can; I push the brat away with my elbow while attempting to spoon the gloop into the bowl while trying not to get any on his head (I will admit to failing from time to time); while making sure all the gelatinous nutrients enter the bowl this pain in the ass is reaching out with his paw trying to get the bowl to his face. At this point I’m awake early but it is not good. I turn on the faucet to make him get down (why I don’t do this first every day I don’t know), head to the feeding area and try, as had as I can, to go back to sleep.

Sometimes I win, today I lost.

I look at the clock to figure out what time I need to get up to accomplish the tasks ahead of me before work. During the negotiation I figure out one big thing, I’m now awake. Damn it. I trundle out of bed, grumble to the shower, and think about how I’m going to bumble through the rest of my longer than usual day.

It’s at this point I’m sure you have a question. Go ahead, ask, I don’t mind.

“Okay, if you insist.” Says the cautious reader. “How can you be dumping leaves now? It’s barely spring where you are. Didn’t you tell us about your frightening ordeal with leaf raking last fall?”

Good memory! I’m proud of you! I did indeed bitch, I mean, convey a tale about raking leaves many months ago. What I didn’t mention in that story was taking all those leaves to the city yard to dump. These would be those damn dreadful leaves.

You see, unlike myself, my girlfriend likes to prolong jobs. No matter how crappy the job I like to see it to his damnable conclusion. Even if I’m covered in slime and my fingernails are resplendent with mouse guts (don’t ask). But she makes the decision to wait for another day.

Sometimes that day doesn’t come for over five months.

Let me explain what’s happened during those last five months: rain, freeze, rain, rain, freeze, freeze, snow, freeze, snow more times than I want to type, freeze, freeze, freeze, and for the last three day, torrential rain. So that’s when she decides it’s the perfect day to take bags of leaves to the city yard.

“Because the snows finally gone.” Is her wise decision.

Without taking into consideration the shape of the bags (brittle throughout, bottoms almost soaked through) and their weight (thirty pounds of leaves are now sixty pounds of soaking leaves with ice formed on the bottoms of the ones that never get any sun. Those three bags are going to have to be carefully pried from the asphalt. I’ve already been told countless times that I’d better not rip any of the bags. Have you ever touched an elderly persons skin and could feel it almost rip from their body?

The bags were in worse shape than that.

I get to the first bag and try to slide my hand under the bag. This simple task was made more difficult because the slime that I assume was keeping the bag together was frozen to the ground. Knowing I have no choice but to get this done today I lean in, shove my hand between the bag and the ground and begin to slowly, gently extricate the bag from the ground. It was at the this moment, with my body bent at the waist, one hand trapped between frozen slime that I felt something tear. But don’t worry, it wasn’t the bag. It was only my back. Right side, just under the shoulder blade.

It wasn’t as bad as the back injuries that have put me on the ground (the three times in order of manliness: lifting a treadmill, tossing a sleeping bag, sitting on a couch). But I could tell it was going to make breathing, lifting and bending difficult. Good thing I have none of them ahead of me today!

When I can finally straighten up I carry the bag uncomfortably to the truck. Then I do it with his five water logged, still iced, just as heavy friends. But I finally complete my task. Well, this side of the task. When I get to the city yard I’ll have to reverse the order. We get near the pile of dastardly leaves that have probably injured many of this cities denizens I ask my girlfriend to back the truck closer to the pile.

“Why? This is close enough?” You may think she’s being mean, with my delicate condition and all. But she knows nothing about it. If she’s caught my halting breathing she’s paid it no mind. If she’s seen my wince every time I move I see no evidence. And there’s no way I’m telling her. The bitching I’d get would be on par with if it was a bag that ripped. Not worth my going into it. So I take as deep a breath as I can and ask, gently because that’s all I have in me, to please back closer.

She does so I jump out. My plan is to slide the bags out of the truck. That makes some of the job simple but there’s still the dead weight carry to the pile. Don’t think my girlfriend didn’t try to help. She did, bless her girlish heart. But she couldn’t lift the bag. The last bag of demon leaves tossed into the pile we drove off.

I get to work and grimace through my day. A few hours into my day I get a phone call. I listen carefully, patiently, until the mind numbing headache arrives. I was just informed the motor on the washing machine at the house died. So tonight I’m going to have to dig one out of storage and move it into the basement.

Good thing I’m in tip top shape, huh?

If you ever. . .

. . .want to screw with the oh so helpful cashiers here’s a good way.

You walk up to the counter with all the stuff you’re buying which initiates their pre-programmed question,

“Did you find everything you were looking for?” They begin ringing you up and ignoring you because they expect a ‘yes.’ After all, why would you have stopped shopping if you still had things to buy?

So you toss them off their program by saying, “No.”

A look of horror will cross their face. They stammer a response while groping for the managers call button.

“What didn’t you find?” Now here’s where you have to sell it. You have to look them dead in the eye, never breaking eye contact which will freak them out, and say,

“Salvation.”

The myriad of expression that will dance across this persons face are a joy to behold.