Past Me


Don’t let life discourage you…everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard Evans
__________________

What a joy it is to be up at 4 am. Sleep is always hard to come by at the end of the year.

Might as well make some coffee, sit on the sofa and watch the ceiling fan blades make their never ending clockwise journey and think about what was, what is, and what could be.

I sigh and remove the eyeglasses from the bridge of my nose and rub my eyes with my thumb and forefinger.

My introspective moment is shaken by a voice from the love seat sitting adjacent to the sofa….

“Why don’t I have any hair?” The strangely high pitched yet familiar voice questioned.

I put my glasses back on and look in the direction that the voice centered from.

I was quite surprised to see…me.

Minus 30 years, waiting for a response.

I returned the question with a bewildered look and asked,

“What?”

I took off the baseball cap I always wore, pointed at my bowl cut, unruly, red hair that hung just over my eyebrows and said,

“Where does my hair go?….I mean you are me…..except bald….why?”

As I look at my younger self, I question whether I should respond with the truth about the cranium shaving or avoid the impending heartbreak of me knowing why….years before I should.

I mean….would the 14 year old me believe it….even understand? Would it change anything?

I bite my bottom lip while I decide.

“Mom does that when she doesn’t want to tell me truth about something….” I say from the love seat.

“Does what?” I reply.

“Bites her bottom lip. You’re not gonna answer me….are you?”

I chuckle to myself….about myself…at how even at such a young age I realized my Mother’s nuances and apparently took them on myself.

“No. Not right now. Maybe later. I would like to know how you got here and why you are here.”

I look back at my younger self and wait for a reply.

My 14 year old self squints his eyes and unknowingly begins to bite his bottom lip while searching his own cranium for the answer.

“I don’t know….the last thing I remember is Mom telling me I had to go to bed…..Dad is drunk again and took off in the car. I hate him when he drinks…does he ever stop for good?”

I look deep into the eyes of my younger self and see……and feel….actually feel the pain and despair that I felt back then about life at home.

My Mom tried so hard to keep a sane and normal home life while dealing with an alcoholic husband. Our normal was not everyone else’s normal, but it was the only normal we knew.

Outside appearances were important. We tried to keep the implosion tightly within the confines of our crumbling family. Our job as the kids was to act like everything was great when out of the house. When at home, the reality was Dad was someone we hated (when he drank) and we didn’t know what to do.

I pondered how I should reply. Would telling me the truth alter what ends up happening? Would I believe me either way? Is this really happening?

Am I really having a conversation with a 14 year old me?

Hope wins out. I remember that at that particular age that all I wanted was hope.

“Things will be tough…..but he does stop. If you can do anything just hold on to that. Eventually…..he does stop.”

My 14 year old self relaxes a little and smiles. Then looks up at the sky and slumps his shoulders and says,

“I gotta go. Mom has to get Dad out of jail again….I gotta watch the babies. You sure he stops?”

I look at myself and fight back the tears of yesteryear and memories of how hard it was, what happened, and what eventually came to be and reply….

“Yeah, just hold on and never…ever…give up hope. Sometimes….that’s all you got.”

I smile and look back up at the ceiling fan that is still in its perpetual turn for a moment to stop the tears from falling then look back at the love seat which sits empty…..

Except for the baseball cap I always wore when I was 14.

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To continue to Part 2 press “here

Drunk, Drunk, Goose


The holidays and drinking games go hand in hand for some.

Some….take them too far.

Remember the child’s game duck duck goose?

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It’s not just for kids anymore!

Some creative citizens on the east coast modified the game to add a bit of excitement to their drinking lives.

The principle of the child’s game is this-

A group of players sit in a circle, facing inward, while another player, the “picker” (a.k.a. the “fox”), (some young children call the “picker” the “ducker”) walks around tapping or pointing to each player in turn, calling each a “duck” until finally picking one to be a “goose”. The “goose” then rises and chases and tries to tag the “picker”, while the “picker” tries to return to and sit where the “goose” had been sitting. If the picker succeeds, the “goose” is now the new picker and the process begins again. If the “goose” succeeds in tagging the picker, the “goose” may return to sit in the previous spot and the “picker” resumes the process.

The adaption for drunk players is this-

The “goose” helps the picker get out of jail until their impending court date.

Let’s go to the news wire courtesy of the Huffington Post for the story…

A woman busted for allegedly driving while in intoxicated in New Jersey last week had to call three different friends to pick her up from the police station, because the first two showed up under the influence, according to police. Those two were also arrested, the Hunterdon County Democrat reported.

THE PICKER
The first of the three stooges to get in trouble in Readington Township on the night of Dec. 16 was Carmen Reategui, 34. Police told the Democrat that Reategui swerved while driving and that she failed a field sobriety tests.

DUCK-
She called Nina Petracca to pick her up, but police threw the 23-year-old into a cell, because she showed up visibly intoxicated, according to the Express-Times. Officers claim that they found seven illegal Vicodin pills in Petracca’s purse, so she was slapped with an additional charge of possession of a controlled substance to go with the DUI.

DUCK
Later, the ladies called Ryan Hogan to spring them, but he too arrived looking half in the bag and failed sobriety tests, police allege.

GOOSE
Finally, a fourth adult arrived who was sober enough to drive.
________

Notice the goose was deemed sober
Enough” to drive.

Keep it classy New Jersey.

The Electric Bend


It is almost NEVER too hot in the kitchen for me.

Therefore I rarely get out of it.

I can cook, sauté, bake, broil, grill, follow recipe instructions AND clean up after myself when the meal is praised by standing ovation and tears of joy.

When the kids say there is nothing to eat. I can find something that is not only edible but tasty.

I try out different flavors, spices, and food combinations to keep the family guessing.

I’m no Gordon Ramsay….but

F$%k him.

I don’t need to be a pompous ass to be the house chef.

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Like I said, it’s “almost never” too hot in the kitchen for me.

When is it too hot?

When I have to use the electric can opener.

Nothing cheeses me off more than having to use it.

Within the span of 20 minutes, my blood pressure will be boiling and my heart will be racing as I continuously place the same can underneath the blade with zero results…..except for the label coming off.

Occasionally. I will get the cut started. Then the can will fall off the magnet and I have to start over.

I use forks to pry the half opened top to he able to empty the contents into the bowl or what have you.

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We have more bent forks in this house than that guy who bends utensils with his mind.

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All I want for Christmas is for every can ever made to have a pull top.

Is that too much to ask?

Vaping The Benefits


I used to smoke butts…and I cannot lie.

It’s a habit I can’t deny

Go ahead…turn your heads in disgust, make faces, and talk behind my page about how gross it is, how it’s bad for my and everyone else’s health, blah blah blah.

I know.

I’ve been a smoker for over 20 years. I believe I have heard….,and probably ignored it all.

Quitting is difficult.

VERY DIFFICULT.

I have currently jumped on to the new trend in nicotine.

“Vaping”

What in the name of Marlboro’s ghost is that, you ask?

Here is the definition-

vaping
An electronic cigarette,electronic vaping device, personal vaporizer, or electronic nicotine delivery system is an electronic inhaler meant to simulate and substitute for tobacco smoking. It generally utilizes a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution.

The idea is I still get the nicotine. All that is released into the air is vapor.
Eliminating second hand smoke and first hand smoke.

It’s not quitting but it’s a start.

The liquid comes in a plethora of flavors.

I have used a few. The names are as follows-

Butter Toffee
Tic tac explosion
Peanut butter
Sweet tart

While I “vape” the flavor I use is the flavor I taste. No more cigarette flavor for me….although if I wanted it “they” have it.

“They” being my local Vapor store.

It’s called

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BAMvapor.com
They ran a promotional contest in store and through Facebook this month.

It was called “Name The Flavor”

The premise was-buy the unnamed flavor, vape it, then name it by posting the name chosen on Facebook. A winner will be chosen on the 23rd. The winner will have the illustrious honor of having their name used for the flavor, and a brand spanking new vaping device….sweeeeeeet.

I like guessing games. My buddies and I used to play “name that STD” back in the ’90’s…..that’s a different story for a different time….

I don’t do the Facebooking anymore, but my wife does. We both tried the flavor. She said it has a peppermint patty taste to it. Kinda chocolatey but a strong mint taste as well.

My powers of flavor naming deducted that only one name would suffice for such a liquid….

“Sir-Mint-A-Lot”

We came away with the win.

Fame. Glory. Naming the Vapor.

Kinda makes me wanna dance and sing.

With a name like Sir-Mint-A-Lot, only one song will do…..

Please feel free to check out BAM vapor on the line (LOL) or on Facebook. Their knowledge and customer service is stellar. A great small business, that I wish the best of luck to and a very Merry Christmas to.

To the rest of ya…your welcome for the ear worm.

The White Coats


My stepson got home from work and was complaining of abdominal pains. We took him to the local ER.

Here is what happened…..

9:30 pm-arrive and check in at desk, waiting room is over 1/2 full…..or half empty…depends on how you look at it….

9:45 pm- enter triage, get wristband for my stepson and masks….have been told to put them on, the flu is rampant.

ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THE :15 WE WERE THERE WITHOUT MASKS?

10 pm- I begin to look around….we are the only ones wearing masks….should I be worried?…..or should everyone else be worried?

11pm- ONE name has been called in the last hour and fifteen minutes.

11:07 pm- I take off my mask. My head tells me the :15 minute lapse upon arriving until we got masks has already doomed me….

11:09-I get a soda from the machine, turn around and notice that none of the backwards ass rednecks in this town cover their mouths when they cough….a really fat 3 year old is rubbing boogers on the floor.

11:10- I put my mask back on.

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11:20- two names called at once. Things are starting to pick up round here.

11:27-Can’t tell if others patrons in waiting room are sleeping….or victims of the impending superflu outbreak. Make mental note the self that if I make it out of here, I need to watch the TV version of “The Stand” much more closely than I did the first time.

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11:45- walk around waiting room while using the greatest iPhone app of all time (with the volume on high), “iPity” a collection of Mr. T audio quotes from the A-Team.

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11:48- I am instructed by my wife to stop.

12 am- I walk up to the restroom sign and close my eyes. I put my right hand on the sign and try to read Braille…..Result- I would fail as a blind person.

12:20-My stepsons name is called. My wife and stepson head to the back to be seen by a doctor. I stay in the waiting room to oversee the possible pandemic outbreak.

1:07- a text from my wife states that he has peed in a cup. Almost :50 minutes and all that has been accomplished is he has peed in a cup.

1:08- I have to now pee.

1:24- The triage lady calls the name “Rodman”. I immediately turn around hoping to see Dennis Rodman, former NBA basketball player….

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to my dismay it was Cletus Rodman…..

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never a basketball player.

2:06- awaiting test results from blood work, EKG and x ray…..

2:30 am- still here. That is all.

2:59 am-played 18 holes of video golf on my phone.

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My wife and stepson are still waiting for results. I finished the round at 5 over. My wife is tired and is about to lose it.

3:45 am- I am about to lose it.

3:50 am-test results in…..all negative. But I am positive that my frustration level is off the charts.

9:30-4 and we got sent home with anti nausea prescription….

He wasn’t even nauseated.

But I am.

Happy Christmas Eve.

The Love of My Life


“What do you want for Christmas?”
She asks with anticipation
“I will buy you what you want,
Search all of creation.”

I don’t need to ponder, think
Or make her wait.
The answer to her request is simple
And easy to state.

“Of all the things around,
That can be bought, bartered or found,
I cannot accept the ones
With price tags
Or that come from packages
That are bound.”

“You’ve given me your heart,
Body and soul,
A life that is diamonds
Where before you, it was coal.”

“You’ve given me the things
I never thought I would receive
Love, home, family
And a chance to believe.”

“If given every star in the sky
Or a dollar for each grain of sand,
It wouldn’t come close to the value
Of you taking my hand”

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“What do I want for Christmas?
I will give you the answer, not just a clue.
Of everything I will ever need…
All I want for Christmas is you.”

Merry Christmas, Baby.

A

Net Worth-A Christmas Poem


It was a few nights before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except me using my mouse.

eBay had screwed up….my wife’s gift was not here,
My hope was that “Santa” might find it somewhere.

The children were crashed…all sprawled out on their beds,
With visions of iThings dancing through their heads.

My wife chilling in her pajamas, the chihuahua sleeping in my lap,
If this dog pees on me again, I think I might snap.

From out in the front, a motor, I did hear,
I sprang from the desk with a powerful cheer.

The dog bumped it’s head on the table and fell,
She whined for a second then yapped at me with a yell.

I ran to the door with unprecedented glee
I tripped on some Legos….I think I busted my knee.

I opened the door with a curse and a frown
On the other side was a man all dressed up in brown.

I said, “I hope you are here to save Christmas, or my butt will be toast”,
He replied, “I’m sorry sir, but your package was shipped to the east coast.”

“So why are you here, is this supposed to make me feel better?”
“Just doing my job, sir…I’m sure there is something you could get her.”

I shut the door in his face and looked at my wife with a frown.
Always the optimist she said, “Don’t let it get you down.”

I sat on the couch and released a pitiful sigh
The dog bit my ankle which, in turn, made me cry.

I went to bed shortly after…feeling like a failure,
I wouldn’t have guessed that in my dreams there would be sent a savior.

The bearded man in red dropped by in my mind for a visit,
He reminded me that it is not the gifts that bring Christmas spirit.

Look around your home…you have boxes of photos around.
Place them in frames and watch the family past memories astound.

The personal touch means more than the gift that is bought
Those will soon be forgotten, and in the closet they will rot.

Take it from me young father, I have been doing this quite some time,
To pass along joy that is not store bought is surely not a crime.

Rest now, my son, and awake with new vigor,
Your nerves will be calmer, and your heart will be much bigger.

Enjoy the blessings of the season and the family that is around.
It will be over before you know it and much joy can be found.

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I wrote this last year and posted it as A Revision to a Classic. The classics need to be revisited…..I did I decided to share it again.