Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Eleven... or Pissing in the Wind

It all started because the esteemed Gulfboot Johnson got tired of my writing him long emails about the early years, when El Kono was just a kid from Cleveland stuck in the Wyoming hills playing basketball and the hi-jinks that ensued, he claimed that it was entertaining and it was a waste that he was the only one to see it, he said that on this thing called the internet there was this wacky new trend called blogs, i thought that sounded like a medium for fucking wankers and besides i didn't know how to go about getting something like that up and running, i was a technological Luddite, even more so then than i am today, and so the truth is Gulfboot set this experiment up, set up the site and if my memory serves helped come up with the name for it, a combination of one of my favorite words at the time and one of my favorite places, and thus was birthed the Asshat Lounge...

When it started there were no expectations and eleven years later there are still no expectations... I had no idea what i was doing or what would happen and luckily nothing happened and i still don't know what i'm doing, through a distinct lack of talent and ambition i've achieved exactly what i set out to do which is nothing, the Wu Wei with a bit more typing thrown in...

Since doors opened here at the lounge a whole cottage industry has sprung up around the business of blogs, awards banquets and conventions and such, money has changed hands and the lumpen prole, as usual, are sold a dream of success and riches beyond their wildest dreams, yet what the fuck is success? i have no idea, i guess some would say a moron in front of a typer putting somewhat incoherent run-on sentences together for eleven years could be success; it could also be said that someone with no readers and few views might be a sad and lonely sort, maybe he's a bit off mentally, like Sisyphus and his boulder or Charlie Brown and his football, then again i don't really know what those things are or mean, i thought metrics was how they measured shit in Canada...

And so here i sit doing what i always do, what i've done off and on for the last eleven years, telling stories to myself in hopes of amusement and to stave off the mindless glow of the telly, the hopes and dreams of the young Kono have long since faded, in fact the old Kono barely recognizes the young Kono but actually that would be a lie, the old Kono just doesn't give a fuck about the things his younger self did, is more comfortable with himself than the young one was, a fact that most of the people who knew they young one would be puzzled by seeing as that young Kono was full of bravado and cockiness as those young sorts are apt to be full of, now i'll to revert back from third person to first, i just do, it's the act that i enjoy, i all i ever wanted to do was sit down and type things out, be it metaphysical musings or stories, to leave my history so that my drug and booze abused brain could go back and see what a fool i've made of myself, like that Memento film without all the tattoos...

There is a fluidity here that sustains me like the air and water i need so much, there is a past and a future which merge into this now and leave the words written like chalk on the sidewalk as the first drops of rain begin to fall, the words are there and then gone, washed clean and reborn, they are remembered and forgotten, they ebb and flow like the waves meeting the sand and they are mine and they are not mine, everyone's and no one's, it may go on for another eleven years or it may stop tomorrow, what i didn't know eleven years ago but have learned in the process is that it's the act of creating that holds the meaning, the rest of it is so much window dressing, a distraction from what truly matters... and if that is the only thing i've learned than it has been well worth the time and energy invested...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Green Tea

I had my first back spasm this past month and i can readily admit it's not something i'd like to experience again, poor Nick Disaster stood and cried and said he didn't want to go to basketball practice as his father crumpled to the ground on his hands and knees, breathing deeply and trying to reassure him that he'd be fine, it would pass and then we could go... and pass it did but i don't think fine is the word i'd use to describe how i felt after... of course being house boy means you don't get fucking days off and so off i went to multiple games and practises, barely able to get in and out of the car, it's amazing how people think you're smiling when you're really gritting your teeth... but somehow i made it through the day and figured fuck it, all i have to do is be careful and that won't happen again... oh but i am a silly man, yes i am...

In these lovely days of winter i adhere to a strange regimen of bullshit, kono-mysticism, and half-baked theories gleaned from the covers of grocery store checkout magazines, i drink a lot of tea, most of it green tea for the antioxidants but i've got some black and English breakfast just for good measure, the green is done with lemon and a touch of sugar, the others are made good and strong with sugar and milk, i usually stand and stare off into space when i drink my tea, i'm not sure this a contemplative stare or that of an aging space cadet, oddly enough i haven't thought about it, but it's what i do and i listen to whatever happens to be playing on the turntable or radio while staring blankly out the windows while the cardinals and blue jays battle and the fucking  absent-minded squirrels hide their nuts, i eat CBD gummies in hopes of somehow reversing all the damage done to my body from years of  abuse and knowing that i'm most likely proper fucked in that department, and yes all of this is usually preceded by the clandestine and mellow toke, just enough to take the edge of the aches and pains i've accrued through the former and present punishment i dish out to this skin suit...

So in the hopes of avoiding the pain of the back spasm i convinced myself of the purity of my healthy lifestyle, yes i can hear you laughing  but the mental part is half the battle now isn't it? convince the mind that everything is hunkfuckingdory and the body will sort itself out... so while it wasn't a total surprise that i had another back spasm what was a surprise is that instead of this one lasting two minutes it went on for roughly seven or eight hours, not non-stop mind you, as long as i didn't move i was fine but everything in between hurt like a motherfucker...

It all started so innocently as i sat at this very computer in a shitty metal folding chair, Spartan Chic i dare say, when suddenly here it came, within seconds i was on all fours and then within minutes i was contemplating taking up religion so that at least i would have some deity to bargain with, curse at, plead with, make false promises to, anything really as long as said deity would make the pain stop, the boyos sat in the next room and came running in and found their old man prone on the floor and unable to get up, my legs seemingly deciding they had had enough of this walking and standing shit, i did manage to basically pull myself to a standing position and brace against the door while breathing deeply and hoping there would be no aftershocks, i was wrong, soon i was back down on the floor and the I-mac ran upstairs to tell the Breadwinner what was going on, the Breadwinner came down to find me on the floor and went to work on the internet to see what could be done, by this time of course both the boyos were freaking out because they have never seen their 6'4 inch 195lb. daddy laid out flat and writhing in pain, the I-mac was pleading with the Breadwinner to call an ambulance but no call or ambulance would be forthcoming, i understood why, she was tabulating the cost of the ER visit ($600 if i wasn't admitted) and the ambulance ride, what could they do? she said, i was about to scream shoot me fucking up with Demerol that's fucking what but at the time the pain was to busy occupying my thoughts... (if i stated what her end of year bonus, draw from her business, and other business rebate check was you'd understand just how low i rank, in fact the only chance i had for an ambulance/ER visit, seeing as there was no fucking way i could make it to a car let alone get into the damn thing, was the begging and pleading of the boyos but even then she remained unmoved...)

And so internet advice it was... the info relayed to me was that what i needed to do was get upright and jam my fist into the spasm, all well and good if i could actually stand and get my fist around my back before the pain crippled me, of course you'd be surprised what you can do and so i began to pull myself up the door again, once upright i shuffled slowly and leaned against a wall within sight of a pull out couch, the plan was to get there and fall down on my back, slide some pillows under my knees and jam that fist every time the pain shot... of course i still had to get there and i spent a good twenty minutes leaning on another door and jamming that fist, each movement brought pain ranging from holy shit to somebody please fucking put me out of my misery, but dammit i got there, my right arm burning from how hard i was cranking it into the epicenter of spasm central...

It had calmed down enough to get to the edge of the couch and i now faced the longest three feet of my existence, i didn't want the pain to come raging back and i knew the move i had to make to get down on that couch would do it, and so i took a deep breathe and flopped down, the pain firing and my fist digging in, once there i waited a few minutes breathing deeply and thinking fucking happy thoughts, i gave the nod to the Breadwinner who slid some pillows under my knees as another jolt sent my fist digging into my lower back, i laid there in the blue glow of the television and didn't move, even perfectly still the first hour or two i'd get jolts, one or two enough to illicit a pained "motherfucker" from my lips, i gingerly patted for the remote to turn on some music, classical and then jazz but it was the droning hum of American infomercial shilling that finally put me out, sleep never felt so good...

Until of course i had to piss...

When one is an able-bodied bastard their whole life you never really dwell on not being able to do a simple thing like get up, walk to the toilet, and toss a whiz... on this night i would learn what a privilege it is, of course in all my suburban mystic bullshit i had learned that sore muscles need water and so i lying there i drank as much as i could, i wanted to believe in magic, magic laughed, and so twice that night i had to rise and shuffle to the bathroom around the corner, i left the light on because i didn't think i could turn it on without another spasm, each time was an adventure, i would have liked to get out of my jeans but there was no fucking way that was happening, at least not without me screaming in pain, and so i would shuffle and piss and jam my fist in my back, as the dawn broke on my third piss i cautiously rose, there was ache but no mind-bending pain, i kept my fist at the ready, i took my leak and shuffled back and caught just a quick nip as i lay back down, i had come out the other side, at least for now...

I laid there and stared at the ceiling as the morning i usually orchestrated took place around me, the boyos came and carefully kissed my head and rolled out the front door and into the Breadwinner's ride, off they went and i slowly got up and vaped the heaviest indica on hand, whatever gets you through the night... or day... a couple of phone calls later (to the chiro and the doc) and i was out, i told myself that it wasn't that bad, as my little girl kitty sat next to me purring i almost cracked a smile... by noon i actually made it up the steps, the slight tweaking and twinging reminders like aftershocks to a great quake, to take it slow, to breath, i made cup of green tea, i shuffled back to my makeshift bed and read away the day amidst the sound of my breathing and the suburban nothing...




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Water Buffalo

It is said that to desire the path to enlightenment will only make said goal get further away... or as Alan Watts says "attempting to kiss your own lips", so the deeper i go into this study the more i realize i cannot desire knowledge or wisdom or leather shoes for to do this will negate the knowledge or wisdom or leather shoes, really the trick is to learn not to desire but just be but how does one do that in the age of consumption? fuck if i know... and of course for all my attempts to become a better citizen of the planet there is this thing called other people who constantly get me to loose this grasp of peaceful consciousness or whatever it is and and want to  beat the living shit out of them...

If ever there was a man to try my patience it is/was/and always will be the Breadwinner's father, a man who seemingly finds it impossible to enjoy anything (other than shopping) and who understands so little about what life actually is and could be, his level of selfishness and lack of self awareness is a stunning tribute to the Me culture we have cultivated in this country... problem is he's not a millennial but a 70 fucking year old man...

Full disclosure, a few years back on a trip to Costa Rica i contemplated rolling him down a large and rocky hill because he was such a raging asshole, no need to re-hash the details, that said the other day i arose at 4:30am so i could drive him to the VA for another of his outpatient surgeries, he's an old combat vet who saw shit that no human should have to see in the jungles of Vietnam, he's also a devout lover of Faux News and a supporter of the Orange Shitgibbon, his grasp of facts and rational thought is minimal but he does like to yell and throw fits when he hears opinions contrary to his own, needless to say we don't see eye to eye on many (any) things, he also loves to argue though and takes some weird delight in working himself up in a lather, of course his arguments are usually based on shit he makes up and he really hates when you point out that he's making shit up... being trapped in a car can be an uncomfortable place unless you've learned the art of deflect and distract... i have mastered this technique in his presence...

So i got him checked in and then drove home so i could make the boyos breakfast and get them off to school, i waited for the hospital to call so i could pick him up and drive him back to the house where he would stay for the night... having the man in your house is like inviting in a noisy water buffalo, he's a loud and lumbering mess, he snorts and grunts and belches, he makes coughing gagging sounds for no apparent reason, he leaves the most noxious farts and shuffles off, and yet i do my best to stay patient...

The root of his problem i believe is his inability to give or receive love, he doesn't understand how, has never learned and so it's a concept he struggles with, he is a man who if asked the age old question, the house is burning down and you can save either your wife or your kids, who do you save? would unequivocally say his wife, he had an unhealthy relationship at best with his deceased wife who he claimed to adore, of course that is if adore means being a jealous, selfish, angry, controlling prick, he resented his kids for taking up her time and taking time away from him, he used his wife's struggle with weight to manipulate her self-esteem, his way of showing love when his kids were growing up would be to give them money or buy them things, needless to say the Breadwinner received very little, yet here he stays, he has four children, notice who took him to the hospital? there are few people who can tolerate and deal with him for more than an hour, for some reason the man really likes me... to quote Neil Tennant, what 'ave i done to deserve this?

In the couple days he was around he spent a good deal of time talking about his money, how this is the best year he's ever had in the stock market (an allusion to the Orange Shitgibbon), how big his dividends were, how he was a fucking savant when it came to picking stocks, i stood washing dishes and folding clothes and quietly repeating the mantra "please shut the fuck up", when i mentioned i thought my old man was a pretty savvy player, (my old man being an ex-accountant and Water Buffalo being an ex-insurance salesman) he immediately barked, "not better than me" at this point it would have been easy for me to snap at him, to be the oxygen for his burning desire to argue and fight, i laughed, he repeated "not better than me", i shrugged and grinned and carried on... not long after he was at it again, commenting on something and offering to bet some bank account he had, my reply was another shrug, his was i should have taken him up on that bet because that was another of his fat bank rolls, i countered that he wouldn't be taking that money to the next world and how much do you need? and that the size of a man's wallet has no bearing on the character or decency of said man...

And therein lies the rub, the man has spent an entire life accumulating as much wealth as he could, he has thrown money at some of his children in an attempt to buy their love and yet when it came down to it was someone else's son who took him to his surgery, who picked him up and got him food and looked after him until he fell asleep, not because i love the man because i don't... nor do i hate him, my old man taught me about things that were more important than money, call it compassion or empathy or a willingness to be kind, don't look for a reward just do it because the universe is a cruel enough place on it's own most nights, i did it to set an example for the boyos (who know full well i'm not very fond of the man), sometimes you just do things because it's right, though i'm not sure right is the proper word, maybe kind and decent are the words, i explain to them that when their old man is nothing but a memory they won't remember a thing i bought them but will think of the moments we shared and the things we did... if i could give the Water Buffalo anything it'd be one day of clear thought, to show him the things he's missed and how lucky he really was even with his relentless attempts to piss it all away, hoping that from that day forward he would take advantage of the time he has left.... instead of staring at his phone and bragging about his money...






Thursday, December 28, 2017

Chrimbo Time photo edition

O' Tannenbaum

Zuko 

Kono's best friend
Making Xmas cookies with Otis

Ninjabread cookies

Kono Special Xmas cookie

that fucking elf
Boyos...defending the land (Fat Pedro photo bomb)



tune...

goodnight.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Great Carpool Kerfuffle

Oh me oh my the trials and tribulations of the lily-white suburbs, the problems faced by those driving mini-vans and high end SUV's are the most trivial non-sense that sometimes i have hard time fathoming the conversations that i am forced to engage in, it baffles my mind as i try to remember that this life is a river and all things must flow through it and there will be an equal amount of pain as there is pleasure, light as there is dark, for to only know one would be to not know the other, of course in my study of what could only be called loony Eastern Mysticism by the card carrying Jesus set i'm sure i make little sense, you see i make the mistake in the Land of Me and I'm Right!! of trying to actually understand and see the other side of the argument, it's a mistake obviously because i should only be trying to prove that i am right!! dammit and nothing more, even if i'm wrong and my bleating and belly-aching has more holes than a moth-eaten Kono flannel shirt, and so i bring to you the Great Carpool Kerfuffle...

It started the first week of the ride-sharing shit show, as a guy who has coached teams and has kids on teams i understand the dilemma, as a coach it would be nice if everyone is on time, as a parent i understand the difficulty in getting a kid to practice (particularly during the evening rush hour), as a coach it also becomes painfully clear that you will have the habitually late and usually the reason they are late is nothing more than they don't give themselves enough time, they don't fucking think basically which i suppose is a pet peeve of mine, i'm not down with the flighty bullshit of the soccer mom and so last week as the I-mac stood waiting for his ride and watching the clock i finally said fuck it! the kid hates being late to practice and is new to this carpool thing (i've always taken him for this very reason) and so i shot the driver a text that said i would just take him to practice myself, of course she didn't get it and proceeded to my house, i explained later via a friendly text Stretch doesn't like being late and gets anxious and stressed so in order to help my kid i just took him, of course the other kids were late but truth be told they were going to be late either way...

(Full disclosure- this is the travel basketball B team, Stretch here plays club soccer at the highest level and is a pretty damn good baller, if he had the time to practice more hoops he'd be playing on the A team, i don't say that as his father i say that as a coach and judge of talent, he's long and lean and built like a old man, the boy plays great defense and gets to the basket at will, the other three kids i've coached and to be blatantly honest, two should have been cut and one is borderline, it's a cash grab by the association to pad the account, the three will be hard pressed to make a team next year...)

So in the afternoon text chain i offered to take the kids to practice, in order to avoid this very thing but of course (we'll call them the Berensteins, yes like the bears) decided she would do it again, except it wasn't her but her hubby, a solicitor who drives a shiny gold Mercedes and voted for the Orange Shitgibbon, he by the way wasn't in the text chain, of course the who and when of the driving was unbeknownst to me until after practice started when i started receiving some angry texts... but i'm getting ahead of myself...

Once again the I-mac and i stood around waiting and watching the clock and then the text came in from Mrs. Berenstein that Mr. Berenstein was outside and where we there or did we leave? what was going on? Mrs. Berenstein is a likable and flighty woman who i'll admit makes me uncomfortable in the way she likes to look at me and seems to find many excuses to hug me for an unsettling long time, i said we hadn't but were standing by the door and no one was there, i proceeded to then text her that i'd just take the I-mac because by this point it was getting late and frankly i was frustrated with the Berensteins inability to get a simple task right... at this point i tossed on a coat and some boots and used my mad driving skills to get Stretch to practice on time, problem solved and time to chill... at least that's what i thought...

Soon the old phone was buzzing with an incoming text from Mr. Berenstein stating that he was quite frustrated with the whole carpool thing, meaning me, and that he had sat outside my house and waited for close to ten minutes and where was my kid and blah blah fucking blah, he stated it looked like no one was home yet there were two cars in the drive, damn near every light in the house on, the fucking Chrimbo tree lights on (and we all know it's a damn fire hazard to leave those on while no one is home) yet what did the brilliant Mr. Berenstein do? he texted his kid and his wife but never bothered to hit the horn or text/call the parent of the house he was fucking sitting in front of... instead he had his wife text me from some function she was at with her other kids (something i didn't know when i told her i'd just take Stretch) hence she was not in direct contact with Mr. Anger Management Issues.

I read his text and replied rather politely that we honestly didn't see anyone outside the house when he said he was out there and that we had the front door open and were looking, i commented that a quick heads up text stating they were heading our way would be cool and that way we'd be on the lookout and with homework and dinner and life in general a little communication would go a long way... apparently this incensed him even more to which he began ranting how i didn't believe he was outside and that i was making this his fault, he then sent me a screen grab of his kid's phone to prove he was out there and began berating me to look at my kid's phone because his kid had texted my kid and that would prove he was there... at this point i was scratching my head at what the fuck this moron was going on about and was debating if my next text would say something like " take your guns and bible and crew cut and Mercedes and wire-rimmed glasses and half ass law degree and shove them straight up your fucking uptight ass you stupid fuck", but in the end i thought i'd be better for Stretch if i didn't do that...

Now allow me to digress, as i said with a small amount of thought this shit ain't hard, the school the practice was being held at was closest to our house yet for some reason he hadn't yet gotten his own kid or the kid who lives two houses over or the other kid who is a bit out of the way but not by more than 3 minutes, if one thinks about it you can make a quick loop and have all the players and be headed in the direction of whichever school but on this night Stretch should have been the last one picked up cuz he was the closest to practice and by picking him up first meant you were backtracking all in order to come back the way you had started, it was the plan of a full-fledged fucking idiot...

And so i went about my night until my phone buzzed again... and again he was ranting that he was more frustrated because he felt i didn't believe him and was making this his fault to which i wanted to ask if he had ever considered psychiatric therapy, he then ranted that he never had to hit the horn or text or call or knock on doors for anyone dammit and that the other kids magically knew when he'd be there, i didn't want to point out that the only reason they were waiting at the door was because he was late as fuck from being a fucking nimrod but you know the whole gas/fire thing, he yammered to look at my kid's phone when he got home and i explained that he turns his phone off at practice so it doesn't ring and that while he's at home he doesn't have free reign with it so he may not have it, at this point i was asking aloud if these people have any fucking hobbies? or interests? could they read a book or watch the fucking telly? but hell man this is America, the real problem is he wanted to, needed to be RIGHT, to WIN gawdammit!!! for shit sake he's a fucking lawyer in a gold Mercedes and i'm a fucking house boy in a leased car it was an insult that i'd even question him!!!

Which leads us to the Wu-Wei, the ebb and flow, and since i had no desire to continue this ridiculous repartee i broke it down in a way that would make him feel slightly better and mildly confused, i apologized for the miscommunication and soothed his ruffled ego by stating the i was not insinuating he was lying or not there, i explained that texting was an impersonal form of communication and that i was not laying blame or placing fault at his feet, i skipped the fact that his inability to communicate or use logic was really the root of the problem and placed as much of the blame as he would like on my shoulders so he could WIN dammit, i explained i'd much rather buy him a beer and hash it out, something i'd be loathe to do and a task that would take every ounce and fiber of my half-assed Buddhist being to undertake without the burning desire to punch him in the face... needless to say after my rather eloquent diatribe i heard nothing... the denizens of the burbs can be a drag... or as Sartre said, "hell is other people"...








Friday, December 8, 2017

The Wilderness Years - Free Agent (Part 1)

And so there i was, Hippie Jack and Cocaine Mike were the dynamic duo of fuck-ups and so Mr. Big decided to cut his losses and walk away from anyone associated with them, i tried to take their place, lobbied for a sit down, had Karen the Bartender put in a good word, Hippie Jack went so far as to tell Mr. Big that i was the guy he should be dealing with but Mr. Big wanted Jack cut out and he was most likely thinking that my sense of loyalty to the lovable hippie would have meant me cutting him back in, on a limited basis, and he was probably right, in hindsight i could understand why i wasn't next up even if i had earned that shot, it looked like i was part of a crew of numbskulls, whatever that pair touched turned to shit and while i'm not sure how much Mr. Big lost my best estimates are north of ten grand, yeah i know what's 10G in the drug business but let me ask you this? ever loose ten thousand dollars? then again it was one of the hazards of the game...

So i was cut loose, i did my best to posture and piss and moan and told Karen someday i'd take all Mr. Big's fucking business, she'd been around long enough to know young bluster when she heard it and when it finally sunk in i skulked home and began looking for a source, a good one preferably but at this point any source would fucking do...

This is the life of a street level dealer circa 1997 and the economics that went with it.  I'd been at my warehouse gig 2 years and made $7 an hour, after rent and bills and student loans i'd have roughly 40 bucks to eat on every month and so like most of the working poor i needed a second job, just so happened that my second job was slinging weed and the pay was pretty decent, i set my own hours and damn if work wasn't fun! Each night could be a party if i so made it and even at my minor level i was good at what i did which meant i knew how to hook up the bartenders which resulted in free booze and recommendations for new customers, life was good... as long as i had a connection. I wasn't getting rich, but i was getting by and having a pretty good time...

As i sat in my sanctuary/office known as the back bedroom of the sevenfivenine i knew i needed both gigs and i knew i needed the slinging more than the warehouse but the warehouse gig was the security blanket if things went tits up with the ganja and at that moment things looked like they had gone tits up with the ganja. I had managed to save a few grand which was oddly probably more than most of the people i knew but i also knew that without the weed that what took two years to scrape together would take two months to disappear, not to mention becoming accustomed to the lifestyle of the low level hood, which meant closing the bars or hanging at the strip club, being hood famous as the kids used to say... my master plan of selling grass to pay off my student loans was suddenly looking like a house of cards and the wind was slowly starting to pick up...

There's a lot of things that run through the head at times like this but the one thing i pretended wouldn't happen was that i wouldn't find another connection, i had been steady and fair and not a complete fucking nutter in terms of dealers and so many of my own customers were out asking around about hook-ups, saying they knew a guy who could move shit, and while i appreciated the help i needed to find my own connection, it is a profession rampant with paranoia (imagine that!) even on the lowest of levels, connections were tricky things, you wanted to keep a buffer between the supply and the clientele because you don't want someone stealing your business, the trick was to move up until you found a comfortable level to do what you wanted to do, it's a thought that's lost on most cats out there dealing, they think it's like the shit they see on tv... it's not... if you're gonna make any money at it and not end up in jail you better treat it like a serious profession...

Since moving back to North Oakland and setting up shop Mitchell's had been my home base, now it felt like an insult to walk in the place, Mr. Big would still hang out there and the last thing i wanted was to be drunk and start running my mouth, i didn't need the hassle, i had been hanging out at Joe's Bar, a scant half block from my place, a barfly bar recently purchased by a young guy we called Pizza Joe because he also bought and ran the pizza shop that adjoined the bar, and what the hell else would we call him? of course Pizza Joe bought the place with the money he made selling blow, he was a good guy and knew i was in the game, occasionally i'd hook his lady up because  i had better weed than anyone else she knew at the time, with things officially gone pear-shaped i posed the question one night as i stood in the pizza shop, did he know anyone? let me make some calls he said...


Friday, December 1, 2017

Tanks-givin

When i was a kid Thanksgiving was the one holiday that we got to spend with my dad's family and i'm not trying to knock me old mom's side but the truth is that my dad's side was infinitely more interesting and entertaining.  It started with my grandmother, a woman who grew up dirt poor on a farm near Jackson, Tennessee.  For a woman from the deep south who grew up in the 1920's and 30's she was about as liberal as you could get and didn't tolerate racism or homophobia, her children would tell you point blank that if you wanted to catch a smack all you had to do was drop the N-word or call someone a faggot, she took no shit and taught her children to think for themselves, at her funeral i found out her favorite baseball player was Larry Doby (who broke the American League color barrier) and that football player Jim Brown had near god-like status (and to those of us from Cleveland still does).  What i loved about this day was that unlike my other grand-ma's the conversation at this house was lively and intelligent...

As a kid i found it fascinating to sit around and listen in on the adults as i pretended to watch football, it was a house full of opinions and strong personalities and at times the intellectual sparring could become fierce, i remember my Aunt Judy and Uncle Paul having a spirited debate one year when the local rock station WMMS did a Beatles A to Z thing, they both loved the Beatles and listening to them go back and forth was a fascinating thing for a kid, it opened up whole new worlds to what music was and could be and watching my Aunt standing by the stereo, glass of wine in one hand, cigarette in the other, swaying to the music, as i got older of course i began to be included in the conversations... what i remember most though was that my grandmother always made me slice and bake chocolate chip cookies cuz they were my favorite ( a practice that continued well into my late 20's) that her big old orange cat Edgar would wander in and out of the house and Edgar and i would usually catch a nap curled up on a corner of a couch, the house was always warm and smelled like Thanksgiving dinner and no one ever left early to go shopping...

My grandmother spent twenty some odd years working at Sears up until she retired to become a full-time granny, back then Thanksgiving was supposed to be spent with family, the stores were not open, of course during the Wilderness Years i spent a few with a bottle or nursing some of the most epic and agonizing hangovers i'd ever have, i remember one day trying to find a place to eat because i was so hungover  and yet nothing was open, it was twenty years ago? of course then came the time when i'd go to the Breadwinner's parents for the holiday, a family that's always been big on shopping, even the ones who claim they're not, i remember her brother and his wife getting up early to go hit the sales, you know the 6am Friday door buster that was all the rage back in the early aughts... then things began to change...

If you notice a train of thought here maybe it's the season or maybe i smoke to much grass, slowly of course the corporate oligarchs began to co-opt this day, as they are known to do with almost any fucking day they can, to turn it into some kind of ritualistic orgy of shopping and consumption, it no longer was about sitting down with some people you love or mildly dislike or just plain annoy the fucking shit out of you to eat and drink and talk, no no, it became a day to plot and plan a strategy to score the most shit and get a good deal (though those same "deals" would still be there come next week), instead of people having a day off to be with their family it became a day of commerce and work just like any other day except now the retail work day started at 5 or 6pm and went all fucking night!!! praise be the almighty dollar, you can have your turkey dinner but then you need to get your ass to work sucker, the masters need their gelt.. and so it is that now the meaning of Thanksgiving is nothing more than a synonym for quarterly earnings and the state of the economy, the oligarchs still use their mouthpieces (advertisers) to push the myth of family and HUGE savings but for those paying attention we know the myth is bullshit... had things been like this when i was a kid i'd have missed out on some great days because my grandma would've had to go to work...

The boyos are being well schooled in the evils of Black Friday, it sounds much like that sermon above and it probably doesn't hurt that their old man's a misanthrope, we avoid all things retail, i took them to gym for a basketball day camp for three hours, i made the short drive home and lay on the couch and listened to records and read books, beats the piss out of fighting for televisions and parking spots, we ate leftovers and played a game, it was a pattern that continued all weekend, they trekked into the park near our house returning muddy and tired and happy, i spun more records and pulled tubes and read books, we ate more leftovers, we saved a bunch of money because we didn't buy a thing, that's not to say that things won't get bought, try as i might i can't deny the culture i live in or the place that i live, but i'm trying to take back just a little maybe, to suggest that life isn't all about consumption and the trinkets you get but about the people and the days you spend with them and how when those days are gone they will be more valuable than anything bought or sold... strange how the free things can be so priceless...