Welcome to math class! Today we will be discussing subtraction. Specifically, the equation above.
In May 1996 I went to Providence Emergency, after collapsing at the bus stop, unable to breathe after walking two blocks. When I checked in, they weighed me on the freight scale at the clinic.
528 pounds. I had a meat-apron that hung almost to my knees, boobs like Aunt Jemima, and each leg was bigger around than the waist of my current girlfriend. I gurgled when I breathed at night. (*When* I breathed at night.) Sleep apnea was a big issue; my nighttime oxygen levels dipped into death territory. Time to turn things around.
I went in for a check-up the other day. I hadn’t had my diabetic numbers looked at in a couple years; I wanted to make sure I wasn’t undoing good work with my imbibing of cookies and ice cream. My number came back 5.2. 4-6 is normal. 7.0 is diabetic. 6.9 was my number in 1996.
I killed diabetes!
The doctor, reading my chart, marveled at my weight-loss numbers. I’ve lost 48 pounds in the last year. And not a speck of meth!
I must confess, I was disappointed when the scale stopped at 216. I wanted to be under 200, but I will take 216. At one time that’s probably how much one leg weighed. The fact that I can look down and see my ‘leetle frenn’ is a big reward. The fact that others can see it is probably close to a miracle.
I have lost a total of 312 pounds. That’s two fully grown adults.
I’m keeping my pass aboard the health-train. Gonna get ‘scoped here soon. No one has looked up my ass since the teen years when I got arrested. I’m going to let someone with a little more business up there take a look this time. I’m sure I’ll share the gory details.
And… My new doctor okayed a test-drive of Viagra. After an amusing question and answer session, she said I am good to go. (Or come, actually.) I just got to make sure I don’t piss Rain off when I take it. That’s not the kind of stiffness in the joints I want to use to score pain pills…
The previous post was written from my smartphone while waiting for a dental appointment. While I can’t say I like the aesthetics completely, I will have fewer excuses for not writing. If nothing else, I can do rough drafts while on the road.
I love being a future old-timer during this era.
Growing up, all drugs were bad.
Not aspirin or penicillin. You know what I’m talking about. Drugs…. That stuff you shoot up, or snort. Or in my case, smoke. Yes, weed was as evil as heroin at our house, because it was drugs.
Of course, over time my views changed. Like when I turned fourteen and puberty happened before Armageddon. I began experimenting with the more colorful of the drugs. LSD, mushrooms, a lot of three-lettered concoctions. (DMT, MDA, PCP.) But my rule was to always keep my pinky toe on the ground, and follow the sage advice of Bugs Bunny. “There’s nothing wrong with sharing a nice healthy carrot before a show, but stay away from hard drugs like heroin and downers. ” I’ve managed to do pretty well at that.
But I done got old. Stuff hurts, and while Advil is great for muscular aches and pains, it does nothing for the pain in my soul. Alcohol makes things worse, and I have not been a believer of happiness in a handful of pills. What to do?
I discovered medibles and medicated vitamin water, and have consumed them almost daily since I got my “green card”. After a couple years I wondered if I was addicted. The old saying, “I can quit any time I want to, I just don’t want to. ” Applies in spades.
The other side of addiction, is it causing problems in other areas of life? Other than affording the shit, there have been minimal side-effects. In fact, my work has probably never been better. I actually enjoy my job when properly medicated.
Wanting to see what would happen, I avoided medibles, but there was the whole pain pill thing to consider. I discovered early on that medibles mix GREAT with opiates. I know
opiates are addictive, so I must be careful.
Mixing the two feels like being drunk, but you can think somewhat clearly. I feel more compassionate toward my fellow man. I walk my ass off, because moving around feels good. I was having a hard time finding negatives.
So, for shits and Giggles, I went a few days without medibles. Holla, Crankiness! Fuck you and the whores you rode in on, fellow man! I won’t even begin to describe my contempt for the tweakers and Dirt Urchins.
So when a buddy came by and offered me a couple oxy 5s, I gobbled them right at the counter. Half-hour later I was dusting and tidying like Alice from The Brady Bunch. And saying hello instead of grunting at people.
Was it the weed, or the opiates? I may do some more research, since the vitamin water well has temporarily gone dry. But I am keeping a couple happy pills nearby, just in case.
I could see the lack of line from three blocks away. This bodes well. I was cruising on the last of my pain pills, and hadn’t been eating. A Memphis Mafia sounded wonderful, but spending $5 at Winco sounded more prudent. Fuck it. Rain had been talking about how she’d been craving a super-sized glazed doughnut. I might drop a full $10 and it will be dinner for us both.
The line had been non-existent from three blocks away, but by the time I arrived there were fifteen people crowded around the entrance, lining up through the exit door. A friendly panhandler pointed this out to people, and I ended up behind three hot girls with exotic haircuts. I eavesdropped as they discussed what to buy. After musing about how the cashier had just described the ingredients of a Cock-and-Balls to an eight-year-old, I offered suggestions to the one closest to me, a black girl with one side of her head shaved. We discussed Rappers Delights, Memphis Mafias, and all the other options. They were still debating when I was called to the counter.
“I’d like a Memphis Mafia and a giant glazed doughnut, please?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We’re out of Memphis Mafias.”
Shit. Time to invoke the Voodoo Diet rule.
As I gathered my cash, I had a flash of brilliance. “Do you have any buckets?”
“Let me check…” She went to the back. I turned and looked at the line, it was halfway down the block. My timing could not have been better if I’d really wanted a doughnut.
She returned with a five-gallon bucket. Inside were roughly 30-50 slightly mashed-up doughnuts. “Large ones are $10.” I gave her two fives and headed out the door.
“Hey, what’s that?” I heard a guy yell behind me. “Is that normal?” I had fantasies of being a weed mogul coming for his weekly payoff, a bucketful of black market doughnuts. Dad’s voice told me to put a spring in my step. Dad’s been in line fifteen-twenty minutes, and needs a Coor’s Light. If he knew how much his family and friends were about to cost him, he’d really hate me.
I made my way past the Dirt Urchins, who knew what was in the bucket. “Spare one of those, brah?” My negative grunts brought some snotty comments, to which I did not respond. I’m not giving them first pick, and I certainly don’t want their grubby hands picking through.
I stopped by the Mothership, offering a share to Festus, who took ONE. “Dude, take a couple.” He showed remarkable restraint. I took my bucket and made for the bus.
I took the back corner of the bus, not wanting to advertise my carbohydrate-filled bounty. As we pulled up to the main time point downtown, I saw Rain getting on the bus. It was rush hour, and seats were hard to come by. She took one near the handicapped section.
I texted, “I’m sure if you asked nicely the bald dude next to me would move over.”
Nothing. Her phone was in her purse.
So I pulled out the MP3 and cued Slipknot, about the time she pulled out her phone. Mine rang, it was her. “Hello?”
“Hi babe,” she said. “I’m on the bus.”
“Me too,” I said.
“I’m at Burgerville, you must be on the one in front of me.”
“So am I. I think you’re on the one in front of me.”
She turned her head, and we made eye contact. Yes, the bald guy would move over and make room.
“Ooh, you got doughnuts!” She said it low. I popped the lid, and what was on top? A giant glazed doughnut. “And you got one of my doughnuts? I love you, Charlie Chan.”
We sat in the back of the bus and ate about half the bucket on the way home. Upon arrival, I picked through and took a few of my almost-favorites, and left the bucket in the kitchen for scavenging. The kids and my bro-in-law should take care of the rest.
I think I’m good on doughnuts for a while.
My almost-eighteen-year-old niece is the Marilyn Munster in a family expecting to raise Marilyn Manson. For some weird goddamn reason two normal, well-adjusted kids have grown up around their ne’er-do-well parents and uncle. Mizelle is consantly asking, “What did you do? They are so nice and well-behaved!”
Beats the fuck outta me.
Niecy is in no hurry to grow up. She refused to watch R-rated movies until she was seventeen, and then only when edited on TV. She’s into age-appropriate comics, and enjoys a good poop-joke as much as anybody, but she’s in no hurry to see the darker side of life. When she gets mad enough to swear, she will warn us that she’s mad enough to do so, and then say something like, “Oh… butt!”
It’s fuckin’ hilarious.
So as the adults go about their day, motherfuckin’ this and cocksuckin’ that, she keeps score. She will remind her parents of their cuss-bill, but she gives me a wide berth. She hath realized that when I’m in the middle of a obscenity-filled tirade, it may not be the best time to remind me that the meter is running. She catches me later.
“Um, Uncle Charlie, when you going to pay your swear jar bill? Dad paid his today.”
“How much did he owe?”
“How many do I owe?”
“No shit? Is that all?”
“Um, six coins…”
As I stared at Little Haji, the give-a-penny, take-a-penny cup, I had a brainstorm. After two nights I had accumulated about one hundred pennies. I slipped them into my pocket, and waited. As the family sat around, watching TV and munching on popcorn, Rain came out of the bathroom. I winked at her. “Is it time?” she asked me.
“Baby, it is time.”
“All right, motherfuckers, here we go!” That got everybody looking.
The six pennies thunked to the bottom of the jar. “There, goddammit!” I dropped another penny. Plunk! “If I’m going to be charged for swearing,” Plunk! “I’m gonna get my motherfucking money’s worth!” Plunk!
A few more sons-of-biotches, goddamns, etc… Plunk!Plunk!Plunk! and I slowed down. When I got to a few pennies left, I dumped the handful, and asked, “Will that take care of me for a day or two?”
“Maybe a week,” my niece laughed.
I pulled out one last penny, held it to the light, and said, “One more for the road.” I removed my upper dentures for effect, and said, “F-f-f-f-foooooey!” Replaced my teeth, dropped my imaginary microphone and headed offstage to my room. In the process I stepped on the dog’s tail. “Move your stupid fucking tail when I’m walking, dog!”
Then I looked at Niecy and asked, “We’re good, right?”
“Maybe you’ll be covered through tomorrow…”
This isn’t about a smart one…
I’ve been hating on fireworks for years. I guess it’s becoming my nature to be a cranky old man, due to time constraints and all, but I have good reasons for not liking 4th of July. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, I just don’t want to breathe chunks of air, or have my house burnt down.
So what did I do last night? Attend a fireworks display.
When a lovely lady asks me this, I’m usually tripping all over myself saying yes. And when the lovely lady is a relative, you try extra hard to say yes with as much enthusiasm as possible. (Authentic, of course.) But when “no” is a better answer, or “a qualified yes” perhaps, well… That’s when proper word usage is important.
You see, TJ called not only in the middle of bug extermination week; Saturday was the fifth anniversary of the day Rain and I first hooked up…
We all know how my will power held out on that decision.
Since then I have seen a who’s who (but not The Who) of heavy rock royalty. Marilyn Manson, Motorhead, Slayer, Rob Zombie, all have flitted across my field of vision the past few years. I saw The Wall performed as live as it’s gonna get, though will probably see the movie when it comes out. (In 1982, we thought a LIVE performance was coming, and got Alan Parker’s dream sequence instead.) I’ve seen Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, but not together. I’ve seen Page and Plant, but not Led Zeppelin. I have not seen the Rolling Stones, mostly for financial reasons. Any time they have been near me, tix have been $400. For that much money, if I want to see people dancing in adult diapers I will visit a nearby rest home.
There was a time I kept track of the alcohol I wanted to try when I fell off the wagon. Little by little I’ve run out of alcohol I am interested in trying. That’s right, The Man With The Iron Liver doesn’t give a damn about alcohol any more. (But if I did, I would try Dawn of the Red for its label alone.) I used to say I didn’t need to be drunk to have fun, until that became untrue. Maybe I need to be drunk to get into today’s music, because what I hear is whiny and a ripoff of previous generations who actually went to music school.
WASP is a good example of music you need to be drunk to appreciate. Van Halen is another. It just sounds better after six beers and half a dozen shots of Wild Turkey. (But then, what doesn’t?) The challenge is finding music extreme enough to scratch my itch, without having to destroy my life by getting drunk enough to enjoy it. I always thought Motorhead would be pointless listening when sober, but was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it better clear-headed. Some of this stuff translates!
One band has always eluded me. My first thought was, “Oh Christ, another exploitation of clowns for a cheap thrill.” (I’m such a clown philanthropist.) Much like The Grammys, I wasn’t sure if they were a parody band, like Spinal Tap. (Smell The Glove is a classic, parody or not.) When Slipknot were banned from the Roseland for setting themselves on fire with lighter fluid, I was intrigued, but not enough to pay to see. I witness jackassery on an hourly basis at work.
Over the years, I won tickets off the radio three different times. Traded Rockfest tickets (Slipknot headlining) because it was in a cow pasture in Scappoose and I had no ride. (Got a ghetto-blaster from a skinhead for that pair.) The others I traded, or just let stay at the station. Meh.
Then something happened. The dude from Slipknot quit drinking, and the music went from raging anger to thought-filled screams of anguish and hope. (Or the lack thereof. “ALL…HOPE…IS…GONE!”) I fell in love with, and to, that album. It reminds me of Raven, and then Clairissa. During a short, intense period of time this album soundtracked our friendship.
Some years back I decided I had to see Slipknot, so it became my “retirement” concert. Once I see them, I can quit going to shows. Will that be the case? I doubt it.
See, they are playing at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, which is tiny for a national-sized act. It’s like having a steak in a cereal bowl. So much goodness in the bowl there’s barely room to slip your fork in. They pile all that stuff in front of me, and turn it up to 11. And light it on fire.
I will not be drinking. And I may have to break down and wear a ponytail. I will be sitting close enough to singe off a few hairs…
“I love ’em! They take a bit of getting youthed to…”
For the last couple weeks I have sounded like everyone from Patrick Starfish to an inebriated Stephen Hawking with a cleft palate. Getting used to dentures seems more of a challenge than getting dentures, but I’m playing along and following the rules.
My biggest problem has been keeping the goddamned things in my mouth…