Gut Rumbles

February 16, 2006

happy birthday to me!

As of 0600 this morning, I am 54 years old. Yep, on this day in 1952, at six o'clock in the morning, I came kicking and screaming into this world. I've been kicking and screaming ever since, although that shit wears me out a lot quicker now than it once did. I don't kick as high or scream as loud anymore, either.

Today got off to a good start. Here, I've been selected as blog of the day to add to the glory of my victory in the crap-daddy contest yesterday. See? You can't say that MY LIFE has been wasted. I've got links to prove otherwise.

In waxing philosophical, as I usually do on my birthday, I've discovered that I can divide my life into clear segments--- the phases I struggled through to become the man I am today.

0-7 years: Hillbilly days, in the Kentucky coal mining camp, where the basic values I carry today were ingrained in me. When Recondo 32 and I drove through there in 2004, I didn't recognize the place anymore, but I remember living there very clearly. I have fond memories of those days, but getting out of there was the biggest favor my parents ever did for me.

7-10 years: Difficult transition time, when I learned what it's like to be different from everybody else. I was little, skinny and I talked with a funny accent. I got into a lot of fights.

10-14 years: The Huck Finn period, when I ran the woods like a savage with my equally savage friends. Climbing trees, shooting BB guns, skinny-dipping in the Gun Club Lake, camping out, killing snakes, collecting insects and making war with anything we could find to throw, shoot or launch at each. Bejus! It's a wonder that any of us survived. Today's risk-averse soccer-moms would hyperventilate and drop dead of the vapors if their children did what I did back then. It was fucking WONDERFUL! Every boy should have the chance to live like that.

14-18 years: Tumultuous times, when puberty hit me hard. Those were the Jockstrap Years--- football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and anything else you can name. If it was a game, I played it. That's also when I started regarding wimmen as mysterious, fascinating creatures who made me feel funny in my pants rather than as cootie-depositories to be avoided. They scared the shit out of me, but I wanted one anyway. Physically, I finally lost my cherry. Mentally, I remained confused most of the time.

18-24 years: The Bohemian Period, when I dabbled in higher education while learning to smoke dope, play guitar for money and actually catch pussy when I chased it. I flew the familial coop and started living on my own for the first time. I also discovered that I really liked alcohol. A LOT.

24-29 years: Early Retirement. I chucked a job as an advertising copywriter and became a full-time bar musician. I drove my father crazy by "spinning my wheels" (in HIS opinion) and going nowhere with all that education I had. I didn't care. I was as happy as a dead pig in sunshine. I was responsible for myself and an ugly-assed dog and neither one of us was high-maintenance. Life was good.

29-38 years: Nose to the Grindstone time, when I first learned what marrying the wrong woman can do to you. I put my guitar down and went to work in the chemical plant when that first darlin' decided to get pregnant and lose what little sense she had to begin with when I married her. GAWD! On the plus side, I got a pretty good daughter out of the deal and I learned a very valuable lesson: If you think that you can lift a self-destructive loser UP, you'll end up being dragged DOWN when you try. If I could pick one part of my life to go back and live over again differently, this would be it.

38-40 years: Starting over again. I was flat-ass broke, heavily in debt, homeless and damn near hopeless. I had my truck, my guitars, a few clothes, my job and not much else. I frequently had to make a choice between eating or buying cigarettes because I didn't have enough money to do both. (Cigarettes always won.) I was in a hole so deep that I didn't believe I would EVER see sunshine again. Those were bad times.

40-49 years: The Salad Days in the beginning, except for my father's death. I fell deeply in love for the first time, with a woman who was just as broke as I was. Together, we paid ourselves out of debt and began to prosper. I fathered a son. I bought a mini-farm. I had more than I ever DREAMED I would have and I remember thinking, "This is too good to be true." It was. Cancer and divorce laid a big reality check on my Cracker ass and it damn near killed me. I just THOUGHT I had been in a black hole before. Hell, that was just a rut in the road. I still haven't fully recovered from 2001 and I don't know that I ever will, at least not completely. Strange. I experienced both the happiest and the most miserable days of my life in the same period. I also started blogging.

49-53: Down, down, down days. Impotence. Incontinence. Got a bionic dick and wondered why I bothered. I lost my job because of my politically-incorrect blog and became a full-time drunk. I didn't give a shit about ANYTHING anymore. Spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I knew that I was dying, killing myself one drink, one bottle at a time, but I didn't care. When I wrote that I often made a choice at night between setting my alarm clock and reaching for a pistol, I wasn't making that shit up. After I "retired," I didn't have to set the alarm anymore, but I still thought about that pistol. I was a dead man walking anyway. Mama died and I checked myself into rehab just in the nick of time. That was a close one.

53-?: Who knows? I have some vague plans, but I'm not exactly on fire about anything except not taking a drink today. I'm still blogging, working on a book (my 2006 Writer's Market came in the mail yesterday) and living one day at a time. I know better than to say "the worst is over," but I feel pretty good right now. I think I'll hang around a few more years to see what happens next. I've had some pretty remarkable ups and downs in my life, but I've gotta admit one thing: it's not been boring. I've got plenty to write about.

So... happy birthday to me.


Write on babes. Do that doo doo that you do so well.
Happy B-day again! :~)

Posted by: Lil Toni on February 16, 2006 02:24 PM

... Happy Birthday, Rob... many happy returns....

Posted by: Eric on February 16, 2006 02:27 PM

Happy Birthday, Rob!

It's good to see you feeling good. You still have a lot of years left in you!

Posted by: Beth Donovan on February 16, 2006 02:28 PM

Happy Birthday!! May you have many more and may they be as happy as the happiest ones you remember.

Posted by: Kelly on February 16, 2006 02:30 PM

Glad you never picked up that gun. Happy
birthday. Hope to hell this is one you will look back on, in your retrospective, as a happy one.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 16, 2006 02:47 PM

Happy birthday to you, Rob,,,guess this means I'm 8 days older than you are!! Sure hope we get to meet again at another blogfest someday.

Posted by: Michele on February 16, 2006 02:48 PM

Very happy birthday to you today and may the next 54 years be all they should be "cracked" up to be!!!

Posted by: judi on February 16, 2006 02:58 PM

Happy B-day! It's also my son's birthday as well...

Posted by: Steph on February 16, 2006 02:58 PM

"Hap-py Birth-day,

Hap-py Birth-day, Ba-by,

Oh, we love you so."

Posted by: Maggie on February 16, 2006 03:03 PM

I couldn't be happier to wish you happy birthday!

Posted by: Omnibus Driver on February 16, 2006 03:04 PM

Happy Birthday, Darlin'....

Posted by: Stevie on February 16, 2006 03:04 PM

To your continued happiness & sobriety (I do believe they go hand in hand) ... a fantastically happy birthday to you.
May a hot babe drop through the Cracker Box's chimney tonight and warm up them weary bones of yours.
All the best ...

Posted by: erica on February 16, 2006 03:06 PM

Happy Birthday,,,,
Looking forward to meeting you in Austin!.

Posted by: jerry on February 16, 2006 03:19 PM

What a story...what a life.

You've got a lot more chapters left to write.

I said it in a comment elsewhere, but I'll say it again - Happy Birthday. From one 1952 baby to another.

Posted by: Elisson on February 16, 2006 03:32 PM

Happy birthday Rob.

Posted by: Starhawk on February 16, 2006 03:52 PM

"If you think that you can lift a self-destructive loser UP, you'll end up being dragged DOWN when you try.": YES. I wish to God I could drill this into any children I ever manage to manufacture. The important thing here is that you managed to extricate your redneck ass, and you are still going.

Happy birthday, and many more!

Posted by: disconnect on February 16, 2006 04:04 PM

Happy Birthday!!! Here's to finding the best days of your life still ahead of you!

Posted by: DogsDontPurr on February 16, 2006 04:11 PM


Posted by: Joyce on February 16, 2006 04:27 PM

Excellent post. If you wrote a book, I'd definitely buy it. Other than that, Happy Birthday.

Posted by: Tessa on February 16, 2006 04:30 PM

Happy Birthday, Rob. Best wishes for a brighter future.

Posted by: imp on February 16, 2006 06:05 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You ain't such a bad guy

for a Cracker. Can't blame ya for disliking

us Good Yankees since ya don't knows no

better. But what the hell. You're my kinda

hayseed. Your youth was similar to mine

with the woods/camping/wild days. Fun.

Posted by: TomCat on February 16, 2006 06:28 PM

Happy Birthday Rob. Now that you've put all of life's shit behind you, it's time to start living. You got nothing to hold you back anymore so live it up. You might want to think about giving up them cancer sticks after you've been sober for a year or two.

Posted by: assrot on February 16, 2006 06:39 PM

I don't often do this on people's birthdays, but make a wish...

...right now...

...and it will be yours.

I don't welch on things like that.

Happy birthday, and blessed be ;)

Posted by: Misty on February 16, 2006 07:03 PM

SWEET! You've turned a hard but positive corner this past year. Happy Birthday Rob!

From here on...may the most that you hope for be the least that you get.

Posted by: marcl on February 16, 2006 07:22 PM

Happy Birthday, Rob! I hope you have a memorable day.

Posted by: Renee on February 16, 2006 07:31 PM

Happy B'day, Rob! An advantage of sobriety is you get to remember the whole day, not just the early parts...

Posted by: Stu on February 16, 2006 07:33 PM

Well done, sir!

Your 10-14 period sounds just like mine. I wish my two boys could have had the same. Different world, different times....

Posted by: The Other Mike S on February 16, 2006 08:02 PM

Happy Birthday, Rob. I am sending all kinds of good thoughts your way...

Posted by: Richmond on February 16, 2006 08:40 PM

Happy birthday to you!

Posted by: Jane Finch on February 16, 2006 10:24 PM

Happy birthday, you ol' PUPPY!!!

Mostly Cajun
Class of 1950

Posted by: mostly cajun on February 16, 2006 10:49 PM

Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Eric Brooks on February 16, 2006 10:59 PM

Happy Birthday

Posted by: TC on February 16, 2006 11:26 PM

Nothing original here, just a happy day.

Posted by: hoosierboy on February 17, 2006 12:01 AM

Happy Birthday, Rob! Last year, while I was in Iraq, I wrote to say thanks for your blog...something to remind me of home...thanks again, and many happy returns.

-Dave Crutchfield

Posted by: Crutch on February 17, 2006 03:11 AM

Happy Birthday, young feller.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on February 17, 2006 03:42 AM

Happy Birthday Rob! I'm glad I discovered your blog last year and I'm hoping to read it every day for a loooooong time!

Posted by: A Different Kim on February 17, 2006 04:02 AM

Happy Birthday Rob! I'm glad I discovered your blog last year and I'm hoping to read it every day for a loooooong time!

Posted by: A Different Kim on February 17, 2006 04:02 AM

And no, I'm not he doublemint twins....not sure why you are getting two of me for the price of one...

Posted by: A Different Kim on February 17, 2006 04:04 AM

And no, I'm not he doublemint twins....not sure why you are getting two of me for the price of one...

Posted by: A Different Kim on February 17, 2006 04:04 AM

Happy Birthday, Rob! Looking forward to reading that book too!

Posted by: Cindi on February 17, 2006 04:57 AM

Been a wild ride, you grubby ol' fart.
Long may it continue.
Best wishes from Down Under.

Posted by: Henry Blowfly on February 17, 2006 06:54 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY and hope you have many more.

Posted by: lefty on February 17, 2006 08:20 AM

"If you think that you can lift a self-destructive loser UP, you'll end up being dragged DOWN when you try."

Truer words have never been blogged.

Happy Birthday Rob. And many, many, more.

Posted by: Amy on February 17, 2006 08:37 AM

Happy Anniversary of your 21st Birthday A-Man. Hoping for many more happier and rewarding ones to come.

Posted by: Florida Bill on February 17, 2006 08:38 AM

Wow, now I understand why I like you so much! My hubby of 30 years turned 54 on the 16th also! Sorry, I missed you yesterday, I was out celebrating with him. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND GODSPEED!!!

Posted by: Anastasia on February 17, 2006 10:31 AM

Happy Birthday you old bastard. (Chuckles). I first found your blog awhile back when you posted something on Costa Rica, where I currently live. You and I dont agree on much, but you have your moments, and for some reason I like you. Maybe for the same reason I like Don of Cadillac Tight, because you are honest.
Anyway, I feel ya on a lot of what you have to say, and your blog has become a regular stop for me. Hell I even added you to my Google Page. Now you may not realize it, but that is an honor reserved for few (Hehe). Drop by my blog some time and holler at me.
And enjoy the weekend, after all you have been through, you deserve it.

Posted by: David Anderson on February 17, 2006 11:25 AM


Posted by: a broad on February 17, 2006 12:27 PM

Happy birf-day acidman. Do ya fart dust yet?

Posted by: sefton on February 17, 2006 04:30 PM

Happy Birthday Sweetie...

Posted by: Lisa on February 17, 2006 05:10 PM

From one Georgian to another, Happy Birthday. And many, many more.

Posted by: Moogie on February 18, 2006 05:29 PM
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