Gut Rumbles

September 30, 2009

Being shot at

Originally published August 18, 2004

I've never been in combat, but I've been shot at a couple of times in my life. The first time was when I snuck off in the dark to court a farmer's daughter and disturbed two got-dam dogs who tried to out-bark each other while I ran when the porch light came on.

That man fired a few shots at me as I got tangled up in his electric fence around the cow pasture. I had bird-shot raining down through the trees around me and sparks flying from my nutsack as I tried to escape that fence. I didn't go back there again. That man put the fear of God into me, and I didn't like that fence, either.

The second time was on River Street. I had been out with Recondo and Georgia and we drank beer all afternoon. We decided to go down to the river to close out our evening. I needed to pee when we got there, so I stopped behind a parked SUV and drained my lizard while Georgia went on to a bar and Recondo stood by waiting for me.

I finished peeing, zipped my fly and saw sparks flying off the cobblestone walls next to me. "GODDAM! Somebody's shooting at us!" Recondo exclaimed as he ducked for cover. I stood there like a fool, with my dick barely out of my hand, until I felt a round go whistling right past my ear. I ducked, too, after that.

That's when I saw the crazy sumbitch charging up the ramp at me and clicking the trigger on a now-empty, piece of shit pistol. It looked like something I might buy at a Woolworth's store when I was a kid. No wonder he couldn't hit me. He was out of ammo and I was pissed by then. "What's your fucking problem, man?" I yelled. "You fucking SHOT at me." If I had been carrying that night, I would have killed him, that dickhead. (Georgia doen't like it when I tote a pistol, so I usually don't when I'm around her.)

"I...I...I thought you were breaking into my car," he said.

"I was TAKING A LEAK, asshole!" I replied. "I wasn't breaking into your fucking car." He tried to apologize and give me $20. I threw the bill down on the street. "You keep waving that piece of shit in your hand around here, and somebody's gonna stick a REAL pistol up your crazy ass and pull the trigger." I said. "You're well on your way to being a dead man because you can't shoot for shit. Put that thing away before you get yourself hurt."

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm from Atlanta and we have a lot of crime there..."

"Yeah. I can imagine. You get your guns out of Crackerjack boxes and wonder why criminals run wild. YOU are a fucking idiot."

I walked away and went on a bar-tour after that. I didn't even think about how close I came to being killed by a fucking idiot until the next day. That guy WAS shooting at me, and he meant to HIT me. I don't think he could drill a #3 washtub from five feet away with that piece of shit gun he seemed so proud of, but it takes only one lucky shot to ruin somebody's day.

That farmer fired birdshot over my head. He wasn't trying to hit me. (He COULD have if he wanted to) He probably laughed his ass off when he saw me tangle with that electric fence in the dark.

But that guy on River Street is the kind of idiot that gives all gun owners a bad reputation.

September 29, 2009

Not older, but better

Originally published August 17, 2004

Some wines, good bourbon and hand-made guitars get better with age. People don't.

What am I BETTER at now than I was when I was young? Let's think about that one... okay, I am a better writer than I was when I was young and I'm a lot better at crossword puzzles today. I've done enough traveling that I can find my way around ANY airport better than I once could. Wimmen don't intimidate me anymore. I am aware of my own mortality and that fact doesn't frighten me.

But... I can't run and jump and burn the candle at both ends the way I did when I was young. I don't kick as high anymore. I stay tired a lot. I was a weight-lifting 40-miles a week jogger in my younger days. I once was a stud-muffin and now I'm an old geezer.

Am I better in bed than I once was? No, I don't think so. I know how to please a woman better than ever, but youthful enthusiasm, all-night stamina and a ceaseless quest for adventure outweigh what I feel now about sex.

To tell you the truth... I would rather have a woman rub my aching back than give me a piece of ass. I've HAD a lot of ass. But a good back-rub is difficult to find. I'm getting kinda like that old farmer down the road from me. He says, "I tell my wife to promise me some every night. I don't GET it, but she promises me and that's good enough. Once I couldn't wait to have some. Now I always feel like I just had it."

Growing old is a bitch.

September 28, 2009

Recondo 32 and I

Originally published August 18, 2004

Rick was raised in the small mill-town of Clinton, South Carolina, just south of Spartanburg. He and I have a lot of things in common, because a mill-town isn't much different from a coal mining camp. You either worked in the mill or you SOLD THINGS to millworkers, the same way you either worked in the coal mine or sold things to coal miners. That's where all the money came from.

Rick and I are adventurous eaters. We like to be in the middle of nowhere and see a small diner on the side of the road. If there are three cars in the parking lot, we figure that they aren't poisoning people left and right, so we stop to get a meal.

Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's not so good. Sometimes we've stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall that served food just like Grandma used to cook. We made good ole, Southern grunting noises while eating that food, sopping up gravy with fresh cornbread and cleaning our plates. We left big tips for the waitress, too, who kept our glasses of iced tea full while we ate. That was good stuff.

Other times, we knew that the cook was opening boxes of Swanson frozen dinners and making no effort whatsoever to season them. That was a lot like eating cardboard, but we still tipped the waitress if she kept our tea glasses full. When you stop to eat at those kind of places, you may hit bingo or you may go bust, but you KNEW the job was dangerous when you took it.

Somebody posted some absolute blasphemy in my comments about iced tea. FUCK YOU!!! Ya can't GET decent iced tea out west or up north. Those fucking yankees don't know how to make it. When we hit Lexington, Kentucky, on our way back home, Recondo started his usual droning about how backward Kentucky was until we went out to eat. Then, he took one sip of his iced tea (which was served in a semi-BUCKET, the way tea is meant to be served) and he said, "Sweet Jesus. I'm back down South again."

If you're a Southerner, you know what I'm saying. If you DON'T KNOW, go piss up a rope, you yankee fuckwit.

September 27, 2009

A peeve

Originally published June 30, 2004

I WILL NOT read any article from any publication that requires me to register to do so. I simply will not. To register is an inconvenience, an invasion of my privacy and an insult to me. If I click a link and a registration page appears, I shout "FUCK YOU!" at the computer, spray spittle all over my keyboard and usually knock my cigarette from my ashtray as I wave "The Bird" at the screen. Yeah, I've got your registration dangling.

Then, I go somewhere else that DOES NOT require me to register and I can find the same story by a different writer, or sometimes the SAME ONE. I would much rather deal with pop-up ads than registration pages. As I said, if I have to register to read you, then fuck you.

I don't know how many other people feel the same way I do about registration pages, but I'll wager that enough of us are out here to make it a losing proposition for newspapers who do it. How much money do they make selling names and addresses to spammers versus the readers they lose through required registration? Has anybody researched that subject?

I don't care. My mind is made up on this topic.

September 26, 2009

I call bullshit

Originally published June 1, 2004

Here are (allegedly) the top ten country music songs of all time:

10) "Mama's Don't Let Your Boys Grow Up To Be Cowboys" (Waylon and Willie)

9) "Behind Closed Doors" (Charlie Rich)

8) "Galveston" (Glenn Campbell)

7) "I Fall To Pieces" (Patsy Cline)

6) ""Friends in Low Places" (Garth Brooks)

5) "Your Cheating Heart" (Hank Williams)

4) "Ring of Fire" (Johnny Cash)

3) "Crazy" (Patsy Cline)

2) "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (George Jones)

1) "Stand By Your Man" (Tammy Wynette)

Bull-fucking-shit is all I have to say. "Help Me Make Through The Night" didn't make the top 100. Neither did "Gentle On My Mind." I still believe that "I Walk The Line" is the best song Johnny Cash ever recorded. Go through the grist-mill of divorce court the way I have and listen to "Stand By Your Man." You'll want to upchuck.

I don't know who picked that Top Ten, but I think they need to dig some serious wax out of their ears.

September 25, 2009

Country music

Originally published May 31, 2004

I never realized that I was a fairly poor boy when I was growing up. I was fed, watered and clothed and I knew that my parents loved me. They gave me all they had to give and I thought that was plenty until I hit high school.

That's when I learned that my clothes sucked. I couldn't be "cool" without Gant shirts, Gold Cup socks and a Barracuda jacket. My parents couldn't afford such shit, so I bought my own clothes. (Did I mention before that I've had a job almost all of my life since I was 12 years old?) I wanted THE UNIFORM that cool high school students wore.

It took me years to realize how foolish I was at the time. My parents may not have had much money, but I was a lot richer in other ways than most of the "cool" people I tried to emulate. I was a dickwit at the time.

Tonight, I've been listening to The Top 100 Country Music Songs Of All Time on CMN. My pick for the very best country song (Hank Williams: "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry") came in #32, so I am curious to see what is #1. But this has been a rough evening.

I've sat on the floor and cried a few times tonight. "Coat Of Many Colors" by Dolly Parton made me think of my mama, and tears rolled down my face. "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles made me think of Jennifer and my son, so I cried some more. "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" made me think of my whole family and I wept like a baby. "Strawberry Wine" by Dena Carter brought back memories of better days, set around a kitchen table where I played guitar and the woman I loved sang that song. "Forever and Ever, Amen," written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, and performed by Randy Travis, was the song my brother and my old-time singing partner, Sally Roundtree, sang at my wedding when Jennifer and I were married.

I cried some more.

Say what you will about country music, but it cuts straight to my heart. The words and music are so simple, yet so earthy that I fall head-first into the songs. They are about my life. I am a hillbilly and a Georgia Cracker. That kind of music sings to my soul.

Aw, shit. I don't know what I'm trying to say. If you don't get it when you hear the music, you're never gonna get it. It's either IN YOU, or it's not.

It's IN ME, and I want to watch the rest of the show.

September 24, 2009


Originally published June 30, 2004

I bought an Arby's roast beef sandwich today and I watched the kitchen staff prepare it. Got-dam! The whole process is like an automation and the employees are robots. What the hell has happened to fast food restaurants?

I was a very good grill cook during my younger days, back when waitresses (excuse me... WAITPERSONS) just shouted out the orders, stuck a ticket on a rotating carosel and expected YOU to get it right. I did, or I faced one hell of a cussing from an outraged waitress, who was only passing the words along from an outraged customer. You become good at your job very quickly that way.

I never had a timer to tell me when the french fries were done or when the meat on the grill was ready to flip. I DID THAT! I COOKED THE FOOD!!!! Machines and clocks didn't do it for me. I was proud of my expertise. I was one of the best grill cooks who ever waved a spatula over a stove and I KNEW IT. I could work the prep table like Edward Sissorhands and I could do it in my sleep. You LIKED a hamburger I cooked for you.

I see no such pride in fast-food work today. In fact, if you really want to confuse someone at a fast food restaurant, do what I did today. Have an order that adds up to some kind of dollars and four cents. Hand the employee a $20 bill. Once she's punched in the numbers on the "think FOR you register," say "Wait a minute. I've got four cents," and then hand her a dime. Watch every neural circuit in her brain lock up.

Do you think those people know how to MAKE CHANGE? Hell NO they don't. They've been TRAINED to be robots and they like it that way. Thinking for yourself is difficult. It's much easier to be a witless drone.

I confused that poor waitress badly enough today that I probably could have walked out of Arby's with a free sandwich, but I didn't. I said, "Darlin,' I gave you $20 and a dime. You owe me $16.06 in change." She heaved a sigh of relief and handed me the money.

I did her thinking for her and she was grateful. She's been well-trained.

September 23, 2009

Breaking the law

Originally published May 31, 2004

I believe that Martin Luther King wrote an essay when he was locked in the Birmingham jail during the civil rights movement that pretty much sums up my philosophy about being a law-abiding citizen. I may go Google the speech to see if I am correct, but I don't really care. No matter where I read it, it is the way I live my life.

I am a free man. Government puts certain constraints on me through the threat of overwhelming force, which means that the faceless assholes can seize my assets, throw me in jail and TRY to humble me, but nothing they do to me will change what I believe.

I remain a free man.

I don't obey laws that I think are senseless. I also don't consider myself to be a criminal for doing so. I consider myself to be a free man. I carry a handgun in places with strict gun-control laws. I exceed the posted speed limit on the highway. I gamble on illegal games of chance. I have rented a prostitute.

If I were your neighbor, you would like me. I would never break into your home, steal your belongings or molest your children. If you needed help with a home-improvement project, I would be the first to volunteer assisstance. If you went on a two-week vacation, I would collect your mail and pick up the newspaper from the driveway every day, and keep an eye on your house while you were gone.

I don't behave that way because of any laws. That's just the way I was raised. I don't NEED laws to make me act like a decent human being. And I won't obey laws that I think are stupid.

We have way too many laws in this country now. Government has taken a nation of free men and women and transformed them into sheep through excessive regulation, excessive taxation and excessive intrusion into things that are none of government's business. I sometimes believe that if our Founding Fathers could see what their ideal of freedom and a true republic has become, they would be twisting like windmills in their graves.

You can heed the shepherd if you want to. But I won't.

(ADDENDUM: I didn't write this post lightly, nor am I drunk. I am a free man staring right into the maw of the monster, and it is poised to take everything I own. I expect to go to jail for "Contempt of Court." I will be guilty, because I hold divorce court in total contempt. But I WILL NOT DO what that Court Order says that I'm supposed to do. That is a law that I refuse to obey. And I'm willing to back up my words with my actions, no matter what price I have to pay. That's a true American attitude, if you ask me.)

September 22, 2009


Originally published May 30, 2004

I stayed at a place called "The Hotel California" when I was in Martin Antonio, about a mile away from a Costa Rican National Park. I had some kind of big, flowery bush growing right up to the handrails of my second-story porch and a three-foot iguana lived there. I went out for a morning cigarette and said "buenas dias" to him every day. He just sat there in the bush and munched leaves.

I was accustomed to my friend, the giant lizard, and I kinda liked having him in that bush. He didn't bother me and I didn't bother him-- plus, his presence added to the tropical atmosphere. If you're in Costa Rica, you're SUPPOSED to see some giant lizards, right?

But The Day Of The Monkeys was something else. I bought a pack of Belmont cigarettes the night before and I was smoking one of those locally-manufactured sticks when I went outside to say good morning to my lizard. I heard a loud ruckus in the trees. It wasn't screeching or chattering that I heard--- it was simply the sound of large objects bending limbs and rattling the leaves. I watched to see what it was.

The next thing I know, I have a FUCKING TWO-HEADED MONKEY looking at me from about a foot away in the same goddam bush the iguana lived in. I took a step back and glanced down at my cigarette. What the fuck did Costa Ricans put in their tobacco? Back in my college days, I smoked some heavy shit, but I NEVER saw a two-headed monkey before, not even in my worst nightmares.

All of a sudden, the trees were swarming with monkeys, eating mangos and dodging some kind of brown birds that dive-bombed them with the aggression of a southeast Georgia mockingbird. I realized then that I hadn't seen a two-headed monkey. I saw a mama with a baby on its back. There were several such pairs racing through the trees. The babies hold on so tight while mama climbs and jumps that they LOOK like one monkey with two heads.

I watched them for almost an hour; then, they went away.

I finished my pack of Belmont cigarettes, but I didn't buy any more. The sight of what I thought was a two-headed monkey in an iguana bush at 6:00 in the morning was more than I could stand.

Yeah. I had serious adventures in Costa Rica.

September 21, 2009

My good deed rewarded

Originally published August 17, 2004

I had some shopping to do today and I ended up at the Winn-Dixie Customer Service Desk to buy a book of stamps. I was in line behind a very attractive young woman with a pair of the prettiest red-toenailed feet I've seen in a long time. She was a beauty and she was talking on a cell phone to someone while she performed whatever transaction she was there to do.

She had a daughter, about six years old, named Megan. I know this because Megan was restless waiting on her mama and mama had to bark at her a couple of times. "Megan, you settle down and behave! I'll be finished in a minute." I didn't mind the wait. I liked looking at her. That woman even had pretty ears.

She finished her business and walked away, leaving her cell phone and her keys on the Customer Service counter while she hurried off to catch her wayward child. I spoke very loudly: "Darlin,' I think you forgot something." She turned and looked back at me appearing somewhat stunned. Bejus, but she was beautiful. There I was, a scruffy, old unshaven fart who probably made her think of felony sex criminals when she saw me. I pointed at the cell phone and the keys. "These are yours, aren't they?" I asked. "I don't think you want to leave them here."

She said, "Oh, my GOD! Thank you!" and she came back to retrieve her belongings. "You are so sweet." Then, she stood tip-toe on those pretty red toenails and kissed me right on my unshaven cheek. I almost fell down. "I don't know where my brain goes sometimes," she said as she walked away. "Thank you again."

No, darlin.' Thank YOU! You made my day.

September 20, 2009

Not older, but better

Originally published August 17, 2004

Some wines, good bourbon and hand-made guitars get better with age. People don't.

What am I BETTER at now than I was when I was young? Let's think about that one... okay, I am a better writer than I was when I was young and I'm a lot better at crossword puzzles today. I've done enough traveling that I can find my way around ANY airport better than I once could. Wimmen don't intimidate me anymore. I am aware of my own mortality and that fact doesn't frighten me.

But... I can't run and jump and burn the candle at both ends the way I did when I was young. I don't kick as high anymore. I stay tired a lot. I was a weight-lifting 40-miles a week jogger in my younger days. I once was a stud-muffin and now I'm an old geezer.

Am I better in bed than I once was? No, I don't think so. I know how to please a woman better than ever, but youthful enthusiasm, all-night stamina and a ceaseless quest for adventure outweigh what I feel now about sex.

To tell you the truth... I would rather have a woman rub my aching back than give me a piece of ass. I've HAD a lot of ass. But a good back-rub is difficult to find. I'm getting kinda like that old farmer down the road from me. He says, "I tell my wife to promise me some every night. I don't GET it, but she promises me and that's good enough. Once I couldn't wait to have some. Now I always feel like I just had it."

Growing old is a bitch.

September 19, 2009

Thanks, Jack!

Originally published June 30, 2004

I had a dilemma on my hands. My doorbell rang this afternoon and it was Young Jack, all excited and bouncing up and down as if he needed to pee really bad. "Mr. Rob! Mr. Rob! Come look at THIS!" He grabbed my hand and tugged me around to the side of my house. "SEE! LOOK!" I looked. Jack gave me an "I TOLD you so" grin.

Bejus. I had a hornet's nest the size of a pineapple hanging from the eaves of my roof right beneath the satellite disc. I know a hornet's nest when I see one. My friends and I used to throw rocks and dirt clods at them when we were kids. We'd knock one down and run like hell. Then, we'd meet back in the woods and compare stings. (Note to ALL little boys and young men: I don't care how fast you think you are--- you ain't gonna outrun a pissed-off hornet.)

I looked up at the nest. One scout was circling lazily around the hole at the bottom as I calculated what to do. "Let's get a stick and HIT IT, Mr. Rob!" suggested Jack. I grabbed Jack by the neck and choked him to death.

Okay, I didn't choke Jack, but I thought seriously about doing it. Get a stick and HIT IT? Got-dam! That boy obviously never disturbed a hornet's nest the size of this one before. I told Jack to get in the house. "But I wanna watch," he whined. "Yeah, and I want you to LIVE to watch," I replied.

I put Jack in the house, donned a pair of blue jeans, a flannel shirt (it's only 95 degrees outside) work gloves and hiking boots. I grabbed my shepard's crook and a can of Raid. I started to get my damn safety goggles, too, but I wanted to act while the weather was right. A rainstorm was coming and most of the hornets would be back in the nest now. I pulled a camoflage hat low over my brow, and out the door I went. "I'll be back," I told Jack.

I snuck up to that nest and nuked the scout with a Raid-blast. He fell from the sky. I nuked the nest next, and saw some gasping refugees attempting to escape. I nuked them some more. Then, I took my crook and smashed the nest to the ground. Whoa! That's a LOT of hornets! They resembled boiling water! I ran like hell, leaving a trail of Raid-fumes in my wake as cover fire.

I didn't receive a single sting, although a couple of those angry bastards buzzed pretty close to my head before I made the front door. Jack asked, "Did you get them, Mr. Rob?" I told Jack that I thought so, but the most important thing was that they didn't get me. I went out later and set the nest on fire. I am a killer of baby hornets.

And I feel good about it.

September 18, 2009

Feeling depressed

Originally published May 30, 2004

I miss my son. I wanted to talk to him today, but every time I called I got nothing but the answering machine. I left a message for him to call me, but I haven't heard back from him yet.

I wonder where he is?

I have a bag full of goodies, gee-gaws and other things I bought for Quinton in Costa Rica. I want to give it to him, if I can ever track him down. I don't give a damn what the law says--- what Jennifer has done to drive a wedge between me and my son is worse than her slipping off in the dark (and later in broad daylight) to throw her pussy to the wind. I don't give a shit what she does with her pussy anymore.

But I still love my son.

My father made one hell of an impact on my life. We didn't agree on a lot of things, but he was one hell of a man and he helped me a lot through the years. He was my Yoda--- the wise one I consulted with when I wasn't certain what to do next. He drove me hard, and he often barked at me when he thought I needed it, but he never failed to give me good advice. I didn't always follow it, but I'll miss him until the day I die.

I want to have that kind of impact on Quinton's life. I may be a crazy old buzzard, but I've learned a lot through 52 years of fire and rain. A boy needs a father in his life and I still remember what it feels like to be a young boy. I could help him a lot with things NO WOMAN understands, even if she does believe that she's Supermom.

Yeah, I've fucked up. But I don't believe that I'm a bad man and I'll never believe that Quinton is better off without me. I am his father and I always will be. Nobody else can ever change that fact, no matter how many men Jennifer decides to sleep with.

I miss my boy.

September 17, 2009

It's in my will

Originally published August 17, 2004

When I die, I expect somebody to sell all my stuff and divide the money between my two children. Samantha gets her share right away, but Quinton won't see a dime until he's 18 years old. Whatever legacy I leave will be held in trust for him until he heads off to college. I don't want Jennifer to have a chance to fuck with my life's work any more than she's doing now.

I made my will a 50-50 split between Sam and Quinton and I hope that they never fight about it. There'll be plenty to go around. The sickest thing I've ever seen in my life is a bunch of relatives fighting over a dead person's assets. (The worst case of that I ever saw was led by a Baptist minister. Man of God, my ass.) I'll never do that and I hope that my children don't, either.

But I singled out one thing in my will--- my Martin guitar. THAT goes to Quinton, whether he ever plays it or not. I just hope that he takes care of it. It ain't that hard a job and even if he's NOT musical like his daddy, his son or his daughter might be, and I'm leaving them a fine instrument.

I hope that guitar is still ringing when nobody named "Smith" even remembers who I was.

September 16, 2009

I love my family

Originally published May 29, 2004

I went to see my mama and my grandmother today. My Uncle Virgil was there, too, and we had a nice, long conversation about a lot things other people wouldn't understand. We laughed a lot, but my family is famous for witty repartee and a good sense of humor.

My grandmother just turned 93 years old. She's tiny and frail now, but she was a pisscutter in her younger days. Virgil told about how, when my grandfather administered haircuts to him and his two brothers, Mommie (that's my grandmother) always made sure that all three had enough hair left on their heads so that she could grab a handful and snatch them around when they fucked up. She would check the length of the cut, nod approvingly and say, "That's a good haircut. I can grab that."

Mommie was fixing supper one afternoon and wanted to make some cornbread, but she was out of buttermilk. She gave my Uncle George some money and told him to go to the store and buy a quart. George became distracted by some game he was playing and didn't scoot off quickly enough to suit Mommie. "I thought I told you to go to the store and buy a quart of buttermilk," she said to George, who was still playing in the yard and oblivious to his responsibility.

"I'm going in just a minute," he replied, which was the wrong thing to say to Mommie. She grabbed a switch and laid a nice lick on one of his bare shoulders. "You'll go RIGHT NOW!" she said, drawing back for another swipe. George went, kicking up a cloud of Kentucky dust behind him.

When George came home with the buttermilk, he had a nice, red welt on his arm from the switch-mark. "Look, Mommie," he said, pointing to the V-shaped stripe on his arm. "You made me a private."

"Yes, I did," Mommie replied. "And if you ever ignore me like that again, I'll promote you to sergeant."

She meant it, too.

I have hundreds of such stories to tell. I've heard a lot of them more than once, but I never get tired of hearing them again. I come from a long line of good storytellers. A meeting of my relatives is a lot like a blog-meet. If you want to get a word in edgewise, you'd better talk first and talk loud.

My family is quiet and shy, just like me.

September 15, 2009


Originally published August 16, 2004

I shamelessly stole this idea from here. I like word association games.

Server - Fuck if I know. I'm a computer nitwit. Explorer, maybe?

Charlotte Steve Hamby's ex-wife. Somebody I had the chance to ball once and I didn't because she was married to my best friend. I don't do that kind of thing, but if I met Charlotte again today, all previous bets are off. Steve is dead now. Also one of my favorite cities to visit in North Carolina.

Jackson Michael, and I hate myself for saying that. You can bet your sweet ass he'll never get his gloved hand on MY son if I have anything to say about it. Not that I own a sawed-off shotgun or anything like that. I'm just sayin'...

Resentment A festering boil that never goes away. I try to treat people right. I don't like it when they don't return the same favor to me.

Controlling A good boss on one hand and a lying manipulator on the other. "Control" is a tricky word. As a boss, I wanted to GUIDE people, not control them. But I know people who crave CONTROL over others and I don't like them. Those people are used car salesmen, lawyers and Democrats.

Intense My emotions. I don't do ANYTHING half-way even though I wish that I wasn't the way I am.

November A dreary month, too cold for a Southern boy. Even the nekkid trees appear to shiver in the wind in November. I hate that month.

Donkey A beast of burden that I would like to ride someday. A briar-chewing, ASS which is a fitting symbol for the Democrat party.

Weave What my mama and grandmother used to do on the front porch while they gossiped about the neighbors. Don't tell me that busy hands will keep your mouth closed. I know better.

Satisfies A warm woman in my bed on a cold night. There's nothing better than snuggling under the sheets with a woman who doesn't snore or hog all the covers. I feel really good with one arm across her chest as I feel her breathe. If I have that, I don't care how cold it gets outside.

How's that for word association?

September 14, 2009

Words of wisdom

Originally published May 29, 2004

My daddy was a wise man. (he also looked kinda like Clint Eastwood) He taught me three lessons that have stuck with me for most of my life, and I see more truth in them every day.

1) "If it looks too good to be true, it IS too good to be true."

2) "Nobody else in this world is going to give you something for nothing except for me and your mama, and even when WE do it, you'd better step back and examine our motives."

3) "If you're lucky, you don't have to be good. But I've noticed that the harder I work, the luckier I get."

If people want to tear down the Ten Commandments in public places, let them post my daddy's advice instead. If more people took those words to heart, we'd have a much healthier country.

Oh yeah. Daddy was also fond of saying, "If it was easy, any asshole could do it."

September 13, 2009

Working for tips

Originally published August 16, 2004

I played for tips only a few times in my life. In fact, that's one of the ways I earned a lot of jobs. I would walk into a bar, offer my services as a musician and agree to audition for tips only. If I played well, brought in customers and sold some drinks, I wanted a salary after that. Most bar managers LOVED that offer. Free entertainment.

I had an old brass spitoon that served as my tip-bucket. I was not one bit shy about telling people that THEY were paying me that night, and most people responded well. I also told the waitresses and the bartender: "Hump that bucket for me. I need the money tonight, but if I get this job, you'll get half of everything in there from now on." And I upheld my end of the deal.

I usually made between $50 and $100 dollars every night in tips, and sometimes it was a LOT more. Every night after closing, I emptied the tip-bucket on the bar and took half the money. I gave the rest to the people who helped me MAKE that money. I learned to appreciate people who work for tips.

Ladies and gentlemen, the next time you're in a bar or a restaurant, REALIZE how hard your waitress or waiter works every day. REALIZE how many assholes she or he has to deal with EVERY DAY. They get paid slave wages and depend on tips to survive. If you get good service, then TIP THEM. Show some got-dam gratitude.

That could be your daughter or your son doing that job some day. Get off your wallet and PAY them.

September 12, 2009


Originally published May 29, 2004

I've been in a really existential mood lately. I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica just examining my life, thinking about how I got where I am today and where I'll go from here. I didn't come up with a whole lot of answers, but I did come to realize one thing.

Most of my life, from the age of six, has been run by schedules, time-tables, deadlines, and the relentless ticking of a clock. I always had to be somewhere on time, do something on time or finish my work on time. I had assignments to complete, classes to attend, "deliverables" to deliver and places I had to be. Bejus! No wonder I have gray silver hair.

When Kerr-McGee fired me retired me, they gave me a nice watch as a going away present. Isn't that ironic? Why the hell would I want a fucking WATCH when I don't have to work anymore? I lived 24 years of my life on a Work Schedule, and I was on call for 24-7 most of that time. I looked at that watch and laughed out loud.

I've never taken it out of the box it came in and I doubt that I ever will.

I like being bored now. I'm not talking about sitting around a twiddling my thumbs. I mean the freedom a person feels when he or she doesn't HAVE to do much of anything. On my trip to Costa Rica, I really didn't plan a goddam thing. I bought my plane tickets, arranged for lodging and transportation, but other than that, I played everything on the first bounce.

If I felt like touring, I toured. If I felt like reading, I read. If I didn't feel like doing a damn thing, I didn't do anything. In Martin Antonio one morning, I was nodding in a lawn chair by the hotel swimming pool and I thought about getting up, walking about 50 feet to the bar and buying myself some fruity rum drink with an umbrella in it. But that seemed like too much work for such a beautiful day, so I just went to sleep in the chair.

I don't fear boredom. In fact, I wrap it around me like a warm, fuzzy blanket today, and I find it very comfortable. I like not needing a watch anymore. My body clock is all the time-keeper I require.

I met two retired school teachers from Colorado when I was in Arenal. ("Recovering educators," as they described themselves.) They were very friendly ladies and I had dinner with them a couple of evenings.

But they did one thing that drove me nuts. They had every waking moment of every day planned right down to the minute. They had a SCHEDULE to follow. That's not a vacation; that's just work by a different name. I got tired just watching them dash after tour buses and worry about where they were supposed to be next.

I'll never live like that again. Anybody want to buy a really nice watch? I have one that I'll sell cheap.

I don't need it anymore.

September 11, 2009

I wish

Originally published August 15, 2004

I wish I had somebody to sing to tonight. I broke out a guitar and I went searching through the memory banks for old songs that I played all alone here in the Crackerbox. "The First Time." "In the Morning When She Rise." "Long, Black Veil." "The Last Thing On My Mind."

I could have loved you better
didn't mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind

I like those old songs. I can still sing "Barbra Allen" and a lot of those mountain durges I learned as a child. I put on the finger-picks and did some nice guitar playing to four walls. I played "Ribbon of Darkness" and "Please Come To Boston." I played "Gentle on My Mind" and "Louise." I played "Sleepy-Eyed Boy." I have a pretty good baritone voice and I like to sing.

Where, oh where
Is my sleepy-eyed boy?

I just wish I had someone to sing to tonight. Just sit there on the couch and let me serenade you. You can cover your legs with a blanket and I won't mind. Go to sleep if you want to. Just listen for a while.

I want to sing.

September 10, 2009

My boy

Originally published May 28, 2004

I talked to Quinton on the phone last night. He said that he hasn't received any of the letters that I sent him from Costa Rica. I don't know whether the mail is that slow or whether Jennifer got my letters and didn't let Quinton see them. Divorce sucks, and it keeps on sucking long after the initial ordeal is over when a child is involved.

Hell, I suspected my ex-wife of being behind the crash of my blog. It's the kind of thing she would do to me.

But... I digress. I wanted to brag like the proud father that I am. Quinton made the Effingham County All-Star team as a starting shortstop in his age group. I TOLD you people that he was good!

I want to see if I'm any good, too. My blog became quite popular for a while, then I let my posting slide and I took a long vacation, after which I had nothing but a blank page to display. My readership took a nose-dive, which I expected, and now my archives have vanished except for the posts I saved on disk. Can I lure readers back here with what I write when I start from scratch?

I don't know, but I still believe that if I build it, they will come. Long ago, I described this blog as an exercise where I stuffed notes in bottles and threw them into a vast ocean where I hoped someone would find the bottle and read the note. But that's not really what I was doing.

This blog was my lifeline that towed me to shore when I was totally shipwrecked. It kept me alive for more than two of the worst years I've lived in my life. I wasn't stuffing notes in bottles. I was standing on the shore and shouting frantically for rescue.

People came. I WAS rescued. And I will always appreciate that fact.

So... I'm starting over now. Can I do it again? I don't know. YOU tell ME.

September 09, 2009

Mrs. Robinson

Originally published August 15, 2004

I'm gonna say something that probably will piss some people off. But it won't be the first time I've done that and I don't expect it to be the last:

Men age better than wimmen do.

I'm sorry, but that's a fact. Men can get away with gray hair and wrinkles around their eyes. As long as they are half-way fit, with no huge beer bellies or sagging tits, men look RUGGED as they grow older. They exude character, wisdom and maturity. (They usually have MONEY, too.) Younger wimmen sometimes find those traits attractive.

Wimmen just grow old. Their titties droop, their hands resemble crab-claws and they get varicose veins. They don't look good in a bathing suit anymore. They grow wattles under their chins. Their asses either expand to tremendous porportions or shrink to withered shanks. They can't GIVE AWAY the pussy that young men once fought over.

I always wanted to bed an older woman when I was young. I had my chance when I was 27 years old and playing guitar at the Red Lion Lounge at the DeSoto Hilton in downtown Savannah. A teacher's convention was in town that weekend, and I met a woman from Nashville, Tennessee who really liked my music (or liked ME---I'm still not sure which.) She bought me a couple of drinks and I played every request she asked for. She was 45 years old.

I ended up in her room that night and she flat wore me out. BEJUS! That woman knew her way around a bed and she almost killed me. My Mrs. Robinson fantasy was everything I ever dreamed it would be and more. I caught her right at the peak of her sexual prowess and she caught me at the peak of mine. We damn near set that room on fire with the sparks we threw.

I remember taking a brief break that night and just studying her body. She had firm breasts and a tight belly. Her ass was to die for. She had a slight tracing of stretch marks, but they weren't obvious unless you looked closely. She was a very attractive older woman. She had almost no hair on her lower body except for a thick nether bush (that was before wimmen started doing bathing-suit cuts) that I found quite attractive. I grazed there for a long period of time and she had no objections whatsoever. I made her toes curl.

I left the next morning and never saw her again.

I'll bet she's an old woman now.

September 08, 2009

The missed opportunity

Originally published May 28, 2004

On my last night in Costa Rica, I was back in San Jose, so I went out for a nice dinner and strolled the streets for a while. I heard Led Zeppelin playing from a jukebox in a place called "The Nashville Bar," so I stopped in for a cervesa.

I didn't take a good sip of my beer before I had TWO Costa Rican wimmen draped all over me. They were more than friendly, and their wandering hands discovered my ever semi-erect bionic Roscoe right away. I had a few colones in my pocket that I needed to get rid of before I left the country, so I bought both chicas bonitas a drink. I received a glimpse of their titas in return.

I don't know what's wrong with me anymore.

In the old days, every brain cell I had would have run straight to my dick and I would have wandered off into the night with those wimmen. Hell, the thought of being robbed or having my throat cut in some dark alley never would have occurred to me. If they were hookers, I had plenty of money to pay them. If they were just looking for sport, I could accomodate both.

But I really wasn't interested.

I bought them a drink, gave them both a cigarette, thanked them for their company and walked out of that bar. I went to a nearby park and sat on a bench next to a big fountain. I wondered what the hell has become of me.

I never thought I would EVER say this, but sex just isn't that important to me anymore. I've cut a large swath in my life. I've had lots of wimmen in my bed. I've had cheap sex, one-night stands, expensive sex, group-gropes and just about everything else you can imagine. I cannot recall the names or the faces of half the wimmen I've had sex with.

Once, I considered myself to be quite a swordsman. Now, looking at where that kind of behavior landed me, I'm not very proud of myself. I don't want to do that shit anymore. I should have either gotten laid or robbed that night, but I ended up sitting on a park bench and thinking about life. After I was finished with my deep thoughts, I walked back to my hotel and went to bed.

I had a plane to catch the next day.

September 07, 2009

a golden oldie

Originally PUBLISHED May 28, 2004

The earliest memory I have is catching a butterfly with my bare fingers in the front-yard flowerbed by the fence in my Old Kentucky home. I may have been four year-old at the time. I remember a lot about living in the coal mining camp and I remember being very happy there, except for the trips to Dr. Begley's office for typhoid shots and polio shots and smallpox vaccinations, things my son will never know (unless terorists have their way).

I remember listing to my grandmother tell stories about her childhood (she was about 45 at the time, but she was OLD to me) and I recall vividly thinking about a path through the wildflowers on the other side of the railroad trestle where we lived, and how she had travelled a long way down that path where I was not allowed to go. I envied the memories she had.

I am five years older than she was then. I have travelled FAR down that path in my lifetime, not only through the wildflowers, but into the weeds, the briars, the poison ivy and the quicksand, too. I look back now and I really don't understand how I went from being Beaver Cleaver (although a lot of those traits still survive), to a high-school jockstrap, to a dope-smoking bohemian English Major in college, to an advertising copywriter, to a six-year professional musician, to a 23-year employee in a chemical plant. I had about one hundred "girlfriends" along the way and never contracted a single STD during my swashbuckling days. I never cheated on a wife. I am loyal, if nothing else.

I have two ex-wives and two ex-children to show for it. I really don't know whether I have been blessed or extremely unlucky. (BAH! As my late Daddy would say, "You make your OWN luck, son!") I have more stories to tell than the average man, whatever THAT is, but all the stories aren't pleasant ones. I don't like what the prostate surgery has done to me. I once swore that I could never become a heroin addict because I HATE NEEDLES! Now, I have a prescription for them, and I get all I want. And I use them, too.

Who would'a ever thunk THAT? Not ME!

I like living by myself now. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. The Crackerbox is a nice home (Joan? What would it cost to buy this place on 1/2 acre of wooded land where YOU live?). I own all the toys a man my age should own (except a trophy younger woman). I'm not rich, but I have more money than I know what to do with. I spend it freely; that's what it's for.

But I keep looking back and wondering how I fucked up everything in the rear-view mirror. It's too late to go back now.

I hate that.

(originally written almost two years ago.)

September 06, 2009

existential thinking

Originally PUBLISHED August 14, 2004

I just watched the movie Cold Mountain on pay per view. I enjoyed the movie, but I thought that it missed the entire point of the book. I read that novel at Blood Mountain Cabins about one year before my divorce. All of my English Major instincts kicked in and I saw the novel as an allegorical tale about one thing: is it better to have known joy for a few moments and lose it than to never know joy at all? Is it worth a long, arduous trek to get something that you cannot hold on to?

I wrestled with that question for a while, until I had the boom lowered on me, and I KNOW the answer now. It's better to NEVER know joy than to have it taken away from you. You don't miss what you never had, but heartbreak is one motherfucker that lasts forever. Yeah, I've BEEN to Cold Mountain, and I'll never recover from that experience.

I wish that I could simply turn my back, walk away and forget about it, but I can't. Too much shit got crammed into that sock. I invested MYSELF in that relationship and brought a son into it, too. I bought the wrong stock, but that realization NOW doesn't make me feel any better. It still hurts.

If I could pick ONE SINGLE MOMENT in my life to live over again, it would be the moment when Jennifer gave me her phone number. I would throw that sumbitch away knowing what I know now. But I didn't at the time, and I ended up on Cold Mountain.

I fucked myself.

September 05, 2009


Originally PUBLISHED October 11, 2003

I dream vividly, in techicolor.

I dream about having wanton sex, I dream about snakes and I dream about being able to spread my arms and fly. I dream about showing up at work nekkid. (Being NEKKID doesn't bother me becaue I look damn good nekkid, and I've walked around with no clothes on many times in Key West. I am disturbed by that dream because I can't wear my safety equipment.) I dream about falling when I can't spread my arms and fly.

I've had a recurring dream for as far back as I can remember about falling from the rigging of an old sailing ship into a dark, angry, roiling sea. I started having that dream when I was a boy in Kentucky and the ocean was 500 miles away. I woke up screaming back then.

I've had that dream so often that it doesn't frighten me anymore. When I dream it now, I KNOW that I'm dreaming and I KNOW what's going to happen. I just kinda go along for the ride, then wake up when I hit the water. I simply think, "There it was again."

I had some new-age, crystal-gazer tell me that the dream was a glimpse at how I died once in a previous life. I think "The Highwayman" is a great song and I would LOVE to believe in reincarnation, but I don't. I believe that I simply have a vivid imagination and once, long ago, I saw something that triggered the image of an old sailing ship in a storm at night, with me falling from the rigging. I've dreamed about it ever since.

What the hell. Maybe she was right. Maybe I AM on my second or third or 500th go-around in life.

If so, I damn sure didn't learn much from my previous experience.

September 04, 2009

easy rider

Originally PUBLISHED October 18, 2003

I made some microwave popcorn and watched Easy Rider on cable TV last night. Damn! I went spiralling back in time.

I first saw that movie when I was a jockstrap football player in 1969 and it depressed the shit out of me. I was down in the dumps for days afterward. I thought that the movie made the South look bad but I had to admit to knowing a few pure-assed red-necks who WOULD have fired a shotgun out of a pickup truck at some long-haired hippie on the road. I had never smoked marijuana at the time and I never expected to in my life.

Two years later, I had a Fu Manchu Moustache, hair that I could gather into a pony tail and I watched that movie again at a drive-in. I was in a 1962 Dodge Dart and the dope-smoke was as thick as London Fog in there. The movie still depressed the shit out of me.

I haven't smoked dope in years. My hair is short now. But I took an adventure on the Wayback machine last night and I have a few observations that I want to share.

* That movie is terribly dated. Nobody says "groovy" anymore.

* That movie also has the best fucking soundtrack ever. Period. I will brook no argument on that fact. Bejus! Just listen to it!

* Jack Nicholson was outstanding as the drunken lawyer in his gold football helmet. My drinking buddies and I STILL do that chicken-wing wave with one arm and go "NICK...NICK...NICK... SWAMP!' when we're hitting the tequila bottle. We talk about Venusians beaming back at us, too.

* Dennis Hopper had the best role of his life as "Billy." He brought just the right amout of craziness, suspicion, hostility and loyalty to that part. He was so good that he DESERVED to die in the end.

* The idea of dropping acid at Marti Gras in a cemetary with a couple of hookers has always fascinated me.

* I thought Karen Black was beautiful in her scenes. I just wanted her to get nekkid.

* I never wanted to own a motorcycle, but I HAVE wanted to make a cross-country trip after watching that movie.

Maybe now's my chance. I'll be going east to west, but WTF? I've never seen the Grand Canyon and I've never stared up at the top of a Giant Redwood. I've never thrown my body into the Pacific Ocean. I've never seen the Golden Gate Bridge.

Life is short. If you don't get it while you can, it's gone forever. I am over half a century old.

I need to get busy.

September 03, 2009


Originally PUBLISHED September 2, 2003

I met a couple from Minnesota when I was on Jekyll Island. They asked me a lot of questions about the local scenery. I told them where to find Mars in the evening and recommended that they get a cup of coffee and walk down the the jetty to watch the sun come up in the morning.

I saw them one night and I showed them Mars, but I never saw them in the morning before the sun came up. If you ever go there, you should watch at least one sunrise.

They asked me about fall-colored leaves. I laughed. "Around here?" I asked. "Fuggetaboudit." I showed them pines, live oaks, water oaks, white oaks, magnolias and cedars, which are pretty much all the trees that inhabit that island. "They are almost all evergreens," I explained. "Go to North Georgia if you want to see leaves change."

I don't know whether they believed me or not, but I wasn't lying.

I don't know why cedar trees love sandy, salty ground, but they must because they grow all over the place down there. The wind blows constantly off the ocean, so the trees form into bizarre shapes from leaning with the wind all their lives. They almost resemble desperate, long-haired people pointing me to go "THAT WAY!!!" with both arms outstretched.

I have a secret fetish that I'll confess right now. I LOVE to break off a small cedar branch and just smell that aroma. It reminds me of Mama's attic and the time she took me up there to go through her cedar chest, where she had every baby tooth I ever lost, all of my report cards, every letter I wrote her when I was in college and stuff made from crayons and construction paper that I had long forgotten.

Cedar is evergreen because it is forever. Or at least for as long as you live. It smells that way to me.

September 02, 2009

trigger fish

Originally PUBLISHED April 21, 2003

I go deep-sea fishing a couple of times every year and I always come home with a load of black sea-bass and red snapper. Those are good fish to eat, but my favorite fish in the ocean is a trigger fish.

They are ugly. They are big, discus-looking critters that have no scales, but possess skin like leather. I've always been able to trade some sea-bass or a snapper for triggers when my fishing party gets back to the dock, because nobody wants the pain in the ass that it is to clean them. I don't mind that pain in the ass because the fish is worth it.

I clean a trigger by starting out with a hatchet. Once I chop the ugly rascal's head off, I can get my fillet-knife under that leathery skin and peel him from the inside out. And you PEEL a trigger. You don't scale him.

You end up with a fish that you can put on the grill, broil in the oven or cook on a stick over an open fire. It's all tender, white meat that falls away in hunks the size of your thumb if you cook it right, and the bones all come out in one connected piece. I LOVE trigger fish.

But I'm kinda weird anyway.

September 01, 2009

quickies, part II

Originally PUBLISHED August 1, 2003

*The sea was extremely calm and muddy on Jekyll Island. It was like a huge, salty swimming pool where you couldn't see the bottom in three feet of water. The boys loved it. I had no trouble keeping track of them.

*Show me a fat, 300-pound yankee woman drinking a Diet Coke and I'll blow snot out of my nose laughing. Every time.

*I took the boys to Blackbeard's restaurant and Quinton saw whitecaps on the water outside the big picture window. "What is THAT, daddy?" he asked. I told him that it was a sand bar and I would take him there the next day. I did. It was one hell of a sand bar at low tide.

*I am not certain about the status of my bionic dick. Wearing a bathing suit and soaking in the ocean has been really good therapy, but my dick just doesn't "feel" right. Neither do my balls. I get to inflate the hardware next week. I'll decide whether I like it or not then.

*What the fuck do I do if I DON'T like it?

*I have a woman who claims "First Dibs" on my bionic dick. She promised me a "first-rate sucking and fucking." She said, "Rob, it'll be like losing your cherry all over again, and you'll remember me FOREVER." She probably is correct about the cherry and the memory.

*Yankee men need to groom their goddam toenails. I know that they don't go barefoot the way Southern men do, but goddam. You gotta know an ugly, untrimmed foot full of ugly toenails when you see it. Do those fuckers live in the dark? Don't they own toenail clippers?

*DO NOT wear "water shoes" on the beach. Or goofy-assed goggles and swim-fins. You look like a dumbfuck yankee when you do that. Good Southern boys like Jack and Quinton make fun of you for hours after we go back to the room. You deserve it.

*How can some people be SO GODDAM PALE? I saw some people that made me want to reach for the garlic, a crucifix and a wooden stake. They HAD to be vampires. Bejus! You can't be THAT PALE without living in a goddam coffin.

*A skinny woman with big titties still gives me cognative dissonance.