Gut Rumbles
 

October 25, 2005

Healed By the Word

Queenie has been a Very Busy Fuckup today, almost too busy to sit down, much less blog. I cannot, however, neglect my duties to my Uncle Robert, and so I'll post another oldie from my own site, one that he was fond of, another one that I think he might enjoy reading at the hospital. This piece has been edited slightly since its first appearance. I hope you enjoy it, too.

***

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far, away, I briefly made my living as a cocktail waitress in a titty bar. I reveal this fact, believe it or not, with some measure of shame; you would not believe what a prejudicial revelation this can be for some people. "She must be a slut," thinks the man, salaciously, hopefully, when I drop this one in conversation. As for women, you can see a sort of switch go off in their heads. Like, "Oh. Shit, well, I liked her, too bad now I'll have to relegate her to the category of C-list women." Like you're soiled, somehow, your proximity with naked muff not your own a contaminant that you can't have escaped. Unless, of course, the woman one is having the conversation with was, at some point in her past, a titty-bar employee, too. You'd be surprised how many chicks have a stripper-job somewhere in their dim histories.

I digress. I wanted to tell you a story today, a story about how, this one time, in a trashy roadhouse by the side of the highway in Bumfuck, Alabama, I was literally Healed By The Word.

I was working there, at the Parachute Lounge. Two nights a week, I'd drive the forty-five miles to the small town of Bumfuck, to don a skimpy simulacrum of a flight suit, one that had had its legs carved into "Daisy Dukes" style buttercutters, arms cut down to little cap-sleeves, and a zipper open to reveal a full payload of cleavage. Oh, and a hat...let me not forget the little hat. While the girls danced on the makeshift stage, and swayed carefully atop rickety tables, I ran drinks from the bar to the customers in thigh-high leather boots with four-inch heels and Air Force shades. I'm gregarious, got a big mouth, and back in the day I didn't look so bad, either. Them good ole boys, them bikers, them blue-collar men, they tipped well when they saw a girl was workin' hard - and the harder I worked, the drunker they got, the more they tipped the dancers, the more they tipped me. The dancers, too, tipped me out at the end of the night. I made a shitload of money at that job, much more than was available to me as an undergraduate anywhere in my nearby college town. More than enough, in fact, pay the bills and support my nascent cocaine habit.

Ahh...my nascent cocaine habit, you ask? Sadly, yes - this was, what? 1987? 1989? Somewhere around in there. Working at the roadhouse on the weekends, playing music for next-to-nothing in the bar circuit on weeknights, one does tend to overmedicate. Perhaps it's the overall lack of daylight, perhaps it's the intimacy that one comes to share with those faces that one sees in the bar night after night....whatever the case, I liked to get down and party, wax the ol' skis, as often as possible. Usually nightly, beginning just before the second set and lasting until way after last call.

Regular cocaine use, though, did not agree with my robust Anglo-Saxon constitution. I developed a head-cold at first - scratchy throat, snotty nose - a head-cold that just never went away. After about six months of the snot in residence, it moved over into my ears and began to infect them, too. The problem was, I was snorting so much coke that I could feel no pain in my ears. You know, the old numby. I had no idea I had an ear infection until one day when I woke up deaf.

No shit, I woke up deaf. I couldn't hear a damn thing - not the TV on max volume, not the telephone, not the doorbell, not my Fender amp. I hied my ass to the University clinic, where I was chided by the doctor. He could see the lesions in my nose, knew exactly what they were...and proceeded to relate to me a story about his own coke problem back when he was a drummer in a rock band in the seventies. I took the antibiotics and the steroids he offered, and decided to lay off the blow for a week or so, until the deafness and ear infection subsided. I had to take the week off work, anyway - real work, I mean, music-work, because, well, I was deaf.

I did go back to work at the roadhouse, though. I could read lips well enough to understand "Jack and Coke" and "Bud", the most exotic things my clientèle usually ordered. It was business as usual, mostly, except for the fact that a group of Baptists had decided to come down to the Parachute and picket the titty bar. Bear in mind, at this point in the South, every little town didn't have a titty bar - in fact, the Parachute had only been open for about six months. It was a pain in the ass, crossing the picket line to get in the place of a Saturday. Red-faced peasant women waved Bibles in my face as I walked into the bar, sturdy ankle-less matrons screamed at me of my certain dooming to Hell. This actually went on for a couple of weekends, as did my ear infection. It was nerve-wracking.

The second Saturday after my visit to the doctor, I went to work as usual. As I was crossing the Baptist picket, an old fishwife glommed on to my arm, hollering something - I don't know what, I was deaf - into my ear and shaking her Bible at me. The bouncer at the door jumped in to extricate me from the fray and escort me inside the rope-line. A few seconds after he broke me away from this zealot, I felt something cold and hard smash into the side of my head, just above my right ear. It hit me so hard I went down, stunned.

I sat up and tried to shake it off...but something was overwhelmingly different. On the ground, in a puddle, some five feet away, lay the fishwife's Bible - she'd beaned me with it as hard as she could. Something about the impact on my head, combined, I'm sure, with the antibiotics and the steroids, had made both of my ears go POP! I could hear again. Woozily, echo-ey...but I could hear. The sound, after weeks of silence, was extremely disorienting.

So that is the story of how I was Healed by the Word. I moved to the west coast for a day job four months later. I dropped the "music career" and the rampant cocaine abuse and the waitressing jobs forever, becoming, fifteen years later, a pillar of the fucking community.

The moral of the story? Life is strange. People are stranger. Don't judge a book by its cover.

Comments

whoooaaaa, pass the doobie--that was one hot story.

Posted by: erica on October 25, 2005 12:34 AM

Great post, Queenie -- enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time around. Uncle Rob will be proud. And boy, does it bring back some memories! The bible thing is classic. I'm sure there are plenty of us pillars of the PTA who have a few stories of 'back in the day' tucked away -- thanks for sharing yours!

Posted by: Marianne on October 25, 2005 12:36 AM

It's just astonishing what my kids don't know

Every man should know what it's like to do a strip show in front of about 300 wimmen

Posted by: Wes Jackson on October 25, 2005 02:39 AM

""Every man should know what it's like to do a strip show in front of about 300 wimmen""

It feels like handcuffs and a ride in a cruiser.

Posted by: Yogimus on October 25, 2005 08:00 AM

I'll be damned. I thought they was only good for sending cockroaches to hell. This was a healing story and gives one a lot to think about-mostly to learn to duck if picketed by some Baptists. These people sound as dangerous as the teamsters on strike.

Posted by: GUYK on October 25, 2005 08:35 AM

Another great story!

Posted by: Maeve on October 25, 2005 09:35 AM

That's a pretty cool story.

I know a few people who edit the past. It's interested, because we have a couple of upright, uptight pillars of the community that have been around forever. And so have some other folks. On ocassion the other folks will tell stories on the uptight ones, from "back in the day."

I am particularly fond of the phrase, "Oh get off of your high horse. I've seen you passed out in your own vomit, naked, on a picknick table!"

Lamont

Posted by: Lamont Cranston on October 25, 2005 10:46 AM

What, no pictures?

Posted by: Mr. Lion on October 25, 2005 12:02 PM

Yeah, bible chewers, you NEVER turn you back on them because they believe in violence to achieve their ends.

Posted by: maggot on October 25, 2005 12:28 PM

That's freakin awesome.

Posted by: Danielle on October 25, 2005 12:40 PM

My asshole is still gaping!

Posted by: bdg on October 25, 2005 01:10 PM

lie, don't believe it please leave and get rob back

Posted by: john on October 25, 2005 02:35 PM

Who ordered the fuckin morons? Sheesh.

Posted by: Bane on October 25, 2005 02:40 PM

don't be so hard on yourself bane
you are not that big of a moron

Posted by: john on October 25, 2005 02:53 PM

Assuming that "Parachute Lounge" is one o' them nom de plumes, I think I've been there, around the time you were working there. Sure sounds familiar, anyhoo, and I grew up right across the river from Bumf*ck, Alabama. Oh, sh*t, you're not one of my ex-wives, are you? Hehehehe. Nah, too much common sense showing. Great story, don't know why I haven't been readin' your blog....

Posted by: ernie on October 25, 2005 03:27 PM

You have been HEALED!!!!!!
Praise the Lord!

Posted by: Ralph Rattfuc on October 25, 2005 06:02 PM

Damn Queenie, I feel like I'VE been saved too!

Posted by: livey on October 25, 2005 08:37 PM

You do a great job telling that experience.

Posted by: Terry on October 25, 2005 08:40 PM

I remember thems days, ( in my best okie drawl)), I did it the the other way, and went blind for about three days. That shit, ( love it), is the devils dust! Pure Peruvian gold. Giant rocks !... In the 70's I could buy a quarter oz for 25 bucks, or trade two oz of smoke . I was the the best addict in this town, maybe the third best drug store burglar.
I shouldn't even be saying thes lies. I know nothing about tuinol, seconol, ambytal, nymbitol, Oh forgot the palcydyls, we called green weenies.
And if you don't know what a 714 was , But I don't know anything about things like that .
You forget a whole lot of shit after 9 years in prison.
Well I spilled my guts out, Rob you can block me now , I understand. Murry

Posted by: Murry on October 27, 2005 03:08 AM

Hi there, just wanted to say that I love your stories! Keep 'em coming!

Posted by: Sharon on October 27, 2005 01:19 PM
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