Gut Rumbles

May 31, 2004

country music

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.

breaking the law

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.)

the fine art of cursing

The proper use of profanity has been cheapened and defiled by gangsta rappers, professional athletes and people who never were trained in the art of good cussing. I really hate to see poor, ignorant foul-mouths abusing our colorful language that way.

I was trained to curse by some true experts. I never heard my father use a foul word until I started playing golf with him. Then I learned that my dad could cuss a golf ball as well as anyone on the planet. He was imaginative and creative in his cussing, too. He didn't use the same lines over and over.

"Sit DOWN, you wicked bitch! Don't fuck me like that! Awww, you heartless whore. Go on into the water, you rotten piece of shit! You need a goddam bath anyway, cocksucker." My dad could have been an excellent Marine drill sergeant.

I pride myself on have a very educated foul mouth.

But I also agree with this guy that turning off the cuss-instinct is difficult to do sometimes. I try not to cuss around Quinton or Jack, because little pitchers have big ears. If you say "fuck!" one time around a young'un, you can bet your sweet ass that it's coming back at you very quickly. I don't want my son to cuss until he's old enough to know what he's cussing about.

I learned to cuss well from a lot of time playing guitar in bars and working 24 years in a chemical plant. Some people just can't understand the message you're attempting to send unless you reinforce it with some creative cursing.

Handle a heckler in a bar. If you can't out-cuss that troll-like bastard, you're fucked, right there on stage. You've gotta put a big chomp on his nasty ass right off the bat, humiliate him in front of his audience, or he'll heckle all night long. I could chainsaw those assholes.

Working in heavy industry, I found myself bossing a lot of rough cobs. If you tip-toe around such people, say please and thank you, they'll eat you alive. I am not a big man. In fact, I'm kinda short and a lot skinnier than I want to be. But I had a job to do, and I relied on sheer, unmitigated attitude, combined with creative cursing to keep those people in line.

If I ever cursed an employee in front of a witness, I was subject to a grievance from the union, so I usually did it with no one else around. But when the time was right, I let fly.

"Just what the fuck did you think you were doing? I ain't puttin' up with that kind of assholery on my watch. If you can't get your shit in one sock and do your job the right way, I'll have your nutsack flying from the front-office flagpole tomorrow. I'll cook you like a goddam Christmas goose. And if you think I'm lying, you dipshit, just go back out there and fuck up again. I'll have your ass on a stick over the hottest fire YOU ever felt."

Mr. Rogers, I wasn't.

Cursing sometimes is a very effective way to get an important point across to someone who doesn't want to listen. I keep practicing every day.

arlington cemetary

Go read the poem "In Flander's Fields" today. It's a powerful piece of work that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

Troops die in war. That's the nature of the beast. But when I see rows upon rows of tombstones marking the final resting place of the fallen, I always wonder... how many poets, artists, writers, scientists and discoverers lay buried there? How many were cut down in their prime and never had the chance to display their talents? How many people that they loved still remember them today? How many have become nothing more than a faded, yellowed photograph in a scrapbook that no one ever looks at anymore?

Memorial Day makes me very pensive.

I also wonder how many people know how Arlington Cemetary came to be. Who once owned that land? Why did the government take it? What became of its former owner?

If you can't answer those questions, you had some shitty teachers in school.

UPDATE: The link I posted to the poem seems to be having bandwidth trouble, so here it is:

"In Flander's Fields"
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae died in World War I.

i am in love


I don't care what the rest of her looks like.

drive-by blogging

I performed a home invasion today, just because I saw a lonely blog.

BWHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! Key Monroe is going to want my head on a pike when she reads that post, and I put it in the right place this time.

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.

feeling depressed

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.

Need a light, buddy?

Here is a kindred soul that I discovered through my email.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, my friend!

a list

I have done several of these things in my life and lived to tell about it. I draw the line at "jumping out of a perfectly good airplane," but I can identify with most of the rest.

I WOULD add one more item to the list if it were my blog, which it ain't:

Make love in a hammock to a beautiful woman, and don't fall out. (I'm talking about not falling out of the hammock OR the woman.)

That's just MY take on this matter.

just damn!

I'm sorry that I missed this event. It sounds a lot like a Jawja blogger bash.

Of course, any self-respecting Southerner can out-drink and out-talk ANYBODY from Colorado. (to modify a line spoken by John Wayne in True Grit: "I ain't never seen NOBODY from Colorado that I couldn't shade.")

Oh well. Maybe next year.

a must-read

Go here.

Don't ask any questions. Just do it.

What's that smell?

If you don't know it, you're probably a goddam yankee.

I feel sorry for you.

think about it


We are a nation of ungrateful bastards sometimes. We take our freedom (or at least what remains of it) for granted. We wallow in prosperity without a clue about who bought our tickets on the Gravy Train. We forget that a lot of people paid with their life's blood for what we have today.

Don't forget.

Let's make a smoke-bomb!

Call me a cynic, but I am always of suspicious when I read stories such as this one. First of all, I believe that the report is 90% bullshit to begin with. Second, it fits too neatly with a government agenda.

Smoking causes a range of diseases never before suspected, including cataracts, acute myeloid leukemia and cervical, kidney, pancreatic and stomach cancers, U.S. Surgeon-General Richard Carmona said on Thursday.

Yeah. And second-hand smoke kills thousands of people every year, too. That particular myth grows every time some anti-smoking, bully-type nanny wants to pass an anti-smoking law, even though NOBODY HAS EVER been able to prove a link between second-hand smoke and premature death. The EPA couldn't do it, so they attempted to lie about their study in a blantant power-grab, later shot to pieces by a federal judge. The World Health Organization couldn't do it, although Bejus knows they tried, in a ten-year study that proved nothing.

Still, the myth lives on.

Some groups said the government needed to get much tougher on the tobacco industry.

"At the federal level, a good place to start would be the pending proposals in Congress to give authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco just as it regulates other products," said American Heart Association chief executive officer M. Cass Wheeler.

Yep. This "report" definitely proves that we need more federal regulation. That's ALWAYS the answer to a problem, isn't it? MORE FEDERAL REGULATION, as if the federal government doesn't regulate enough aspects of our lives already.

Goddam. What DOESN'T the federal government regulate anymore? We need more of that shit like we need a spare asshole right in the middle of our foreheads. (OOPS! I shouldn't have written that last line. Some do-gooder might get the idea that federal regulations requiring a spare asshole in the middle of our foreheads might be a good way to fight obesity and save the children. We'll all be required to have asshole implants or face prosecution under either Rico statutes or Homeland Security laws.)

States should raise tobacco taxes and ban all smoking in public places, Wheeler added.

Of course. Take my money so that I can PAY THE STATE for stealing my freedom. We, as a nation of sheep, allow that kind of crap to happen every day. Personally, in MY humble opinion, the goddam state is more of a menace than tobacco EVER will be.

Excuse me for ranting so early on a Sunday morning, but I visited an old friend's site before the sun came up, and his post on this matter fanned my inner fires. I know that he doesn't smoke, but he's a gun owner and he knows a camel when he sees its nose in his tent.

Wait a minute... isn't "Camel" the name of a brand of cigarettes? We need more federal regulation banning the use of the word "camel." We might as well regulate tents while we're at it.

My aching ass. What is this country becoming?

May 29, 2004


I don't know what to make of this, but I suspect there's something very Freudian involved. Or maybe it's just a very limp ceiling fan.

I post, you decide...

i love my family

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.

want a free puppy?


Jack doesn't live across the street from me anymore. His mama hooked back up with her ex-husband and she and the kids moved to a double-wide trailer out on Fort Howard Road, a few miles away from the Crackerbox. I am going to miss Jack a lot.

He's been like a semi-son to me for almost three years.

Katie, The Fertile Rottweiler, is down to five puppies now. One more died, and my neighbors have managed to find homes for two others. Now, they have a big sign propped up against their mailbox saying "FREE ROTTWEILER PUPPIES!." You have to look at the sign up close to see the codicil ("Mix") at the bottom.

Does "Brownie" look like a Rottie to you?

not me!

I don't have this problem. Naw. Not me.

I can quit blogging any time I want to. In fact, I've done it at least 100 times already. I don't understand people who are so obsessed with their blogs that they will walk more than a mile through the fucking jungle beautiful rain forest of Costa Rica to find an internet cafe where they can update their site.

No. I don't understand that kind of mentality at all.

words of wisdom

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."

the camel in the tent

Has the government EVER started a program, no matter how well-intentioned they claimed it to be, that didn't eventually become a weapon used to invade private lives and usurp personal liberty? Why is anyone surprised by this story?

I especially like the reactions from certain congresscritters about the government snooping operations. Hey, you blithering dumbfucks! YOU voted for it. Now, you're aghast about what your vote really meant? Gimme a break.

These assholes really should know better, but they don't, and a lot of the self-aggrandizing bastards spend a lot of their time pumping the bellows that fire the engine of government as it slowly but surely makes the Constitution a joke.

Watch how THEY react when the government starts investigating them.

something for memorial day

I hated to see this story, especially on Memorial Day weekend. But nothing in the story takes away from Pat Tillman's valor or heroism.

Friendly fire accidents happen in war.

Recondo 32 says it as well as I've ever heard it said: "When you take a bunch of people, most of them young, and give them automatic weapons, heavy equipment and things that shoot bullets and drop bombs while flying in the sky, shit is gonna happen. You train to minimize the shit, but you'll never get rid of it."

I just hope the revelation about Pat Tillman's death doesn't turn into a finger-pointing political spectacle.

thanks, darlin'

This woman just made my day with a post that is eloquent, well-written and reflective of the woman who runs that wonderful blog.

I never meant to get on her shit-list. I've loved her writing and her personality since the day she started posting (even if she WAS an ugly baby).

Thank you, Juliette.


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.

May 28, 2004

poor darlin'

Y'all go wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to this blogger. And tell the pissant that 33 ISN'T OLD.

Goddam whippersnapper. Come cry to me in another 20 years.

a guest blog

I was offered the opportunity to write a guest blog at one of my blog children's sites, so I posted one there. Now it appears that I ended up in the wrong place.

Goddam. The key fit, so I opened the door.

Sorry, darlin'. That post wasn't ABOUT YOU, but it was meant for your page. Plus, if YOU ever give me THE LOOK, watch out, you sexy thang.

Go visit both sites. It's worth the ride.

my driver

I became good friends with Gerio when he was ferrying me all over Costa Rica. I figure that I spent about 24 hours total in the van with him, and he taught me Spanish while I taught him English. He always was prompt and polite and he always got me to where I was supposed to be, on time, even though the roads were very dubious in certain places.

He brought his famila to meet me when we left arenal and they rode with me back to San Jose. I believe that they all wanted to say "Thank you" for allowing them to use the van. I enjoyed the ride.

Gerio has a wife who is muy hermosa. She is a small, dignified woman who teaches math in a local escuala. She told me that she didn't speak English, but I learned better on our car ride. Her English was ragged, but still better than my Spanish. We communicated quite well.

Gerio's daughter is 16 years old and absolutely beautiful. She has the long legs, the fine ass and the ample bosom so typical of Costa Rican girls and I felt like a dirty old letcher when I first looked at her. I told Gerio and his wife that "su nina es muy linda," which is supposed to mean "you have a lovely daughter," and I hope I said what I meant. Her name is Victoria and she's going to have to beat the horny boys away with a stick one of these days, if she's not doing it already.

Gerio's son is named Renaldo, and he is one year older than Quinton. The boy is a good-looking kid and obviously well-cared for. He and Quinton could make friends with each other very quickly. I asked him, "Juegas basebol? Mi nino es un SHORTSTOP. Pueda juegar mas mejor con otros ninos." (That's as close as I could come to asking "Do you play baseball? My boy is a shortstop. He plays better than most other boys.")

Renaldo explained that he liked futbol, which every kid in Costa Rica plays. Gerio confirmed that his boy was a top of the line soccer player. His pride was obvious and his esposa nodded her head in agreement. I got a high-five from Renaldo, told him to keep up the good work, and we all settled in for a ride through some of the most scenic country I've ever seen.

I love the people and I love the country of Costa Rica. I have memories from there that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

That was the best vacation I've ever taken.

my boy

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.

a golden oldie

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.)

one thing i didn't do

I promised my blog-buddy jim that I would buy him a box of Cuban cigars while I was in Costa Rica. I didn't do it.

The tobacco-shop owner wanted $620 AMERICAN for a box of those Havana smokes Jim wanted, and we arrived on that price only after some serious haggling. I was worried about purchasing counterfeits and the problems with getting those things through customs, so I didn't buy them.

Sorry, Jim. Maybe next time.

The missed opportunity

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.

back in the saddle

Thank you, Stacy. That was fast.

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