Gut Rumbles

April 30, 2012

shift work

Originally published October 16, 2003

I did a lot of shift work during my career, and most of it was the seven-day Southern Swing rotation. That probably is the worst schedule in the world to work because your internal time-clock stays fucked up no matter what shift you are on.

Start with a 3-11 shift on Wednesday and work that for seven days. Get off at 11:00 Tuesday night and be back at work at 11:00 Thursday night for seven days of 11-7 shifts. Get off the following Thursday morning at 7:00 and be back at work at 7:00 on Saturday morning for seven days of 7-3. Try that shit for several years of your life. It will make you old before your time.

I worked that schedule for a long time and became as accustomed to it as I could, although it always sucked. I had a wife and child to care for, and bills to pay. We needed the paycheck to keep the family unit afloat. I did what I had to do.

When I was promoted to a straight daylight job, the transition to regular hours fucked me up worse than shiftwork did. I had to learn to sleep on schedule and get up early every morning. That shit almost killed me.

Shift work is difficult to handle, but getting OFF shift work after you've done it for a long time is even worse. That's a severe readjustment to endure. I spent a year getting used to it.

I don't believe that I will do shift-work again. I could work the hours. That's no problem. I just don't want to do it. I don't have a wife and children to care for anymore. I have only ME to worry about now. I don't have a whole lot of obligation hanging over my head today.

That makes it easy to say "no" to things you don't want to do.

April 21, 2012

I write better than I talk

Originally published October 16, 2003

I have a Southern accent. I drop the "g" off the end of gerunds, so I say talkin,' climbin,' smokin,' and runnin' instead of speaking standard American English the way Dan Rather does as he lies his ass off on the CBS Evening News.

I say y'all. I have 'druthers. I know how far yonder is. I know how to see 'bout that. Whatchadoon is a real word to me.

That's the reason I don't like to talk on the phone. I sound like a goddam hick. I AM a goddam hick, but I am educated and I can communicate well when I want to. Where I live, everybody understands me just fine when I say, "Whatchadoon? I'd 'druther ya not go 'bout it that way. Lemme show ya sumpin. Thadded be better, doncha think?" That's Southern English and it works well in person-to-person communication.

Try that shit over the phone when you're talking to a yankee. I doesn't work. The yankee gets all nasal, I talk Southern and the next thing you know, we may as well be from foreign countries. That's why I would prefer to write to someone I don't know. I can appear to be halfway intelligent on paper.

I've done a lot of thinking about this communication gap. I COULD be like the BC and talk like a yankee at work and sound like the biggest hayseed on the farm at Quinton's football games, but I'm not a chameleon, able to change my skin color and blend into the scenery the way she can. Everything that woman does is an act and she wears many masks. I'm not built that way. Like Popeye, I am what I am and that's all that I am.

Sometimes, that's not the right way to be. Honesty is not always the best policy.

Just ask a lizard.

April 14, 2012

booing and cheering

Originally published October 16, 2003

Did you ever go to a home game for YOUR football team and boo the shit out of them? I did, many times. I watched the Atlanta Falcons play for the SUCK years. I booed a lot back then.

I've never booed my beloved Georgia Bulldogs, although I was tempted during the 33-0 shutout Kentucky handed them in 1977. Prince Charles attended that game and showed up on the field at halftime to accept a Kentucky jersey from one of those bastards who were kicking Bulldog ass that day.

I booed The Prince of Wales.

As an American, I thought that I had the right to boo the Prince. I have the right to boo anybody I want to boo. That's called First Amendment freedom of speech. So what if that guy is heir to the throne of England?

I am a free man. I don't genuflect to ANYBODY.

April 07, 2012

why for?

Originally published October 15, 2003

Did you ever get tired of doing something that you were good at? I did once and I never recovered from the experience.

I once LOVED ice cream. I could eat it with a spoon, stick my face in a bowl and inhale chunks at a time or take it mainlined, half-melted in the veins of my arm. I was a pig about ice cream.

One day, I was at my (now) 92 year-old grandma's house and she served ice cream to me, my brother and my cousin Ernie. I bitched because I thought that I didn't get the biggest bowl. Hell, I was the oldest of the bunch. I should get MORE than anybody else. That idea made sense to me.

My grandma was a strapping woman in her 40s back then and she got sick and tired of listening to my whiney, bitching shit. She opened up a fresh quart of ice cream, stuck a spoon in it and said, "Okay! Now you have exactly what you wanted. Eat it ALL, and don't quit until you are finished."

I was happy for about five minutes. But a quart of ice cream is a LOT for a six year-old boy to eat. My brother and Cousin Ernie finished their bowls and ran off to play. I still had that quart of ice cream in front of me.

I tried to eat it. I froze my goozle and got a headache. I started to whine. "You asked for it, now eat what you asked for," my grandma said. She made me sit at the table until I never wanted any more ice cream again in my life.

I don't like ice cream to this day.