Too Clever By Half

Heart colored pencils

Before I met N___, I was nearing the end of one of my periodical 3 month “I don’t want to go out and party now”, depression breaks. My cousin was telling me I should come out some weekend, a few of them have been partying after hours at this chicks house. He said I might like her, she reminded him of J___, (my last girlfriend)

I was sick of sitting at home and decided to start going out again. Her girlfriend A___ was trying to do the same thing for her. Get her out of the house to meet people. She had lots of friends, but you know? That’s how she met my cousin, A___ dragged N, down to the Seabreeze (that place is a story unto itself). N___ like to party a little but she wasn’t one for hanging out in bars. But she went to school with a lot of the people I was hanging around with so she felt comfortable there. After the bar closed about 10 of us went back to her house and squeezed into her tiny living room and hung out.

I don’t know why the hell she reminded my cousin of J___, she was nothing like her. But she was friendly and nice enough but most of all she was fucking funny. Original, on the spot, situational humor. My favorite. She would go to bed early though, so we would all leave and go over the bridge to Seabrook for the Late, Late, Show.

There were no sparks flying between us or anything. I don’t know how long that went on but each week A__ would make sure N___ went out to the bar. I didn’t realize until writing this but A__ always made sure N___ was near me and A___ always drove and somehow I always ended up in her car with them. I guess I should thank her for that now. Thanks A___! Back then I thought it was because A__ wanted my cousin, which was true but I never noticed if my cousin and I separated at some point in the night, It would always be me going somewhere with A__ and N___. Sometimes I’m clueless.

I do remember I spent a couple weeks in the hospital for mania and when I went out again she was the only one who wondered where I had been.

One night everyone was leaving N___’s place and outside in the driveway I gave my keys to my cousin and said I would call him in the morning. I walked back inside and said I’m sorry, my ride left me, is it okay if I stay here? (What do you want from me? You know I’m incorrigible.) She had another reason for kicking everyone out early. She co-owned the house with her mom. It was divided and they each had their own half. It was only divided by a doorway which was usually open except at night when we were all there.

The first night I “got left behind by my ride”, we were in bed in the morning and I could hear two women’s voices coming up the stairs and laughing. It was her mom and “Shirl” (I can use her real name because that is not her real name) the door opened, they saw me and screamed like two teenagers and ran back down the stairs. N___ told me who they were.

Soon after that she stopped hanging out at the bar and people stopped partying at her place but I didn’t stop hanging out with her. I was still going to the bar until it closed but instead of partying I would go to see her. Then I stopped going to the bar and I think you can take a wild guess what happened after that. It’s 20 years later and we are still friends and we have the most incredible daughter.

I forgot for a long time but I got to tell this to someone new this summer. S__ and his band mates took a sudden interest in hiking and camping together. They were gone for the weekend so the wives and girlfriends were having girl’s day at N__’s house. I didn’t know or I wouldn’t have stopped over unexpectedly. I stayed for an hour. N__ always had multiple dogs. Back when I started seeing her regularly, she had three. Two Boston Terriers and a Black Lab. Kelsey, Chloe and Blue.

Those dogs used to bark at everything. They would go nuts. Except for one thing. Me. They wouldn’t bark at me. I would walk straight in the front door and up the stairs the dogs wouldn’t even open their eyes. Weirdest thing.

A couple month’s ago I was sitting with my daughter and N___ on their porch and talking about how bad drugs and alcohol were. We weren’t lecturing, we were just speaking from our own experience. We both said the same thing though. Individually. If we didn’t all the fucked up stupid shit in our lives, we never would have met each other and our daughter would never be alive. I don’t know what kind of lesson that is for my daughter… I really hope she doesn’t get into drinking. Right now she is against it.

I’m writing this now because I just heard another guy say the exact same thing yesterday. Someone asked him he was able to go back in time somehow and not start using, would he. He said no and gave the same reason.

I’ve been crying and grieving today over the loss of my family, or my idea of what my family was supposed to be. But what would my life be like now if I was straight laced? Would I be married to someone else 20 years later who we’ve fallen out of love but stay together for the sake of two screaming kids and being trapped under a mortgage and both of us find out each of us are on Ashley Madison? I’m venturing into fantasy land now but I’ve heard stories that aren’t too far off the mark. This is no advertisement for the glamorous lifestyle of drugs.

It’s what I was thinking about the other day. “Euphoric Recall”. Am I just supposed to forget about all the good times? I would much rather be a full time parent but I honestly think my daughter is better off the way life turned. It hurts, but I’ll take the pain.

Summertime… Child, the living’s easy

“Well I’ve had many different girls inside my bed
But only one or two inside my head
These days I cuddle up to my guitar instead
But oh, what I would give, not to stumble but to really fall in love
And I could substitute my singing for the sound of someone sleeping next to me”

“Substitute” Frank Turner

God, I was walking down the street and this song popped in my head. I just fucking remembered. I had this girl in my room. I didn’t know anything about her. I dropped the needle on the record just cause it was already there. We didn’t talk. She just started singing. She was doing a better Janis, than Janis did. Oh my god, I’m just gonna… I’m gonna… I don’t know what I’m gonna do… I was thinking, What the hell does this 18 year old girl know about Janis Joplin? But, I’m only 20, what the hell do I know? I just let her sing. That was it. I never saw her again. That’s all I remember. I mean, I remember everything, but I don’t know who the fuck she was or what she was doing in my room. Not because I haven’t thought about it in so long. I mean way back then. I never knew. I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know how I met her, where I met her, nothing. I didn’t go to school with her, it wasn’t at a party, too young to go to bars, none of my friends knew her.

Oh fuck… I just stopped there. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing way down the street. I didn’t need anything. I wasn’t going anywhere. I turned around and came back home. I put on “Summertime” and cried all the way through. I don’t listen to the same music I did back then but I’ve heard the song plenty of times. I like it but it doesn’t get me emotional. Then I put on “Substitute” and that just made it worse. I knew that would happen. At least it slowed my brain. That’s a good thing. I haven’t slept in a couple days. I got a steel band around my head. It’s taking me like two hours to write this fucking thing. I guess it’s pretty funny.

Just Another Saturday in NH

I don’ know when it started. Sometime last night. I’m on the dog’s bed on the floor, still trippin’ balls. Dave bolts upright from dead sleep, grabs a half empty can of beer off the table and drains it. How the fuck does he do that? It’s piss warm. Fuckin’ gross. Dave looks the same as he always does when I’m tripping. Seven eyes. Three pairs stacked on top of each other and another on his forehead. He’s the seventh son. John walks in. Where the fuck is he comin’ from? Every 2 hours he disappears. I think he goes home, takes a nap and eats. I really fuckin’ think so. “Let’s go do something.”, “What the fuck we gonna do? It’s six in the morning?” John always wants to do something. “Where the fuck we gonna go? We can’t drive.” Dave always leads the charge but fades out early. “I dunno, we’ll figure it out.”,

I’m ready, “Yeah! Let’s fuckin’ go somewhere, I’ll drive. I don’ wan’ no more fuckin’ beer.”

“Still got no place to go”

“Who cares? We got all fuckin day. Your sister put gas in the car when she went shoppin’ right?”

“Two against one, Dave.” John settled it.

Heh! Dave’s fuckin’ car. Fire engine red ’75 Dodge Dart. Boxy, grandma’s grocery getter. Oh no, don’t let it fool you. She’s a sleeper. Loaded up with everything we need. A huge fuckin’ cooler in the back. Stop at Cumby’s and fill it up with beer again. “What we gonna do?”, “I dunno, let’s go the mountains.”, “Okay, better than flippin’ a fuckin’ coin.”

I don’t care where we go. Nobody’s on the road. I just love driving. hmmt. Dave’s not lookin too good in the passenger’s seat. John looks fresh. I swear he takes a fuckin’ shower every time he goes home too. He slides a can over Dave’s shoulder. “Dude! Keep it down til we get outta fuckin’ town. I don wanna get pulled over.”, “Don’ worry about it.”, “Well, um fuckin’ worried about it, You guys a couple assholes.”

It’s nice out, windows down, not too hot. I don’ know, I feel fine, should be hungover. Fuckin’ Christ. Goin’ up North, we got an AM radio. What the fuck we gonna listen to? I don’ know, just glad we’re moving. Quiet too. Nice ride, we’ll be there in an hour. Fresh air. “Roll one up, Dave.”

“Woooo!” Dave out the window. Yeah, he’s fuckin’ feelin’ better now, right? I should be over there. I’m the only one that can handle their alcohol. Him and his fuckin’ brother, two beers they start yelling. Doesn’t matter. We’re in the middle of nowhere now. Up past the lakes. John’s always quiet. I don’t think he really drinks. I think he just holds his beer.

I don’t know how we got through the mountains so fast. I barely remember it. I don’ know. I like this stretch up here. Wide open. Long, low, rolling hills. This fuckin’ car cruises. “Hmmt! Remember your brother got pulled over up here and asked the cop where he was? He told him Dixville and Tom started laughing. How the fuck he never get arrested? He’s a fuckin’ mess.” Jesus Christ, these guys are messed up. I’m talking to myself. “Where the fuck is that? Way up north, like Canada, right? I’m not drivin’ that far today.”

“Dude, I gotta piss.”, “Yeah, me too.”, “Well, what the fuck, I’m not pullin over every two fuckin’ seconds, you gotta wait til I find somewhere.” I never thought about that. But, what the fuck? We were just in the middle of the fuckin’ woods, they couldn’t say something ten minutes ago? Oh, nice, a fire road, I’ll pull off up there. “You guys are lucky, man, I should make you wait.”

“This ain’ no fuckin’ fire road. It’s one lane. Where the fuck um supposed to turn around?”, “Just keep drivin’ it’s gotta go somewhere.”, “Ah, man, it’s someone’s fuckin’ house, look at this place, it’s like a million. Out in the middle of fucking nowhere?”, “I don’t know, I’m gettin’ out.”, “You can’t piss in their fuckin’ driveway, dude! What are you doin?”, “Whatever, there better not be anyone home.”, “I don’t see any cars.”, “Whatever, I gotta piss too.”, “What the fuck is John doing? What the fuck is that? A pair of bull horns? What are we in fuckin’ Texas?”, “He’s rippin’ em of the fuckin’ house! What the fuck, John!”

I’m not even drinking but this is pretty fuckin’ funny. We got set of bull horns strapped to the front of the fuckin’ car. This road is nice and straight for miles, I’m gonna open it up. I don’ fuckin’ care. What the fuck? Dave’s hanging out the window with a baseball bat, screaming. John’s fucked up too, I guess he does drink. What’s he got a fuckin’ crow bar? It’s like my imagination. “Dude! I’m hittin’ a buck ten! We just flew by that car. Those people must think we’re fuckin’ crazy!”, “What the fuck is that? Dude, it’s a fuckin’ moose! Look out! Dude, it almost jumped in front of us! We would a been fuckin’ dead!”, “Alright, I know, it ran the other fuckin’ way”

I don’t know where the fuck we are now. I fuckin’ turned around fuckin’ hours ago. “That fuckin’ sign just say Maine? How the fuck we end up in Maine? What number was it? We still goin south?”, “I don’t know, we gotta be goin south, just keep driving, we can’t go all the way back around.”, “Dude, we shoulda brought a fuckin’ map. I never been on this road before. How the fuck we get in Maine?”

“Look, a cabin up there. Pull in”, “Yeah, I gotta take a piss too.”, “Who the fuck lives here?”, “Nobody lives here it’s a fuckin’ summer place.”, “They got a boat.”, “What the fuck is John doing? He’s a fucking criminal.”, “Guys, check this out!”, “This place nice!”,” What the fuck is John doing up in the rafters?”, “I found a rifle up here, a bunch of shells. It’s a 22.”,”Set up those fuckin’ soup cans.”,”Haha, what the fuck?”

“I wanna take that boat.”,”What the fuck, Dave, can’t take the guy’s boat.”,”Dude, I got a bunch of rope in the trunk, take two minutes.”,”That’s not what I’m…. What the fuck, I’m not drivin’ home with a fuckin’ boat strapped to the roof. We still don’t know where the fuck we are.”

I guess we got a boat now. Both these fuckin’ assholes passed out. Fuckin’ lucky I know where I am now. Fuckin’ Dave. Still holding the boat on the roof. How the fucks he do that? He’s fuckin’ sleeping. What the fuck is that? Conway? Fuckin’ Christ, take another two hours to get home. Better not get fuckin’ pulled over.

Been home two minutes, John fuckin’ disappeared again. Dave’s fuckin’ passed out in the chair. What the fuck. I don’t wanna stay here all fuckin’ day. His mother is gonna wake up soon.

“What the fuck was that?!”, “Fuckin’ shotgun?”, “Right out fuckin’ side?”, “Dude, it’s your fuckin’ car! Look, it’s all tilted over.”

“What the fuck happened?”, “Something broke… A fuckin’ strut? Why’d it make so much noise?”, “I don’t know, man, we’re fuckin’ lucky!”, “Yeah, dude, fuck….”

Pretty fuckin’ lucky.

Cybernaculum

Joie asked me if I wanted to go see a punk show up in Portland, Maine at a place called the Cybernaculum. She knew the singer in “Big Meat Hammer” and said we could stay at his house for the night. I liked punk music in a joking kind of way but I never felt like piercing my nose and hanging out downtown but it sounded like fun. We didn’t have a car so we we planned on hitchhiking. We were loaded for bear. I had a bag of weed in my pocket and 2 pints of Southern Comfort in my backpack. We also had a couple pint bottles of Veryfine cranberry juice for chasers. We were looking forward to a very good night. Did I mention she was only 19? Underage drinker. We were a cop’s wet dream.

There are several rules to making hitchhiking easier. The first is to always face traffic so people can see your face. The second is to smile. Third is never stand still; show you are willing to do your part by walking. Lastly, bring a woman along. That always works. We got a ride almost immediately after setting foot on Route 101. He brought us just over the NH/ME border. Passing a sign saying, “Welcome to Maine, The way life should be.” Our second ride was a couple in an orange, rust covered, Challenger. A beast from an earlier age. The driver and his girl seemed pretty cool so we offered to get them stoned as we rumbled up Route 95 North. We made it to Portland in a little over an hour. Almost as fast as driving your own car.

We were early getting dropped off so we wandered around the side streets of town until we spotted a wooden plank running from a mound of dirt to the roof of a building. We had to investigate. On the roof were two lawn chairs set up for a perfect view of the harbor. We decided to crack open the hooch and smoke another bone. Well; There we were in Maine, sitting on the rooftop of an abandoned factory, sipping Southern Comfort and stoned out of our heads. “The way life should be.”

The moon was a copper colored saucer floating over the horizon. I’d never seen a moon so huge. It was a Harvest Moon and it sent a trail of watery orange light across the surface of the bay. Joie and I were almost finished with one of the pints and feeling quite rakish. It was time to go in search of the Cybernaculum. Joie assured me she knew exactl where it was located. We wove our way through a few blocks of industrial buildings in various states of repair and sure enough, we found it. It didn’t have a sign or anything to distinguish it from he surrounding buildings; early twentieth century red brick.

We tapped on the door like it was a speakeasy. A waif-like creature answered and told us we had to make a five dollar donation to enter. We paid and made our way downstairs. The money was to pay the bands and the rent. Makeshift curtains divided the basement into studio space for local art school students. At the end of the rectangle was a small stage.

The artists worked in several mediums from welded junk to textured paintings. One painting had dried tree frogs marching from a rendered mouth to a disembodied ear. Another piece looked like a ten speed bicycle transformed into a Stegosaurus. There was something to gawk at everywhere, mostly the other people. The place was filling up with all manner of hairdo’s and faces. I was dressed as usual in torn jeans, tee shirt and jacket with an emblem on back. A picture of the earth with the phrase, “Last Revolution of a Dying Race”. I painted it myself. I was a different kind of freak.

I kept the second bottle of SoCo in the inner pocket of my jacket, sipping off it with some regularity. I watched the people around me. Joie had wandered off to talk with friends. There was a band playing. Four broads passing for punk rockers. Drugs and booze were taking their toll and the night resembled a psychotic nightmare, but my mood was elevated and I thought I was having a great time. The next band came on. Thirteen Thirteen Mockingbird Lane. They were fantastic. A mix of psychedelic sixties and seventies hippie songs mocked in punk style. Joie and I hooked up again and started slam dancing. We were hurling ourselves across the “dance floor” at one another. I really didn’t have a care in the world.

Somehow later… The skinheads were eying me. They could tell I didn’t fit in with the crowd. Joie told me they thought of themselves as the self-appointed security force. I didn’t like them cause they dressed like cops. Crew cuts, flight jackets and Doc Martens. I called them “The Junior G-men” or “Killer Cub Scouts.” They circled the crowd like lions. Looking for the weak and unprotected. I flashed a broken toothed, wild eyed smile.

Big Meat Hammer came on last. They were straight out thrash; fast and furious. The lead singer was Jordan. He stood five feet tall with a completely shaved head. He wore the standard black leather jacket and oozed cool. He had noticeable stage presence; standing stiff and straight, gripping the microphone. Jordan was the oldest person in the room. He was hooked on fifties horror movies and nineties heroin.

During the set, the drummer of Thirteen Thirteen approached me. He had a thick mane of red hair, the same color as mine. He asked for a slug off my bottle. I was happy to share. We became fast friends. Most of the crowd had calmed and were settling on the couches scattered across the space. The drummer and I were still active and having a great time. We didn’t even notice the music had stopped. Somebody yelled, “Cops!”

Everything was a blur after running out the back door. People were still yelling about the cops. Stumbling down the street towards Jordan’s house I stuffed my weed down my pants. We walked fast and kept an eye on the skinheads closing in behind us. The blues flashed once and they scattered.

Thirteen Thirteen was trying to move their instruments from the house to their van. The drummer and I impeded their progress, wrestling on the kitchen floor, upending the dining table and splitting it in two.

Suddenly everyone was gone. I imagine that was the locked door to Jordan’s room. The other door led to a large empty room. I pulled Joie inside and tore her clothes off. Biting and pulling. And then the sleep of the dead. I woke up naked, my face pressed against the hardwood floor. I was halfway out of the sleeping bag. I got up, panicked because I couldn’t find my weed. Getting dressed the bag fell out of my underwear. Saved!

Nobody else was in the house. We picked up the two chairs and sat in the kitchen alone. I felt depraved. We smoked a joint for breakfast and chased it with a couple of Camel’s. Straights. No filter. We packed up our change of clothes and sleeping bag and set off up the hill towards town in search of coffee and lunch. Hoping it wouldn’t cost more than the fifteen bucks we had left. We found a diner that fit the bill and having eaten we had nowhere to go but home. Our first trip together was a success.

Go Red Sox! Take the Patriots with You

In 1980 we lived with our grandparents after my mom had a “nervous breakdown”. I’m serious. That was her diagnosis.

Every Saturday in the summer my grandfather would get a 12 pack of Naraggansett Tall Boys and sit down to watch the afternoon Red Sox game. Back then they sucked. He got emotionally involved. If they were winning and they brought on their star reliever Bob Stanley, he would get excited and yell, “The soup is on!” He was always yelling at the television.

If they were losing in the 7th inning he would turn off the television and nobody was allowed to watch. But he knew how long the innings lasted and would turn it back on in the 9th. Hoping they came back. they usually didn’t.

They are playing Seattle on the west coast tonight. 10 o’clock game. I don’t get as invested as my grandfather did. I have it on the tv to my left and half an ear turned toward it but my focus is on my memories.

I remember 1975. Carlton Fisk waving the home run fair. Bucky “Fucking” Dent, ruining our year with one swing of the bat. I have always been a Boston sports fan. Sports on tv are my best childhood memories. Yeah, all the adults were still drunk off their asses, but nobody was fighting. Everyone was united, cheering for the team. Our teams always lost but at least they had hope. The chaos was pointed in one direction. It brought us all together.

I was 6 years old and I wanted to be Freddie Lynn. Running full speed across center field, smashing into the wall, crumpling to the ground… Holding up my glove up with the slightest white of the baseball showing from within. “What a catch!” “Unbelievable!” I would have become Dwight Evans in a pinch. Nobody was allowed to be Carl Yastremski. I had no idea they were feeling no pain because they were all drunk and on cocaine.

Couple years later I was really into it. Anybody here remember newspapers? I’m talking well before the internet. The interwhat? They had to run the presses at 11pm in order to deliver the papers across the region by 5am. That worked well for general news. But the baseball games were still going on at 11. They printed all the stats but qualified, (as of yesterday) They couldn’t even tell you who won last night. But I knew. I knew what everyone hit and I calculated their batting averages each day. I looked at the numbers in the paper and remembered what everyone hit the night before. He went 2 for 4, now he’s batting .287. I knew every player’s stats. I was obsessed. We didn’t have Texas Instruments calculators. I did it in my head. That’s how I taught myself math.

I don’t care now. I was happy when they finally won their first World Series but I would not have died if they lost. I did have an instant connection with my grandfather in law who was a die hard fan but I am sure he would have like me anyway. My favorite part lately is how the Red Sox have a following across the country. In some visiting ballparks the Sox have more fans in attendance than the home team fans. I don’t know how that came about. Boston was never well liked.

I still have the game on as I’m typing this. I heard the commotion and J.D. Martinez just broke the stalemate with a home run shot making it 1-0. It’s fun. I like to see them win but I don’t live and die with every pitch like when I was younger.

Honestly, watching baseball is usually very boring. Like, I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half and that home run was the first action of the game. I wasn’t paying much attention last night but I caught the end when it went into extra innings. It was a one run game and Josh Taylor, who never closes out games was pitching. You could tell he was fucking pumped. His look was intense. Sweat dripping off his nose as he stared down the hitter. They said his average fastball was 94 mph but he was consistently hitting 98 on the gun. And he was going after it. Eckersly, a former Red Sox pitcher who now does the announcing caught my ear. He gets excited. He is intense. Normally a guy calling a game recites his stats off the monitor in front of him. Not Eck. All he does is watch baseball and he remembers everything. He knows last time this batter faced this pitcher was on a Tuesday, 3 months ago and it was a 3-1 count and he hit a curveball to left center field and drove in the tying run. ??? I’m not sure if I ate breakfast this morning.

Anyway, Eckersly doesn’t work every game but he knows his shit. I perked up when he started talking like he was talking directly to the pitcher. Of course the pitcher can’t hear him. But if he could he better listen. Eck was saying, “This kid wants to strike out. He is asking for it. Go after him!” Next pitch, way high, way outside. The kid swung at it! Unhittable! Strike 3! Out. Eck,”I told you! It doesn’t matter where that pitch was thrown… That kid was going to swing at it. I like listening to him call he game more than I like watching the game.

He has his own euphemisms to describe the game which shouldn’t make sense but you know exactly what he means. My favorite is “pair of shoes”. That means the batter just stood there watching a strike 3 fastball go by him. Like an empty pair of shoes.

I don’t know. They are losing right now. I’m just typing to keep myself out of trouble. Trying to share some positive memories. It doesn’t matter if you like baseball. Maybe you like what I have to say about it.

Lord won’t you buy me a night on the town?

“Hey buddy, wake up!” The bouncer stood tall and tough, close to my side. I lifted my head from the bar and tried to figure out where I was. I was led down the stairs and out to the street. My arms and legs were lead but I willed myself to move towards the neon sign a short stumble away.

Much earlier I had ditched my friends and went on a drunken tour of the city. I had Percosets loose in my pocket and took one before I entered each bar. I drank until the bartenders gave me the eye. I knew the look and would finish my drink and leave without a word. I repeated the scene four or five times that night until I was overcome at the final stop.

I walked to the park on the waterfront and found a bench. The park was deserted. A light rain was falling. I was cold and alone. I reached into my pocket for a Perc and came up empty. I cursed and spat. My cigarettes were crushed. I straightened one out, broke off the filter and lit it with my last match. I was feeling lucky again.

“Hey buddy, wake up!” The cop stood tall and tough, close to my side. I shrugged my shoulders at his questions and waited for him to take me to jail. I was polite and affable as I emptied my pockets and took off my shoes and belt. I was simply happy for a place to sleep. I curled up in my cell and waited till morning.

Questionable Behavior

I was originally going to write a post about whether I am depressed or despondent. Technically I believe I am despondent. I did a quick search and they seem interchangeable. I still feel more despondent. (hopeless) \

I have been thinking about this a lot and I said fuck it all! My main concern since this last spring has been my mental health treatment. I developed a severe form of the side effect akathesia from 20 years of antipsychotics. I told my doctor and my case manager multiple times I was skipping doses every other day because I could not take care of myself and it was making me suicidal. My doctor tried the standard protocol, which did not work at all. After that, on July 15th he called me and said, “Your medications are making you worse, It is called the paradoxical effect.. It means..” I interrupted him and said, You mean my whole life had been one big fucking side effect?” He stopped me and asked it I want therapy. I thought, how the hell is therapy going to stop this terrible side effect? I told him, “I don’t know…” He told me to make an appointment in two weeks. I thought, What is going to happen in two weeks? He didn’t make any med changes after what he said.. I need a month to think about this. Maybe I just need some therapy to think about the last 20 years of meds making me worse.

Approximately 2 weeks later I texted my case manager and said, “Jim gave up on me, said, fuck off, find a therapist.” She said, “Seriously?” I said, “Paraphrasing” and repeated what he said. She asked what I wanted to do? New doctor? Therapist? I didn’t think a new doctor would do anything. They all work together and have drinks I imagine. I told my therapist and she said she would put in a referral. I saw her in person and I was ranting but I was asking a serious question, “Can he ethically continue to prescribe a medication he knows is making me worse? I kept repeating the question. She remained silent. That is her way of not lying to me. I changed my mind and told her I wanted to switch doctors. She asked me to talk to him one more time. I met one more time with him and told her again I want to change doctors. She didn’t respond. still don’t know why I was putting all this time and effort and stress and anxiety into forcing myself into taking a medication my doctor said was making me worse and was making me suicidal. I accidentally found magnesium which helped the side effects but not for long. I told him about it and said I think I can tolerate enough doses of the Latuda to safely taper off. He immediately told me he wanted me to double it. I told him truthfully, I am on the lowest dose I have ever been and the only thing that has gotten worse is the akathesia. He started saying he thought I would be “safer” and “More protected” at double the dose. These sounded like threats from my doctor to put me in the hospital and force me to take a medication that is making me suicidal. I agreed to increase the dose.

There is much more to this story but I don’t want to make it public. I want to call a lawyer… Should I? If my doctor wants to keep me “safe”? Why would he continue to prescribe me a med I told him is making me suicidal? I’m not lying to him. I have looked into my state’s mental health lawyers but they want all you personal information and your story before you have a case. They also say you should informally discuss it with your doctor beforehand. I thought I already did that. My best choice which I am against is a cheesy personal injury lawyer. The statute of limitations on psychiatrist malpractice is 3 years in my state. All of this is withing the time frame. There are also special circumstances which exceed the statute of limitations. I think I may fall into that category. I was never hospitalized until after I started these antipsychotics. My doctor also said to me, would you be surprised if I told you I “guessed” you had psychosis during our first appointment. He put me on powerful mind altering super addictive drugs on a guess? Would you call a lawyer?

I may call the sleazy lawyer tomorrow. It may be the only way to be forced injections or indefinite hospitalization in the future.

This is only half the story. Last year I already figured out the “Paradoxical reaction” I just didn’t know it had a name. Every time I quit a medication. I felt better.

Savoir Faire is Everywhere!

Apparently, my cousin is extremely good looking. Even though he was 60 pounds overweight, wore jeans, New Balance sneakers (he wasn’t jogging anywhere), and bathed in Drakkar Noir, there was no denying it. The reaction he got from women was definitive proof. He didn’t even have to do anything besides walk into the room. Women would climb over each other to get to him. Even women who didn’t like him because he was cocky, arrogant, conceited, had a huge ego, etc… Couldn’t help but be attracted to him.

I’m not selling him short, he had a brain to match. Quick witted, generally funny, had a head full of useless but interesting facts, He remembered everyone’s name and even if he didn’t know you yet, he knew someone you knew. wherever you were from. Within reason. He also had great social intelligence. That was probably his greatest asset.

As if this all wasn’t bad enough, he had an instant conversation starter. Well, he didn’t even have to start the conversation. “What’s your name?”, “El”, “Al?”, “No, El, with an ‘E’, it’s short for Elphage.”, “Oh, I’ve never heard that name before…” Where do you go from there? Are you going to walk away? I didn’t think so.

“I wish that I could be like the cool kids
‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Like the cool kids”

Echosmith, “Cool Kids”

Booze and Broads: A Short Story

I walked into the crowded dance club and headed to the top of the stairs. I was confronted by a pall of stale smoke and sweat as I made my way through the mass of people. Primal beats surged through the floor, urging dancers into the night. I was not in the mood for dancing on this night and I turned left towards the bar. I was disconnected from the uniform mass of revelers that shook and writhed on the dance floor. I had been depressed lately and hoped to escaped my mood in the anonymous atmosphere of the night club. I could already see that this wasn’t going to work. the celebration around me only served to increase my sense of isolation. I hoped a drink might help do the trick. I turned to away from the bar with a fresh glass of Captain and Coke and scanned the room for a familiar face, hoping I would find someone to console me. I needed another point of view on what this life was all about. A dance club was an in appropriate place to search for the meaning of life, but I had to make due with what I had. I was beginning to feel the warmth of the ice cold rum when I spotted my friend Joe. A ray of hope was cast upon my inward gloom.

I had known Joe for a few years and had always seen him as very self-assured. Others would describe him as arrogant and conceited and a little too cocky and all of these assessments were closer the the truth than not. He got his reputation by always being outspoken- there was one thing he could always be counted upon for and that was his opinion. That was what I was looking for as I went to greet him. With the preliminaries out of the way and a couple more drinks ordered, Joe noticed there was something up and asked what it was. I told him that I was feeling a bit down and asked him what it was that kept his world spinning around. Without skipping a beat he answered, “Booze and broads, baby!” A smile spread across his face. I was sure he was joking and let him know that my question was at least half serious. He reiterated, “Booze and broads, Billy, liquor and ladies, these are the only things us guys have to keep us from going completely insane.” His arms outstretched to indicate the surroundings.

I could have let it go at that, but the drinks were making a case on the argumentative side of my personality. There must be more to it than these two things, something else must work to keep him on an even keel. I was looking for an answer with more meaning and thought and I told him as much. He let me know, “Believe me, it may sound right off the top of my head, but I know what I’m talking about.” He took another sip of his drink. “A guy’s gotta have an even balance of each or he’s just not gonna be happy.” I couldn’t take him seriously but he had my interest and I decided to take the other side of the argument for a diversion from my thoughts.

I wondered aloud about art and personal expression and how they fit into his theory. He laughed sardonically. “Artists. There’s a case of too much booze and not enough women. They think too much and then drink to distract themselves. They’re too messed up to get any women and none of their animal needs are satisfied. That’s their personal expression. It’s pent up animal aggression, they just don’t know what to do with their time.” I was incredulous, that was the great works of art and literature throughout history could be contributed to sex-starved alcoholics was too much.

I could see I was getting nowhere with the concept of are and changed the subject to love. At this he laughed again. “Ain’t no such thing as love, Billy” he pontificated with a cocktail held in one hand. “Love is just an arrangement a man makes to keep himself in women. But now he’s got a problem, if he wants to keep the woman he’s got to give up the booze, cause no woman is gonna put up with a drunk for long. Now that leaves him nothing to keep his mind off life.” Joe wasn’t done yet.”So now a guy’s got this woman and he’s used to being fed. He’s like a damn kitten! He’s got no more thrill of the hunt, no appetite, he’s not hungry anymore. His natural instinct to go out and get is stifled and now all he’s got is time to be lazy and think about life. I’m gonna tell you, a thinking man can never be happy.” With this last, he finished his drink.

Joe could tell that this conversation was not helping my mood at all, he clapped hand on my shoulder and said,”Lighten up Billy, you’re thinking too much. You don’t have to look no further than what’s right in front of you.” He nodded in the direction of the crowd as he went to the bar for a couple more drinks. I sat alone at the table in the corner of the room. I looked at the people around me, drinking and dancing. It was getting towards the end of the night and couples were starting to form in the club. I was unconvinced. I had always believed one could never think too much and I was determined to find a chink in Joe’s armor.

There are two subjects you are never to bring up in barroom conversation and those are politics and religion. I was ready to break one of those rules.Joe set the drinks on the table. Letting curiosity get the best of me. I grabbed the cat by the tail and brought up religion. He stopped me short, “Don’t even go there!” He sneered, “God doesn’t even enter into this, God was invented by a bunch of guys that didn’t drink and never got laid.” Joe was flushed and ready to go on. “Take the bible, now there’s a sad group that wrote that shit, lonely guys trying to think of why they ain’t havin’ no fun, and they want the world to live like them? Right?” There was nothing I could do to stop him now and I wasn’t in the mood to try. “God don’t exist and even ife he does he ain’t gonna do anything for you ’til after you’re dead, no thanks, I’ll take mine while I’m still alive and can enjoy it.” I could see why this subject is considered taboo. Joe was getting worked up now, “This idea that you will be rewarded for living a boring life, you just know it was thought of by guys that never did have no fun and never got laid. No, there’s no God, this whole existence is one big accident. Man was never supposed to think, it doesn’t serve any purpose but to complicate things. Now we just have to make the best of it.” I had nothing more to add. Making the excuse that I had to use the bathroom, I left the table. I stopped by the bar and paid for another round of drinks to be sent to our table. Then I walked down the stairs and left the club behind me., feeling worse leaving than I had when I entered.

Sad But True

One of my daughter’s favorite bands, Royal Blood, released a cover of Metallica’s “Sad But True.” It reminded me of a good story. Lucky you!

Jumping into the Way Back Machine.

When I was in my early 20’s I got my first construction job because it paid a lot more than any other job for someone with no experience. It was a pretty shitty job. It was removing and replacing flat asphalt/tar roofing such as you would find on schools, warehouses or other commercial buildings. It was hot and dirty.

Most of the people who worked there were around my age. A few were older. One of the older guys was Earl. Everyone had a nickname and his was “G’Earl.” He wasn’t particularly feminine. I guess it was just an easy reach. I have no idea why, but Earl had been married 4 times and had children with each previous wife. Now he was married to his job. All of his money went towards alimony and child support. It was a little sad. The job was always trying to rope us into working on Saturday. None of us kids really wanted to do that. Earl worked every Saturday, even if there was no pressing need. He would also try to talk the bosses into letting him go on repair jobs on Sundays. But that is neither here nor there.

The company did work all across New England and if the job was too far away to makes sense driving everyone home each day, they would put us up in a hotel for the week. Once I got picked to go on a 2 day repair with Earl, it was in Rhode Island so we would have to spend one night in a hotel. I wasn’t really friends with him but he was nice enough, I just didn’t know what we would have in common to talk about.

Another non sequitur before I can continue. This job was dirty. At the end of the day everyone was covered in grime from head to toe. Not Earl. He had a collection of thrift shop white silk dress shirts and wore one to work every day. At the end of the day, his shirts were spotless. I have no idea how he did it. I had clothes specifically designated for work because they never came clean no matter how many times you washed them. Once in a while some asshole would flick drops of asphalt at him and he would get pissed! Pissed!

Earl and I made it down to Rhode Island. I have no idea what the job entailed but it was fairly easy. We got back to the hotel and he asked me if I wanted to a strip club that night. Surprisingly, I had never been to a strip club before but looking at naked women did sound like a good idea. He was excited and told me we were near the best club in Rhode Island. Well Earl… You little freak… I didn’t know any strip clubs by name and this guy has them ranked in a 300 mile radius!

We got there and he was right. This club was straight out of Hollywood’s imagination! It was huge and the lighting and and the music and the crowd. Wow. But of course the main attraction was the stage and it didn’t disappoint. At least a 100 seats around it, 3 dancers on poles and 6 more working the main floor in rotation. Earl grabbed me and took me right up to ”pervert’s row” Two seats stage side. Earl didn’t drink but I ordered a Bud. I think it was all they served. It was good enough for me.

This is where I found out a little more about Earl than I needed to know. When a dancer got in front of him and put her ass near his face, he would lean forward and blow a little puff of air on their sphincter. WTF? He said, “They love it!” But one woman stopped what she was doing and turned around and asked him to please not do that. It was pretty funny.

After we were there for a bit Earl motioned to the girl in front of him to come closer and he spoke into her ear. He pulled out a 5 spot and draped it over the 6 inch high glass partition, in front of my seat, that was supposed to keep us away from the dancers. I was next in line and she moved over in front of me. She straightened up, looking past me over my head and made a spinning motion with her index finger directed at the DJ.

The whole place went silent… She got down in front of me, about 3 inches away, we were nose to nose and eye to eye… I thought… “Oh my.” Then I heard the kick of the drums and then the guitar… Metallica, “Sad but True!” “Hey (Hey) I’m your life, I’m the one who takes you there, Hey (Hey) I’m your life, I’m the one who cares.” She went nuts on me for the entire song! Draping her long, straight hair over my head, kissing my eyes and forehead, swinging from side to side and biting each of my ears, (she didn’t know but that is my “thing”, be careful if you are thinking of touching my ears) bouncing her little titties off my face… What is going on here? I didn’t know much about strip clubs but I knew touching a dancer was fastest way to get tossed out of there. I didn’t know what the rules were about dancers touching me, but I wasn’t asking any questions. The song ended and she smiled and moved on.

Earl stood up and said, Let’s get out of here. When we got outside he said he told the girl it was my first time in a strip club.

Thanks Earl, I owe you one.