Friday, May 10, 2013
Day 11: Drying out in Bartontucky, thinking about my late father, curse bless me now with these fierce tears I pray…
Status: Eleven days. I have not had a beer for eleven days, the dual sight of twin exclamatory towers unassumingly nestled in panoramic pre-dawn mist on a perfect autumnal morning.
Physiology: The withdrawal symptoms are no longer a factor and shouldn’t be for the remaining 29 days of this sojourn of what I hope will be self-discovery. Since the skin is the largest excretory organ I’m riddled with acne and blemishes. My countenance has not been this oily and besmirched since I was thirteen and salivating over a stack of late-80’s Playboy that we found trussed and abandon in an alley behind my friend Patrick Mcreynold’s house. While our eyes transitioned into the size of billiard balls and we continued to ogle and leer the glossed centerfold sheath in front of us all the while making little high-pitched falsettos like a classically trained hyena capable of cooing various sonatas by Bach, Patrick’s father somehow walked into the room unnoticed and sternly asked us boys’ just what the hell it was we thought we were looking at and Patrick (I’ll never forget this) looked back at his old man and without missing a pubescent teenage beat staidly replied, “Nintendo Power.”To which his old man replied that he thought it high-time that we put ‘Nintendo Power’ away so to speak and if he ever catches us reading ‘Nintendo Power’ again he will stick it some place the sun does not shine, and by that I don’t think he meant one of those pipe-sewers Mario is always chuting down to evade the nefarious flounce of winged turtles.
Spent the last two days drying out at my mom’s house in Bartontucky, (Bartonville, for those of you trying to find the geographical g-spot of this county hamlet via GPS). Bartontucky is kinda reminiscent of what I always imagined living in Lake Woebegone would be like only everyone is thirty pounds overweight and the hard right-wing conservative to laid back liberal ratio is staggering. Still, I love everything about this little country villa. Love stopping in a diner and falling in love with the sight of tight jean waitress who you can tell listens to country music who refills my coffee cup eight times w/out asking before my entrée, slathered in vats of gravy and graze cheese, arrives. I love traipsing through the linoleum labyrinth of Krogers in Bartontucky how people keep looking at me and tilt their head and say hi. Love sitting hunched over like a human-shaped question mark amidst the locals at Jim Dandy and occasionally bumping in to Jim Thome’s dad. Love going to the 801 club while eating chicken and slamming baptismal fount sized Schooners of draught Busch served so cold it comes replete with flecks of ice buoyed in the swill, the working class elixir of Keystone employees across the street.
Love going down Smithville rd. to Hammers’ and getting ( uhm,well) just plain hammered.
Yesterday I walked via the Alpha Park moors to the liquor store on Garfield to get smokes and got caught in the rain. I have been sober now for eleven days. If this were twelve days ago I would have gone in McDonalds and got a large cup of coffee and then gone to the liquor store, purchased a few 24 oz. of PBR, find some place discreet to dump the coffee out before cracking open the beer and, after a quick rinse, feeding the libation into the Mcmarketed receptacle, taking intermittent swigs while riding out the storm.
Drying out during the deluge yesterday, sheets of rain kept coming down in drapes of static, like trying to discern a nipple on late-night porn televised porn fuzz, I thought about eleven years ago when my father died.
He was healthy one day, diagnosed the next and two weeks later he was dead.
The morning he died we arrived back from the hospital and the wheel chair my father used the last week of life was overturned in the center of the living room and my mother understandably burst down in a Vesuvius hail of tears and I grabbed the Wheelchair and took it down to the basement and found my little league Louisville slugger and, like a young kid and a Cinco de Mayo piñata, started pummeling the hell out of the overturned wheelchair with the baseball bat, screaming out a freeway of vulgarities, screaming out fuck, thinking that the harder I hit the wheelchair with the baseball bat somehow my father would be resuscitated. Finally my sister came downstairs and told me that mom was in enough emotional tumult as it was and that if I felt the need to vent I needed to go somewhere else cause I wasn’t helping matters so, instead of being the solicitous son, the son my father needed me to be at that moment to hold and comfort my mom, I just decided to get up and leave.
And that's what I did. I left and just took off and start walking.
It was early February 2002 and the dirty snow on the ground was the color of grade school trash bags. I trudged the Alpha Park, stopped at the liquor store on Garfield, bought a forty of Icehouse, walked down the slope of Garfield Hill taking sloppy swigs of the forty from the brown paper bag as if nursing a newborn calf.
At the time my oldest childhood friend David Hale (i.e. Big Dave) lived on McKinley and I remember somehow finding his house and passing out on his front porch with Big Dave literally picking me up and four hours later waking up on his couch with splotches of dried rivulets of tears staining my face. Trying to apprehend what just happen. Trying to think where my father went.
My father who I was just beginning to know as an adult.
My father who I had seen drink maybe five beers in his entire life.
I thought about all this yesterday while I was riding out the spring tempest outside the liquor store in Bartontucky. I wonder what my dad would say about my self-imposed exile from the sauce. My father with his gentle nature and his nightly devotions and his love of Jesus. When I was in high school dad found a bottle of Vodka in my closet and the only thing he said was, “David, don’t get hooked on that stuff because, “that’s what those Russian guys drink.” When I went out on my 21st birthday dad told me that I shouldn’t drink that much because, “I would be playing tricks on my brain,” When I got into a car accident after I walked in on my ex-girlfriend fucking her now husband my father told me that I just had to take some time away from all the coffee, beer and smokes because everytime he saw me I was juggling all three.
And of course, I didn’t.
But I like to think that maybe my dad would be proud. Everytime I cracked open a beer I wanted to experience life in a new way and in a weird way, I wanted to grow. By giving the booze up for forty days I’m eneadeavoring to grow as well.
Maybe my dad would understand that.
And maybe he would smile.