Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 2: Winsome withdrawals, alcoholic arithmetic, Literary criticism featuring former Bulls’ Coach Scott Skiles, making love to Debbie Gibson while reading Wittgenstein and how very Noble (pils) of you…

Status: 24 hours, one planetary barstool swivel without chugging the amber stem of a beer, the longest I have gone in at least the last two weeks. Actually the cruelest month of April (all of that poetry! All that alchemical mixing of dull roots and spring rain!) was pretty much a booze- goggled  pasture of blur fraught with seasonal showers, broken-hearted bracketologists, domestic terrorism, a congress whose gun laws match their I-just-graduated-from Goosebumps-reading-caliber, all beer-backed with the minty scent of a freshly plowed diamond on opening day with my best bros in the Southside of Chicago at a ballpark which to me will always be known as Comiskey.
Physiology: I only get sick when I don’t drink and I normally don’t get the nerve-jilting rattling pinch known in rehab-detox vernacular as the shakes until about 50 hours in.  Last year I had a dear poet friend move into my apartment for three months. When writers get together we like to party and poetically pontificate about all things artistic in life (i.e., see Raymond Carver and John Gardner in Iowa City/ I got accepted at the artists’ colony of Yaddoo last year based on a sonogram of my liver alone) and while I pissed out four hundred pages towards a novel and he wrote just some of the most ravishing poems of his formidable and fledgling career we were both five times as prolific in our drinking as we were in our daily elbow-grease work-ethic and, after about six weeks, having flushed thousands of dollars away  drinking every single moment of every single moment, we started to compare “the shakes” when we woke up in the morning, our fingers involuntarily twitching in a frenzied staccato as our bodies informed us that if we don’t flood massive amounts of alcohol into our respective systems sometime in the imminent future we were going, quite simply, to explode. 

So as if using GPS to navigate the battalion exodus of alcohol exiting from my anatomy in molecular droves, ‘The shakes,’ are scheduled to arrive sometimes in the next 20 hours and, except for all that damn blood in my urine, I’m totally fine (that was a joke. There’s no blood in my urine. My readers are as solicitous as they are intellectually sexy).
Today is the first day I have sat at my writing desk without a faithful six pack dandling near the caps of my knees like a corgis in Louis XIV court in just a long-ass time.

When I arrived home from work this morning I cleared off the aluminum stubble and glass wicks  of previously drained beer receptacles off my writing desk and kitchen counter. Since I took the garbage out last Thurs. I thought it would be fun to pillage through the trash and count the number of bottles and cans once containing beer which I had pithily consumed over the last couple o’ days. It was early Tuesday morning which meant the beer cans I was counting stemmed from last Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, when I executed my last swig before embarking on this self-imposed forty day sojourn of sobriety.
 What I found is chronicled b’low:
11 empty PBR tallboys that kind of look like abandon country silos in Mason county if you think about it. (16 oz.)
24 wriggled- countenance crushed cans of good ol’ fashioned Pride-of-Peoria Pabst Blue Ribbon (12 oz)
24 drained bottles of (succulent) selections from previously consumed Sam Adam’s Summer Brew sampler pack including Belgian Saisson, Little White Rye, Summer Ale,  my favorite, the citrusy melon of Front Porch Rocker, and some blue berry oriented shit that looks like you would buy round after round if this was senior walk and you were trying to get Smurfette to alight the hem of her skirt in public  (12.oz.)
12 bottles of hop-heaven ambrosia featuring various assortment of  bitchingly tasty Sam Adams IPA including the Whiter Water IPA, Alpine IPA and the Noble pils (12 oz).
Now its time for lil’ Davey to make his former trigonometry teacher Miss Unser proud and put his maladroit high-school math skills to use: 11 +24+24+12 equals an imbibed total of 71. Divide 71 by the four days since I last took the garbage out and I have the avg. of beers I’ve been drinking a day.
71 divided by 4= 18.75
Which means that over the last week I have drunk a swallow short of 19 beers per day.
I’m not an accountant but that just can’t be right. Then I realized that I took the garbage out on Thurs. morning which means I had to factor in drinking all day Thurs. as well, which intrinsically gave me another day.
71 beers divided by 5 calendric days= 14.2 beers per day.
A twelve pack plus a 24 oz. big boy in a typical 10 hour period while I thrash away at my keyboard trying to make images hatch off the shell of the page and then somehow fly. 
When I worked at Bradley University I had what  I called a Glossaria tacked above my office desk. It was an outline of my first long novel which was 702 pages when I gave it to Doc Palakeel as my senior project in 2005 and then somehow sprouted to about 1200 single-space pages two years later. The Glossaria is a delineation of each scene and a haiku-terse synopsis of what is transpiring narratively speaking. On top of the Glossaria I posted a picture of NBA Coach Scott Skiles.
Scott Skiles coached the Chicago Bulls for a couple of years in the mid-2000s. He was known as a no-non shit Coach. There were no frills. There was no fucking around. There were no egos.  In his inaugural season as coach he took a bevy of mediocre mid-level NBA players at best who started out with an 0-11 record and ended up atop of their respective division, leading the Bulls into the NBA playoffs for the first time since the Jordan Dynasty.
 The first short story I sold for five-hundred dollars in 2005 and I bought (not quite but close to court side) Bulls tickets for myself and my best bro John Dainis. Watching Scott Skiles’ strategically coach the team from the sidelines was like watching a Russian chess master decimate a game of Tetris on Gameboy.    His face looked like somebody just detonated a gram of dynamite in a pot belly stove. He cursed incessantly at his players from the sidelines. He limbs orchestrated as if conducting a four hour Wagnerian opus. He was always yelling. Always rowing back and forth but when his players’ did something right, he would applaud, offer exactly three stolid claps while assenting his chin in a gruff nod.
I used to hear Skiles’ voice in my head all the time when I was writing. I used to hear him cuss me out. I used to hear him inform me to quit fucking around on the page. To get to work boy.
I haven’t heard Scott’s voice in a about five years until yesterday, after being clean for 24 hours plucking up dead beer bottles in my apartment like molted feathers, I heard Scott Skiles, in echoing New York Times magazine ethicist guise,  just flat out cussing me out. Asking me why I felt the need to drink all the fucking time. Asking me why I am prostituting my talent. Telling me that there are innocent little kids losing their hair because they were born with a genetic modification that causes cancer and here I am blessed with a perfectly healthy body and while the bulk of inhabitants on this planet don’t even have access to clean drinking water here I am drinking the phuck out of everything even remotely alcoholic  just to keep my eternal buzz going.
And of course, divulged in the interior dialogue inside my head, I pathetically justified my choices.  Stating that I drink all the time because I went to a shitty high school ( note: what kid outside of the New Yorker’s forty-writers under forty a couple years ago doesn’t have high school histrionics?) I drink all the time because I watched my father die and I still have dreams about unearthing his coffin and there being nothing inside (note: everyone besotted on the scalp of this planet experiences death and loss), I drink because the three women in the past five years that I  have wanted to spend my life with all used my heart as a crinkled sanitary tissue to splotch their vaginas (note: maybe they would have stayed with you if you didn’t smell like the yeasty interior of Shotz brewery all the time) I drink because  I was sexually molested (note: quit being a victim by drinking everyday. You have the opportunity be a voice to those who have none).
I drink because, getting drunk everyday is just flat out fun.
            Early in Wittgenstein’s poetic polemic Tractatus-Logicus philosophicus there’s a quote that reads: “The single thing proves over and over again to be unimportant, but the possibilty of every single thing shows us something about the nature of the world.” I thought about this quote while I was having my vicarious arguement with Scott Skiles. I thought about how, I really don’t know why I feel the need to drink so much all the time.
But I’m willing to take the next forty days to stop and find out.

As I was finishing bagging up the fallen remnants of last week’s swill I came across a half-empty bottle of Sam Adam’s Noble Pils. The beer was tepid and had been sitting out on my kitchen counter the entire night while I was at work. Like a teenage girl learning how to give head for the first time, I held the bottle up to my lips and tilted my chin back. Before the lukewarm fluid hit my palate I removed the bottle from my lips and poured what was left of the flat nectar into the sink

Looks like the gauntlet has been thrown.

Let the journey begin.


As a non-alcohlic addendum (and since it’s going on thirty hours of sobriety and “the shakes” are pending and since (as I tell my sexy-Italian Routledge published liteary scholar Barbara Antoniazzi, We’re in this together) here’s my ex-girlfriend Debbie Gibson…



  1. Awesome Bud! Im pulling for ya! wish I woulda found your blog sooner instead of spending my day at work so late in your journey reading it for the first time...

    1. THANX BRO!!!!!!! Can't wait to hang out with all my immortal brothers at the TARTAN!!!!!!!!!!