Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 8: When God Gives You Manna from Heaven Don't Bitch About Being Hungry...

The author (dry-humping the emerald felt off the pool table) w. playwright Patrick Mullowney, experimenting with alcohol shortly after my 21st birthday, July 1998.

Status: Eight days. Pushing two hundred hours sobriety. In one week I have gone from drinking almost eighty beers per week to drinking zero.
Physiology: The shakes have almost completely dissipated.  The yeasty cummerbund of flab constituting the good ol’ MABG (middle-aged beer gut) is beginning to wane. Color is starting to eke its way back into the groves of my flesh as if applied with an epidermal paint roller. Despite prostituting the hell out of both my Knight-Rider looking Keurig and my Hamilton Beach coffee makers my heart rate has dropped to what I can only intuit is normal. For the third day in a row I juiced my Incredible Hulk semen looking concoction. I no longer feel the need to gorge like a frat boy in an idle endeavor to sop up all that beer constantly sloshing around my system like a clogged sieve. No matter how many times I engage in the three M's ( copious amounts of melatonin, meditation and masturbation) I'm still not sleeping. I've slept less than five formative hours in the last two nights, and the blown fuse of my nervous system still feels completely frayed. For about two hours this afternoon it felt like someone was trying to strip cable wiring out from the interior of my arms.
I’ve attempted to institute this fast at least five times before and every time I consciously endeavor to go even (a commercial break) three days w/out slamming a beer something happens which I call ‘When God Gives You Manna from Heaven Don’t Bitch About Being Hungry,’ (all you brilliant formative young emulating scribes out there please don’t plagiarize that proverbial fortune-cookie maxim since it’s the title of an upcoming story).  What When-God-Gives-You- Manna-From-Heaven-Don’t-Bitch-About-Being-Hungry means is that I could be stranded on an errant ice floe drifting somewhere in the arctic ocean ready to succumb to dizzying spells of hypothermia and a penguin will magically flap out of nowhere dressed up like a waiter and will hand me a Corona and the moment I pop open the beverage I find myself in the Caribbean being massaged by a scantily clad (and astonishingly well read) Playboy Playmates wearing Mouseketeer ears and all is right in the world.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:   

I endeavored to go the first five days of January 2008 without a drink.  There was a lot of snow that winter and I stayed inside my apartment writing with an Ostrich quill and ink my ex-girlfriend got me for Christmas. I lived on Bradley avenue at the time, across the street from St. Mark’s church. Downstairs were a bunch of frat boys who I used to drink with even though I was about five years older.  They were always hosting keggers and doing crazy things and they had this weird initiation ritual where they would run around the block naked after having a case race. There was this one kid who was overweight and had a buzz-cut haircut and kind of looked like a cabbage patch kid who was trying to lose weight so that he could make the cut on the football team and everyone called him Donkey which was supposed to be some sort of Shrek reference which didn’t make sense. The week before finals Donkey was trying to sprint around the block, naked, seminally streaking, wearing only sneakers and huffing and just dangling all over the place and everyone was cheering him on and when he had 25 meters left  he extended his arms in Chariots of Fire Olympiad victory stance and something happened and Donkey slipped on a patch of ice  he didn’t see (this is like, right across the street from the church) and then Donkey falls backwards in slow motion and everyone is real worried but no one wanted to run over and apprehend  him because he weighs like 250 and the fact that Donkey was lying motionless in a supine posture facing straight up would invariably mean having to see a lot more of Donkey than anyone wants to admit having seen that close up and then the cops show up and everyone just sort of walks away and swivels their chin and starts whistling-dixie pretending they are oblivious to what is going on and Donkey ends up getting treated for a concussion before getting placed on behavioral probation at good ol’ BU.

It was day number three and I was in my apartment writing when my ears register a reverberating thud on my door which turned out to be the campus police telling me that I had to clean up that “circus mess” outside or the entire house would get a ticket. I ask him what he is talking about. He tells me to follow him. When we go behind the house I discern that the frat boys had placed thirty beers cans in the snow arraying them so that, from looking at the configuration from an overhead perspective, it looked just like a giant phallus.
I tell the police officer that’s not my phallus. The police officer tells me that he doesn’t care whose aluminum phallus it is as long as it gets cleaned up pronto.

I go downstairs and knock on the frat boys’ door and when I realize they are not home and probably just came back on New Years eve to party I decide to clean the ‘circus mess’ up myself. At first I thought most of the beer cans were empty but it turned out ten of them were un-opened.

Milwaukee's Best.

I took the Penis cans that had not been opened into my apartment and drank them all in one sitting even though I was trying to go five days w.out a beer.

When God gives you manna from heaven don’t bitch about being hungry.

This happened at least two other times. Once I was dating this really cool rocker chick who was a recovering addict and promised her that I would go one week sober and, while ambling through bradley park near the Chinese bridge, I stumbled upon an unopen Heineken. It happened again last December. My car broke down in the parking lot of walmart on university and I wasn't trying to drink until christmas. Rather than waiting for the bus I decided to hop the fence behind landmark and take the Flumes home.
The flumes are a heavily-graffiti'd cement swath of labyrinthine sewer openings that serve as the adorned vaginal canals of Peoria. When I was in junior high it was known as 'The Skipper' and metal kids went down there to listen to Ozzy Osborne and sacrifice  cats. It's mellowed out alot since then and the art is pretty cool and I usually traipse through there once a year.
The moment I hopped the fence that december day I stumbled upon an unopened six pack of Shiner's bock in the foliage near the first tunnel.
I cracked one open, dipped into the tenebrous socket of darkness and smiled.
Again, when God gives you manna from Heaven don't bitch about being Hungry.
It happened again today. A friend of mine who lives in Kansas City told me I should just walk ten miles to quell my various vices. I was meandering through the bike trails at forest park nature center when I saw a brown paper bag. Being the avatar of nature that I am I pick the bag up and discern that shit, there it is, inside the bag, an unopened fifth of Jack Daniels.

I unscrewed the cap and alighted the stem of antebellum sour mash into my olfactory organ, taking a gravid sniff before closing my eyes. 
It has been almost eight days.
When God gives you Manna from Heaven don't bitch about being Hungry.
When I was at  Sav-A-Lot earlier today I told Tiffany who scans barcodes and swipes link cards for low income families who can somehow afford better clothing and vehicles than I ever could that I am giving up booze for the next month (she saw that my order was fraught with frozen
vegetables, plastic silos of Gatorade and rice and asked me if I had forgotten something.)

Tiffany is hard core working class, skinny as a Virginia slim who loves cheap domestic long-necks and country music and dogs. I can tell that she has been having a typical Monday in America. I can tell like all the rest of us that she is struggling to make sense of shit--struggling to make ends meet, struggling to find companionship (she refers to her boyfriend
as "dad" whenever he calls).

"Why are you giving up booze?" She says.

I tell her that I am only giving up booze for forty days  and that the ultimate goal is to cessation of all  alcoholic products during the work week.

Tiffany continues to check out my item. When she bends over placing the items into the
stationary cart at Sav-o-lot on Proctor I can make out the color of her bra strap.

"But you seem happy." She says. "If it makes you happy all the time it can't be all that bad."

I turn around and begin to pack my groceries in  a box once used for tuna fish before shooting
a smile back at my checkout friend, whose place of employment is much worse than that of my own.
“Yes,” I added, thinking that I have been clean for one week. “If it makes me so happy it can’t be that bad.”


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