That ain’t no 25 year old liver tucked in them particular guts, and though a slight baby face might survive in some circles, the spine and stamina of this man’s mellowing age have been severely tested by those fresher and more vital than him.
My god, the sheer velocity of how a youth can drink and continue to forge into the wee morning is a staggering display of blind power. It’s the identical arsenal of alcoholic ambition that once led me and my friends into asphalt astral travels and slight brushes with the law. By age 16 and most likely around 8 pm, the front of my clothes would be definitely moist with beer and bourbon. My rear jeans pocket kept a gnarled, half crushed box of red Marlboros or a small apparatus of lamp parts and receipts for record albums bought at Django or 2nd Ave. Records the day before. We had great fun, unstoppable forces of rebellion thinking we’re too cool for anything because we knew it all. (We knew less than jack.) But we still caroused and aroused the neighborhood and I even had an ignorant little chip on my shoulder that was kept in place by the foot of my conscience. I always imagined it to be a tiny Mrs. Barham, our school office lady, in a little angel outfit.
The wild experiments of chemical-testing young, pink livers and burgeoning adolescent brains with voluminous tipping of sour mash whiskey seems like one of the dumbest things one can do to their bodies.
Nowadays, when a hangover strikes, it drops like a heavy storm with a head-stomping of solid lead from The Monster of Mixing Booze and Beer and/or The Beast of Drinking Past Dawn. These nefarious creatures are most certainly conjured up from the reckless debauchery that seemed like such good ideas but just turned the previous evening into a slapstick blur. No other chemical can begin as an alcohol-driven, jet propulsion melee of dancing, laughing and wonderful foolishness and then inevitably, like a Swiss watch, ends like bombs from an airplane, the sodden bodies drop after hours of saturation, crashing to the carpet or linoleuem or onto any random piece of furninture. I don’t recall ever having a hangover until after I turned 30 and then I had them every day. Just kidding. But seriously. It was every other.
I’ve no business in attempting to drink up and keep up with someone 15 years my junior, it just ain’t worth the pain and dry-heaving humiliation. People say age doesn’t matter, “it’s how old you feel,” and I say that I feel as old as Stonehenge when I go out and play with twenty-somethings. They all suck, their stupid metabolism and fresh kidneys make them energetic booze repositories. Or is it “depositories”? Regardless, they all suck.
Most good people love their kids. To the point that their kids are the best kids in the world bar none and they’re the cutest, brightest and obviously the one most likely to change the world with their incredible personality. We’ve all been at the receiving end of people telling adorable stories about their children and how their particular offspring is naturally superior to all other kids within sight.
Some people treat their kids like little monkey servants or they immediately adopt their own parents’ negligent or overbearing traits. Unwittingly or not, this is quite common, hence the cliche that we eventually all turn into our parents. We all hope we turn into just the good parts, though.
Whatever the case, there are few things as malleable as a developing child. You can literally turn a kid into any kind of adult you want, whether it’s a confident go-getter or a quiet reclusive intellectual. Or maybe you need someone to love you and depend on you, so you have some kids that validate your existence. Better yet, maybe having kids is a good way to have some leverage against your mate, a commodity for fighting and arguing. Yikes.
I don’t have kids but I’ve got a dog. As we all know four legged pets that don’t live in cages are the stepping stone in all relationships to having kids. Most couples who have dogs together are preparing for little ones or they’re deciding that’s as far as they want to go in terms of responsibility. Makes sense to me.
I want kids but to get them to wear little suits and fetch me things all day sounds like a lot of training and who has time for all that? Labradors seem like a decent alternative.
It’s where the heart is. The dwelling which comforts our sleepiness and gives us respite from the harsh outside. It’s where we go to hide and recover, refuel and nurture our wild instinct, a sanctuary of delight where familiar sounds, smells and bodies give us warmth and power. It’s where mothers and fathers converse and make new laws. Where we run to when we’re cornered by the elements of humans and nature, where we recline and and sit remiss of the fortune we have that provides us with these walls, roofs, and beds in which we regroup until we embrace another day.
Though some days are like battles in between swaths of dilettantes and dimwits, home is where I am and it’s where I recognize myself the most. All the traveling in the world just makes home that much sweeter when finally seen again.
There once was a day when steel pipes were piled atop each other, welded together to form a tall pyramid and was erected over a slab of asphalt. Some called it a jungle gym but we all knew it as the almighty monkey bars.
The winter seasons would freeze the metal into a slippery cage dangerously unclimbable and no fun at all.
In the summer heat the bars would be too hot to touch, the smooth metal under my little hands was almost malleable against my superhero grip..
I used to wear my jacket with just the hood on my head and the drawstring tied so the fabric would flap like a cape as I flew across the playground.
One day I was perched high on the structure when I jumped off and instead of sailing towards the ground like I had planned, the hood string caught on a corner of pipe and hung me there like a doomed cowboy dangling from the gallows.
I struggled to free myself and once I fell from the monkey bars I ran my fingers across my throat and felt the lynch scar grow and swell like Clint Eastwood’s and my 8 year old smile never felt more like a superhero’s.
In an aside, this all makes me remember when there was a time when objects and mindsets were heavier duty, meatier by weight and simply put together better. Playgrounds have now literally gone soft, kids wear helmets everywhere they go and they have lights on their shoes, state of the art carseats, and full suspension on their strollers. In case a little 4×4 action occurs in the parking lot of Target, I imagine. Multitudes of other safety amenities assure our kids a smooth and painless journey into adolesence and adulthood. Conversely, consumer products are becoming more shoddy instead of being built with any sense of longevity, we have a disposable item lifestyle we’ve quickly gotten accustomed to.
Then again my parents would say the same thing about their generation and so on. Curious to how far the changes will continue, grown adults wearing helmets and crash suits? Children in bubbles until they get armpit hair? Throw-away cars, houses, spouses?
Linked to hyperactivity and asinine behavior in kids, this food preservative might be a clue to cut back on the ADD drugs and push some food other than hot pockets and soda pop.
Food additives. Factory jobs. Living near industrial plants. The three major causes to all the major ailments that drug companies and medical researchers like to say they’re trying to fix.
Sodium Benzoate is the tip of the rock of what could be making our children uncontrollable and our mothers and fathers undergo radiation, chemo and organ transplants.
Coke really is it.
When I was in the 7th grade I had a friend named Spanky McCoy. He had just transferred in like I did but he was from South Philly and I was from North Portland. We met each other at our new middle school in the west hills and I knew when I met him that his reasons for being there were not so different than mine.
He wore a beat up mesh Freightliner hat and showed me how to smxxx pxx through a ball point pen while hiding in the tall grass during lunch break. He also once stopped the elevator in his building and opened the door so we could peer down 16 stories of dark, empty shaft.
We were our best friends because we couldn’t relate well with the spoiled, affluent little pricks of the Prada student body and being 13 meant learning to hate what you didn’t have and hate even more those who didn’t understand. Ah, the innocent passion of youth!
That time of my life was terribly transitional and most of what I learned in middle school followed me to high school where I truly assumed I understood the human condition. How people are selfish, opportunistic, material and self-involved to the point of needing to be thrown from a ledge. By the same token some people are good spirited, generous, accepting and respect the wishes and differences of others.
Spanky McCoy taught me to disregard that last sentence because he believed that deep down everyone wanted something. No matter who they are they’re trying to benefit themselves and only themselves.
It was shortly thereafter that I decided I liked pretty girls more than I liked Spanky McCoy.