Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You’re only as good as the last friend you lost…

I’m going to write about friends today. Before I do, however, I want to tell you about this wallet I found.

I was out walking the dogs a few days ago and, just about where Shipoopi was about to poop, there was this wallet in the grass. Nobody was around and there weren’t any signs as to who it might belong to, such as being in front of a car. I knew if I didn’t pick it up someone would, so I did. The wallet had no money in it, very little actually. It did have some ID, membership and credit cards. There was a letter inside, which I didn’t read. There was also a list of phone numbers, like a list of co-workers.

The first thing I did was to look up the addresses on the ID cards. Neither panned out. One belonged to a high school and the other, which I only learned after I drove to it, was an apartment manager’s office address. Dead end. The folks on the phone number list didn’t know the owner of the wallet so that was out, too.

Finally, I Googled the name. It’s a fairly unique name and I was fortunate to hit a Facebook page right away. I emailed the person and, sure enough, I found my lost wallet owner.

I’m supposed to meet the person sometime today to return the wallet.

I say all this because I feel it’s important to show at least one way in which I’m not a complete prick. Vicky would probably tell me I don’t need such an example, that I’m a good person and those who think differently are the pricks.

Maybe.

But I recently lost my best friend and, for the second time in as many years, I had someone I thought would be my friend for life tell me I was a total louse. Things like that tend to get to me. I try not to be a louse but I know I’m human and, therefore, could be a louse without knowing it.

My immediate response is to rationalize this with the knowledge that anyone who thinks I’m a louse is obviously not a friend, thus minimizing my loss. And yet, I can’t help wonder what it is about life that turns those I once loved against me. I could say it’s the other person. I could say it’s me. I think the truth lies somewhere else, kind of like the way divorces end up – or, at least, the way mine did.

There’s just no explaining it. You find someone who doesn’t think you’re a louse.

And you do things like returning lost wallets to remind yourself that, despite what others may think, you aren’t the bad person they think you are.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't ask, do tell?...

I would think that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be as simple as calling it the "Kill All The Gays in War Provision of 2010". How could the neo-cons argue with that? After all, isn't that what they want?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recovering the Self, the Slide-Show...

It was a privilege to see publication of something this personal and meaningful to me. I hope you enjoy it. You’ll see my familiar face on page 4. If you’re interested and able, please pick up a copy at Amazon or from the link on the slideshow. Be sure to drop a note or comment if you enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hangover… over…

It’s nice to finally feel like myself again… you know, to no longer be hung-over. It’s especially nice given that I did it to myself on Saturday and today’s Wednesday. (Crap…)

The time has come to take stock, to reassess, to be honest about things and… yeeesh.

First up, I did not need to smoke on Saturday. That’s four days ago and I can still taste it. (And, yes, I’ve brushed my teeth many times.) It left this disgusting, awful… I can’t describe it. It’s a feeling like I should just as well be dead, basically. I’m glad I stopped and wish I’d never picked up those two – yes, just two – cigarettes. Yick.

The other thing that comes to mind is how infernally fat I am. I say “infernally” because it burns me up! With all the cycling and jogging and walking and whatever else, I should not be fat. Fortunately, I have a physical coming up (when I told Sean this, he asked, “Rubber glove physical?”) and I can talk to my doctor about it. It’s not that I’m active… so I’m thinking it might be because I’m a pig. That might have something to do with it; I’m not entirely sure.

Next, if I haven’t said it already, I am so lucky to have Vicky. Let me tell you, she took such great care of me – and I’m not the kind of guy who likes to be in that position. Oh, I like to be pampered, just like any guy, but I hate completely falling apart. I’m not a fan of that. Vicky was so wonderful, though, and just stepped up in a way I know I didn’t deserve. Lucky = Ken.

I’ve also come to realize that the last two years for all of their awfulness have been incredibly beneficial to me as a writer. I have grown demonstrably, significantly… and lots, too. If it wasn’t for the past couple of years and the incredible support Vicky has given me, I would never have had the opportunities to grow that I’ve had, and I am so very grateful.

And so, I come out of this hangover with a sense of relief, yes, but urgency as well. I want to kick the tires and get back in gear with my health and my life. A detour in debauchery was enough. I don’t need any more of that.

Not to mention, the impression Vicky does of me vomiting violently is enough to last her years…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today we lay to rest…

The drinking career of Ken “the liver” La Salle. It was a good run, exceeding 25 years of serious drinking. Heck, the drinking career may show up for an appearance now and then, but it will never see the kind of drinking it once enjoyed…

So… here’s what happened.

Vicky and I were on our way to Justin’s 40th birthday party Saturday night and I was… just not feeling it. Have you ever been there? On your way to a party and you realize you’re just not up to it like you thought you were? So, we got there and I thought, “Maybe I’ll have a beer and that will loosen me up.”

Before I take another step, I want to mention something I didn’t realize until much later. I’ve been out of work for nearly two years. I’ve been on dozens of interviews that just haven’t worked out. I’ve worked several shitty temp jobs but the worst one is the one I’m doing right now, because I’m having a hell of a time getting them to pay me. That’s right; I might not see my money. On top of that, I can’t get anything going with my writing career – even the book deal is in limbo at this point. I just don’t know where I am.

Put this all together and, in hindsight, I realize that drinking might not have been the smartest thing to do.

And, I was hanging with Paula. Paula, for those who don’t know, is one of those people who are so much fun to hang out with until you realize she’s talked you into donating both of your kidneys to a neighborhood kid with a rusty knife and a strange hobby. We refer to what happens with Paula at a party “the Paula Vortex”. Those who get sucked into the Paula Vortex generally don’t get out undamaged.

So… two beers, a bottle of wine, and many glasses of Jack Daniels… and cigar and two cigarettes (that I know of) later… it occurred to me that I might have done some damage to myself.

And then the puking began.

At the party.

On the street.

In Vicky’s car as she drove me home. (The words "I don't know what I would do without Vicky" do not scratch the surface...)

Never in my life have I experienced this level of blind, stinking drunk – nor will I ever again. I'm 45. It's time.

Besides, I’m still hung over today.

So, we lay to rest the drinking career of one Ken “is that my foot I’m barfing” La Salle. We wish it well and hope for fuck’s sake that we never see it again…

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why I’m up this morning…

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming certainty in my head. Now, I’ve done this before and every time I’ve been wrong. Rather than get out of bed and follow that feeling of certainty, I felt it would be prudent to weigh the certainty with a bit of caution.

I couldn’t have dreamt this all up out of whole cloth, I thought. Certainly, some of what I was so certain about had to be true.

Rather than beat around the bush of certainty, I guess I should just tell you what I was so certain about. I woke up in my house, with my stuff moved into the spare room upstairs – as it has been for months now – and realized that with my brother, Keith, staying with us that was pretty darned rude. After all, where would he sleep?

In my half-asleep brain, I rationalized that I probably hadn’t moved everything into the spare room overnight. Still, I reasoned, it was rude to make him sleep on the sofa downstairs, the only other place he could sleep. So, I got up. I got dressed. I went downstairs to apologize for…

This is when I realized that not only was Keith not on the sofa, Keith had never stayed with us. Not only had I dreamt it all up out of whole cloth, I had dreamt up the rationalization and had sleepwalked (yet again) because of it.

There’s nothing more disturbing that knowing that you can function at your rational best and still be completely irrational. After all, what is sleepwalking if not irrational?

I just thought I’d share this story for anyone out there who thinks sleepwalking is somehow goofy or made up. No, it’s real and it’s seriously disturbing. It’s enough to keep you up at night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You normally have to wait until Christmas before you hear this kind of crap…

“I got you three Christmas gifts,” Vicky told me on the phone the other day. I hadn’t bought her any. This was because I’m still out of work and out of money. Stupid money!

This is what I was thinking about when I woke up this morning: stupid money. And then, I turned to Vic and began considering all those years when I had stupid money but didn’t have Vicky. There were those years when I was chasing after my ex. There were those years when I had the occasional date but, pretty much, no one special. Then, Vicky came along.

We often joke about how rotten her luck was to marry a guy who has been perpetually out of work. My luck has been about as rotten as you can imagine; it seems that as soon as I get a job, the company goes under!

I spend some time looking over at my bride this morning as she slept and considered how lucky I am – and what a dope I am for not being able to buy her anything she wants. That’s just how I am. If I had stupid money, there’s nothing I wouldn’t get Vicky.

But I guess her best gift to me is how understanding she’s been through all of this, that somehow she considers herself the lucky one.

… which makes that four gifts.

Shit. I gotta score some cash and get her something nice!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moncure…


I don’t think I’ve really mentioned Moncure on this or any of my other blogs. Without rehashing a lot of ancient history, Moncure was an adult male at a time when so few adult males had a positive influence in my life, my teen years. He was the person who became my goal as an adult, my template for what an adult man should be.

Then, I grew up.

Life turned out a whole lot messier than anyone had ever so much as suggested and now I’m 45, unemployed, overweight, and without a whole lot of accomplishments beneath my belt.

So, when I found Moncure on Facebook about a year or so ago, I thought (in that neurotic way I do), “What have I done with my life? How is my life significant enough to be worthy of speaking to him again?” I thought that I had to achieve great things to fit that mold of what an adult man should be… and I hadn’t.

Then, Myth of the Cubicle was produced in Hollywood. My first book is being published next year. (WORMFOOD ISLAND, coming in summer 2011 from Northern Frights Publishing!) Somehow, it didn’t feel like enough.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning from the most vivid dream. Another one of my novels, No More Blue Roses, had been published and turned into a movie. Vicky and I were attending the premiere at a small art house cinema in LA, we were getting out of the car, when who got out of the car parked in front of ours but Moncure and his wife.

I said to Vic, “Hold on. This could be significant.”

Somebody mentioned to Moncure as we shook hands that I was the author of the book the movie was based on and Moncure mumbled through, “The patterns of history weave in lines that are difficult to comprehend but nonetheless meaningful.”

And I said “Hi,” using his first name and gave a big, cheesy grin.

He smiled as well. “Ken La Salle, you miserable son of a bitch.”

The four of us hurried to the premiere but it had already started. The theater was filled with a girls’ volleyball team and an overflow of rowdy kids; we could only see the movie through the doors. It had been filmed in black and white and spoken in French – not dubbed, a French filmmaker had made it in French… and in the 1940s, for some reason.

It was all very confusing.

I got out of bed and thought, “Ken, your mind is trying to tell you something. Just go to Facebook and send him an email.” And I did.

I’m too old for “should have beens” and if I keep trying to measure up to me every expectation, my life will be filled with nothing but “not good enough.” I’m glad I finally found the courage to give myself a break.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Friends… this is what happens…

  
Vicky put a comment on Facebook the other day about how much my friends suck.

 
They do.

 
She wasn’t talking about Facebook friends, either – there’s a contradiction up there with “military intelligence”! No, she meant the real, live ones.

 
This past year has been a bitch when it comes to friends, I’ve lost nearly all of them.

 
And, you know what? I don’t care.

 
Before I go on, here’s what happened…

 
  • One Tim decided he didn’t like me anymore or something. I’ll never know because he cut off contact without so much as a “piss off”. 
  • Another Tim turned his back on me while insisting he was my best friend all the while. Finally, I got sick of it and knocked him off my list. 
  • Rich can’t be bothered with me.
  • Rob hasn’t had the time of day for me in years. 
  • The only friend I have left is Sean, and he’s married to a psychotic FOB who can’t let him off the leash for a second.
How’s that for a list. Vicky thinks it’s crazy. I think it pisses her off. But, as I said, I don’t care.

 
Well, I mean, I do care. Of course, I care. It’s sad and I acknowledge that but I suppose what I’m saying is I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it get to me.

 
Why? Well, let’s start with all my other sources of stress: a) out of work for nearly two years, b) struggling to get anyone to pay me as a writer, and c) first book coming out next year, first book coming out next year, first book coming out next year! (WORMFOOD ISLAND from Northern Frights Publishing – pick your copy up Summer of 2011!) That last one has been totally stressed. I have no stress left for other people… I’m sorry.

 
But there’s another side and this is why I’m writing… that and I feel that Vicky’s going to explode if I don’t come out publicly about it. Listen, I’m 45 years old. I know that as you get older people grow apart. It happens. Everyone has their own lives. I’m sad about losing the people in my life but I can’t let it eat me up – those who know me saw what happened during my divorce. (Those who don’t can read My Side!)

 
So, Tim decided he didn’t like me anymore. Oh well. That just happens. The other Tim turned his back on me. Yep. People do that. People move away. People get busy. It’s just how life works out. And, yes, people marry psycho spouses who can’t let them off the leash – the other Tim did, too.

 
It’s okay. I don’t with any ill upon them… well, not much, at least. They have their journey and I have mine. I’m not friendless. I have Vicky and Jeff to hang out with, Eric to bounce writing ideas off of, and Sean still shows up every now and then. Sometimes, things aren’t exactly how you’d like them to be. That’s okay. There’s always next year.

 
… until you die, of course.

 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sick week…

I got sick this week.

Okay, it’s not really much to write about but the thing is… I’m going to anyway.

This began Halloween night as we were giving out gifts. Now, I hadn’t slept an entire night’s sleep in around two weeks so I figured I was due for “The Great Crash” at any time. The Great Crash is what happens when you don’t sleep for a while… You crash. Your body says “To hell with you” and just shuts down. Sometimes, it comes as a relief. Other times… well…

It began with the shakes and my body got wobbly. We started running out of candy and Vicky was going to go out and get more but – well – she was enjoying giving the candy to the kids so much. I didn’t want to ruin that for her. So, I went. I dashed to the store, picked up some candy, came back… and there were no more trick-or-treaters that night… the little bastards…

Anyway, I started to feel like hell and I knew I was crashing. So, I went to bed.

That was Sunday. Now, it’s Wednesday and I’m just beginning to feel a little better. Vicky, meanwhile, has been certain that I have more than sleep withdrawal, or whatever; she thinks I have some full-blown disease. She got me juice and she’s looked after me. (I’m pretty sure she would have picked me up some ice cream, but I didn’t want to push it.) She’s wonderful for taking such good care of me but I’ll be fine. This is just part of being me.

Oh… one other thing!

Election day was yesterday.

Now, before I start mentioning how this was the year of the idiot, I think I’d rather mention something about Vicky. You see, I’ve recently become far too cynical to enjoy elections. I use to. I use to be a political animal and always watch the returns and analysis every year. Vicky, on the other hand, just did her duty and went on with her life, wondering why I watched politics like a sport.

Well, something has changed this year. As I mention, I’ve become too cynical. I watch the American people vote against their best interest (such as poor people supporting candidates who spout off against the “death tax”… morons…) and, as you can see, I get pissed. But not Vicky. Last night, she became the political animal. “Turn on the news,” she said as she came in from work. “We gotta watch the results.”

Times like this I couldn’t love her more.