It’s a beautiful day here in the Upper Exasperation Belt. Possibly the most perfect day of 2017, so far. And I’m sitting in the public library typing out this update. There’s an old man running the microfilm machine behind me, as usual, cranking the wheel on that bastard like he’s trying to generate enough electricity to power his dying wife’s lung blower. What’s the story with old men and ancient newspapers? It’s never the same old man, but there’s almost always one in here, cranking away. Do they even stop to look at a page? All of it’s excruciatingly unclear to me.
Anyway, if this were last spring and it were the First Perfect Day, you can be assured that I’d be on the deck right now drinking an unreasonable number of craft beers, and ingesting charred meat, tortilla chips, and various dip-ables. But today I’m sitting in the library breathing in the aroma of paper decay, and getting irritated by all the noise. I’m not going to get into it again, though. Just put it in the ever-lengthening column titled People Certainly Do Suck, Oh Yes They Do. Sweet sainted mother of Bruce Froemming.
Speaking of drinking, I had a dream a few nights ago that I said fukkit and had a few beers on a Saturday night. And I experienced crushing guilt, deep into the night. It felt like I beat myself up, emotionally, for about eight hours. When I woke up I realized it was only a dream, and about a million pounds of anxiety was released.
I’m not sure why I dreamed about it, because I don’t really think about drinking much anymore. It’s not like I’m white-knuckling it, crawling out of my skin. So, it was weird. I guess it’s still in there somewhere, lurking underneath the surface. Right?
The good points of nine months of raw sobriety: My mind is sharper, I sleep better, I read an enormous number of books, and I feel healthier.
The bad points: I’m mildly depressed and lethargic most of the time.
So, there you go. It’s like a joke of some sort. I somehow had more energy when I was guzzling booze every weekend, but my brain was sluggish. Now my brain is clicking along, but I don’t have the energy or gumption to make anything of it. When is Allen Funt going to come out from behind a pillar, buckled over in laughter?
Let’s move on.
Some things I’ve enjoyed recently: an oddball podcast called S-Town, a crazy-ass novel called Dark Matter, season four of Maron, and the return of The Americans. I also re-read Steve Martin’s memoir, Born Standing Up. I don’t usually re-read books, because there are so many I haven’t gotten to the first time. But I make an occasional exception to the rule.
What have you been enjoying? Anything? Please share in the comments.
I was talking to a friend a few days ago, and mentioned that my dad has certain opinions about manliness that I find myself considering, even at my advanced age.
For instance, he believes men should never drink with a straw. He used to call them “sissy sticks” when I was a kid. I sometimes use a straw in restaurants, because I’m neurotic about the millions of lips that have been on the rims of those glasses before my arrival. But I always feel weird about it, like I’m betraying my father.
He also believes men should not use umbrellas, which makes me laugh. Not that I disagree with him, necessarily. I just find it amusing. He probably had a jaunty nickname for them, as well. But I’m not remembering it. And I don’t currently own an umbrella.
I can also remember him telling me not to stand with my hands on my hips, because he said it “looks fruity.”
The guy I was talking with couldn’t believe it, because his dad had some of the exact same opinions. He wasn’t familiar with the phrase “sissy stick,” but his dad did have corresponding views about straws and umbrellas. Do you have anything on this? Any quirky little manliness rules passed down from a previous generation that’s stuck with you? I know it’s a long-shot, but what the hell?
One final thing, before I call it a day here… I had the following conversation with our younger son earlier this week:
Me: How was school today?
Me: Did you learn anything?
Me: Why not?
Him: I’m in 12th Grade.
That made me chuckle, even though it’s somewhat baffling. But I wondered: Did I learn anything during my senior year of high school? And I think I did. Because I’m a sack, I always loaded up my schedule with fluff “classes.” Things like Office Aide, Rock/Pop Music Survey, Singles Survival, and (a class I had in 12th Grade) Consumer Math.
I’d already gone through Algebra II, Geometry, and maybe beyond. Who the hell knows? But I actually learned stuff in that Consumer Math class that I still use today. Everybody in there was tragically stupid, a hardened stoner, or both. So, this shit was dumbed way down. I mean, seriously. However, I learned easy methods on how to calculate percentages that I hadn’t previously grasped. I mean, I could do it, but it took a little while. After I finished that Consumer Math class though, I could do it instantly in my head. It’s a small thing, but it’s something I literally came to terms with in that room, surrounded by criminals, drug addicts, and people who just sat there sniffing their fingers.
What about you? Did you actually learn anything during 12th Grade? Please tell us about it.
And I’m going to leave this annoying place now. Maybe get a McDonald’s milkshake. Ahhh… the good life.
I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!