Sometimes I Really Feel Like…

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…. I’m taking away somehow from things my son really likes to do by asking him to participate in different projects I get involved with. I enjoy sharing knowledge and working with my son. We often learn unexpected things when we journey into fixing things that are broken or building from scratch or refurbishing something special. I didn’t grow up with an Xbox, a computer, a cell phone, the internet, or cable. I think, selfishly, that kids, not just my own, should experience different things. Not just to learn new skills and gain new experiences, but maybe see if there’s other things they enjoy. To be honest, the best feeling for me to experience is seeing the excitement in his face when he does something on his own or when he played a large part in a project. Anyway, I saw this picture and it made me think how true the statement really is and I wanted to share.

I Was Walking In A Circle

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I realized that my feet felt as if they weighed a ton a piece, looking down I see that I’m wading through a foot of thick mud, going towards what appeared to be the direction I was drawn to head. The closer it seemed I would get to my destination I would notice the distance increase. I was carrying a bag which seemed to get heavier by the step, I wonder what I could be carrying that could weigh so much, I wanted to open the bag but in the darkness I don’t know how I would see inside. Hearing the loud crashes of thunder I wanted to move faster, I wanted to find shelter, as I watched the flashes of lightning in the distance I wanted to get away from the tall trees, but the flashes got brighter and the thickness of trees only increased, the more I pushed the more trees I can see. Hours seem to pass before my surroundings begin to seem familiar, I’ve been here before, and before that I was here also, but where is here, why do I keep coming back, I keep finding the same path, leading me to the same damn place, I’ve been here but this place is not familiar, it’s darkness reminds me of having my eyes closed, unable to see, only being able to hear, to feel, and smell the rot in the humid air. What is that familiar smell, why do I know the soothing scent, it is pleasing to me, it makes me feel secure in a place I should know but don’t recognize. As I rest I feel each drop of the rain touch my face, rolling down the skin like warm tears. In my mind I hear Freebird, it’s loud and I hear it echo in the trees, I need to start moving now, I need to get to a safer place, this place smells of death, it smells of rotting corpses, there are thousands of them. As the light of day breaks I can see the bodies I’m walking on, wading through like mud, the blood is over the top of my boots, it’s weight is increasing with every step, I look down and see the faces, faces that didn’t see what had killed them, I know what killed them, I know what the thunder is, I know the lightning flashes, I know what has happened.

As I sit in my recliner with my eyes closed shut, telling my wife for the first time ever what it was like to see the destruction as a result of what I did while in the Air Force. The reality of it is that it isn’t a forest, it is a desert, it is a place I never want to return to, and rarely, if never, talk about it. I’ve been married for 16 years, to a wife that came along after the Air Force, she just doesn’t want to understand, and I’m okay with that. The mere fact that I’m writing about it amazes me, it still hurts, it is still fresh when I close my eyes, and I fear there are not enough pleasant memories ahead to knock it the fuck out. I spent years detached from the reality that the weapons I helped build destroyed life and property, it wasn’t me pulling the trigger, it wasn’t me hitting the target, but a simple walk down a deserted street after a carpet bombing the night before let reality set in, no longer was I detached, no longer was I innocent, and I knew then changes needed to happen or I would lose my mind. Like a good soldier I pressed forward, putting behind me horrors that cannot be unseen or forgotten. What gets seen cannot be unseen, unfortunately it is very true. My wife wants me to talk to a headshrinker, I opted out. And now I see, once again, talking about it isn’t worth a fuck, I just leave more out each time. I hope that in time, preferably before my wife has me cremated, that I just forgot about the shit and everyone else forgets it as well.

When I talk about Desert Storm and later The Liberation of Kuwait it is to educate myself and others about how the real world is, beyond the news, beyond the media, beyond what the politicians think they know. There is zero reasons I should feel guilty for being a part of the machine which is called the military. I took responsibility for my personal contributions while in the Air Force, I do not blame others, there was no gun to my head, I served, fuck it, I’m a proud veteran, I can’t ever take it back. Some of y’all understand my pain, the rest of all will never have a fucking clue, y’all are the lucky ones, the innocent ones, the ones who close their eyes without fear. Anyway, to my wife who is reading this post, I hope this has helped you, at least a little. I never asked to be anyone’s hero, I never asked for people to thank me, I never asked for people to want to take a picture with me if they find out I’m a disabled veteran, I just joined the Air Force because I wanted to serve my country because I thought I could and would make a difference. But, I can’t fix stupid and stupid wanted a robot who didn’t care, that person is not me.

Before I go, let me tell you about the one and only time my ex-wife was able to pry out of me what I didn’t want open. Y’all see, she was studying to become a sociologist and well on her way to being a social worker, she thought we could talk about it, that I would be comfortable knowing that she, of all people, would not pass judgment. When I was done talking she was in tears, she was appalled that I was part of the organization which promotes peace through the use of violence, she told me she was ashamed to be in the same room with me, ashamed to share a last name with me in marriage, and that one day I will pay for my sins of being a baby killer in the deepest, darkest parts of hell, a place reserved for rapists and paedophiles. At first I believed she was right, it matches how I feel, but soon I realized that I am a simple person who was not looking for redemption or forgiveness, I wasn’t even looking for understanding, I just wanted to know if the words I would speak would or could sound like the thoughts in my head or the memories I have or how I feel deep down in that part of me nobody gets to witness, ever. Shit goes there to be buried and forgotten, it takes time to dig it up, nobody quite understands that, scratch that, some do understand, those are the people who don’t have physical scarring but are somewhat fucked in every other way, we know what each other are thinking, not even we understand so we don’t expect others to either. We don’t look for eyes or words if pity, we do appreciate it when others respect us enough as human beings just to let things be.

My wife hugged me, long and tight, not a word spoken, with tears down her face, she told me I’m home, I’m with people whom I love and that love me, support me, and care about me. That was the best hug I have had to this day in my life, a memory I will forever cherish. My message to my wife and to my son who will read this post later is that life happens every minute of every day, take time to see the scenery, smell the rain in the distance, we only have one shot at this life so we better live it to the fullest. My daughters give me their support as well, still I wonder if they really understand or if I just get the nod. This, unless something snaps again, will probably be the last time I discuss any of this on a personal level, this shit sucks to remember, to relive, and to talk about. Some call blogging “therapy”, and it is, but not today, today is more like anger management for me. Remember, no pictures please, ever, for any reason.

A Tale Of Twists And Some Glitter

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I was very surprised to get a phone call from a long time friend who was calling to invite me over to his house to see his new truck. Having nothing to do in my own life I decided to go check it out for shits and giggles. I pulled into his driveway and only saw the cars that are normally parked in his driveway. I guess he saw me pull up because he hurriedly came our the front door and I was told to just shut up and follow him to his shop. I was just as disappointed at the shop because I still wasn’t looking at a new truck! He had this look on his face, the look I imagine a person would have on their face if they just killed someone and needed help burying the body, which is odd because he can’t even kill a tiny spider, but he had that deranged look nevertheless. He begins to tell me this story that, when he was done I asked if I could tell to a few of my friends, is pretty strange even by my standards. Before I retell his story let me give you a little background on my friend, we’ll call him Rick, and his son who we’ll call Jr. I have known Rick, his ex-wife, and his son since I met them all in the early 90s when I lived in Japan. His son is the same age of my oldest daughter, 25. Ever since 1999 Rick has lived the life of a single father, working and raising his son were his two top priorities in life. He never dated until his son was 19 and in the Air Force out seeing the world. I had introduced him to a few single moms over the years but he seemed to like the ones that were his son’s age instead, they partied better is what he’d say. After six years his son returned home, where he still lives today so he can help his dad out the best he can. So, anyway, let’s start with his story because it gets fucking weird fast.

About six months ago Rick met a woman in her early 20s who works at a strip club I used to bartend at, life was great, the sex was great, and they were even talking wedding bells. They were the perfect couple he thought. This last weekend his son had a big date, he was going to be proposing to his girlfriend after she got off work, but he decided to go early to surprise her. Rick, bored, decided to head to the strip club and drop in on his future wife, have a few drinks, and catch the end of the game he was missing. When he walked in he noticed his son talking with Amanda (Rick’s future bride). She didn’t notice Rick as she headed up on stage behind the bright lights. Rick sat down next to his son and asked why he wasn’t out on his important date. Rick also explained that the young lady he was talking to was who he’d been dating and that he came down to surprise her. Rick laughed a bit, telling his son they have similar tastes in woman. But Jr wasn’t laughing, Jr looked horrified, and Jr was looking a little pissed off.

The short version of the conversation had was the both figured out they were dating and having sex with the same woman, with both having plans of marriage with her, and now the truth was out, kinda. Needing a drink, father and son settled at the bar where another stripper began talking to them, not about herself or the special of the day, but Amanda. She said they were both wasting there time as they both were led to look to the door, where they saw Amanda’s real husband, a huge man, 6’11, 320# easy, and one solid muscle from head to toe. Both father and son were compelled to question Amanda and when they did everything was confirmed. She invited them to tell her husband that they had been fucking her right under his nose but said it may not end well for either of them. They just left, in separate vehicles, meeting up once again at home. Neither one has said another word about Amanda in a few days, Rick thinks it will always be that way.

Luckily for Rick, I know the muscle bound mass and Amanda, who are married, and that he really didn’t want to pick a fight with someone now on parole who almost killed a man because he got a $100 lap dance from his wife but only was going to pay her a single dollar. So telling him that he and his son have been banging his wife probably wouldn’t go over very well. I wish people would talk to me before dating the strippers that work at the same club I worked at, because there are nice strippers and then there is Amanda. Anyway, Rick can’t get over the fact that he used to kiss the same mouth that would have his son’s dick in it. The least of his worries I assured him, just wonder what your son is thinking. Well, after the talk we went out back, lit a big fire, and the four of us (my wife joined us) got shitfaced in the drizzling rain to pass the night away. When it was time to go, we watched father and son hug it out, I think they’re going to be okay. They may need some therapy, but I think they will be just fine in the end.

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Just Stop Eating The Crayons

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Throughout my life it’s been an established fact that I don’t mix well or tolerate people of the fucktard classification. As well, I’ve made it no secret here on this blog. From an outsider’s point of view it may appear I interact with more than my fair share of fucktards and the more I look into that sad little fact it seems to be more true than I’m willing to admit at the moment. Eventhough I’ve never, that means not even once in my life, claimed to be smart, educated, or well versed in any one particular area which I could be considered an expert, with one exception, I have common sense. I have learned over the years, and pointed it out often, that every situation and/or conversation should have a basis in common sense but often skips that particular rational part and heads straight down the rabbit hole. Which is where I usually stop, so I can grab my shovel and fill in the fucking hole so the ignorance can’t get back out. It’s a beautiful process I use because most people cannot handle my version of blunt sarcasm and don’t know how to react. However, last night I met a young man who was more challenging to me than I could have ever easily imagined possible.

Strangely enough I was at Walmart, getting some Crayons, watercolor paints, brushes, and a large pad of art paper to box up to send to my granddaughter for her 4th birthday which is coming up. Crayons were what I was on the hunt for because the school supplies have yet to recover from being picked over since the start of school this past Monday. Anyway, I spotted what looked like the last big box of Crayons and this younger guy, late 20s, reached in and grabbed it before me. He had the look of victory on his face, as if by mere inches he had beaten me in his imaginary race, while lipping to me in silence “eat shit you fucker” as he smiles to walk away. Meanwhile, an older lady in her probably late 70s asked him where he had found that box of Crayons because she has been looking for the better part of 25 minutes with no luck. He got real close to her and, while talking extremely loud, I guess he assumed she was deaf, began by telling her, “sorry you old bitch, you and that other motherfucker there are shit out of luck so you two slow losers should just move the fuck on and get out of the way”. In my head it took me a minute to process what this douchebag just said to her, the lady now who looks very scared. As he walked away I put my hand on his shoulder and told this piece of shit, in my most civil tone, that he owed this woman an apology immediately. With this cockeyed look he asked me ” and what the fuck would I want to do that!” Which is where my sarcasm came flying out when I told him that “I’d love to explain it to you but I don’t have any Crayons”. I further explained to him what a grand gesture it would be if he were to just hand her the box of Crayons and then walk away. By this time we have sparked the interest of a Walmart manager who asked if there was something she could help with. The dickhead barked off to her the she could kindly fuck off. C’mon man, its just Crayons is all I can think to myself.

And then this man opens the box of Crayons and begins shoveling them into his mouth, chewing them up with his mouth open and slobbery pieces falling out when he tells me ” if y’all want these Crayons so bad y’all can pick the nuggets out of my shit later tonight. ” I know I was just staring at him in amazement as I watched him walk to the line to check out. By this time he was greeted by our friendly boys in blue who kindly helped him find his way outside the store. Well, shit, I guess I’m done here, I checked out, and was waiting on my son in the restroom when the older lady came up to me asked if I minded if she hugged me as she was hugging me. My son caught the end of the hug and then she told him he was lucky he didn’t have a violent dad, and he replied to her saying “my dad isn’t violent but he hates Crayon eating crazies.” She cracked a smile and walked off. As we walked out we see the Crayon eater in the back seat of the patrol car, I wonder how he plans on explaining his behavior to the judge.

On the way home my 14 year old son, now a freshman in high school, explained to how surprised and disappointed he was in the man’s behavior, and while shaking his head he says “some people’s children”. Of course as soon as we get home he started telling his mother about the Crayon eater, who stood there with her jaw dropped in amazement. She explained the ONLY reason his dad didn’t kick this piece of shit’s ass is because he knows he’s too old to be someone’s girlfriend in jail. I guess that does cross my mind. As I think back on this whole thing I’m still left wondering what would posses an individual to eat Crayons to show his victory. I’m reminded that he has already reproduced, I would assume, or maybe the Crayons were for personal use. Fortunately I will NEVER have the displeasure of knowing. Now I get to add him to the growing list of fantastic fucktards I have met in my lifetime. If it matters, I did find some Crayons for my granddaughter, one day I will have to tell her this story if her mother doesn’t beat me to it.

The Saturday Night Concert Lights

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Of course I’m talking about our Saturday night enjoying the ZZ Top concert. But first I must throw out a mention to an amazing guitarist Tyler Bryant. I must confess, however, that I have never heard of him, I’m still kicking my self for having a deaf ear to him in the past. But, no longer, no way, now I see the error in my ways. In our particular show, this pasty white man waltzes out onto the stage, introduces himself over the noise of the crowd, so we could barely hear what he said. Without flash and fanfare he began to play, the crowd became calmed, and he amazed us all with the way he played the guitar and with no back up nothing, all solo, just the Tyler Bryant show, I was pretty impressed to say the least. So, if I were y’all, and you like great guitar music, check out Tyler Bryant, y’all won’t be one bit disappointed. Then we witnessed Jeff Beck, again not someone I was exactly up to speed with his music, definitely my loss for sure, an oversight that I can assure you is been corrected since Saturday night. For 70 years young, he deserves his world ranking in guitar playing, his hands show no sign of slowing down in my opinion. The show wasn’t that flashy, but it was good to set my head back and just let the music flow through me. Nevertheless, he is another skilled musician which opened my ears and eyes, fully had my attention.

Then there was our headliner, ZZ Top, who blew the roof off of the house, to put it very mildly. I was looking forward to this part of the show for two reasons, one because this was 4th time seeing ZZ Top live and the second reason was it was my son’s rock n’ roll live concert christening. He can no longer be teased by his older sisters as being the concert virgin. He has been a “fan” of ZZ Top for a few years, being guilty by association through me and the music I listen to, since I’m not always bang my head ’til I bleed metal as many like to think. I like what is referred to as classic rock as well, this so called classic rock is what I grew up on, it is my generation, it was our contribution to musical history. Too much? Too dramatic? My son has always heard music in his headphones or on the stereo speakers, never live and in his face. I really didn’t know what to expect taking him to this show. Soon after the show began initially I knew the birthday present was a grand slam. If I may, to set the mood, take y’all to the end of the show, after the lights came up, when my son turned to me and said “dad, I have a new found respect for ZZ Top, they made me feel like dancing”. I’m not an emotional man, I don’t wear my feelings on my sleeve in no way, but those words, those simple words, made my day, made me smile in the grandest of ways, I was extremely proud of my son, I think he now understands what I have always told him, one feels good music beyond just listening to it. He said he thought about that the whole concert, an excerpt from a conversation years ago, when I was asked why I listen to my music so loud. No, it’s not because I’m deaf boy, it’s because I want it to enter my soul through the vibrations, I want to feel the music, not just listen to it.

So, this was a good concert for him, in many ways. As well, my future son in law attended the concert with us and reacted in much the same way, even though he is now 21. But, in his defense, and this was not his first concert, he mentioned he always wanted to be able to see one of his all time favorite bands live, mission complete. He was all giddy like a 12 year old girl as well. But, as I explained to both of them, because I had a life before they knew me, that when the lights go down what they had in store for them. As I looked out over the sea of silver haired men and women, I mentioned that before long the party would start, beyond the concert, beyond the music, because these people came prepared to party. I just mentioned that as they smell things beyond the cigarette smoke and beer, that they will smell the skunk, but not to look for it, don’t point, and definitely don’t talk or saying anything about it. And, it didn’t take long, and it was purple haze time! Not for me personally, all I had was two 32oz bottles of water. And then, even though my son was aware of the fact that there are other sexual cultures beyond heterosexual, he had never witnessed anything up close and personal. At least both of them waited until we were in the car, yes in the mustang, to ask me if I saw the three lesbian couples sitting in front of us “making out”. Yes, I saw it. So what? That stifled the entire conversation, it was over before it started, its not my place to have an opinion about someone else’s relationship. One thing I will point out, however, is that the three couple were of different age groups, one was in their early twenties, the other I would guess thirtyish, and the other couple was in there fifties. My only opinion is that if it feels good for you then do it. Really too bad people get stuck in their judgmental bullshit all of the time. Plus, there was allot of making out everywhere around us, why do y’all think people bring the big blankets. Anyway, makes no matter to me, I came for the show, I came because I wanted to witness my son get his concert cherry popped. The only reason I brought up the female couples in this post is because I was asked about it later. Why do I need to care?

The only real stumbling point my son had with the concept of the live rock and roll concert, beyond the drinking, toking, and sex, was the fact that it is okay to sing along, it’s almost a requirement. As well, yelling, screaming, cheering, and clapping are our way of showing our unbridled appreciation for fantastic shows. Where I lost him was when ZZ Top was signing, then they go silent, music and all, waiting for the crowd to scream out the finish to the lyric. He knows the words, just didn’t know this was his time to scream them out louder than when he is in the shower. I will have y’all know, I went home hoarse, barely able to talk, my voice was toast, and I could feel it. For what its worth, I’m not shy when it comes to signing out load, yes I suck, but so does everyone else, but we all do it just the same. The night was fantastic all the way around, we all had fun, we all got to put a notch in our belt, for me, I’m my 25th belt or so, but who’s counting anyway. Sunday morning I laid in bed, my wife on one arm, and I found myself thinking how I was the one that each one of my kids saw their first live rock concert with. Many would say this isn’t good parenting, I disagree, I enjoy the company of family, I like being there for their “first times” in life. I’m an involved parent, guilty as charged. I’m lucky, my kids like music, and I’m lucky to live in a huge city where the opportunities to witness live music are everywhere. Most of the people I know don’t know what their kids are up too, nor do they care. No, I do not think I know what they do 24/7, but I have a pretty good idea I won’t see them on the news looting anytime soon. Sorry, my kids are important to me, I care to be in their lives, and for them to want to be in mine.

Sorry, got a little sidetracked, but then I never actually said I would be doing a song by song concert review, y’all should know better than that by now. I was deeply impressed by this little ‘ol band from Texas, I always am. I was disappointed in others attending the concert, a giant shame on you goes out to them, I could count the kids I saw on one hand. First concert I have ever been to that there wasn’t a cross section of three to four generations of the people. How do we share our music with the up and coming generations if we don’t take our kids to concerts? ZZ Top has been playing since 1969, you cant tell me that the only people that want to see them live are the 40-60 crowd. Maybe next time right, maybe the next band right, maybe the next concert right? This is exactly how bands just fade away, we all know it. Anyway, just wanted to mention that, to each his/her own, because it was an outstanding show, one I know my son and future son in law will not soon forget, and nor will I. My son told me this morning he gets it now, music wasn’t meant to be heard through earbuds, its meant to be heard live and loud. Funny how one’s first concert can make one appreciate the efforts of great musicians. I could go on and on about music, but that’s not why you came today. See, just because I’m not writing much lately doesn’t mean I’m dead, just means I’m out living life to the fullest. So, no, my blog isn’t up for grabs, not yet at least. Thanks for all the great emails, texts, and comments, I plan on getting caught up real soon with some fantastic stories, some are even true. Remember everyone, take the earbuds out once in a while and enjoy this concert we call life.

The Thank You Letter From My Son

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This morning I awoke to find an envelope tucked under my hat and keys on the kitchen table. On the front of the envelope was written the words, “My Hero, My Dad”. Curiosity got me and I immediately opened the envelope, finding a short letter which really made me sit back and think about how my 13 old son sees his dad. I wanted to share his letter with y’all because, as a veteran, as a person who has served, I feel that others will feel the warmth and sincerity that he has been written to me early on this Veterans Day.

” Dad,

The older I get, the more I talk to family, the more that I read, and the more we talk, I have learned that I have a respect for you that runs very deep in my own heart for you and every person who has ever been brave enough to put on a uniform to serve our great country. I’m lucky, I have my dad with me every day. I feel grateful that you are alive, well, and in my daily life, because many sons and daughters are not as lucky. I just want you to know that I love you, I’m grateful for your service, and know I will always honor and appreciate all of your sacrifices, big and small. Thank you dad.

Your son, Jack “

Yes, this letter from my son brought tears to my eyes, he has a big heart, and I think he knows what this letter means to me.

The Man Behind Colorblind Eyes

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This morning I was doing something I rarely like doing myself because there is always a risk of mistakes being made. Typically I try to never attempt to identify colors unless I have someone close to confirm or deny my observations. However, today I about screwed the pooch because I forget I am one impatient son of a bitch. I sit here now, outside my shop, smoking a few cigarettes, reflecting on my mistake. Mistake? What mistake? Well, let’s start from the beginning, that will probably be the easiest for y’all to follow. The other day I fried (cooked off) the circuit board which controlled the propane release actuators for my pit smoker. Meaning, it developed an electrical short which resulted in catching the electronic starter box to burst into flames. As a result, the controls were literally fried. Since I built it originally I decided to start over and make it again. I had a few ideas that would improve its functions by updating the style if relays and timers being used. I had all the parts, all recycled from other things which have been recently scrapped, such as an old deep fryer and thermostat. I had already removed the steel box from the smoker and gutted everything that was charred, which was absolutely everything.

I was supposed to wait til tonite to have my 12 y/o son help me out because he wanted yo learn how to soder circuit boards and make permenant wire connections. But……………. I am an impatient man. I don’t like waiting. Plus, I needed to test out my new design to see if it will work and function. Then tonight I would let him make me a pretty box. So, that was the plan anyway. The layout took about ten minutes, the assembly took about ten minutes, and soldering took about ten minutes. This is a 12 volt system using a deep cycle marine battery. It also required heavier gauged wire to carry the load but also serves as better insulation against the high heat the assembly is exposed to. Time to test. Ready. Set. Go. Press the button. Nothing happened. Its dead to the world. Then I notice the assembly wasn’t grounded so I grab the wire and attached it to my metal table which is earth grounded outside. Take two. Now leaning on the table to view the operation I push the button once again. Then, instant pain. FUCK THAT HURTS! After I stopped jumping around in pure pain, after I could focus my vision again, after I wiped away my tears, I see I use a live wire to ground it all out resulting in an electrical charge being applied to the metal table which I was meaning on with bare skin. Did I mention how bad that fucking hurts?

After some minor wire changes it was retested and now works flawlessly. Later I will tweak the arrangement a little and let it sit until my son gets home from school. Because now I think I will just sit here. Its nice the tingling has stopped or I may have had problems writing all of this down. Its a nice day too, so maybe I will have a swim in the pond, or maybe just sit here in my old blue rocker where its safe.