Journaling on a Saturday afternoon in late July

The mother of the kid who batted that rock that busted my car’s windshield just stopped by to tell me goodbye since they have to move out today. Ya know, people have said that she’s probably just being nice now because she wanted my help in dealing with the landlord and whatnot, but today demonstrates that’s not the case. She and her son wouldn’t have stopped by to let me know they were leaving had that been all it was. I honestly do think she’s trying to keep on the up and up. And her son’s not a bad kid despite the property damage occurring.

We exchanged phone numbers and plan to remain in contact so that I can learn of her whereabouts and let the other neighbors know how she and her son are doing eventually. Sad situation. Sucks to witness someone in that position. Don’t know what else I can do at this point though. Out money and still trying to get my own life in order. But if I hear of somebody having a room open up, I’ll let her know.

In the process of uploading a vlog I recorded this morning that goes in on single mothers quite a bit, though I didn’t mean that personally against her. Just sucks to keep seeing women get in a situation like hers, plus it’s tough on the rest of society as a result. Had mixed feelings about sharing those views in a video today considering all that’s gone on this week, and I was wondering at the time if she had just been playing up to me in hopes of us rallying and getting the landlord to permit her to stay on here. But our hands were tied, and I think she knew that deep down.

See, I don’t hate individual mothers in these circumstances, though I do hate how common this trend has become in our society. It sucks to meet so many people dependent on local or state aid and in dire straits financially. The bleeding heart inside of me wants to reach out and help and tolerate our government’s reallocation of funds and resources to help single mothers and their kids, but the tough love side of me also understands that continuing these programs as we are is only encouraging the growth of this trend and obviously in no way disincentivizes it. We have a problem here, folks, and it’s not going to go away on its own. Certainly what’s been tried and even ramped up in recent decades is only exacerbating this mess. So what now?

It’s like we’re in this clusterfuck of a tangled web where there are so many single mothers (not to mention children in poor households in general) already in existence to where we’re in a no-win, deep-shit conundrum. If we cut aid to them we worry that they might suffer—as they likely will—though their visible suffering might also (hopefully) generate a deterrence so that others work harder to not follow in previous women’s footsteps in the these ways. But in the meantime many, if not most, single-mother-headed families would suffer, make no mistake about that. It would become a shit show in a hurry. There’s no doubt that opportunistic or well-intending others claiming to advocate on their behalves would get extremely vocal in an effort to essentially shame us all into reinstating welfare provisions. Don’t doubt that for a second, and we all know how reactive people get when guilted. Guilt does a number on me also, so I’m no exception there.

However, if we can’t find a way to toughen our hearts a good bit, when and how will it all end? When 80-90% of children in this country are being born out of wedlock and raised in single-mother-headed households? That’s not fair to future generations or to the rest of society (for various reasons). Yet this trend does not appear to be losing traction one iota over time. So what then?

There comes a point when we have to accept that a worthwhile outcome won’t always leave us feeling particularly good about ourselves, especially in the short run.  As life likes to teach us: the easiest way isn’t often the best way. If it feels terrific now, you can bet that whatever potential consequences there are are just being delayed. Cynical as that may sound.

Decades back, people let their hearts and minds expand and throughout the process opened the public coffers, only to wind up leaving future generations to deal with the postponed and inevitable consequences (hindsight being 20/20). Like the fact that our society can no longer afford this bloated welfare system, AND that having such a (growing) scheme like this in place only creates an incentive for more and more people to rely on it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s freely available. Up for the taking. Welcome to human nature.

I know that folks like to claim that women don’t go out and have kids with the intention of milking the system. Probably not. HOWEVER, how much do you want to bet that a lot of young mothers-to-be would’ve made different life choices had this system not been in place to provide a safety net to them? If single mothers and their kids were more often than not rendered dependent on private charities or at the mercy of the kindness of strangers or otherwise left destitute on the streets, do you think the single motherhood trend would continue to climb? Really? Outside of the middle class, I seriously doubt it.

But no one wants to be the bad guy and say “NO, that’s enough.” Especially not when there are anti-abortion Christian activists on one side of the aisle screaming about how merciless we are as a society, mirrored by liberals on the other side of the aisle screeching on in nearly the same vein (albeit placing the focus on different demographics) but in a secularized fashion. Weird that it’s turned out this way, considering what bitter enemies those camps profess to be. The rest of us are here, stuck in the middle and being squeezed and pressured and guilted nonstop from both/all sides.. If we outliers to these camps make a case for this not being the right way forward, we’re denounced as heartless by some, as baby-haters/baby-killers by others, as outdated and non-progressive, as sociopathic and lacking empathy and consciences, etc. We’ve heard it plenty of times over by now.

If we make cases for a lack of public financial resources to sustain this setup they’ll then suggest that we should just tax the rich more—voila—problem resolved, right? Wrong. That’s no more of a sustainable solution than what we have already. Want our wealthiest businesspeople to up and leave the U.S. (as if plenty aren’t already planning to relocate to China — a topic for another time)? Beyond that, all the money and assets the rich people possess still isn’t enough to save this nation from its mounting debt. So, for as much appeal as stealing from Paul to pay Peter might hold for some, it’s still not going to get to the root of the matter. AND that approach still in no way creates a disincentive for women to become single mothers.

The problem lies within each of us as individuals ultimately. Nobody else can stop us from making poor decisions. And nobody else can force us (as of yet) to take advantage of the technologies currently available so as to avoid these outcomes. We have options that we’re not taking seriously enough. Plus, we have popular culture that’s beyond toxic in how it actively promotes and defends poor decision-making and those rendered disadvantaged as a result. It’s all backwards, topsy-turvy, and proving fatal in the long run for us as a nation and for western civilization overall.

This is a bigger issue than women’s rights. And it’s a bigger issue than liberalism and knee-jerk sympathizing. I understand that sympathy — really, really do — but look where we’re headed. Some, like Steven Pinker, like to think that crimes rates are declining and will steadily continue to do so indefinitely, but there’s evidence to the contrary to dispute that and there will likely be much more if we continue this trend of bringing in kids who aren’t being raised well due to a lack of energy, time, resources and/or whatever else on the part of single parents (and the government agencies they rely upon). Worse still if these are unwanted children, which plenty of them are. Far too many, if you ask me. What we’re doing currently as a society isn’t helping as intended and instead is only furthering this trend. We see this. Yet no one wants to be one of the jerks to stand up and help cut off the flow to welfare recipients. Makes one look and feel like a major asshole to take it there. Understandably so, considering how much people banked on these policies proving effective. This is a big letdown. The plan did not succeed.

I don’t know. Am super tired today (as well as highly caffeinated) and can’t stay with this topic any longer right now. Just an upsetting state of affairs that I have no idea how to help in making stop. Presumably, however many of my fellows are either afraid to voice (or even further develop) their real opinions on these matters because they wish to avoid being harassed or possibly tarred and feathered, while others actually whole-heartedly believe pouring more and more money into Big Government social programs in the face of this already-skyrocketing trend might somehow eventually win out. The former strike me as cowards and the latter as delusional.

Will resume this topic another day. Today I’m just hoping my neighbor lady and her son are able to find a place to stay very soon. And I’m praying for others to think a whole lot more deeply about these issues and to more seriously consider what they’re getting themselves into BEFORE doing so. Because not all of us are sweethearts willing or able to provide the desired aid and there’s no guarantee how long the public coffers will hold out.

Alice Cooper quit alcohol too

Didn’t know much about the man other than enjoying a few of his songs (a couple of which were showcased in the “Dazed and Confused” and “Wayne’s World” movie soundtracks in the ’90s).

Alice Cooper’s real name is Vincent Damon Furnier (for those of us who didn’t know). Currently age 69. And he’s been off alcohol since the ’80s.

Reportedly considers himself to be a born-again Christian. Interesting. An excerpt from that linked article (published Tuesday, 28 March 2006):

Though some have questioned combining his faith in God with his rock-and-roll background, Cooper doesn’t see a conflict. “I’m the first one to rock as loud as I can, but when it comes to what I believe, I’m the first one to defend it too,” he said. “It has also gotten me in trouble with the staunch Christians who believe that in order to be a Christian you have to be on your knees 24 hours a day in a closet somewhere. Hey, maybe some people can live like that, but I don’t think that’s the way God expected us to live. When Christ came back, He hung out with the whores, the drunks and miscreants because they were people that needed Him. Christ never spent His time with the Pharisees.”

[…]

“I used to celebrate moral decay, the decadence of it,” he admitted in the KNAC.com interview. “I can look back on what I did then and what I’m doing now and they’re two different things. But at the time I was the poster boy for moral decay, you know. So yeah, I’ve got a lot to be forgiven for…out of ignorance, I thought I was doing the right thing. I was totally in agreement that every guy should sleep with every girl and drink as much as they can. I don’t believe that now. I don’t believe in it, because I see how destructive it is.”

Spiritual awakening is happening around the world, Cooper believes. “It’s obvious humanity is craving for answers directly born of awareness,” he said. “That’s the healthiest thing I’ve seen in a long time because there is something better and everybody’s gotta find it in their own way. People aren’t feeling fulfilled by how many cars they own or the size of their stock portfolio. Even the addicts are saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how many drugs I take, I’m not fulfilled. This isn’t satisfying.’ There’s a spiritual hunger going on. Everybody feels it. If you don’t feel it now, you will. Trust me. You will.”

Worth reading in full.

Far less interesting, though, is he’s now into golf.  But to each their own…

Learn something new everyday. Finding out more about this man has given me greater appreciation for him.

But I never forget his cameo appearance in the movie “Wayne’s World”:

Hehe   bow   cool

Journaling in the wee hours of the 4th of July (plus book review)

In a bit of a melancholy mood this evening. I don’t like to hear myself bitch any more than others care to listen to me bitch. But it’s fucking difficult to bottle up my emotions and to pretend they don’t exist, especially when I feel disrespected. And that’s probably a problem I have to sort out for myself since life isn’t fair and it’s never going to be. Just is what it is. Not going to go into any of that on here tonight.

Been a weird week overall. Weirdos abounding. Arguments reigniting. That car crash from last week and its aftermath. Another holiday approaching, which gets people all antsy. And here it is — the 4th of July. Independence Day. A day for Americans to wave around flags and watch parades and scarf down hotdogs and beer while reminding one another how we’re the best country on Earth, bar none. Patting ourselves on the back for what our forefathers bestowed upon us, as if we’ve proven to be good stewards of these historic blessings.

Bah! This holiday makes a scrooge out of me.

I tire of so much propaganda and the guilt-inducing patriotism. Gotta love everything about this country, right or wrong, or else GTFO. So they like to say. How kind we are to our fellow natives.

The_Bluest_Eye_Toni_MorrisonAnother thing that’s bothered me this week is I read Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye. Pretty darn depressing read, though I figured on that before ordering it. Wanted to find out what this supposedly amazing author had to say that’s made her such a literary icon within the black community (as well as favored and applauded by Oprah Winfrey herself). Started out by watching an interview of Toni Morrison on youtube (was it from a Charlie Rose episode? I can’t recall). She came across as pretty darn racist. So decided to order a couple of her books (used through half.com) to find out what all the hubbub is about. Read an essay by her on the writing craft, then moved on to the book The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, this version including an afterword by her published in the 1990s.

What can I say about this book? It was well-written, I’ll give it that. Compelling enough to keep me wanting to read on. Wrapped up in the end as though its completion was being hurried, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. In her afterword section, Toni Morrison wrote on how she wasn’t terribly pleased with the book. But what got me is how she bent everything back toward race and racism. All throughout the book she described black characters who mistreated one another in awful ways, ending in a father raping and impregnating his young teenage daughter and then her mother beating her so badly that the girl went full-on crazy from thereon. The author described black parents who ordered their children around as if they had no thoughts or feelings of their own, who screamed and griped and carried on, particularly after another black man in the story was found out to be trying to molest another young black teen girl. The white people mentioned in the book were treated with scornful envy or reduced to being nasty idiots in need of black folks to care for them and their homes in order not to live in squalor. Aside from the two white rednecks who disrespected the young Cholly (the one who grew up to become the alcoholic who raped his own daughter) as he was attempting to lose his virginity the night of his aunt’s funeral — those two white guys were depicted as being part of the cause for why Cholly came out the way he did. That along with his father’s rejection after traveling to find him after Cholly’s aunt (and primary caretaker) had died. As well as having been tossed on a garbage heap by his mother when he was little more than a week old.

What gets to me about this story is that it showcases degradation within the black community, and Toni Morrison keenly portrayed it in all of its reckless degeneracy. And yet, still, somehow she found the problem to ultimately point back to white society as a whole. Not the choices of the black people written about. Not their poor parenting skills and heavy-handedness without first finding out the facts involved when it came to discipline. Not parents having sex in the same room as their kids, not to mention fighting and beating on one another. Not the drinking taken to the point that lust overcame all decency and familial bonds. White people had nothing to do with why Cholly hated women. Not even those rednecks who humiliated him deserved that honor. Yet Toni Morrison seemed to lay a good bit of the blame at their feet, claiming that Cholly redirected the animosity he felt at white people toward his own people, particularly black women and girls, as if that simply makes sense all unto itself. The mother who abandoned him was rather casually dismissed as assumed to have gone crazy. The aunt who chose to raise and care for him was spoken down about, as if her help had barely mattered at all. This was made clear when Toni Morrison claimed that the character named Cholly Breedlove had had no parenting skills to observe while coming up since he hadn’t been raised by his own parents. So what was his aunt? A nobody? Should she have simply left him to die on that garbage heap as a baby? Seems she received no credit for her sacrifices and love shown, or at least only trace amounts. Why? I think it’s because, for whatever reason(s), Toni Morrison didn’t care to flesh out his character in greater depth. She aimed to depict him as a loveless, broken man who’d given up and turned to the bottle, who hated women because he actually hated white people but couldn’t show it as openly, who came to care about nobody at all — yet the cause for all of this is somehow, somewhere, ultimately rooted in white society. These black people in the tale couldn’t love themselves or one another because of their envy toward whites, hence the fixation on blue eyes.

In the story, the white people mentioned all appeared to have money, whereas the blacks mostly didn’t. As if that’s the realistic split historically — yes-sirree, all white folks from time immemorial were blessed with money while black folks were not. Yep, that’s totally realistic. Right?  BS. But that’s how she wanted to frame her tale, creating a big divide between what she saw as the Haves and the Have-nots. Typical.

The book’s content was disturbing all unto itself without the added doses of racism toward white folks. Was going to loan it to a guyfriend, but after finishing it and telling him about it he stated he was afraid it might damage his spirit. And I agreed. Not loaning this book out to my friends. Not much good will come from doing so. Black folks who read it may very well accept Toni Morrison’s race-baiting antics without further scrutinizing all the black characters involved, and that’d be a shame. I found it to be more of an indictment of the black community itself rather than anybody else outside of it. Just a showcase of one scoundrel after another, some worse than others, but mostly scoundrels either way. The characters who might’ve proven to be fairly decent were mentioned in only a line or two and then left out of the rest of the story. The spotlight here was shined on these three black girls (Pecola, Claudia and Frieda), and it seemed nearly every adult around them wasn’t worth much of a damn. Hardly in any way conducive toward bringing up healthy, intelligent, competent and confident children. And I struggle to understand how that must be the outside world’s fault when so much control does and always has belonged to parents and families. Poverty alone can’t make people beat and rape their children. Hell, poverty is less likely to occur if one doesn’t drink and/or gamble away most of the money brought into the household!

Just kinda sickened me to read Toni Morrison’s afterword on the subject. Personal responsibility appears to mean to little to her since she’s caught up in this victim narrative and can see little else. Or at least that’s how her words came across to me. She stated this story wasn’t based on her own life but rather is a fictional account of an impoverished black girl (Pecola) who was taken advantage of by everybody, leading to the other two black girls (sisters Claudia and Frieda) who had befriended her to feel embarrassment and shame later in life when reflecting on how they couldn’t help her. But what was their primary concern expressed in the beginning and end of the book? That Pecola’s baby, conceived through rape from her father, had not lived. And that right there did me in. Makes me shake my head and wonder what planet we’re living on when that’s the primary concern here.

When I ordered that book I also ordered Toni Morrison’s Songs of Solomon. Hmm. Will wait a while before cracking that one open.

Looking forward to no longer being a hypocrite

Honestly, another aspect of this recent car accident event in my loved one’s life is how it shines the light back on us. Seriously bugs me that it does, but it does.

I’ve driven while intoxicated on numerous occasions, truth be told. Over the legal limit probably the majority of the time I’ve returned home from a bar outing. Don’t doubt it. As was/is the case for most folks I know who hang out in bars, plus plenty who drink at home and then head out to the grocery store for something or to the gas station or a friend’s house and whatnot. It’s actually quite common. We all know it’s dangerous and wrong and potentially fatal, and yet it goes on all the time. Even among the retirees who hit the bars earlier in the day and then clog up traffic by driving below the speed limit afterward. Or the folks returning from their golf outings — almost always lit up on the course before heading to their favorite watering holes to tie on a few more. I see it going on all the time. Observed it for years here and in other cities I’ve lived in prior.

It’s so common that for some folks I’d venture to say it’s the norm, at least in the evenings once work is completed.

This has always given me mixed feelings where on one hand I don’t wish to acknowledge this fact since so many others like to downplay how frequently they do the same, making me look like one of the supposed few who actually has a problem. Au contraire. Other folks are just better liars, I swear on that. But when I admit it aloud, even among my fellow drinkers whom I’ve watched leave out of bars on countless occasions so drunk I’m surprised they made it out of the parking lot, I’m given the cold shoulder. We’re not supposed to talk about that, at least not unless it involves a funny story. Supposed to all quietly sweep that one under the rug. Or call an Uber if your conscience troubles you. But just do not talk about it.

Well, it gets brought up sometimes, and not always by me but by someone teasing me or somebody else for how messed up we were the night before. It’s a big joke to some folks. And so long as people laugh, such talk is tolerated. Only becomes a problem when someone says “Damn. I’m fucking up. I don’t recall even driving home.” Then we’re either given some dismissive advice about how we maybe should try to drink a little less next time or call a cab or whatever, or we’re just ignored. Ramblings of drunks is all it amounts to. Nobody really seems to care that much in those atmospheres, though some bars do care once they’ve had their liquor licenses threatened.

What I’m getting at here is it matters not whether it’s discussed, it still occurs frequently and across all kinds of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. Middle-class, working-class, all races, both sexes, young, old, middle-aged — you name it. We all somewhere inside fear a wreck or DUI/OWI, yet we still drove ourselves home after drinking time and time and time again. That’s a fact. Even if we feel bad about doing so, we still did so. It’s the norm among many, if not most, drinkers, especially heavy drinkers. Unless they can walk home, but even that decision is usually prompted by already receiving a DUI/OWI in the past.

I do listen to people and observe what’s going on and always have. People tell me plenty, and it’s not hard to see who’s jacked up.

Last year, I ran over a road sign one late night while driving home from a bar. Couldn’t even locate which one I hit either since other people had hit signs that same night so a couple were down and one other was sideways. Yeah, not proud of that. If I could hit a frickin’ road sign, I could’ve hit anything else. Snapped me wide awake when I hit the sign, and yet the next day I could not figure out which one it was. And that was over a year, maybe 1.5 years ago by now. Learned to Uber more for a while there, but eventually I resumed driving myself home. Never had that problem again since, and hadn’t done that before, but the risk was always there.

Do you know how many people do that sort of shit and just don’t like to admit it? Have a look at regular barhounds’ cars sometime and take note of the damaged spots. Much of that is from drunk driving incidents. Sometimes they’ll tell you stories about how it happened if you’re sitting in a bar with them while they’re feeling chatty, but I doubt they’d admit it to the outside world. Because it’s frowned upon. Forces us to reckon with our own poor choices and behaviors, which is a definite downer. Few care to acknowledge these matters openly partly because it’s frickin’ embarrassing. Though in the barscene people do tend to be more open about the times they’ve been nabbed by the cops. Maybe because they perceive that as some sort of injustice, or they know so many others have been in the same situation before and therefore are willing to commiserate over it. I’ve heard countless stories along these lines over time. Always prided myself on being among the seeming few who has never been dealt a DUI/OWI, though that’s been due to luck more than anything else.

Yet I’ve also heard some of these parents chide their adult children WHILE AT THE BAR DRINKING for getting picked up by the cops or damaging their vehicles. As if we’re in any position to talk. We get onto one another for the very same crime we’re guilty of. Seems the logic there is that if we don’t get caught and don’t wreck, then no harm, no foul. I’ve adopted that logic myself on numerous occasions. But still, it’s bugged me over time. Nags and gnaws at me. Kinda makes me feel like a bit of a cretin in society. Forces me to worry about hitting a pedestrian or another car or getting stopped by the cops and winding up jeopardizing my job as a result. Not to mention my finances, or my conscience. Yet when you’re drunk, you don’t care. That’s what alcohol is good for: to make you care less. The next day we might reflect and feel ashamed and/or scared over the ride home the night before, but pour a little more booze in you the next night and you’ll be right back at it again. And again and again.

Caused me to feel like a hypocrite over time. Because I am. How can I worry about college students drinking too much and getting behind the wheel when we older folks aren’t doing much better? Just have more experience under our belts, that’s it. Because we’ve done it more often. Misplaced confidence in our own capabilities while intoxicated.

Feeling like a hypocrite unnerves me. Hard to stake a moral claim on something being wrong and unacceptable when I do it too. And when I hung out in places where practically everybody did it too, nightly. Gotta state it plain.

Looking forward to the future and being free of at least one area in my life where I proved to be a hypocrite. Two weeks (sans one day) and counting…

Tuesday evening turmoil (journaling on the recent wreckage)

Still thinking about my loved one’s son’s car accident I mentioned in my last vlog:

And the boy is still avoiding his father as of this evening. Probably best to let his father settle down and cool off a bit.

Drinking and driving and crashing. I wonder what the consequences for him will prove to be in the end. Still haven’t driven out to see the accident scene. Will do so by Friday at least. Curious to see what wall he hit and how he managed to do so.

Could’ve really hurt himself, which, in turn, would’ve crushed his mom’s and dad’s hearts. Could’ve hurt somebody else too, which also would’ve been a huge tragedy.

I wonder if he’ll learn from this. Or if he’ll keep on until he has to learn in some harder fashion on down the line…

Don’t know the kid well enough to say. We never became close. Just were around each other a few years back and now rarely run into one another in passing. Not really certain what all he’s up to these days. Didn’t know he was drinking already. Also learned that some bar downtown I’ve never heard of before had been serving him alcohol despite him being underage. And I have half a mind to go say something about that out in public. Shouldn’t be allowed to keep your liquor license if you’re knowingly serving minors, though I know of other bars that occasionally do so. Ticks me off. Yet another reason for why I have grown so damned disenchanted with the barscene. Most bars and bartenders only care about money — to hell with all else. Witnessed this type of bullshit in many forms over and over and over again.

Tough love is on my mind right now. Not because I like to see young folks punished but because I don’t wish to see this behavior tolerated. To me, he’s not proving himself mature or responsible enough, so I see no reason for his parents to continue paying for his college costs, especially now as he’s about to set off to the university an hour away this fall. Perhaps he needs to go to work to save up money to pay his own way until he can get back in his parents’ good graces. My cousin has had to work his ass off to put himself through a university program without his parents’ help, and he didn’t even do anything wrong to receive that sentence as a punishment. My aunt and uncle just believe he’ll respect his education more if he funds it himself. I have mixed feelings on that, knowing how high the cost of education is currently, and also knowing my cousin is a competent young man who could’ve used more family support, both emotionally and financially. But he has still managed and done well for himself, and I’m proud of him. Perhaps this other young man who feels free to crash his car into brick walls while drinking underage would benefit from a similar sort of treatment. Or, more accurately, why should his parents spoil him if he’s only going to take their help for granted?

But that’s the way my mind works. And I don’t have kids so they say I’m not at liberty to tell everybody else how to raise theirs. So be it. Knowing his daddy and mom, they’ll continue to finance his schooling because they want better for him than they had. But I’d caution them to not let themselves be taken advantage of or to inadvertently bolster bad behavior by seeming to tolerate it. Does nobody any good to go that route.

Either way, I have little power in this situation other than to share my thoughts with the father. Wouldn’t dream of mentioning anything to the mother since undoubtedly she’d consider it a private matter that doesn’t pertain to me. Fair enough, though I am still around and likely will remain. She’s upset enough right now and has heard the father’s input already. None of them spoke with one another today.

I wouldn’t know how to raise a kid in this day and age. Would’ve likely screwed it up had I attempted to do so since I was drinking my damn self. But I know these two parents care a whole lot about that boy and want no harm to come to him. They want nothing but good things in his future and tried to give him what they could throughout his life. He has a big extended family and is well-loved. And yet, he’s acting up now. What can be done about that? I’d personally like to see members of the family speak up and address him directly with their thoughts and concerns, though I doubt they will. Too private of people most likely. Hard for me to understand that since my own family likely wouldn’t hesitate to roundly chastise me from all angles if ever I had been in a similar situation, as much good as that might’ve done. Would’ve hurt coming from my grandparents and embarrassed me coming from my uncle or stepdad. But I still got into the drinking lifestyle despite their disdain.

So what can one do? I don’t know. How do you talk sense to an immature youth about responsibility on this level when we can barely talk sense into people 30 and over? Like myself up until recently. Can make us feel awfully guilty, and yet we still don’t act right consistently. Not sure what can be done about that other than what’s already in place (e.g., the threat of being locked up and charged, DUI/OWI fines and penalties, license revocation, etc.). If that, along with the threat of winding up mangled and/or mangling somebody else, isn’t enough to scare people straight, what is?

Alcohol is a hell of a drug. No joke. I’m wrestling with its influence everyday still and will continue doing so for likely many moons to come, reflecting on the past experiences and now committing myself to ending all of that. Then this young man picks up the habit and runs with it. Lost one, gained one. Sad as that is…

Maybe he’ll learn his lesson. Maybe looking upon the wreckage that his car became will jolt him awake. Totaled. Not worth fixing. And so shortly after his father bought him new rims to replace the ones damaged in what he claimed was a slide in the ice over the winter. Not that his father believes that story any longer.

When his father went to look at the wrecked car, he said the first thing he did was inspect the brakes to check out his son’s claim that they had gone out. Confirmed that wasn’t the case immediately. The man’s a mechanic — why tell a lie that he can so easily inspect to confirm or deny? Explained to me how the rotors would show a marking on them had the brakes locked up. He fixes wrecked cars all day, every day. Said he can envision, based on the damage, how the car hit and how it likely leapt up in the air a little bit while going sideways over the curb. Can approximate the speed based on the damage since it’s a former cop cruiser and built to handle more jarring (and repeated) impacts on certain parts than ordinary civilian cars. He’s reconstructed the accident in his mind and has a good idea of what happened, and he’s very angry, for which I can’t blame him. Was a very stupid stunt for his son to pull. Could’ve really hurt himself had he hit that wall straight on. We’d be visiting him in a hospital most likely had that been the case. He better know how lucky he got that evening. Because Lord, his father would’ve fallen to pieces had his son been seriously injured or hurt somebody else. That fact, along with all the rest, really unsettles me this week. I hate to imagine it.

If I could say something to him, I’d tell him this: Kid, you’ve had a good life. Had so much given to you by two parents who love you dearly, plus the rest of your family. They aren’t perfect, but they’ve cared tremendously for you. And now you’re fucking up, which is like a slap in the face to them and to all the others out here who’ve given a damn about you. You’re in school, said to be making good grades. You’re working. You want to have fun, I get that, but this is no good. This is dangerous to everybody around. If you continue down this path, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself. You really have been afforded so many opportunities in life. Why waste them? Why piss them away? Nobody wants to see you hurt or to see you facing charges in court because you hurt somebody else who didn’t deserve it. You’re supposed to be a smart young man, but that’s not how it’s looking this week. Do better than this. You know you can, and we all know it too. You didn’t come from the muck, you weren’t abused and mistreated, so why the apathy? Going to hurt yourself the most in the end. There’s no upside if this lesson doesn’t burn into your mind and steer you in a better direction. Want to be reckless and act a fool? Then don’t be surprised when others start treating you as such. That’s the way life goes. The sooner you can learn this and take it to heart, the better.

Not that he’d probably listen to any of that, and not that I’m likely to run into him anytime soon. Just thoughts that come to my mind. Wishes really. A prayer.

______________________________

Update on 6/29/2017: Drove by and saw the boy’s car yesterday. Was worse than the pictures I’d seen. The entire front end is destroyed and the passenger-side front tire is completely bent. His father said the wreck snapped the tie rod or ball joint (or whatever all that is, I can’t keep up with these mechanical parts). Looked really bad. Surprised on seeing the wreckage that his son walked away unhurt.

Father’s Day and Tuesday’s gone… (personal update)

One week into my new commitment to go a new way and leave alcohol alone. Also happens to be the Tuesday after Father’s Day, the day my Papa passed away 6 years ago. Thought about him some today, but then I thought about him all week. Think about him regularly enough regardless. He’s never far from my heart and mind.

It’s been a reasonably good day. Didn’t have much work to tend to, then went to the gym for about an hour. Unfortunately though, I came home and checked my bank account and found out someone had made two fraudulent charges through my debit card. Took over $250 out of my bank account, and I don’t have money to throw around these days. Called my bank immediately to dispute the charges, so my debit card is now deactivated until a new one arrives. Their site said that they offer “zero liability” protection for those of us subjected to fraud, meaning so long as we report the incident shortly after it occurs they will dispute it on our behalves and cover the fraudulent charges. One was to a website I’ve never shopped at, the other I have no clue about — don’t even know what type of company it is. Lady on the phone said maybe my debit card number was picked up by a card reader on a gas pump since that’s apparently a new fad among criminals. Told me to go inside to pay for now on instead. The matter will hopefully be resolved within 2-10 days.

Of course I can’t afford that right now. But what can I do? Some asshole decided to create havoc, and I’m surely not the only one being targeted. My former partner wonders if it had anything to do with that raunchy pub, but I’ll have to wait for my bank to sort it all out. Don’t know. Doubt his speculation seriously though. They’re low there, but I doubt they’re that smart. Either way, we’ll wait and see.

So that wasn’t good. But other than that, the day went fine. Overall, still not a day worth pitching a fit over. Financial matters can be remedied. My stepdad texted me earlier this morning to thank me for the letter I sent to him for Father’s Day. Decided, since he basically owns whatever he wants (or can at least afford it), and also since he has a young one now he probably doesn’t have free time to read books (typical gifts for one another), that I’d write down 10 areas where he had a positive impact on my life. This list included the music he exposed me to (sometimes inadvertently since I’d dig through his collection when he was out of the house), his decision to not subscribe to cable television (leading me to not subscribe to it either most of my adult life), the interesting books he provided us access to (particularly the science books, as well as the comics like Calvin and Hobbes and The Farside Gallery), his role modeling by working hard to become a successful professor, his thriftiness (which didn’t rub off on me much but is still a worthwhile example since few others in my family ever knew how to save any money), etc. Tried to keep it relatively light-hearted yet honest. Felt good to write that all down. Thought about doing so for a couple years now but never worked up the nerve. This past week felt like the right time to go ahead. Especially now that he has a 16-month-old baby to rear up with his new wife. Made me happy that the letter made him happy.

Called my Grandma on Father’s Day since I figured she was thinking about Papa too. And she was. Not too positive of thoughts though, as to be expected. Those two had a tumultuous relationship over the 50 or more years they were together. But it was good to talk to her. I don’t mind listening to some of that since it’s on her mind and she doesn’t have many people to talk to about it. But I still like to remember Papa in my own way, as who he was toward me and not just how everybody else in the family viewed him. He was a good Papa. Not perfect, but he loved me and it showed. And I love him very, very much. Always have and always will. That’s another reason for quitting drinking when I did, because I wanted to be sober this time around in honor of Father’s Day and his passing, knowing what all he went through with alcohol and understanding that he never meant for me to follow in suit.

Ever since he died Tuesdays have almost become sacred in a way. A day of remembrance and change. Like I can leave Tuesday to the past and move forward in a new way. At least that’s how it’s come to feel for me. So I took hold of that sentiment once again and decided this was the right time. It’s a good time. Two years ago I started to attempt the same thing, but I wasn’t straight enough in the head yet. Apparently hadn’t plunged quite deep enough yet. But this time around feels different. I feel ready. My resolve is strong now. To honor myself, to honor Papa and his memory, to show love to the rest of my friends and family, and to not contribute reckless nonsense to society in an unnecessary way (at least this form of it). One step at a time though. One day at a time.

Surely there will be more problems on the horizon. Always are. But now I can confront them and hopefully manage them better than before. It means the world to me that Papa would be proud. I want to be proud of myself too. Desperately need to be right about now, but only for good reason. I know my friends will all be supportive once they know. Preferring not to talk about it with most people until I have more of a handle on the situation and have more time under my belt to demonstrate how serious I am. They will be glad. Some of them don’t know the half of what I’ve put myself through, but they might have an inkling of an idea seeing as how this has been difficult to conceal. Gone on too long. Been down too long. They know I haven’t been living right. Hence why I tend to stay at a distance more and more with many of them.

Missed a galpal’s wedding reception this month. I didn’t even call to let her know I couldn’t make it. Just spaced it until after the fact. She might be upset, but I don’t know since I haven’t reached out to her yet. Waiting for the smoke to clear a bit first. Once I have money again I’d like to get her a little wedding gift, considering I’ve been an absentee in recent months. Little regrets like that keep adding up. Hard to smooth them all over. She might not even wish to speak to me anymore on account of that, which I’d have to understand. Not much of a weddings person myself, but apparently they mean a whole lot to other folks. And I knew better. It’s nearly all she’s been able to talk about over the last year.

Tonight my former partner invited me over for grilled hamburgers. That went well and we got along just fine. Watched some television afterward and tucked him into bed under the cool fan. Rubbed his belly a bit to help him relax since he had a long, hot day at work. On Father’s Day his son took him out to dinner, which he enjoyed. Doesn’t get to see him as much now that he’s grown up and is attending college. Soon he’ll be moving an hour away to attend a university.

These close men in my life I’ll always be loyal to, even if I haven’t always done right by them. But I do love them all. We are family, whether we were tied together by blood or bonds. I wish to become more upright for them too. All we have is one another in this life. It’s all anybody has, if we’re lucky.

I have been blessed. Lots of weird blessings in disguise, but blessings just the same.

Went on a bike ride with my trainer yesterday and didn’t get as winded as I usually do. Perhaps because he had to ride a bit slower due to recovering from blood clots. Perhaps because I had a little more energy as well. While on the bike trail we passed a George Carlin-look-alike riding a unicycle. lol  Shit you not. Only place outside of California (and maybe Colorado) where you’re liable to see something like that.

While out walking yesterday I came across a dead Monarch butterfly in the street. Not sure why that stuck in mind but it has. Just a random observation.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting week. Not too busy. Mellow yet odd-feeling, but still it’s been all right. Cravings aren’t kicking my ass, which is good. Watched my former drink in front of me twice this week and it wasn’t a temptation. Simply don’t want to go back down that road. Already know well enough where it leads. And it feels good to not be conflicted. Didn’t expect that. Figured it might be hell to quit, but so far it’s not a loud nagging. Though I have been noticing how much alcohol advertising is frickin’ everywhere out in society. The cravings are there, but they’re not overwhelming at this time. So I just pick up and walk on and refuse to focus on them.

Finished up listening to the audiobook The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault after putting it on hold this past week. It was all right. Fairly interesting. Honestly turned out to not be my cup of tea, but Dr. Charles Murray recommended it in his (audio)book The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life, which I listened to before that. He’s an agnostic but his wife became a Quaker and he sees the value in adopting a religious belief system. There was value in Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, though I’m not sure it was the right message for me at this moment, as an agnostic myself. But some of the historical information and differing interpretations were new to me and provided food for though. Currently re-listening to Dr. James Hollis’s What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life, a personal favorite.

That’s about it for now.