Month: August 2012

Close call on a dark road

While on my way home from a gig, a number of years back, I almost ended the life of another human being; and I still shudder to think of it yet.

I was driving on a dark road, just after a thunderstorm. Traffic was non-existent and I was tired. It was way past four a.m. and all I wanted to do was get home and catch some shut-eye. Up ahead of me my headlights lit the image of a garbage bag blowing in the wind. I would have ran the bag over, but I remembered that just a few weeks ago my dad ran a bag over and the bag stuck to his muffler, causing the car to stink, so I stopped to move the bag out of the road. How many times do we simply drive right over an empty bag or a piece of cardboard laying on the highway, without a second thought, but thank heavens I stopped.

It wasn’t a bag at all, but a young man who had too much to drink and passed out on the road, right across the yellow line. He had been wearing an oversized black leather jacket, which appeared to be a garbage bag. I shook him to wake him, and in a drunken stupor, he asked that I leave him alone. I didn’t, instead I helped him to his feet, found  out who he was, and called his parents on my cell phone. Thankful parents were quick to come to the aid of their foolish son. At that time, I doubt anyone thought of just how close I came to ending the life of one so young, but I did, and I still think of the fright I got. In fact, I am probably a bit of a pain to anyone driving behind me, as I make it a habit of pulling over and removing anything that may lay on the highway before me.

The Gig

She was busy all night, from one guy to the next, in the arms of one and then another. Her slinky black dress and equally black hair got the attention of most guys in the bar, but not mine. I know her kind, trouble with a capital T.

With the moves of an exotic dancer, she caught the attention of a few guys who would fight for her, but she was just playing with them, they just didn’t realize it at the time.

As the night went on, she got drunk on other guy’s money, and eventually, when she had lost any respect she may have actually brought with her, he came in.

Dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans, he stomped across the bar, bumping into everyone he could, asserting his control, or lack of.

Plaid Shirt quickly approached his girl, greeting her with a hard slap across the face, followed my calling her a bitch. He ordered her out of the bar, and fought with a few locals. While his lady made her way to his pickup truck, she winked at a few of the guys along the way, and her man returned the favor by picking fights with them.

This is not new, this happens each time they go out, a game for the two of them. She likes flirting and he likes fighting.

Tonight proved to be a game ender though, as one of the guys in the bar had enough, tossing both of them out of the bar. A tramp and a thug, two who deserve one another.

Post # 400: Jacob the town drunk

For  my 400th post,  I chose to tell the story of Jacob,  the town drunk, and the story of how  he came to deserve  that title.  This is a true story. The names have been changed, but the events are exactly as stated by my friend Jacob. A man I honor and respect.

A few years back, I was invited to a local Christmas party. The hosts were gracious people who invited the entire neighborhood. I was never much of a party goer, and since I didn’t live in the neighborhood,  I felt out of place at the party. While at the gathering, there was this guy who came in a bit later. He was loaded drunk. I wondered why the party hosts would invite this guy,  and being the inquisitive type, I asked them.

“From January to November, this guy is the nicest person we ever met. He is kind  to his wife and kids, and he loves everyone. He often volunteers to help out anywhere he is needed, and he is our friend. He just has trouble with December. We never thought to ask him  why, he must have his reasons and we respect that. Pay no attention to his behavior tonight,  this is not him you see, but the result of something terrible he must be dealing with.”

I agreed that they were correct, but I still wondered what would transform  someone like this. While sitting at the far end of the room, Jacob came over and introduced himself. He did seem like a nice person, except for the fact that he could barely speak, so drunk from the whiskey he was throwing back. In a few hours, his alcoholic bliss turned to sadness, and he began spilling his guts, to our dismay. Jacob asked the entire party crowd to gather around him, as in his now depressed stupor, he wanted to explain himself.

“Twenty years ago, when my wife and I were married about five years, Genny (his wife) was pregnant with our second child. She was in the hospital waiting to deliver the baby. I got a call that my lovely wife had just gave birth to a beautiful little girl; and dropping off at home  to get my four  year old  son Gerard, I hurried to the  hospital so that me and young Gerard could meet the newest member of the family.”

Jacob went on to  say “While speeding to the hospital, Gerard fumbled  with the window crank on the old Chevy until he had the window rolled all the way down. It was raining and I yelled at him to put the window back up.” Jacob was in tears now  as he went on with the story.  He was sitting in the back seat of a car years before seat belts were invented, and the window crank and the door handle were  in close proximity, and I guess they looked exactly the same, at  least  to a four year old.”

“When he went to put the window  back up,  he mistakenly grabbed the door handle, and the door opened.” Jacob was now crying and yelling, and  although we tried to get him to stop telling this story,he kept on.

“Gerard fell out of the car, and right under the back wheel of my car…I killed  my son, I killed  my son….He died  and it was all my fault”

Everyone in the room were  in awe. Unable to speak, Jacob continued his horrible story.

“The  police came,  they accused me of  killing my kid. I had to tell Genny what I had  done.  How could I face her? How could I face the baby? How  could I face myself?” The story got worse.

“And this was Christmas! This was Christmas Day, my Little girl, my Lori was born on  Christmas Day, the same day my son, my Gerard died at my hands, it was  my fault!”

Needless to say, everyone in the room  rushed to the aid of Jacob. Everyone tried  to talk to the poor  man, trying to explain that this wasn’t his fault, and that it was  just a horrible horrible accident that should never have happened, but  he wasn’t  to blame.

“Try telling that to yourself for twenty years,  try reliving this each time your daughter has a birthday,  every time families gather to celebrate a wonderful day, and you would drink as well” he said.

It has been  at least ten years since that party,  Jacob  still gets  terribly drunk  at Christmas time, and I hear that he still tells this story. His Wife Genny still sits at his side,  never blaming him for anything,  just thankful that he  is there with her. For  one  month of the year,she lives with a depressed  man who gets terribly drunk, but hey, its only one month out of twelve. Jacob refuses therapy or any outside help, he just asks that from  time to time,someone  will listen to his story  and understand his pain.

Stop yelling, I am not deaf…anymore

Just received my hearing aids. For years I argued that I didn’t need them, but four years back I was actually encouraged to have a hearing test, at the mercy of my girlfriend, who had to learn to yell rather than speak so that we could communicate. That wasn’t easy for a girl with a soft voice, but she did it for me. Back when I got the original hearing test, I was told that my years of working as a logger without any sort of hearing protection plus twenty or more years as a wedding DJ caused my hearing to deteriorate. The doc said I had about 80% of my hearing. Hey, I never got an 80% in a test in my life, so I figured I didn’t actually need hearing aids. I was wrong.

Now, some four years later, I have another hearing test. This time I wanted the test because I have to admit that my hearing has been steadily in decline. The test revealed that I now have only 60% of my hearing. An eye opener to say the least. I got the hearing aids yesterday.

At first I found it difficult to set them up. I found out that I had them set too high when I heard my two and a half pound teacup pomeranian walk across the floor. I could hear tissue paper noises when I took a piece to clean my glasses. I had to turn the television down to 16 from the usual 47 I used to listen to it; and then I sneezed and it sounded like an earthquake. I can also hear myself type on my ‘silent’ keyboard, and it’s deafening!

Last evening we went to dinner, and never before did I realize how noisy people were when they ate. I heard every fork on the plate, every baby cry, and each time the door opened, I heard the squeaky hinges. At one point I was going to get the oil can and fix it for them. It sounded like I was in a rehearsal for an orchestra rather than a quiet restaurant where people were dining.

With a bit of fine tuning, thanks to the included remote control, I am slowly getting used to them. I actually find the hearing aids beginning to work. The audio guy said it would take some time to get used to them, but I have to admit, I already find it better.  He had a difficult time fitting them though, he said that my ear canals were among the narrowest he has seen.

Each day, my hearing seems to be getting better, thanks to those tiny wonders. And the best part? They are small enough that nobody notices them. I feel like the six million dollar man, with bionic ears!

I heard that!…..

Beer by the River

back when I was a kid, one of my best friends was a kid named Leonard. Leonard came from a large family, and being somewhere among the middle of the litter, he was the lazy one. His mother said that he simply lacked energy. Leonard was the sort of kid who would rather read a book than ride bike, but for some reason, whenever I came by, his attitude changed and he was ready for adventure. Well, sort of; he only had enough energy for a small adventure, so thats what we did.

My dad used to call him ‘Caterpillar’ because he moved so slowly, and the other kids used to call him names like ‘worm’ and ‘spider’. I just called him Leonard. God knows, having nicknames like ‘Gilligan’ and ‘Slink’, the last thing I wanted to do was hurt somebody by sticking a stupid nickname on them.

One day me and Leonard decided to visit the local river, see what treasures we could find. From time to time, guys would visit the riverside and leave girly magazines on the beach. That proved to be great entertainment for us kids. At eleven, those things interested us lots, even though we didn’t bring them home to show our parents. My God fearin’ parents would have lay a birch limb across my ass cheeks for such a thing.

On this particular visit to the river, Leonard and I noticed some fat guy quickly exiting the scene when we got there. Leonard noticed something sticking out of the river, where the water rushed the fasted. In the little stream we found a bottle of beer. Just a bit farther down the river, in the rapids, we found several more. Even further down the river, we found the rest of the beer. The guy had been placing beer in the river to chill, possibly for later in the day when he returned and he could enjoy nice cold beer.

Back then, electricity was a convenience for the wealthy only, so I guess this guy didn’t have the luxury of a refrigerator. Anyway, here we were, two eleven year olds, with a case of Newfoundland’s finest, Black Horse Beer (I still hate that stuff. Dad says it tastes like horse piss, but hopefully he doesn’t know what horse piss actually tastes like!!) and three girly magazines that the fat guy had left waiting for his return later that day.

Our first act was to try and open  the beer, and taste the stuff. Being ‘Beer Virgins’, we were curious to what the stuff tasted like, and why all the seniors at school used to spend their weekends along  the river drinking the stuff. It must have tasted like Orange Crush or something, so naturally we wanted some.

Back then, beers didn’t have the screw on caps they do nowadays. You needed some sort of beer opener (or Howie Legge’s teeth, as he used to open beer for seniors using only his teeth back then) to get the stuff open. Leonard had a better idea. He said that he had been watching an old western at his grandpa’s, and the cowboy smashed the front of the bottle on a rock and drank the beer, didn’t even cut his lip, so thats what we did. Leonard held the beer at the base, and gave it a clunk across a sharp rock. Somehow he didn’t get the same results as that cowboy. He ended up breaking the bottle and losing all the beer across himself. I tried, and same thing. We smelled like two winos you would find on a city street, so we decided against trying that again.

Eleven bottles later, we managed to open  one. With the other bottles smashed and nothing but a beer smell, we finally managed one bottle that we could drink. I remember Leonard wishing the stuff tasted better than it smelled, but my first drink proved different. The stuff was horrible! It tasted like the yeast mom used to make bread (Yes I tried some once, ended up puking my guts up). Leonard didn’t believe me so he had a drink as well, and then we drank the rest of the beer on dares.

Finished the beer, we both lay on the riverbed, our stomaches screaming with pain. My head was a little dizzy and I noticed Leonard running for the bushes to puke. Just then our beer provider returned to the river. I can still hear the curses when instead of finding nice cold beer (well actually gross horrible beer), he found only smashed bottles and footprints that led him right to us. We were too sick and drunk to run away, so we hid in the bushes.

We stayed hidden in the bushes for several hours after he left. We were either too drunk or to scared to leave. When we finally returned home to my house, we were greeted by worried parents who rushed to meet us at the front gate of the yard. Smelling like booze and still woozy from the beer, we staggered like two alcoholics, telling each other how much we loved our parents and ourselves. At first my dad was furious, but then he broke out in laughter. This didn’t last long though, as he forbid me to play with Leonard again. “That kid is too wild for you” he said. “But dad, that kid is the kid you call Caterpillar! How can he be wild, he sleeps all the time!”

We eventually managed to tell our story, and my dad seemed to understand. “Curiosity seemed to get the best of you guys, and I am sure you learned a lesson, but being a dad, I must do dad stuff, you understand, don’t you?” He said. I did understand, and I also realized that I would get a spanking and be grounded and lose my bike for a week or so, but it wasn’t so bad, it rained the next few days anyway.

I did learn a lesson on that day though. I was never much of a drinker afterwards. Even now, I may have an occasional beer with dinner, but I generally don’t like the stuff, it tastes like horse piss.