Month: September 2012

The second coming of Isaac

Sometimes tragedy can be a blessing in disguise.

When I was a kid, my uncle would drop by often. He always had a bottle of whiskey in hand, and he always tried to get my dad to drink with him. My Uncle Isaac was an uncle by marriage, as he married my dad’s oldest sister. Dad and my aunt were really close as kids, but after she married Isaac, things changed.

Isaac came from the type of family where the father drank and the mother raised the kids and took care of drunk dad. Since this was the type of upbringing he had, this was the type of man he was as well.

Every Friday, you could find him sitting in the old armchair in the kitchen of my parent’s house. Since neither of them drank, Isaac usually sat and drank himself stupid, then went home to beat up his wife and kids. Many a time Dad headed to his house to teach him a lesson, but mom always stopped him.You see, mom’s father drank as well, sometimes he and Isaac drank together, so she knew where this usually led. “Don’t upset him, maybe he just goes home and sleeps it off” she used to tell dad.

Isaac’s wife rarely said anything, but you seen in her face that she lived with abuse. The kids, all three of them, also showed signs of abuse, but back then, nobody said or did anything.

One evening, my dad had enough. When Isaac showed up at the door, my dad locked it. We all stayed quiet like we weren’t home. He banged on the door for about an hour, finally giving up and going to some other person’s door. He started his trend at their home then, and finally, my family was free of this idiot.

Isaac worked with the local paper mill, where he drove the work bus. He made a good salary, and I guess a few girls in the area thought that he was a cool guy, so he cheated on my aunt with those girls.  Mom said Isaac would sleep with a dog if he thought she was female, and since he was usually drunk at the time, he used this as an excuse when his wife caught him with a ‘pretty young thing’ from somewhere in the hills.

You ever hear of Karma? Well, it exists, and Isaac was the first to find out. He  thought he had the world at his hands, and time after time I heard my grandmother praying to God that he leave my aunt and move on, or else smarten up and realize how lucky he was to have someone stand by your side like my aunt did. He was diagnosed with a strain of Parkinson Disease. With that, he became a gentle and loving person. He quit drinking, and even got a cat. For the first few years of the disease, he would visit everyone in the community, offering them his thanks for putting up with his terrible ways all those years, and often inviting them to walk with him. Isaac did a lot of walking back then, I think it was his way of dealing with the drastic change he went through.

When the disease worsened, Isaac became helpless. He could barely feed himself. He would sit and cry on the couch, while his wife tended to him. Despite the terrible life she suffered at his hands, he needed her now, and she was right there for him. More as a mother than a wife, she tended to his every need. His speech slurred, he could not walk on his own, and he spent much time in bed.

A bit later on, one of the doctors who worked with Isaac discovered that a new drug might be able to help him a bit. Within a few weeks of taking the medicine, Isaac became to recover.

In less than two months, he was now walking on his own, and he began to tend for himself. The medication seemed like a miracle. Two days before Christmas, Isaac was eating a cookie that his wife had baked, and one of the side effects of the powerful drug took its toll on the old man.

His heart could no longer sustain the effects of the drug that gave his life back, and he died. It was so sudden. He had been holding the cookie, my aunt in the kitchen bringing him some fresh milk, and when she returned, he was gone.

The entire community gathered to pay tribute to a man who only became a true man after he had retired and took sick. The man they paid tribute to on that day was not the wife beating, drunken disgrace of a man, but a kind and respectable citizen of the community. I am glad that this was the man we lay rest on that day.

My Aunt still lives alone to this day. She lives in the home that Isaac built all those years ago. The same home that his drunken rages destroyed, and the same home that he helped to rebuild once he had taken sick.

This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. No animals were harmed in the making of this story, except maybe a chicken, but my aunt killed him quickly, and cooked him for supper.

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Frogs in the bucket

My mom comes from a place known as The Codroy Valley. ‘The Valley’ as it is usually referred to, covers the westerly coast of the island, and is rich in farmland. As a child,  mom grew up on a farm, but when she was old enough to leave home, she moved to Stephenville, and became a teacher.

After my mom moved here, her family was not far behind. Her dad had a bad heart, and with the closest hospital in the Stephenville area, it became a need for him to live there. When they left their home in Codroy, my mom’s uncles and other relatives fought for the farmland, and one uncle in particular actually sold the land using a fake deed that he had done up. A large dairy farm company bought the land and turned the little homestead into a vast dairy farm.

This was during our camping days, and on one beautiful sunny Friday, mom and dad made up their minds to pack our camping gear, join my mom’s siblings who planned to go camping as well, and head for a small pocket of land that still belonged to the family and the dairy farm had not taken. By the time we got to the field, we noticed that several of our uncles and aunts had already arrived.

My uncle Mike, Aunt Joan and their two kids set up camp just a few feet away from where we were set up. My uncle’s old Chevy pickup was almost flattened to the ground, thanks to the homemade camper that it held in the truck box. The door to the camper stood just above the tailgate, with a small stairs leading to the ground.

First I have to say, back in the day, my dad was somewhat of a practical joker, and camping trips allowed him more victims than usual.

Anyway, that day, all us kids had to find something to do. While mom and her siblings sat in the field where they grew up and reminisced, my cousins and I ventured to a local marsh in search of frogs. We found quite a lot of them at the end of a boggy pond, and later that evening we returned to the spot, flashlights and buckets in tow.

Frogging was something we got pretty good at back in the day. Although those little reptiles served no use to us, we always enjoyed catching them and putting them in ponds back home. the thought of eating them was the last thing on our minds.

When the sun had set, we set to frog catching. I had a five gallon salt beef bucket, a butterfly net, and a flashlight. The frogs would almost freeze when you shone a light on them, so catching them was quite easy. In no time at all, I had about fifteen or so frogs in my bucket. I cut a few small holes in the cover, and brought my frogs home to the campsite.

When we got there, our parents were engaged in conversation, laughing and talking about old times. I set my frogs next to the car and went play with my friends. While I was gone, dad’s practical joke skills took off, and he schemed a plan to get my uncle Mike in a great joke.

Once my uncle Mike and his family had gone to bed in the camper, my dad took my bucket of frogs and sat the bucket under the tailgate of Mike’s truck. Whenever a frog attempted to jump out of the bucket, he hit his head on the plastic cover of the bucket. Imagine that with over a dozen frogs, it sounded like someone was banging on the door, trying to get in.

Dad quickly ran back to our tent and under the covers. Every time the frogs hit the cover, my uncle would open his door to see who was knocking on it. He must have answered the door about fifty times, and each time we heard him say “Hello, who is there, Hello???”, my dad would crack up laughing. My dad still laughs about that to this day.

Those old days provided us with so much fun. It seems that by today’s standards,the sixties and seventies were innocent and so safe. I can only hope to share half as many adventures with my son, so that he can have fantastic memories of his childhood, as I have.

Canada Vs US of A

Being a Canadian has its perks. For one, we don’t go around pledging allegiance to the flag. We don’t have to know how many stars or how many stripes, or why they are there. We have a leaf. A simple maple leaf.

What does the leaf mean? I guess it means that we believe in composting and in preserving nature. Ya, that’s it! We are environmental…or maybe we are just mental. Who knows.

We don’t go around singing tunes like ‘God Bless Canada’, We don’t know when or if we ever  signed some sort of declaration of independence, and sure don’t rally for the right to bear arms. The only time a Canadian arms himself is during Moose Hunting Season, and that is only to put food on our table. We simply have better things to do, like make bacon!

What is this about Canadian bacon? On my frying pan, it’s called ‘Frying Ham’. Bacon is salted pork back that we fry with eggs, nuff said.

Hockey was our national sport, until the US of A got involved. Remember the glowing puck? An American invention that only lasted a few annoying years. Hockey used to be a game where men were men and a stick in the face was a friendly gesture amongst friends. Now players (if you can call them that) are afraid to remove the gloves, and hockey police arrest players for doing their job, which is to win despite playing with your head nearly falling off. Superstars of today? They would have been killed in the old days. In order to be a superstar in the old days, you had to be able to bring it, and fight for it, like Gordie Howe, the dirtiest player on the ice, and a superstar to boot. Same for the Rocket. And those salaries today? I blame rich hockey team owners in the US of A for making money more important than hockey. Now we don’t even have a hockey season because of this greed!

On the other hand, Canada has always been at peace with the US of A. We know a ton about your legal system (thanks to television programs like Law and Order, etc) perhaps more than we know about our own legal system ( Canadian TV is boring and nobody watches it), we identify with Hollywood, (again thanks to the sucky Canadian ‘movies’) and we know that if it is ever required, we can reach out a hand and our big brother on the other side of the border will come to our rescue..at least we hope so!

So without further adieu, lets all join hands and sing the national anthem of Canada:

God Bless Canada

With our bacon and our beef

where you can safely walk the streets at night

not to worry about a thief

and if you see one, you better be able to run

because in Canada, you are not allowed to own a gun.

Our national bird is no eagle, instead it is a goose

and it tastes great in a pot, cooked with some fresh moose

So lets stand on guard for Canada, with our hands up to our chest

as we salute Canada, because you are the best.

as we salute Canada, because you are the best.

Gothic Country???

I admit it, I am a country music fan. Always have been. Sometimes I have to side with Barbara Mandrell, “I was country when country wasn’t cool”

It’s true. Back in my younger days when the rest of my friends were tuned into The Stones, Meat Loaf, and Aerosmith, I was listening to Ricky Skaggs and George Jones. Loved the stuff. Still do.

This ‘New Country’ is for the dogs. Long drawn out stories set to music make up most of today’s hits, and if you ask me, this ‘music’ is closer to pop than it was ever connected to ‘country’.

Give me some Cash, Jennings or a bit of Hag and I am happy, to hell with the flash in the pan country ‘stars’ of today. These guys (and gals) just don’t have the lasting power of the classic country stars.

Now I find that a few of my younger friends are listening to a genre called ‘Gothic Country’. What the hell?

I guess Johnny Cash was a bit of a goth, with his long black coats and his nick ‘The Man in Black’, but at least this guy had talent, and lots of it.

Just bought Yoakam’s newest cd “3 Pears”, and I am disappointed. Sure he has one or two ‘Real Country’ songs, but the rest is the  blabbergarble that they play on the radio.

Radio, that’s the blame for the onslaught of ‘country pretenders’ out there. Radio only plays mainstream country, which is not country music at all. Television and Youtube are also at fault, with it’s videos of those horrible songs. I wonder how popular a song would be without the video?

just saying

The Old Canvas Tent

Back when I was a kid, we did lots of camping. No, we didn’t have one of those hot shot home away from homes, we used a tent.

It was 1976 when dad bought it. Yellow walls and a green roof, and metal poles that weighed a ton and took forever to set up, but once it was set up, the thing was huge.

On the night we bought the tent, my brother and I chose to sleep outside in the backyard. Since the tent was so big, we brought stuff from our room, including our stash of comic books, flashlights, and of course, munchable goodies such as strawberry flavored hostess potato chips, pop rock candy, and root beet. My brother was six at the time, and I was thirteen.

Back then, it was okay to be a kid at thirteen. At thirteen, a kid wasn’t expected to be thinking about girls, college, or his next car. Thirteen year olds (or any kid for that matter) didn’t spend their time playing video games (they weren’t invented yet) or chatting on a cell phone (ditto), so being thirteen was a whole lot easier.

The next day, after the dew had dried up and the grass was nice and warm, Dad took the tent down (half a day’s work) and we loaded all the camping equipment into the trunk of the old Ford Falcon (Dad’s pride and joy), and the whole family headed to the nearest pond to do some camping, fishing, and whatever adventure came our way. Dad said that it would be good to get away from the neighbors for a change, and he was excited to get some fishing in. Mom was less enthusiastic, as my sister Tammy was just three at the time, and mom was pregnant with my youngest sister Cindy as well.

As we drove down the well beaten path that led to the pond, we played car games like spot the buggy. This was a time when there were plenty of VW bugs around, and seeing one allowed you to punch your brother in the shoulder, saying “buggy, free punch”. My arm was red by the time we reached the camp area.

When we finally reached the camp area that surrounded the large pond, I seen dad’s smile disappear. What we planned to be a weekend away from our neighbors turned out to be quite the opposite, as most of the community were already set up around the pond in their tents and truck campers.

Dad was never one to let himself get down, and with this, he found the best spot for the tent and proceeded to set the thing up. This time it was much easier, as a few neighbors joined in to help.

Being kids, our first task was to find other kids and see what type of trouble we could find. All fourteen of us grabbed an old Timber Jack tire tube, and headed for the pond. Mom said that she still thinks of this day with fear.

Mom told the rest of this story to me a few years back. I must have had some sort of memory loss, as the story remained a little foggy from here on out, but it explains a lot now.

Mom said that before they had a chance to set up camp, we were already on the huge inner tube, out in the middle of the pond. I was right there with the rest of the kids, none of us great swimmers. She said that complete horror struck her the next time she glanced at us, as she only seen thirteen kids on the tube, and they were all laughing at something. When she called out to me, the kids looked at each other in horror, realizing that I was not amongst them…. I had fallen through the middle of the tube, my legs entangled with theirs, and I was underwater.

The fathers of the kids, dad included swam to the tube, pulled all us kids, including the kids on top the tube and me under, to safety. Dad also performed CPR on me. Apparently, according to mom, I was not breathing, and Dad had seen someone on a soap opera on TV save a life this way. In minutes, I was coughing up pond water, but breathing again.

For some reason, I could never remember this experience, but I have always had a fear of water. I never learned to swim, and maybe this is why. Dad says that in the five years that we camped, he must have aged twenty years.

In Eighty One, dad got rid of the tent and bought an old truck. He found an old truck camper in the classifieds, and we continued camping with this, but this is another story for another time.

Despite the frights we gave our parents while camping in the old yellow tent, they still talk about all the fun we had camping. “With bad comes some good” my dad still says. He says that the tent gave us time to do fun things as a family. He is right, I have all those fun memories of the times when I was a kid. I have them stored up here in the happy, carefree part of my brain, and whenever I need to reflect on how to be a parent to my child, I can reach back to the times when I was a kid and we did family things, when we were all young and the world was not such a scary place, and I can apply some of the lessons I have learned as a child to today’s world, and to my role as a dad.

 

life is funny VIII (and sometimes gross): The Spandex people

Life is funny but it is also gross. I am talking about the Spandex people. You seen them, 300 plus pounds of woman ass, squeezed into a tiny pair of spandex pants, strutting around town trying to look sexy, but missing (totally missing) the point of spandex.

When spandex first came out, a few shapely gals made the stretch material popular. For some reason, those with enough ass to block traffic on a four lane highway got the idea that if they squeezed their fat asses into this material, it would make them look thin. Didn’t work.

The black spandex is bad enough, but when those fashion conscious (NOT!) females chose the bright neon spandex pants, all hell broke loose. (well, better hell than the asses of their spandex pants)

Only thing sexier than giant asses stuffed into stretchy pants is the rolls of fat that hang over the sides of the pants. OOh!

Note to governments of every country: BAN SPANDEX!

or better still, put a weight limit on the stuff. Like they do for tractor trailers on the highway. We could have weigh stations right in the city, and anyone stuffed into the spandex material would first have to stand on the scales.

Ya, that’s an idea, think I will start a petition!

life is funny 6: the pj people

Life is funny.

At least for some people. I am talking about the PJ people who go out and do their shopping in the same clothes that the slept in. And they are always flannel. Ladies, if you are going to go out shopping in your undies, at least wear something sexy!

You know the crowd I am talking about. Armed with a cup of Tim’s and a smoke, they carouse from one store to another wearing their Pajamas. Is this not the laziest thing ever?

What about if others joined the PJ people? What if those who slept commando also shopped with the clothes (or lack of) that they wear to bed? For this we get indecent exposure, but the PJ people are ok doing it. I don’t get it.

And perish the thought that someone comments on this behavior.

“Nice plaid pajamas” I says.

“Fuck of” replies the fat missus in the coffee stained flannel plaid pajamas.

“I take it you were in a rush to shop, didn’t have time to dress” Says me, too stupid to keep my mouth shut.

“I did that once, so don’t feel bad. I actually went to the store missing a sock, imagine that” I add.

She wasn’t impressed.

Oh Well, could be worst, this manly woman could have came here in spandex, but that is another blog

dear Me

While browsing around my blogroll, I came across a fantastic idea. One of my fav bloggers came up with the idea to write a letter to her fifteen year old self. Naturally, I had to try this as well. Here goes….

Dear Me.

I know you are only fifteen and you have your entire life ahead of you, but listen to me, I have been there. I know that at fifteen you know everything about the world and you don’t need some almost fifty version of you telling you what to do, but at least listen to what I have to say, it may just save you a lot of grief and maybe a ton of money as well.

First off, I know you hate school. You hate it because Bobby Tiller spends his entire day making life miserable for you. Two things to tell you about that one. First, he will drown before his seventeenth birthday, so you could try to put up with his bullshit for another year or so, or you could get him back right now. I know for a fact that his one true love has a thing for you. Now I know your confidence is terrible, and if some big boobed senior were to be anywhere near you and that terrible case of acne you have, you would just die, but for once listen to someone, ask her out. Tell her that she has beautiful eyes. Most guys hit on her because of her big tits, pretend you didn’t notice them. Trust me on this one, she would later reveal that she wanted to jump your bones. Now stop turning red, I am just trying to help you here. Bobby Tiller will be ruined if his one piece of social status jumps ship and dates the school nerd (sorry about that)

Back to school. I know you hate it because your grades suck. I have a surprise for you, a bit later in life when you actually grow confidence, you will realize how smart you really are. Grab your school books and study!

When you graduate next year, skip the Clerk Accounting course you plan to take at that crummy community college. Go out and get a student loan and do an education degree. Believe me, you will forever regret not doing this, I should know.

When you turn seventeen, you will buy the 1968 Pontiac Beaumont from old man Hillier. Do Not Drive the car! You heard me, don’t drive it. Instead, drive it into Grandfather’s barn, cover it with dry hay, and leave it there until 2012. That car was mint, and now worth over $90 grand. Buy an old Nova, drive that around. There is a ’76 for sale in Millers Lane, you should be able to afford it soon, it will get you where you want to go, (hell, you will even get laid for the first time in the back seat).

Speaking of getting laid, right now you are young and you get the shivers whenever someone talks about sex. Now stop turning red and giggling, in a year or so your hormones will kick in and sex will be more important than hamburgers, and you will want to have sex daily, so be a man, stop giggling every time I say the word ‘sex’.

That girl in woodworking class, the one every guy wants and the same gal who only did woodworking so that she could meet guys is not as popular as she lets on. Truth is, she comes from a strict Pentecostal upbringing where sex is totally forbidden. You gotta learn something about the Pentecostal gals, they want it! They do whatever they please in their younger years, and when they reach a certain age (20 I think), they get saved and never think of sex again. Ask this girl out, she is no virgin, and you won’t be either after that.

Now for the warnings.

When you are seventeen you will meet a girl. She will take you home to meet her folks. When you realize that the entire family is drunk, ignore the fact that their daughter is one sexy piece of woman and run. Yes she will screw you, but believe me, this is one rough family, and you certainly don’t want to get mixed up with them.

When you turn 18, you will meet a girl who seems like the right one for you. (you will meet a lot of those). If she tells you that she has a steady job cleaning doctor’s offices in the evening, don’t believe her. It’s not true. She does meet with doctors, but only to do other things for doctors, like have sex with them. Don’t date this girl, run for your life!

When you turn 19, you will meet a woman who will sweep you off your feet. You will fall head over heels in love. All you will want to do is sit and plan your future (that and make love every chance you get). At this point, STOP! Truth is, ‘You’ did fall in love. All ‘You” want to do is plan your future. Trouble is, she doesn’t love you. She is dealing with abuse issues at home and she needs counseling. You are not the professional help she needs. Do Not Marry this girl, I plead with you. She will hurt you so bad that it will take twenty years for you to get over it. Stop laughing, I am trying to talk to you here, I am trying to save you pain.

No, wait, on second thought, don’t listen to me. Not doing all the things I warned you about could backfire. Not experiencing all the pain I went through as a child might not make me the man I am today. Not marrying that gal and not learning the lessons, I may not be here today with the true love of my life. Destroy this letter, go on being the school nerd, and live your life. Have fun, but be safe.

yours Truly

You at 49 years old

Bob

The old guy hauled his right leg into the cabin of the car and waited for us to join him.

When you are aboriginal, you can buy a new or used car at a car lot, and the dealer hires a driver to bring you to the nearest Indian Reserve so that you can sign the papers there, and save taxes. It is a wonderful system despite the long drive (ten hours Plus) to the reserve. My sister had just bought a used Toyota, and since she hates highway driving, she asked me to come along and drive back. We left at 5:15 a.m. I was dead tired.

On a ten hour drive, you get to know your driver. Bob was his name, and from the time we left to the time we got back, he was as pleasant and polite as anyone I know.

Bob told us that he once worked at a local paper mill, but after 35 years of being a company man, they retired him. He said that he was turning 60 in a few weeks and that he never had a family, and never married.

Bob said that he came close once, even had a bride waiting at the alter. All the guests were in the church, the music was hired out, as was the club for the reception. He went on to say that once he reached the parking lot of the church, he got the jitters and left, standing up the woman he planned to marry and leaving everyone confused. He went on to say that it was the biggest mistake of his life.

He said that the woman did marry. She met a guy, they had a kid, and in a little while, the guy left her to raise a sixteen year old daughter on her own. I told him that perhaps this wasn’t meant to be, and he agreed, but he still had regrets.

Bob went on to say that when he turned 55, he was diagnosed with diabetes. He didn’t listen to a word his doctor said, and just two years afterward, he ended up losing half his leg below the knee. he now uses a wooden leg. He said that in the 14 weeks it took him to recover from the effects of a diabetic coma and losing his leg, he gained a new lease on life. He now speaks at hospitals and schools on the dangers of diabetes, often showing his audience what remained of his leg. He also has trouble with one of his eyes, another result of the effects of diabetes.

He said that once he left the hospital, he regained all the weight he lost in the hospital. He said that losing a leg, he found working out almost impossible, as well as very painful.

All in all, Bob was a very nice man who seems to be entering his old age with a lifetime of regret. I assured him not to quit, explaining that I was 40 before I met my lady. He said that maybe there is hope for him yet. I sure hope so.

It is funny how an otherwise long and boring ten hour ride can turn out to fly past when you are in good company. We had an enjoyable day, and got to meet a nice person.

Now how about that drink?

Three years ago my sister bought me a 26 oz bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey for my birthday. I still have it in the cupboard. I believe I opened it once, and swished the stuff in my mouth to cure a canker sore.

If it were ten years ago, the bottle wouldn’t have made it to the cupboard, I would have drank it the minute I got it, but a lot can change in ten years.

If I were to attempt to drink the stuff now, I would probably be sick until my next birthday; funny how life does that to you.

I spent most of the 90’s pouring the stuff down the hatch, getting too drunk and too sick to do anything. I used to blame my divorce, my job, my boss, customers, women, lack of women, lack of dates, I could go on, you get the picture. Hell, I can’t even remember much of the 90’s, except for that dance mix music that was popular in the bars at the time. I spent too much time sitting and wallowing in pity to accomplish much anyway.

I used to go to bars with my ‘friends’, who would drink as long as I was buying, and then drift off to the next fool with a wallet. I sat at bars while women sat and I bought drinks for them, deep inside hoping that one of them would take me out of that place, and maybe we would fall in love. Talk about pipe dreams? Who wants to fall for some drunk guy who sits at a bar feeling sorry for himself?
I wondered whether I would ever pull myself out of this life, and every day I thank God that I did.

Its not that I drank a lot, it didn’t take a lot to get me loaded. I would drink a flask of Whiskey with my ‘friends’ before heading to the bar to drink beers until closing time. I spent a lot of time with my head in the toilet bowl paying dearly for this life. I was headed down  a long road of loneliness and despair and I figured that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t get me  wrong,  I was no alcoholic, but I was headed there. five of my mom’s brothers are all alcoholics, so it was kind of in my genes I guess, but something made me stop, something even I cannot fully understand.  It took a big scare. I don’t mean little brother jumping from behind the sofa and yelling ‘Boo!’, something bigger.

As I stated in an earlier post, back in December 2003 I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in my throat, wrapped around  a nerve that ran from my jaw to my brain. This changed everything. So I was divorced, so my job sucked. So I wasn’t popular with the ladies, so I didn’t have a lot of bucks. None of this mattered. I made a decision to change, and I promised anyone  who was listening (whether it be My God,  your God, a stranger in the next room, who ever) that I would change my life if I could only have a second chance. No, I didn’t ask for a second  chance,  I asked God for the nerve to go through whatever was headed my way.

That was my problem all along. All those nights sitting at a bar pitying myself when I should have gotten off my ass and did something about it.  After the surgery, somehow everything changed. I couldn’t imagine wasting time sitting in some dark barroom when I could be outside in the fresh air. I couldn’t imagine going out every night and spending time with losers who were as afraid of life as I was. Somehow, I grew nerve.

I went back to school, got an education, got a job and met a beautiful woman. I gained confidence, and that is why I am here today. God only knows where I would have been if I continued that old life, probably dead.

A few weeks back some friends asked us to join them at a local pub. “Join us at around eleven p.m.” they said. “Eleven??  That’s way past my bedtime” I replied.

“Boy, what a boring life you must lead” they said.

I just smiled.

I celebrated my 49th birthday two days ago, I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I certainly don’t need to be piss eyed drunk to have a good time, these days I get my highs from life, love, and whatever this wonderful world throws at me.