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What It’s Like @32 || Drinking and growing up


While for many it’s an abstract word, salvation for me was something tangible. From 1999 to about 2006 salvation was the sense of euphoria that washed over me nine to twelve beers into the night. During those youthful days I drank and performed sexually as if I had something to prove. Friday Nights revolved around pounding shot, after shot, after shot. Then of course after I’d finish, I’d shower and then go for some drinks. There was no drink too foul, no dare to egregious.

Back in the Day

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There were no drinking games. There was just this need to yank myself away from the uniformity of life either with friends or solitarily. Alcohol sublimated the emotional and psychological pain I felt. It quieted my general misanthropy. It wasn’t too long before being yanked out of mind and body I fell in love with this new sense of levity. While under the influence I could be extremely amorous, however more often than not I drank alone in complete silence lost in thought.

My alcohol tolerance then was legendary, as were my antics. There was nudity, screaming hollering and hysterical jokes. In one instance if not for my friend’s fast-thinking I would have gotten arrested for disturbing the peace. Alcohol was basically an accelerant. Depending on where I was in my oscillations between the extremes of depression and mania, it push me towards whichever extreme I was closest. Sobering up was the worst, not just because of the hangover but I could feel the shackles on again. Gone was that sense of levity. Gone was the euphoria. and there was a pervasive chagrin in their stead.

Now @32

guinness_0Now I am not in the same place. The pain is there and real, but I am older and more mature. I have other healthier ways of dealing with it. Every now and then I go to a pub and sit there and drink, make conversation with strangers and  the usual 3-5 pints of Guinness and 2 shots of Jameson. I usually drink at home once a week, and I end up playing  some songs steeped in nostalgia. I sing out loud off key to annoy MrsMary who eventually joins in because I’m that irritating. games of Wii tennis are played.

But you know what I’ve noticed the most?

There is a significant change in energy. Robert Bly in his Iron John has said of adolescence that” It [adolescence] is the time of risk-taking for boys, and that risk taking is also a yearning for initiation.”  In what we would call traditional societies adolescence is the time where the older men of the tribe or community take the young males and initiate them into adulthood. One of the failures of our society is the lack of initiation of adolescent boys into men. I think the prevalence of gangs, and gang culture is a testimony to that. With no one there  young men initiate each other into their gangs and you see the result in the news.

This is one of the major themes of Kerouac’s On the Road. With no one there for Sal or Dean, what do they do ? They go on the road, it is an act of defiance and rebellion.

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According to Kingsley Widmer’s The Literary Rebel, “to take to the road is initiation ritual and educational foray, as well as a rebellion against the given circum­stances”. Taking to the road in Kerouac’s novel is both escaping and returning, or circling and criss-crossing the continent, “leaving con­fusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move” 

“We gotta go and never stop going till we get there.”
“Where are we going, man?”
“I don’t know but we gotta go.”  

The saddest part about on the road is that they do not have a clear site of the goal and often return again to how they were. The book ends as it begins with Sal thinking about Dean Moriarity. Look at the last paragraph of on the Road:

“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

Adolescence some have argued continues on nowadays til 25 and I can looking at my life, vouch for that. Things are very different now. Thirty-two feels very different from 25. The craziness has died down a lot, and I found my own “initiation into society”. It still peaks out  here and there, but for the most part unless I am in Vegas or  celebrating something I feel much more stable.

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This is my ecstatic face, once I take it off Nick Cages Face

My Lady is 10 Weeks Pregnant: A Guy’s Sarcastic Journey (1)


bukowskiYou lose what individualism you have, if you have enough of course, you retain some of it, but most dont have enough, so they become watchers of game shows, y’know, things like that. Then you work the 8 hour job with almost a feeling of goodness, like you’re doing something, and you get married, like marriage is a victory and you have children like having children is a victory, but most things people do are a total grind, marriage, birth, children, it’s something they HAVE to do because they have nothing else to do. There is no glory in it, no esteem, no fire, their lives are flat and the earth is full of them. Sorry, but thats the way I see it. I could not accept the snail’s pace 8-5, Johnnie Carson, merry christmas, happy new year, to me it’s the sickest of all sick things.

~Charles Bukowski

You Know It’s Love

I know it’s love when you realize that this baby will effectively cock-block you for the next 5-8 years, put you in debt, and make you wished sometimes that you pulled out 5 minutes earlier than you did, and still be happy.  I have opinions on everything many of them are fucking crazy and pregnancy is no different. I am going to take you along part of y journey as my lady swells up and takes her frustration out on me, and all the nurses in the hospital and staff completely ignore me although I am the father of this kid and I accompany the lady on every fucking appointment. But let me begin at the beginning.

The Beginning

indexI do not think getting a woman pregnant or raising kids is a meritorious thing, animals in the wild do that.  I do not think being married is an accomplishment either Britney Spears got married. I’m not saying she is an animal, I’m just saying that some animals rut for longer than she was married. Actually I will go on record and saying that one of the biggest mistakes we make is to think because we are born human we are Human. Notice the difference between the common noun human and the proper noun HUMAN. The common noun deal with out biology, we are of the species Homo Sapien Sapien. However we on a whole if you look at our history do not live as Human Beings. To me we aspire in how we live and treat each other to walk the path from human to Human.

Celine said it the best to me at least:

” so many vaginas, stomachs, cocks, snouts, and flies you don’t know what to do with them … shovelsfull! … but hearts? … very rare! in the last five hundred million years too many cocks and gastric tubes to count … but hearts? … on your fingers! …”

I would like to raise a child, not a mindless animal who assumes that because  they use really expensive whitening toothpaste, got a degree from some famous school that pushes out effete passive excuses for human beings and gets discounted electronics made by children their own age who throw themselves from roofs when they can’t take it any more, that they are a human being. If that is a human being then I relinquish that title. Like I said strong crazy opinions.

This Doesn’t Mean I’m not Happy

This is my ecstatic face, once I take it off Nick Cages Face

This is my ecstatic face, once I take it off Nick Cages Face

Au contraire, I’m really happy  I’m quite fucking ecstatic and somehow I am willing to put up with bullshit, and look past shit I normally might curse to the heavens about. Its pretty cool to see how in 10 weeks just the minor changes in things. Anyway, I thought I’d share my thoughts and observations along the way without the sentimentality and bullshit of the other blogs that have come to define that genre of blogs. I wont be placing or recommending any products. I won’t be sharing any of that joyous I creamed my pants when the crib came with that musical mobile filled with ducks and air planes and things that would cause an aviation disaster.

I will tell you what its like to heart a heart beating in a large room, where every corner is empty yet filled with the primal sounds of life, etc stuff like that .

That’s it
Peace

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A Confession of Happiness


BalzacChabert02Le colonel ressemblait à cette dame qui, ayant eu la fièvre durant quinze années, crut avoir changé de maladie le jour où elle fut guérie.

Le Colonel Chabert
~ Honore de Balzac

The quote above just may be one of my favourite quotes in all of literature after Baudelaire‘s opening strophe from The Seven Old Men (Les Sept Vieillards): Fourmillante cité, cité pleine de rêves, / Où le spectre en plein jour raccroche le passant!/ Les mystères partout coulent comme des sèves/ Dans les canaux étroits du colosse puissant. Swarming city/ city full of dreams/ Where in Broad Day light the Spectre accosts the passer-bye/ Where Mysteries flow around us like tree sap, through the narrow canals of a mighty giant./

Gustave_Doré_-_GargantuaBut I’m not sharing it with you to reminisce about the past, or because of my love for French literature. I bring it up because it encapsulations this most recent period of my life. Let me translate it for you: The Colonel resembled that women who having had a fever lasting 15 years, thought that she was afflicted by another malade when she was cured. You see she had been estranged from good health for so long she mistook it for another  horrible reminder of her mortality that are countless despite the best efforts of medical books and modern technology.

So I live in Jersey now  and it is only when in walking through my new endroit, that I see the lights and the army of steeled Colossi that would have given RabelaisGargantua a shock. The majority of the bills are being paid on time, The rent isn’t an issue. I am in good health. The other day in basketball shorts, sandals and a plain white t-shirt I sat in an ice-cream shop, eating a giant soft ice-cream cone. I’m not super-stressed the whitening of the hair around my beard has slowed down.

I don’t know how to deal with life when it’s not eviscerating, that the conclusion when I found out that not only was my lady 8-9 weeks pregnant. I was happy and confused because happiness and I aren’t well acquainted

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for the concerned:, by Charles Bukowski

if you get married they think you’re
finished
and if you’re without a woman they think you’re
incomplete.

a large portion of my readers want me to
keep writing about bedding down with madwomen and
streetwalkers –
also, about being in jails and hospitals, or
starving or
puking my guts
out.

I agree that complacency hardly engenders an
immortal literature
but neither does
repetition.

for those readers now
sick at heart
believing that I’m a contented
man –

please have some
cheer: agony sometimes change
form
but
it never ceases for
anybody.

I look in the mirror sometimes and yesterday seems like many lifetimes ago. Lately before laying down I stare out of the window for a good few minutes. I count the cats prowling on their beat. parenthood doesn’t scare me, like with many other things no matter how much you prepare, and of course you should, you can’t never be ready to deal with the consequences after you helped usher a new life and of course a new way of looking at the world independent from its parental auguries.

I’m at a strange place in life.  Yes I still have my agonies, J’ai toujours mes emmerdes. I think I will always be off center a bit but. Things are getting interesting I must say.

That’s it

MrMary

MrMary Pontificates: I don’t like to be shaped by society…..


bukowskiLike anybody can tell you, I am not a very nice man. I don’t know the word. I have always admired the villain, the outlaw, the son of a bitch. I don’t like the clean shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions. I also like vile women, drunk cursing bitches with loose stocking and mascara faces. I’m more interested in perverts than saints. I can relax with bum because I am a bum. I don’t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don’t like to be shaped by society

Charles Bukowski, South of No North

________________

 

AllforabuckWhile I might not have been as much of a bum as I would’ve liked to have been, I whole-heartedly dislike and distrust both the clean shaven boy with the necktie, and the relentless attempts at social programming forced upon us. If it is any consolation I have lived by grace which means that for most of my life I have had to do without money, food, and the basics. Here is an example of living by grace.

This month all your bills have been paid on time for once but you’re left with just enough to make it to work and back for 4 days. You have no food just that giant plastic tub of a no-name vodka you bought two months ago when your last tutoring student paid you unexpectedly for the three sessions they owed. Monday you eat nothing all day and are beset with headaches. By Tuesday night you stop feeling the hunger pains.  Right when you’re about to take that fifth shot of vodka your neighbor for some reason give you a loaf of bread. They didn’t charge her for it at the market, and she wanted to see if someone could make use of it. You eat four slices that night two for breakfast, two for lunch and two for dinner. When you get paid Friday you turn your phone off and buy the lunch special at the Chinese food place. You smile because you remember going a month without food and eating at that end of that trial by fire, a large meal. Suddenly you’re in tremendous pain and while you try to keep from doubling over someone tells you look good because you’ve lost so much weight.

At least 3 times a week I walk about 10 miles total for the day. About 4.3 of those miles are through the richest and most scenic places of NYC. I pass penthouses, bump into effete millionaires with their little rodent looking dogs. I get to see clearly what it’s all about. I pass one luxury building overlooking Central Park and I say to myself  so this is what it was all for. I cannot help knowing the history of NYC and imagine that the road I am walking used to be the living space for the Lenape Indians. I walk by such amazing amount of affluence and can’t help thinking that all the genocide, slavery, wars, murderous acts were all for this. So many people have died and labored (and still do) under the impossible weight of oppression, for a small handful of people to life so amazingly well.

If you cannot see that the picture of democracy peddled out in school doesn’t match the reality of what our democracy actually is you are hopelessly deluded or just plain stupid. If you think our healthcare system just randomly out of the blue started to suck, and that ever widening gap between rich and poor came out of left field then there is no saving you. If you aren’t rich and think you vote stands with equal importance as one of the Koch brothers… you get where I am going with this.

I work hard to rid myself of as much social programming as I can, and in doing so I have come across some interesting people. One of the smartest and well read people I ever met was a drunkard who chose to be homeless and live off the grid. I’m not that extreme but I have always been surprised at the quality of clear thought and expression I have found in those on the fringes of society. I can’t help to wonder if seeing clear comes with the exacting price of relinquishing one’s social contract and in terms one’s respectability and value in the eyes of society. Either way I think Bukowski was onto something.

____

 

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What drives writers to drink? -Article on the Guardian


Tennessee Williams, F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cheever, Carver, Berryman… Six giants of American literature – and all addicted to alcohol. In an edited extract from her new book, The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing looks at the link between writers and the bottle

In the small hours of 25 February 1983, the playwright Tennessee Williams died in his suite at the Elysée, a small, pleasant hotel on the outskirts of the Theatre District in New York City. He was 71: unhappy, a little underweight, addicted to drugs and alcohol and paranoid sometimes to the point of delirium. According to the coroner’s report, he’d choked on the bell-shaped plastic cap of a bottle of eyedrops, which he was in the habit of placing on or under his tongue while he administered to his vision.

The next day, the New York Times ran an obituary claiming him as “the most important American playwright after Eugene O’Neill”, though it had been two decades since his last successful play. It listed his three Pulitzer prizes, for A Streetcar Named DesireCat on a Hot Tin Roof and Night of the Iguana, adding: “He wrote with deep sympathy and expansive humour about outcasts in our society. Though his images were often violent, he was a poet of the human heart.”

He was also a kind, generous, hard-working man, who rose at dawn almost every morning of his life, sitting down at his typewriter with a cup of black coffee to produce what would amount to well over 100 short stories and plays. At the same time, he was a lonely, depressed alcoholic who managed by degrees to isolate himself from almost everyone he loved. A sample entry from his diary in 1957 reads: “Two Scotches at bar. 3 drinks in morning. A daiquiri at Dirty Dick’s, 3 glasses of red wine at lunch and 3 of wine at dinner. Also two seconals so far, and a green tranquillizer whose name I do not know and a yellow one I think is called reserpine or something like that” – an itemisation made more troubling by the fact that he was in rehab at the time.

Things got worse in 1963, when Williams’s long-term partner Frank Merlo, nicknamed the Little Horse, died of lung cancer. After that, he was far gone and out, barely perpendicular against the current, buoyed on a diet of coffee, liquor, barbiturates and speed. Hardly any wonder he found speech difficult, or kept toppling over in bars, theatres and hotels. Each year he put on a new play, and each year it failed, rarely lasting a month before it closed.

Read more here

Some Thoughts

Charles Bukowski wrote quite eloquently:

Take a writer away from his typewriter
And all you have left
is 
the sickness
which started him
typing
in the
beginning.

I have always felt that there was a correlation not so much between writing and alcoholism but between that inner sickness and aberrant ways of self-medicating.  I have had the chance of getting to know a descent number of alcoholics, had my fair share of issues with alcohol as has my lady and one thing I’ve seen is that alcohol is like a medicine used to suppress the pain or angst of a condition they mostly never talk about.  Writing and drinking are both forms of self-medicating. But I’m curious about what you think about this?