Monthly Archives: August 2011


I know everybody works really hard, that we all crawl home at the end of the day in the gathering darkness, gasping and grasping, and I knew these two months of added work would be tough for me and I knew that something or maybe some somethings would probably slip off my plate and slide onto the floor and slowly gel and be forgotten. But I never thought it’d be my blog- my little

Guess what?

She was the first thing way-sided, the first thing pushed off into the bushes and shuffled past.

So what’s been happening? Quickly?

-I aced a sixth test and finally received my CDL permit (honestly, the tests aren’t that hard EVERYONE should be acing them)

-I bugged out for a hurricane that never really happened (call me Mr. Sissy, or maybe Mr. Pussy)

-I found that spending 30 hours of quality time with Cutter and Tug in a truck isn’t really that much fun

-I finally realized that I’ll never make Miss Carol happy about tractor-trailerin’. Like EVER.

– and that I’d wanted to write a better post, I always do, but I’m blown out so I guess I’ll fill in the empty spaces later on, you know, when it’s less insanely busy.

And just like that.

It ended.

Any dwindling hopes I might’ve had to fit in, to be one of the guys, to somehow bond with my classmates, was shot down on Monday when I aced the first of the nine (9?) tests (seven written and two driving) required to get my CDL and drive these big motherfuckers.

Actually, it wasn’t the acing of the stupid test- it was the instructor telling the ENTIRE class that I was the only one who’d done it that finally and definitively sunk me.

Hooded eyes slashed at me and tattooed knuckles wrenched calloused hands and I thought, Oh just fucking super.

Thanks sooooo much.

Hello segregated loneliness.

Man I hope I don’t get beat up.

Rule of the Bone.

Dear Mr. Russell Banks,

I’m one of your biggest fans, let me just say that right up front. I love you and I’ve read and commented on several of your books and I know my opinion as a critic counts less than nothing in your big scheme of things, but Mr. Banks?

Rule of the Bone sucked.

When I first started reading it I was blown away with your amazingly energetic first person narrative as a 14-year-old fuck up. But’cha know what? as the pages turned, it began to pale and then it got old. And then when you touched on all the same old, same old shit that your generation seems to feel is the root cause of all the fucked-up-itness (divorce, drugs, shitty step-fathers) it just got older and paler. Deep breath.

So I marshaled on, hoping that you’d somehow save it and me.

But you didn’t. Instead, you plunged me into something so completely nonsensical that I kept reading just for the wow, wait a sec, ain’t no way he’s going THERE, factor. And you did. You pushed the limits of credulity. Not only did you verve into ridiculousness but the ending of Rule of the Bone was a pfffft to the rest of the book. The whole mess was a colorless, washed out, weakly supported relationship between Bone and I-Man that could have been colossally moving if you hadn’t decided that telling the story from the viewpoint of a 14-year-old fucknut meant, in your mind, somehow squandering it.

In your defense, maybe nobody could have pulled it off. But then again, maybe nobody should have tried. Maybe at some point you or your editor should have said enough, this is nonsense skipping down the road to silliness.

Rule of the Bone’s a fairly desultory nonsensical ride to an unsatisfying conclusion that left me wondering- did I miss something? Am I retarded?

But I didn’t and I don’t think I am. Retarded, I mean.

I’m just glad that it reads really quick and didn’t squander too much of my valuable time.

Thanks for nothing.



So when WebSavvyMom commented on my previous post, saying “What do you think they say about you?”

I was all, like, “That’s a good question, I honestly don’t know”.

And then, cue the bafflement, ’cause, guess what? I’d never even thought about any of what I wrote or thought framed within the perspective of that question. Like THAT’S a surprise. Whew. I do love my crappy sentences.

But her question haunted me and made me think.


Thinking takes me a long time.

*pause* *again*

Finally, after tortuously thoughtful hours, I realized that, hey, viewed from the perception posed by WebSavvyMom’s comment, that peering from that end of the telescope, I’M probably the freak, that I’M the one most ill-suited to fit in with my new world.

A sobering thought. One that I chased with a shot and a beer.

But it’s true.

It’s me that doesn’t belong. I’m a loner. And the class is all guy’s guys-they all hang and they all roll out at the breaks and smoke cigarettes with the instructor and trade stories and bond together and then they all roll back in together while I sit in the classroom and check e-mail on my iPad or read Carl Hiaasen’s new iBook which is totally fucking hilarious.

The book, I mean.

Man I hope I don’t get beat up.

new world.

On Monday the tractor-trailerin’ began.

I know this is making Miss Carol crazy ’cause she can’t figure out why I’m even doing this because, honestly? I’m not so sure, either.

It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.

Driving a big-rig, blasting all alone down a lonely highway, hauling 40 tons of whatever with the music cranking and heading for a far-off horizon? How cool is that?

You know, as an idea, anyway?

But Monday was a bit of a wake up call. I never thought or dreamed that truckers-to-be would be rocket scientists or even marginally hip or cool. And, I’m not saying I am and I realize people are products of their upbringing and whatever, but, hey. Whoa.

Our class of 12 squeezed into the little classroom and while our instructor started reading the manual to us I looked around and listened and after three days I’m wondering what it is I did.

There’s a coupla scar-covered guys from Ghana that I’m not sure can write english. You know, like I can.

There’s this one spooky dude that I just hope I’m not ever riding with.

There’s another huge guy covered in tattoos that actually looks pretty harmless. Except, maybe to little kids.

There’s two guys who’ve decided to be my bestest buddies and want to talk to me all the time and tell me what to do. I hate them.

There’s a guy who’s already spent a YEAR at the school studying diesel mechanics and has decided that THAT school didn’t, and couldn’t, teach him anything. He’s very angry.

There’s this one bird-like looking kid that just seems really nervous. I’d actually like to talk to him.

There’s this one big black guy who has NEVER driven anything with a clutch. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking.

And then there’s these two ex-Navy dudes just looking for anything to do now that they’re out of the service. They seem a little lost.

It’s an interestingly new world I’m in. I like learning new things, especially stuff like this that is SO outside my comfort zone and while I think everything’ll be cool, the overall feel is testosterone fueled toughness.


I just hope I don’t get beat up.

like, life?

So I’m finally sitting on the beach late on Sunday afternoon after working forever and I’m watching the waves and I’m watching Miss Carol nap and I’m wondering, WTF?

Is this beach life thingy all it’s cracked up to be?

I mean, during the “nice” summer months when the beach is supposed to be the place to be, it’s so frickin’ hot you can fry eggs on your cooler. No wind, no breeze, just relentless heat and unrelenting humidity.

Add to that the daytrippers and tourons, and shit dude, sitting packed on the beach cheek to jowl with thousands and thousands of pasty-ass strangers is not really high on my idea of fun.

(Which, by the way, brings up something totally different- how is it that in AUGUST white people can still be sooooo white they start to burn just sprinting from their cars to their condo’s? I mean, I know not everyone has a beach, but surely everyone has sunlight, right? Are these people captives or something?)


So then the sultry summer season ends and it’s time for hurricanes and their endlessly wearisome, worrisome, constant weather tracking and boarding up of windows and writing of names and SSI#’s on arms so officials can positively identify our bloated dead bodies when we wash up somewhere, sometime, after the storm.

Whew. Then.

Frothing and snapping right on the heels of the hurricane fun is Papa Winter with his constantly icy winds and rain whipped nor’easters and sometimes, lately, even sleet and snow. At the beach? I love you Papa.

And then the spring awakens with her flirty lightness and we’re deluged with soaking rains and flowers that try but drown and die. And then we’ve made that short trip around the sun and it’s right back into another sweaty summer.

Fun, right?

So I sat there and I tried to think why? Why do we stay? Why do we endure season after season? Why not move on to some place where the weather isn’t so viciously predatory- maybe like a quiet lake in the mountains or somethin’.

Oh shit. Wait a sec.

I remember now.

very. funny.

HEY DICKHEAD THAT HURTS, Cutter yelped when I jerked his leash.

He’d stopped and planted and lifted his leg for the bazillionth time and I was over it.

C’mon dudes I screamed, can’t we just WALK?

I’d jerked him along ’cause I was totally over walking them. I was worn out and tired of the two-a-days. What sucks about walking un-neutered male litter-mates is their need to pee on everything. Really.

No, wait. What really sucks is walking un-neutered male litter-mates on trash day when every. single. driveway. has a target.

No, um, wait. What REALLY sucks is walking un-neutered male litter-mates on recycling trash day when every. single. driveway. has TWO targets.

NO, WAIT-THERE’S MORE. WHAT REALLY REALLY sucks is walking un-neutered male litter-mates on recycling trash day when every. single. driveway. has TWO targets AND it’s an August afternoon when the temperature’s 200 degrees with 200% humidity.

So, yeah, my temper mighta flared. A little.


After the flare up we settled and we’re walking along and this woman came off the beach and turned towards us and Cutter kinda nudged Tug and I saw it but I didn’t get it until it was too late.

As we passed the bikini-clad woman Cutter lowered his voice, trying to imitate me, and said NICE BOOBS BABE.

Tug snuffled Cutter in the ear with his nose and they were both snickering and giggling like retards. Good one he said.

The woman just glared at me.

We got about twenty feet away from her and I said I fucking hate you guys, ya know it?

But I was grinning. It was back to being good.


I was working in a part of the hospital today called Transitional Care which I’m thinkin’ might be a fancypants name for torturing old people.

‘Cause that sure is what it seemed like they were doing. Most of these old geezers were having a tough time just sitting in their wheelchairs and breathing. And this super scrawny woman and her sausage squeezy fat-ass accomplice were making these old farts move around and walk ten feet or so before collapsing.

And I thought, shit. I never, ever want to be here in their shoes. This is gonna sound awful, but. Working around those people didn’t make me feel for them, didn’t make me want to help them or sympathetically hold their hand and empathize with their plight.

It made me wonder why.

As in, why, would anyone clench so white-knucklededly to such a dismal, drab existence? Why keep gripping and pedaling the bicycle wheel like a hamster waiting for the therapist to give you a break and tell you how good you’re doing? Why keep sitting in a room ringed with similarly old people, wondering who’s next up for the walk around the room or maybe the final walk with the hazy flowers?

I know I’m still young enough to boldly say I’LL NEVER END UP LIKE THAT, to think that I’m brave enough and committed enough to the Papa Hemingway out to never be wheezing on a physical therapy mattress struggling to do a leg lift.

I hope.

Sorry for the downer.

But, and hey, on other news? I pay tuition tomorrow, sign the rest of the papers, and start training on Monday to drive a big rig. It’s a big step, Junior.

I wish Miss Carol was more behind it and more enthusiastic. but.

Tattoo you.

I have a ball cap that reads “Scars Are Tattoos With Better Stories”. I like that hat ’cause I generally believe this to be true since most tattoos are generally the result of something that seemed like a good idea at the time and scars tend to be something else entirely.

But’cha know what? I was walking down one of the main thoroughfares of the hospital last week and I ended up stalled behind a radiologist leading this frail little old lady down the hallway to MRI. Teeny and tiny, she was probably all of 80 lbs. sopping wet.

As I got closer and tried to pass them I noticed that this frail little old granny lady had blurred, bleary, tired old tattoos on her arms and legs. And I was like, wow, that’s weirdly interesting. Then she accidentally dropped her crumpled pack of cigarettes and when she bent over to pick them up, her ill-fitting KISS t-shirt drooped away from her scrawny chest and I saw she had tattoos on her shriveled up old lady boobs too.


But so anyway.

So I passed them by and moved on with my life and presumably they moved on with theirs but it made me wonder- what kinda strange and possibly interesting life had that little old lady led that had resulted in all those now indistinct blue-black blobby tattoos?

Maybe sometimes tattoos can have a good story too, ya know?

I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t wanna know HER story?

Don’t lie.