Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waking up in a park on a Saturday afternoon with literally no idea of where you are or how you got there is not as glamorous as it sounds. It’s not even grungy-glamorous, like your life is the next poppy production of the National Lampoon.

And it’s not because it’s trashy, or because it’s dangerous, or because it’s immoral – even though it is all those things – the reason that waking up in a park with no memory is not all it’s cracked up to be is that you don’t remember anything. It might have been fun, it might have been awful, but you have no idea.

Then you have to try to gauge the time of day and the directions from where the sun is in the sky, and then try to hail a cab while you remember bits and pieces of where you’d been and what you’d done in the last 24 hours since the party started. Images of a bouncer telling you that you can’t come into a bar, of hiding a full bottle of vodka in the tank of a tavern toilet.

I suppose that this is what alcoholics are referring to when they say rock-bottom – the strange feeling that you don’t even know who you are any more, that you can’t even tell whether you’re awake or dreaming. It’s not glamorous, it’s not romantic, it’s not nice.

Three weeks ago tonight, I was sitting on my back porch with my younger brother Ed after a softball game, drinking beers and shooting the shit until about three in the morning, when we decided to go to Nashville. So we left, got into South Bend around 6AM, stayed to eat with our cousin Jack, and then left heading South. I called in sick to work that day and the next, and we wandered up and down Broadway in the rain in Music City, USA. We saw the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry, and we saw Second Avenue and Jack’s BBQ and the famous Wildhorse Saloon.

When I got back home on Sunday, I had an email waiting from my boss. I was being transferred to another department. So I’ve been a little busy since then, which is too bad. But I’m tired of talking about it, so don’t ask. I’ll be right back.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I don't care if New Orleans floods

Politics are all over the news these days, what with McCain’s choosing a woman as his running mate to pander to feminist Democrats and Obama’s choosing a crusty old man to appeal to crusty old Republican men. Neither strategy seems to make much sense to me. Feminist Democrats are crazy bitches who would rather wear a skirt than vote for John McCain (maybe that’s a bit of a stretch), and all the old Republican men are going to vote for the old Republican man no matter what. “A black president?!” they’ll exclaim. “Pshaw!”

But I don’t want to spend too much time with politics for now. Also in the news the past few days has been the anticlimactic onslaught of Hurricane Gustav.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was hoping for the drama and excitement of another Katrina-scale disaster. I mean, the stories of heroism, the heartbreak, Kanye West making an ass out himself… that’s just compelling television.

But that wasn’t the only reason I wanted Gustav to slam into New Orleans and flood it again. I also felt that New Orleans kind of deserved it. All everyone ever talks about is how hard it was and how sad and yada yada, who gives a crap?

The Lower Ninth Ward is constructed almost entirely below sea level. You know what happens to places that are below sea level? The sea flows into them, and they get wet. I don’t care how much quick-dry cement you dump into those levees; sooner or later, that shit is going to collapse and your stupid town is going to flood. So live there if you want, but don’t come crying to me when your retarded plan blows up in your face. Suck it up and move to Nebraska, bitch.

My dad has a theory that people build out below sea level just so they can have a great story about a boy who heroically stuck his finger in a dike, and I’m all, “Rosie O’Donnell sorta looks like a boy.”

But we don’t need to literally stick our fingers into sandbags or lesbians here in America just to make a point. If that’s your thing, that’s your thing, I guess, but I would disagree with your dirty doings.

Instead of sticking a finger somewhere inappropriate, we can stick our whole hands.

Let me explain. On Monday night, the long weekend wound down with a barbecue at the home with the whole family. After dinner, as usual, the men went out to the porch to smoke cigarettes and pass gas, and it was a few minutes after this stage, as I was sitting in the kitchen, sipping the last of my Bookers when I heard a cracking sound and a loud grunt.

I looked over to see my brother Ed straining with all his might against the giant rack of cupboards that sit above the stove, which had somehow suddenly decided to fall off the wall. Most inappropriate behavior for a four hundred pound cupboard. I helped him hold it up and we awkwardly scrambled to empty the shelves enough that Ed could hold it up while I ran to get help.

My parents were watching tv and drifting off in the front hall, and I could clearly picture Ed, holding out for as long as need be, the boy with his finger in the dike.

I tried to be calm. “The cupboards above the stove are falling,” I said.

My mom looked up from the tv. “Like falling, falling?”


The two of them immediately whirred from their seats like rocketing pheasants and we bustled back to the kitchen.

It took a while for us to empty the rest of the cupboards, turn off the requisite circuit breakers, unscrew the hood of the stove and lift the giant piece of furniture to the ground, but that’s not the image I want to leave you with. I want you to picture Ed, alone, straining to hold on. He might not have had his finger in a dike, but that cupboard must have weighed almost as much as Rosie O’Donnell, and that’s good enough for me.

In conclusion, this is why I don’t care if New Orleans drowns once and for all.