In my high school we rural kids would go out to a dark country road and get wasted. There was plenty of beer, usually I would have at least a twelve pack. We had weed, we had cocaine. When you couldn’t stand you could go sit in your car. Often a cheerleader, a quarterback or a big defensive tackle was right next to you. We were all bonding. There was a lot of love of living on that road. Soon we would graduate, go our separate ways, not realizing those were our glory days.
Vance G was a crazy character. On the way back from away football games he would lead the team in singing, “spent the last year Rocky Mountain way,” then the team sang “ba na na na,” and then Vance, “couldn’t get much higher.” The team sang, “ba na na na.” This bonded us. He even sang it after a loss, which infuriated our head coach.
Later in life we shared a house. He was a womanizer which was fine with me. We had women coming and going. The sounds emanating from his room became a bit much, so I wore earplugs. When three of his rent checks bounced, we got into a fist fight. After that our friendship was never the same. He died several years back at the age of fifty from a brain infection. He will not be forgotten by me and not by many women.
At fifty-seven sometimes I am mature, but these days I’m more like a frightened young man. I am happy sometimes, but like the weather, things have gotten pretty dreary. I jogged in the light rain for fifteen minutes around the parking lot circle. My mother used to march through the downstairs rooms to big band music playing on NPR until Dad said she was wearing a track into the carpet.
Now I’m taking my good friend for a frozen coffee at Frederick Coffee Shop–not much conversation, but I am comfortable with her in silence. It will be a quiet Christmas this year, and that’s OK with me.
The cycle of life and death continues all around me. The leaves fall and cover the grass that my father worked so hard for decades to maintain. Everybody who lives in this old house has to deal with the leaves falling down. It’s tempting to leave them there, but then the grass will die, and by March, the yard will be a brown muddy mess.
Although I don’t like the fall and winter, this year I am looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving with my roommate. We will see how many vegetarian dishes go well with gravy.
These days I am having a hard time getting by on just my good looks.
My dog is loyal to me as long as I keep the snacks flowing.
My old friends resurface like flaming hemorrhoids, always aggravating and rarely fun.
I can see that my future is not going to be nearly as fun or as easy as my past.
I know I don’t have what it takes to end things.
I may even apply for full-time work.
I will carry on.
My main purpose in life is still the same:
try to make love to somebody, try to do my best, nose to the grindstone, yet rarely achieving that.
I’m not looking for the meaning of life. I’m just living.
“Chippy, what do you want? Dave isn’t here, and my mom says I can’t be around you anymore since you hung me from that tree limb, and I shit my pants. She is never going to clean up a mess like that again.”
Chippy said that if I came out and held the flashlight on this giant bees’ nest he found, he was going to destroy it with his BB gun. He said, it is so dark out they won’t get us, and afterwards we could have some of his mom’s cherry pie.
I love cherry pie, so I followed him over to the huge hedge that separated our yards. He shined the light on a pine tree thirty feet away. The bees’ nest was as big as a basketball.
He handed me the light and we laid on our stomachs. I shined the light and poof, poof, poof, Chippy put three holes in that nest. The bees swarmed and must have traveled down the beam of light.
Suddenly we had bees all around us. I got stung on the end of my nose. I got up and ran, fell over a small tree stump, rolled in the grass and the bees were gone. Chippy ran and lunged head first into the hedge. He had been stung several times, so I got him out of the hedge and walked him to his back door. That’s when he told me there was no cherry pie.
When my mom saw me later she wanted to know why my nose looked like a red golf ball.
Chippy and I never played again.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
I think Ben Franklin must have had friends like I have. When my friends call, they need money, they might want some weed and/or a ride to the emergency room.
True friends, friends for life.
Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.
This Oscar Wilde quote is on point to this day. It is the people you want to go who never leave.
Finally an ancient Chinese proverb:
Man who go to bed with itchy butt, wake up with stinky fingers.
This saying is practical, informative, and timeless. I have gone to sleep with an itchy butt. The trick is to not smell your fingers in the morning.
Take a shower. Get on with your day. Simple words to live by.
Life is simple, I am simple.