Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yelps from the Closet: Drunks, Family and Dumbass Impatient Shitwads

Yelps from the Closet: Drunks, Family and Dumbass Impatient Shitwads: I told myself I wouldn't do this. I keep my personal life public and my public life personal. Yet, this has been one helluva wacky week. T...

Yelps from the Closet: Drunks, Family and Dumbass Impatient Shitwads

Yelps from the Closet: Drunks, Family and Dumbass Impatient Shitwads: I told myself I wouldn't do this. I keep my personal life public and my public life personal. Yet, this has been one helluva wacky week. T...

Drunks, Family and Dumbass Impatient Shitwads

I told myself I wouldn't do this. I keep my personal life public and my public life personal. Yet, this has been one helluva wacky week.

Truth be told, I'm nowhere near perfect. As a matter of fact, I'm about as screwed in the head and gut as any one person can be. However, I placed myself in a position, a job, profession, whatever the hell you care to deem it, in order to not only keep my own sanity but maybe bring a bit of sanity to those I come in contact with.

Ok, ok... so the ones I come in contact with are drinking. And the profession I've migrated into is 'bartender', 'bar manager', 'intoxicologist'..... whatever. The profession is a far cry from what I once did and who I once was. But that's irrelevant and national security prevents me from elaborating.

Yet, I begin every shift, every day, with the intention of making someone smile, laugh or feel better, despite their circumstances, as the warm nectar of life glides through their lower intestines before finding its' way back into the brain, rendering it useless.

Hell, I do unto others as I'd do unto myself. It's the golden tequila rule, right?

I consider myself a provider. I provide a respite from a hard day's work. A respite from a relationship's delicate moments. A respite from life and its' bullshit.

Yet, despite my best intentions... my best attempts to foster a smile or happy evening, there is always one who either begins the day with an attitude of haughtiness or wants to end the night with an attitude of haughtiness. Ones who deem others, including myself, as less than themselves... in my case, a servant, a knave, a being to be spat upon as one would expect in a Monty Python skit.

This has happened to me thrice, that's three times for the unititiated, this week. Twice, it was due to alcohol. I'm ok with that. Alcohol is the great deciever... it makes men invincible and Snooki do-able.

But once, just yesterday, it made one gentleman, nay, gentleman is an overstatement, a complete asshole. Not because he drank too much, but because he expected me to be his servant. To be at his beck and call. Horror of horrors, he had to wait a matter of minutes before he was offered his third Crown Royal and Seven-Up. Woo. What kind of big shot drinks Crown and 7 anyway?
Yet, this dick of dicks, a man of means, apparently, who viewed me as slow, incompetent and unworthy of caring for his cheap alcoholic needs, berated me for leaving him to palm a glass of ice as I tended to others and  their needs.

This, of course, brought to mind others in my past who expected the same, minus the Crown Royal but just as cold with icy veins.

The images of self-deprication and words, 'I'm perfect. You're not' flooded into my brain, filling me with that unholy yet ungodly elation of mania as I bit my lip. Yes, I bit my lip. The thoughts I had as this cheap-smelling, tattooed man wearing a shirt purchased at K-Mart smacking of the worst Nat Nast knockoff, asked for his check, left no tip and eyed me with a look of contempt were bursting from my overzealous mind. I stared him in the eye and visually dared him to push me further into the abyss which is the smartass, intellectual self that I am. I could have easily placed him firmly in the IQ range of 80- that he obviously belongs.... but, I didn't. He did that to himself.

Just as those before him in my life have so easily and readily done, he placed himself in a position of not being able to respond to reason and humility.

Working a bar isn't always fun. As a matter of fact, working a bar is a way of remembering not only who I am but what I've become. It's a wake-up call. And, it's a wake up call for those who challenge me when I firmly say, ", you're done, get the fuck outta my bar. No one talks to me that way. Not now, not ever...."

I like people. I love stories. I have a helluva story myself. But, respect ... respect is a two way street and Main street is a one way street. Think about it and act accordingly. I'll call ya on it otherwise, like it or not. Customer or not. Family or not.

Life is a bar and we're all looped on an idea of some sort. Sleep it off and see me tomorrow. I'll still be here and I'll still welcome you back to my bar.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Yelps from the Closet: Answers, Please

Yelps from the Closet: Answers, Please: So, here I am. Again, awake, wide awake, at 12:30AM. I'm in no way sleepy, tired or ready to retire to my peaceful klonopin-induced slumber....

Answers, Please

So, here I am. Again, awake, wide awake, at 12:30AM. I'm in no way sleepy, tired or ready to retire to my peaceful klonopin-induced slumber.

"12:30," you say. That's early. Well, yes it is. Early to me as well when I'm used to being up until 3 or 4 writing, pondering and questioning everything from my own existence to why my dog has to lay right between my legs each and every night.

I'm 48 years old. In societal norms, I'm supposed to have been asleep for at least two hours by now since I'd have to be awakened by a godawful alarm clock at the crack of dawn that beckoned me to start my day. In societal world, I'd be up and out the door, dressed for success, so to speak, by 7:00am in order to make it to my lavishly decorated cubicle by 9:00am.

Yet, that world doesn't exist for me. In another life, it was my existence, but not now. Now, I sit awake on the bed, fully awake as my wife slumbers beside me. She understands. She tolerates.

My mind cannot rest. It turns and spins. It jumps from topics as diverse as quantum physics to things as inane as who played 'Tootie' in the 80's sitcom, "The Facts of Life". All in a single, swift motion. And more amazingly, I can both understand the physics of gravitational pull and how it affects time and space while knowing that Kim Fields was 'Tootie'... and that Mindi Cohn was Natalie, a fact I try to forget, but can't.

Yet, while all of this bounces around in my skull, I try and try and try to grasp the importance of my being and why I seem so different than most others. I don't consider myself special by any means. As a matter of fact, my self-image is quite opposite. Yet, I can't fathom the idea of living the life of a typical, suburban, urban or otherwise 'normal' man.

There's nothing special about me, mind you. Except for the idea that I'm the guy in line behind you at the supermarket who chuckles when you scan your canteloupe and the register instructs you to "Please move your MELONS to the belt," I try to consider myself the everyday kind of guy... minus the mini-van and dumbass stick-figure stickers on the back window.

Then again, I do understand quantum physics. I do know how numbers comprise every element of the universe and I can give a logical, yet debatable, explanation as to how humankind has brought itself to the brink of extinction due to hubris and a false sense of security brought on by religion and greed.

Then again, here I sit. It's now 1:00AM. And the thoughts continue. It's maddening. And if I weren't already beyond the point of self-comprehension, I'd be questioning my thoughts.

A vicious cycle this is. But, it's worth the maddening influx of thought. Because really, who wants to be 'normal'? Who wants to be the one who keeps up with the Jones's, so to speak? Who longs to have their identity stripped from them for the sake of image and career? Honestly, almost everyone. And it's quite sad that so many do sacrifice mind and self for approval.

I long for approval. But, not for what I've become, but for who I am ... a flawed, skewed, sarcastic, imperfect yet quite perceptive, intelligent and insightful individual.

Quite a wish list. Only a few can claim to be Santa and fill my stocking with more than coal and the occasional orange. But I do appreciate those few and I do appreciate those of you who read this rambling man's thoughts and grasp what I'm saying. To you, I say "Booyah"... you are picking up what I'm putting down.

To the rest, think. Slow down. Stop a moment or twelve and grasp your crotch while sensing who you are, what you do and what you're meant to do. If you can do that and figure it all out, let me know. Really. I need to know how you did it.

It's 1:15AM. Mr. Drummond on 'Diff'rent Strokes' was played by Conrad Bain and the idea that an alternate universe on the flipside of an existing wormhole is an antriguing combination of thoughts.

.................................. on to the next....................

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In a day....

.... you can all at once realize who you are, who you were and who you can be.

Yelps from the Closet: A Day For the Ball-Scratchers

Yelps from the Closet: A Day For the Ball-Scratchers: Greetings. It is 2:15am on Sunday, June 17, 2012. It is officially the 'holiday' regarded as Father's Day. For all of the men reading this w...

A Day For the Ball-Scratchers

Greetings. It is 2:15am on Sunday, June 17, 2012. It is officially the 'holiday' regarded as Father's Day. For all of the men reading this who are fathers, dads or otherwise have offspring roaming the earth as a result of a moment of passion resulting in a gutteral 'Uuuuughhh, shit baby!', this day is for you.

As anyone who has followed my ramblings here knows, I'm a father. Of course, depending on who you ask, the term father is all relative. But, nonetheless, I have two children. Whether I'm loved or hated isn't the issue. The idea is that despite any and all circumstances, hard feelings, mistakes, disrespect, more mistakes, harsh words, harsher writings, disassociation... all of the above and probably more .... I still love my children unconditionally. And, my friends, that is not always easy for a father to do. Nor is it any easier for a child of a less-than-perfect father.

Mother's Day is a no-brainer. Hell, here is a person that went through enormous agony to bring into the world another human being, fully knowing that the very human being that emerged from her loins covered in mayonnaise, connected by a rope and wrinkled beyond recognition would one day do everything in his or her power to belittle, overpower and relish in the joy of her very existence being brought to it's knees over the keys to a car or a need for $20 for a visit to Subway.

But, Father's Day.... father's day .... daddy day ... a day devoted to a man who's contribution to a child's beginning of life consisted of a contorted face, stiff back and a muffled ''uuuuuggghhhh...errrggghhh".... while the swimmers were released to invade and bring forth life to an otherwise happy and content dozen or so Eggland's Best... a day which is mostly overlooked and relegated to a card from the growing swimmers, or their fountain (mom) and the opportunity to sit before the television, hand upon crotch, beer within reach and a bit of quiet which is really not what the father wants at all.

Stop me if I'm off base. Better yet, don't stop me. Because this isn't a blasting or 'woe is me' blog about my relationship with my own children. What happens with them now or in the future is anyone's guess and I'm a bit fatigued with the guessing part of the equation. This isn't about me, or them, in the least.

This is about a single man who is the epitome of fatherhood and an example of a father, a man, a husband, a friend, a human being that I can only dare dream to be or become.

This is about my own father. Sure, growing up there were plenty of times that I either resented, feared or was even embarrassed by him. Go figure, a kid embarassed by a father. Who woulda thought?
But now, now as an adult, as I look at the man that he is, I recognize that his imperfections were what made him perfect. My appreciation of his imperfectections were tempered by his love for me, no matter what stupid things I did and said.

Was he the perfect dad? No. Is he the perfect father? No. Is there a perfect father? No. Is he the and was he the perfect father to me despite his imperfections as they related to my own? Absolutely. An imperative yes.

I have watched over the last several years as he has humbled himself tremendously to care for his wife, my mother, as she has endured surgery after surgery. He has washed her feet. He has helped her dress herself. He has sat tirelessly at her bedside as she labored for her own life in the hospital. But at no time did he ever become less of a father to me or my sister. He was always there for us just as he has always been there for us, despite his own circumstances.

This is something I've failed to do myself and I'm ashamed to admit it. However, I'm also proud to recognize that my father, Rollis Gene Brunk, is the man I one day hope to be for my own kids, my wife, my grandkids and any and all pets (including a possible turtle, who knows?) in the future.

Sure, he drifts off to sleep while watching Fox News. Who doesn't? But he drifts off to sleep content with himself ans somewhere, deep down inside his soul, he knows he's done a good job as a father, despite my mistakes, ideals and everything else that makes me, me.

Unconditional love. That is what Father's Day means to me. Thank you Dad. I love you, respect you and will always remember that one day many, many years ago when I sat upon the porch of our small house in Winston-Salem, feeling depressed, and you sat beside me, placed your hand on my shoulder and said, "so, why are you feeling blue?" 

Happy Fathers Day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What a Day, Eh?

"What? C'mon! Are you a pussy?"

The words are etched into my brain. Not because I was berated myself but because I actually uttered these words to my then fourteen-year-old son as I proudly brandished my newly purchased 16-inch Bowie knife.

"C'mon, just hold it. It's cool!"

But it was the sentence before that remains etched into his brain as the defining characteristic of the father he didn't know anymore.

I often write, joke and bandy about the condition rambling around in my head. Bi-Polar, Manic-depression, whatever you want to call it. I usually try to justify each and every past action in my life that resulted in consequences that haunt me based upon my condition. Sure, I still have no clue why I was tossed out of one establishment, punched a wall and to this day have a broken finger. I understand that high doses of anti-depressants mixed with alcohol can have a quite humbling effect in the morning when you wake up on the floor of a jail cell in a bright orange suit and some dude staring at you like the next meal.

But, there is only one instance that replays in my mind as the one in which I lost my best friend, my best buddy, my son. "What? C'mon! Are you a pussy?"

Today I went, alone, to my son's high school graduation ceremony. He had no idea that I was there or was even going to be there. In fact, I labored over the idea of going at all. My son has no interest in me, in having a relationship with me or at the very least returning a text. In my eyes, my son, my former best friend, hates me with a passion... a passion fueled by both a condition he doesn't understand (nor do I, entirely), and a former family that views me as a hindrance.

As I sat in the auditorium, just three rows behind my former wife, her family, my daughter and newcomers to the brood, I didn't feel anger or resentment. Even I was shocked at that revelation. What I felt was remorse at alienating a boy without having any idea that I'd even done so.

I read emails each day from people who also suffer from bi-polar disorder and I get angry at the 'poor pitiful me' 'boo-hoo' attitudes that most bring to a wide audience. Know what? Grow a pair and deal with it. I understand it's difficult. Most days, I regret at least one thing I've said or done during the day. Depression is as defeating as mania is elating. The difference is that mania brings on the 'I'm invincible, I can do, say or act as I please... damn the consequences' mindset. This is where I was when I uttered "What? C'mon! Are you a pussy?" to my son.

I can't take the words back. Nor can I take back the tear I shed when his name was called and he crossed the stage to be handed his diploma. For the first fourteen years of his life, I helped mold him into the man he is today. And even the sentence I uttered some four years ago that is etched into his brain has made him stronger in some way, even at the expense of our relationship. But, I can't help but wonder where we would be if my mouth, mind and actions didn't succumb to the mania within me.

Congratulations on your graduation, Avery. I hope that one day you'll see that I'm not the monster I'm portrayed to be by others and that a brief moment in time, be it days, weeks or months, doesn't erase the bond that you and I once shared and hopefully will one day regain.

You're my best buddy. I'm always here for you. No matter what. Love ya, man.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Holy War, Batman!

It was an inevitablility. In what has been described as the new 'Holy War', the unesteemed Reverend Fred (Fab Freddy) Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church has declared, through seemingly unscrupulous, yet devoutly Christian attorneys, a lawsuit against North Carolina espouser of 'biblical troofs' Chuck (Gimme Da Bucks) Worley due to the Reverend Worley's recent anti-gay sermons and suggestions that gays and lesbians should be fenced and forced to die off due to the inability to reproduce.

"This is unacceptable!", exclaimed Phelps. "It is obvious that Chuck has drawn inspiration from the Westboro congregation and my own messages of hatred for those our God hates. I first had the inspiration to not only build a camp for degenerates to slowly expire from this life but to also place a bounty, or 'Soul Exchange Fee', if you will, on anyone supporting the degenerate lifestyle. What Chuck has done is usurp my ideas, put my devoted congregation in a position of demotion in the eyes of our loving, yet judgemental Lord, and therefor reduce the income of Westboro Baptist Church by hundreds if not tens of hard-earned dollars."

"It is due to this travesty of hypocrisy within our belief system that we are announcing a multi-thousand dollar lawsuit against the Reverend Worley and his backwoods, idea-stealing congregation. In lieu of potential losses that will undoubtedly cancel both the Westboro and Worley congregational covered-dish meals of KFC and green beans for a period of weeks, I challenge Chucky to come forth and proclaim his disregard for God's plan to allow Westboro Baptist Church lead the crusade to eradicate idiocy and religious cruelty from our society."

In response, Pastor Worley denounced Phelp's lawsuit and derogatory comments while telling news outlets that he had been contemplating the idea of fencing in homosexuals since first watching Schindler's List several years ago. Declining to comment on Phelp's allegations, Worley simply threw his head back, raised his arms to the side and began swaying in Axl Rose fashion while chanting in a low, muffled voice a song that vaguely resembled 'It's Raining Men'.

In what will surely be viewed by most as a Godly war between loving, accepting pastors and congregants, this promises to become an ugly example of religious intolerance, which is quite rare and never experienced due to the Universal Love and Acceptance policies that each religion is sworn to uphold.

In the meantime, Pastor Worley today announced that the local 84 Lumber Supply outley has rolls of chickenwire on sale for $1.36 per square yard.