|On leave in Florida.|
25 May, 2018
07 November, 2017
Seriously. As annoying as it is, as pointless as it is, and as completely illogical as it is, it will cease to be the topic any real discussion.
But if this Internet of Things... I mean, NetStuf... is so damn dandy, why can't it fix the hole in my ceiling? It can, apparently, predict what kind of advertising I'll respond to based on (really, very) random keyword searches. It can tell me who I was in a past life. It can tell me how I'm probably going to die and -- based just on my Facebook profile picture -- tell me where my ancestors came from. This Internet of Things assures that I'm instantly and permanently connected to countless facts, factoids, fake news, friend updates, new business connections, and scores for everything from the little league game (in languid immobile Summer, anyway) to World Cup Soccer.
But it can't crawl up into the very small and sort of claustrophobic space under the ceiling awning off the attic and repair a hole. It can't climb up on the roof and make any necessary repairs. It's 2017 and there are robots that can vacuum your house while you're gone... not that we can afford one or could even make use of one with three dogs and two cats to either hunt it, stalk it, or asphyxiate it with the endless trails of shed fur.
Ok, I know. I signed up for this life on the margin, right? Making Art out your life isn't easy, nor, I suppose, should it be. Though I'm still unsure of why. And I feel like I've been asking that question a really, really long time.
10 October, 2017
Home life is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo. ~ George Bernard Shaw
It's not that I'm going to be out and about anytime soon... work and other responsibilities make this impossible... but it occurs to me that I've been living like the things I did out on the road had no relation to how I was living my life now. The problem is that in my most natural state, my mindset is that of a permanent traveler. It's not that I don't love the home I have with Amanda and Stella and Will; but I also know that as much as I love home... home as family, home as a place I'm comfortable... I'm not, in my natural state, much of a homebody. Yes, I like to maintain my space a certain way. When I travel I'm a tediously organized packer, too. So really, it's less about being domesticated and more about the aforementioned particularness ... whether home is on my back or four walls and a roof that needs to be re-shingled.
But I think part of my problem has been that I've still been trying to tackle this domestic bliss stuff the way I was socialized to by small town culture, by television, by mentors and heroes -- none of whom ever suggested, even remotely, that I orta do things the way they do things.**
In trying to figure out how to do this stuff My Way, the only conclusion I've come to is that I have to live at home the way I live out on the road. Certainly there are some modifications. But overall, it's more about spacial awareness than a shift in awareness. Or, that's what I'm going with now.
My road rules went through multiple drafts and notions, but they boil down to something like this:
- Read and write everyday.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Leave things as nice or nicer than you found them.
- Etiquette makes society, not the other way around.
- Be grateful when things are good. They won't always be.
- Keep your head up when things are bad. They will be more often than not.Show appreciation and articulate love. Daily.
Even if it's not altogether natural feeling sometimes.
* No less than every girlfriend I've ever had and two ex-wives have pointed out/accused that I have an antagonistic relationship with the world. But clearly, the world started it.
**All of them actually said the contrary, on multiple times. A wise mentor will never tell you to do what they do, exactly how they do it. That's how you tell the difference between a mentor who has your best interests at heart and a megalomaniac who's interested in feeding his ego.
*** There's a reason why "Read and write everyday" is the first rule.
If you like what you're reading here, check out my work for sale on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons You can also throw a little in the tip jar:
17 October, 2016
Getting a job in catering means signing yourself into an insane asylum, regardless of how sane you actually are.* It moves fast and for the most part -- even in a good shop, like where I work -- what you don't know you pretty much have to pick up on yourself. It means asking a lot of questions, sometimes to the point of annoying people who would rather work around you to get the job done instead of trying to teach a newbie how things work. While I have tended bar and worked around food, there is a mountain's worth of difference between serving in a sports bar or bowling alley working in fine dining. There are expectations. There are particular ways of doing things so customers feel like they got their money's worth out of the thousands of dollars they spent in hiring us.**
Catering is the kind of work with long and irregular work schedules. 12 hour days are not only common, they are pretty much the norm. With the holiday season fast approaching, I know there are long days and even longer weeks ahead. It's the nature of the thing and you have to be willing to embrace the tidal wave even attempt it. People at the shop have been asking me if I've gotten used to the long days. To be honest, it's not been the schedule that bothers me. I could tell them about teaching at 3 or 4 different universities at once, sometimes leaving home at 6 am and not getting back until after 10 or 11, depending on where and how many classes I was teaching. Most everyone at the shop knows I used to teach, but I like to think I approach work with enough tenacity and fearlessness that they are also figuring out that I don't think my past career has any bearing on my position in the shop. I'm a grunt. I like being a grunt. When I'm done with my work, I clock out and leave, and I leave work at work. When you teach, you can never leave work at work. You carry it with you, even when you're supposed to be relaxing.
I plan on working in catering for the next couple of years as move onto some other new possibilities, and I plan on learning as much about it as I can.
Being back in the work force also means that the grand experiment resumes: the quest to balance my creative life and my family life with the world of work. This is a challenge with any job, but I have too many things in the works to pull up my creative stakes and shrink away from all my projects.
The Kentucky Muck Podcast will resume on an irregular schedule, and Alidade: an audio map, will launch later this week. I also have other writing projects to work on, and I'm really looking forward to what being back in the work force will do for my writing.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed the link to a Pantheon page. This gives you the opportunity to help support the writing. Yes, I'm back in the work force, but your monthly patronage, at one of several levels (with accompanying perks!) will maybe someday enable me to return to writing and podcasting full time.
I'm pleased to announce that the blog has it's first patron, Ernest Gordon Taulbee. Thanks, Ernest! Look for your patron-only post later this week as well!
*I commented to my wife how strange it is that I would end up in a field that attracts so many quirky personalities. She simply patted my arm and said "Well, you did enter it on your own."
**It's crazy how much people spend on food. But then again, it's why I have a job, so...
If you like what you're reading here, I have work for sale on my amazon author page:
23 July, 2015
Nothing fancy. Just my usual round of Miller Lite and Maker's Mark. This combination has been my bar drink of choice for longer than my second marriage lasted. My older brother, whose tastes are far more refined but who can drink with the best of them when the mood strikes him, is always a little sickened by my choice of combinations.
I was feeling a little squirrelly last night after a days of spending my days in the basement, sitting at the desk, working. I love the solitude, love the pace of the work I do -- gig based and sporadic as it feels at the moment -- but sometimes I need to get out. As Amanda understands and is extraordinarily patient about, it's not even about being social. Unless I'm meeting friends, I don't even socialize all that much.
The best way I know how to explain it is that sometimes I just need to swim around in a reasonable crowd of normal people who are not me, my books, my stringed instruments, the dog, or the cat. And sometimes I need a good bar with an uncomplicated air to find the ground. I need a place where I can be quiet and still feel like I've socialized.
I've established myself in a neighborhood watering hole that meets all the requirements set forth my pre-established Rules For Not At Home Drinking*. And although I don't see the inside of a bar as much these days thanks to "the gig life" and the general financial burden that is summer (Thanks engrained academic schedule!), I felt it was important to go and have a round or three out of the first check I earned as freelance journalist here in River City.
This was as much about wanting to see the inside of a familiar bar as it was superstition. In my last gig as a freelance muckraker -- with the The Prairie-Advocate out of Lanark, Illinois -- the first thing I did when I got paid was walk up to the local watering hole (there were two at the time and I was strongly discouraged by my now ex-wife from walking in to one... she called it, not incorrectly, "the redneck meat market") and have a beer and a shot. Bourbon is hard to find that far north, so I made do with a shot of Jack** and stuck to beer after that.
Drinking to inaugurate a new gig is something I see as crucial to the success of that gig. I did the same with first checks from teaching gigs in my 30's and still do in my 40's. I did the same from checks from day labor and factory/warehouse gigs in my 20's. I will admit to a certain superstitious bent, but that's only because once money rolls in on the regular or semi-regular, it is immediately gobbled up in that bottomless pit called Bills and Other Unsavory Obligations.***
I had more reason to celebrate this gig check, though. When Amanda and I were first talking about me moving to River City and setting down some roots, I wasn't planning on going back to teaching. My Plan was to try and wow some of the local media with my portfolio of news writing. My Plan was that maybe I'd wiggle my way into some freelance work, and start building a fresh portfolio upon which I could build a livelihood out of writing. I don't really consider myself hampered by the fact that I don't have a degree in journalism (I did minor in it once upon a time). But I did find, on first pass, that not having a journalism degree in a medium-sized market as problematic as not having an MFA when you're applying for creative grants.
Sometimes editors, publishers take the absence of a specific degree personally. So my foray into the Louisville journalism scene didn't pan out. Initially.
But, as I am often reminded, everything is about timing.
Talking with Amanda about moving here and writing for LEO was the beginning of this new and happier chapter in my life. In case you didn't know this about me, in addition to being somewhat superstitious, I'm also a touch sentimental about certain important things. Although I know that this gig is only prelude to something else and life moves forward, it reminds that 1) I really do like writing about news and think good, researched journalism matters, and 2) the Universe is sometimes very kind to me... and even looks out for me from time to time.
So, Sláinte ^ , Dear Friends and Readers.
* Rules For Not At Home Drinking, codified and approved 2004, Cincinnati, OH. 1) Do not drink more than stumbling distance or not more than a 30 minute bus ride (no transfers) from home without having a ride. 2) Do not drink more than 5 shots of bourbon in a two hour period, regardless of how good or how empty the mood. 3.) Hydrate regularly. 4.) Eat properly 5.) Be safe.
** Any drinking rules I have get altered when Jack Daniels gets involved. Say what you will, but different liquors hit me differently... and the last time I went on a Jack induced bender I ended up getting hit... and hitting other people. Something in that Tennessee swill raises the temperature of my blood to an unpleasant degree. I take this as proof that I am, at least physiologically, in the right state now.
*Or, THE DEVIL INCARNATE
^ Gaelic for 'Good Health' or 'Last one to drink is a Protestant Tory.'
09 May, 2014
25 April, 2014
Educated vs. Learned
This idea of not doing what I wasn't naturally good at was also encouraged and developed by the list of things I was told, specifically, NOT to do. Adults like to say (and I have said it myself) that all children believe they are immortal. That sense of immortality was not something I experienced all that much because I was a sickly kid. I was in and out of the hospital several times before I turned five. Doctors took out my tonsils when I was four because they assumed that swollen tonsils were the reason I was having trouble breathing. It took a while before my parents could find the right doctor to make the correct diagnosis. The smart, non-cutting doctor determined it was chronic asthma made worse by allergies. And I was allergic to almost everything. The doctors assured my parents that exposure to any level of dust, pollen, or mold might trigger an asthma attack that would kill me.**
This created a long list of things I could not do. If a neighbor three yards away was mowing their yard, I couldn't go outside to play. Sports were problematic, and even after I was cleared at the age of eight to join the world outside of school and church, I struggled. I couldn't tromp through the woods or explore the wide open fields near where I grew up -- both of which I did, often once I was old enough to be let out on my own without fear of the Carnahan's lawn mower.
One of the places I was never allowed to go was Grandpa's workshop. My brother and my (male) cousins were allowed. Most often I was left in the house, where I learned to play gin rummy with Grandma, and where I continued to develop my already over-active imagination. Looking back, I wonder if my being barred from the workshop somehow limited my ability to talk to my mother's father. I remember him being a silent man; but he was not always silent. He would tickle me and sing silly songs to me when I was very young. He once gave a very nice pork pie hat -- grey brushed felt with a leather band -- that had been his, I think.***
I love the smell of wood and tobacco. Both of these smells represent things that were forbidden to me when I was young and it was believed that the dusty ol' world might kill me.
More than that, though, I love the thought that I am learning, again, how to work with wood.
One of the projects Amanda and I are working on this year are covers for the raised gardens. We have 4 raised Amish-made cedar garden beds. Last year, we tried to plant a garden that was trounced by flying squirrels, a squatter possum, bluejays, crows, and cardinals. The solution this year: simple wood frame and chicken wire covers. The scope of the project is not grand. I'm not going to try and jump from this project to building a house. But it's start.
|Photo by A.Hay. The useful looking one is her Dad.|
But, in the parlance of our times: To hell with that bozo.
A New Poem
*Sometimes I scribbled poems and silly stories. Sometimes I drew robots and then scribbled little poems and stories about them. Sometimes I daydreamed that I was a robot. Or that I was Superman. Or that I was a secret agent in enemy territory... that was a particularly favorite daydream during Ms. Melvin's 4th grade class when we studied multiplication tables.
** Not being able to breathe is an odd experience. I call it odd, rather than traumatic, because it happened often enough that it stopped being scary and became annoying. The only thing more annoying than not being able to breathe was everyone else's reactions to my not being able to breathe.
***I wasn't able to wear the hat very long. My head has always been unusually large.
^ Think of a wanna-be Mike Ditka. Same ego, same attitude, sans the coaching skill.
12 March, 2014
With the monthly Moth Story Slam quickly approaching, I've been pondering what story to tell. And with this month's topic being HEROES, I thought I had a shoo-in.
There's rarely a day that goes by that The Old Man doesn't cross my mind at least once. This September 3rd will be 24 years since he died, and while I like to think I've come to understand him as a person and not the larger-than-life myth I created around him as a child, the fact is that even in -- maybe especially in -- his imperfect humanity there's a touch of the mythic about him.
The stories about him are legion. He dropped out of high school at 17 and joined the Navy in time for the Korean War. (I suspect that the military was seen as a last ditch effort to keep him out of jail. He, like his father before him and his sons after him, was born with a chip the size of the Continental Divide on both shoulders.) Joining the Navy taught him three things: 1) that some men are bigger men than others (learned after standing naked in a room with several hundred other young men for induction); 2) that he hated boats (no one mentioned the stress point built into the middle of battle ships that keeps them from sinking during rough waves); and 3) that he hated the bananas.
After his 3 year naval hitch, he remained a civilian for about a year and then joined the Air Force, which he stayed in for 20 years and attained the rank of Master Sgt. Among the things he learned in the Air Force 1) All officers are assholes; 2) there's an art and craft to telling someone to go to hell; and 3) that it was still possible in the 20th century to be banned from a state upon penalty of incarceration. (He was -- let's call it asked -- by then Governor Ann Richards to not return to the state of Texas after a furlough weekend with two childhood friends, each in a different branch of the military. I have only heard of the existence of this letter and have never seen it.)
There are more stories, many that I know, and too many I will probably never know. Except for my immediate family and one cousin in New Jersey, I can't seem to maintain any contact with The Old Man's family. He has two brothers still living -- one who is an extreme misanthrope and another who lives in Colorado who I have only met once. (I was going to go back out and talk to him some more. But thanks to a Facebook Troll during the '12 Presidential Election season and that familial double sawboard should chip the size of the Continental Divide, that second meeting never occurred.)
On the topic of Heroes, The Old Man has always been mine, but I cannot seem to reduce his legend to a good 5 minutes. It seems unfair to his memory, and unfair to the audience. And so I find myself wondering what it is I have to say about heroes.
Don't worry. I'll come up with something. It may even be safe for an NPR crowd.
29 May, 2013
You are your own comeuppance.
You become your own message. - Leonard Peltier
Every man is in his own person the whole human race, with not a detail lacking. - Mark Twain
Been doing more ruminating and focusing on where I am than I have been blogging lately. In terms of pattern behavior, this isn't anything unusual. I will, in the right company, blather on for hours. When it comes to blogging, though, I find much more sound that substance; which is to say, just because someone has space to blather, doesn't mean they ought to. I'm all for a free and unrestrained internet, but I do think that if some people spent more time ruminating and living where they are rather than spouting mental minutia to the wind, this non-extistant space would be a much more enjoyable place.
- Flying flags and Veteran Ceremonies;
- to all my friends, family, and former students have who have or still wear a military uniform: I recognize and respect your sacrifice in spite of not being able to support the cause for which your lives are put on the line. (If you think the armed forces are fighting for DEMOCRACY, Dear Readers, you're not paying attention. Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.) For those who are still in uniform, I want you to come home. For those who are no longer in uniform, I'm glad you made it back. For those who did not make it back -- I remember and honor you the best way I know how.
- Mayfest: a wonderful public event that is continually fun in spite of the interference of that most ineffective of organizations, the Chamber of Commerce. Now, I'm not singling out the Mount Carroll Chamber; that would be unfair. ALL Chambers of Commerce are cultural blights and community viruses. The Mount Carroll Chamber of Commerce has done more to hold back the development of the town than any other institution known to modern man -- and that includes the Church of God. The good news: my friends Marques Morel (Dirt Simple) and Bruce Kort (and The Infarctions) both played their music as part of the line up of entertainment. They live in the area, and are wonderful musicians. The bad news: the steering committee brought in yet another abominable tribute band. This time, it was an 80's tribute band. No one who grew up in the 80's should be subjected to that much reshashed hair air rock and techno-crap. Sister Christian is a old hooker in New Jersey. 80's nostalgia and historical revision will not change the fact there was very little good about decade that saw the decline of unions and the steel industry, the squeezing of small farmers, Iran-Contra, the aborted afterbirth of Operation Condor, and the extension of Pax Americana.
- DAVEFEST: The weekend long celebration of my dear friend Dave's birth. A raging bonfire, cold beer, music, and the company of friends. This was Amanda's first exposure to Mount Carroll. I promised to introduce her to some of my detractors on the next trip, for proper balance.
Back in River City, we've been brewing mead, planting raised gardens, and pondering chickens. This, as I see it, is as instrumental to avoiding an avoidance culture as being on the road.
|gardens; boxes built by an Amish carpenter, plants and dirt by the Tenny Ave Contingent|
|mead, the oldest known fermented beverage|
I still have chapbooks available for donations to the travel fund. Shortly I'll be unveiling a new project. Stay tuned, Dear Readers. The ride can't stay smooth forever.
29 January, 2013
Probably the most succinct explanation I've ever heard or read of what's wrong with this place. Me, in relation to the quote above.
Being caught here as I was, over the weekend -- between illness, the weather, and the spinelessness of the Tennessee Division of Greyhound Buslines, I was left to cough up a lung and ponder the universe in the shadow of Porkopolis. This gave me a chance to try and get through a smallish pile of student writing that must be returned tomorrow when I exchange it for a fresh pile -- the unending cycle that is the educational machine.
Thank Crikey I'm not interested in being hired full time. This sentiment is not a reflection of how I feel about the students in my classes, as much as a recognition that other than a few new bells and whistles, the institution of higher education is no different than it was when I left (translate: ran screaming) from ASU in December 2009.
Perfect example: I received a circulating email in response to concerns raised by part-time Lit and Language faculty to the current chair in meetings scheduled for the purpose of airing such concerns and offering suggestions to improve the plight/make more comfortable those who do most of the work for little pay and no real recognition... since other than teaching classes that tenured faculty refuse to teach, part-timers do nothing to make the institution look good.
I should note that I did not attend either Open Door session, which were scheduled on a Tuesday and Thursday... days I am not on campus. (They are, coincidentally, days that most part-timers are not on campus either. Draw your own conclusions, Dear Readers.)
The primary issue raised, according the email, was office space. Part-timers share the same corral on the 5th floor we shared when I taught at NKU in '04-'05. And apparently, those who went to the open door talks mentioned space as a priority.
It was not mentioned in the email, but I do wonder if anyone brought up access to health insurance. NKU DOES allow part-timers access to the institution's health insurance plan -- after 3 years of consecutive employment. Which means, if you're actually interested in having a full-time job, that you're pretty enough to screw but not to take to a family reunion. (Keep in mind that it is damn difficult to stay consecutively employed as a part-time instructor. That means you have at least a class every term... including summer, when enrollments are low, and spring, when a large number of First Year students run screaming from college campuses.)
Of course, the Chair has no say over what the Bean Counters in the administration bunker do. And a potential for access is better than no access at all, right? Carrot by any other name....
The solution to the aforementioned space issue? Give every part-timer his or her own key. This way, I suppose, it will feel like we really have an office and are taken seriously as professionals. Which, of course, is utter bullshit.
I should mention again, however, that I am less interested in being afforded the label of "professional" than I am in being treated like a human being and not a cog.
I should also mention that every part-timer was going to be issued a set of keys anyway.
The solution, as I see it, is to have armed guards on campus.
Because lately that's the solution to all educational problems, and a blog is no place to think outside the box.
On a tangentially related note, Mount Carroll crank and all around lousy person Nina Cooper is running for City Clerk. She has built a very patriotic looking website to assert her candidacy, which ten people in town will see. (Five of them might actually vote for her; but she is one of them, and the other two are her co-hort cranks, Alderpersons Bob "The Amoral Pontificator" Sisler and Doris "I'm Not Dead I'm Just Plotting" Bork. The other two I'm giving her for kindness and statistical accuracy.)
04 January, 2013
or better, in metaonomatopoeia. -- Lidia Dimkovska
If Christ had been a woman, the world would already be redeemed. - line from Cincinnati Day Book.
Year Of The Sea Turtle
In these post-apocalyptic days, there is time enough to sit and wonder at the inner and outer workings of the world. And for the time being, I am writing my poems, picking out songs older than I am on the blue guitar, and pondering even more closely a work of some length based on some of my travels in the recently dead and buried year of 2012.
If you have been even a casual reader of this blog, it won't surprise you to hear that the weather will play a prominent role.
As I mentioned previously, I am wintering in familiar territory, here in Cincinnati. Although my initial plan was to go south -- very very south, down to the Florida Keys, far, far away from the arctic chill -- the universe saw fit to deposit me here, nearly broke, not terribly road weary, but aware that in order to travel more in the cheap and lowly way to which I am accustomed, I need to pick up some work and put some cash back into the Travel Fund.
I was not unaware of the particular challenge that could potentially be. In spite of what the corporate owned, government complicit media machine has suggested, the economic recovery is not so much a recovery as much as politicians taking credit/laying blame for the pendulum swing that inevitably occurs when Capitalism is allowed to run amok like a lousy houseguest. Any savvy student of economics will tell you that the markets ebb and flow like the oceans and that most people are subject to the typhoons and droughts that occur over the course of time. And any savvy student of politics will tell you that the recently contested Presidential election which set friend against friend, family against family, and peon against peon was largely a contest over who would get to take credit for said pendulum swing and who would get to sit on the sideline moping like a sad chipmunk. (Look at John Boehner and tell me he doesn't have some semblance of a gin soaked chipmunk.)
IF YOU'RE WONDERING WHETHER YOU'RE A PEON, YOU ARE. AND IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW, 99% OF US ARE. IF YOU'RE READING THIS RIGHT NOW AND SAYING TO YOURSELF He doesn't know what's talking about. I'm the last of the Middle Class and doing fine! THEN YOU'RE A PEON, TOO. THE ONLY ONES WHO AREN'T ARE THE ONES WHO PROFIT WHETHER THE MARKET TANKS OR NOT.
But I also wasn't particularly worried, because I knew I'd have a place to sleep and because I have learned to place some faith in the universe. And the universe was indeed kind, because I managed, against any probability in Cincinnati and in this job market, to pick up a little teaching work.
That's right. Someone actually let me back in the classroom.
Not full time. And I'm thankful for that. There is nothing more odious and dysfunctional than trying to teach while carrying the weight of being a full time/fixed term instructor with no hope of tenure and all the expectation of departmental busywork-- committees, non-classroom related paperwork designed to cover someone else's ass and present yours for unwelcome sodomy.
Not me. Not again. I managed two sophomore level writing classes at one of the area universities. In addition, I'm doing some online tutoring and picking up a trickle of freelance writing/editing gigs. This, in addition to poetry, music, and some various other projects, will keep me busy until the thaw.
Second To Last Sub Rosa
But don't think that I plan to sit still for the next four months. I will be making regular sojourns down river to Louisville to visit my Most Amazing Girlfriend/Traveler's Angel.
During my most recent visit, I had the pleasure of being the Featured Reader at the monthly Sub Rosa Creative Courtyard, put on by the River City's very own Divinity Rose. The weather pushed the courtyard indoors at Bearno's on Highland, and the venue, perhaps not wanting to offend potential customers with something as perilous as poetry, pushed the scribbled to a small upper room, while leaving the Featured Music/ Music Open Mic downstairs.
This, as I know from experience, is almost always a disaster. Art grows best when writers, musicians, performers, painters, and burlesque dancers all drink from the same trough. It just does.
I was pleased to be asked, though, and went through the first set in the upper room. An increase in snowfall scared off the few folks who were there, and so Amanda and I went downstairs to the bar to join the folks who were there to listen to the Featured Music, Big Poppa Stampley, and maybe play some music themselves. Divinity was kind enough to make some space for me to do my second set, and as I was stepping up on stage to take over the mic, Big Poppa asked if I wanted him to play behind me.
After the shock wore off, I found my words. When someone of his talent and caliber offers to back you up, YOU SAY "YES" AND THANK THE UNIVERSE.
The second set went better than the first, and I even managed to sell a few chapbooks -- which, by the way, are still for sale. Both The Crossing of St. Frank AND Whitman Under Moonlight are in their second printing and can still be gotten for a measly $2 donation to the Travel Fund.
Holiday Plus 1
My planned trip down river for Sub Rosa coincided with a week long visit by The Kid, who will be a high school graduate/culinary school bound Mostly Grown Kid come June, and her boyfriend, Plus 1. My Dear Sweet Ma was excited about Christmas, and I was too. This past year was the first in many a year that the entire family had been in the same geographic location. Amanda spent Christmas with her family, and had to work for la machina duex hell the day after, but she was going to go back with me after the weekend and spend New Years with me and the Parsons Clan.
I was excited to see The Kid. Those of you who are non-custodial parents will understand that you take the time you can get. Those of you who are parents custodial or not will understand that as your kids grow up, the amount of time available decreases at a near exponential rate. She was initially amused at the notion that we were both showing off new Sig O's. I'm not sure if she thought that prospect would soften my reaction to Plus 1; but I do suspect that maybe Plus 1 assumed that if he made enough ingratiating comments about my beard that I would overlook his clear lack of guest etiquette.
He managed to work down to My Dear Sweet Ma's final nerve, rarely stirring from the couch except for food, to piss with the bathroom door open, or on the rare occasion that he was asked to actively participate in the goings on. He wore through my limited amount of goodwill by offending my mother, and embarrassing my daughter during a game of Extreme Balderdash with a sexually explicit definition that made me want to forget my promise to myself to try and do no harm and erase a 15 year record of NOT laying my hands on anyone with the intent to do violence by reaching over and snapping his neck.
I did no such thing. But he did reconfirm for me the simple truth that other than Harvey Pekar, nothing good ever comes out of Cleveland.
Those of you with near adult children will understand -- just because you can't tell the kid anything and that she will do what she wants to do regardless of your apprehensions, doesn't mean you don't wish you could spare them the grief. It also doesn't mean you love them any less.