Thursday, November 11, 2010

Life Lessons from the A-Team

Because that last post was a little heavier than I am comfortable with, I feel the need to put something else here also. 

I wrote this about a year and a half ago and it still makes me chuckle.

Life Lessons from The A-Team

1. If you need something bad enough, it's ok to lie about paying for it because, in the end, mercenaries have incredibly large hearts.

2. There is no vehicle more sound and trustworthy than a van.

3. Angry, large, aviophobic body builders are highly gullible and easy to smuggle aboard airplanes.

4. Grooming is everything. A nice suit, great hair, and a confident smile opens lots of doors.

5. It's a great idea to know a crazy person but a better idea to store him some place safe until you really need him.

6. Crazy people are reliable pilots.

7. Cigar smoking elderly white men make great leaders despite what recent history would have you believe.

8. A good disguise is hard to come by.

9. Complicated military life histories can easily be explained in 22 seconds. It's helpful if the person doing the explaining has a wicked cool baritone voice.

10. Of the 3 things needed to maybe getting help, "and if you can find them" appears to be the easiest.

11. A token female in the group is always a good idea but keep in mind they can easily be replaced with little to no explanation.
12. Firearm accuracy is just not that important.

13. Elaborate and complicated plans best come together in a montage.

14. Fools deserve and will receive Pity.


It's not a secret to most of my friends that over the past year or so I've developed what I so lovingly call a “bit of a drinking problem”. I want to talk about that today. Part of the reason I started this blog, if you recall, was to not just share these old stories but to look at the person I am now and try to figure some stuff out.

I really don't think I'm an alcoholic today because of my drinking back then. I never drank a drop of alcohol until I was 21. I was always really proud of that but looking back now I realize at no time did I ever learn to social drink. Drinking, like everything else in my life, was done with focus of purpose and that purpose was to get drunk. For the longest time I had a really good system in place where I would start drinking early and then always quit early, like at 10pm or so, and coast on what I had in me so I was sobered up by the time I got home. This eliminated hangovers and allowed me to really mess with everyone who hadn't quit drinking like I did.

Somewhere along the line I completely forgot how to quit drinking. I started drinking earlier and earlier and then didn't stop. The past year or so got really, really bad. Lots of black out moments and fights or conversations I don't remember at all. I would drink alone in the middle of the day. I'd hide bottles in the house.

Since August I've been trying really, really hard to stay sober and, for the most part I have. My job puts me in a situation where I'm forced into bars quite a bit and that can be difficult, but fortunately now all of my co-workers and close friends in the Hills know I can't drink anymore and really do a lot to help me out.

Last night, however, I dropped the ball and had a couple of drinks. I made it home ok and wasn't crazy out of control or anything like that, but I still failed completely and now it's almost 3 in the morning and I'm awake and typing because it's all I can think about. Drinking, I mean. Not in the crazy-craving it sense, but on how to make sure I never, ever drink again. Maybe I'm over thinking things. Maybe I should be able to say it's no big deal, you had a couple of drinks, don't do it again and move on. But I choose to think about it differently. If I was with another woman and we kissed, would my wife be ok with that? Hell no! Yeah, I didn't get drunk but I drank. I cheated. And it's eating me up right now, so much in fact that I can't sleep.

I think, for me, as dramatic and stupid as it sounds, I need some sense of accountability. Logic doesn't come in to play like it should for me on this. That's frustrating. In my mind, I should be able to just say “Stop” and then stop, but I can't. So I'm hoping by putting this out there for the world to see, including close friends and family, I'll be backed against a wall and no longer be able to “sneak just a drink or two” ever again.

The sure fire sign to tell when I was drinking, or am drinking again, is my lack of ability to control my emotion. Good or bad, everything for me is extreme when I'm drinking. Now, that's not to say if I'm laughing too hard or angry at something that happened during the day means I'm drinking. For the most part, and it's not a good thing either I know, I keep my emotions really bottled up. I'm working on that too.

If you get odd or random texts from me, I've been drinking. If I don't remember conversations or appointments, I've been drinking. If I'm awake at 3am after sleeping for a couple of hours prior, I've been drinking.

This opens me up to all sorts of problems now, I know. Any random hello text may result in me getting a response back asking if I've been drinking. Any lapse in memory whatsoever will result in someone asking me if I've been drinking. Any time I just can't sleep because of having too much on my mind will result in someone asking me if I've been drinking. I think that's the price I have to pay, though. I don't want to drink anymore. I keep telling myself I can handle the situation but I can't, plain and simple. I am hoping that people who are close to me will not be afraid to ask if I'm ok and I'll be able to honestly say that I am.

I have a friend who recently publicly quit drinking and smoking and he says it's tough but he just keeps himself busy and takes a day at a time. I've tried that and can go, apparently, months at a time, but then start thinking I'll be ok and I can have a drink. Truth is, I can't. I'm nervous that I'm going to drink tomorrow and am extremely fortunate that I have too much scheduled throughout the day so I know that drinking won't happen. But that doesn't mean I don't want a drink. And that's the hump I want to get over. I want to not think about it at all. Cause so far, even with the weeks or months of sobriety at a time, I still -think- about it and I want that to stop somehow. I don't want to be angry or stressed and have my first thought be “man, I was I had a drink right now”. I want that stupid little voice in my head telling me that “just one” is ok to completely go away.

I'm smart enough to know stuff. I know that eventually this will all be a thing of the past. I know that eventually I'll be in control again and will be back to the mindset I had before I was 21 and when someone asked me if I wanted a drink I could say without hesitation, “No Thanks” and be completely fine with that. I just hope that moment comes sooner than later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pedro Tosses a Cat

Being negative doesn’t get you anywhere. I knew a guy back in college that could never find the plus side of anything. Pedro was our Eyeore. I don’t know if it was his upbringing or his surroundings but he was convinced the world was out to get him. No drive. No ambition. He’s come a very long way since then, but back in the day he was the brunt of many of our jokes.

Pedro loved the ladies but he was equally fond of the bottle so his hooch and cooch combo nights usually involved him having a hard time standing up straight and pouring his soul out to whatever girl would stick around to listen to him. Occasionally, every now and again, Pedro would get some cuddle time out of said girl.

One time in particular stands out due to the embarrassing interruption Pedro received. He had left the bar sometime before closing and stumbled home with this girl who wanted a little honey from the Pooh Bear. It was about a 3 block walk from the bar to the house with the pool and he had successfully managed to make it home and up the stairs to his room with this gal. I wasn’t living in this house at the time but its couch was always available to me.

Around 2am a contingent of us consisting of Wipf, Rob, and myself checked in to the house. From downstairs we could hear the sounds of love coming from the bedroom at the top of the staircase. Hot, dirty love. The kind of love that knew no shame but would have been intimately familiar with shame if the lights were on and the booze were less prevalent. What was going on in that room was, in fact, a tutorial in shame.

After making the obligatory comments and jokes amongst ourselves, we ventured upstairs for a closer inspection. Pedro had left his door open a crack and standing near it in curiosity was Rob’s kitten, Banshee. Banshee was an orange tabby who had a bad habit of howling at all hours of the night so the name was beyond appropriate.

With our brains filled with malice and alcohol, it seemed like a great idea to let Banshee investigate further. I turned off the hallway lights as Rob grabbed Banshee and pushed the door open just a bit further. Silently, Rob set Banshee on Pedro’s bed and quietly pulled the door shut, latching it as he did. We ran down the hallway and hid in Wipf’s room to watch.
At first there was no change. The pulsing rhythm of Pedro’s lady friend’s labored breathing continued unabated. Then…silence. Deafening silence followed almost immediately by the most blood curdling man-scream you will ever hear.

The door opened and we ducked back into the room but not before seeing an orange blur hurled through the air. I’ve seen cats thrown in my time but this was the first one that looked surprised by it. As Banshee glided to the ground, Pedro’s door slammed shut and we busted up laughing. About 15 minutes later a sheepish looking girl (both in mannerism and appearance) bade us a quick good bye as she left the house and Pedro came stomping downstairs.

Which one of you fuckers threw the God damn cat on my bed?”

What kind of education did Banshee get in there, Pedro?” Rob asked, completely ignoring his question.

Was it Sex Education?” I added.

Think that shit’s funny, do you? Wait, wait…let me get caught up with you guys. You think throwing a cat in the room with me while I’m having some fun is something to laugh about?”

You have to admit it was pretty good, Pedro” Wipf said.

Pretty good. Yeah. Pretty good. Say, Wipf, know what’s not pretty good?” Pedro took his shirt off.

Your man boobs?”

No, my man boobs are, in fact, pretty good, Wipf. What’s not “pretty good” as you say is this.” Pedro turned around to show us his scratched and bloody back.

Pedro, you monkey. You’re an animal!”

The fucking cat clawed the shit out of me you fuckers!”

Rob, you put the cat on Pedro’s back?” I asked.

No fucking way” Rob said between laughs. “I put the fucking cat on the bed by his feet. He must of have gotten scared or something.”

All I know is I’m about to finish and all of a sudden the fucking cat is walking on my ass. I turned to see what the fuck was going on and it jumped on to my back and just started clawing the shit out of me. Look at this shit! I’m fucking bleeding!”

Think of Banshee, Pedro. I’m not paying for cat therapy.”

Fucking bleeding, Rob!”

So is that when you threw Banshee into the hallway?” said Wipf.

Yeah, I twisted around…”

Oooh bet she liked that.”

I swear to God Rob you will be the first to die tonight. Anyway, I twisted around and pulled the little shit off my back and took him to the hallway and chucked him out. That pretty much ended my night.”

You should really get a lock for that door, Pedro.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Throwing Cats

I've seen 2 cats thrown through the air by human hands dozens of times in my life. I think, above all, responsibility and maturity means keeping the little frustrations in check so you don't release them by throwing a cat. I've got kids now, so I can't be seen throwing cats, or animals of any kind, across a room. To be clear and take a little of the tongue-in-cheek out of the comment, I don't support throwing cats, and very rarely did it back in the day, but I have to be honest and say I did very little to stop it when I saw it happening.

It disappoints my son to no end that I am not a “cat person”. I am extremely fortunate in the fact that one of my daughters is allergic to cats so owning a cat is simply not an option for us. Most of my hatred for cats comes from the days of living with them.

Victor Stinkass was Krink's cat and he left it behind when he moved out of the house in Aberdeen. So Victor was an unofficial non-rent paying room mate who occasionally shit on the carpet. Victor had serious rage issues due to a mix of living in a party house, and thereby having to deal with a bunch of drunks who wanted to “stroke the pussy”, and extraordinarily large balls. That cat was backed-up and was not happy about it.

The favorite game with Victor was to play Cock The Cat. Someone would reach back behind the couch and pull Victor up, hold him with 1 hand holding his hind legs and the other hand holding his front legs, point his ass at someone's face, and cock the cat like a shotgun. Sounds awful and cruel, I get it, but I laughed. Today, if someone were to shove a cat's stinky ass in my face, mock shotgun or not, I'd probably be pretty pissed off on a number of levels. If that's not a sign of maturity I do not know what is.

We gave the cat a fighting chance by not clipping it's claws and I have the scars on my arms to this day to prove that. It got so bad towards the end that we would not dare to approach Victor without wearing long sleeves and working gloves in order to protect ourselves.

I don't remember the year or the month. I can tell you for sure it was a Sunday morning, well before noon, when Moose first Spiked the Cat. The night before had seen a very successful house party shake down in our house behind The Zoo, so successful in fact that both Wipf's and my head still felt the aftereffects of that night the next morning. It was that deep-stomach-wanna-vomit kinda head-hurt. You know what I'm talking about.

The night before we had a group of drinkers at the house who had taken a liking to Moose's extensive collection of Star Trek memorabilia. Moose had a LOT of Star Trek memories he couldn't wait to make. Some potential future memories included boldly going somewhere, seducing alien women, punching evil-doers, and illustrating a comic book. Yeah, that last one is only sort of related....

So, a bunch of drunken revelry later, we all wake up the next morning. I can't exactly recall why I was so hung over that next morning, but it must have been a good time because I've only been -that- hung over 5 or 6 times ever and I've remembered each “morning after” vividly. The nights of, not so much.

I'm on the big couch which doubled as the other wall of our make shift hallway while Wipf laid on the smaller couch or, “love seat” (patent pending) as we called it. I was watching the TV that set atop the refrigerator in our living room and Wipf was laying with his head facing his room, away from the TV, so presumably I was watching some sort of World's Wildest Roller Coaster Rides on TLC. Wipf had the advantage on me here as, by chance, his position on the love seat also allowed him to see into Moose's room. So while I only heard the chaos that ensued, Wipf witnessed it all.

Moose was in a bad mood that morning. He wasn't hung over, as we were, but he definitely wasn't operating at 100% Moose-pacity. He woke up late and was in a hurry to get to work and nothing was going his way. The shower was cold (and, presumably, encrusted with stale vomit or other fluids from the night before....we wore flip-flops in the shower for a reason), and we may have been messing with him in one of any number of ways from calling him an odd nickname to doing complex math. Any Given Sunday....

At one point, Moose finally realized something was amiss in his room. The night before, while admiring his Federation memorabilia, and while messing with Victor, the inevitable had happened. Victor's “go-to” safe spot was under Moose's bed. Moose's bed was a fold out couch with a disturbingly large amount of oil cans stored underneath it cause the Bronco, sometimes, needed a little extra juice. The oil cans and general disgusting atmosphere of the underbelly of the Moose Den provided the perfect hiding spot for Victor, but for whatever reason (most likely built up dirty laundry) the cat could not enter sweet sanctuary that night. In an attempt at escape, Victor tore through the room, up the wall, and bolted across a couple of shelves containing models of everything Star Trek and, in the process, fucked some shit up.

There were some minor scratches, a couple of stray phaser blasts, but for the most part all was well. However, Victor did happen to knock Moose's prize possession, a replica of the Starship Enterprise, off the shelf and some parts broke off upon impact with the floor. Drunken hands tried their best to repair the damage but after 13 seconds or so they realized how little they cared and moved on to more important things like social lives and women. For whatever that was worth in Aberdeen.

To say Moose was pissed when he finally noticed the damage seems like a dilution of the phrase “pissed.” He was Batshit Insane Angry and the only answers lie on differing sized davenports in the living room, too hung over to give a shit.

“What the FUCK” shouted Moose.

I un-squinted my good eye to look for answers from a very unsympathetic Wipf . “What's the problem, Moose?”

“Who broke the Enterprise? When did this happen?”

“What are you talking about, Moose?” I asked.

“The fucking Enterprise is broken, guys! Who fucked with the Enterprise?”

“Klingons?” Wipf offered with a smile in my direction. I could see where this was going.

“NOT funny, Wipf! What the Hell happened in here?”

“Relax, Moose” Wipf said. “It was an accident. Someone got Victor all riled up last night and he ran crazy through your room. He jumped up, hit the shelf, and the Enterprise fell, hit the ground, and broke a little. Nothing some glue, duct tape, and elbow grease can't fix.”

Moose wasn't having it. A couple of day's worth of pent up frustration was about to come erupting out and, possibly figuring correctly that focusing that frustration on Wipf or I wouldn't pan out so well, Moose turned his anger towards Victor.

“God Dammit, Victor! Get in here!” Knowing better, Victor bolted to the only non-Moose related safe spot in the house: under Wipf's bed. We'd all hidden out there at one point or another.

“Fucking Cat...” he mumbled as he stormed out of his room into Wipf's. Shit was about to go down.

Moose was having a bad weekend anyway. His beloved Bronco had broken down, his job was a massive frustration, finals were approaching, and he lived with Wipf and I. That was always a blade of stress hanging above his neck.

I still couldn't move. Wipf wasn't all that quick either but he described everything as he saw it too me.

“Moose got Victor, dude. He's heading back into his room...”

“God Dammit, Victor! Look what you did!”

:...he's holding Victor by the neck and showing him the Enterprise.....”

“You have to understand that you DO....NOT.....FUCK …WITH....OTHER...PEOPLE'S....PROPERTY!!!!”

“Yeah” shouted Wipf from the couch. “Especially when it's Federation Property!”.

“What's he doing now, man?” I asked.

“He's really pissed, dude. He's still got Victor and he's....HOLY SHIT! Moose just spiked the cat!”

In his frustration and rage, Moose had had enough. He had spiked Victor like a running back who had just crossed the goal line on 4th and 2. Fortunately for Victor, he did it on his bed and not the floor. An angry Moose was still a self-controlled Moose.

“He just spiked the fucking cat, dude. Like a football. Right on his bed!” Wipf was convulsing with silent laughter on the couch.

Victor had bounced once off the bed and, Scooby-Doo style, had started his legs running before they had even hit the ground. He tore off, quite safely, through the apartment to the front door and, upon realizing there was no freedom available at that time, retreated once again to the underside of Wipf's bed.

“Oh my God, dude” I whispered through the hung-over laughter I was trying to contain.

"He fucking spiked the fucking cat, man.” Wipf said. “Shit, here he comes.”

“Don't say a word, man. Let him pass. Just let him pass.”

Moose stormed out the door, satisfied in the swift and distinctly non-Federation style justice he'd just dispensed to our unwanted room mate.

The second cat I've seen thrown the air was named Banshee and had nothing to do with Moose and we'll continue with that story tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How I Quit The Comfort Inn

Being in college we should have simply praised Moose for getting some action and dropped it from there. The fact that a girl was actually interested in Moose, borderline stalking the crazy bastard, just blew our mind and was a train wreck we couldn’t wait to watch.

Moose was never one to sweep the ladies off of their feet. Across the board, the ladies will tell you he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Need a ride to the grocery store? You’ll ride shotgun in his Bronco. Moving and need some Moose-muscle (or "Mooscles" as we came to call them)? He'd back up the Bronco. Gals, you know that guy you'd cry on the shoulder of because he was like a close cousin and there was no interest in him whatsoever? That was Moose.

I don't want to say Moose had bad taste, because there were all sorts of great looking female friends coming over to see Moose, but not one of them were interested in him that special way he was so desperately longing for. So he had to dig a little deeper into the barrel of love. Almost to the very bottom.

“Tricia” as I'm calling her because I have no idea what her real name is, was a bigger gal with no real figure and zero personality. She looked a little like Grimace, but with more of a flesh tone. She took what could only be described in the tongue of the Hill Folk as “a liking” to the Moose love and needed that Moose loving. She would not be denied. This put Wipf and I in an awkward situation. On one hand, we really hated this girl and had concern for our friend, but if Moose didn't get some action soon he would burst in the way that would require us moving out. And we liked our apartment, so Moose had to take the hit.

It was a Friday night in October when one of our parties was dwindling down at around 2:30 in the morning. Wipf and I each lay on a couch watching TV while Moose slumbered gently in his cave when we heard our downstairs door open and the thundering footsteps of a booty call coming. Tricia and 2 of her gal friends came in and asked where Moose was so we pointed them towards his room. They all went in and came out with Moose, very drunk and only half awake about 5 minutes later Tricia was leading the way with each of her friends supporting Moose under his arm. There was a party at a hotel room and they wanted him there, evidently in any condition they could take him. Moose gave us a wink and a smile which was by far the funniest thing I had seen in my life up to that point and stumbled out the door with his desperate, desperate woman and her friends.

The next morning I awoke to our usual array of friends on sofas in the living room who had not quite made it home from the bar the night before. It was my 3rd day of work at the Comfort Inn and I was getting ready for work while Wipf, Krink, Tara and Fish sobered up.

A few words of introduction are important on Krink, Tara and Fish. Krink was the Godfather of our group. He was the glue that held everything together. Our group of friends was eclectic to say the very least. We had football jocks, artists, musicians, gays, minorities, losers, outcasts, and super stars. Krink was the one thing in common that brought us all together.

He was a goofy looking comic book fan from a small town but his caring nature brought everyone under his wing at one point or another. Some of us just chose to stick around longer than others.

Fish was a 300 plus pound man-mountain majoring in science with some anger issues that usually had us laughing to no end. He was very much like Walter from The Big Lebowski, especially when drinking, but he was less violent.

Tara was our Group Hotty. She was a wing-man of sorts for any of the guys when we needed her at the bars. She could open doors and introduced us to circles of women that, without her, some of us never would have entered.

Wipf left for work as Moose was dropped off. Moose ran upstairs to tell us of his evening but said before he could get into details, he had to eat something so we should go out for lunch. I was torn. Go to work at the new job or hear the Moose Sex Tale? Fish put it into perspective for me.

"Dude, jobs come and go. How many times are you going to be able to hear a Moose Sex Tale?" The debate was over, advantage Fish. I called the Comfort Inn, quit, and went out for pizza with Moose, Tara, Fish, and Krink.

One Godfathers Pizza Buffet ordered and we got ourselves settled as Moose began to relay his story. He got back to the room party at the Super 8 which consisted of about 10 people who were all rolling around in various spots making out. Maybe it was because Moose was the oldest in the room, or possibly because she was the largest, but Tricia had a bed for the 2 of them. Lights go off and various people start going at it or passing out. Moose was in a segregated orgy. We were stunned.

"So what happened?" I asked.

"Well, we started kissing and making out and stuff, but something weird happened."

This wasn't as surprising as you might think as the story was already into the weird zone with us by the fact that A) Moose had a booty call and B) Moose was going at it with someone in a room full of other people. Due to a lifetime of unchecked personal fantasies these things struck him as normal.

"We were making out and stuff and I slipped my hand under her shirt" he said.

"You dog, Moose."

"Yeah, so she's breathing heavy and all excited and, well, you know how breasts get?"

Our interest level jumped immediately. Generally speaking, there are very few things that can be considered weird on how breasts work.

"Yeah" said Krink, knowing from experience how breasts get.

"Well, she was excited, right? And when boobs get excited, the nipples get hard you know?"

We knew.

"Hers didn't."

"Maybe she wasn't excited, Moose. You were pretty drunk" said Fish.

"No, they weren't flat either. They sort of… sunk in." We stopped eating.

"They sunk in? Like how? Like they were inverted?" I asked.
"Yeah, that’s it exactly. She got excited and her nipples went back inside of her."

"Like a pair of shy little turtles." said Fish.

I was curious. "What do you mean they went in? Like, how far?"

"Really far."

"Could you put change in them?" I asked. "If I had 35 cents in my pocket and I was making out with this girl, could I transfer them into her account with ease? I’m talking dimes and nickels."

Moose laughed. "I think you could!"

“Could they be used to store and transport pudding?” Krink asked. “Assuming you brought the Cling-wrap of course.”

"So anyway, we're fooling around and I have to piss so I break off for a second and head to the bathroom. Well, that took a while because..."

"Moose! We're eating. We know!"

Tara finally spoke up. “Wait, why did it take a while?”

At the age of 21, there were still mysteries of the male anatomy that Tara had yet to unlock and, unfortunately, the key to one was about to land as she was enjoying her lunch.

“Ok” Krink began, “Ok, the penis is a wonderful tool…”

He stumbled. Jumping in I added, “You know how a sprinkler works?”

“I’ve seen the penis, guys. I get the whole hose thing when you pee.”

“There’s more to it though” said Joe. “Imagine you’re handling a hose for a while. You’re watering the lawn with it and you’re trying to get to the boulevard on the other side of the sidewalk, but the hose is too short.”

“It’s always too short” she said with a smirk.

“Focus. So you can try to arch the hose up so the water goes further, or you can put your finger on the tip of the hose so it squirts the water out with a greater rate of pressure.”

Picking up on the analogy I added, “Right, so pretend the regular flowing hose you are holding is my dick while I’m trying to pee. It’s a totally normal Wednesday afternoon for you...” She hit me.

Krink brought it all home. “So when the dick gets all hard it’s like putting your finger on the end of a hose. From our standpoint, it’s a total pain in the ass to try and pee because this pressure is down there but nothing is coming out. And when it eventually does shoot out it’s just like the garden hose story and water shoots out in multiple directions.”

“You guys are so full of shit!”

“Yeah, it’s messed up, but that’s how it goes.” I said. “It’s usually just easier to take a minute to calm down some and remove that metaphorical stone at the end of our dick.”

"Yeah, so I finally calm down enough to pee and when I get back in there she tells me she has her period."

We stopped. Silence fell.

"So what did you do?" asked Krink cautiously, absolutely terrified of the potential answer.

"We fooled around for a bit and fell asleep."

"Wait, did she -just- get her period. Like when you were in the bathroom?" I asked.

"No, she had it and told me after I got out of the bathroom."

It had all become very clear to us: She had called an audible. We all stared at one another for a few moments, none of us having the heart to tell Moose, when Fish broke the silence with a slap on the back saying, "Well, you got some fine dry humping out of the night and you should be proud."

Which was all well in good for, Moose. Not really the story I was hoping to become unemployed for, but what do you do?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day Two Clarifications and Information

A friend was making fun of me last night for writing this up, saying it's important to Get Over College. I understand that as a first time read through, not knowing any of these people and probably knowing way too much about me, she could see this as some sort of attempt to gain happiness by reliving the “Glory Days”. That's not what this is about.

There are going to be some stories told and some laughs at others experienced, rest assured. If you've been driven here by someone, chances are you are eventually going to get something good about that person. The other part of this blog though, while still trying to stay light and entertaining, is to try to figure out that “What's Next” question that seems to be going through so many of my 30something friends right now, myself included.

Ask anyone who knew me way back when if, at that time, they'd see me living in a town of 4500 people raising 3 kids right now. Safe answer is no. I know who I was then and I have a generally good feeling about who I am now, but I have no clue on how I got from there to here.

I know the whole “life is a journey” thing. I get that. Maybe it's just not that important to dwell on these things and just go with the flow. My thing is that somewhere between Point A of living life all about ME to Point H of living my life entirely for my family, I lost something pretty important. I've forgotten some important step on how to keep making myself happy just for the sake of making myself happy. I am also really bad at remembering numbers and if we can find some correlation between the two I'd call that an extra bonus.

I said yesterday that I knew college was the best time of my life. That's true in the sense that I was smart enough to enjoy it, but it's not meant to come off as pessimistic on my part, suggesting there is nothing left to live for after those times were done. I've had many, many happy and great life experiences and memories since then, they just aren't really going to be the focus here.

This is all a little unfocused right now. Give me a few days of ramblings like this to sort of spew out all of the basic details and such and then we'll start to work on Focus and Theme and, perhaps if there is time, Spelling.

There were 2 main houses that were operated by our group of friends back in the day. The first was mentioned yesterday and was a 3 story home right behind The Zoo Bar in Aberdeen. We had the top floor which was a make-shift 3 bedroom with a living room, bathroom, and kitchen. The main level was mostly lived in by a complete and raving psychopath named April who still holds the honor of being the single craziest woman I've ever met and, God willing, ever will. The basement people were a rotating cast of cellar dwellers that we never paid attention to.

To get to our portion of the house you had to go through a door that took you into an entryway that had a nasty overstuffed chair and a flight of steps up to our never-locked door. The door opened into the living room which held 3 couches and a refrigerator. My room was right next to the entrance door with Wipf's room right next to mine. The bathroom was at the other end of the living room and there was a “hallway” that took you into Moose's room. You had to go through Moose's room to get to the kitchen, which partially explains the refrigerator in the living room.

The carpet was nasty, the furniture all hand-me-downs from previous tenants, and there was a cat named Victor there for a while that was left behind by a previous tenant. More on Victor later. Wipf and I had locks on our bedroom doors and kept everything that was important to us in our rooms, safe from wandering drunks and strange party-goers.

The second house was a bit of an upgrade. Moose had moved West and Wipf was busy with other aspects of life so I had to find another place to live. I got together with Stormo and Rob and we went in search of a new place to live. We found one about 2 blocks from campus that was beyond perfection for 3 single guys just finishing college. The only problem was it was a 5 bedroom at $900 a month so we had 5 hours to find 2 more room mates. That's how I met Jeff and Jennifer but neither of them lasted around very long. Like in our old house, once someone moved out we would just have another friend move in and we had a waiting list to get into that house. It was a huge 5 bedroom home with 2 sets of stairs, 2 living rooms, dining room, kitchen, an outdoor pool and indoor hot tub. It also had faulty electrical work and bats in the attic but you don't care about those tiny details when you're in your early 20s.

A lot of us lived in that house at any given time including Rob, Jeff, Jennifer, Tara, Jenn, Robert, Lorenzo, Pedro, Storm, Wipf, and Shaun. We found that by keeping a woman in the house as a room mate helped to motivate us to keep it just slightly cleaner. That was probably a future life lesson in the making.

The landlord lived in Deadwood so we never had to worry about him dropping by. His one and only rule was “No Parties” which we only really broke one New Year's Eve for Naked 2000, which is a story that will be told at some point but I will need to get some permissions on that one, I think.

So that's all boring background stuff that you needed to familiarize yourself with. I'll let that soak in and we'll move on to something a bit more entertaining later today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Introduction of Purpose/An Introduction of Players

An Introduction of Purpose/An Introduction of Players

I'm almost 35 years old. In those 35 years I have ever so slowly moved from about 15 miles west of the the eastern most side of South Dakota to about 15 miles east of the western most side of South Dakota and, as I type that, have never felt more depressed in my life. That nugget of Reality slaps me upside the side of my face leaving a trickle of blood where Life's Ring was turned inward just to make sure I was paying attention.

I may be the most ordinary person I know. Aside from a slight gift of observation and a dash of what I find humor, I don't think I have anything that makes me stand out. I can't create things. I don't solve problems. I'm remarkably content in the day to day nuances of my life where they are right now. But that is not to say I haven't lived a little. I, as we say, have seen some shit.

The only thing that's really important to get out of this first post is as I was living my time in college I was smart enough to realize they were the best days of my life. Every day spent with my friends and living the life we were living is still burned into my memory and there's no way I'd be the person I am today without living those days as fully as I lived them. For good or bad.

Now that I'm older and have some perspective, I want to try to figure some stuff out. I want to get in to some debates with old friends and new strangers who happen to come across this and wish to contribute. This blog is going to serve two purposes: 1) To share some old stories of funny or stupid stuff people I knew did and get a laugh out of those stories and 2) To figure out what comes next. 35 is not a fun age. I'm not old yet, but I'm not 23 any more either, living the life and experiencing the moments illustrated in these stories. You aren't either. You have kids, a job, responsibilities, debt, and an entire laundry list of other things that nothing could have prepared you for when you were running around naked and puking in an alleyway behind a bar in the South Dakota Winter 12 years ago.

There are a lot of people that are going to be featured in some way in these stories. Some quite heavily. I'm not going to censor very much so if you fear you are one of these people, you may want to get in touch with me and give me a heads up on what stories you want your name left out of.

Wipf, Krink, Weers, Storm, Pedro, Larz, Fish, Guffy, Roland, and Moose have the most to worry about. Mostly Moose. Sorry man. Your life with us was just too bizarre not to talk about. Just be happy we've gone this long without really and truly going public with it.

A very long time ago, Wipf and I decided that if we were ever to write a book about the adventures of living with Moose we would call that book, “It May Be That Your Entire Purpose in Life is to Serve as a Warning to Others.” I don't think that title works anymore, though. Moose, like most of us, seems content with his life so “warning” seems a bit strong. Despite his time with us, he came out ok. Or maybe it was -because- of his time with us he came out ok. Yeah, I prefer that.

And it's not just Moose Stories we'll feature here. We'll have all the classics from “Stormo's Going to Jail” to “She Had Inverted Nipples”. There will be tales that take our heroes to the Emergency Room on New Year's Eve, for Lock Jaw, and for Unnecessary Anal Probing. You'll know who We 3 Guys are and, for the first time, at some point, I may tell the story of the Fab Four Night.

Let us begin.

I had two sets of room mates going through college. The first house I lived in with others was shared with Wipf and Moose. Wipf was the focal point and leader of the group. Parties at our house were referred to as Parties at Wipf’s. He was the good looking one of the group and the music snob which is really easy to be in Aberdeen, SD, as at the time it had 3 radio stations.

His Christian name is Brian but nicknames came with the territory in our group. The nickname of “Wipf” was not chosen lightly. After test-driving a number of quality and well-thought out names, “Wipf” won out simply because it was the word that best described his personality. And it was his last name.

Moose, however, was not the last name of anybody. Moose earned his nickname.

Moose started out as the guy we needed to occupy another room in order to keep our rent low. He was goofy and a bit of a social outcast but he had a great heart and was very loyal. He was the big sloppy semi-housebroken Golden Retriever of our group. He drank mostly cheap beer and Zima but rarely at the same time.

Our House Parties were a thing of beauty, especially in the days when Wipf, Moose and I lived behind The Zoo. Our home had been a party house for generations before it burned down and we had inherited it through a group of our friends. One person within our group would move out and another would move in. And no disrespect to the parties held by others at that house back in their day, because I don't think most of ours compared favorably in size to those, but we had some barn burners in our day. For us, quality of the party was emphasized over quantity of the party. Wipf and I were smart party people. Moose was along for the ride.

Our rule was simple: Do nothing to draw attention to the Cops. That was it. That meant no parking on the street because you could easily park in the bar parking lot next door. No going outside to smoke. Smokers were instructed to stay in the downstairs entry way. Never turn on the lights. By keeping the lights off and stringing red Christmas lights around in the rooms, you could see while in the house but not in from outside of the house. Music was never a factor because you couldn't hear it outside over the bar music.

We never needed an excuse to have a party at that house, but sometimes life would provide them for us. Some of the best were provided by our friend Dan Stormo. Storm, as we called him, was a force of nature that someone had taken out of the early 1920’s. At the time, you never saw him without a mixed drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He was short, skinny, loud, funny, and did not care at all what anyone thought about him. And life had a tendency of putting him in the direct path of some pretty crazy shit which ultimately led to some great reasons to party.

There was the “Stormo's going to Jail” Party. “Stormo's Going To Jail Party Part 2”. The “Stormo’s Lawyer, Sid Strange, Got Storm out of Going to Jail” Party. The “We Love Sid Strange” Party. Every one of them was a good time. But New Years Eve was particularly special.

It was New Year's Eve 1998 and I had just officially moved into the house 2 months earlier. In that window of time I had hosted many parties but this was the first holiday based party, which always meant heavier traffic. Alcohol was flowing between the bar and our house and at one point we had close to 40 drunken people in our apartment and only 1 sober person. This is the story of how Storm found that sober person.

Storm drove up from Sioux Falls alone for this party. Most of his out of town crew were in other ways occupied so he was solo. He pulled up around 8:30 and was drunk by 9:30. You ever see Pulp Fiction? Remember Harvey Keitel's character, The Wolf? The guy who solves problems? Storm's like that character, all business, and a total pro, except the only problem he knows how to solve is how to get less sober.

One other point you'll need to know about Storm if you don't know him already is that he's not a materialistic person. Age has given him the luxury to afford a few more things here and there, but back in the day he was pure basics. He would buy cigarettes, booze, Mt Dew, food, and the occasional article of clothing. There was nothing frivolous. So when he spent his money, he appreciated what he had. That's probably the mindset that got him in the hospital later that evening.

Somewhere between 11 and Midnight, Storm was breaking one of our cardinal rules and was headed outside to smoke. Maybe he was distracted by a girl. Maybe he was fumbling for his smokes. Or maybe he was just that drunk. For whatever reason, Dan missed a step on our porch and started falling. Despite other stories you will hear, he's not that graceful, so when he later told us that he was attempting to twist his body to protect the beer we laughed that much harder for it. As he was rolling to save the glass bottle of beer in his hand, he managed to get it between his arm and the ground. Of those two, guess which has more give? The glass shattered and many, many pieces scattered like cockroaches to light on our pathway. But a few pieces were scared, maybe not fond of the cold soon-to-be January night, and decided to embed themselves into Dan's skin.

Only mildly fazed, Dan returned to the house, thankful no one of importance witnessed his fall from grace. While he did realize his beer was gone, he failed to realize that not the entire bottle was and, as he walked up our stairs, he turned our wall into something out of a horror flick. Our hallway did an amazing imitation of a Slaughterhouse. He left blood all over the wall and floor. Do you know what does a really shitty job of clotting blood? Beer.

Dan opened the door and we all froze. His khaki's were crimson and doing their best imitation of a pre-teen girl caught off guard. And he had no idea.

"Wipf! I need another beer. You'll never guess what just happened."

"Uhm, did you break the last one, Storm?"

"Yeah. I fuckin' fell off your fuckin' front porch and my beer fuckin' shattered."

Dan uses the word "fuck" like little blue men use the word "smurf". Ironically, Storm has been known to be obsessively pursued by an evil warlock as well. Small world.

"Dude" Wipf said, "I think we'd better get you a band-aid or something."

Dan looked down and noticed the killing fields.

Poetic, almost Shakespearean at times, Storm said, "Shit."

So we put a band-aid on Dan which had the same effect of trying to dam the Missouri river by placing a stick in it. The band-aid just washed down his arm and landed on the ever growing red puddle on our floor, the cloth part completely washed in crimson and looking up at us as if to say, “Hey, I tried.” It was sad and alone in its failure. Some of us mocked it.

Someone, most likely our responsible friend Shannon, suggested Dan be taken to the hospital immediately. We stopped the music.

"Everyone" I shouted. "We need to get Storm to the Emergency Room. Is anyone in here sober?"

As one, like something out of a movie, all eyes turned to the back of the living room to our former room mate Chuck and his girlfriend Jess. Jess was our go-to gal on things like this as she rarely ever drank and quite possibly could have been the sweetest person we'd all ever know.

Jess knew her moment had arrived. She kissed Chuck on the cheek and accepted her mission. We wrapped Storm's arm up in an old towel from Moose's room (a danger for Storm in and of itself) and helped him outside to Jess's car, wished her luck, and got back to our party.

Life moved on and the New Year came and went. Around 1:30 the strangers were gone and it was just our group of regulars hanging around when Jess and Storm came back. Dan had his arm wrapped and elevated above head.

"Dan, what's the story?" I asked.

"Well, I can't drink anymore tonight" Dan said. As if on cue, a beer can flew threw the room and landed in Dan's elevated hands. He shrugged, opened it, and took a drink.

"How was the ER, Storm?" Wipf asked.

"Not cool, dude. You know where you don't want to be on New Year's Eve? The fucking ER. The weirdo's come out."

Jess, normally very quiet, chimed in. "Tell them how you kicked the doctor in the face."

Let me tell you the formula to a great Dan Stormo story. Take an every day event, add a pinch of The Unexpected, and pour a generous amount of the Unbelievable. Then you have a Dan Stormo Story. Place a subject in an Arizona field and detonate a Gamma Bomb around him. If that Hulked up subject is still standing, he's Dan Stormo.

"You kicked the doctor in the face?"

"Not on purpose" Dan said sheepishly.

"What happened?"

"They took me back into that big open room with the little sheet curtains in it to look at my arm. There were a couple other patients at first but eventually it was just me. And I fuckin' had a lot to drink tonight, man, so I really had to pee. I asked the doctor if I could go and he said no because they were afraid they would lose me."

"What? How could they lose you?" I asked.

"Yeah, I know. That's what I said. I said I was the only one in here and I was just going to walk 12 feet into the bathroom. The doctor said to me, "what if you don't come back?" which I thought was stupid and I told him if that happens to just come and get me."

"So is that why you kicked him in the face, Dan?" Wipf asked.

"No, I didn't mean to kick him. He was sitting at the edge of the bed thing sewing up my wrist and I was sitting on that bed thing and I fucking had to piss but he wouldn't let me. So I'm sitting there like a fuckin' kid and I'm crossing my legs back and forth and I accidentally kicked him in the face. His glasses went flying across the room."

"Jesus, Stormo. What did he say?"

"Nothing, but he was pissed off! Look at the shitty job he did on my wrist!"

Stormo's stitch is anything but straight. And to this day, whenever he's near a surgeon...his scar burns.