Drinking Jack With Joe:
I had a couple of room mates a few years ago, Joe and Keith; a couple of Southern boys.
Joe, who rented the back unit, was from Texas and had come out to LA to be an actor, before he found out that he could get more acting work in Austin than in Hollywood, and moved back. Joe was about as Texan as they come: Bull rider, rough neck and lizard skin boots.
Keith had moved out here from Florida with his mother-in-law so they could both get away from Keith’s wife (Probably the only time in modern history that’s ever happened.).
Keith was a son of one of the founding members of the Warlocks Motor Cycle Club (Gang), a prime ATF target and conquest back in the 1980s. Keith was the opposite though, as nice and civilized a guy as you’d ever want to meet, but still a Southern boy.
When Joe and Keith weren’t chasing (or being chased by) some girl or another, or going to sing Karaoke at Leo’s All Star sports bar so they could get girls to chase or be chased by, as was inevitable Joe and Keith got together one Saturday night for an all night whiskey session which is a male-bonding/religious ritual in the South.
I heard the distinctive moans and whole-note belly laughs that interrupted the conversation as I passed back and forth finishing up chores before I went to bed.
The next morning while making breakfast for my girl and me, Keith came though the back door, pale as a corpse with eyes that looked like two bottle caps in a cow’s behind.
“Where did you just come from” asks I.
“I was drinking ‘Jack’ with Joe all night” says he.
Feeling a smart-ass cruel streak rising, I handed him a black cup of coffee and told him to find Jack and drink some joe.
I then slapped the over-easy eggs on to the counter. Keith took one look and made a dash for the bathroom and I was left with the hook for a Country song that needed to be written.
So as Mark Twain would say: "Now, then, that is the tale. Some of it is true."
From the Desk of Pixley Arbuckle.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
It is the mistakes we make in life that we feel the worst about. It is the mistakes we make that appear to upset other people the most.
It’s a bit strange that in this world the mean and the cruel, the criminal and the slightly sadistic seem to be much more accepted than someone who’s good hearted but is just plain clumsy and careless. The dreamers are punished more than the schemers.
The government workers who entertain themselves all day long bullying, humiliating and abusing the public that they deal with are simply accepted as part of life’s unpleasant details. But the person who makes a thoughtless comment, or the husband who fails to properly word a request to his wife, will both create a much bigger howl of outrage than someone who’s just a plain old, generic brand asshole.
On a deathbed it seems to be the mistakes, not the intentionally destructive acts that are regretted.
Those who keep dreaming and those who keep striving toward a goal, receive much more criticism than the TV zombie and the couch potato who do nothing and try nothing. Excellence - and any amount of “greatness” - are insulted as much at first as much as they are praised later. It’s a curious thing when you think about it.
It’s only when you are willing to look like a fool that you have any chance of becoming wise. It’s only when you are willing to be an abject failure that you can have a door to wild success. If you can eat the crap, you can have the steak. They are both part of the same dinner.
At least it appears to be the case.
What could you do, what do you want to do, that you will regret not doing or at least trying on the day you die?
You’d better get busy.
I’d better get busy.
There’s Something Wrong With You if You Love Me.
So there I am one night a few years ago, arguing with my then girl friend (now wife). I suppose was one of those generic arguments that usually boil down to not enough time and attention.
There I was, a single dad, raising two teens and running a business, and I had made it very clear in my on-line dating profile that I only had some Friday nights available for a casual date. So how was it that I end up dating a woman who was 10 years younger, single, childless, and who could be an instant threat to any top international model (no joke) was an absolute mystery to me. When any time she wished, she could be sitting in a mansion in Pelican Bay, driving a Rolls, causing a plastic surgery feeding frenzy among the ‘Housewives of Orange County’, she chose to date a habitually broke contractor, riding on the bench seat of a diesel truck on the way to dinner at Denny’s.
Now I’m not one to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth. If you throw me the keys to a Lamborghini, you can bet I’ll drive it, but this obsession with me was just bordering on crazy!
When I finally tired of the argument, I hung up the phone, and came to the only logical conclusion. She was NUTS! It was then that the hook to the song came to me. It pretty much wrote itself after that.
Now, dating gurus will all tell you that “attraction is not a choice”, and in my opinion, it’s more true for women than for men. Why, with so many solid, reliable good guys around, so many women gravitate to ‘bad boys’ - guys who are all flash and dash but not much else. It will always be a mystery to me, but billions of years of genetic programming have decreed it and so it is the way of things.
How many times have I seen beautiful and otherwise sensible women helplessly melt in front of some singer? How many times have I seen a woman abandon perfectly good husband/father material for a ride on a Harley? How many times have I myself seen that liquid, wide-eyed stare of infatuation and wondered at it? How could it happen that easily?
In general, the criteria most people have for picking mates tend to fall pretty well short of ‘smart’. I also know is that when a woman makes up her mind that you’re ‘it’, there’s no amount of reasoning or pointing out the obvious that can convince her otherwise. The sheer, blind faith that so many women maintain for their mates and their children is, I suppose, the reason some of us work to deserve it.
I suppose pure faith in the good qualities of others, despite all contrary evidence may be what makes civilization possible.
Crazy isn’t always bad. It’s just crazy.
He’s Dead or In Love or In Jail
You know that guy.
He occupies just about every part of society in one form or another. He lives for the sensation of the moment without much thought for the future or with much thought period. But who is that guy really?
Now stay with me here…
If you want to find the largest concentration of great, talented artists in the United States of America, you would not go to New York. You would not go to Hollywood, or Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington. I’ll wager that you would find the greatest concentration of artists in US prisons.
Treat yourself someday and go to a prison art show. Read poetry and prose written by prisoners. It’s some of the most expressive, emotional art you’ll ever see, hear or read.
So what is it about the artistic personality and temperament that lands so much talent in the place where it will be least utilized and appreciated, and do the least amount of good? ‘My guess is that it starts with Passion; That all-consuming, focused love of something or someone, be it art, music, beauty or life itself, which demands expression. It is that passion which produces great art that can be perverted and turned bad by that person-in-the-background who has no talent, ability or passion themselves. This is not to imply that everyone doing time is an artist, but a person’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness and artists are particularly vulnerable to the influence of a manipulator.
Passion must have an outlet: In art, love, war, sports, industry, creation, invention; anything you can think of. When great passion and talent are combined, a personality emerges which will tear down any barrier or run over any person in the pursuit of expression, and therein lies the problem. Passionate people like to take direct action and hate to ask permission. They usually start out with a high sense of justice and freedom of thought, yet they live in a society that has allowed ‘justice-for-profit’, and finds freedom increasingly inconvenient and bothersome.
Early in life they begin to rebel against a system designed to smash out who they are. As society drifts further from a direct connection to nature, “Boys will be boys” attitudes have changed to viewing things like daydreaming, excitement, enthusiasm and exuberance by boys to their surroundings as “Dysfunctions” and mental illness to be labeled with and “treated” by drugs, or juvenile hall and covert police beatings. All in losing effort to smash out passion and self-generated thought.
‘Attention Deficit’ Disorder? Put any normal adult in a small room with a boring, frumpy teacher and watch ‘attention deficit’ start happening. Hyper Activity? At what point does activity become a “disorder”? In what environment? In what part of the world? What activity?
In such a situation, a passionate, expansive boy doesn’t stand a chance (I once heard an honest psychiatrist define mental illness: “Its behavior that someone doesn’t like”). So the young artist begins to habitually - and passionately - fight the system at every opportunity and become easily influenced by the true psychopaths of the world; those who instigate others to act, or to act out. While pretending to be the ally of the boy in his rebellion, they offer drugs, gangs and crime as avenues to further his purpose They quietly enjoy the fruits of his efforts and allow him to become a sacrifice to the law.
The rest, of course, is history since the ‘system’ is far more experienced in suppressing rebellion, than the rebel is at rebelling. Game over. One more ward of the state. Another artist lost.
For the private parents and public functionaries who claim that there is not time to deal with passionate boys, I would like to drop the reminder that before Hitler-the-man became the most brilliant salesman for state run slavery and world wide genocide, Hitler-the-boy, was a passionate, gifted artist.
Never underestimate passion.