Sunday, April 19, 2009


The first softball game. Nineteen to one. A loss.
Not a good start.

I struck out. Not cool. Next at bat, I ripped one down the left-field line--it landed just foul. Not cool. The pitcher, a 45-year-old with a couple kiddies, spun the next pitch and I popped it up to the third baseman.

Did I mention that the Dirt Dawgz lost by eighteen runs? Yeah.

We did not hit the ball well, we did not field the ball well, and the pitcher walked too many men. Personally, as I said, I did not hit the ball well and, in the field, two balls went over my head that I should have caught.

Long story short: we need to get better, much better. We have a slick shortstop and third baseman and we have an ex-college baseballer on our team, but we need to improve. Expo-fucking-nentially.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I think the airline is NWA, or Northwest Airlines, the airplane company that has those too-funny (most of the time) "Wanna Get Away?" commercials.

There's one where the cute black woman has something in her contact lens and she stumbles into the bathroom to fix her eye only to realize that she had stumbled into the men's restroom, all the guys staring at her as if she had two heads. There is another one in which a vendor at a sporting event laughs at a "Wanna Get Away?" commercial on the scoreboard and then proceeds to stumble down the stairs, spilling his full bevy of drinks on the isle-sitters. At the end of each commercial, Announcer Guy intones, "Wanna get away?"

That was me, today, at work: the woman with the effed-up contact lens, the vendor spilling down the stairs.

"Why don't you back-fill that hole, while I draw up the picture," Paul said. No problem. I had already back-filled a smaller hole, adjacent to the house's driveway, I was familiar with the Ditch Witch front loader, and, if this other hole was bigger and dug fresh out of muddy Bloomfield dirt? So what? I could do an adequate job of it. I was sure of myself, I was confident. Usually, the linesman does the machine work, though my job title is TMO, Trenching Machine Operator. Hey, it's like that for all the TMOs, for the most part--the linesmen -women do the digging and the TMOs do the grunt work.

Paulie's a little different. And, in a way, that's good. It's good to get practice on the machinery so that you don't get rusty with your skills. Well, I haven't been doing any digging, for the most part, since I've been in the department. I am rusty.

But, like I said, I had already back-filled a hole admirably and so I had a little confidence under my belt. Plus, it was a small Ditch Witch, easy to move and use, almost like a joystick-centered video game.

"All right, Paul," I said, "I got it."

This hole was different than the previous hole I'd filled. On the first hole, I could sit myself on the driveway--very stable--and I could just sweep the dirt and clay and roots into the hole by use of the digging arm. Very easy. This second hole, however--this one was different in a number of ways. First, this was a much bigger hole; this was where we had done the majority of the work, namely retiring a service tee and having the welder weld a new tee on and running a new service to the house. Bigger hole: more dirt. Second, there was no stable driveway upon which I could sit the machine. This was on the front lawn, butt-up against the two oversized mailboxes on posts. Third, the ground was soft as a baby's posterior. Fourth, I was tired--it had been a big job--and I just wanted to finish up and go home. Does that set the stage for disaster?

Maybe, maybe not.

This time, yes. Kind of.

I could go into detail about back-filling and how I had the welder's advice to which I listened, but I'm pretty sure I have bored y'all to tears by now. Long story short, I switched to the big shovel bucket on the front loader so that I could more easily push the dirt back into the hole and, having not had a lot of experience on the machine, I went a little too far into the not-quite backfilled hole and I...sunk in. No problem. Back out, right? Well, um, no. The problems were thrice. One, lack of experience. Two, the way in which the little Ditch Witch propells itself. It moves on treads, rather than wheels. Kind of like a little tank. Good for something, I guess, but not as reliable as good old-fashioned wheels. Three, the soft ground. I had gotten myself into a pickle; I had gotten flat-out stuck.

Matters were made worse by the mailboxes. I sincerely did not want to try to extricate myself from the mud and, upon operating the machine, take out two home's mailboxes with the front loader. So, maybe in the beginning, I tried to play it too cute, too cautious. Bad idea on soft untamped mud. I just dug myself deeper and deeper. I looked to the welder for help: he was on the phone. I looked to the linesman for help: he was in the 44, working on the computer diagram of the job we had done. I was on my own. It was not a success story.

Eventually, Paul wandered over to the hole, just in time to see me slam my hardhat against the machine's roof. "What was it?" he asked, smiling. "A bee?" Paul is a good guy, as genial as they come. He's also got an absurd sense of humor; often you can't tell whether the guy is serious or is yanking your crank. I have the same sense of humor and also I know that when Paul says something, you can bet that it is Theater of the Absurd. He plays good Make-Believe.

I told him that it had not been a bee, that I was stuck, that I was frustrated, that I was fucking pissed off. He smiled.

I fucked around a while longer with the controls and only succeeded in burying myself deeper in the mud. It felt like an Uncle Remus story, all Tar-Baby and shit. I gave up. "I give up," I said to Paul. "I'm stuck and I can't get out. This is fucking bullshit." At that point in time, I wanted to break something, anything. I got off the machine and Paul got on.

He had no more success than I. Though we tried to dig it out, put wooden planks under the treads, get a tow-chain from the welder's truck, nothing worked. In the end, Paul had to put down the digging arm to make sure the machine didn't topple onto its side. "No good," he said mildly, "we'll have to call for a tow truck."

I've been largely ineffectual since I came to the department. Sure, I work my ass off and people appreciate that, but I just have not yet caught on; I have not yet become as proficient a worker as I believe that I can be, should be. Maybe I put too high of expectations on myself, maybe not, though. It's coming up on two years in this department--I feel that I should be running circles around my previous self.

In most ways, I am. I understand what needs to be done, now, on jobs, and I do the work in a professional, hard-working, proficient manner. Yet I feel that I can't escape the ghosts of Adam Past, and getting the machine stuck in the mud?! Yeah, that didn't help my confidence.

In the end, like I said, the digging arm was down for support and the machine was tilted at, I'll say, a 30-degree angle. Not cool.

To make matters worse, Paul was on-call and a job had been sent to his attention. He was needed but he couldn't get to the job because his TMO had sunk his machine into about two feet of mud. Joy. He had to call, over the truck's radio, to the dispatch for a tow truck. "My machine got stuck in the mud," he said. "Tell'em I did it," I mumbled angrily. "Don't let them think it was you who got your machine stuck."

"I'm not saying that," he said, after he hung up the CB transmittor. "Shit happens. It's fine."

After the tow truck came and the driver took exactly seven minutes to winch the machine out of the mud, Paul walked up to me, smiling, and asked, "So...were you scared when the machine started to go into the hole?"

I know his humor. I knew he wasn't asking if I were seriously scared. I answered, "No, Paul. Not scared. Just fucking pissed and frustrated."

I have a softball game on Sunday. The welder is on the team. Other co-workers will have heard the "news of the stuck machine" on their truck's radios. I'll get some guff, some good-natured ribbing. I'll try not to be sensitive about the matter. But, seriously, ineptitude begins to get old, especially to the practitioner, if he cares a whit.

But, like Paul said, laughing, "This kind of shit always seems to happen to me. Never anyone else."

And now, as I write this, remembering the events, it is actually pretty funny to me. Shit does happen. I get super-worked up at the time, but, later, I'm all good with it. I think Paul has a good philosophy on life: don't take shit so damned seriously. It'll only raise your blood pressure and make you old before your time.

(By the way, because of the stuck machine, I got a meal ticket and an extra hour-and-a-half of overtime. But, no--it was not intentional!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Once, there was a man. He was neither slender nor fat, his head was well-shaped, his muscles did bulge.

It was a gray and rainy day, yet the man did walk; he walked to the store to get some tobacco products. He was addicted, you see.

Along his walk, he noted things like the gray squirrel slicing to the top of the branch, he noted a neighbor's front yard gargoyle (complete with a lighting system) and he nodded his approval.

He walked.

Satan blindsided him from his left. God was an afterthought on his right.

Satan said, "Just buy some, you skank whore."

God murmured in the man's right ear.

Satan said, "Don't listen to that pussy punk motherfucker. All you need is here."

The man walked on; raindrops sluiced off his fedora's bill. He thought, I want silence in my mind. I just want God-blessed silence.

God spoke, then, but the man chose not to hear Him.

Satab said, "Good deal, sucker. You're with Us."

The man walked on. The skies were gray, there was intermittent rainfall; the man felt at Home.

For a few blessed steps, there was silence in the man's mind. He walked and breathed and appreciated Nature.

And then, God spoke up: "Son, you need to do some deep deep thinking. You need to face your demons and, I'm here to say, you have to best them. You've a lot of Love to give this world; you just have to cut the demon off."

"Easier said than done, Yaweh," the man muttered. "Easier said than done. Why don't You ask me to move a fucking boulder? That? That maybe I could do. What you're asking is nigh impossible, Sir. What you're asking is paramount to change."

God nodded and trees swayed in His wind.

"God, I don't know," the man said.

Satan chimed in. "Don't listen to that billion-year-old fuck. He's a whitewash. He's nothing. I am king. I have the pleasures. What the fuck does that old coot have? Nothing. A cloudy throne? So fucking what? I am the king."

The man walked. Raindrops dripped. In his blood, the heroin was swirling. It made a dreary day palatable. The heroin made the man appreciate the blessedness of the drizzle. It made him...Heavenly.

Work, girlfriend, house, bills...all the concerns floated away. And he thanked Satan.

And he walked. The Future he was walking towards ceased to be paramount. The Future that he was walking towards ceased to be tangible--it lost its meaning. The man walked and he thought. And forgot. And thought. And forgot.

And he thought, This?! Is this what I signed up for?! Hell. No. I wanted picket fences, man. Whadda fuck?

Satan said, "You listened to me. Good boy."

God spoke from his right. He said, "You purposefully shunned what I had to say. You dropped the ball, son."

The man walked on, through the gray rainy late-afternoon and he thought. And he thought. And he thought. And he bristled at his earlier transgressions. And he bristeled. And he walked, through the rain, to the store to buy cigarettes...and a sixer. And a fifth of vodka and a balloon of the H.

And he walked out of the store and he turned his eyes skyward. "God, Jesus," he said, "how can I extricate myself from this self-made bondage? How do I bust the cycle?!"

And Jesus Christ answered and he said, "Fuck you, lackey. We've been here--always. You chose your path, you made your fucking bed. Lie in it. When you're serious, We'll answer. Until then, fuck off."

And Satan snickered and he said, "We'll always have a bed for you, here. Just call on me. I'll hook you up."

And the man walked on, towards home, from the Crime-Free Heroin Store in the gray sky, and the rain dripped off of his fedora's bill.


Thursday, April 09, 2009


I think the weather is finally breaking, here. The skies are blue. The birds are chirping. From across the street come the steady heavy boomp-boomps of bass from the rap CD the kids are playing while they shoot hoops.

I have "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2 playing on the laptop--for me, always uplifting. I've got a long weekend. Life is good.

Do you ever get those fleeting moments of total euphoria? Yeah, I know: there is one place that we all get fleeting moments of euphoria (the bed at climax), but do you ever get out-of-the-blue euphoric feelings that tell you that life is just fine, that life is just great, that life is just as it should be, that you are in the place in life that you are because...just because? And it's good? It's a good place?

I say, cling to those moments. I say nibble at them, eat at them, savor them. Savor the honey taste of Good.

It is a rocky world, full of pitfalls and spiderholes. But there is also great beauty. And it is all around us. Things can certainly get rough and tough around us, of course. But we need to always have that beauty within us. We need to be able to call up our reserve pack of love and beauty and hope. We need to be able to appreciate the goodness of the world. We need to be able to inhale deeply of Life--and love it.

And maybe I am only writing this to myself. If that's so? Then so be it. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself just how truly blessed I am.

Spring has apparently sprung, here, in the Mitten State, and I guess I'm all verklempt over it.

Love each other. Pass along a random act of kindness. Appreciate yourselves.

Till we meet again.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I just saw "Milk," starring Sean Penn.

Just like any other movie of Injustice (Mississippi Burning), I cried. I teared up, I cried, I had a little somethin' in my eye.

Gay, straight, bi, transgendered...who gives a fuck?

We had a fucking boob in the Oval Office in the last eight years--he gave a fuck.

I teared up because of the injustice. Why--oh why?!--was homosexuality considered such a cultural maelstrom? Why?

And. This is my Book: God made us as we are. One is born with homosexuality or heterosexuality or, sometimes, human beings are fucked, not knowing--spiritually--whether they are of a male or female gender. But...God knows. And that is good.

God is the Creator. You don't believe, fine.

I do.

I was pissed, during the movie, when they had a cut-away old-school newsreel of reactions. There was this cunt, with the Christ cross behind her, in the daylight--as clear as day--and she was bitching about what the Homosexuals would do to her family. I had an answer, and I muttered it out from betwixt teeth clenched tight: "Woman, you take care of your fold. Mmmmkay? Teach them right, protect and encourage them. If they turn out to be a homosexual male or a what? It is no reflection upon you. (Well, maybe a little.)"

The point--from my pointy mind--is this: G0d made us as we are. Hetero-, homo-, whatever. God made the decision. And so for any preacher or tight-lipped bitch to make sexuality an issue, well, they speak against God.

They may bring up Leviticus and other Bible verses, but, so what?! Who gives a damn? The world has moved on. The world recognizes people as people.

This is what I hate: "Well, God said...."

Bullshit. Go back to Genesis. God made man in his own image. God is perfect. Thus, whatever the hell God makes? It is perfect. Be it a platypus, an aardvark or a gay human being. God doesn't make Mistakes.

And so that is why, when I hear people talking negatively about "faggots," "lezzies," etcetera, I get a little hot under the collar. Do I say anything? No. I just write off the "joke-teller" as ig'nant.

But, still....

This movie opened my eyes. It might yours, too.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009


These are not just empty words...these are my thoughts.

Don't worry. It not that serious. I just wanted to let anyone who may think differently that, whatever I write on this weblog, I put my time and thought (and sometimes soul) into it.

This time--not much soul.

My co-workers at my company got a softball team together. C-League, I believe. It's kinda like A-ball in the Majors. I think we should call ourselves The Gashouse Gang. The 1930s Saint Louis Cardinals were nicknamed that, for what reason, I'm not sure. I just figure it fits. We work for the gas company, thus "Gashouse." "Gang?" Self-explanatory.

I'll be Ducky Medwick. Or one of the Dean brothers, either Daffy or Dizzy (probably more apropos). Today was our first practice.

It was about what you'd expect. There were a lot of missed catches, a lot of errant throws. One thing that was in our favor, however, was that some of these guys can really crush the ball. I mean, like, over-the-fence power. We work hard, we develop muscles, we hit softballs really really far.

Unfortunately, we aren't all athletes of the highest caliber. Some of us are a little out of shape. (Me included.) I lost the first few fly balls hit my way, due to--I assume--the fact that I had not my eyeglasses; they were misplaced on Sunday, along with a couple of birthday checks. Another factor in my early fly ball misjudgement was the fact that I really have not played the game for about 10 years. It takes an adjustment period, you know? Eventually, though, my fielding came back to me and I was able to judge the trajectory of the softball more efficiently. I made a few good grabs.

The problem came, though, towards the end of practice. I had been in the outfield the whole time, save for the period in which I was belting the balls from home plate, and so I was getting tired...and a little careless in my outfield cantering. The field was not pristine at all. There were dips and sways in the outfield, valleys and peaks.

On one monster hit by a teammate, the ball sailed way the fuck over my head and skittered across the basketball court, about 350 feet from home plate. I tiredly loped after it and--bam!--my left ankle twisted in a "field divot" and I heard a sickening pop/crack. Oh. Oh, the pain. I thought I had broken it, at first. The pain gave way to unnatural warmth and I limped to the ball.

"You all right, Adam?" Brian called.

"Yeah," I said, "I think so. Just turned the ankle a bit. But I heard it crack, man." I limped towards him and soft-lobbed him the ball; the fight was out of me. First practice?! Injured already?! Fuck that noise, man.

I limped out of the outfield and over to the bench and I watched the last 10 or so minutes of practice.

After practice mercifully ended, I had a few of the guys asking if I were all right. I thanked them for their concern, but I pretty much brushed it off. I wanted it to be not a big deal. Ankles get popped, they get twisted, torqued, sprained, strained. I have had it happen many times before, while playing basketball. You come down on a guy's foot--bop!--there goes the ankle. This time, however, I was a more than a little concerned. (For many reasons, most of them work-related.) At least when it first happened, and I heard that pop and felt that searing pain. The pop/crack was the thing that got me. That didn't sound good, I'd said to myself. That sounded like I broke my fucking ankle. Well, no. I could walk/limp on it, the pain was not excrutiating--I figured I was good. Not great, but good.

On the way home, I got myself an ankle brace and some pain-killers and some Icy Hot cream. I have not been as fastidious as I should be on the keeping the ankle iced thing, nor have I followed the R.I.C.E. home therapy (rest, ice, compression, keep it elevated). In fact, I've done none of that. Oh, sure, I pressed a cold-pack to it for a while, but the rest of R.I.C.E? No.

My ankle is cracking, now, whenever I move it in a certain way. The pain is not overwhelming, no, but the outside of my left ankle bone looks as though someone has sewn a golf ball underneath my skin. The right side of the ankle is whence the pain radiates and the left is swollen like a dude's stomach at a steak-eating contest. I reckon the bruising will start tomorrow.

Been there, done that. It's just a simple (painful) ankle sprain. It'll heal. But I don't think I'll be playing hockey on Saturday, like I had been planning to do. Hockey entails a whole hell of a lot of sharp cuts and stops. I reckon I'm not going to subject my ankle to that madness. Hell, work itself will be tough. There is no sense in being nonsensical about the matter, you know? So my body let me down. What of it? I'm not Superman. Everyone knows that, right?

I'm just pissed that the start of the season, in two weeks, may be a bit of a nail-biter. After the first fucking practice. Damn.

Peace and love to you all. And, yes, those are heartfelt sentiments.