Wet Behind the Years

(Author’s Note: I originally wrote this piece on September 11, 2021. It was very sunny & warm that day. First it was written on a white legal pad. I was outside, smoking away, when the words were finally driving me crazy enough to get my butt in gear & put them where they belong, on paper. Then I typed it up on my AT&T 6200 typewriter. I’m happy they have a new home here in the Digital Universe.)

Funny thing about growing older is when you realize you have crossed some kind of passing-time-line into older!

I’m not even that old. But there have been a couple of incidences when I stopped & thought: Wow! When did this happen? Example: a very attractive GIRL was walking down the street. A GIRL! That is how I identified her. Young! Too young for me! I’d guess she probably in her mid-twenties. And too young for me! Me & the other guys from the house were in a van, going to an A.A. meeting. We rode past her as she was strutting down the street, the other guys whistling & cat-calling-out obscenities.

Yep. Too old for that.

Right now, I’m on the wrong side of thirty. I would not even know how to relate to that pretty young woman. I am inept when it comes to iPhones, I have never online dated, fashion is something of a mystery to me, and I am an alcoholic, bookworm destitute searching for a Serious Relationship… when I am ready for one, that is. And even though the advent of Modern Technology has changed the technique of courtship, some things will never change.

There is a reptilian part in both Men & Women to shed their skins & change their colors to adapt & advance & survive. Especially when it comes to finding a Mate. As I mentioned, I am an inept that is destitute with a socially unacceptable disease. All I have to offer is my time… maybe some intimate moments of fleeting comfort… laughter, and some fun & good times in a kitchen… orgasms. And that’s about it.

Not to peg all Women, but I believe there is a social – as well as animalistic – tendency for Women to be arm-in-arm with The Provider. The Protector. The Winner. The Alpha, not The Rogue.

Not to peg all Men, but there is an uncontrollable (well, almost uncontrollable,) urge to spread Our seed. To brawl with the other interested Males, competing Males interested in trespassing on Our grounds we worked for & claimed as Ours’; others desiring to breed with Our mate – all of it very animalist, indeed.

I also believe, once again, not to peg all Man or Woman, of having the capacity to elevate ourselves above The Beast. That a Higher Power has awarded us a Gift – a Gift of Awareness to things not found in wolf packs & snakes & gold fish. Awareness and the capability of compassion… of yearning… of forgiveness.

Maybe some of those things are dimming; maybe because the white-hot light of “Now” is so bright there is no time to think about it… maybe I’m just wet behind the years…?

I have been out of it for some time, now. So much has changed in the country… in my world. In my personality.

I’m old enough now, though, and maturating enough to accept one of the most important components of Love. That would be action. And I need to act on loving myself. Whether it be Provide or Protect or Procreate, I need to grow a little bit older before worrying about such things.

And I’m old enough now to accept that.


Bad Leg Leads Smile In Rodgers, OH

I walk funny. A limp with a slight drag of my right foot. I’m not sure how many bones I chipped & broke in my right foot. I know I have broken (then had to re-break,) my big toe. I did that falling through a floor in some slum of a trailer on the outskirts of Mosquito Lake, OH. My chipped bones of that foot were from me dropping out of a tree at my Uncle’s. When I was fourteen, I snapped both Tibia & Fibula running into a board nailed between two trees. Once again, my right side. And to top it all off, my right Scapula was cracked one horrid night in streets of South Youngstown. I was supposed to wear a walking brace & use crutches when that happened. But it is hard to do that when you are homeless & have to keep moving – keep walking, because you can’t just sit anywhere you want to, for as long as you need to let alone talk to someone while you are resting… or too sick to move. That’s loitering Ladies und Gentleman. And it’s against the law. Punishable for up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.00

According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.241, loitering is illegal so long as the offender does any of the following: Stopping or attempting to stop another person. Engaging in conversation with another.

So I kept moving. And I don’t think my knee properly healed.

There is also the condition both my feet are in. I have Neuropathy. According to http://www.medicalnewstoday.com:

“Alcoholic neuropathy is a severe condition caused by excessive alcohol use. Damage to the nerves leads to unusual sensations in the limbs, reduced mobility, and loss of some bodily functions. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment early can reduce the risk of permanent disability.

A person who drinks alcohol in excess may start to feel a tingling sensation in their limbs. This happens when alcohol has damaged the peripheral nerves.

These nerves connect the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, limbs, and sensory organs. Through the peripheral nerves, the brain is able to control the body and receive sensory information.

When alcohol is responsible for damage to the peripheral nerves, a person has alcoholic neuropathy. People who drink heavily on a regular basis are at risk of developing this condition. Some researchers estimate that 65 percent of people in the United States who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder also have alcoholic neuropathy.”

So, with all that said, in short, I walk funny.

Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be at a Recovery Center in Rogers, OH. People there were kind enough to let me stay at the facility while waiting for my apartment in Cleveland.

There was a Community Space with two large sectional couches bordering an open space about twenty-feet wide. A huge Samsung 86″ Class TU9010 Crystal UHD 4K Smart TV was mounted on the wall between the two sectionals.

I had just come in from smoking a cigarette. While shuffling my way in front of the TV to get to my room, one of the other residents, a sad & haggard-looking girl of about twenty asked why I was walking so funny. What was wrong with my leg? I told her I only had one leg.

Her face drooped even more, if you can believe it. She kept her eyes on me, though, & asked why I had just the one leg.

“Lost the other in a tragic Panda bear hunting accident,” I managed to say. “It happened back in 2017.”

She suddenly looked like a person that had just been hit with a bucket-load of cold water.

“WHAT! You are crazy. There are no Panda bears in Ohio!”

“Tell that to the Akron Zoo. Those beasties got out of their pen & went wild. We had to get to them before they found the wintery Penguin pods. Once those Pandas taste Penguin meat, it’s through. You might as well not even try prying them away from it.”

“My GOD! Did you save the Penguins?”

Wow, I thought.

Poor girl was really getting into it.

“That’s why the leg was taken. I interrupted a boar Panda during his meal. They will fight to the death before letting anything pry their pray away. They will even fight other Pandas. Luckily enough, my timing was advantageous for the pup bec-“


“Yes, ma’am. A baby Penguin. That bear got to me before it could finish the poor little thing off.”

That’s when I could not help it any longer. The walls were falling & the stitches were popping, the very tranquil damn of my convincing demeanor bursting – I LAUGHED!

Could not hold it in any longer. I was powerless.

“Oh my god,” she snapped. “I knew Pandas wouldn’t hurt a Penguin. You’re mean, man.”

But she was smiling. Really smiling.

And then she was back to being serious, looked at me, took a deep breath for courage & asked:

“So how did you really lose your leg?”

I could only smile & say:

“One day at a time.”

How does alcohol cause neurop

Settling In?

Possessions scare me. I have given away & lost & destroyed so much of my things, to obtain some now – even more terrifying, to buy something – makes me uncomfortable.

Will I be able to carry it?

Is it something someone would want to steal?

Why do I need it?

Will I need it?

Where can I put it/them?

I don’t deserve it!

Am I going to lose it!

(I’ll probably lose it.)

& on





If I tell someone I’m going to buy something, it becomes a responsibility, which results in me having a mini panic attack. I’ve become hypothetically, contractually obliged to the endeavor. Something so simple as going to a gas station to buy a cup of coffee makes me leery.

(And trust me when you read these words: I can mess up buying a cup of coffee.)

What if the card gets declined? And I already poured the coffee into a cup. What do I do with it? How angry have I made the attendant? Do I pour the coffee back into the pot, throw away the cup & stroll along on my embarrassing way?

Something attuned to terror comes over me withdrawing money from an ATM.

What if the money is not there? (Yet, I know it is. I called the bank to check the balance before leaving the house.)

How much will be there? (The nice, automated voice on the phone told me, but they told me the wrong amount the month before. Even nice, automated voices can be wrong, from time to time.)

What do I spend the money on? What do I use the change on?

Why am I afraid to spend it responsibly?

All these uncomfortable thoughts surface to a degree where not being comfortable is an understatement. A circle of cynicism is drawn & cycling, creating the notion I do not want the money. – Too much drama & loathing accompany in having it.

I don’t want to spend it!

I want someone else to spend it for me! But paradoxically, they would have to give me as much of it as I want, when I want it, & not to question me on what I spend it on.

It makes no sense! And I am aware it makes no sense. I would be putting myself in the exact same predicament. Another hurtle would have to be negotiated with, that’s all.

At this moment in my life, as of this writing, I’m very overwhelmed. And I do not want this overwhelming sensation associated with any paranoid, negative concept. No, no, no!

Where I am at right now is a blessing. A gift. A prayer answered. With a small income (which is a fortune to me,) a little apartment, & the honest pursuit to be sober… all this, after wandering & being lost for, literally, years, I’m afraid of screwing it all up. Of having to start all over, again. To walk those streets & dark paths I know too well yet again. Waking up in the hospital, again. Being admitted to another detox; another rehab to spend another pointless month, daydreaming of another life.

I fear I will not know how to express gratitude through altruistic actions.

I don’t want the fear of making a mistake. That is the powerhouse force in why I don’t want to buy too much clothing. What if I screw up? Get kicked out & can’t take all of it with me. Don’t want to buy books. Too heavy to carry around the streets. They take up too much room. I do have a backpack, now, though. I could take a few. But I’d want to take all of them with me.

Things are out there that I want yet am afraid to have, because I know the feeling of losing them. And I’m not just talking about possessions. I’m talking about human relationships. Trust. Apathy. Security. All of these things are things that can be taken away from you. Or given away. It can be by your own volition, or it can be forced upon you.

Fear corrodes the mind. It stunts it in its own unique way, turning your desires into things which must be questioned… & ever suspicious of attaining. Something I fear greatly is touch by a member of the opposite sex (there is a reason & a story behind that, but I am already on a roll on the subject of Fear, & I don’t want the distraction,) yet it is something I yearn for. My closest “friend” during this past month screwed up royally in a dangerous way, & I no longer trust him, now.

And I will probably never see him again.

However, blessings keep happening. I am now able to honestly say I have the courage to be judged & scrutinized & damned & criticized writing on this public site. That I have the time & resources & motivation to be productive, to have undeniable faith The Word is still accessible to me without constantly being under the influence is a blessing I am thankful for.

And it is undeniable, this Faith, & the outcomes awarded in having it.

Good October Conversation Sails Into Deep Waters: More Work Needs to be Done

Phone conversations fascinate me, now. Well, conversations with my Mother & Father. For a very long time there was no phone for me to call anyone; when I did manager to wrangle up some time to dial someone, it was usually to someone I should not have been associating with… or, even worse, I would call someone in a drunken black-out, not knowing that I did so until months after the atrocity had been committed.

Now, things are starting to change. I still need to learn & accept there are boundaries which should not be crossed on who I talk to, & what is said.

This mornings conversation with my mother, on the other hand, was, to me anyway, a delight. It was the type of conversation that left me full of pride & longing & embarrassment. Pride at how wonderful Parents can be. I was just informed this morning that my Mother & Father are now grandparents to two more wonderful & beautiful children. Children that are in no way related to them through blood or law or obligation. They are simply connected through them by love – love via the grapevine.

Let me explain:

The two new babies are the siblings to My parent’s biological grandson. And in no way would my parents deny a child over Domestic Grey Areas concerning paternity. The two new babies are the Brother & Sister to their grandchild. That is it. And that is all. They are Grandma & Grandpa to those babies, & will be so, I hope, until the end of their days.

There is the Pride part to this three part prose piece.

Longing follows as the close second runner-up.

I should not have to reiterate my struggling condition in maintaining a semi-decent form of stability where I can be around Family, but for those of you just joining the show, I am Alcoholic. A non-functioning, difficult alcoholic, at that. In has been a long time since I have been in the right state of mind to be around people that are even quasi-descent, let alone radiantly admirable. In listening to my mother share her time with her three grandbabies & my father, there was a pulling in my chest… a kind of ripping from the meat-hook recognition that I missed out on a great deal of essential, precious & finite moments & memories that cannot be recaptured… & my absence – my required absence, at that – was something necessary. And will continue to be necessary for many more moments & holidays to come.

Mark Twain once wrote something along the lines that Man is the only animal that blushes – or needs to. That’s bullshit. I have seen both dogs & cats in shame… my own own shame & embarrassment is bellow that of a dog or a cat. Mine can be controlled. Mine can be avoidable.

It is of no fault of my upbringing, my Social Class, or anything else that led to my drinking & drug use. I know the reasons for it. And I am not about to go into a long rant about it, now. What is important now is the recognition of my wrong-doing. THAT is what caused the embarrassment when hanging up the phone with my Mother this morning. That my Mother & Father have such an abundance of Love & Graciousness that, even with being blessed with three blood-born, law-bound grandchildren already, they have opened up their hearts to two more.

My inequities are vast & troubling. But they do not resonate from familial influence.

It is not a competition. But I am far from being presentable enough to be blessed with those Magic Moments. And that is not from any restriction I have been given.

It is a personal choice.

Somethings have to be earned.

A Long Overdue Thank You

What got me to start writing an online Blog/Column on WordPress?

It was over a question.

When I was visiting my family one Christmas vacation back in 2013…? 2016…? 2015…? 17?, I don’t remember. Anyway, my sister asked me if I ever thought about starting a Blog. I’m not sure how I responded to her, but I remember what I was thinking:

Hell, No! REAL Writers do not write Blogs! Real Writers write on Microsoft Word, edit the work tirelessly, re-write the thing, edit some more, & after all that love & frustration & compromise fill some mysterious void in the pit of Ours stomachs, you print the S.O.B. out. After it is printed, write a Cover Letter, write a chapter by chapter outline of the whole manuscript… you research for Publishers & Literary Agents in the current edition of the Writers Market tome – you submit! You wait for weeks & months for an answer (oh, do not forget to send a S.A.S.E. with the already bulky package that will cost around $6.00 to send,) & don’t just wait around for the envelop to arrive.

You still have to WORK!

You still have to write while waiting for that oh-so-sweet envelop that will either make all your dreams come true, or it will be just the more common thing slung from that S.A.S.E.: REJECTION!

Another f###ing Rejection Slip. I used to collect them. I put a nail in more than one wall of the different places I have lived and skewered those pulpy, rotten rejection pages.

Why did I do such a thing?

I’d read that was what Stephen King used to do back in his poor & youthful & desperate days when he – the KING himself – was submitting his work with blind faith & youthful determination.

A have not submitted any poems or Submission Packets to any agent or Publishing House in a very long time. However, I do remember riding on the plane back to Missoula thinking about the question my sister asked:

“Have you ever thought of starting a Blog?”

I’m not sure how long it has taken for me to bite the bullet, eat the work, & face the storm head on to come to the conclusion: THIS IS WHAT WRITERS DO!

We start Blogs.

We write!

And, with some persistence & luck, someone will read what I have put down.

Do I care how many people read my Short Rants & Odd Stories I post?

Of course!

Would I still do it if they went un-read? Me posting gibberish into the darkness of cyberspace – a scream into that darkness of an electronic canyon…

Well, I’m not sure how many pages I have typed-up on typewriters, how many legal pad pages & spiral bound notebook pages & bound journal I have filled up through the years, read only by me… maybe some of those closest to me… the pages have to be in the tens of thousands.

And that is not close to being an exaggeration.

I wrote all of it down because that is what I do; who I am.

I type things up here, on WordPress, because something built-up in me on that plane ride back to Montana. A question.

Why don’t you start a blog?

After landing in Missoula, after my little family was unpacked & tucked in for the evening, after many drinks & other things I dare not mention, after building up some courage, I typed into a search engine how to start a Blog.

So: here I am, I don’t know how many years later, not knowing how many columns I have published, but I do feel this little sense of confidence & accomplishment each time I publish my work online.

And it has been a long-time overdue, but better late than never:

Thank You So Much To My Favorite Sister.

You asked me one damn fine question.

Holiday Atop A Smith-Corona

Memorial Day. Holidays have taken a difficult spin for me. In the past two years, years I was homeless, in an institution, or treatment center, or hospital (well, you get the picture,) the holidays just pass on by like any other day.

No gifts. No feasts. No laughter from the young, or smirks from the old. All I can remember from last Christmas was sad faces, drugged up faces… faces of those wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere else – and with someone else.

I was just grateful I was not in the snow, freezing.

Today, though, even though I am not with my family or little kids to remind of the REAL importance of life, I was safe.

Here, at the house, there was a BBQ. There were steaks on the grill smoking and sizzling away. Baked potatoes wrapped in foil, waiting for butter. There were guys from the house outside playing corn hole (a game that seems to be played in every rehab and treatment center and detox unit I have ever been in.)

Some good things are out there; happening outside of my room. The weather is nice and bright and cool.

There is no blood.

There is no dirt and grime smeared on my face.

No stitches or casts, or the rash-burns of discomfort.

It’s just a nice day.

Is there some discontent in my head?


But even though I have some wandering, not-so-pleasant thoughts, I am safe!

What will it be like in a year? If I were honest, and I must be honest while I am at the keyboard, I fear the future holidays. I fear it because I know it will take a couple of holiday visits to acclimate myself with The Family again. It will take time for people to welcome me back. I would like for things to be balanced, but I am not blind to the complexities of other peoples’ emotions, thoughts, conceptions and beliefs. It is hard to Keep It Simple when a person is complex. People, in general, are simple. People (in large numbers,) are not that difficult to fathom. One on one, on the other hand, is something completely different.

But it is going to happen: Holidays with my family.

The bonfires.

Watching people unwrap Christmas gifts.

Roasted turkey.

Colorful eggs to be hunted for.


Hell, for the sake of my psychological well-being, it has to happen. And that may seem selfish, but so what!

It’s better than what was going on. I did the Long Kiss Goodnight to family… or, so I thought.

That’s right.

There was a time, while I was down and out in Youngstown, I thought I would never see family again. I said Goodbye to them, in my head. That was terrible. And I lived in a terrible way. It gave me even more of an excuse to mourn – to drown and to suffer and to drink and use. Any excuse would work.

Now, even with some feelings of resignation, it has to happen. To see them. And to know they were always there… to see them will be an important part of growth, I think; an important part of living with sobriety.

My sponsor told me the holidays will have their meaning returned to me the longer I stay sober. They will not have that grey-looking color of feel and taste and meaning. It has been told to me many things will get better the longer I stay sober

Holidays are just scary! I don’t think I have spent a sober one with my family in over ten years.

I am not worried about the holidays triggering me!

That is something I am certain of.

I fear something greater than that.

To Know Is Hard, To Wonder Is Worse

My son is perfect. I have not seen him in two years, and I do not know him, but I know he is perfect. I was there the day he was born. He was perfect then. He was perfect a year after that, and all the years following it.

My two years absence are by no means his fault for my failure as a father, nor his as a son. All of it is my fault.

And he is perfect!

The only excuse – not that there really is ever a good one – was my sickness kept me from wanting to see him. I did not want my own son being around someone like me. I still don’t. And never will. Me and all the other guys in the sober house I live in may be better off now than we have been in awhile, but we are a far cry away from people I would want my boy to be associated with.

It is not an easy thing to admit to one’s self. In fact, a great many people do not come to that hard conclusion they are not a fit parents. It takes other family members, even the Court System, to punch the reality into their faces, and even then the blow sometimes does not reach the brain.

When I think about seeing my son I get a feeling of wanting to detach. I do not want to confuse him… I really do not want to be an on-again-off-again dad. Lack of continuity can be discouraging to anybody. I sure as hell do not want to be a Dead Broke Dad, which I am, but things are in motion to fix that.

Do I just pay Child Support? Not see him? Wish for the best…? Swallow the bitter pill reality that I messed up?

They say it is never too late. Whoever the hell THEY are. But I know, if I were to see him, it would be for the selfish reason of ME wanting to see HIM!

Maybe I should give you, The Readers, some more background.

First: I was never going to write about my boy. Part of it is a protection thing. Kind of like I will never put the name of my ex-wife into print. Never put my son’s name into print.

Second: I always felt I was far too selfish ever to be the type to be a good parent.

Do I love my son?


Can I take care of him the way he needs to be cared for? Hell no. He deserves the whole world caring for him, making sure he does not feel the slightest prick of pain, or the emotional let-down of defeat… I want him happy… always happy.

My son is Autistic.

I dropped out of his life at an early age. I wonder, at times, if he even remembers me.

I talked with someone that told me he may not have “memories” of me in a traditional sense, or in the way most people have recollections. But he might remember my smell, my touch, my presence… being Autistic, he will remember things like that.


I hold onto what I can. I see the pictures sent to me.

Maybe this Christmas I will see him…?

Maybe the next…