Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Girl I dated, whose name I do not recall

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I used to give quite a few presentations when I was working in the corporate world. I worked for a massive company and the presentations were always to other people in our company. After one of my presentations a girl approached me to ask me questions about my presentation. It seemed like she was slightly coming on to me. In the rarest of occurrences in my life, I just got ballsy and asked her out. She said yes.

For our first date I brought flowers and chocolates and took her to a nice Italian restaurant. I could tell during that date it probably was not a good fit. She spent her time at the restaurant judging and commenting on what other women were wearing and the styles of their hair. She was ugly about it. I was pretty turned off by it. The meal was decent enough, so all was not a waste. I dropped her off at her house and went on my way.

A few days later she called me to see if I wanted to go play some pool that night. I had nothing going on, so I accepted. We went to this little dive of a pool hall in a strip mall that at some point was a new and exciting addition to a neighborhood, but now was old and mostly vacant.

I love playing pool, grew up on it and had even seriously considered playing professionally at one point. I let her win, not because I was trying to earn points, but because I could tell she was a real sore loser. She started to a get a little too drunk, too fast. I went to the bathroom and was trying to figure out how to handle the situation. When I came back to the table, she was angry and pointed a guy out to me. She said, “That guy just called me a bitch. What are you going to do about it?” I was pretty sure she had incited the situation. The guy in question was not trying to escalate it to a fight. I told her I was not going to fight and that it would be better if we just called it a night.

She got mad at me, questioned my manhood, but then apologized in the car ride home and tried to make out with me. I was not into it. By the time I got her home, which was at most a ten minute drive, she was throwing up in the parking lot of her apartment complex and could not walk. I carried her inside, cleaned her up as best I could at the bathroom sink and put her to bed. I slept on the floor next to the bed to keep an eye on her. I wanted to make sure she did not puke on herself in her sleep. She made it through the night okay. She was however mad I chose to sleep on the floor, instead of in the bed with her. Not in a way that concerned my comfort, but in a way that said, “Why didn’t you take advantage of me, I would have been fine with it”. She was fairly mean that morning, but I did not really care at that point. I left that morning, but stopped by her house later in the day and made her some soup to help cure her hangover and she was still mean, so I broke it off entirely. I was just trying to be a good friend at that point, but even being her friend was not worth the headache.

A year or so went by and I got an e-mail from a friend of hers that also worked at our company. She told me that she considered me to be a very nice guy, that her friend always spoke highly of me and that I should give her friend a call. I asked why, she said “well right after you went on your dates with her, she met a guy and fell in love. He was still married, but promised to leave his wife for her. He eventually did and they were going to get married, but literally on the way to the wedding he got in a wreck and was killed. She could use a nice guy to help her get through it.”

I responded thoughtfully and eloquently, but the gist of my e-mail was  “There is no way I’m going to insert myself into that shit storm”.

There were no more e-mails exchanged.

Photo of the day – 15 – Coat Rack

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When my dad died, there was an estate auction. He did not have a will or at least anything specific to his belongings, so basically his family had no rights to anything. I am not certain I am recalling correctly, but I think my step mom told us to come over and take a few small things before they could account for them. I went over and took some of his clothes, some small trinkets and this coat rack thingy.

I don’t know why I was drawn to it. I think I just remember him taking off his watch and jewelry every night, putting it in that little tray of this rack and then taking his coolest jacket that he often wore and placing it in the hanger of this thing. I remember thinking it was cool, so I took it.

Here it is twenty-eight years later. It is one of the last things I have of his. As far as I can account, I’ve lived in eighteen different places since acquiring this rack. I have carried it around for all these years and never have used it. I always just place it in my bedroom often without even thinking about it at all. There is just something subconsciously about it.

Today, while cleaning out my storage unit I decided to throw it away. While carrying it to the dumpster it got me real emotional and all of the sudden out of nowhere this was a big deal. I had to take a picture. I had to stop and look at it and think about my father, before ceremoniously throwing it into the dumpster. It fucked with me. I can’t tell you exactly why, but it really fucked with me. It is still fucking with me.

My best guess is that I really take death hard. My mom told me on many occasions that I had the ability to heal faster than others because I can write openly about it. I used to believe that was true. I have known for quite some time that, that is bullshit. There may be something to be said for writing about something to free you of it, but I think I write about something, and then I drag it around in song for years. When I sing a song, in my mind I am back at that exact moment of whatever event I am singing about. Often I tear up during songs that I have no real emotion tied to anymore, but when I sing I’m not in the now, I’m in the past. Therefore it still feels fresh. I have people ask me how I remember words to old songs that I rarely sing. It is easy. I am not singing lyrics, in my mind I have living that moment and all I am doing is telling you about it as it plays out in my mind.

As my mom was dying, she told me again she was not worried about me, that she was more worried about my sister. My sister tends to bottle things up, to where I tend to put it out in the open. I think my sister’s methods are healthier for her, than my methods are healthy for me. That’s not to say either method works for everyone. We all have our own ways to deal with pain. I just think my way is an unhealthy avenue for me.

I have still never really dealt with my moms death and to be honest I am in some sort of weird emotional holding pattern. I’ve written many songs about it, but those do not tend to help me heal.

All I know right now is that I have a strong urge to race back to that dumpster and pull that damn coat rack out of there.

Photo of the day – 14 – Photo shoot

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There was a lot going on around the time of this photo. I was eighteen. I was going through a divorce. I had recently moved back in with my mother and step dad. The divorce was ugly. We were both unfaithful to each other. My wife was currently pregnant with another man’s baby and they were set to get married soon.
During my marriage, we bought a new car, a four bedroom house and lots of other things to fill the house with.It was shocking to me that anyone would sell anything to us, but my wife at the time was in the army which means you have a job you cannot get fired from, therefore anyone in that town would sell you anything.
My wife wanted everything in the divorce. I was happy about that, because I wanted nothing. I wanted to leave it all behind.
The supervisor at my factory job was a lady named Pam. Pam was trying to get into photography and I volunteered to be one of her first paying customers. I wanted to get some pictures with my daughter, so I took her with me.
I remember the night being real humid. It was making my hair frizzy and it was bugging me that my hair was frizzy. I bought my daughter a cute little dress and a bow.
Pam herself was just beginning to go through a divorce as well. It was at this photo shoot, that I found that out, because her and her husband fought about it at the photo shoot. I left that job and that town shortly after. I have never seen Pam again.
The necklace and ring I am wearing, I acquired at my dad’s estate auction about three years prior to this photo. My father had passed away and I guess did not have a will, so I had to go buy things at his estate auction, like a fucking garage sale. All his stuff from his house was put out in the yard and sold off. I ended up with his ring, necklace, some guns and some fishing equipment, some of his Texaco work shirts and some odds and ends. My sister took a large rug and I think that was all she could afford. That rug is in my step dad’s house now.
Shortly after this photo, I moved to Dallas. One night I left the ring and necklace in my middle console to go into a heavy metal club. When I came out, my truck was broken into and the jewelry was gone. I combed pawn shops for months, literally months. I never found either.
I remember being somewhat happy my father was dead at the time I was going through the pregnancy and marriage. I felt guilty about being glad he was dead. Up until then, I was terribly sad he was dead. My dad was hard on me and held a lot of power of me. I am pretty sure how he would have handled it. He would have made me feel two feet tall, and then cut off all communication. For how long, who knows? I doubt he would have come to the wedding. He was stubborn. Hell, he didn’t talk to me for over a half a year just because my hair was too long. I think he would have come back around at some point, but I am pretty sure we would have gone years without talking.

Photo of the day – 12

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My mom was a school teacher at my school. She taught honor students. I got by with mostly D’s. Before starting eleventh grade my mom told me I should take a vo-tech class. The vo-tech school was near my high school and was a half day class for two years. I choose graphic design and printing.
Our classroom consisted of a print shop just like you’d see now. It had a dark room, lots of printers, paper cutters, etc. It also had a classroom inside it that our teacher would occasionally try to teach us something.
The classroom wall closest to the print shop was mostly glass. You could see each student come into the print shop to make their way to the classroom every day.
The first day of this class I was sitting at my desk and this blonde girl walked through the door to make her way to the classroom. I was immediately intrigued by this girl. She chose a seat next to me and I was really happy about that.
Over the course of the next few months we became friends. I wanted to ask her out, but as always I was afraid to. We spent a great deal of time in the darkroom alone and we would talk for hours. I think we were really good for each other. We could share our thoughts without fear of what the other might think. I was feeling a really strong connection with her. I spent a great deal of time thinking about her. She lived far across town, so we never really saw each other outside of class.
One night I was out at a place called Hard Roxx. It was our local heavy metal club. It was right off the military based nestled in between raunchy trip clubs. It was a place notorious for allowing under age kids in, as well as allowing them to drink. They served beer by the gallon jug. What I mean when I say that as I’m pretty sure the owner just brought used empty milk jugs from his house and filled them with the worst beer on the planet. A Hard Roxx hangover was a special thing.
One night at the bar, I could hear this loud drunk girl running her mouth. I thought she was good looking and I was drunk, so courage was plentiful. I approached her and she made quick work of me. She asked me to drive her home. Home meant some barracks on the military base. She was in the army and a few years older than I. We sort of had sex, by sort of I mean I lasted about three seconds, threw up in her sink and passed out shortly after. The bad thing about her sink was it was in the room. There was only one room. It had a mesh screen on the drain, so my throw up had no where to go. She got mad that I didn’t choose the toilet. She then took her hands and actually scooped my puke out of the sink and carried it to the toilet.
The next day we ordered pizza and watched Hoosier basketball. She was from Indiana and was a big sports fan. We had slightly better sex two more times.
I went home. The weird thing was, that after my dad died, my mom took the leash completely off. She did not want to put me through any more hardship. It was a bad call on her part. I was able to come and go with no regards to curfew. Occasionally she would get pissed at me. I feel bad for putting her through so many hard nights. One night I had finally pushed her too far and she charged me and grabbed me by the throat and push me up against the wall, digging her fingernails hard into my throat. I was real calm about it. I just let her get her rage out of her system. She finally let go and I just went to my room. I felt real bad about pushing her that far. I deserved way more than that.
I had started seeing the Army girl on a regular basis and we pretty much just had sex most of the time we spent together. I was cool with that. However we got along terribly. We fought a lot. One day I decided I was going to break up with her and go ask the girl out from my vo-tech class. I entered her room with my speech practiced and worked over for many hours. As soon as I saw her I knew I was fucked. I knew she was pregnant. She told me and I got down on one knee and proposed.
I went home to tell my mother the news. I was in my room trying to get the guts to call her in to tell her. I was playing my purple BC Rich guitar and likely playing Cinderella’s Nobody’s Fool, because it was the only song I kind of knew. I had learned it specifically to impress another girl, PJ. That’s a story for another time.
I called my mom in and just blurted it out. “Rhonda’s pregnant and we’re getting married”, I said. She laughed out loud and told me I was funny. She quickly figured out I was serious and got boiling pissed. I mean really fucking pissed. She yelled out to my sister. Your stupid brother knocked up Rhonda. Then all hell broke loose. She made me call my grandparents and ask them to come over and tell them in person. They came, I told them.
Then it came time for Rhonda to face the fire. She came over and they went at it like I can’t describe, almost coming to blows, maybe even coming to blows on occasion.
I sat like there and watched it all unfold like I wasn’t in the room. Maybe you saw the movie, Garden State. There’s that scene were Zach Braff takes pills and sits motionless on the couch while craziness surrounds him. That is kind of what it was like.
My escape was Vanessa, the girl in my vo-tech class. I finally had to tell her I was getting married. She didn’t even know I had a girlfriend, which of course something I did not want her to know. We sat in the darkroom and talked for hours about it. She was the only one I could talk to about it. Our teacher was barely around. He let us do whatever we wanted. He was fine I guess with us just being alone in the darkroom for many hours. He did give us crappy assignments that were so simple and it was always just one project for a semester. One semester I made this cover as my project.
At one point everyone in the class was sure Vanessa and I were having an affair. The teacher called us in separately and told us both to stop. We both said there was nothing going on, because there wasn’t anything going on. I don’t know if I had the energy in my to deal with an affair.
While I was busy with planning a wedding, moving out of my mom’s house, finding a new job, decorating a room for my upcoming daughter, fighting with my wife, I thought of Vanessa almost constantly. I felt guilty for it. I was cheating in a way.
Late one night during my marriage I even parked in front of Vanessa’s house and wished she could come out and we could just go anywhere.
My senior year was a blur. I went to school full-time and worked at a flooring factory six days a week from four in the afternoon to one in the morning. I came home every night, showered, sat with my daughter for a while, and fought with the wife. Then I went to bed around three or four and got up at seven-thirty and did it all again. Sunday was domestic day. We went to Sam’s to get groceries, we did laundry and shopped for bullshit for the apartment like shelves to put knick knacks on.
After I graduated I had no way to get a hold of Vanessa. I heard she had moved to California. One night after my divorce, I ran into someone at a bar who had her California number. I called and we reconnected. I’d say over the years we have spoken on the phone for possibly over a thousand hours. Even though I haven’t talked to her in a few years she still crosses my mind daily. There was a time when I was certain I would marry her. I thought it was our destiny to be together. It is weird to think that as close to true love as I have ever been.

Photo of the day – 11

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Left to right: Nancy (my aunt), Linda (my mom), Charlie (my uncle), Bob (my dad)
Only Nancy is still alive. My mom and uncle (brother and sister) both died in their sixties. My dad died at fifty.
This picture was taken at the wedding of Nancy and Charlie. They had such a healthy relationship. I hoped to one day find a connection that strong.
Charlie had a knack and love for starting businesses from scratch and selling them. First he opened a car wash in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He sold that, and then started balloon tours over Colorado. He sold that, and then started a chain of bike stores in Florida. He sold that, and then started Tour De France bike tours in France. He sold that, than began his most ambitious endeavor, the world’s largest sail boat. It was a sail boat cruise line. The boats were designed by Ferrari. This proved to be a very difficult task and he ended up selling it to a country before finishing it. I believe he sold it to Germany.
They moved back to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and he began a novel. I would try to visit them often, because they were so interesting and fun to be with. One time I went to visit them when I was 21 or so and I found out terrible news. Charlie and Nancy were divorcing after being together decades. Nancy had been having a long time affair. It really crushed me. It crushed everyone in the family. Their son took it real hard and had just begun driving. He totaled a couple of cars over a short span. One accident was very serious.
Their two kids were very mad at their mom, but I somewhat understood it. Charlie was a very caring and loving soul, but he was obsessed with work. When he was writing that novel I could tell that was pretty much all he was doing. I imagined Nancy just got lonely.
Though they divorced they stayed best friends. Charlie was really odd in this way. He held no grudges on people. He had no trouble being her friend or hanging out. It was a very smooth transition. Just about every time he would move, Nancy would move to the same neighborhood. He moved to Boulder and started a movie company; then he became president of the Denver Ballet Company; then he started a brewery with his son in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While living in Mexico I visited him. My mother had just died from ovarian cancer. He was battling cancer the same time she was, but had beat it.
Just days after I left Mexico he turned sixty. He e-mailed me to say he was coming into the states for a doctor’s appointment. The cancer had come back with a vengeance. He decided not to do chemo and started a very strict diet and mediation regimen. Soon it all took a turn for the worse and it didn’t take long to pull him down, just a few months.
Nancy, his ex-wife had moved to Plano, Texas. He moved into her house and she took care of him. It was clear at this time that they still both had an extreme love for each other. It was very touching to see how much they loved each other in his last days. You could tell that they both had, had several long term relationships after their divorce, that they both never loved another like they loved each other.
To end on a light note, I should tell you Nancy is the reason I can’t eat sausage links. Those who follow my updates know what that means.

Photo of the day – 10

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When I was 11 or so, my mom started dating a new guy. I hated my mom dating and I usually did my share to get in the way, but this guy seemed alright. He had a son my age, Bobby. Although Bobby and I got along alright, he was a thorn in my side, because he was better than I at most things.
My mom ended up marrying his dad and he and Bobby moved in with us when Bobby and I were starting junior high. Bobby was more out-going than I and had lots of luck with the girls. I was more of a quiet and to myself kind of kid until I was comfortable with people. I would have never just asked a girl out, which he was totally fine doing. I had to know you a while. It had to happen naturally.
Bobby went out with most girls I had crushes on. It drove me crazy. As high school came into view we really started getting on each others nerves. We both turned 16 and had to share a car. Of course we were both guilty of doing our best not to share it. This came to fist fights occasionally. I can’t recall who won any of the fights, but I don’t recall either of us really coming away the clear winner or loser.
When I got my girlfriend pregnant, I started working at a factory at night. I got Bobby a job there as well. While I was using my money on an apartment, wedding, wife, kids; he was doing what a 17 year old should be doing with his money, spending it on frivolous things.
In my town at that time, old Monte Carlos were popular. Most people I knew were always talking about getting one, about to get one, heard of one they want to get, almost had the money to get one. My brother and his friend Richard had slick ones. They drove around with woofers in the trunk and cruised the local scene blasting whatever was popular. At the time I’d say that was Wild Thing, by Tone Loc and Naughty Naughty by John Parr. I remember my brother listening to those songs ad nauseam.
This was his first Monte Carlo in the works. Later he had a yellow one, that he made a convertible. On this one, the back window said, “Erotic II”, because Richard drove, “Erotic I”. The license plate, says “6 point”, which is referencing what we Oklahomans believe to be stronger Texas beer. That has been proved to be total bullshit.
Right after he got this paint job, my great grandfather backed into it. Bobby lost his shit.
Bobby moved away shortly before I did in 1989. He went to South Carolina and I moved to Dallas. In 1992 I had started a new job. I hadn’t talked to Bobby since he left town. He called me and wanted me to be the best man at his wedding. I was shocked. I considered us friends, but not best friends by any stretch. I didn’t have any vacation time, so I had to drive to South Carolina and back over a weekend. My sister and I went together. We got in town, dressed for the wedding, did the wedding, stayed for about 30 minutes of the reception and drove back. The only CD we listened to was Don Henley, End of the Innocence and we listened to it the entire trip. I have seen Bobby once since that wedding. He came for Christmas one year. Other than that I haven’t spoken to him, but maybe once on the phone.
Side note: The girl standing behind the car is Chali. She was his girlfriend at the time.

Photo of the day – 09

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This is my sister on my bouncy horse. I rode that bouncy horse for thousands of hours. If I was not on the bouncy horse, I was outside swinging on my swing set, which I did for thousands of hours as well.

Perhaps that is a stretch, but I tend to doubt it is. I lived in this house, with this horse until I was six. I remember a lot from this house and this horse. My mom and dad were on the verge of divorce. They fought a lot. It gave me a lot of anxiety. I would ride that horse all night. I do mean all night. That’s not an exaggeration. I would ride vigorously, like I was racing.

I would also swing on my swing set outside all night, literally until daylight. My mom and I talked about this a great deal in my adult years. She said she’d get up around three of four sometimes to get a drink of water and I’d be out there swinging. She’d just let me continue on. She knew their fighting was weighing on me and just figured I was doing whatever I needed to do to cope. She said when she would get back up in the morning I would still be out there. Same with the horse, but the horse was more distracting and would keep her up. I would race and sing. I would never stop singing. I don’t know what songs I knew at that age, but I know I sang constantly while rocking and swinging.

I still have this horse. It’s in my moms shed. There’s actually a few of my childhood things left in that shed; A Winnie the Pooh toy box with some toys still in it and my Hot Wheels City.