Thursday, March 29, 2018

DAY 110: ROBOCOP





I was lucky enough to experience my pre-teen years in the halcyon days of the 1970s and early 1980s. This was a time free of the shackles of smartphones and social media, and reality wasn’t found on television. It was a time of Hardy Boys and bionic men, talking cars and galactic battlestars, and you couldn’t help but smile every time somebody whistled Sweet Georgia Brown. But it wasn’t all Farah Fawcett on rollerskates.

Society had barely time to reconcile their relief and anger as the Vietnam War came to a close before having to stress about the second Cold War that was heating up and the omnipresent threat of annihilation from Nuclear Armageddon that was all too real. Paradoxes abounded. A recession was followed immediately by a financial boom, and the sexual revolution was curtailed by the AIDS crisis. On the radio classic rock was just rock (and was awesome) and disco was staying alive. In reaction to both genres, and the state of the world, counter culture punk came out kicking and screaming and new wave leapt of its shoulders, and we saw the emergence of metal and rap. It all existed at once, and it was ours baby. It was a schizophrenic time. For every excess there was a cautionary tale just around the corner. It was all very confusing and chaotic and completely awesome. It was bat-shit crazy.


Kids were allowed to be kids but given adult responsibilities and independence. 10 year olds could operate gas-powered whirling-bladed lawn mowers and get up at 5am to deliver newspapers so they could earn a wage to waste on kidstuff like comic books, Wacky packages, and Atomic Fireballs.

Children were to be seen and not heard but not really seen as you were out of the house before your parents awoke with a hangover and not back in until the streetlights came on. The waking hours that you were home you were relegated to the basement rec-room, or banished to the bedroom due to acts of mischief or maleficence.

If you ran afoul of Stranger Danger (who apparently had a predilection for white vans) a child could seek refuge behind the closed doors of a complete stranger’s house because they had taped a piece of paper in the window that proclaimed them a “Block Parent”.

Navigating this landscape of contradictions wasn’t easy, but we had some guidance from the Saturday morning gurus.


I learned that robots could put their arms back on but I could not from Astro. I learned not to drown my food from The Bod Squad. I knew exactly what conjunctions function was, and that Lolly's was the place to get your adverbs. Being a champ not a chump was One To Grow On. The responsibility of knowing that only I could prevent forest fires weighed heavy on me. It wasn’t until my difficult teen years that I discovered that knowing was only half the battle.


But not all lessons were easily come by. Even disciplinary measures were subject to the discordant and incongruous climate. Parents executed a form of discipline/education called Tough Love. This was an authoritative form of parenting that put principles before popularity. Parents were not desperately vying to be your “friend”, they were too busy being your parent. This meant that they were doing their job to better prepare you for the real world, to make you autonomous. This was accomplished by meting out punishment, or teaching life lessons, in an overtly harsh or stern manner. A contrarient style of being cruel to be kind. Children were made to take responsibility for their actions and learn through failure, mistakes, and pain. And my mother was a master at it, a third degree black belt.

Get caught smoking, no problem, mom would sit you down and make you smoke as many back to back cigarettes in one sitting until you turned green and puked.

Want to know if the curling iron really was hot because it didn’t look that hot, she’d encourage you to not just touch it but to grab hold of it. By the metal.

Leave your GI Joe’s out after being told to put them away? Well the questionable solution was to pack them up and donate those American soldiers to the Vietnamese family the church sponsored.

Harsh? Perhaps. Forgettable? Not a chance. You only made these mistakes once.

What made my mother a master is that she never just taught a simple lesson; she taught lessons that were multilayered and compounded. To obtain information and confessions she played the roles of both Good and Bad Cop, switching between the two seamlessly. She was adept at police interrogation techniques like Entrapment, Emotional Blackmail, Manipulation and Brutality.

Allow me to illustrate.

My older brother and I had been fighting, likely over the fact that I existed. For the devout reader this is old news, for the newer converts or those just now coming to their senses, stay awhile, bask, and I'll give you the Cliffs Notes version. My brother and I didn't get along, we were brothers in name only. He was 4 years older, 75 pounds and a foot larger than me, and used his considerable weight against me to work out his anger over the same familial dysfunctions that I was subject to. The only time I looked up to him was in the literal sense, when he would pin me down and dangle a string of spittle over my face and suck it back up at the last minute. Or not.


After enduring a particular humiliating session of bestial torment at his meaty hands including but not limited to Charlie Horses, Indian Rug Burns, Pillow Smothering, and General Pummeling, I felt a stinging need for Justice. For Vengeance. He had me as an outlet for his rage. I had nothing, no avenues of recourse, opportunities for revenge presented themselves infrequently at best.

I quickly assessed the situation.  Fisticuffs had already proven futile, and my homemade nunchucks had been confiscated earlier in the week, so physical retribution was a non-starter. He owned nothing readily available that he cherished that I could destroy. There was only one thing left to do, the secret weapon of last resort avaialbe to younger siblings across the globe. One foot planted on the stairs leading up to the Adult Realm, I looked defiantly into the weasel eyes embedded in his fat churlish face and invoked The Ancient Incantation:


“I’m telling mom”


Then promptly hauled ass to the first landing of the stairwell.

There was no pursuit. Instead, his softly spoken words wafted up to me and stopped me in my tracks. "Mom doesn't care. It's my right".

A chill went up my spine as I realized 2 things about his statement. 1) The smug look on his face told me he believed the latter statement, and 2) he may be right about the former.

Anger at this possibility welled up inside of me. I brought out The Big Guns.

"I'm telling her...that you...swore", my words were measured, as though being spoken by Michael Caine.

He recoiled as though slapped. Swearing was tantamount to kicking baby Jesus in his baby nards while pouring sugar into the gas-tank of the Pope-mobile in our household, and subject to extreme punishment. Yet another puzzling precept to understand as my father's propensity for expletives was legendary; this fell under the 70's axiom of "Do as I say, not as I do". My brother's lip curled upward in contempt. "I didn't swear. Gaylord isn't a swear. I did not swear".

"Mom doesn't know that" I levelled back. And with that I sought out The Matriarch.

I found my mother in the kitchen preparing dinner. It was 11 o'clock in the morning. I gently tugged on her Galloping Gourmet apron, "Mama?"

Deeply focussed, she curtly dismissed me with the warning "Do NOT ask what is for dinner because you know what the answer will be." I did indeed know what my mother's reply to that simple query always was: Horse shit and tram tickets. On the once a year my father transformed animal flesh into a fossil fuel his response to the same question was "You'll get nothing and like it!".

"I know mama. I need to tell you something", I feigned demureness.
"Well out with it lad" she said, having not yet turned to acknowledge me.
"It's bad" I was building anticipation. She wasn't biting, and continued her elaborate preparations. I tried again, "Like really REALLY bad".
"I don't have time for shenanigans boy". My mother never had time for shenanigans.
Ok, to hell with the hors d'ouerves, lets get to the main course. "Your other son swore".
Attention was gained. My mother put down the clarified butter, slowly put the lid on the tub-o-lard, and finally turned to look at me, her face betraying no emotion, "What do you mean 'he swore'?"
"Yeah, he like, swore".
"What did he say?" she coolly asked.
"You know, he said a bad word", I sounded dumb even to my ears.
"I understand that, but what EXACTLY did he say?" her eyes unblinking never left mine, analyzing, scrutinizing. I suddenly started to feel a little nervous.
"Um, you know, a bad word, a...um...a swear word". I hadn't thought this through.
She smiled gently. "Tell me what word he used son". No longer a question, a direction.
Oh man oh man...I really hadn't thought this through. An image of my brothers fat smug face flashed in my mind at that very moment and I had my answer. Might as well go for broke. Deep breath, "The F word". I feigned a pained look of innocence and dismay. Inwardly I was laughing maniacally thinking of the whupping my brother was going to receive. Vive La Retribution!
My mothers smile became tighter. It was a wan and strangely disturbing expression. "Tell me exactly what he said".
"Like I said, the 'F'..." she cut me off.
"Stop. Again: tell me what he said, tell me the exact words he said".
Oh I did not like this at all and began to regret this tack, but I was pot committed. "Um, he um, he told me to 'F' off".
"No son, the words. I need you to say all the words so I can make sure I understand". My stomach knotted and I felt a brick in my bowels.
My inner voice sounding like an exasperated Charles Nelson Reilly screamed 'What's there to understand? FUCK! F-U-C-K. I'm telling you he fucking said Fuck!', but what I said quietly was "I don't want to mama. I want to go now". I was now so worked up that I didn't realize I had started to cry.
My mother's face softened and she hunkered down to my level. She produced a tissue out of thin air as all mothers have the ability to do and tenderly brushed my tears away. "Sh-sh-sh-shhhh. There there now, what's all this about now? There's no need for tears. Just tell mama what your brother said and you can go. We'll put this silly nonsense behind us." She smiled a smile that was Love and Warmth and Protector and Toasted Cheese Sandwiches. Everything would be ok.
Wiping the snot from my running nose with the back of my hand I very quietly said, a whisper at most, "He told me to 'Fuck Off'".
"I couldn't hear you son, speak up" she cooed.
I very much wanted this to be over, so I took a deep breath, and projecting from my diaphragm, repeated "He told me...to...FUCK OFF".
Well that was liberating.
The elation I felt at having uttered THE taboo word to an adult was short-lived and replaced by a searing pain as I my mothers fingers clamped around my ear, twisted, and lifted me up off my feet. What the fuck? What fresh hell was this?! My bare feet (wearing shoes in the house was also obviously a punishable offense) were only making occasional contact with the shag carpeted floor as I was hauled by my burning lobe to the washroom where I was roughly shoved onto the also shag carpeted toilet seat. I was hysterical at this point, one part due to pain, one part due to confusion, and one thousand parts due to fear at what I knew was coming next.
"What did I do mama, what did I doooooo?" I pleaded through an expanding bubble of snot. I knew the answer to this as surely as I knew the answer to the dinner menu query.
"You swore. Twice. We do not use profanity in this house" she calmly explained as she reached for her implements. "We are going to cleanse that foul mouth of yours" she continued as she held the bar of Ivory soap under the warm running water of the tap, sounding remarkably like Carrie White's mother.


What happened next was all kinds of god fucking wondrous awful.


Washing a child's mouth out with soap for swearing was common practice back then, but my mother took it to the next level. She didn't just make me hold the soap in my mouth, she scoured my mouth. With a nail brush.
Yes indeed, she scrubbed my teeth, tongue and gums (especially the gums, the domain of those hard to clean words) with a fingernail brush that had been under actual filthy fingernails, lathered with a bar of soap that had been used on every single body part of every single member of my family.
A lesson not soon forgotten taught by the Master. You certainly got your money's worth. In the hands of a lesser disciplinarian the lesson would have been as pedestrian as "Swearing is bad". I took away so much more than that. Not immediately though, these were slow release lessons that I didn't realize stemmed from my mother's constabulary parenting style until I was a neurotic teen, such as but not limited to:


Swearing actually is bad. Swearing causes pain.
When you tattle on someone you are only telling tales on yourself, and no one likes a tattletale. Tattling also causes pain.
Fight your own battles. Don't outsource your dirty-work, outsourcing hurts everyone.
You can't fool your parents, trying to may cause injury.
Don't trust your parents. Actually, Trust no one. Broken trust stings like a bitch.
No one wins in a fight. Fighting can cause grievous bodily harm.
Karma's a bitch. A soapy painful bitch.
Lies will come back and bite you in the ass, lies hurt. So do nail brushes.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us. I'd buy that for a dollar.


William Makepeace Thackeray said Mother is the name for god in the lips and hearts of little children. Apparently Ivory is the taste of betrayal on their lips and gums. Did my mother give me these lessons out of love? Tough Love? Like I said it was all very confusing and chaotic. 

Or maybe she was just bat-shit crazy.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

DAY 109: BOB ROSS




In this world where the majority have opted to make their private life public and yet still seem justified in acting surprised and indignant when their opinions are challenged or their nudie pics are stolen from The Cloud or The Matrix or Bespin or wherever the fuck, honesty seems as rare as an uneaten Ho-Ho in Kevin Smith’s cupboard. By putting their lives on display people have become a product that they market, and like a trailer for a movie showing only the best scenes they market a shiny happy edited cut, presenting an idealized version. A fa├žade, a plastic facsimile of reality: The perfect untouched meal arranged on the perfect china plate in the perfect lighting balanced by the artistically just out of focus and wiki-researched perfect complimentary bottle of wine “Before”, but not the wine-stained tablecloth, sink-full-of-dishes, droopy red-eyed, hand-down-the-pants,farty, sleeping on the sofa in a display of drunken resentment “After”. Harrison Bergeron tried to warn us about the dystopian hollow perfection these masks create, and we all know happened to him, right?
No? Then I recommend reading a book you illiterate maroon.


That’s not reality. Life is not all Norman Rockwell. It’s messy. More like a Jackson Pollock.


I’d like to share something with you, something different, something refreshing: Reality. For a change of pace, instead of reveling in my all-encompassing awesome, I invite you to wallow in my humiliation. You should feel honored; very few know of this embarrassing slice of shame-filled pie.

The night before had been a cracking exercise in excess, rife with debauchery and ultra-violence. The entire sordid affair is described in detail on Day 108, so do yourself a favor and peruse that anecdote. The short version for those of you that move their lips when they read: a trip to a city an hour away, a stupidly gratuitous amount of bourbon and recycled beer, convulsive cake-shaking, and a trite misunderstanding with the a club's security detail that lead to my hasty and heavy handed ejection from the premises followed by a Royal Rumble of such ferocity that the Titans themselves shuddered in awe. I may or may not have had my ass handed to me.  My judgement impaired by alcohol and a possible concussion, an executive decision was made to keep the abuse rolling by gorging on fast-food and passing out on a friends decrepit couch that was covered in stains of questionable origin.

I awoke abruptly, sore and disoriented, my face and hair soaking wet. Panic set in. Was I on fire again?
Was I drowning?
In a toilet?
Did I flush?!
My eyes half focused and I saw my amigo Jimi standing over me, an empty pint glass in his hand. "Aren't you supposed to be at work in an hour?" he asked.
My wrist was bare. I'd lost my Batman timepiece in the skirmish with the no-neck Neanderthals! (For the younger readers, before the world became enslaved by the Apple Overlords, civilized folk wore miniature clocks secured around our wrists that enabled them to tell time, set an alarm, signal Superman for help, and talk to Tess Trueheart).
"Shit shit shit", I sat up and winced. My hematomas had hematomas. "Dude, why'd you pour water on me? I'm soaked!" I asked as I struggled to lace up my boots.
"You puked in my shoes" he responded.
Not stopping the complicated procedure of playing Cat's Cradle with my laces I briefly glanced over to where Jimi's shoes lay under a canopy of viscous un-chewed food. They had most certainly been befouled.
"That's not mine you dick. I had taco's. Your left shoe has pepperoni on the toe. Carl had the pizza. Your right shoe is overflowing with Alphaghetti, and you sir, are the only Alphaghetti Gobbler I know".
"Oh".
"Dick" I reiterated, putting the issue to bed in a way only boys and men can.
Half a cold meat-ish filled taco clamped between my teeth I forfeited my Battle of the Boots and raced out the door into the crisp December morn, a blur of obsidian starkly contrasting against the crisp white canvas of rapidly falling snow that blanketed the world. It registered briefly that I was stranding the friends I had chauffeured here, but you know how the old proverb goes: "Fuck 'em".
I felt...off. My skin was sensitive and I was slightly feverish, and my insides seemed to twitch. I assumed it was my injuries from the night before competing for attention, those both self inflicted and sustained by the steroid monkeys. I ached all over from bruising. My liver screamed. I tenderly folded myself into Castle Greyskull looking very much like a dog fucking whiskey bottle, and headed for work. 

It became apparent almost immediately that I was not going to be on time for work, or anything anytime soon for that matter. The snow storm had rapidly upgraded to bonafide blizzard conditions; visibility was non-existent, and I could feel mighty Greyskull's tires sliding on the un-plowed highway. I was crawling. And I was really not feeling very well. Hoping that the city streets might be plowed, or at least provide me safer passage, I abandoned the motorway for the city streets.

Big mistake.

Apparently the suddenness and volume of precipitation caught the locals who experienced this phenomenon Every Single Winter completely off guard, notably the husk of the SUV that was strewn across the fast lane, and the transport truck on its side across the other 2 lanes. It was a pallet of crimson brake-lights from a hundred other vehicles, more now piling up behind me, hemming me in. There was nowhere to go, no way to turn around, trapped. I was six shades of fucked.

Turns out my detour on a road to nowhere was not my first mistake. Apparently multiple pitchers of recycled beer chased with seven late night taco's that were constructed using caulking guns and drowning in hot sauce had that particular honor.

Without warning my colon painfully cramped as if it was on the receiving end of an Indian rug burn (get off your Cultural Insensitivity soapbox before you fall and hurt yourself Sally...that's what it was called and that's what it felt like). My guts were roiling like a sack of agitated asps. My skin was on fire, it hurt to be wearing clothes and I started to shake all over. I was perspiring profusely, a cold, shiver inducing sweat. I was very unwell indeed. There was sudden movement in my intestines. I looked around in a panic at the sea of unmoving cars, willing them to part like the Red Sea.

Oh I was most definitely in a tight spot, the proverbial pickle.

Another seismic cramp seized my insides, accompanied by audible movement.

Oh god oh god I wasn't going to make it! 


I clenched.


In a flash, I flung open the heavy door of Castle Greyskull and bolted from my car into the middle of the stationary bumper to bumper traffic. This wasn't so much a conscious decision as it was a necessary but involuntary action. My hands already fumbling with the pentagram buckle of my belt I made a tight-cheeked shuffle through the metal gridlock and climbed the snow-bank on the far side of the crowded road. Painfully aware of the hundred plus pair of eyes now raptly watching me through their windshields, pants now around my ankles, I squatted.

Even in this devastating moment of urgency concern for my reputation crowded my thoughts. If I faced the traffic my face would be on display. If I turned my back to them what was on display would be far more graphic. I opted for the not ideal compromise of my profile.

I violently voided my bowels in front of the multitude of horrified spectators,  relief washing over me in an awesome wave. 

As I wallowed in my own molten putrescence I inadvertently made eye contact with the aghast motorist directly next to me, her mouth agape in an O of shock and disgust. No turning back now, any shred of dignity lay steaming behind me, I scooped up a pile of snow and cleaned myself up as best I could. She kept staring. I didn't know what else to do, so I winked at her. I don't know why I did, but as god as my witness I fucking winked at her.

She was either going to have years of therapy bills, or one hell of a story to tell of the man in black in the snowstorm who was Jackson Pollocking all over the place. 

This was not a happy little accident. No sir, not at all.



Thursday, March 1, 2018

DAY 108: WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?




 




In one of the winters of my mid-twenties discontent a series of unexpected events along with some hedonistic decisions and a skewed sense of what is hilarious resulted in the single most ignominious moment of my life. They say we only die once. I disagree. We die countless deaths on the way to the last one: of despair, embarrassment, humiliation. Come now and join me in a tale of one of those petite morts. A messy one at that.

 
On this particular night the goal was simple if not routine at this point of our misspent youth: Crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and to hear the lamentations of their women. The reality of which translated into: consume copious amounts of cheap recycled beer, cavort with nubile young ladies with low standards whom have hopefully also consumed copious amounts of cheap recycled beer, and avoid getting into any type of trouble that may result in grievous bodily harm being inflicted upon our fragile persons.

The best laid plans of mice and men and all that flowery Robbie Burns stuff. Let’s just rip this bandage off and roll around in the salt a while.

 

On a chill winter’s night many moons ago, five of us piled into Castle Greyskull, my bench-seated behemoth of a K-Car, and set a course for the University located several cities away where some of our more scholarly comrades endeavoured to increase their intellect through the alcohol induced culling of slower brain cells, addition through subtraction. The atmosphere in Greyskull was light and jovial, the banter what you’d expect from guys who have let you sleep in their bathtub so as not to get vomit on their carpet: proclamations of ill-gotten shotgun privileges, boasts of the bevy of buxom babes that would be bedded, and accusations directed at those who smelled that which most certainly had been dealt. There was an incessant cacophony of complaints regarding the soundtrack I selected for our sojourn: non-stop Goth (not to be confused with Emo, which is puerile and utter shite). I was a stalwart supporter of the Doom & Gloom Movement, and attired myself accordingly: All black, all the time...black shitkicker boots, black pants (since we’re talking shame I’ll admit that I had on occasion worn leather pants, this, however, was not one of them), and black t-shirts advertising my adoration of bands that made you want to either drink a quart of bleach or stand at the edge of the vertiginous abyss in the pouring rain and scream in rage until the veins in your neck pop like a gamma radiated Henry Rollins. My darker musical and fashion tastes were a source of bemusement and harassment from my friends who were rockin’ their Dockers to the likes of U2 at the time, but my car, my rules, my tunes, so shut yer cakehole!

Upon entering our less than studious amigos’ hovel our olfactory senses were assaulted by the not unfamiliar yet strangely comforting aroma that was equal parts stale beer and fast food, and the by-products of both. Pleasantries such us “What’s up Gaylord?” and “Suck it, douchetard” dispensed, we set out on foot for the nearest watering hole.  As I look back in the retelling I’m envisioning us confidently strutting through the city streets in Tarantino-esque slow motion set to a soundtrack of some obscure yet totally badass 70s song, and I encourage you to do the same. In reality we were a clumsy staggering gaggle of awkward and unkempt 20-somethings tripping over our Docs and desert boots and own self-importance. We engaged in the act of Priming--the time-honored ritual of chugging as much cheap straight liquor as possible prior to hitting the bar, maximizing our limited financial resources and minimizing both our inhibitions and ability for critical thinking. Our destination was an underground club that catered to idealistic destitute students who still believed that the world was their oyster and that they had invented thought. When I say “underground club”, I don’t mean that it was some elitist enclave that only the select Chosen had access to; I mean it was literally 20 feet underground, a rickety flight of stairs leading to a windowless filthy shithole, but it suited our purposes:  no cover charge, cheap recycled beer, and lots of young ladies going through a period of self-discovery and experimentation as a means of working through their low self-esteem.


Of its many flaws and infractions this firetrap's most unforgivable crime was the music. Music is, was, and forever shall be an intrinsic and inseparable part of my life, but by the very nature of this being a university club DJ’d by university students, the soundtrack to our evening sucked balls. In a futile attempt to educate the denizens of this earthbound Mos Eisley I implored the DJ to play anything by Bauhaus, Joy Division, Skinny Puppy, Sisters of Mercy....for all that is good and holy I'd even settle for a little Alien Sex Fiend! I was met with looks that vacillated between confusion and alarm. In a desperate bid to abate the harassment the now frightened maestro suggested a one-time only set of Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, and Ministry. I could work with that. I magnanimously and drunkenly conceded and hit the sticky dance-floor. I flopped around like an angry epileptic octopus on amphetamines, creating a frightened berth around me. The only thing that I can attribute such commitment to this ugly piece of performance art would be a cathartic release of familial resentment and Catholic repression. Or the consumption of a legendary amount of alcohol. I say this because then, as now, I find dancing to be the most ridiculous of endeavours for a man to engage in even if you have the hips of Adrian Zmed and the moves of Deney Terrio combined. Which I did. In spades. But I digress.

My spasmolytic congress with the danceteria had left me overheated and drenched in perspiration, not all of it my own. One of my Docker rocking comrades commented that my face was red like a rose in a thorn bush, like all the colors of a royal flush. Beer and bourbon seeped from my pores, and my black uniform clung to me uncomfortably. The world began to tilt unnaturally. I needed to cool down, I needed fresh air. I headed to the base of the stairs, the only outlet for oxygen in this dungeon, and collapsed against the wall, one foot up, arms folded across my chest, unlit cigarette dangling from my mouth like a sullen James Dean, the embodiment of angst. I had just redesigned cool.

As I gulped in what little air wafted through the entrance a gaggle of obviously first-year students reinventing themselves shambled in and cued up in an orderly line bristling with hormones and idealism in front of me. The head of the line, all adam's apple and acne, silently extended his drivers licence to me. Without pause I accepted it, squinted in affected scrutiny, handed it back and blandly declared "$2 cover tonight". The group unquestionably reached into their chained wallets and Hello Kitty purses and produced the cover charge which I promptly collected and pocketed, even making change for the future hipster in the oversized Dinosaur Jr tee. I remained staked out at the foot of the stairs repeating this ruse for the next 25 minutes, accepting ID and lucre until I had amassed $76.

I knew my entrepreneurial venture was about to come to an abrupt and violent end when I spied four BOUSes (Bouncers Of Unusual Size)advancing towards me like a herd of ornery pachyderms and I was a wayward ivory poacher asking for directions. To their credit these knuckle-draggers were alarmingly fast for brutes lacking necks. I received several cursory sedating blows before I could attempt to explain I was just holding the money for a friend. Sausage like fingers closed around my Billy Idolesque coiffed 'do and dragged me up the flight of stairs, patrons calmly stepping aside as I was unceremoniously deposited onto the icy concrete of the parking lot. I'd danced this particular tango before and knew that retaliation was a fool's gambit. I opted to turtle, protecting my angelic punam, and feign death, patiently suffering the powerhouse kicks and punches that rained down upon my ribs, kidneys, spine and legs. The cro-mags eventually lost interest and lumbered off, celebrating another successful no-contest group assault.

I waited until I could no longer hear the sound of them breathing through their mouths before (for the benefit of those who had witnessed this biblical smackdown) gingerly picking myself up and casually dusting myself off as if I had merely stopped to take a short nap on the pavement. I could taste my spleen.

Clutching my hard earned doorman money in my bleeding fist and cursing my friends that were oblivious to my impromptu exodus I limped towards the nearest fast-food establishment.

No enemies had been crushed. No nubile women lamented or cavorted. Trouble that resulted in bodily harm was most decidedly not avoided.

However, copious amounts of cheap beer was consumed. One out of three ain’t bad. And I was up 76 bucks! I'd call that a win!

The best part? I haven't even gotten to the embarrassing part yet.

To Be Continued