Christmas Even

Thursday December 24th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

What a grueling marathon this whole trip has been. I’m glad it’s over, but I’m also glad I was able to make good on my commitment to show up in Duluth. I had a solid show and didn’t let circumstances get in the way like I easily could have. It wasn’t the crowd’s fault and I was proud of myself for being able to leave it out of the equation and just let it rip.

I’m still in a bullet proof mental state and I’m not letting anything get me down. In fact, I’m looking at this situation as a gift because it will motivate me to come back and get my priorities straight so I actually DO something with my life rather than just drift through it.

Whatever problems I have right now are easily fixable. I need a few bucks to make it all even again and even though it seems like a lot to me, it really isn’t. Twenty or thirty grand would put me in a great place and fifty would make me feel like Donald Trump. That’s an afternoon of shopping for Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, but I don’t have high standards.

I’ve lived like a cockroach for so long, I’ve gotten used to it. I think even if I did haul in a big windfall I’d be able to make it last a lot longer than most other people. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with material things, I just don’t have a need to own all that many.

My grandmother used to have furniture in her living room that nobody could sit in other than the pastor from church whenever he would come over. That happened maybe four or five times EVER, and the rest of the time it sat there covered in plastic collecting dust.

One of the very few laughs I ever had with my father was when the family got together to clean out her house when she went to the nursing home. He walked over and plopped on the couch that had been covered in plastic for as long as anyone could remember and said “I always wondered what that would feel like.” It was very funny and we all got it.

What we didn’t get was a pleasant healthy family relationship, and that’s why this time of year hurts so much. It’s a yearly reminder of what never was and never will be after all these years of wanting it. I know it’s too late now, but I can’t help admitting I still want it.

I probably always will, and who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to have my own family? I’m having enough trouble keeping myself going without the burden of a wife and kids to support. Maybe I’ll get my wish and maybe I won’t, but at least I’m honest with myself.

I screwed up a lot of things with my siblings, and I admit it. They don’t speak to me and it hurts, but I know in my heart I tried my best to make it better with all of them. I went to each of them and apologized, then asked for their forgiveness in return. They all said no.

Now I guess I have to live with that. It used to really bother me, but right now I can say honestly that it doesn’t. Not right today anyway. That may change but right now all I want is for all of us to find peace and get over all that ugliness of childhood. If they don’t want to talk to me, it’s their loss. I’m trying my best and in a good space. I hope they are too.
Christmas Eve has etched some very vivid memories into my mind over the years. As a kid I remember a knife fight breaking out in the kitchen at my father’s house between my step mother’s brother and one of the Outlaws. Nothing says Merry Christmas more than a drunken idiot pulling a knife right when presents are supposed to be opened. Ho Ho Ho!

Someone’s old lady was cheating on someone or something and all I can remember is a fight breaking out and everything getting knocked over. My grandparents were also there and I can still see the bitter look of disgust on my grandmother’s face as she took me into the living room with my brother and sister and we sat in the corner until it was all over.

I was probably about eight or nine and I could tell then that something wasn’t right with our family. I kind of knew it before, but that particular memory really clinched it for me. I can’t believe how vivid that memory still is today, even though I’ve tried to obliterate it.

Another Christmas Eve memory I have is putting a gun in my mouth and getting to the horrible point of pulling the trigger. I don’t recommend that to anyone, and I still shudder when I think of it now. My old roommate George had a .38 revolver and he was gone on Christmas Eve and I was all alone. It was 1993, the year I had my first major car wreck.

I was really low that year on many levels. I lost months of work recovering from the car accident and that was the year my best friend Timbo had robbed the bank for the second time. I was broke and broken and in a horrible place in my head and I just didn’t want to live anymore. I sat there for quite a while and mustered up the guts to squeeze the trigger.

The gun jammed or something and whatever the reason was, it didn’t go off. I sat there shaking and crying and overcome with emotion. I ended up putting the gun away and then writing a long letter to my father which I ended up mailing. It was many months later, but he called me and we ended up having our one on one meeting, which went nowhere fast.

These are deep emotional memories that used to be extremely painful, but as the years pass, so does the pain. Now they’re just memories that I really don’t want to revisit at all if I don’t have to. What rots is that when I hear Christmas music and see lights it tends to send my mind back to places I don’t want it to go. The trick is to not let myself go there.

Some Christmases have been flat out torture. This one isn’t so bad, even though I have a few things to be pissed off about. Yes, my car is history but that could have been a LOT worse. I’m alive with no major injuries and I might not live to see another Christmas but I sure did live to see this one. I’m grateful for that and also for the fact I’m thinking clearly.

I’m at a Motel 6 in Milwaukee because I had to return my rental car back to the airport and I have no ride anywhere. I don’t want to bother anyone on Christmas Eve and I need to get some sleep anyway. I just drove over 1000 miles in just over 24 hours and the last few hundred were under stress in a snow storm. This is the perfect night to spend asleep and I don’t mind at all. A lot of other people would be upset about it, but I’m in a bullet proof place in my head and I’m feeling good. I hope I can stay in this place for a while.


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