Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Rains of Ranchipur

Well, it's high monsoon season here in the east and while the rest of the nation is digging its sorry ass out of neckdeep snow, we here in lovely, tropical New Jersey are enjoying the 60 degree temperatures and 90 mile per hour winds. Not to mention the 4 inches of rain per hour. And thunder and lightning (which are "Donder und Blitzen" in German, in case you didn't know that.)

I had to travel on the Turnpike last night, to an from a gay 12-Step meeting I attend in Pennsylvania, and the traffic, even at those late hours, was horrific as every university student in the east who lives in Boston traveled home from DC and vice-versa. Don't they have universities for hometown kids in those cities?

I thought about going to the malls yesterday and today until I saw the traffic reports. Fuggeddaboudit.

Tomorrow afternoon I have to drive to my sister's in Delaware where I'll be in hiding until Wednesday. Ordinarily I'd take the turnpike but I have a sneaking feeling that this time I'll be taking the best kept secret in the Garden State, I-295, which runs parallel to the turnpike for about half it's length AND IT'S FREE!

It's not a perfect solution, it gets quirky at times, but it's better than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 60 miles on Christmas Eve.

I saw "Atonement" yesterday. I thought I was on the verge of becoming bored with it, but it turned out that I loved it, cheesy ending and all.

Other than that, nothing much to report except that I'm looking forward to being OFF for the next week and a half.

So while I think of it...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! (whether or not you believe that some teenage virgin got inseminated by a dove 2000 years ago and had God's son, which I don't personally believe, but hey, it's a free country until the fucking THEOCRATS take over and slam all us queers into concentration camps, but hey, that won't happen this week, so what the fuck, enjoy yourselves, eat too much, be nice to each other, buy some presents for OTHER people for a change and DON'T DRINK (too much) and drive.)

Love,

JoyZeeBoy

Friday, December 21, 2007

Inside Job

My sponsee was sprung from rehab on Wednesday. He spent that night with a friend of his in Philly. She was good enough to find out times for 12-Step meetings in her neighborhood. Naturally, he didn't go to one that night.

But, he did allege that he went to one yesterday.

He showed up, with the friend, at my doorstep last night, at a pre-arranged and agreed upon time in order to collect his house keys. I could tell that he's on shaky emotional ground right now. The reality and enormity of his loss has finally started to sink in.

It's a funny thing about "bottoms." Everybody in recovery has one. Some were gentle bounces and some were full-fledged thuds (mine was one of the later). The point is that soft or hard, a bounce or a thud, everyone in recovery was absolutely, positively, 100 percent

MISERABLE

when they came stumbling into their first 12-Step meeting with a giant neon sign attached to their foreheads that flashed "NEW" and "PLEASE HELP ME" and with a "deer caught in the headlights look" upon their frightened faces.

When they show up it's my job, and the job of others like me, to do what we can, within boundaries, to offer all the love and support we can until the newcomer finally learns how to smile again after which we set them on the road to more permanent contentment and serenity through the 12-Steps.

That transition happens, usually, around day 50. After 49 days of showing up looking like they'd stayed up all night sucking lemons, one morning they'll come in in and the misery will be gone from their faces. They'll look refreshed because they actually slept all night. They'll smile because they're actually glad to be in the room where they know they are safe, a room full of people who genuinely care about them (and aren't after something).

After nearly 10 years of recovery, I live for moments like that now. I look around the room at my Friday morning beginner's meeting and I see a half dozen people just like that.

A few months ago they were hopeless, miserable, soulless wretches. Now they're ready to become productive members of society again.

When I'm asked why I do what I do to help newcomers my response is the same response I got from MY sponsor, when I had 45 days of sobriety and asked him the same question.

"Because one day you'll do the same for somebody else."

The feelings of fulfillment and joy I get from helping fledgling recoverers fills me with indescribable happiness.

I hope and pray that my sponsee, fragile and delicate at the moment, will someday find what I have found.

That happiness is an INSIDE job.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Poly-Ticks

For all you non-Paultards out there, that's Ron Paul over there on the right. He's a Texas Libertarian who's really caught on with a certain segment of the population.

That segment would be the segment I call "I'm crazy as fucking hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." You know the type. Real Howard Beale's (for more information look up the movie "Network" -- then rent the damn thing and watch it, you illiterate couch-potatoes).

Some folks are getting real scared because Ron is raising so much money on the internets. Carloads of cash, so I hear. Mountains of moolah!

I have a theory about that. I think that the people sending him bushels full of money know perfectly well he hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of winning. But he DOES have a snowball's chance in hell of scaring the shit out of the mainstream politicians --- enough so that they might actually start taking one or two "real" stands on the issues, as opposed to focus-group approved positions regarding the price of pablum in Paducah. Or whatever is politically safe to espouse these days.

Ron Paul believes we should arm six year olds. He also believes that gay people should be able to get married. He's a refreshing blast of left, right and everything in between.

More will be revealed regarding him, as we say in the recovery racket.

Over on the right-side of LaLaLand we have Mike Huckabee. Isn't he enough to make you move to Canada? Jeebus-freak, anti-abortion, anti-queer preacher man and physician (sort of). Every evangelical Christian Republicans dream candidate.

Unfortunately, he's not the dream candidate of all the saggy-assed, neo-con, right-winged, rich white guys who currently call the shots at the head of the Gay Old Party, like Dubya and Chainy. The one's who routinely pander to the same rabid, gun-totin', string up the niggras, Jews and queers (say "AMEN, JEEBUS!") base that Huckster might actually be a part of! God forbid! (If we actually did what we promised to do then who would bring us cocktails at the country club ... or arrange our loans, or decorate our homes or take our wives out to lunch and listen to their mouths for hours on end?)

And suddenly all those years of pandering to the crazies on the right is starting to look like it was a really bad idea, thank you Karl Rove.

So we are now nearing the time when we must start separating the wheat from the chaff, the extremists from the statespeople and the people who might actually get "something" done from the maniacs who'd just go to DC and piss everybody off.

I don't have any dream candidates yet. To be honest, I think they all suck.

But at least I know who I won't bother voting for.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Look, I had a good excuse....

I had a nuclear (or "nukalar" as George W. Shitforbrains, who has an Ivy League education, might pretend to say) stress test yesterday.

This was a half-day affair. I had to be at the cardiologists office by 7:30 a.m. The technicians finally got their acts together by 8:15 and they inserted an IV line into the top of my left hand. Then they started pumping in the first dose of radioactive thallium.

After that I wolfed down 4 cups of water (to get the crap moving through my system) and then sat around for an hour until the dye had permeated my blood stream.

Next, I was strapped into a chair that went up and down and rotated from side to side. They bound me in place so that I couldn't budge during the 15 minute x-ray scan of my midsection. The chair makes these lateral micro-movements, about 1" every 30 seconds, until they have an entire cross-section of your chest on film. I had a nice nap.

Then it was back into the hallway to wait some more.

Next I was called into the torture chamber, er, treadmill room where they shaved my pitifully unhairy chest and attached about a dozen electrodes to the same. The technicians placed me on the rack treadmill, Dr. Mengele checked my bloodpressure (110 over 80), and I was off to the races. Literally. 10 minutes later, with my heart pumping away at 145 beats per minute, the technician unloaded another dose of radioactive dye into my coursing veins and the doctor announced that I'd done real good. A minute or so later they stopped the treadmill, unhooked me from most of the electrodes, sat me down and waited until they were sure I wasn't going to die on the spot.

Then it was BACK to the waiting room for another 40 minutes of sitting around reading MDWeb because that was all they had, then back to the x-ray movie machine for another go-round, this time with my heart really pumping away.

Everyone assured me that I was doing real good.

I was glad.

The last time I had one of these tests done was December of 2003. Two months later I was getting a cardio-angiogram at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and 2 weeks after that , in the same hospital, I was being cracked open like a Maine lobster in order to have quadruple-bypass surgery.

So, nearly four years later, I left the doctor's office under the impression that that won't happen this time.

And that's a very good thing, for which I am truly grateful.

It's a good time of the year to be grateful.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Where the F*ck Have I Been???!

Well, nowhere actually. Last week I was a cranky bear. I blamed it all on a sponsee who is in rehab. I had a telecon with him (and his counselor) Wednesday morning and all I could think of, for the rest of the week, were the things I wish I'd said, but didn't.

Then, of course, there were all the things I should've been getting done in time for Festivus, but wasn't. Oh, I'd bought cards and made labels, but they sat on the living room floor like so many paint samples for Jake & Justin's dining room.

I could feel the clock ticking all late last week, the self-imposed pressure mounting (gee, I love being an adreneline junkie!) until I thought I'd explode by Sunday afternoon.

Then I did it.

I pulled the bag up onto the Ottoman and got the labels out of the manila folders.

A measly two hours later I was done (I don't go ape-shit with the cards --- mostly my nearest and dearest family and friends). I had two which were going overseas. The rest were domestic and I actually had enough "Holiday" stamps for those.

The cards all got mailed this morning, including the two to Europe.

I have a real sense of accomplishment today. It won't last, but it feels nice right now.

Oh, and I still don't know what's happening with the sponsee. I haven't heard a word out of him or the rehab since last Wednesday morning.

I hope they're curing him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crossdressing for Fun and Profit!

Somebody said that the photo I posted yesterday of Rudy Giuliani, in full drag, reminded them of Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries - red-blooded Australian heterosexual, just like Hugh Jackman).

Well, damned if he doesn't! It's the eyeglasses... and the makeup... and that gown ... AND THOSE SHOES!!! UGH.

Speaking of drag queens, Joe, over at JoeMyGod, went to the theater last night to see a live production of Charles Busch's silver-screen triumph, "Die, Mommy, Die!" As Joe himself finally admitted, he's well on his way to becoming a Show Queen (I think he's already there).

Joe mentioned seeing CB in "Lesbian Vampires of Sodom" when he first moved to NYC back in the 80's. My ex and I caught that one, too. I don't remember too much about it, but I do remember an over-the-top performance by Busch who seemed hell bent on bringing out his inner-Norma Desmond at every opportunity.

But for my cross-dressing money, nothing could ever beat the late, great Charles Ludlum in a succession of wildly insane farces at the Ridiculous Theatrical Company's world headquarters on Sheridan Square.

One of the first plays I saw when I landed in NY in 1978 was their production of "Camille... a Tear Jerker." I, and the rest of the audience, was in stitches from the time Charles first (literally) flounced onstage in an empire gown whose hem was coquettishly held aloft by a circle of helium filled balloons, revealing a lovely set of pantalettes beneath, until he drew (one of many) last breaths in a death scene that just wouldn't quit. ("Nonette... I'm cold. Throw another faggot on the fire." "I'm sorry madame, but there isn't another faggot in the house!!!" "Not another faggot in the house??? TELL ME ANOTHER ONE, NONETTE!!!") His plays were loaded with cultural references from life, art, opera, theater, books, street talk and ballet. The zingers, sarcasm and puns flew. To see Charles and his company of fellow lunatics perform was exhilirating and inspiring.

But their crowning glory, in 1984, was a 2-man production of "Irma Vep" a gothic horror story and cross-dressers delight. The two people in the cast were Charles and his lover Everett Quinton. It was a tour de force and my ex and I saw it several times, and dragged out-of-towners to see it whenever we could.

Charles passed away from AIDS 20 years ago this past spring, but I have never forgotten this brilliant man of the theater.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If They Held a Gun to My Head....


as I was standing in the voting booth and they said "vote for a Republican" I have to admit that I'd probably pull the trigger, er, lever in favor of Rudy Guiliani.

I'm no fan of Rudy's. As far as I'm concerned he ripped out the heart of New York City when he cleaned up 42nd Street, got rid of the video arcades, street whores and crack dealers (and their plainclothes counterparts) and turned the whole thing into friggin' DisneyWorld-North.

I'm also no fan of how he cleaned up the rest of the city under the campaign slogan of "Cracking Down on Quality-of-Life Crimes" (i.e. spitting, drinking, playing your guitar on a streetcorner, urinating on police cars, etc.)

And I'm REALLY no fan of how he single-handedly saved New York City on 9/11. Most New Yorkers I know feel exactly the same way. He makes it sound like everybody else was out of town that day.

This past Sunday, on some talking-head yakfest on tv, somebody asked him about the Queer Issue (like I'm an "issue" to somebody... which also pisses the fuck out of me) and he got all flustered (keep in mind that a gay couple sheltered him when his wife threw him out one time) and he started hemming and hawing about the difference between "being" something and actually "doing" something. He skated dangerously close to the old "love the sinner, not the sin" bullshit.

So, naturally, I had to go in search of some photo evidence of Rudy "doing" something.

Like drag.

More than once.

In fact he seemed to really dig the shit out of dressing up in women's clothes and makeup.

A lot.

Just sayin'.

He's a New York Style Politician. And when push comes to shove, if it simply MUST be a Republican, then I'd rather have a New York Style Politician in the White House than an Arkansas or Arizona kind.

Because they all look like shit in drag (can you imagine Huckabee or Cain in full regalia?)

But Rudy looks pretty good. For a Republican.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Deck Them Halls!

I resigned from the Codependency Society on Saturday and took myself to the movies instead of driving hours in order to spend hours having the rehab staff give me the thrice-over to make sure I wouldn't be smuggling Crystal Meth into the place when I spent hours on Sunday driving back to spend an hour visiting with my sponsee.

Earlier in the morning I'd spent a fruitful hour having coffee with the sponsee's former boyfriend. Boy, did I get an earful. I got the keys to my sponsee's apartment (which was the original purpose of my visit with his ex), drove over there, picked up the mail, tried to tidy up a little and took out the trash.

I spent a lot of time this past week on the phone with MY sponsor, trying to sort out my feelings, needs, character defects and knee-jerk reactions to needy people which I learned growing up with a bunch of needy people called "relatives" who, incidentally, were alkies like me.

So instead of angrily traipsing off to the wilds of Southern Pennsylvania, I drove to the AMC 24 in beautiful Hamilton, New Jersey and saw "The Golden Compass" which, for my money, was a golden snore. It's so derivative it's not even funny. There's hardly an original idea in the whole thing. It has one or two good effects, and that's it.

Time was I thought Nic Kidman was one of a handful of the most beautiful women in the world. Now I just think she's one of the most heavily-botoxed women in the world. That woman's forehead qualifies for it's own exhibit at Madame Tussaud's Museum of Wax.

The child is utterly charmless and, on occasion, brassy, brazen and more than slightly annoying.

Everyone else was pretty much wasted in their roles.

My opinions were vindicated by less than sterling box-office results for the weekend.

Let's hope that something comes along... and soon... to salvage our entertainment needs.

I spent Sunday reading the NYTimes, shopping, putting away laundry and doing some chores. I clean 1/4 of the kitchen at a time. I found the Faux Christmas Tree and the Genuine MOMA ornament bag and dragged them into the living room. With any luck I'll get the tree up sometime this week since there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on television for the next couple of weeks.

In fact, the only bright spot on my television viewing horizon is the fact that Season 3 of "Lost" is now shipping. This is good news since it's highly unlikely that there'll be anything worth watching after the first 8 (new) episodes this year (that's where they stopped shooting when the writers went on strike).

It looks like slim pickens from here on out.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Codependent, thy name is Alcoholic!

One of my sponsees collapsed a week or so ago and wound up back in rehab. The counselors there determined that he really needed to go to a slightly longer-term facility (28 day). I'm all for that. They packed him off to the new place yesterday. He's in a temporary blackout from the world, but can have visitors starting Sunday IF they've spent Saturday in some sort of training session, first.

One of the gifts of getting my brains back is that I recognize when someone needs more help than any mere 12-Step Program can offer. Sometimes people need to be locked up for their own good.

Which is not to say that they totally give up their old ways.

Such is the case with "Mr. X." Mr. X was in a long-term relationship with someone prior to getting sober. Prior to that he'd been in another long-term relationship. The problem with both of these relationships was that Mr. X didn't have a "real life" of his own. His life was lived with and through his relationship to his two partners. Their's were the real lives. His was merely an adjunct to theirs. They provided the housing. They provided the career. They provided the friendships (pretty much).

It wasn't Mr. X's fault. He'd been raised by Mittel-European Jewish couple who kept him away from the world, mistrustful of everyone and then, when he was in his 30's, they both died within 6 months of each other.

He was very much like Chance the Gardner in "Being There." An innocent abroad in the world. He didn't know, really, how to make a living or to have friends or to stand on his own two feet.

Well, eventually both lovers grew tired and bored and eventually Mr. X. sensed that something was awry and he started drinking. A lot. Lover #1 left him. Lover #2 got tired of co-sponsoring his bullshit and, after repeated attempts to get him sober by sending him off to detox centers and rehabs, finally just threw him out a couple of months back.

That's when I came into the picture. Mr. X, who'd dabbled in AA for a couple of years, asked me (out of desperation) to be his sponsor. I agreed. I didn't know how extensive his codependency issues were.

And now I'm finding out.

The ex boyfriend has put his foot down and told Mr. X that he will no longer continue to be a source of support and comfort to him. Mr. X has turned around and nominated ME to be his next victim ("Would you please call xxxxxx and arrange to get the house keys from him? I'm going to need some stuff from the house if I'm going to be here for awile.") As though these were my problems. Which they are not.

This goes right to the heart of my childhood ACOA, CODA issues. I have to set boundaries with him.

He's incredibly needy. I cannot allow that neediness to force me into doing things I do not want to do. Mr. Codependent needs to learn to ask others for help and to do it humbly and gratefully and not with a sense of entitlement.

And both of us needs to grow up. I'm not his daddy and he's not my needy child.

===================================================
Male Sex-Toy Update!

You've got to see this. It's hysterical (and more than just a little intriguing).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nana

I spoke at length about my maternal grandmother yesterday and about how she sacrificed to give me what she could in my childhood.

I should elaborate a little on some of the circumstances surrounding that. Long story short, my mother couldn't be bothered raising me as a single, 19 year old, parent. Hence I wound up being cared for by her sister (my aunt) her mother (my grandmother), her grandmother (my great-grandmother) and a succession of her girlfriends, many of whom would've made her a fine husband, if you catch my meaning and get my drift.

But my grandmother drank. A little at first, then more after her mother-in-law, my mom's grandmother, died. I was six when that happened. Then her other daughter, my aunt, married and moved out. After that I eventually became my Nana's confidante, son and best friend. I also became her bartender ("Ronnie, get me a beer while you're up, please and take this empty with you.")

Sometimes I became her ambassador to the neighbors. I remember once being told by the drunken man next door that there was "going to be trouble" if I didn't do something about a tree that was about to fall on his car. I was 11. Another time a beer bottle went horribly awry in the middle of the night and visciously attacked my Nana. I had to go wake the neighbors and ask them if they could drive us to the Emergency Room so Nana could get stitched up.

I hated Christmas Day. I hated Easter, too. And Thanksgiving. These were big drinking days in my family and I knew that no matter how much resolve they all showed before the big day arrived, when it did it was almost guaranteed to end in screaming, arguing and acrimonious verbal exchanges.

One of their biggest sources of contention with each other was, surprise, me. They would often drink and fight over me. Matters of custody, mostly. Like I wasn't in the room, or couldn't hear them from upstairs where I was shaking under my covers in fear that they might hurt each other for real... or me.

I lived a life torn between two women I wanted to love, my mother and my grandmother, but both of whom seemed to do everything within their power to make sure that I would grow up hating their combined guts, instead.

They had their good moments, as I wrote about yesterday regarding my grandmother, but those times were almost always outweighed by the self-centered evil of their uncontrollable anger and self-pity which emerged when they were drinking.

I know now that they were not bad people, but merely sick people.

I got something they never got, though.

And that was "better."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

a la recherche du temps perdu

The photo is of the intersection of 8th & Market Streets in the sleepy little burg of Wilmington, Delaware, sometime prior to 1959, which is when they took down the last of the overhead electric trolley lines. I missed the electric trollies because they didn't belch out diesel fumes and they were quiet, unlike their replacements.

The picture was taken near the holidays because the Christmas lights are up, hanging from the lamposts all along Market.

My mom worked in that Kresge's on the corner, before I was born. She worked behind the lunch counter. When I was little my aunt would sometimes take me there for a soda treat. This was back when they actually drew the Coca-Cola syrup from a fountain pump and mixed it with the requisite amount of fizzy soda to make a real fountain Coke. They were far better than bottled Cokes.

Way off in the distance, on the upper right-hand side of the picture, you can see the top of the Hotel DuPont, at 11th & Market.

Market Street was turned into a pedestrian mall in the 70's which killed off what little remained of downtown. To this day they keep trying new ideas to revive downtown, but nothing seems to work because they can't restore the one thing that is irreplaceable.... the era. I grew up in Wilmington in post-war America. Things were good. Jobs were pretty plentiful. There was always meat and vegetables and potatoes on the table. Nobody (it seemed) went hungry. Everybody had a job and was buying a car or a house or a "hi-fi" or a tv in those days. Appliances flew off dealer floors. You could buy things "on installment" in those pre-credit card days. TV sets were as much pieces of furniture as they were something you watched. They had to "match the decor" of your living room.

Bargains were still to be had at places like Wanamaker's or Strawbridge's or (for the real bargain hunters) Wilmington Dry Goods.

And around Christmas time Market Street got transformed.

I have never forgotten the year I wanted a toy so badly I could taste it. I kept asking and asking if "Santa was going to bring it" and I got shot down every time. It was some sort of "Astro-Lander" thing that had lots of flashing lights and a side door that opened so a lunar rover could be lowered to the ground and then it would run around. Look, don't knock it. It was the cat's ass when I was a kid.

Anyway, on a snowy December night, I left my grandmother shopping at the Wilmington Dry and started walking up Market Street, through the crowds (I was all of 9 or so). Suddenly I stopped. There, in the window of a novelty store or drug store or something was the toy of my dreams. I RAN back down the street, slipping on the snow-covered sidewalks, to tell my Nana that I'd just saved Santa a lot of hard work and that I'd found it myself.

That good woman just sighed. I knew right then, in that brief moment, the truth about Christmas and Santa. Selfishly, I clung to the illusion, resolved to hang onto it long enough to get my wish.

Nana was not a rich woman, you see. And this toy was not cheap, probably more than $10 (1959) dollars.

But that present was under the tree come Christmas morning.

Of all the toys I got in my childhood, from American Flyer trains to Erector Sets, I have never forgotten that one because for the first time in my life I knew just how much someone who loved me was willing to sacrifice in order to give me a few, brief moments of happiness.

My Nana passed away in 1968, a few months before I entered the Navy. I was 19.

She may have been a drunk. Her alcoholism probably consummed a lot of my childhood and made me the co-dependent ACOA I am today. But when push came to shove, my Nana loved me.

And I loved her.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Queen of MGM


No, not me. Norma Shearer. And she was, too! (Although there was a point, years later, when the Arthur Freed musical unit was alleged to have entered the commissary one day, en masse, only to have Ethel Barrymore announce at the top of her lungs, "WELL, HERE COMES THE ROYAL FAMILY." -- one assumes she was referring to Vincente Minnelli, of course, or one of the many other queens in the musical unit).

Norma came by the title in good old-fashioned Hollywood Style. By marrying the 2nd in command at the studio, Irving Thalberg (yes, THAT Irving Thalberg, whom the award is named after).

She was no great beauty, but she did light and photograph beautifully. Her acting was stilted and forced and more reminiscent of the highly-stylized acting style of lower East Side Yiddish melodramas than of the more naturalistic style that the talkies had ushered in. She tended to "indicate" with her hands.... a lot.

Nevertheless, I've always like Norma. She was fun to watch and, being Irving's wife, the studio lavished her with huge productions and spectacular sets and costumes. They spared no expense in making her one of their top 10 stars.

Until Irving unexpectedly died, of course. And that was pretty much the end of that. No more lavish productions (her really big movies never turned profits, even though they were very popular), and no more painstaking photography and lighting to cover up for her "lazy eye" condition.

One of her most stupendous roles was as "Marie Antoinette" produced by MGM in 1938. I only ever saw a bowdlerized print of it, when I was a kid, on the Early Show in Philly, circa 65-66. But I wanted to see the whole thing. A year or so ago I read that Criterion (I think) had come up with a beautifully restored print, complete with the original overture, entr'acte and exit music, plus a lot of deleted scenes. I wanted it, so I added it to my wish list on Amazon.com.

And there it languished, like Norma, for a whole year. Until this past weekend. A friend of mine (a very good friend of mine) had raided my Wish List and not only ordered it but also a director's cut version of Altman's "Nashville" which I've not seen (because it's so long) since it's original release back in the 70's.

Wouldn't you know it, the cable went out for the weekend. So I had NO choice but the watch it (Marie). It's long by 1938 standards. Over 2 and a half hours. For a black and white film it's humongous (the additional material on the DVD quotes statistics like "10,000 costumes, 5,000 extras, 98 huge sets). I was mesmerized. Tyrone Power plays the Swedish Count who is the real love interest of the frivolous little Queen. Robert Morley (in his 1st Hollywood role) is the Dauphin/Louis XVI to whom she is married off, John Barrymore plays his grandfather, old Louis, and Joseph Schildkraut plays the smarmy Duc D'Orleans who is secretly in cahoots with the revolutionaries.

I love movies like this. I could watch 'em all day long (although I must confess that during some of the revolutionary crowd scenes I half expected Cloris Leachman to burst in and to plead with the people of Fraance, er, Fraahhhnce to storm the Bastille).

What was utterly amazing to me, though, was that Norma, near the end of the movie when she's a prisoner in the Bastille awaiting execution, allowed herself to be shown on camera looking run down, dowdy, careworn and, frankly, just plain "bad." Her hair is a mess. Her face all wrinkled. It looks like she's not wearing any makeup and her skin shows it.

This movie was filmed at a time when even the most beat up harridan/heroines were always shown looking like a million bucks just before they got strapped into the electric chair up at Sing-Sing. It took a lot of courage, I thought, for Norma to allow herself to be seen in the last minutes of the film looking so bad. That's how people would remember her after they'd left the theater.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm extremely grateful to my friend for her thoughtfulness. It was a timely gift and exactly what I needed to pick me up given some of the events this past week.

So thank you, Bev!

And more on the rest of my weekend anon.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Divine Retribution

I see that the religious dingbats are now proclaiming I-35, which runs from north to south somewhere "out there" where I never go have declared it to be some kind of cleansing highway, sent by the Lord, to rid the country of homosex.

Or some bullshit like that. SAY "HALLELUJAH!"

I don't know much about God, but I do know one thing, and it's the same thing that the Greeks knew about their Gods. They will not be mocked.

The Greeks even had a special word for the sort of pride which garners the attention of the residents of Olympus -- and pisses them off to the point where they inflict very Godlike retribution on the poor earthly schlub who was dumbassed enough to mouth off.

That word was "hubris." It sort of loosely translates as "overweening pride" but it actually goes a lot further than that.

Greek mythology (and ancient Greek plays) are full of dumbassed jerks who piss off some God or Goddess and wind up gouging their own eyes out, or killing and eating their own children, or neat stuff like that as punishment for being such assholes to begin with.

Rule Number One in Greek Mythos: "There are Gods. You ain't them. Don't piss them off."

Now I must tell you that today, I am duly chastised by the Gods. Yesterday I posted a piece about a feeling I had regarding the aging population and my opinion that many of us would eventually be faced with the dreadful decision to do ourselves in rather than face financial ruin and become wards of the state.

Apparently I shouldn't speak of such things, not even philosophically.

This morning I received a disturbing voicemail from a sponsee of mine. He apparently attempted to kill himself last night, wound up in an emergency room overnight, and this morning they packed him off to a psychiatric rehab for a week or so.

I know I'm not personally responsible for this. I've done my best to be a good sponsor to him, not yelling at him when he has "slipped" before, but rather trying to be gentle and understanding at all times. Still, I've always suspected that he hadn't really faced up to the magnitude of his bottom. He was always too eager to "yes" me, rather than taking a moment to delve into his thoughts and feelings to tell me the truth of his pain.

It is the single most difficult thing anyone in recovery has to do, to reach down inside, through the brick wall that we ourselves have constructed within ourselves, to pull out shreds of truth which we can share with others and, finally, acknowledge to ourselves.

Apparently he found that brick wall, all alone, last night. In his call this morning, from the ambulance carrying him away, I could hear his voice shake as he cried that he had, indeed, finally "hit bottom."

I finally tracked down the place where they took him. It relieved me greatly just to know that he was someplace where he'd be taken care of (and couldn't hurt himself). He's not allowed to have any contact with the outside world while he's there -- or at least, not yet.

Every night, before I hit the hay, I hit my knees. I've done this pretty much every night since I got sober. At a minimum I thank God for my sobriety today and beg Him to keep me sober tomorrow.

I also pray that God look out for, and over, all the sick and suffering alcoholics and addicts in the world.

Humans, drunk or not, are so frail you see -- each of us needs all the help we can get.

Including me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Swiss Family Soylent Green

When I was a kid I wanted to be Swiss, the youngest son of John Mills and Dorothy McGuire (not to mention being the kid brother of yummy James MacArthur) who, with my make-believe family, was stranded on a desert island in the South Pacific.

Oh yeah, and I wanted to live in a treehouse. Not just any treehouse, but the most fabulous treehouse (water powered) in the world. Built by the Imagineers (before they were called that) at Disney. I loved "Swiss Family Robinson." They were nice people and life on the island was idyllic.

Unlike real life.

In real life I lived with a bunch of crazy alcoholics until it was time to move out and try to figure out what normal was (I failed and became a crazy drunk just like the ones who had raised me).

But throughout the crazy childhood and the even crazier drinking adulthood, there was always this sort of Pollyanna (yes, another Disney reference) deep down inside of me, who thought that somehow or other, magically, life would "turn out okay" or that somehow I'd crash-land on an idyllic desert island with a picture-perfect family.

Then I got sober. I've succumbed to the reality that life doesn't often turn out okay unless you put a lot of grunt-work into it.

I don't think that we Americans have been putting in enough grunt work for the last 50 years or so since World War II ended. Oh, we worked like sons-of-bitches during the war. But then we got cocky. And entitled. And downright lazy.

I have a theory that we're all going to be in for a very rude awakening and not in the too distant future, either.

I think that within 20 years we're going to see a horrifying spike in the suicide rate in this country as more and more boomers (like me) hit the old-age/lack of financing wall.

Longevity, dramatically diminished means of support and an increasing reliance upon an already overworked and overpriced medical system are going to be the straws that broke the camel's back. People will simply run out of options, until they're faced with the only practical solution -- self-extermination.

Government won't have to "fix" Social Security. It'll simply need to wait it out -- until enough old farts do themselves in to automatically make SSA solvent again (which will also fix Medicare).

I think that we've raised a generation or two of hedonists who, frankly, will be relieved to see millions of us head off to early graves. That way there'll be more for them!

I realize it's dark thinking. Even "stinking thinking" in recovery parlance. But it's also an idea that keeps popping up in my head.

Things are going to get real ugly. And soon.

I just hope that when the time comes the survivors willl remember to NOT eat the Soylent Green.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Beginning to Look...

like it's about 4 weeks until Christmas.

Not that you'd know if from my house. I gotta get me a digital camera so I can show you all how I really live. If I posted a bunch of photos of that here I could die in peace. Well, maybe not in peace, but certainly of embarassment.

My fellow blogger, Jake from Chicago and his boyfriend Justin, have just returned from spending Thanksgiving week in Orlando at DisneyInc. and the first thing they did when they got home was to put up TWO trees (the bitches). Check 'em out here. And while you're at it, don't forget to take a look at that chandelier they have in their dining room. It gives new meaning to the word "FABULOUS."

I have a little fake tree I bought at Home Depot a couple of years back. I put it up that year and it's been in the box ever since. I blame it on the real foliage in the living room, which has now taken over the big picture window I have there and, occasionally cries out "FEED ME" after which I have to toss a dentist or several small children into its gaping maw in order to placate it for a while. It's making a guest appearance on Larry King next week. With any luck it'll eat him. Now if I could only get it booked with Bill O'Lielly or Mann Coulter.

Christmas has gotten to be an expensive proposition now that I have grand-nieces and nephews. Before they came along, and back when I was newly sober and didn't have two dimes to rub together, life was simpler. And cheaper. Now people expect gifts. Worse, I expect ME to be able to give gifts.

Luckily, most gifts fall into one of two categories. 1. Cash. 2. Cash equivalents (such as store gift cards). Any idiot can manage these, except they do involve not only getting the cash or cash equivalents but then finding some sort of suitable "container" to put them in, which can then be gift-wrapped to look as though it actually contains something other than money or a gift card.

For those of you who absolutely insist on something substantive in the way of presents, I heartily recommend creating a wish-list for yourselves on Amazon.com which you can then happily disperse amongst family and friends for them to visit prior to shelling out real money for some crap you have zero interest in owning.

That way you'll have no one to blame but yourself for that shitty multi-DVD set of Norma Shearer's Greatest Motion Pictures that you just couldn't live without.

But for those relatives or friends who don't create a wish-list, you can always fall back on that old, reliable, standby.... Entertainment. Get them a gift certificate to the local AMC, Regal or whichever theater chain runs the local goo-goo-plex in your town.

That way they have no one to blame but themselves when they waste your gift on a lousy afternoon spent yawning while watching "No Country for Old Men."

But enough about that. There'll be plenty of time to shop, come Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, go put up a tree.

========================================
BONUS Christmas Present

The rumor mill is churning. It's been alleged that Larry Flynt is investigating rumors regarding Trent Lott which prompted the latter's hasty announcement of an early retirement by year's end.

The rumor involves a male prostitute.

Thank you, Jeebus.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ouch.

Thanksgiving came and went. I enjoyed it... mostly. I broke out in a severe attack of gout by Friday morning, though. I'm still trying to pin down what, exactly, I ate to bring it on. Right now the primary suspect is the duck breast we had on Wednesday night. Sigh. It struck me in the knuckle of the thumb on my right hand. It turned red, swelled up and hurt like hell. I couldn't sleep Friday night, the pain was so bad.

I'm going to have to start writing down my reactions to just about all foods now. This won't be fun. Not for me and certainly not for friends who do nothing more than try to feed me, God bless 'em.

For those of you who are unclear about gout, let me explain. Purines (the stuff that gout is made of) build up in the blood stream, abetted by certain foods which are notoriously high in them, such as asparagus, shellfish (every kind from clams to crabs, shrimp & lobster) and "game" (venison, wild fowl and, I suppose, duck). At a certain point the blood becomes so saturated with these purines that they look for a way to precipitate out of the blood by forming crystals IN THE JOINTS farthest removed from the heart. This is why, traditionally, the first outbreak of gout occurs in the knuckle of the big toe on the right foot.

The pain these crystals cause is excruciating. Worse than a raw nerve hit during a root canal.

There is a treatment for it. The immediate medicine is called Indomethicin, which is a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory. With me, it works within an hour or two to relieve the worst of the pain. The long-term medicines for it are Allopurinol and something called colchicine.

The problem was I forgot to pack the Indomethicin. So I suffered. A lot. For a day and half. Until I got home and took 2 capsules. That was at 10:55 a.m. By 1:00 p.m. the pain had dramatically subsided (so had the swelling and redness).

No doctor has ever given me a satisfactory explanation as to "why" I would contract gout. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it's all tied up with heart disease and diabetes.

That's the sort of problem I could sink my obsessive-compulsive teeth into.

I wonder if it's too late to become a physician, and is it a good idea for a recovered alcoholic to have easy access to prescription pads and narcotics?

I'll call my sponsor and see what he says.

I love ruining his day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trigger

No, not Roy Rogers' horse. I mean "trigger" as in the buttons your family can push with ease because a) they installed them and b) they know where they are.

I used to think that one of my addiction triggers (as in, "if I hang around this long enough I'll have NO CHOICE but to get snot-slinging, commode-hugging, projectile-vomiting, technicolor-yawning, falling-down, drunk", was crazy women. I thought this because a) I'd spent my entire childhood surrounded by them.

There is no "b)".

However, lately, God has seen fit to saddle provide me with plenty of growth opportunities in the form of "sponsees." Sponsees are what we in recovery used to refer to as "pigeons." That was before recovery got all politically correct. Pigeon means somebody who a) shits all over you and b) flies the coop. Sponsees used to do that a lot. Nowadays it's very easy to track them down and kill them.

Anyway, these sponsee/pigeons are giving me fits. They seem to have mental meltdowns over nothing (or what I think is nothing but which, apparently, means a lot to them, like utility bills or Thanksgiving or shit like that there). They call at inopportune moments (like between midnight and dawn) when they have plenty of free time to work themselves into states over bullshit and can't understand why I don't share their enthusiasm for their latest load of insanity.

Oh, and to make it even more enjoyable, because He knows how much I adore lawyers, God has seen fit to saddle provide me with one of those as a sponsee, too!

I am blessed these days. I hardly know where to begin to express my gratitude. I don't have any time to wallow in my own insanity, that's for sure. My days fly by between work and talking my sponsees in from the ledges several times a day.

Was I this nuts when I was new?

I take back every bad thought I ever had about crazy, alcoholic women.

It's alcoholics in general that I can't stand.

And I oughta know.

I am one.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Huggy Kissy Touchie Feelie

Saturday was a very odd day. I was, as usual, overbooked. From 10:00-11:00 a.m. I attended a 12-Step Meeting in Princeton. 11:30-12:00 p.m., I got a haircut in Princeton. From 12:30-3:00 p.m. I helped friends move a 10-ton color tv and matching credenza, from 4:00 -6:00 p.m. I saw a Beatle's Tribute show (which was FABOO) in New Brunswick, from 6:00-6:45 p.m., I tried to get OUT of New Brunswick (Rutgers had kicked Pittsburgh's ass and everybody in the state was in-town to help celebrate), from 6:45-7:50 p.m., I drove like a bat out of hell 65 miles towards Willow Grove, PA, from 8:00-9:15 p.m. I was at another 12-Step meeting, and from 9:45-10:45 p.m., I drove home.

Collapse.

But something very odd happened that evening, at that 2nd meeting. First of all, there was a miracle when somebody I've known since childhood, and whom I'd given up for lost, resurfaced at the meeting. I was very grateful to God for that.

Secondly, and this was the truly bizarre part, some seriously good-looking men in recovery suddenly got very huggy-kissy, touchie-feelie with me after the meeting! Well, three seriously good-looking men. But that's more action than I've had in 20 years, believe me! I don't think it was a full moon. I can't believe these guys magically took a sudden interest in me. I really can't believe they can't do better!

And yes, I really do think that little of me.

Maybe it's because the holidays are coming and everybody is looking to "settle down" for the winter.

Whatever is going on, I hope it doesn't stop anytime soon. I kind of like all of this sudden outpouring of affection for me, no matter what the cause.

Friday, November 16, 2007

BioRythms & the Bermuda Triangle

If you're as old as I (is anyone as old as I?) you remember something from the 60's-70's called "biorythms" which charted 3 different cycles of something that governed your love life, career and something else.

Well, I'm convinced that I'm bottoming out on my chart these days. One of my sponsees has picked up (booze), I seem to be bleeding cash these days, the holidays are coming and I'm just feeling "blah."

Now watch how I turn all this around in the next few paragraphs.

I mention the holidays because anyone in recovery will tell you that we are now entering what's known in the business as "the Bermuda Triangle" of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, into which many an alcoholic has sailed, never to be seen (or heard from) again.

It's at this time of year that many 12-Step Clubhouses have around-the-clock "Alk-A-Thons" which are continuous meetings during the peak of the holiday season. They're generally packed. I tell my sponsees to not even THINK about "going home to see the family" unless they are well-armed with two things... 1. a meeting list (for wherever they're going) and 2. a getaway car.

People who are new in recovery, still steeped in egotism and thinking that it's "all about them", will often refuse to be prepared to duck out and go to a meeting because "someone might notice." They never minded, of course, when people "noticed" that they were falling down drunks, but God forbid anyone should notice that they're trying to get better. This is the insanity of the disease at work. It WANTS them to stay put and be uncomfortable until they can't stand the pain anymore and might, just might, pick up a drink. Nothing would please the disease more.

I remember how fragile I was, way back when I was new in recovery and trying to survive those first "drinking holidays". I was (literally) afraid of being "struck drunk" when some emotional straw in me snapped. Fortunately, that didn't happen. And I did get hold of a meeting list and a getaway car. And I got over my fears, and excused myself when I needed to do so, and returned when no one really noticed and I got better.

And so did everyone else.

All things considered, it could be worse. I could be drunk. Thank God I'm not!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shakespeare was Right!

Somewhere in Richard II or III or one of them Bolinbroke's or Lancastrians or someplace, the scheming, conniving SOB of a usurper to the throne utters the line, "the first thing we do, we kill all the lawyers."

Now that's always sounded like a fine idea to me. Oh, I don't have anything, per se, against them, aside from the fact that most of my adult life has been consummed, one way or another, by them.

Let me explain. I met the future ex in 1979. He was a lawyer. For MegaBank here in NYC. He was 19 years older than me and I instantly wanted him for my daddy (caretaker, protector and ATM). 15 years later I was enormously successful on Wall Street and a falling down wreck of a drunk. That's how happy I was with the lawyer (he had control issues). When I left him I said to myself, "well, THAT'S THAT. No more friggin' lawyers."

Bzzzzt. Wrong. Thank you for playing.

My next flingette was with some flack in Hollyweird who, whenever he wanted to avoid talking about something that made him uncomfortable (like how much money he owed me) would resort to saying, "Oh, I can't talk about that now. I'm up to my ASS in lawyers out here." And that would be the end of that discussion.

When the money, and he, were finally gone and I hit bottom and skidded into 12-Step recovery and slowly crawled back out of the hole I'd dug, towards the light...

God said, "He needs to be taught a lesson. I will give him a job... working for lawyers."

And so I do. And so I HAVE, since 1999. Over the years I've made my peace with working with them. Hell, I've even made my peace at sharing space in 12-Step meetings with them.

But today God went right over the top. At the end of the meeting this morning, Mr. "X", an attorney who actually has a year or two more of sobriety than I do, pulled me aside and, sotto voce, asked me if I would be willing to serve as his "interim sponsor." He said that he liked what I have. That's recovery lingo for "I see things in you and your behavior that I would like to emulate."

I've had to sleep with them, get taken to the cleaners by them and work for them.

Now they expect me to help them get sober.

What next?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Would You Do?

if your phone rang late at night and it was a guy who had shined your shoes for you when you worked on Wall Street 20 years ago?

Well, if you're me, you let him go into voicemail and go to bed wondering what he wants. So that's what I did.

I spoke with him today and he wants to have dinner. At first he wanted to do it tonight. I managed to put him off until tomorrow. Yes, he's gay. We established that 2 decades ago. And he's Brazilian and he was adorable then (well, so was I!). But he's been in a relationship for 15 years now, so I know it's not about sex. I told him my Wall Street days were long finished and that I made a living, barely, as a legal secretary now. That didn't seem to deter him. I finally said I couldn't be out late because I had to catch a bus back to New Jersey -- and he offered me the use of he and his partner's guest room tomorrow night.

Well, anyone who went to all the trouble of a) calling my ex and getting screamed at by him and b) looking in the White Pages in New York AND New Jersey until he found me, obviously is someone who really wants to see me.

I just sent an e-mail to my sobriety counselor bemoaning all this and wondering, aloud, "why God is doing this to me?"

After all, I didn't get sober to have a life. I got sober to be miserable until I die which, some days, can't come soon enough to suit me.

But I've agreed to see him. And so I shall. I really have no excuse for turning this into something negative (aside from being an alcoholic -- because that's just what we do).

Seriously, though .... if someone dropped out of your sky after 20 years... what would you do?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Car 54 Where Are You?

I've been MIA for a couple of days. Hence the obscure cultural reference in the Subject Line, above. If you weren't around in the very early 60's, you'd have no idea what it refers to. Suffice it to say that it comes from a time when JFK International Airport was still called "Idlewild."

I've gotten into this rut where I don't post over the weekends because I'm having way too much fun going to 12-Step meetings and shopping at BJ's afterwards.

I blew over a hundred bucks at BJs this past Sunday. I bought a 2-year supply of Ivory bathsoap and a year's supply of Gillette Mach 3 razor blades and about a year's supply of shaving gel to go with it. I also bought two 35 count boxes of Trail Mix bars, a 1 pound block of Havarti, 2 1-pound bags of Ruffles potato chips (bad JoyZeeBoy!) and some other crap I don't really need.

Oh, and I placed an order for two pumpkin pies to take with me when I go to Baltimore for Thanksgiving (OUT OF TOWN ALERT!). I hate to arrive empty-handed as a houseguest so I'm bringing dessert and (shhhh) I also bought my hosts the DVD of "Ratatouille" which we all saw on Cape Cod last summer, and which my friends really enjoyed.

So who has time to post anything? Well, my friend Bev does. Apparently at 30 or 40 websites, under various aliases, all day, every day. No wonder the woman never sleeps.

Habits come in all shapes and sizes, whether it's posting or shopping. Obsessions. Compulsions. Call 'em what you want. I got 'em. My friends all have 'em.

On a slightly different subject, you may have noticed a little logo down at the bottom of my blog for something called SiteMeter. It keeps tabs on who drops by here. Oh, it doesn't name names, but it does tell me the name of the server and/or IP address and the city, state and country of origin. It also tells me if the viewer got here by "googling" or searching for something.

And I have to tell you, one of the most popular phrases I ever posted here, based on how often it turns up in people's net-searches, is from an old song entitled "Young At Heart." It seems especially popular among netcruisers in Central and South America. Don't know why (there's no sun up in the sky...)

Anyway, the particular verse that seems so popular goes:

"fairy tales can come true
it can happen to you....
if you're young at heart"

The song was originally sung by Frank Sinatra. It became a giant hit for him and was subsequently used in the movie of the same name. It was released in 1954 and starred Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Gig Young and Ethel Barrymore. It's a fluff of a nothing movie, a remake of 1938's "Four Daughters". Basically it's "good girls go for bad boys." But the song stuck.

And as I've previously mentioned, the best rendition of the song, I think, was by the late, great Jimmy Durante.

So, "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash.... wherever you are!" (Another obscure cultural reference. Look that one up yourselves.)

p.s. Today is my post number 300! Would somebody like to run 26.5 miles back to Athens to let everybody know? No? Wimps.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Veteran's Day - 2007

I am a vet. A wartime era vet (VietNam). I did not see combat, but I took my chances along with everybody else. I didn't run off to Canada, although I could've, and with the blessings of E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. where I was employed at the time I was drafted. They offered me a transfer to DuPont of Canada, if I'd chosen to do so. I declined.

I didn't get some rich relative (of which I have none) to "buy me" a place in the National Guard or the reserves.

I didn't run. I got drafted. I enlisted in the Navy instead. I was on active duty from 1968 to 1972. I climbed the corporate ranks of the military, too. I went from E-nothing to E-5 in 2 years and change (that's the equivalent of a Sergeant in the other services). My quarterly ratings were always in the top 5 percentile. I was Sailor of the Month and Sailor of the Quarter in my divisions at the Naval Air Test Center and I graduated first in my class in Aviation Electronics School. When my enlistment was nearing it's end an unending string of Chief Petty Officers and Officer/Pilots walked the deck with me, trying to convince me to re-enlist.

In short, I was a model sailor and a valuable military asset.

There was only one, teensy thing wrong with me as far as the government was concerned. I was a homosexual. They didn't know that, of course. But I did. I endured 4 years of listening to derogatory comments about queers and living in fear of "being found out" at any time. But I kept my secret because I had goals ... to fulfill my obligation to the nation and to collect my hard-earned VA benefits once my enlistment was up.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed, finally, a bill outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They dropped the trannies in order to "git'er done." I hate politics, even as I understand the necessity for it. Both sides must come away feeling as though they have something to show for it.

So the poor trannies got thrown under the bus. As someone who has been thrown under the bus any number of times, I totally understand how they must feel today.

At any rate, the bill is progress. We live in an imperfect nation with imperfect leaders who govern imperfectly.

So this Veteran's Day (Sunday) I intend to keep in mind two heavily put-upon underclasses in this nation of ours. The closeted men and women who proudly wear the uniforms of our armed forces and our transexual citizens whose only crime was to feel compelled to heed Shakespeare's admonition to "thine own self be true."

I am truer to myself today than I have ever been in my entire life. And yet, there is much work remaining to be done. And that goes for the country, too.

Peace, everyone.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coach USA-Suburban Transit, Academy Bus Line (follow-up)

I neglected to mention one other exciting little glitch in our perfect mass-transit system in New Jersey.

The dispatchers in New York are all employees of Coach USA/Suburban. The dispatcher at the 8-A Park and Ride is an employee of Academy.

They have no means of communicating with each other NOR can they communicate with the drivers of each other's motorcoaches. Therefore, if an Academy bus doesn't show up in New York, the dispatchers there have no idea where it is or, indeed, if it's even going to show up (this is for the evening commute back home to New Jersey).

The reverse is true during the morning commute into the city. The Academy dispatcher hasn't got a clue as to the whereabouts of the Coach USA/Suburban buses.

Furthermore, when you have the gall to ask them about it, you get a curt response that's tantamount to "go fuck yourselves."

I will not rest until I have brought these bastards to their knees.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coach USA-Suburban Transit, Academy Bus Line

You can bet your bippy I won't be extolling the virtues of the above-named companies today.

In fact, they suck. And here's why they suck.

Coach/Suburban has a monopoly on bus service out of Exit 9 of the New Jersey Turnpike to and from New York City. This monopoly was granted to them because they bid, and won, a contract from the township. That contract has severe penalties built into it if Coach/Suburban fails to perform. They must be on-time. They guarantee X number of seats will be available within X amount of time during both the morning commute from New Brunswick to New York AND during the evening commute from the Port Authority building in New York to New Brunswick. It's a pity I don't commute out of Exit 9. My life would be perfect if I did. Unfortunately, I commute out of Exit 8-A, another 12 miles or so down the turnpike.

In the 7 years I've been making an evening commute out of New York I have observed, time and again, the dispatchers in New York deliberately CANNIBALIZING buses from other service areas in New Jersey SOLELY for the purpose of fulfilling their contractural obligations to the New Brunswick riders... often leaving riders to much further destinations (8-A Jamesburg and 8 Hightstown) high and dry and awaiting a bus that won't be pressed into service on the High and Almighty New Brunswick run.

Their primary competitor in New Jersey is Academy Bus Lines. The only problem with Academy is that it has no accountability to the riders whatsoever. No contracts, no nothing. In fact, they just plain don't give a rat's ass if you get to work or get home from work at all.

Their attitude is one of condescension, as though we, the riders, should be fucking grateful that they showed up at all. Today's morning Academy bus, number 1804, arrived with a rotting supply of 3-day old fruit and cold, half-empty, coffee-cups, jammed into the mesh netting of the seat backs at the back of the bus. This bus had clearly not been serviced for some time and actually posed a health hazard.

Oh, and it invariably arrives late these days, mostly because the driver has been coerced into stopping at Dunkin' Donuts to pick up coffee for the dispatcher at the 8-A park and ride, who is too lazy to stop and get his own.

The problem with both of these companies is that they're both subsidized by New Jersey Transit to operate their routes. Subsidized up the ass. By taxpayers. Like me. On top of which each rider (from my stop) has to shuck out 90 bucks a week (yup, 9 bucks a trip) to get to and from New York. That's Four Thousand One-Hundred and Forty dollars ($4,140.00) in POST-TAX dollars I (and all the other schlubs on my bus) pay to Coach/Suburban and/or Academy every year. Throw in another Three Hundred and Eighty-Five dollars a year to park ($385.00).

This is just the tip of the crooked iceberg in New Jersey. Only an idiot wouldn't realize that both of those companies GREASE every politician in the statehouse in Trenton in order to assure that they retain the most-favored nation status that they enjoy; and shutting New Jersey Transit out, thus insuring gluttonous profits for the two, privately owned bus companies.

It's a shame. It's a disgrace. It's a major pain in everyone's ass.

And nobody does a fucking thing about it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Opinion Flambe

"Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one and everybody else's stinks. "

Old 12-Step Program adage.

I made the mistake yesterday of posting an opinion over at JoeMyGod regarding cellphones and cellphone blockers. The blockers are, of course, illegal in this country, but they are NOT illegal in several foreign countries where suppliers will be more than happy to ship one to the States for a small fee. Because so many people are completely insensitive to how annoying their cellphone usage is, I support the "zap the mothers" faction who want to make the blockers more readily available here in the States.

Well, I touched a nerve and got mildly burned in the process. It was pretty tame, really.

But it brought back memories. I'm a survivor of CompuServe's old Section 17 of the "Issues" forum which ran over there for years. We had plenty of flame wars there, usually when some radical right, born-again, bible-thumping jerk, who'd been given a computer for Christmas, logged into the internets and went trolling for queers and lezbeans. They'd find us and zoom in like so many diver-bombers (in fact, that was their nickname, "dive-bombers"). The problem was they really weren't much fun to spar with because we were all a bunch of over-achieving Mensa refugees who liked to hang out together, sharpening our claws on each other until the unwitting dopes arrived. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

They wouldn't last long because a) we were smarter than they were and shot holes in every argument they posited and b) they fainted when they got their first month's bill. It cost a f*cking fortune to belong to CompuServe in those days, based on connection time (we insiders used an off-line reader program called "TapCis" which would log you in and quickly upload any posts you might have and then, just as quickly, download the latest posts and then log off).

One time we were cordially invited by the good folks over at the US News & World Report forum to "drop by" and engage someone from the Colorado Family Council, or some such crapola, on the subject of equal rights for gays (this was right after Colorado had passed some cockamamie law banning the granting of "special rights" for homosexuals... which was shot down a year or two later by the Colorado Supreme Court).

But there was a dark side to all this verbal sparring. When we got bored... or when there wasn't anybody else to fight with, we would occasionally turn on each other and start to devour our own young, as it were. I was guilty of doing this. I'm sorry for my behavior then and try real hard not to get into "flames" these days if I can help it.

These days, when I find my blood-pressure rising over some trivial subject or another, I try to remember that somebody, somebody who had a momma and a poppa, might not see things quite the same way I do.

We have another saying in 12-Step programs:

"Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"

Most of the time these days, I opt for happy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cawfee Tawk!

Well, I have coffee. Whoop-di-goddamned-do!

I also have a coffee table. This had been a subject of some doubt for most of the year since starting late last year I'd buried it under piles of paper that I had every intention of "getting around to" sooner or later.

Well, it's later, so I attacked the stacks yesterday. I spent nearly four hours going through each and every scrap of paper. There were my discharge documents from the hospital after my quad-bypass surgery in 2004. There were co-payment receipts from doctors. There were invoices from CDW (a new disk drive), Best-Buy (a cable modem) and various crap from other places.

The shredder got a thorough workout and I filled nearly 4 medium sized trash bags with paper confetti.

This is one of the biggest problems of living alone. It's too easy to succumb to the temptation to "just let it slide" (whatever "it" is) for awhile. Like a year. Or two.

Quentin Crisp, one of the Stately Homos of England (God rest Her Soul) once said (and I concurred) that "dust doesn't get any thicker after the first two years." Still, it never hurts to run a dust-rag and a vacuum around the place every once in awhile.

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On another note, this one musical, I found a new British Pop-Goddess over the weekend. 19 year old Amy MacDonald. Her big hit right now is entitled "Mr. Rock and Roll."

I hope you enjoy her and it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I’m Dreaming of a Cuisinart Coffepot…

My mind is made up. And it only took a week. Less, actually, since I’ve only been mulling it over since Sunday.

Tonight, after work and on my way to my Friday night LGBT 12-Step meeting in Princeton, I’m going to stop at BB&B (Bed, Bath & Beware!) and get that matte black Cuisinart coffeemaker. I hope you didn’t really think that all my blather here last Monday was the final word on it did you?

The fact that it only took me five days to decide this is actually progress for me.

It only took me eleven years to decide to leave my ex, and then another four to actually do it. Guilt and fear are powerful motives for doing… or not doing… anything.

It took me about a month to decide to buy the Toaster I drive (the Honda Element). I’d shopped for cars probably for about four or five months prior to that. I was torn for the longest time between the Honda and the (Toyota-produced) Scion, which also has a boxy model.

And some people say I have a fear of commitment!

HAH!

(p.s. I’m torn. Should I get my hair cut tomorrow morning, as previously scheduled, or should I get my oil changed instead? Decisions, decisions…)

(p.p.s. Go see a movie this weekend. Try the one with John Cusack. I know a little bit about it. The story just about broke my heart.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rollerena: Diva, activist, skater, legend.

The first time I heard of RollerArena (later, Rollerena), I was fresh out of the Navy and the closet and running up and down the east coast, in the fall of 1972, attending various gay lib functions at sister universities to the U. of D., where I was the President of the fledgling LGBT group there. It was said that Roller showed up, like Batman, only in a tattered old wedding dress, eyeglasses that looked like Barry Humphries castoffs, and roller skates, at anything that smacked of political gayeity or just plain fabulousness.

The first time I saw Rollerena was on a streetcorner in Greenwich Village, around Christmas of 1972, when my then boyfriend, for my Christmas present, had gotten us tickets to see "Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill" which was playing at the Theater de Lys (later renamed the Lucille Lortel theater), on Christopher Street. I was enthralled as Rollerena whizzed by, tattered train dragging in the slush, holding a magic wand like Glinda's, waving it over the crowds on the sidewalk, bestowing his Queer Blessings on us all. Roller was street theater. Roller was Guerilla gayness. Roller was my Hero(ine).

One rumor had it that by day he was a block trader at a brokerage house (Wrong. He worked at a city agency), but by night he became the doyenne of dramatic faggotry. It was known that he was one of the darlings of Studio 54 and could be found there many nights of the week. But he wasn't just a disco diva. No, no. This public display of fabulousness had a serious, political purpose behind it.

The next time I saw Roller was in the summer of 1973, at the NY Pride March. I've blogged before about what disorganized messes the Pride Marches were in those days (and a helluva lot more fun than the pre-packaged ones they stage today). Roller didn't remember my name, but he remembered my tallness or something, for he came flitting over to greet me where I had joined the congregation from Rutgers (to say "hi" to a bunch of my fellow radical faeries from that fine institution of insubordination). He, as were we all, was charged by the electricity in the air. In those days civil disobedience was one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs around. ("Hello, my name is Chance? Wouldn't you like to give Chance a piece?")

I continued to hear about Roller over the years, even as I drifted away from my gay lib roots. Sometime, probably in the early 90's, I thought about Roller and wondered whatever became of him. But in those pre-internets day, there was no easy way to check up on him.

Then, on a whim, this morning I googled him.

There's a nice little article about Rollerena here. You should read it. Rollerena is an important part of Your Gay History!
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HOT FLASH!

Rep. Richard Curtis, the Washington State Closet Case I flagellated here yesterday, has resigned (surprise, surprise).

It's also rumored he's in the market for a good divorce lawyer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another (yawn) Republican Queer


I'd usually launch into my Claude Raines imitation from "Casablanca" about now ("Gambling?? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!")

But even that seems trite at this point.

Some asshole rightwinger, married with children, self-loathing closet case from Washington State (on the left) has gotten caught (in lingerie, barebacking) with some manwhore (on the right) during some Repuglican conclave, somewhere.

If you're surprised, raise your hand! If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!

If you want to read all the gory details, click here.

In other news...

Still obsessing about that damned coffee-pot, only now I've managed to drag some of my friends into the funfest.

For Halloween this year I'm pretending to be normal. No one will suspect a thing.

I spoke at a 12-Step meeting at 7:30 a.m. this morning. I was told, early on in my sobriety, that I would always have to be willing to go to any lengths to protect my sobriety and that I was never to say "no" to the program. So I said yes. Sometimes I wonder how coherent I am at 7:30 in the morning while still nursing my 1st cup of coffee after a 50 mile bus ride from central NJ into Manhattan.

We have to be quiet for awhile... they're filming scenes for an upcoming Law & Order Criminal Intent episode in our boardroom today.

My stomach is gurgling, it must be lunch time.

Have a great Halloween everybody!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Passing of Being "Other"

Nice front page article in today's NYTimes about the disappearance of gay ghettos all around the country as more gay people get (more or less) permanently joined in holy deadlock and move to the burbs where they have 1.9 gaybies, 2 Jack Russell terriers and His and His SUVs.

Not to mention the gayest restored Victorian in town. And a garden that's to die for.

And they garner the enmity of every red-blooded, straight, married-male in town who is constantly nagged by the wife "Why can't OUR place look that nice? The boys have invited us for brunch on Sunday. Wear decent clothes. I don't want you looking like crap, like you usually do."

There was a time, of course, when if you grew up in East Jeebus, or South Bumbutt, you spent your formative years YEARNING to escape to "the big city" be it on the west coast, or the east coast. Without a shred of evidence to support the idea, you just knew, deep down inside, that somewhere "out there" were others like yourself.

Not at home, though. In fact, we LGBTs are the only minority on earth that spend our formative years with nothing to identify with. When a black child comes home at the end of a day he or she generally has some black people to identify with. LGBT kids come home to a bunch of heterosexuals. The miracle is that more of us don't kill ourselves than already do.

So, if you were like me, you couldn't wait to escape. And escape I did. All the way from Wilmington, Delaware to New York City (about 126 miles from one end of the NJTurnpike to the other). And I did by way of Seattle.

Don't ask. I needed a change of scenery.

What surprised me most about Seattle, after I got over the 10 months of yearly darkness, was the huge gay community there (this was 1976, after all). By the fall of 1977 mayoral candidates came into the gay bars to press the flesh.

At the same time, in SF, the Castro was bulging with a burgeoning queer population. As was Greenwich Village, Key West, West Hollywood and The Big Easy, New Orleans.

When I moved to NY in the spring of 1978, you could barely walk down the sidewalks of Christopher Street on a Saturday night from Seventh Avenue to Hudson Street without having to step out into the street several times, due to the congestion on the sidewalks.

And then things changed. And people started dying. And bookstores and bathhouses started to close and people got scared and got into relationships and lived together "happily every after."

And the ghettos started to dry up and disappear. Christopher Street moved uptown, to Chelsea. I don't know what happened everywhere else. I no longer was everywhere else.

What happened, at long last, is what happened to every other immigrant group that found it's way to these shores. We started to assimilate. To move to the burbs with our gaybies and lovers and terriers and trucks.

And suddenly, the straight guys started hanging over the fences getting home makeover tips from the lesbians who moved in next door.

And the ghettos started to disappear. And the Evangelists started to look more and more like the dessicated dinosaurs they truly are.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ann Coulter Nailed in WeHo Gay Eatery!


Please ignore the above photo until later on, when I get around to actually talking about it.

Before you read anything else today, read this about Ann Coulter:

Ms. Coulter was nailed, and nailed good, dining in a West Hollywood Swishery called Murano last night. There's photographic evidence. The place is owned by two dykes. She was called on it and feigned ignorance of the English language. The owner's were appalled but insisted they "had to serve her."

As the article points out, she's clearly a hypocrite who says outrageous things, probably causes unwarranted deaths amongst gay teenagers, and clearly demeans bunches of people merely to make enough money to dine out with her favorite peeps, gay people who can actually stomach her blatant hypocrisy.

Please read the article. I hope you'll be as appalled as I am. Why somebody doesn't slug this bitch is beyond me.

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Weekend Update.

My brother and I went to see "30 Days of Night" about vampires in Barrow, Alaska during the annual month of darkness up there. It got flayed by the press but my bro' and I are afficianados of the horror genre and we both agreed, it was pretty good and gave us some good frights. This isn't Anne Rice territory. They aren't beautiful nor seductive. They're evil and violent. You've been forewarned.

Then came Sunday morning and catastrophe. (You may now refer to the above photo). The Braun coffeemaker died (that's not a Braun, obviously). After 13 years of faithful service except for 3 years when it lived in my brother's garage while I got sober. I'd already ground the beans and filled it with water. It wouldn't start. Luckily, I had a little spare one that made about exactly 1 cup at a time (I brewed two cups).

So I became a man on a mission Sunday afternoon. To find THE coffeemaker of all coffeemakers. I went to Linens & Things, Best-Buy, Bed, Bad & Beyond, Target and the supermarket.

No dice. Oh, I saw plenty of perfectly suitable coffeemakers, any one of which would've been fine.

But here's the problem. One of my major character defects is indecisiveness, brought about by a fervent need to be "told" what to buy so that when it doesn't work out, I have somebody to blame for it other than myself.

Wait, wait. Let me explain. I don't know how to be decisive. In fact, it pains me to be decisive. If you ask me "Where should we eat?", I'll hem and haw and drag my feet and say, "Oh, why don't YOU choose?" That way, when we both hate it, you can't blame me for your lousy decision! But I can blame you. It's important that I'm always right and you're always wrong.

Brilliant! No??

Look, I'm a recovering drunk and believe me, not exactly a hot-bed of mental health.

I even called everyone I know and left them voicemails asking for advice. The recovering drunks I called are on to my tricks and called me back with "pick the damned thing out for yourself." My earthling friends earnestly offered advice regarding coffeemakers, none of which I intend to take.

I know the one I want. I saw it at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It's the Cuisinart model I posted above. It's metal (indestructible), heavy-duty, and bound to last until I die (which is my goal when purchasing any appliances or automobiles).

So next Saturday, after I get the car serviced and my hairs trimmed, I'm trotting my buns right over to B, B & B and plunking down $80.00 to buy myself a coffeemaker that won't give up the ghost after a measly 13 years.

And if see Ann Coulter I'll be sure to throw a scalding cup in her face, where the damage won't be very noticeable.

I'm tired of fucking two-faced media whores like her.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Journey vs. Destination

If you're like me (God help you, you poor thing), you've always been a destination kind of person, not much interested in the journey.

I know not where I lost interest in the journey, but I did. Early. Obviously. It was, therefore, with only the greatest reluctance that I began to "accept" the premise that the 12 Steps of recovery were not, in and of themselves, "events" but, rather, that each of them was, in it's own way, a sort of metaphorical journey along the road to recovery.

An unending road, so it turns out.

I got a phone call last night from a young fellow in the program and I reminded him in the course of our call that I'd been doing this for 9 and a half years now, with no end in sight. He didn't seem much interested in knowing that and he reminded me of how I was in my early days.

I wanted 20 years of sobriety in 20 minutes and didn't understand why I couldn't have it. After all, I was smarter than just about everybody and I had certainly suffered more than everyone else, so I was obviously much more willing and prepared than most to achieve "instant sobriety."

Bzzzzt. Wrong. Thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts.

Every time I look at those 12 Steps, either in our literature or hanging in a big poster on the wall of a meeting room, I am astounded by how much my understanding of them has changed over the years.

It was easily up to year 2 or even 3 of my sobriety before I got a clue that the Steps were individual journies and not individual destinations. Each of them would turn out to be an on-going, unending, process.

I didn't just admit that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable one time and that was the end of that. I've had to admit, every day of my recovery, that I am powerless over alcohol (no matter who is drinking it) and that unmanageability is going to be a hallmark of life from now until the end of it. I control nothing. I take actions and let go of the results. I am not in charge, nor do I get frustrated by the fact that I am not. There is a Higher Power and I'm not Her. It's pointless to be angry at God. God does not care how pissed off I get. It's none of my business what other people think of me. It's none of their business what I think of them. Therefore I must practice restraint at all times. Restraint of pen, tongue, e-mails, facial expressions and audible sighs.

I must always be about the business of cleaning up MY side of the street, not everyone else's. And mostly importantly of all, I must acknowledge MY faults to others, try to pass along what I've learned in recovery and at all times try to practice these principles in all my affairs.

Getting sober is easy.

Living sober can be a real bitch.

Are we there yet, Daddy?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paging the Beaver and Abe Lincoln

You've seen those commercials for a sleep product. Abe Lincoln and the Beaver are having a heart-to-heart chat with some poor schlub who can't sleep and telling him about how much "they miss him" because, since he can't sleep, he can't dream.

Oh, and there's usually a deep-sea diver in the background, brewing a cup of tea or something.

Well, I was awakened at 4:00 a.m. this morning by a dream. A very vivid dream. Sometimes it doesn't pay to get a good night's sleep. Sometimes we dream about things that are unpleasant. I don't know what triggered it. But I had what we in 12-Step programs call "a drunk dream."

In it, I'd been sent to Los Angeles on a business trip for the firm (but I had to use MY credit card to charge everything... knowing full well that they'd play the float on my back after I handed in my expense report). That wasn't bad enough. Somehow or other they'd managed to resurrect my late mother, the heavy-hitter, to accompany me on the trip. I've come to forgive mom over the years, but I doubt it would be a good idea for the two of us to be alone in a strange city with an expense account. I'm pretty sure I'd need a cocktail after flying across country with her. Needless to say, in the dream, it wasn't long before I found myself in a restaurant, ordering a drink without a second's thought as to the consequences. As I finished that drink the waiter came over and whispered to me that my guest, the person I'd been sent out there to meet, would be a few minutes late.

It was then that I realized that I was thoroughly buzzed off of the first drink and was in no condition to meet him. Worse, it dawned on me, only then, that I'd have to start "counting days" again when I returned to my home group.

I felt disgusted and afraid.

I woke up. I was relieved... and afraid.

It's been 9 and a half years since I've had alcohol. And this is how powerful the obsession and addiction are and remain, even after all that time.

We have a saying (as I'm sure you're tired of hearing me say) that goes "Once the cucumber has become a pickle, there's no going back."

It then falls to the pickle to avoid getting pickled for the rest of it's life.

You can't imagine the relief I felt, sleepy as I was, that the pickle was only dreaming and that, given a choice, it will remain so... just for today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Whole Truth, Truth be Told

Memory is awfully convenient. I'm a real artiste at having it serve my purposes, whatever they are.

For example, I've always sworn up and down that I'd never slept with a woman.

Well, that's not completely true.

See, I was sitting in my 12-Step meeting this morning when another gay man started to share about how drunk he used to get... so much so that one time he woke up in bed with a .... gasp... woman.

And I was sitting there just nodding my head in identification when all of a sudden it hit me. "YOU DOPE" I said to myself, "YOU WOKE UP IN BED ON NEW YEAR'S DAY IN 1977 IN SEATTLE WITH DAVID W. AND ROBIN W." (not related), all of us naked as the day we were born.

About an hour after the meeting I remembered that it wasn't New Year's Day, but rather the morning after a rather wild night of drinking, sometime in the late fall of 1977, when this happened. David and Robin were part of a crowd I had joined in the summer of '77, after I'd jilted yet another boyfriend who'd served his purpose and I'd started hanging around in gay bars and discos once again.

The point of this is that even after nearly 10 years of sobriety, the truth is still leaking out, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes with a bang. Like today.

Then I started wondering what motive I might've had for denying such a simple thing for all these years. Was I afraid of it for some reason? Did it make me feel "less gay" to acknowledge it?

Sexual identity is a fluid thing. Look at the Larry Craig's and Roy Cohn's of the world. "I AM NOT GAY, I JUST HAVE SEX WITH MEN" is their mantra. Because to them being gay means 1) shacking up with a guy and 2) decorating the shit out of the place for the holidays.

Ergo sum, they are not gay because they shack up with women who do the decorating for them (Larry Craig -- I don't think Roy Cohn ever shacked up with anybody).

But me? The act of having sex with a man identifies me (to myself) as being gay. I do not decorate the shit out of the place for the holidays (I barely run the vacuum as it is) and I am not (currently) shacked up with a man. [CLARIFICATION: It is not merely the act of having sex with a man which defines me to myself as being "gay"... it is equally as important to understand that men have been and are the sole objects of my desire and also have been and remain the focus of my romantic feelings.]

Therefore, I can only and logically and in total denial state that I must be straight.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

And I am Marie of Romania.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Absolutely Fabulous!

I nearly started to feel jinxed today. Bev tried to hang me with being responsible for the death of her friend, Michele (Yes. She was kidding). But that didn't matter. In some sick, twisted and perverted little corner of my mind, I WAS responsible. Because I AM THE MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!! ... when I'm not busy being lower than whale crap at the bottom of the sea.

I have a friend in recovery who will celebrate his 1st year of sobriety tomorrow. Yesterday morning he stormed out after a 12-Step meeting, convinced that he was going to "resign" from the Program.

He showed up this morning and shared about it. He's lucky that he has people around him, myself included, who remind him that it's perfectly natural for him to be particularly crazy around this, his anniversary time, and that we've all gone through it AND continue to go through it every year around the time of our sobriety birthdays. God, around my anniversary every year I start to feel like Mr. Spock being drawn home to spawn in whatever episode of the original ST series that happened in.

I have another friend (again, in recovery) who is under the gun at work and at school right now. I had to point out to him that he's feeling anxious and under attack because it goes to the heart of his disease ... his perfectionism. Alkies like us are fine as long as nothing ever goes awry. But we are capable of taking even the most insignificant personal criticism and turning into the worst year of our life because, of course, we're perfect... or should be... and we know this because we do everything else perfectly... mostly.

He'd forgotten that he's afflicted with terminal perfectionism. It brings down many a drunk who cannot tolerate the slightest hint of failure.

My blog title yesterday was "What's Wrong?" and, of course, nothing was. I was just alone in my head with my thoughts ... not a good place for a recovering drunk to be without adult supervision.

Thank goodness for 12-Step programs and the friends people in recovery make in them. A few minutes spent every day speaking with another person in recovery, sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other, is the key to right and stable thinking. As is working the Steps and going to meetings.

And so, today (and JUST for today), I am absolutely fabulous!

And so are you!