I had a strange kinda fucked up day yesterday. It started out on a happy note even though it started out well ahead of sunrise. I must deserve some kind of credit for the ability to be happy before 4AM, don’tcha think?
Then I made the mistake of doing some thinking that put me on a Tilt-A-Whirl of thought, as opposed to a train of thought, that went around and around and let me out right at a place I’d rather never be. I kept my breakfast down, no problem, but had an emotional pukefest. Very uncool. That shit burns more coming up than it does going down. It’s a rare occurrence for me these days and it took me quite by surprise, but just like the paranoia that comes from smoking too much pot I knew it was harmless and the best way to get rid of it was to think other, happier thoughts.
The phone rang. I knew almost instantly who was calling. Of course. It’s the 21st century and even I have got Caller ID, despite living so far out in the middle of nowhere that Caller ID has only just lost its novelty. I’m not joking. Dinkytown is so small and so remote that we don’t even have a Taco Bell, or a McDonald’s, or a Wendy’s, or a Del Taco, or any other chain fast food joint. We do, though, have not just one but two liquor stores with drive-up windows. Gotta have your priorities in order. Now where was I? Oh, yeah…
This guy whose name appeared on my phone didn’t know that he was calling to cheer me up. He still doesn’t know that he did. He had some business he wanted to discuss, but before we could get to it we had to spend about an hour and three-quarters with him talking about and me listening to how extraordinarily fucked up his life is at the moment. Just what I needed. No, really, I mean that. I needed it something fierce. When you’re having a day like the one I was having, some bubbly bitch sing-songing messages of sweetness and light up your ass just will not do. Will not do at all. I needed something industrial strength, stinky, caustic, and carcinogenic. Something so powerful that it gives cancer to malignant tumors. Something that would make a televangelist come out of the closet and not solely for the purpose of trying to get his wife to take blowjob lessons from his boyfriend. The guy on my phone was just exactly what I needed.
This guy once owned a smallish chain of video stores in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the business went tits up on him. He was doing great, started with one store that did so well he opened a second, and a third, and ended up with four or five. He was just making money in spite of himself, then suddenly the tide turned. I don’t recall what he said was the reason for it, maybe it was a national chain snaking his business away or something like that. However it came to be, he hung on and hung on and hung on some more, so long that by the time he got around to turning off the lights and locking the doors he couldn’t have given the business away, let alone found a sucker who’d buy it.
You have done some serious fucking up when you can’t find a sucker in Vegas. Not only is McCarron International Airport busy all day and night, every Friday night and Sunday afternoon the interstate is bumper to bumper from at least the California line to downtown. Sometimes the traffic is backed up all the way to Baker, and occasionally even further. They got suckers in that town, in the local parlance, by the metric fuck-ton. I have no idea what a metric fuck-ton might be, but I’m guessing it’s an enormous quantity. And this guy couldn’t find even one. He’s got to be the only guy on Earth who could fall out of a boat and miss the water completely.
Where and when Amethyst and I grew up, “moving to Vegas” was shorthand for having fucked up your life so badly that you couldn’t see any other way out of it except to fuck up some more. Other folks moved to Arizona, I guess because they got on the wrong interstate and ended up in Yuma instead of Vegas and just said fuck it, this is far enough and besides we’re out of gas.
I always wondered: What happens to people who’ve fucked up so badly that they’ve moved to Vegas, then fucked up so badly there that they had to move somewhere else? I never knew anyone like that, but I figured that surely there must be some out there somewhere. This guy, the only one like that I know, moved to Minnesota.
Come to think of it, he actually did move to Arizona first, to Phoenix, and then from there to Las Vegas. I’ve spent some time in Phoenix, never for more than a few days at a stretch but there were several such episodes. It was in Phoenix that I saw the world’s only honest cop, one who actually bought his own reefer. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. I never knew until then just how long I could remain perfectly still and quiet while holding my breath. On the off chance that he was only mostly honest I didn’t want him noticing me there witnessing his score. Anyway, the guy on the phone has never mentioned why he moved to Phoenix. But I guess he fucked up there badly enough that Vegas somehow seemed to make sense to him.
Now he’s in Minnesota. My sister, The Princess, went to Minnesota for a couple of years. I figure she was hoping to meet Garrison Keillor, have his babies, and live a life of leisure and hot dish. She arrived there with a couple of worthless BA degrees and the stated goal of turning them into even more worthless MA degrees, but she didn’t get quite that far. Maybe she met Keillor and found out that all he was interested in was just one anonymous blow job. Whatever her excuse for bailing out before achieving her stated goal, she blew on back to Alaska which attracts a whole different breed of losers than Vegas does.
Fuck. I just had to throw that in because there wasn’t even one occurrence of it in the previous paragraph. I did incorporate the term blow job, but as everyone knows they’re very different things despite having approximately the same result. I was going to say outcome but then I’d be at risk of being accused of making a meaningless pun.
Anyway, this guy who got to Minnesota by way of Phoenix and Las Vegas, he finally lands there in the land of ten trillion mosquitoes (per square kilometer) only to find, not so much later, that his old lady has become a narcotics addict. He tried to help her, tried to compel her to get help, tried to convince her family to enlist in the cause of convincing or forcing her to getting help, went through all of that crap that prescription junkies put their significant others through, and got about as far as any other spouse of a prescription junkie ever got. Oh, and here’s an instance of the word fuck to round out this paragraph.
Just before we got down to the business he called about, the guy said to me, “That which doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, right?”. He said it like he expected me to agree with him. I didn’t. I gave him my stock answer, which is darkly humorous to any who’ve had to learn life’s tougher lessons, but is intended to be informative and thought provoking: “You obviously have not spent much time at a VA hospital”.
His tale of woe brightened my day. It was the industrial strength, malodorous, strongly caustic dose of reality that I needed to remind me that whatever life’s next big challenge might be, it won’t be one I’ve already faced but have failed to finish. I don’t know just now what that challenge might be, but it’s not here now so life is pretty (fucking!) good.