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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

The Troubles The Drink Brings

In Did You See This? on June 30, 2013 at 6:28 am

This piece appeared as “In Utero” at the GoodMenProject in April- But I never liked that title.


I can’t recall my first drink of alcohol. I was conceived in Europe, of a woman who had suffered two or three late-term miscarriages. She was high-strung and painfully skinny and the US Army docs recommended she drink a beer or wine or two, with a cigarette, to calm her nerves. Oh, was I happy to reacquaint myself with nicotine and alcohol.

I was born in the 50s when alcohol held medicinal and magical properties. To ease teething pain, rubbing a finger dipped in whiskey on a baby’s gums worked; do it a few times and the kid might be feeling no pain.  I’m not certain that my grandfather used brandy mixed with sugar as a babysitting tool—but the first brandy I ever had gave me a Proustian GrandPop flash and I know he put my brother up for a nap that way.

No stranger to the Troubles the Drink brings on, Mother decided to introduce me to wine, like the sophisticated little European kids, at a controlled pace. This was when there weren’t alcoholics on the Continent; in recent years more enlightened minds have come to understand that entire nations that have to go sleep off the liquids from lunch may have a problem.  I’m not sure if I recall the first little glass of vin I got, but I can remember the night I was a good boy, helped clear the table, carefully carried the wind glasses to the kitchen one at a time, and gunned the dregs. I can see myself sitting on the couch, buzzed, laughing at stories I don’t understand, and Mother leading me off to bed.

My first recreational drunk was a bust. My buddy had been drinking during the summer and had me all wound up for the experience. He skimmed a bit from each of the bottles in the pantry, brandy to vodka, into a tumbler, decanted half into another glass and added some juice or soda. We hitchhiked to a girl’s house, he got inappropriate, she punched him out, I split to walk home and my parents found me on the road three-quarters of the way there.

My first bar drink was at the College Inn. It was the night before my 15th birthday and we had time to kill before Mike’s older brother dropped us at the bus to the Appalachian Trail. I still see myself, from an out-of-body vantage, in the booth with the big boys and those unbearably heavy glass pitchers of draft.

I don’t remember my first joint, but can tell the stories of my first lines and needles of coke, tab of acid, handful of psilocybin and headful of black beauties.

I do recall the first and only time I had a drink with one of the Gabor sisters, the nun on the plane, and Frank Sinatra. Calm down: it was three separate incidents. I don’t remember what I hope was my last drink.

Mid- October Tweets

In Did You See This?, Fleshed Out Tweets on October 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

Honestly it is no wonder that women hate men- what passes for acceptable, if not handsome, among men is a lot broader than the yardstick for women. So according to this- shoulders are sexy; good for me as mine are still broad, if hairy.
@GoodMenProject: What Makes a Man Attractive? — There are few questions more frustrating than “What’s he got that I ain’t got?”

I’m in favor of American Males being circumcised aside from the health issues circumcision is a shibboleth. Frankly, I suspected the fathers of guys who weren’t circumcised of having brown shirts in their closets.
@standup2p: Justin Cascio getting back to,writing….The Circumcised Poet and Other Tales via @goodmenproject

Right here was to be a compilation of tweets about a young woman who committed suicide after being bullied- but I can’t sully her reputation by including her in these maunderings.

“Put the White back in the White House” T-Shirt…
I could conceive of wearing this for it’s absurdity and shock value…..
@standup2p: Yes it is wrong- and worst is I find it humorous on some level

Pick up and examine something dead when you don’t need to & maybe you can do it when you do need to. My mother would describe children as light as a bird- and this couldn’t have weighed 2 ounces….
@standup2p: A bird in the hand ….


Where the F Do I Surrender?

In Be a Guy on September 8, 2012 at 5:09 am

I’m in 2nd grade: Mrs. Hogan, my teacher, tells us about The Saturday Evening Post article and Alcoholics Anonymous. Fifty years later, who else remembers this? Mother, no stranger to the rapine path of “the drink,” sits me down to watch “Lost Weekend” the way other families watch “The Wizard of Oz.”

I’m nine or ten, and we are entertaining Father’s client. Mother is out front, teaching us to drink responsibly like worldly European children. I’m wearing a suit. I sip some wine. It’s terrible tasting yet, seductive.

I’m a good boy; when the adults retire to the living room for cigarettes and coffee, I clear the table. With two hands I carefully carry the goblets to the kitchen and drain each before setting it down. Years later at Mass, I recognize the move when a priest finishes up the Communion chalice. I’m on the couch buzzed laughing at stories I don’t understand when Mother leads me off to bed.

A week later—while a puzzled babysitter watches—I drink two bottles of Welch’s Grape Juice and am surprised it does nothing for me. I know wine is made with grapes. There isn’t room enough in the refrigerator for the gallon jugs of cider we buy in the fall, which get stored in the garage. I learn about the sweet spot between cider turning to alcohol and turning to vinegar.

I’m 15: Tomorrow is my 16th birthday and the guys and I are drinking pitchers of Schlitz at the College Inn. When I rode past Cagney’s as a kid, the open door leading to darkness, the strange smells, sounds, and smoke, were scary. A booth in a bar turns out to be a womb; a stool at the bar, a saddle.

I’m 16 and painting houses for the summer. We order paint, and, while it is mixing, duck into Uwe’s for nickel beers in juice glasses. I ride to school in Bugs crammed with bodies and marijuana smoke. (Two years later one of the drivers will be dead of an overdose.) I drop a fist full of white crosses for soccer games, smoke a joint before skipping rope in the steam room to make weight, and drink a few tequilas at lunch time on lacrosse game days.

I’m 18; I smoke a J, drink some beers, and give a class graduation speech.

I’m 19 and drink my way out of the Ivy League. My Dad and I have a few epic fights and some extraordinary benders. I get into a real bar fight with my junior-high football coach.

I’m not yet 21 and at the town dump, 2,000 miles from my family, unloading a truckload of my garbage bags. Hitting the ground, they split with the weight of beer bottles. I am embarrassed or, more accurately, paranoid about the neon-green caps from the U80 syringes with which I shoot coke and speedballs.

I’m 23; after a particularly humiliating weekend I announce to my running buddies that I am going to AA. They explain that alcoholics are old men in grubby raincoats, and pour me a shot and a beer.

I eat half a dozen DUIs, under a couple different names, the way other people deal with oil changes. I’m arrested on live TV during Sweeps Week, and the guys at the Punch Bowl pass a hat for my bail. Even the cop who got the call about my sideswiping the Eyewitness News van is sympathetic.

I’m 27 and have relocated back to my home turf. I have a driver’s license in my own name with no DUIs on it. At a bar I tell some story about running my own construction firm. I’m indignant when another barfly calls me on my bullshit, observing that I drink like he did before being cashiered from the Air Force, and suggests that I will end up on my ass, too.

I’m 27 and attending a family wedding; there is my hell raising, ass-kicking, hero-cousin with a wife, house, and a child. My reaction is, “Shit, shit, shit … .” He is in AA, and I hear footsteps.

I am 27; I’m scratching a lottery ticket and have an auditory hallucination from behind me: “You won’t hit the lottery until you quit drinking.” I am alone in a pickup truck.

I’m 28 and find one of the all-time hall of fame gentleman bartenders. He pours my morning shot 2/3 full and turns his back to prep fruit. I dip my head and lap the first drink; horrors splatter the bar if I attempt to use my hands. After several gentle minutes Jimmy returns, says “I think I shorted you on that” and pours me a full measure. I’m a functional alcoholic, most are: drinking and drugging is expensive. After work, in the same bar, I vomit red blood in the toilet and order more whiskey for its astringent values.

I’m 28; I wake up a week after Halloween, covered in blood, hands broken.

I check my head for lacerations and, amazingly, find none. I don’t know if I’ve killed someone or been slaughtering hogs. Aloud I ask, “Where the fuck do I surrender?” and call my cousin. He explains: “Right here and right now.” I end up washing Thanksgiving dishes for forty people in rehab.

For some reason, I exhibit classic PTSD symptoms: I duck when the shadow of an airplane covers me. I have not used since the day I called Ronnie. Ten years later I repay the bartender’s kindness by sitting with him through his first white-knuckle week in church basements. Over the years I tell many people, “I don’t care if you want to drink, I will care if you don’t”; succinct, glib and so true until now.

It’s almost Labor Day. I’m 55 and attending the family-education session in the same rehab where I washed those Thanksgiving dishes. I’m here for my 17-year-old son. I sit in a room of upset parents in a state of acceptance, if not serenity. I’m glad he is here, though I had no real expectation of his living through the summer.

Perhaps if he gets it now, he will graduate from college, may not worry about his liver, and might choose a spouse wisely—preferably one without the addictive line in her family.

I’m disturbed and dismayed these past several years at the hubris of my youth and my denial that the child of two junkies would, almost, have to end up a junkie. He hates me, and I don’t care all that much. His value system and mine have been at odds for years.

Perhaps we will find some future commonality past the genes with which I damned him.

As he is the spitting image of me, my heart bleeds.

This piece originally appeared at the Good Men Project. Justin my editor & mentor suggested it would get more traction from search engines and less filtering if we dropped the FBomb… To which I replied ” What the Fuck do I know?”

6/18/13 This morning, over the transom comes a news-bit about 2 young men killed in an accident. It is too sad to read. This afternoon comes the call one boy is the namesake of a guy with whom I got sober. They were 22 or so- and almost made it through to adulthood.


A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem

In Be a Guy, Did You See This? on August 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

When Mother became sick she was very accepting. This was her third match with cancer. Un-characteristically, one day she insisted I visit her in the hospital at a specific time. I arrived to meet the patient ombudsman and to sign on as the health care proxy. We very specifically discussed that Dad was too superstitious to do the deed; she felt I had the strength to pull the plug, and that she wanted it pulled. Within the year a friend tasked me with the same responsibility and had to ponder what this said about me; a practical tool towards ending it. Mother passed without me having to make hard decisions, as did Norman. I believe I would have enforced the DNR.

When Dad became sick I flew to his side: we had only recently reacquired our relationship, strained by his marriage and decision to have kids with her. I asked him, in addition to offering to take him to a priest and shark cartilage curanderos:

Did he want to start assembling enough pills or heroin to end it if it; got too rough?

Did he want me to go get him a gun?

He felt that the pills were easily obtainable at a later date. He reminded me that he had always hated guns, another thing we had in disharmony. I suspect him of being a good Catholic on a basic level. He was old enough and sick enough to qualify for an experimental drug and treatment regimen. While he lived for 4 years past his diagnosis he eventually opined that “it wasn’t worth it” and looked at me meaningfully. By that time she was watching us like a hawk and assistance would have meant jail time for me and truth be told I was sort of disgusted with his grasping at mortality as his dignity evaporated.

Dad had 4 brothers.
Dan died in Missoula in an “accident” that featured a stove and a broken pilot light. When Dad passed through Denver on the way to retrieve Dan’s ashes, I met him at Stapleton with an overnight bag and a cleared calendar. I was severely disappointed that he didn’t want my company and felt he was dealing with some shame. There is shame in ending up ashes in a cardboard box for a man who attended Catholic seminary for a while and thought he was Jesus returned for than more than a few moments. I had visited him on the summer solstice one year in what was one of my all time great benders and had a great time; I called Dad, not knowing what to do with Dan when he showed up at my door in full bipolar mania.

Read the rest of this entry »

Push Girls & Women & Girls

In Did You See This?, Fleshed Out Tweets on May 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Push Girls = Push Women? I really don’t know what to say- quickly during a meeting I googled them/this….. It’s a damned shame- at least one of them evidently woke up ready for a wheel chair after being hit by a drunk driver….

More Power to them, More Power to the Sundance Channel.

But Paraplegic Porn? OK maybe not porn…. Lust? Sure why can’t they be sexy?

These girls will never

walk out on you?

Trust me she won’t walk in on us?

These Boots weren’t made for walking?

Their shoes get tossed out before they wear out?

Yes I am so wrong…. And I apologize ladies.

Update 07/04

She is like a zen master & she recently went hunting.

More TSA misery as wheelchair- bound woman in lingerie gets hour-long search and misses flight


And even more TSA stupidity- I’m starting to think there is some perversion running rampant here

TSA Detains Wheelchair-Bound 12-Year-Old


A young vet, missing her legs and vilified by her Tea Party opponent.


LIRR Observations, Chic to Freak

In Fleshed Out Tweets, Street Seens on August 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm


There was a young woman opposite me on the train this morning w/ a unique nail style. I believe it’s French Polish when the tips are white? The different part was the moons at the base above the cuticle were painted black. In her world I guess that’s chic- from my vantage it looks like a blood blister from banging her finger with a hammer. Is this outside her experience?


There is a 300# woman squatting, in a sun dress, and pissing on the train platform and I’m too much of a gentleman to photo it.

[I glance up from my paper and see her, waddling down the platform, pause hike up her dress and take care of business. I’ve seen worse on mass transit; I’m not especially surprised or shocked as much as I’m sorry and shamed]

The pic would have made me famous- but Jesus she’s someone’s daughter.
[All joking aside this is the kind of thing that makes  for millions of hits and montization.  I had the BBerry in hand- she is 50 yards down the platform but an intrepid reporter would have closed the distance and gotten the picture- or better yet the video…. I couldn’t do it. Maybe she was an EDP, maybe she was high- Maybe she just didn’t give a shit; not a distinct possibility as societal norms don’t seem to count for much with someone that size in a sundress. Hell for all I know it was an empowerment exercise.  I had a flash to Thunderdome when Mad Max knocks the helmet off  Blaster and lets the fight go. Then I’m talking on the phone and pacing and had to pause at the scene of the crime like any rube gawking at a train wreck]

Can Therapy Help Change Sexual Orientation?

In Be a Guy, Fleshed Out Tweets on August 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

Well I don’t know. Is marriage therapy?


In Uncategorized on July 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

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