This may seem like it starts right in the middle . . .
For instance when I was twenty-six and trying to make some extra money babysitting for my six-year-old neighbor, Stefani Germanotta, after I put her to bed and read her the dream-inducing children’s story Lindsay Long and the Time Beans (which I had just written) and I was in the living room practicing my Ace Frehley moves with a glow-in-the-dark light-saberesque sword trying to enhance my stage presence for the next Reluctant Debutantes gig (the band I played lead guitar for at the time) and when I looked up through my long, orange-dyed, Duran Duran bangs I saw the young imp in her white terry-cloth robe mocking me (or so I thought) when in fact she was emulating me. I foolishly scolded her and put her back to bed harshly, having already forgotten that her mother had taken her to see an afternoon performance of my band the previous week and that she had been too shy (star struck) to talk to me after the show. Monstrous.
Wow! This is a very heavy, serious mindset! Umm, that’s a quote from Callahan’s Cross Time Saloon. And it will make no sense if you are reading these blog entries in the order which they are presented to you, which is the exact opposite of the order in which they are written. You probably couldn’t possibly fathom how much I appreciate that Tommy has never asked me for a cigarette . . .yet. Read on MacDuff!
In spite of Rich’s best efforts to use me as a weapon to influence a group of mind-bogglingly smug and stupid people to instigate strife and discord at the Yacht Club, what I did was . . . act naturally . . . under the most dire circumstances no less. And after I escaped, I realized how lucky you were, for had he been successful I’d have been forced to “bar anyone who didn’t understand Obama’s health-care-plan.” (which evidently he does, complete with death panels.) Yikes! I’d have to bar the guy who mops up Rich’s puke on Saturday mornings! I’d have to bar that girl who broke his heart. I’d have to bar sister morphine and sweet cousin cocaine!
I don’t know why I get such jollies watching people battle addictions. Maybe it’s because addictions are so alien to me and don’t run in my genes. Hmmm . . . uh oh. . . .
Cigarettes! Boy, those are some tenacious little fuckers. I know what solipsism is, and I know that you have all been duped into thinking you are the only person in the world. Fair enough. But when anywhere from ten to a hundred only persons in the world ask me for a cigarette every day, it gets a little pricey. Especially when someone says “I just don’t want to buy a whole pack” and then proceeds to bum five off of me. I’m not just talking about faceless non-entities here like the idiotic street-poetry guy, I’m talking about my personal friends who I know have strong moral fiber and are financially able to afford a pack.. Nothing is stronger than the urge for a cigarette. There was a time when I justified to myself that “if I was going to give away so many cigarettes in the bar, than the bar should buy my cigarettes. Than I substituted the word “cigarette” for “beer” and said to myself, “Oh shit,” and that was very quickly the end of that philosophy. And again, and finally, I am sorry, but although it might seem to you like you are different or special in some way, if you want a cigarette, you are just going to have to buy twenty. Smoke what you want and then leave a pack for your poor old bar tender to dole out. Be a hero.
Another idea, (thank you Tommy!) is, when someone asks for a cigarette, instead of charging a quarter, or whatever, demand a joke, or witty saying or a stupid human trick. If it’s a cute member of the opposite sex, ask them to tell a little about themselves. Hell, ask for a kiss or a hug. You’re basically saving them five bucks and satisfying a tremendous craving they are having. Don’t sell yourself short. Sure, you can bitch at people about how much they cost, or about how they should be ashamed of themselves for begging, but whenever I do that I always feel lousy, and then if they see you when your car won’t start or something they will feel all smug and serves-you-rightish, as if your not giving something to them (and remember they are the only person in the world) was the cause of your misfortune.
So, like, recently, Hippy found himself in a peculiar setting which seemed hurtful, but turned out to be more dangerous than anything else. In my opinion that is. It went like this . . . ATLANTA magazine had an issue about barbeque in Georgia. Looking at the clever cover, you would swear that it said ATLANTA’S BEST BARBEQUE. It doesn’t. But he fell for it, got his feelings hurt, then almost took action which would have really been . . . .
After glancing through the magazine, Hippy felt slighted, not so much because his Yacht Club BBQ wasn’t mentioned, but much more so because, if you just glanced through it, it seemed for all the world as if P’cheen had won 4th best BBQ in Atlanta. Now, before you think any of us have anything against P’cheen, let me set the record straight. We love it, we think it’s awesome, we always have a good time when we go, but we didn’t even know they had BBQ! Well, after pulling the stock of his harquebus from his pantaloons to prevent a despondency-blowing-out of-brains (DBOOT) , it was pointed out to the smarting Q-maester (Hip slang for person who cooks BBQ) that:
A) there are an estimated 300 BBQ places in metro Atlanta.
B) The guy admitted, right off the bat in the article, that he only went to 60.
C) He went to, and awarded high honors to many that were waaaaaaay outside of Atlanta.
D) He was definitely a very informed BBQ enthusiast who could (and did!) bust some BBQ places down to size and did not pull any punches in his criticisms (and was always fair enough to acknowledge that this or that establishment may have just been having a bad day).
Basically, if the guy lucked into an especially fun night, and the BBQ was fresh and perfect, he was giving you a good review. And again, he was very forthright and honest about this.
But can you imagine if you were the 57th place he went to, and he was in a crabby mood? “Fuck that,” I say! If that guy had come around when our supremely colorful Q-maestro hadn’t been on hand, and had merely had a delicious brisket platter served by wonderful, inimitable elves and gnomes, he might have printed something that was off-putting to . . . ummm . . . you know . . . those people that read that magazine . . . ATLANTA! We could have been ruined! Like half the restaurants that guy reviewed! Whew! Bullet dodged I say!
Dang! I really wish I hadn’t thrown up earlier. I made it to the toilet and everything, so it’s not a cleaning up issue. It’s just that I wasn’t drunk and I think I pulled a muscle in my rib-cage. And since I’m in my mid forties now it surely must mean I’m dying of whatever killed my little sweetie-pie kitteny-cute, Owen Meanie, the little teeny eeny beeny cleany weeny!
I miss Owen Meany worse than Hippy misses not getting in that BARBEQUE MAGAZINE.
Which brings me to the solemn topic of self-pity.
YOU SHOULD NOT READ THIS NEXT PART UNLESS YOU WANT TO HEAR A TRUE STORY THAT WILL MAKE YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR OWN PROBLEMS COULD BE MUCH WORSE
(In other words it is a super-horrible true story that will totally bum you out unless you use it to compare to your own real problems and make them seem almost funny)
There is this young girl, sophmore in highschool, who lives across the street from my mom in Virginia. And one of her girlfriends (fellow cheerleader, etc.) had to stay with her and her (upper-middle-class) family recently because . . . . Last chance . . . bail out! (Skip down to where it says “Skip down to here.”)
Because . . . last year her mother contracted some rare, weird disease and passed away (At 44 years old). Then, six months later her father was killed in an automobile accident, so she and her twin brother were adopted by the father’s brother, their uncle, who lived in the same neighborhood and had a wife and good tree-removal business and they could still go to the same highschool and be among caring family and friends. Well, three months later the girl’s brother was dragged into a wood chipper. (I can only imagine that it was like the first time I fell down on water skies and was too stunned to let go of the rope for a few seconds.) The twin brother was killed, and the courts took the girl away from her uncle and aunt and the state is pressing charges against the uncle because the twin boy was evidently too young to be doing that kind of work legally and blah blah blah. So the girl is staying with the family that lives across the street from my mom.
Now, if you have read the preceeding paragraph, reevaluate your own problems. Also, read the book of JOB. I know people become beside themselves with anger at God because they get a flat tire in the rain. Don’t be one of those people! Don’t tell people how angry you are or how much you hate this or that. What if you’re venting to someone who has problems one tenth as bad as the girl in the story above? Put your problems and grievances into perspective before sharing them.
SKIP DOWN TO HERE
If you have not read the above story, good for you! I am now going to toss out a few Yacht Club philosophies about anger, sadness, frustration, and all the sucky ways that you can feel. Then I’m going to outline a few strategies that the Yacht Club staff have come up with to get you back to feeling good again.
1)Put it in perspective. Even if you didn’t read the above story, just take your problems and imagine that they were ten times as bad. Instead of twisting your ankle, you had your hands chopped off. Instead of a DUI, it’s your 3rd DUI. Instead of being at the Yacht Club you’re at some awful, stepford-wives bar. Instead of being overlooked by the Atlanta Magazine guy, he wrote an article about how lousy everything about The Yacht Club and L5P were because he got harrassed by street poets and meter maids outside and was hostile to L5P’s evolving demographic and was just having an all around shitty day and it felt GREAT to take it all out on the barbeque at the Yacht Club, which he never even tried.
2)Don’t be the boy/girl who cried wolf. There is a much larger demand for sympathetic ears than there is for complainers. But if there is really something you want to get off your chest we are here for you! But try to be aware of your facial expressions and your tone. Do you really want to blow your wad on arguing that soccer is less exciting than baseball? Is it really worth losing a future sympathetic ear because you were so vehement about how exciting one sport was compared to another? What if someone smashes through your front door and runs off with your personal possessions? Or a good friend gets hurt or killed? Do you really want to be incapable of ratcheting up your emotions from the dumb thing you were mad about last week?
3)Unless you’re a noob, give and take. If you’re on the receiving end of a bitch fest, get some food into your interlocuter. (I’m not saying buy them a meal, but take a page from Randall’s book. Get some peanuts or popcon, or wings or knuckle sandwiches. Most people are crabby because they’re hungry (or in physical pain, or both). Put yourself in their place, because you know you’re gonna be in it, one way or ten others, within a year.
4)Be conscientious. Make sure your teeth are brushed and your hair is fresh and clean before masturbating. You never know when God is watching. He may be appraising you for a position as a guardian angel, which is worth, like, a thousand years in purgatory.
5) Remember, your main objective is to make others feel better. Don’t get bogged down in tedious facts and “truths”. Let it all hang out, baby! Be creative and imaginitive! Make sad people laugh at all costs.
6)Forget your own problems for ten minutes. It may do you a world of good, whether you’re listening to another’s trivial problems (brainstorm and help them out) or their overwhelmingly horrifying problems (compare to your own, realize how relatively happy you are).
7)Evaluate your own knowledge. Sure, throw a little malarky around, but don’t be adamant about something that isn’t a concrete fact.
8)Don’t confuse your opinion for a fact. Even the dumbest people in the world can perceive when this is going down. They’re like, in the commercials, those little girls who want a real pony, or who say toys instead of two. They may not be able to articulate how, but people, even kids, know when you are trying to slip your opinion in for facts. And that’s a fact.
9)Don’t try to be an amateur psychiatrist) Stick with what you know or can make up. Don’t try to prescribe meds, especially not xanax. It is a short-term solution that turns your brain into swiss cheese.
10) And last, but definitely not least, don’t tell people to “get help”. That’s why they’re at the Yacht Club. It’s why they’re talking to you. Unless you specifically have the name and number of a trained professional who you are sincerely recommending. It comes off as condescending. And in most cases it is impractical, cost prohibitive, and demeaning. If all you can offer someone is “get help”, than you get help.
When Meredith asks me why I must always be the center of attention, it actually makes me stop and think. If someone gives me a guitar shirt for my birthday on Thursday, and I am the center of attention by playing it all day, and then I don’t wear it the next day and a bunch of people bring their friends in to see it and are disappointed and mad at me, and so I wear it Saturday, and even more people say that they are going to bring people in on Sunday to see it, so I wear it Sunday, and then the people who have already seen it get tired of it, but there are even more people who want to see it, I just have to say to myself “Damn! I’m glad these are my problems! These are the best problems I’ve ever had (If you don’t count the first time my parents made me cut the fat off of my own steak!).
I hope this extra long entry makes up for my lack of writing anything for a month, but the God’s honest truth is that my computer wouldn’t work for a month and I got discouraged and depressed. I thought it was a goner. I can’t believe I didn’t realize that it just needed a rest. Anyway, if there’s anyone out there who is thinking about getting rid of their old computer, don’t just throw it away! I could use a back-up one in case mine gets shagged out again. Remember, God helps those who help themselves. almost as much as he helps those who help Gino. HELP!