Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Girl

There once was a girl we’ll call The Girl. She was one of those impossible girls. That woman who has the right combination of everything, possessing the special blend of mind, body and soul that sets the heart on fire and the brain reeling. The Girl wasn’t The One. At the time, though, she was my whole world.

The Girl worked as a waitress at Peppers. She brought me chicken and gravy and spanish fries. Which, as you can imagine, resulted in my quickly sucumbing to her feminine charms. When she was talking she looked into me. She could talk so fast it would leave me breathless, stop in mid sentence, walk away to take care of a table, and then come back and pick up in mid-sentence right where she left off. It was kind of freaky, but it wasn't inane chatter. It was completely and purely genuine. She was funny in a sly way. She was smart, but not pretentious. Pretty, but plain and subtle about it. Sexy, but unaware of it. Mostly, though, she was beautiful. 

That’s what this is really about. Being beautiful.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

That One told me a few of weeks ago that I had a “mad desire to be rejected.” Men are told from the time they're old enough to grasp their own pricks that if they have feelings for a woman they should speak up. Tell her. It will be wonderful. She has to know! You’ll be miserable if you never know! The worst that could happen is gut wrenching, mind obliterating pain that will bring you to your knees, curl you into a ball, and make you weep like a child. It will also probably kill you, by the way.

Granted, everyone always leaves that last bit out.

Trust me. It’s better not to know.

Given that attitude, I begin to ponder this “mad desire” of mine. Why would I subject myself to the pain and humiliation of being rejected? Honestly, I’d rather be kicked repeatedly in the balls.  I hear there are people that pay good money for that. I’m certainly not paying for it, so why would I want it? Because it’s a way for me to take a shot to the chones for free? No. Because I’m insane, apparently. It pissed me off. I stomped around having angry conversations with myself. I wallowed in my own self pity and misery. I wrote angry, angsty essays for days. I got drunk. That might not be the precise order of events, but you get the gist.

Then it got me thinking.

Those thoughts eventually wobbled drunkenly, and fondly, to The Girl.

The Girl was what you might call a natural empath. One of those people that is unaware that they can look at someone, converse with them for a few minutes, and see right into their soul while being blissfully unaware that they’ve done so. These women are spectacularly dangerous. To me, obviously. To themselves as well, in my experience.

I remember going to a Christmas party at Peppers one year. For The Gang it was a huge deal because it was an exclusive employee event. Everyone else was invitation only. I guess they figured that since we practically lived there and essentially paid rent, we should come. So we did. K and I arrived shortly after things got started and he headed off to whereabouts unknown. The Girl arrived with her boyfriend, Dude.
Dude was an attempted musician. He did musician-like things, he did ride a ten-speed bike, he did The Girl, he did a lot of angst ridden things and he did a lot of nothing else. He was also one of the bartenders. Almost forgot about that.
Shortly after the party gets started, The Girl grabs me by the hand and begins dragging me around to her friends and family. The place was packed with people, with the sound of dozen of conversations buzzing around the piped in Christmas music and the clacking of feet on the old high school basketball court floors. The Girl was smiling and engaging with everyone. One of the other waitresses at the party decided to snark at me that I was following The Girl around like a puppy. I said “I sure am.”
The Girl played with the children at the party and introduced me to some important sounding people. At one point she was sitting with a family and telling a story to two little girls and a boy. She was animated, and laughing, and they were laughing with her. She talked with her hands a lot.  I stood over by the wait station and watched her. Her ability to connect with people, especially kids, was a wonder to me. While I was standing there staring, an older, rather distinguished couple came up to me and introduced themselves. Apparently some VIP friends of the The Girl’s family.
We chatted amiably for a minute, and the gentleman looks over at The Girl, then back to me and says, “You take good care of her, young man. She’s very special.”
Like some sort of threatened blessing.
With no idea what to say, I blurted, “Oh, yes sir, she’s special. But she’s not with me. She’s just my friend.”
“I see,” said the old man with a bit of disapproval.
“That’s too bad,” said the lady, also with a hint of disapproval.
“And who is she here with tonight?” queried the gentleman.
I look over toward the bar and point. “That guy with the long hair.”
They turned together in the direction I indicated, and there’s Dude, with a santa hat cocked precariously on his head, and his arm around two women, who were laughing and pouring tequila shots into his mouth. They did appear to be having a great time.
“Oh,” says the woman.
“Yes, well...” says the man.
After a few minutes of awkward nothing, he says, “Well, you take care of her anyway.” He shook my hand,  linked arms with his wife, and sauntered off. I’m assuming old rich people saunter, of course. It looked like sauntering to me, anyway.
I stood there and watched The Girl. I remember feeling amazed that people thought we were together.  I remember feeling wretched that we weren’t. I watched her as people gravitated to her. She was whirling from group to group, table to table, and everyone loved her. In private, she was quiet and closed off, full of a deep pain that she rarely let out. Back to back tragedies had left a mark. In a social situation, though, she exploded with joy, drive and emotion that captivated anyone she came near. She was this beacon of pure humanity that drew in souls and radiated back all the things that people want to be. I watched her charm people, be sad with them, feel their pain, smile at their fortune, and laugh at their joy.  She was beautiful.

See, beauty is not about being cute, or pretty, or sexy, or having a good soul, or being perfect. Those are certainly components sometimes. Beauty also has flaws, and pain, and sadness, and scars. It’s something that men don’t comprehend very often.  I think women rarely get it or admit to it themselves, and with certain women that just makes them more beautiful. The way a woman can have stretch marks and be self conscious about them and still be mind blowing sexy. That’s beautiful. The way a woman can go through hell and still smile and be bold and take life on her own terms. That’s beautiful, too.  It’s the way all the flaws and the perfections blend and meld together to make her an individual. That’s beautiful.

It scared the shit out of me.

I never told her. She knew, but knowing doesn’t matter if it isn’t said. The Girl was one of those perfectly imperfect women and my fear was not a desire to be rejected by her. My fear was being accepted and not being able to live with her being beautiful. I simply didn’t know if I could handle it. That need to devour every second of her attention, the jealousy when she isn’t shining directly at me, and that obsessive compulsion of meaning everything to her. Getting free of that is overwhelming and requires an unconditional dedication that I was unsure I possessed. So my defense was silence.

It was The Girl that started me down the path to understanding that fear, to being able to accept someone with that beauty and being able to live with it. It was the The Girl that made me realize that you do have to tell her, because while it’s not worth it to know, me knowing isn’t the point. The point is accepting her beauty with all it’s flaws and perfections. It’s accepting and loving her unconditionally not because she is beautiful, but despite of it.

I don’t know what happened to The Girl. She moved away and I never heard from her again. In my mind, she is wildly successful and happy and still being beautiful. Perhaps she found a guy that treats her the way she deserves. Perhaps she has a family she’s proud of. I like to think good things came to her. That would mean the universe, at least, has a heart. Regardless, I owe her a lot.

It took a long time, but it was the The Girl who taught me how to love unconditionally. That in the end, you can tell her or not. It doesn’t matter. She is beautiful and if you get even a glimpse of it, you’re better for it.

And that, my friends, is worth it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Asshole Lawnmower

       I like to fix things. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from fixing things. My lawnmower spent a couple of years being abused and finally decided to be pissy about it. It didn't quit, it just decided to go through the motions and fuck with me. I gave it a crank and it sat there chugging for a bit. It got all sour and started muttering, sputtering and puffing smoke like a crotchety old man. Then it stopped, sat back, and blinked at me. I could see it grinning.

       “ You're going to try that again, aren't you? You dumb bastard,” I could hear it saying.

        I did. They say doing to the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. No, that’s the definition of being stupid. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and believing you're getting a different result. So, I stopped that, because I'm not quite insane. Yet.

       Not to put too fine a point on it, but the lawnmower was being a complete asshole.

       Granted, it had every right. The world was shitting on it. Here mow this. Now sit there. Now mow this. Now shut up. Now mow this. Now sit there some more. Eventually, I’m pretty sure it just said fuck it. If you're going to be an ass, so shall I. It’s not a good place to be.

       There are different types of assholes. Some are just born that way. Or bred that way. Hard to say which without a couple of years of therapy or copious amounts of alcohol. Of course, there are those that only unleash their inner asshole after consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Closet assholes, if you will. I’m thinking about a different kind, though.

       Some people are made into temporary assholes by their situation. These are the kind that become assholes due to neglect. People they love neglect them. Then, worse, they get into the habit of neglecting themselves. I did this recently, so I know how the lawnmower feels. I was an asshole lawnmower, too. I just got to the point where I didn't give a shit. I cleaned up the lawnmower, showing it a little TLC, changing out the plugs, new blade, cleaning out the filter and fuel line. All I did was give it a little attention.

       After tending to the lawnmower, I pulled the crank and it fired right up. We went walking about the yard together, playing zombies on the lawn, happily mowing down everything in our path. It was a joyous slaughter, the lawn mower content to be a whirring, happy machine of grassy death. We even went a second round and mulched the crap out of it. Take that zombie grass bitches! Fixing things is something that brings me a great deal of satisfaction. People are outside my ability. A lawnmower, though, is easy enough. A little care and attention is all it takes.

       I'm certain there’s a lesson in all that, but we'll ignore it for now, because it would be silly to take life lessons from a lawnmower.

       After mowing the lawn, I cleaned up the lawnmower and put it neatly back in its special spot. I'm pretty sure it winked at me and gave me a “ that'll do, pig” look. I grabbed the trimmer and headed out to finish the job. I gave it a crank and it sat there chugging for a bit. It got all sour and started muttering, sputtering and puffing smoke like a crotchety old man. Then it stopped, sat back, and blinked at me. I could see it grinning.

      Asshole trimmer.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Getting" Old

       Apparently, once you pass 40, you are “getting old.”

       I've had a few people tell me this recently, either in reference to myself or someone else who is in that odd purgatory between young and truly “old.” When they say it, I can hear the inferred “you’re screwed/worthless” as they wave their hands in the air in an attempt to shoo away the big black cloud of doom that hovers near.

       Don't fret so much. If you get any on you it rinses right out.

       The impression that I get from this statement is twofold. One, that I’m not old yet. I’ve still got a way to go, but I’m definitely getting there and that’s a bad thing (which is a pile of horse shit). Two, that I’m no longer “young” either, I’ve moved squarely out of that category, and into an inbetween state that is socially worthless (which is a steaming pile of horse shit).

       At this point, you might be wondering what this is all about. Feeling a little insecure there, buddy? The years weighing on you a bit? Pining for the glory days of thy youth? A mild mid-life crisis rearing it’s Corvette driving, sunglasses wearing, touch of grey blowing in the wind, as you stupid-cool your way to pick up the kids from Girl Scouts head?

       Wait, it’s about women, isn't it?

       Of course it’s about women. If you have a penis between your legs, it’s about women*. Any man that tells you differently is a liar, or is trying to impress a woman. Which is usually the same thing.

       That’s a whole other can of worms, though. Woman are a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, Rubik’s Cube, tilting, about to topple Jenga stack, impossible level Sudoku, Mario World in ultra-challenge mode conundrum that’s way beyond the scope of this bit of philosophical fluff. Women my age seem to be mostly enamored with the idea of being some sort of jungle cat (I would have picked marsupials, they’re way cuter and more versatile), so the point is largely moot, anyhow. Let’s set that issue aside for a moment.

       The core issue is our society’s view on men who have broken the four oh barrier. Not old, but “getting” old is a bad thing. If you're “old” you have value. There’s a certain honor to it, an achievement unlocked, you've made it and deserve to enjoy it for a awhile. If you’re young, you’re... a market. Which at least has monetary value. “Getting” old, though, infers you’re really neither. You’re not marketable, but you haven’t quite earned it yet, either. The phrase “getting” old is used as a joke... for a joke.

       Honestly, the first time someone actually said that to me, I got pissed off. Seriously? “Getting” old. I don't even get the courtesy of being old, I’m just in the process of obtaining it? And WTF do you mean old? Odds are I've barely passed the halfway point in my life! And what’s wrong with “old” to begin with? Seriously?

       That bit of pissing lasted about 43 seconds.

       Then it occurred to me, as it rightly should, what a completely ridiculous statement it is. And more important, how even more ridiculous it is to get pissed off about it. By any measure, I’m better. Competing and comparing with no one else but myself, it’s fairly easy to work out. Just look at the basics. There are three aspects that make up the core of a man; physical, mental, and spiritual. Let’s have a peek at the scorecard.

       Physical. I'll grant that I can't abuse and debase my body the way I did, say, fifteen years ago (though not from lack of effort or motivation, I assure you). However, I’m much better at taking care of it now. I’m stronger, move faster, fight harder, and am considerably healthier than I ever was in my “younger years.” I can still bounce up and down on the bed all night and do a considerably better job of it than 10, 15, or even 20 years ago. Granted, I might need a couple of Advil and a nap afterward. At that point none of the participants really care, right? The “getting” old me wins this one hands down.

       Mental. I’m smarter. Much smarter. Not more intelligent mind you. But what small bit of intelligence I may (arguably) have is put to better use. I know when to fight and when to roll with it. I know how to make money. I’m not a rich man, but I can certainly afford to take care of business. I'm more responsible. I know, right? Scary. I simply make better decisions and can deal with the ones that aren't better more effectively. In the mental department, my “getting” old self is light years ahead.

       Spiritual. Confidence, surety, emotion, rationale, relationship with God, all that good stuff that makes us more than simple animals? Definitely better. Oh, I’m a mess, I'll grant. My ex has shacked up with some dude (never liked her that much lately anyhow, so good for her), I'm in love with a woman I can’t be in love with (14 years off the market, jump back in, and still doing the same damn thing), and the whole world is crashing down around my ears. 20 years ago I was able to deal with one of those at a time. Today, I know better. Everything at once? Bring it. It’s all cool. Soul sucking situations still come up, but the soul stays intact. I may not ever be perfect on this score, but the spiritual side of my “getting” old self is definitely better with a little seasoning.

       By any measure, me vs me, I'm better. Not every man gets better when he’s “getting” old, mind you. Those that do, though, get significantly better than their younger self. Yet, our society too often devalues “getting” older.

       It’s completely backwards.

      You say “ You're getting old.”

       I say, thank you. That’s very kind of you say.

       Now, you little prick... grab me a couple of Advil and go ask your mother if she would like to jump up and down on the bed for awhile. Thanks.


*In difference to my gay friends, I’ll add a caveat. Please insert the gender of your choice where appropriate. The point is the same.

The Peppers Papers

Fair Warning - NSFW

This blog is NSFW. That literally means Not Safe for Work. It also means that there could be copious amounts of violence, nudity, explosions, drugs, alcohol, profanity, and various other forms of mental debauchery. If you are under the age of 18, have any reservations about any of the above you should move on.  If, on the other hand, personal debasement is a dear hobby of yours, carry on. We'll have a great time.

This first post will disappoint those of you still reading. However, keep in mind that we're just getting warmed up. A little fluffing before the main bang begins, as it were.


       I've always enjoyed writing. I'm not terribly good at it, mind you. But I enjoy the fuck out of it. Lately, I've been doing a lot more of it and have been contemplating starting a new blog, or some other form of socialized media, to float some this out there.

       I've done hobby blogs before. That's not what I wanted. I'm a member of every social site out there. No, that's not it either. Most of my writing is private. Very private, in fact. What I do decide to share needs to be in a quick, easy, words only format. Google's Blogger has always been there for me. I'm sticking with what I know.

       The rationale behind writing again is freedom. Confession time, and without pointing any fingers. For a long time I didn't think I could write. Flat out truth? Fear. There were people in my life that, honestly, simply would not approve of what I wrote. I felt the need to present nice, orderly, well control thoughts and emotions. My ideas clearly didn't have value if the one I loved disapproved, right? Best to put that away and make everything okay. Keep the peace. Keep everything on an even keel.

       Which is horseshit.

       The problem with this line of thinking is obvious to anyone not actually in the situation. If you've ever been in the situation, though, you know exactly what I mean. In the end, suppressing who you are and what you think and feel is never a good idea. Granted, you need to be damn sure you know who you are and what you actually feel. It's easy to go overboard and into the realm of pathological egotism. "I'll do whatever the fuck I want when I want!" That's not right either.

       It's the ability to express yourself and be comfortable with the repercussion. Expressing your inner thoughts and emotions is, as the saying goes, like dancing and masterbation. Everyone does in the privacy of their own home. But only the truly brave do it in public.*

       The name, the name, ah what's in a name?

       The Peppers Papers comes from the once famous Tulsa restaurant named Peppers. Not the new Peppers, the old one out on 61st & Sheridan that is long gone. For many people, their formative time was high school, or college. For me it was a bar with great chicken fried steak and gravy fries.

       I grew up there. My coming of age, so to speak, happened largely either at that restaurant or as a direct result of events that occurred at that restaurant. A perfect example, the three most important women to happen to me all in some fashion revolved around that place. The First One, The Unobtainable One, and The Perfect One. I'm sure there's a paper or twenty in each one of those stories, and a hundred others that come out of my friends, love, hate, death and living life.

       Recent massive, gut wrenching changes have brought back some of that "live life" feeling. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired losing. If I lose, it won't be from waiting, damn it. That's a dumbass reason for losing. Better to have at it and let it sting like a motherfucker than sit around waiting for something to happen, right? Damn straight.
       Feel free to comment and share below. The comment section is unrestricted, except for spam. Blatant trolls will shot on sight. Keep in mind that I (and anyone else that visits) reserve the right to mock you mercilessly if you're a dick in my comments section. Lively discussion, thoughtful commentary, and outright blatant lies are welcome.

       I won't be sharing everything here, of course. Some things are best left on the inside. That incident with the champaign and the chubby stripper in New Orleans is one. There's only one guy out there in the wide world that knows that one and we'll probably both just hang on to it, thank you very much. We won't even get near the whole "boys will be girls" debacle. But there's plenty more fodder for the mind mill. Plenty more to put down and turn loose in The Peppers Papers.


PS Okay, I promised something NSFW... Let's see what we have. Ah! Here we go. I'm not a big fan of the Huffington Post, but this is fascinating. I'm pretty sure with the right makeup, I could be a female porn star. It's good to have career options. What color is your parachute, indeed.

* I don't care how brave you are. Please don't masturbate in public. No one wants to see that. Serious.