“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
~ Charles Bukowski, Factotum
My Father died when I was about 17 years old. I barely knew the man and he lived in our house until I was maybe around 12 or 13. He had a drinking problem among other things and all I can remember is all the times my Mother and he screamed at each other. He worked 3rd shift in security so he slept during the days, this meant the house had to be quiet. To this day I can recall the sound of that bedroom door creaking open which meant: run and fast! He was mostly bald with long hair running in the back but when that door opened fast, the thing that emerged had hair shot out everywhere like he stuck his finger in an electric socket. He taught me to be afraid, to expect fear. He sometimes had a good side. I remember briefly the few times he was a happy drunk and let bounce on his knee while we watched the Sox play. To this day I cannot stand sports at all; none of them.
Before he died, he spent the last few years of his life in VA hospitals. He had severe diabetes and other issues. At one point he came back to live with us briefly in between hospital stays. I was a punk teenager who smoked cigarettes and pot and only cared about hanging with my friends. I was planning on quitting school the summer before beginning my senior year of high school when he came to stay with us. He told me something that day I never forgot or refuse to. ” Don’t end up like me…” he said, he looked so sad and weak sitting in that wheelchair staring at me. He died about a few months later due to a stroke and complications of diabetes.
I am telling you this back story for a reason. I did end up like him, and I don’t think it was on purpose. I finished high school in his memory( I am not a total dick) and worked various jobs and yes, I got into security. I did that for a year and moved on until I got into assembly work in manufacturing. I started heavily drinking around 21 and pretty much was intoxicated for about 15 years. To those who know me or read my blogs, I am now 4 years sober and still going strong. I thought I cleaned up my life for the better, putting behind me those bad habits and most importantly: Not ending up like him.
My Mother recently was sent to the emergency room. Fluid in her lungs and treated for congestive heart failure. I was a fucking mess when I found out about this and was even more pissed off that nobody in my family told me she went there. She is ok right now and going home soon, but that fear was there. That fear that plagues my life every time I sit down and let it engulf me. I let my Father down many years ago, I will be damned if I let my Mother go without knowing her youngest son is doing fine.
Life could be better. I am unemployed right now, I have 3 children to care for, I am pursuing an online college degree in the only subject I love and am getting married in a month. Sometimes the stress on me is too much, I feel I could snap like a twig. But then something cool happens. I go on Facebook and see what my writer friends are up to, I read a cool story, I go to the bookstore, or like right now I write. Those times when I do this relaxes me, makes me reflect and calms me the hell down. I won’t be any damn good to my fiance’ or my kids if I don’t find that time to chill out a bit.
I have been in this world for 37 years now, and have gone through enough shit to last maybe two lifetimes. I told people I do not like to bitch, this is a reflection not bitching, lol. I am a lover, a dreamer, a father, and a friend to all who give me the pleasure of knowing them. I am passionate about my goals and refuse to give up, ever. No matter what happens to me I will always have a book in my hand and a pen/keyboard nearby. Bukowski’s quote above may be right about working the “day job” but you do what you need to do to survive. That doesn’t take away from your goals in the long-term, it just makes things more possible with less stress.
Writer’s write and dreamer’s dream! The best thing to live for…
Dad and Mom…I will try to not let you down.