Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nurse the Hate: New Year's Resolutions 2016

I’m hobbling around in a walking boot, my cranky Achilles flared up.  I’m thinking this ailment might become charming if I can start predicting weather with it.  “Ole Greg’s achilles is flarin’… Storm’s a’comin!”.  There is no doubt that the machine is breaking down.  I am careening from health inconvenience to health inconvenience.  It appears that anything good that was going to happen for me has already happened.  Now it is all about waiting for the sweet release of death.  Or gambling, writing songs, and drinking wine while ignoring these pesky issues.  Or both.  I feel like I might need to start listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins records exclusively, a wailing blues guitar starts to play anytime I limp around.  I think people would like to see a guy in a walking boot/cowboy boot combination with a dirty Delta Blues riff blasting out of nowhere.  “That there?  That’s Gimpy Boy… best country punk bluesman I ever heard!  Well, the only country punk bluesman I ever heard…  But ain’t he something?”

I will not be defeated.  I am moving ahead.  I have made mistakes, had major losses, but will win the war.  It is all about setting goals publicly and putting oneself on the hook for their completion.  Last year I shot my mouth off and said I would do the following:  further my wine expertise, dive a shipwreck, record a record with the Daredevils, and swim with sharks.  I passed the WSET Level 3 exam.  I dove two shipwrecks, one in Curacao and one off the Keys.  We released two records, “Nashville Surprise” and “The Genny Session”.  I did not get the shark dive done.  Let me get into that…

I was under the impression I would pop out to San Francisco, see my beloved Giants and work in a Great White shark dive off some godforsaken islands called The Devil’s Teeth.  I had learned that charter groups would go to where the sharks gathered each fall and toss chum into the water to get enormous 1500 pound sharks to swim over and nose around shark cages.  While to most people this seems like a terrible idea, I have always wanted to see an honest to God sea monster in the wild.  How often does a person get to come face-to-face with a monster that could actually eat them?  I am all in.  

The problem was environmentalist groups rushed in to say that this chumming was upsetting the shark’s natural behavior and needed to be stopped.  The charter groups were forced to stop chumming, and the success rate of seeing the Great Whites dropped to almost none.  Meanwhile the California charter companies don’t make public that they can’t chum any longer, so they charge exorbitant amounts of money to toss you into a shark cage in low visibility freezing water where the only chance to see the shark would be if one swam by via cosmic accident.  I almost fell prey to this scam while in San Francisco.  By the time I realized that it was a scam, I couldn’t arrange going to an area in Mexico to do the old school chum method. 
Now I need to travel to Ensenada, which I have learned is called “Ensenada” because “En senada nice place”.  It is a great place to get your head cut off in dealing with drug cartels, which seems like a fun and unique travel experience.  There are also shady Mexican dive operations that will drop you into the water with Great Whites near some spooky island off the pacific coast with I’m sure top notch attention to detail.  What could possibly go wrong?  This seems like an experience I might need to have with my associate The Land Sailor, who is currently delivering Coca leaves and dynamite to independent Bolivian silver miners in amateur tunneling operations somewhere outside La Paz.  (I’m not making any of this up by the way)  I will keep you informed as this fiasco unfolds.  

I am continuing the wine certification.  I passed the WSET Level 3 exam in Bordeaux, with merit even!  I kept going.  I have already begun Level 4, the final level.  It’s really ridiculous.  I have spent the last three months attempting to learn fermentation chemistry, soil contents, trellis systems, winemaking methods, and plant diseases.  It should be noted that I am someone that cheated their way through Chemistry 1 and 2 in high school.  While I regret not learning any of the actual information now, discovering that Mr. Hanson would grade the earlier class’s tests and leave them atop the work counter in his classroom enabled me to find a short cut and a “B+” grade.  If anyone wondered why I was gone from the lunchroom so long on certain days in my junior year, now you know.  I did not have an irritable bowel.  I did develop stealth skills to slip into Mr. Hanson’s dark classroom while he was at lunch and write down the answers which I would attach to my trusty “periodic table of elements”.  While now I have some limited regret in not understanding “free” and “bound” chemicals, I do thank Mr. Hanson for teaching me that by taking advantages of short cuts I would learn skills that I have adopted well into the amoral world of sales.  Thanks again.  I will take my first of four exams this January in San Francisco.  I will pass.  Somehow.  I wonder if I can bring a periodic table of elements?

I recently purchased a Porsche 911 Carrera S.  I spend a great deal of time in cars.  I figure that if I am going to spend a great deal of time in a car, I should enjoy myself while doing it.  I have driven BMWs for a long time.  The BMW 335i is an extremely fast automobile.  People have no idea.  There was an incident I would rather not get into great detail on where I needed to make up what seemed to be an impossible amount of time to get to an Airport.  During this incident I may have driven 143mph, which is very attention getting.  Now I am not saying that this happened in the United States, as if it were I would not be taken to jail but rather shot at the side of the road without a trial.  There would be no protest march.  Even the most anti-police liberal would have said “Fuck that guy.  He got what he deserved.”.  The Germans are much more tolerant of the idea of fast roads and automobiles, hence their production of the 911 line of cars.

According to the manual, the Porsche 911 Carerra S will go 184 mph off the assembly line.  It is a fucking beast.  I don’t think I can drive 184 mph here in NE Ohio as our police shoot kids with toy guns and people whose car had the misfortune of backfiring near police HQ.  I don’t think The Police would be in favor of me whisking across I-480 at 184 mph, and I don’t want to die in a hail of gunfire unless I at least have some hostages involved.  Therefore I would like to take my car and find a track with a long enough stretch where I can hit at least 175 mph to see what that’s like.  I feel confident that the car is engineered well enough to allow me to go 175, though I don’t feel confident I would fare well if I wreck the car at that type of speed.  Maybe I will wear a helmet.  That outta do it.  I met some fella that races cars for a living, and I’ll see if I can get him involved in this Doomsday Mission.  It seems irresponsible not to at least try.         
The Whiskey Daredevils have written a new batch of songs and we are recording this January.  I think we got off track slightly with “Nashville Surprise”, which was a bit too bombastic.  It’s not what we do best.  It’s time to twang a bit more.  I will continue to write songs as long as these stupid songs pop into my head.  The Whiskey Daredevils/Cowslingers have never really played music for any other reason than for our own satisfaction anyway.  I hope that some new people drift into what we do, like our little songs, and tell some more people.  If not, that’s OK.  We just do what we do.  I love writing and performing music with the band.  To be able to travel around the world because of these little ideas that we have in the basement is still astounding to me.  At some point I will be discovered as a fraud.

I need to travel to England.  I have never been to the UK.  I would like to see what’s doing in London, pay too much for everything, and walk around in the rain.  I have been dealing with quite a few English people in this wine education thing.  They all seem to regard me as some type of barbarian.  I find this odd as that anytime I am somewhere in Europe where some pasty drunks are causing problems they inevitably turn out to be English.  Ok.. Sometimes they are Irish.  I need to figure these people out and see what they story is over there.  I don’t really care for Indian food, fish&chips, drizzle, warm beer, or the NME.  I hope that’s not a problem.

Well, that’s it…  Those are my humble goals entering 2016.  It’s not much, but without getting some sort of action set up I will discover myself to be old with all types of grand plans I haven’t actually executed.  You'll miss your life if you don't take an active part in it.  I've found that one simple thing that is embarked upon leads to other interesting consequences.  A series of small things can lead to big things.  What the hell.  I'm going to try these.  Let's see what happens. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nurse the Hate: RIP Lemmy

The death of Lemmy blew up my social media feeds unlike any recent celebrity death.  Notable deaths used to provide a small obit in the back of a newspaper, an awkward paragraph recap of why this person was notable.  “Lemmy was a bass player and leader in Motorhead, a band that had only one real hit yet had managed to maintain a lengthy career for being what other people considered “rock and roll” to look like in the flesh.  Lemmy lived in Los Angeles in an apartment.  He was survived by his cat.”  Then there would usually be the iconic photo of the person.  Things have changed.

Now each celebrity death is used by people to build their own credibility or suggest association with the deceased.  People race to be the first one to react with faux grief and a “RIP” next to even the smallest celebrity.  When BB King died you would have thought it was John Lennon.  People I had never heard mention having even a passing interest in the blues genre were blinded by grief.  “Oh… I see Mary is upset about B.B. King’s death.  I may have misjudged her.  She likes old blues.  She is much more exotic and exciting than I first thought.  Perhaps she is from The Delta.  I hope she is able to shoulder her grief.  Maybe I should reach out to her.”  I know I am being cynical, but unless there is a personal relationship with an entertainer, the death should really be met with a “Oh, that’s too bad.  I hope his family and friends are OK.  Hey, are there any nachos left?”.

When it comes to “social media grief association”, Lemmy is absolute gold.  He always looked cool, and maintained the same essential look for his entire life.  There are probably pictures of him at age 10 with a cigarette and those mutton chops.  Drinking Jack Daniels, playing ear bleeding hard rock, and never changing what made him cool in the first place is great.  The fact that he is a bit of a cult figure makes the social media association even better.  If the people seeing the “RIP” post don’t know who the person is, that’s even better.  “Hey man, you don’t know Lemmy?  What’s wrong with you?”.  What a “personal branding” day yesterday was for the select few that jumped in early.  “RIP Lemmy”=”Yes, I am down with Motorhead and I rock though you might not be aware of it.  As I am saddened by Lemmy’s death, I want to draw your attention to the inevitable conclusion that I am like Lemmy.  We are brothers and now you too are aware.  I’m pretty cool, aren’t I?”

In my little closed society of whacked out middle age punks, roots rock outcasts, and degenerates there is a real pecking order left on the “I’m very upset by this musician’s passing, life is no longer worth living, though I haven’t purchased any music by or seen this musician perform since I was 19”.  I believe the Top 3 “RIP, I can’t go on” living rock stars pecking order now to be:

1.       Keith Richards- May never die, just played a game of squash and had a vodka rocks to cool off afterwards

2.       Willie Nelson- Everyone loves Willie because he is an old guy that smokes tons of pot and didn’t pay his taxes.  99% of these people own no Willie Nelson music.

3.      Iggy Pop- Most folks love the idea of Iggy Pop more than Iggy Pop and couldn’t name a solo record with a gun to their head.  I have a theory that most people will discover that when Iggy Pop passes away that they thought he was Lou Reed and had already died.

Granted, there will be an outcry for the untimely demise of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page or Robert Plant, but they aren’t “outlaw” enough to really engender the true “We are simpatico” social media grief pedestal.  Even Ozzy became too cuddly for the counterculture to embrace his passing with true gusto.   I just don’t see any other order.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to research online to see if Sammy Davis Jr., Erik Estrada, or William Burroughs died recently so I can paste an RIP picture to my social media feeds.   

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NFL Holiday Edition

The holidays are as laid back as American society gets in the calendar year.  It is the one stretch where work slows down and the regular routine goes out the window.  Even I have made time to chop a large chunk of my index finger off doing food prep instead of busying myself with my normal labors.  It’s all about appreciating the little moments like bleeding all around the Christmas tree that make the holidays so special.  Ah, holiday memories…

This festive holiday spirit even goes into the NFL where a couple of Browns players got arrested on a traffic stop on Christmas night with a bunch of Adderall on them.  I have no idea how one gets arrested at a traffic stop and the police discover you have a bunch of prescription pills on you, but they did.  I would also think that small tablets are easily concealed, though I suspect that the traffic stop went from “Can I see your license and registration?” to “Do you mind if we search the car?” pretty quickly after the Browns player either a) got mouthy or b) went to the “Do you know who I am?” card.  Ah, holiday memories…

So now the intrepid gambler must try to discern which one of these teams playing today is focused and will play true to form, and who has already begun packing for a two week stay at the Bahamas to ride both jet skis and vacationing hillbilly chicks.  I believe the Dallas Cowboys to be a team that has completely packed it in and is looking at these last two games as a way to “evaluate talent”, which actually means “don’t put any risk to our real players and run some practice squad guys out in Cowboy uniforms so we can get this over with and go home”.  I watched the “highlights” of last week’s Cowboys v Jets game where Coach Jason Garrett laughed it up as his third and then fourth string QB tossed interceptions all around the stadium.  The Cowboy season ended when Romo got hurt.  They just don’t care about the score any longer.  They want to see if the backup guard can handle a real NFL game.  Give me Buffalo at home where Rex Ryan will have his team motivated to win meaningless games just like he did as a Jet.  Buffalo -6.

I don’t have any real analysis about this game beyond “The Steelers will kick the crap out of the Ravens today”.  Pittsburgh looks like the best team in football right now.  They are getting healthy and peaking at the right time, as usual.  Meanwhile every Raven of note is currently hobbling around in a cast.  Some people think that the Ravens will keep this close due to “the rivalry”.  Every person that made this a “rivalry” with the Steelers is watching this game, not playing in it.  To bet on the Ravens is to suggest that their shirts have enough muscle memory to propel backup players to victory over the best team in the NFL.  I will take the violent goons in the yellow and black.  I cannot stress this enough.  Pittsburgh -10.5

A quick note on the season win total bets I placed in August.  These have gone quite well.  I have a winner with Buffalo under 8.5 wins as I wisely predicted “…the Bills will reliably rip their fans’ hearts out.  To win in the NFL you need a good coach and a good QB.  The Bills have neither.”  Winner winner chicken dinner.  I also got a big win on San Francisco Under 7.5 wins and noted “The 49ers will be a team that won’t even have their games televised by the end of November.  This is a team that should consider forfeiting 2015 and coming back in 2016 when they’ve had a chance to really think long and hard about what they’ve done.”   Here’s the one that bothers me.  I lost on Washington as I was sure they would be under 6.5 wins, though I couldn’t foresee how bad the Cowboys and Eagles would be this year.  Well, you can’t win them all, but I’ll take two out of three… 

It's raining.  There is nothing going on.  There is a scent in the air.  It's the smell of "opportunity".  I'm going to make it happen.  Come join me.  Let’s get out there and pay for Christmas or in my case hospital bills.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Nae Nae

I was recently ridiculed as I was unaware of what “The Nae Nae” was and it’s place in today’s popular culture.  I’m not sure why I was held to task for not knowing the work of Vine sensation “We Are Toonz”.  I don’t even give a fuck about Vine.   How am I supposed to know who is on Vine?  I didn’t “Vogue”.  I certainly didn’t “Macarena”.  Why do I need to know this stuff?  I question the long term impact of the artistic collective known as “We Are Toonz”.  I also question the need to know how to “Nae Nae” at all and hope not to be in a position where I am expected to “Nae Nae” in a public or private setting.  I am aware that this makes me a bit of a curmudgeon, but it’s a role I am settling into comfortably.  No one really wants to see a middle aged man “drop the Nae Nae”, unless it is on a Jumbotron at a sports arena.  In that circumstance, the public cannot get enough of “dropping the Nae Nae”.

I was at a Cavs game last weekend watching the Cavs beat the living fuck out of the 76ers.  The game is just an excuse for two hours of bullshit like t-shirt cannons, bad music, dance teams, guys playing drums on trash cans, being constantly yelled at to yell louder, and putting age/culturally inappropriate people on the Jumbotron so they can “Nae Nae”.  They try to wedge a little basketball in too.  This was where I learned what the “Nae Nae” was and delved into its cultural significance.  NBA games are not generally a good place to expand your knowledge base, but it paid off in this case.  It was then I decided that if the Jumbotron camera focused on me during the very exciting “Nae Nae” portion, I would pull my pants down and expose my scrotum, thus ending the days of putting unpredictable strangers on the Jumbotron to dance.  You would thank me later.

When I was at the Cavs game a military guy in fatigues proposed to what I assume was his girlfriend on the court broadcast live on the Jumbotron.  She said “yes” and everyone was really excited about it.  This came on the heels of the last game I went to prior where a guy in an ill-fitting sweater did the same thing.  It's the thing to do now.  Real original thinking there GI Joe…  If I was a woman that was proposed to on a Jumbotron in a sports arena in between the “Nae Nae” and sponsor mentions, I’d think long and hard about giving that guy the thumbs up.  If his idea of a romantic proposal is giving a ring after some nachos during the third quarter of a blowout between the Cavs and 76ers in front of 18,000 rubes, what other “good ideas” does he have?  Would it be a good idea to procreate with this gentleman?  I suggest not, though I am a curmudgeon as we have pointed out earlier.

Another thing I noticed at the Cavs game was this guy sitting in some insanely expensive courtside seat that appeared to think he was part of the team.  When the teams took timeouts, this guy would stand up and try to high five guys coming off the court.  The players, who appeared to be automatically giving anyone that was standing there high fives by sheer muscle memory, drifted by the guy without making eye contact.  They high fived him though until they realized he wasn’t affiliated with the team.  I think that guy must have been disappointed when all the players realized he was a creepy fan and started to walk openly around him.  Then came the "Nae Nae" segment.  That guy didn’t “Nae Nae", and I appreciate that.  I think LeBron and Co. did too.  

I drove home after the game.  This "Nae Nae" thing got in my head.  Now I wonder what else I don’t know about.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NFL 2015 Week 15

I have spent the last three days subsisting on meatballs, cheese, crackers, and celery sticks that I have foraged like a goddamn raccoon at holiday parties.  If I don't get some real food in me soon, my body will completely shut down.  The situation is not getting any better.  Today I have the unfortunate circumstance to have to attend the Cavs 330p game against the 76ers, a basketball team that is more conceptual than in actuality a qualified opponent.  The Cavs will have this game wrapped up 37 seconds after tipoff.  I'm in for the full ride though.  Thus, I will be in an NBA arena at dinner time, a place that offers nothing of any nutritional value unless your stance on microwaved pizza is different than mine.  There are seagulls and pigeons that will have a better dinner than I will tonight.  This may very well be my last post.

With the specter of my demise being right around the corner, I am going to be unusually aggressive wagering on NFL Football today.  In one fell swoop I will pay for all of the holiday gifts I have irresponsibly put on my credit card.  Or... In one fell swoop I will put my "estate" in a very compromising position to have to pay off an army of creditors that will descend on my memorial service like jackals.  Either way I feel it is a win for me, so I am really getting after it today.  When I slump over in my padded chair into my "nacho sombrero" I will at least feel the satisfaction of picking a string of winners in the NFL.  It's the little things.

I am getting all over the Green Bay Packers today.  This is not only because the Packers have decided to run 270 pound completely out-of-shape Eddie Lacey down everyone's throats and not have Aaron Rodgers attempt to throw 76 passes to ineffective third-string receivers.  As it is December and everyone that plays football for a living is injured, no one wants to tackle a 270 pound guy with a head full of steam.  The public opinion has once again swung over to the Raiders after their win at Denver last week.  Look, I watched that game.  That motherfucker Demarius Thomas singlehandedly destroyed my fantasy football playoff chances when he allowed three passes to bounce off his chest.  Fuck that guy.  I don't even know if I spelled his name correctly, and I'm not looking it up either as "Demarius" isn't even a real name.  THERE IS NO CORRECT SPELLING.  He should spell it like that fucked up symbol Prince used for his name.  It would be the same as "Demarius".  It would look great on the back of a jersey too.

I'm sorry.  As you can see, I harbor some ill will there.  Mr. Thomas is probably a fine human being.  I'm just a little upset at his productivity, or lack there of.  He lost that game for the Broncos.  The Raiders didn't win that game.  The Raiders have tricked The People before, and I think they will again today.  Just like earlier this season, they will get handled and The Public will say "Wow!  Can you believe how bad the Raiders looked?".  I am confident in the Green Bay Packers -3.5.  They are a team going in the right direction here at the end.

The Minnesota Vikings are right in the middle of the NFC Playoff picture.  I find this odd in that I haven't actually seen a single Vikings game this season.  I think I saw a highlight or two, but I don't know if those weren't from a previous season.  It might have been a 1978 clip of Chuck Foreman running up the middle for a touchdown against the Falcons, another team I am not sure actually exists.  I get a lot of channels on Direct TV.  Who knows what the hell I was watching.  That brings up the concept of it being difficult to bet on a team that might not be real.  Meanwhile I know the Bears are real.  I go to Chicago every year in the Fall.  Every single year Bears fans are pretty sure they are going to the Super Bowl despite not having any good players.  It's perplexing.  Especially since the Bears reliably go 6-10.

I like to bet on 6-10 teams with points that are in major metropolitan areas.  The media in those cities freaks the hell out when the team turns out to be 6-10 and not 10-6 like they somehow talked themselves into thinking they would finish.  All day, every day degenerate gamblers like myself are fed hyperbole about how the sky is falling, the Bears will never win, and then callers second that notion in on air rants on sports talk.  "Hi this is Mike from Glenview.  Long time listener, first time caller.  I totally agree with what you said about killing Jay Cutler, destroying Soldier Field and having the Halas family drawn and quartered as an offering to The Gods.  But don't you think if we get an impact pass rusher in the draft, we could win the Super Bowl next year?  I'll hang up and listen."

The Bears will probably lose today.  They just won't lose by more than five and a half.  I meant to look at some stats about the Vikings offense, but I'm feeling a little lazy with all those meatballs and cheese hunks slowly dissolving in my intestines.  I'm thinking that they score about 13 points a game which is why I never see any highlights of their games.  The Bears are a team that is really good at hanging around with other teams and then losing at the end.  Robbie Gould used to hit field goals with stunning frequency.  He will probably do that again.  Give me the Chicago Bears +5.5.    


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NFL 2015 Week 14

While most people are out on the streets drinking egg nog latte and getting weaker, I'm already deep inside the numbers getting stronger.  My single minded focus today is to make a mountain of money.  My pockets are going to be absolutely filled with disposable income.  I will be going into steakhouses just to order 42 oz porterhouses, have them grilled to medium rare and then thrown into the street as garbage.  I am going to be in that same steakhouse, order two bottles of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet at $400 a bottle, and then have one of them poured down the drain while I calmly drink the other.  I just might go out and buy an Escalade, a scuba tank, and a new wet suit just so I can drive that vehicle into Lake Erie and leisurely swim away from the wreck.  That is the kind of confidence I am walking into this week of reckless NFL gambling.

First of all, I am going to be betting heavily against the Baltimore Ravens.  The worm has turned in Seattle, and they look like a dominant football team again.  It's as if that Jimmy Graham injury made them wake up and say, "Why don't we go back to being that team that beats the crap out of people.  That's worked well in the past.  We should try that again.".  Contrast that with the Ravens, who just want 2015 to end.  John Harbaugh might have done the finest coaching job in the NFL this season by taking what is essentially a pre-season 3rd quarter mish-mosh of players into a competitive team.  However, coaching is not going to help when you have either a concussed Matt Schuab or reliably awful Jimmy Clausen to lead you into battle with the Seahawks.  Whichever one of those guys plays, he's going to make a couple backbreaking mistakes that will allow the Seahawks to easily cover the 9.5 point spread.  This is one of those games where by early third quarter they will show very relaxed Seahawk players laughing it up on the sideline and Raven guys you've never heard of are involved in plays where they are "jammed up at the line of scrimmage for a one yard gain".  Seattle -9.5

I have been on record saying the Cleveland Browns might never win again.  If the seas part and a miracle does it happen it would be this week as the Browns get to host a crappy 49ers team.  I am aware that the 49ers really stink.  As they say in Vegas, bet with the trend and not against it.  The Browns have not won in 137 straight games, and it's hard to imagine how they go out and win after being humiliated two weeks in a row.  Every single guy in that locker room knows that the coach, GM, and probably towel boy are all going to get cut loose in a "Night of the Thirsty Knives" manner about 12 seconds after the last game of the season.  If I had a coaching position on that team, I would take all personal effects from my office as they will be ushered out the door in the same manner as patrons in a college dance bar at 2:05.  "Get the fuck out!  I don't care where you go, but you can't stay here!"  This attitude tends to filter down.  If there is an opportunity to take points AND bet against the Browns, I'm doing that all day long.  San Francisco +1.5 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Men's Room

There are two different types of people in the world.  Don’t get hung up on religion, sex, race or any other ridiculous tangents.  Those are only window dressing compared with the one stark contrast between all people on this planet.  This is not a matter of opinion.  This is a stark reality.  The two types of people are 1) Those that will shit anywhere and 2) Those that do not.  

I have worked in the same place for almost a decade.  I have shit here twice, both matters of extreme gastrointestinal crisis that required immediate attention.  Meanwhile there are a few men that work here that are shitting anytime I walk into The Heart of Darkness (i.e. the second floor men’s room).  One of these guys spends his entire day doing nothing but taking shits and smoking in the parking lot.  I literally don’t think he does any actual “work”, but is paid to come here for eight hours to defecate like a filthy animal.  Thank goodness he found this place as I never receive emails from recruiters looking for “focused experienced defecation expert that can sit in company rest room for multiple hours daily”.  Sometimes when I walk into The Heart of Darkness I make a quiet gagging noise when this guy is really tearing it up in there.  If he was a family dog, you’d say “I think he got into something”.  I often wonder if I should call an ambulance as what is going on in this room cannot be a sign of good health.  

I require a degree of privacy.  Most company men’s rooms have the privacy akin to a bus station rest room.  I can’t imagine just sitting down in a crowd and letting it rip like that.  I need to have everything just right.  Contrast that with Leo, who is sort of like a goat.  I remember one time I had given him some off brand Chinese energy drink I saw tucked away in a corner of a gas station cooler.  Within ten minutes of drinking it he was complaining of stomach pains.  Five minutes later he told me “Dude, you need to get off at the next exit…  Or pull over right now!”.  We pulled into one of those rural exits where someone had added on to a gas station with a Dairy Queen, tacked on a convenient store, and then a Subway counter.  As a result the men’s room was sort of in the middle of the place about five feet from the Dairy Queen customer line and ten feet from the cashier for the gas.  On top of that they used a cheap thin wooden door to the single stall facility.  It was a real hack construction job.  

I was paying for gas when Leo walked in to the place.  He made a beeline for the men’s room.  It was more like a stage than a bathroom.  It was literally the center of the room, sort of the “soul of the building”.  It didn’t take long.  The entire building sort of rumbled when he “released”.  A mother grabbed her daughter and pulled her close in the Dairy Queen line.  That is the God’s honest truth.  I walked out of the place quickly to try and distance myself from the horrible scenario unfolding in the place.  About ten minutes later Leo walked out.  Hey, how did that go in there?  Leo calmly sat down in the van and said “It was an expression of pure power”.  He would shit in a bucket in the middle of the room if that is what was available.  He just doesn’t care.

I was in Kentucky once playing a show with Hogscraper.  It was a pretty big place that for some reason had a men’s room much too small for the capacity.  There were 300 people there with two urinals and one toilet in a stall without a door.  When it became apparent that I would need a toilet, I knew there was no way in hell I could go in there.  “Hey, there’s a cowboy taking a shit in there!  Go take a look!”.  No thanks.  
I walked outside sure I would find a restaurant nearby that would offer something acceptable.  Of course, there was nothing but closed retail businesses everywhere.  A couple blocks away I saw some lighting on a door, sort of colonial in style that suggested a high end restaurant.  That had to be better than the doomsday scenario at the club.  By this time my situation had reached a bit of a higher priority, sort of a DefCon 4 level.  I walked briskly to the lights sort of squeezing my ass together.  “Look at that funny looking cowboy over there Sheila!”.  By the time I got close to the lights I realized it wasn’t a restaurant but a law office.  Making matters worse, the entire area was residential.  I was in real trouble here.  I had two options.  Try to make it back, or find somewhere to go in the immediate area.

I would like to use this space to formally apologize to the residents of the apartment complex where I shit in a dark corner of their courtyard.  I would imagine that some residents that spotted what I left behind and became worried that a bear or maybe werewolf had taken up the area as a hunting ground.  That would have been logical.  I remember thinking that I hoped no one would walk out of the front doors to discover me squatted over like a feral dog.  It was not my finest hour.  I sort of padded off with some leaves and hoped I could do a more thorough clean up back at the club.  (I did, timing it with the first band’s stage entrance, though it was rather awkward when some guy walked in the men’s room at the very end of my procedure.  I pretended that nothing odd was going on which I do not think was effective.)

This horrible incident has left a scar in my mind.  Yet, I don’t think it would even be considered as odd to the “other type” of people.  I knew a guy that took a dump on a totally exposed toilet in a punk rock club during a show once.  I know another guy that used to shit in Ray’s in Kent on Friday nights even as the door to the men’s room was open with college students waiting in line to take beer pisses.  He was so unfazed he used to read the paper.  People would walk by the open door to get a beer and see him seated on the toilet reading the sports page.  Is that learned behavior or genetic?  Nature or nurture?  My guess is he came from a long line of men that shit anywhere.  “Son, I shit in Times Square in a trash can on VJ Day.  Now get in that stadium men’s room and do your business!”.

I am going to a show tonight.  I have no doubt I will walk into the filthy club bathroom and discover a guy shitting like a mad ape despite a crowd of people.  It’s a world filled with diversity.  He might be one of “those” people, but I will try to see him as just another person like myself.  I will try to see him as a brother.  I’ll tell you this though.  I’m not shaking his hand.