Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Midnight Oil

I went to see Midnight Oil a couple of nights ago.  It’s the third time in my life I have seen the band, one that I enormously respect.  I hadn’t realized until now the band had been in the backdrop of my almost entire adult life.  I stumbled onto the band when I was still in high school.  When you were in high school in Erie PA in the 1980s, alternative culture and underground music isn’t something you casually sorted through with a mouse click.  Erie was a cultural void.  Finding anything interesting was a mission or complete accident.  In the case of Midnight Oil, the atmospheric conditions were in a bizarre configuration that somehow allowed a Canadian radio station to be picked up on my otherwise terrible radio in my bedroom.  For one glorious day I heard a vast playlist of unknown music.  Erie had two rock radio stations, each somehow worse than the other.  Jet14 was a strict Top 40 station that couldn’t be any cheesier or out of touch.  K104 had morphed into a watered down AOR station that took the absolute worst aspects of classic rock and mixed it with the worst of Top 40.  It always seemed to be playing Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” or Toto’s “Africa”.  They must have had a playlist of 17 songs, but every once in a while a Zeppelin song slipped in, so that was my preferred station.  

The Canadian station was subject to the national rule that more than 50% of the artists played must be Canadian.  I had no idea of the regulation at that time.  All I knew was I wasn’t hearing “Hold The Line”.  It was song after song of things I had never heard before.  It was like a station from another planet.  It was really exciting.  I remember that Midnight Oil’s “Power and the Passion” from their “10, 9, 8…” record stopped me in my tracks.  It was definitely rock music and had an off kilter herky jerky rhythm while a guy with an unusual accent talked about something that sounded serious.  This was something with much more meat on the bone than the current Journey record.

There was one record store in Erie that even had the potential of having a record this subversive.  In the back corner of a McCrory’s Discount store, some employee had convinced the manager to allow him to order a small stock of what was then called “punk” records.  The word “punk” at that time meant anything that sounded like it might contain dangerous ideas (or what rock and roll was supposed to be in the first place).  Having no way of finding out who Midnight Oil was, the name of their record, or even place of origin, I had to ask the clerk if he had heard of this obscure document and if he could somehow through the grace of God find a copy of such a thing.  It was like trying to get the Ark of the Covenant.  Literally the only thing I knew was the name of the band and song.  The clerk, excited that someone wasn’t asking about a copy of an April Wine record, eagerly flipped through a mimeographed record wholesaler’s catalogue.  “Is it off the Midnight Oil, Head Injuries, or 10,9,8 album?”  What’s the most current one?  I will take that.

Weeks later the store called me to let me know that it had arrived.  I went to the Millcreek Mall in my buddy Eric’s brown Toyota Tercel, perhaps the ugliest car of its era, which is saying something.  I held the record between my hands as we drove back to my house.  I didn’t listen to it until Eric had gone home as I didn’t want to sully the experience.  I had only heard the song once.  What if it wasn’t cool and I faced the horrific backlash of peer group disapproval?  That was too big a risk.  I put the record on my rinky dink stereo and was blown away.  Holy shit.  It had the energy and melody of arena metal, but was really smart and somehow exotic.  It proved the world was bigger than tiny Erie PA.  This Australian band was singing loudly about United States imperialism, environmental protection, isolation, fighting back, and basic human justice.  It was a whole lot better than songs about wizards and shit.

My immediate peer circle bought into the band, but not as enthusiastically as I did.  While absolutely huge in their native Australia, they were essentially unknown here.  When I went to college I brought my Midnight Oil records with me.  I distinctly remember an incident when I was awkwardly hoping to win the affections of a girl by the passive aggressive tactic of “hanging around and maybe she will like me” in my freshman year.  Another suitor, a boy from her hometown, was in her dorm room for a small party as well.  We were taking turns playing records and then I put on “10,9,8” as a display of my worldly tastes.  He, sensing my intentions with the lady friend, began to mock the band and by extension me.  “Midnight Oil?  Hahahaha!  Who has ever heard of Midnight Oil?  Hahahaha!  Put on some Loverboy!”  I swear to Christ that’s what he said.  I remember saying to him something about how he was a stupid fucking hillbilly and things denigrated from there.  He left the party shortly afterwards in his stonewashed jeans and climbed into his Monte Carlo and drove back to Richfield.  Not before I told him that Midnight Oil was an important band and he wasn’t smart enough to understand it.  I was obnoxious.  History will also show that I was also correct.

A couple years later I got to see the band at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh on a rare US date.  It was very hot and I was battling an illness.  The show was great.  I remember almost passing out from dehydration.  I slept the entire ride back to Kent in the backseat of the car shivering with fever.  There was no way that I would have missed that show.  I never thought I would get to see them.  CBS had picked up their US distribution so their records were suddenly available.  When their next record “Diesel and Dust” came out, it broke them in the United States.  For most of the US population, “Beds Are Burning” was their only song, relegating them to a place in US popular culture in the same neighborhood as Fine Young Cannibals.  They kept doing their thing though with “Blue Sky Mining” even being a minor hit LP.  

Over the years I would drift in and out of the band.  I went to see them at the Odeon in the mid 90s, probably ten years after first seeing them.  They were still great deftly mixing in unfamiliar new material with the “hits”.  In the US the band had become a footnote again, their records once again becoming hard to find.  I picked up new releases when I saw them.  The band had drifted out of my orbit when I saw that they were coming to Cleveland on some type of landmark tour.  I was curious to see how they had held up on this date at the House of Blues.  Peter Garret, the singer, had put his money where his mouth is and actually been elected to Parliament.  Can you become a politician and still bring the rock?  How old were these guys now?  They had to be in their 60s.  Yet, out they came looking like they always had with a bit of gray and fucking delivered.  The benefit of being a 6’8” bald singer is that you essentially never appear to age from a distance.  That dude was doing his weird robotic dances, the band was hitting great harmonies, and knocking back songs about questionable American policy decisions in very divisive times.  It takes some courage to stand in front of a few thousand Americans in the age of Trump and sing "US Forces".  Joe Strummer would have been in the front row.  It was great.

I’m digging out some probably overlooked Midnight Oil records from the mid 2000s to drive around with this week.  I'm excited to see what I missed.  Who knew the impact of that odd weather pattern that would allow a Canadian radio station signal to drift over Lake Erie in the early 1980s would still impact me in 2017?  I could be listening to fucking Loverboy in my stonewashed jeans right now otherwise.          

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Hate Mayweather v McGregor

Everyone seems very excited about this Mayweather v McGregor fight tonight.  I am not sure why as it is the most transparent con job in Pay Per View history, and that's saying something in the filthy world of boxing.  This is the biggest scam cash grab I have ever seen, and makes made-for-television events like "Temptation Island" and "Opening Al Capone's Vault" seem high brow in comparison.  Very few fights are ever "locks", but this is about as close as you will ever come.  It is absolutely amazing to me that the odds areas low for Mayweather as 1-5.  I cannot stress enough the money making opportunity this represents.

Let's look at a few facts.  Floyd has never lost a professional fight.  In Mayweather's last fight he was a 30-1 favorite over Andre Berto, a two time welterweight world champion.  He barely broke a sweat in a 12 round unanimous decision.  Berto had spent his entire life in boxing and had ascended to the very top of the sport.  This is the first time McGregor will ever step into a boxing ring.  Ever.  Yet the hype machine around MMA and McGregor himself has somehow conned the public into thinking he has "a puncher's chance".  To review, a professional boxer with a lifetime of fights was 30-1.  Colin McGregor, in his first attempt at boxing is 5-1.

Floyd is the best fighter of his generation.  That's not opinion, it's just the way that it is.  He is an amazing technical boxer.  As far as I know he hasn't been hurt in a fight in a decade.  McGregor won't hit Floyd.  Floyd's technique and quickness are on another planet than McGregor, even at 40.  Boxing is what the Mayweathers do.  Floyd's father and uncle spent their adult lives hitting dudes and not getting hit by dudes.  Then they taught a world class athlete everything they knew.  Voila!  Floyd Mayweather is 49-0 with a savvy combination of great talent and avoiding potentially dangerous opponents.   

The only real question is if Floyd will put on a clinic and jab McGregor mercilessly for 12 rounds, or if he decides to land of flurry of body punches early to make a point.  Floyd prefers not to get hit, so my thinking is that he will jab and move in an extremely boring display of boxing technique.  If Mayweather decides that the honor of boxing has been questioned, he might destroy the man.  I have read a number of boxing forums where professionals are questioning the safety of this being sanctioned.  Pro boxers and trainers are worried Floyd could kill the man.  An MMA fighter was just killed months ago fighting a boxer that could be best called a journeyman.  This is Floyd Mayweather.  It is inconceivable that this is even a contested fight.

The only other concern is the conspiracy theory.  It's true that Floyd likes money more than anything.  However, he is very aware of his legacy being directly connected with being undefeated.  If Floyd loses this fight he goes from "Boxer of his generation" to "The guy that hung around too long and got beat by a dude that wasn't even a boxer".  There is no way that Floyd gives that legacy away when you combine the purse he is already receiving.  This fight is more WWE than MMA, so the carny wild card aspect is out there.  Still, this seems like a one and done cash grab for Floyd where tomorrow morning we all sit and wonder how the hell we could have even discussed a guy that has never boxed beating 49-0 Floyd Mayweather.

The reports from Vegas are bets made on McGregor are a zillion $100 bets made by working stiff guys.  Meanwhile all the pros came out of the shadows at the end of the week when the odds dipped to 1-5 and dropped $1 million+ sized bets on Floyd Mayweather.  Who are you betting with?  The guys that are the loudmouths at the bar or the guy that is going to sit ringside on comp tickets with the hope he drops that $250,000 profit on Week 1 of the NFL back to the sportsbook?  I'm with those guys and on Floyd.  It's the easiest 20% profit you'll make all year.   (Or the biggest stunning loss you will refer to the rest of your life!  We'll see in a few hours.)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Another Job Opportunity Continues

Fr:  Dave Johnson

To:  Greg Miller

Re:  Euclid Fish Warehouse wants to meet with you!

At first, If you were not registered please visit www.johnsonjobs.com and register there. We will send your new job opportunities. Otherwise, you will not be able to submit your resume to any of our jobs. 

To:  Dave Johnson
       JJ Jobs Alerts

Fr:  Greg Miller

Re:  Euclid Fish Warehouse wants to meet with you!

Listen Dave, 

I don't understand why you are playing hard to get here.  What is your sick game?  You dangle a plum job like "Night Fish Warehouse Laborer" in front of me and then have me jump though hoops like I'm a goddamn show pony.  You contact me with the news that "Euclid Fish Company would like to meet with me".  Me!  At last.  Someone has noticed me. I feel like I have been toiling in the void over here. So now I finally have my "in".  I have been telling everyone I know that I'm in "The Fish Game" now because of your email.  Let me be very direct with you Dave.  Based on this blue sky email of yours, I have let every single person in my social circle know that I am very shortly going to become one of the elite crew at Euclid Fish.  This has gone to the point where I have radically changed my personal appearance to that of what I believe a man in "The Fish Game" looks like on any given day.  (see attached)

Dave, listen...  I have always respected you, so I'm going to give it to you straight.  I'm really going to look like an asshole sitting here in my current cubicle in waders and a slicker puffing on my pipe without having this cherry fisherman's job to triumphantly resign to tomorrow.  I feel like you may have led me on with this Fish Company Warehouse Associate dream.  I think you need to make this right.  In the worst case scenario of you not having this job secured for me, I'd like you to reimburse me for the cost of these rubber boots, oil slicker, and rain hat.  I think the beard products and thick wool sweaters I will probably find a use for, so I will cover those.  Let's call it $150 and we are square if, and only if, you put in a good word with me to the guys at the Fish Warehouse.  I don't even need a full time job.  A part time gig so I can hang out there, talk shop with the guys, and most importantly save face with my peers is all that I am looking for here.  I will work my way into a full time position on merit alone.  I was born to be A Fish Man.  Here is the plan...

I will move ahead with the understanding that you will take care of this by Monday.  I am going to show up at the Fish Warehouse on Monday, pull my cap off and say "Ahoy!  Greg Miller here!  Dave Johnson sent me!  Where do ya need me to move the fish lads?".  If for any reason you don't get this situation settled, for the love of God please contact me before Monday night.  I don't want to look like an asshole in front of the guys at work.

Safe Sailing,

Greg Miller

Dave Johnson

12:35 AM (9 hours ago)
to me
Sorry for any inconvenience, I have deleted your information from our database. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Lottery

The lottery is a tax on poor people and fools.  The odds of winning are so infinitesimally small, it is like crumpling your money up and throwing it into the street.  Yet people project their hopes onto holding a paper ticket and watching everything change in an instant.  All of their previous errors in judgment, lack of planning and failures are wiped away as they become buried in wealth beyond their comprehension.  Everything that was bad will become good.  All dreams are attainable.  The lottery ticket is the very definition of Fool’s Gold.  You have to be a goddamn idiot to throw your money away on lottery tickets. 

This is exactly what crossed my mind as I stood in a small line at a bleak convenience store when I bought two lottery tickets for the $700 million Powerball drawing.  I know I have no chance of winning.  History has proven time and time again that the only people that win the lottery are hillbillies.  Somewhere deep in the lottery offices is a chart which shows the exact line where the intersection of “likelihood to win” and “likelihood of buying gold jet skis” that pinpoints potential winners.  Each tooth missing in a ticket holder’s mouth increases their chances of winning by 18%.  It’s true.  Look it up. 

Despite this overwhelming evidence, I decided to “toss my hat into the ring” as it were.  Let’s face it.  $700 million is a tremendous sum of money.  I overheard some rube talking to his friend saying “If I win that lottery, I am going to buy a red Dodge Charger just like my uncle’s.  That’s the first thing I will do, I will tell you that RIGHT NOW.”  A Dodge Charger?  With $700 million dollars.  What are you?  A goddamn idiot?  It infuriates me when I hear someone think so small.  With $700 million dollars, you can buy a Dodge Charger every single day and just abandon it and the Guatemalan whore sitting in the front seat when they bore you.  Though the Dodge Charger hillbilly thinking is ideal in that it can produce a winner, it’s not thinking big enough.

$700 million buys you freedom and influence.  There is nothing more valuable than real freedom.  That is the real prize.  That’s why the first thing I do is buy surface to air missiles to protect my airspace.  Woe be to the neighborhood kid that flies a drone above my house as the unmistakable sound of a SA-20-B Gargoyle missile roars out of what had previously appeared to be a storage shed in my back yard.  This is the peace of mind others can only dream about.  A man must keep his castle safe.

The next thing I do is buy businesses that have wronged me in some way and shut them down completely.  For example, if I still harbor a beef at an old employer, I will simply purchase the company and then shut it down.  Maybe I am still harboring a grudge from a radio station job I had in the 1990s.  No problem.  I will just buy the station.  While it might be a shock to the current employees to see their current place of employment bulldozed over, I would give them the opportunity to work at the new Mr. Chicken franchise I would randomly place in the vacant lot that I now own.  This inspires a healthy fear within the community that was enjoyed by people like Stalin and Idi Amin.  Toss into the mix a series of statues of myself that I could commission, and my stature in the community grows swiftly.  I might even create my own military uniform to wear as I drive around in my red Dodge Charger exacting fiscal vengeance.

I would have to temper this desire with that of purchasing a small island somewhere tropical and creating my own regime.  I could see myself swirling into complete madness in that scenario as I walk around my palatial grounds looking without emotion at the decapitated heads on sticks of my perceived enemies.  I would definitely have a situation where I would have “armed henchmen” as that is something I think I would enjoy.  A loyal team of goons is just not something most people have nowadays.  They would all laugh too loudly at the bad jokes I would frequently tell.  I would be like a violent Elvis, and they my armed Memphis Mafia.  Their biggest fear would be me catching them glancing with lust in their eyes at one of my many clearly drugged teenage brides that lounge near me while continuously scrolling through their phones.  Every few weeks I would roar into a paranoid rage and have the group turn on one of these hangers on.  My power would be based on unpredictability and sick Machiavellian experiments I would carry out for my own amusement.  Ah, that would be the life…

I think in the end I would probably not have the ambition to pull the trigger on those scenarios though.  Being a despot requires so much effort.  The thing I want doesn't require money.  I'm just a guy that wants to be in an igloo listening to scratchy records.  Why did I waste those four dollars on those lottery tickets?  The answer is self evident.  I must be a fool...  Or perhaps a hillbilly.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Another Job Opportunity Via Email

Hi Greg,
I have an opening for a Warehouse Associate - Nights with Euclid Fish Company in Mentor, OH that I thought may interest you. If you'd like to proceed or learn more about this opportunity please follow the link below:
Warehouse Associate - Nights
Euclid Fish Company
  • Work nights to perform a variety of functions in the warehouse, including order pulling, loading outgoing customer orders, and unloading incoming truck deliveries.
  • Accountable for accuracy in order fulfillment, and insuring quality control for all orders pulled.
  • Build neat pallets of product, with fresh fish, chicken or beef cases placed at the bottom
  • Perform clean up in assigned work area, including garbage removal, dock, packaging rooms and associated equipment
  • One year work experience within a refrigerated warehouse and/or distribution center preferred
Thanks for taking your time with this. If you feel this would be a better fit for someone you know please pass this message along.

Johnson Jobs
15133 Kercheval Ave
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230



Thank you once again for thinking of me for this opportunity.  I have often wondered about the life of a night fish warehouse man and if it was as glamorous as I'd imagined.  First of all, I imagine the camaraderie amongst the men is strong.  I envision us singing sea chanteys as we chuck frozen bass into pallets.  I get tingles thinking about the esprit de corps at the Euclid Fish Warehouse.  It probably isn't as good as working on a mid 1800s whaling ship but in today's world might represent the greatest seafaring adventure available to me.  Please note that if you have any openings on the crew for an 1850s whaling ship, I would be VERY interested.  I fancy myself quite handy with a harpoon.

I don't know why you chose to make this opportunity at the Fish Warehouse available to me.  I do know that on one of my standard resumes that is likely floating about in cyberspace I did claim towards the bottom of that document to have "caught world's largest fish".  You'd be quite surprised that no one ever questioned me on that claim.  I think it is because I present myself as such an "Old Salt" or "Man of the Sea" on first impression.  There is a certain rugged quality I exude, even today in my Chuck Taylors and slightly torn shorts.  Yet, I have mixed feelings about this impression you must have of me.

JJ, let me give it to you straight.  I DID NOT catch the world's largest fish.  The largest fish ever caught on a rod and reel was a 3400 pound great white shark off Montauk.  The largest fish I personally ever caught was a twenty pound barracuda.  The only time I was ever in Montauk I wasn't even in the water.  When I was in Montauk, I was 21 and focused on trying to dry hump a girl named Emily on the beach.  That ended poorly, though not as poorly as it did for that shark.  I don't want to gloss over the fact that her brothers were quite enthusiastic to string me up on the dock much like that mighty 3400 pound fish.  Lesson learned.  There are more fish in the sea indeed, eh JJ?

I understand this revelation might be shocking as you have probably already mentioned my angling skills and fish experience to the men at the Euclid Fish Warehouse.  I hope this will not dampen my chances at joining the crew there.  Let them know I would be willing to get a nautical tattoo and change my name while at work to something fitting like "Smitty" or "Salty" or best of all "Cap'n".  That should count for something.

JJ, the eclipse is almost here so I have to cut this short.  I need to take a look at this thing with some special eclipse glasses undoubtedly made by Chinese political prisoners.  I hope those convicts had pride in their work.  The last thing anyone wants to see is a grown man rolling around on the ground screaming "My retinas!  My fucking retinas!".  Give my regards to the boys at the Euclid Fish Warehouse.  Let me know when I can start.  I might need that health insurance if these glasses are fakes.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Herr Trump

You remember when there was this glimmer of hope that Trump would rise to the challenge of the office and all those scary parts of his personality were chalked up to him pretending to be someone else for TV cameras?  It is sort of like how we used to have that argument about George W. being very intelligent in private, and even if he wasn’t, it was OK because he had “really smart people around him”.  Yeah.  That didn’t work out either.  Now we discover that there is no denying the fact that a Nazi/KKK sympathizer is in the office of president.  Way to “shake it up” America!

It’s really amazing what Trump did today.  I can’t think of any historical precedent in modern times.  I have no idea how someone in government doesn’t publicly come out against white supremacists.  Could there be any easier thing to do?  There is literally no one but David Duke that would be pissed off if you said, “Nazis are not good”.  Shit, even if you personally thought Nazis were swell, one would think that common sense would have you march to the podium and clearly say “Nazis are bad!”.  Not this guy.  Nope.  We now have a president that is making excuses for Nazis. 

Trump’s moral vacancy knows no limits.  Whenever you think you hit bottom with him, the submarine keeps dropping down.  The man is completely reprehensible.  Whatever Faustian bargain people have made for having him in charge, it’s too high a price.  There is no possible comeback here.  “Yeah but the stock market is going great!”  Fuck off.  He’s a Nazi.  “I like his tough talk on foreign relations!” Fuck off.  He is a KKK sympathizer.  “He is an outsider!”  Yeah he is.  He’s a racist creep that doesn’t seem to think there is anything wrong with Nazis marching with torches chanting anti-Jewish slogans in Virginia. 

I am sure by the time I wake up tomorrow the Goebbels Wing of Fox News will have already cooked up some slant for this total unprecedented presidential meltdown.  My gut tells me they will go for something along the lines of “Well, the newly coined term of Alt Left, which is meant to normalize the Nazi shit we have going on over here with what we call the Alt Right, really caused all the problems in Virginia just like President Trump said.  Look at the video!  President Trump is just protecting Free Speech and doesn’t really like what they stand for!  In fact, he condemned it on Sunday with that teleprompter speech he read emotionlessly!”

This is complete horseshit.  If you march around waving Nazi flags and talk about “Blood and Soil” and focusing hate on Jews/blacks, you’ve got an asskicking coming.  The entire planet fought those ideas in 1939-1945.  Those assholes showed up in town doing the two things they love.  1.  Playing army in their camo Army/Navy store gear while 2. Holding assault rifles via absurdly granted permits for carrying them in public places.  Those guys came looking for a fight and anyone engaged in that behavior is going to get one.  I am glad that someone stood up to them.  They are bullies and fools. 

Yet, Trump went out of his way to excuse the behavior of the white supremacy extremists.  It’s like when your grandfather is standing at a wedding reception with a couple whiskies in him and drops The N Word all over the place.  It’s out there now, and now you know sweet old Grandpa Jim is a fucking creep.  You can’t shut that Pandora’s Box.  That’s the deal with Trump now.  We can’t pretend we don’t know his real thoughts.  Grandpa melted down at the podium today and now we know he’s a racist and Nazi sympathizer.  Let’s all acknowledge all his dog whistle talk of “Us” and “Them” in the campaign for what is clearly was; racist jingles meant to signal to these fringe groups that he was on board with their message.  Let’s call it for what it is.  We have a white supremacist as president.  Donald Trump is the most dangerous man of our times.  He is here to divide us for his own personal gain.  He is unfit to serve this position.  He must be removed from office at all costs.  Forget ISIS, North Korea, Russia, etc…  Donald Trump is the biggest threat to America.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Retirement Plan

Today my workday brought me to a retirement community.  It was a very well done community, artfully landscaped and serene.  Like all retirement communities I had ever been to, it was completely devoid of any life or activity.  The air conditioning hummed. The attendant at the lobby desk smiled at me when I walked in, quickly returning to her computer screen.  My shoes made muffled steps on the soft carpet.  It was like a hotel in low season in the early afternoon between check out/check in.  It was not the attractive seniors having fun like in the brochure.  Perhaps they were all out at the $9.54 shopping outing at Wal Mart I saw advertised on the bulletin board.  

As I walked around I once again noted that I fear ending in a place like this.  I don’t think I will fit into a place like this.  There is no way I will be allowed to play my music at the volume I will require to hear it.  After all these years of playing rock, I already have a permanent humming in my ears and require turning the TV up to the “Why do you have the TV so loud?” setting.  I always feel badly for anyone in the next room from me at a hotel if I decide to watch TV until I fall asleep.  They must be thinking, “Why the hell won’t that guy turn that off?  Is he really watching Fast & Furious 8?”  (I’m not.  I probably fell asleep to “Rushmore” an hour earlier.)

I have a hard time picturing myself sitting in the retirement home lobby hoping that the shuttle will whisk me to Wal Mart.  I see myself in out of style dress pants with those white trainer type shoes with the Velcro straps.  My hands nervously finger my $9.54 bus ticket fee, as I fear missing the trip because of not having the fare.  Once at Wal Mart I will buy things I don’t need or want like family sized bars of soap, scented candles and enormous tins of popcorn.  I will then leave my precious bag of goodies on the shuttle bus until a woman employee that speaks in a high voice as if she is speaking to a child returns it to my room.  No, that’s not for me.

The good news is that the current lifestyle I have embraced leaves almost no chance of assisted living style old age.  The Miller genetics also don’t play into my favor.  I had a plan for old age anyway.  Like some type of sign, it appeared to me this morning like a pre-retirement home visit warning.  This morning I saw one of those crappy campers that rest on top of a pickup truck.  It was old, damaged, and seedy.  Even looking at it, you knew it smelled like mildew.  It was also “For Sale”.  We had termed those “heart attack campers” in the band van years ago.  The idea is you hit the road once you become essentially friendless in your town.  There, out in the highway in the middle of nowhere, you will suffer a massive coronary and slump over the wheel.  The vehicle will slowly come to a stop when it rolls off the road.  This is why it will be important to limit drifting on the interstate highways in flat states like Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.  West Virginia or Colorado would be quite messy in this scenario.

This “limited retirement idea” planning is quite new.  I can’t believe I am still here.  I had considered my most likely cause of death for years to be from a van crash when Leo was driving.  I saw the scenario unfolding like a late night drive after a gig on I-77 outside Charleston.  I am fighting sleep in the shotgun seat and finally give in to the pull.  I feel relaxed and serene.  Something feels wrong and I wake slightly.  I look to my left and see the blissfully sleeping Leo, his hands on the wheel and the speed set at 78 mph on the cruise control as we shoot off the side of a mountain.  He would, of course, survive the crash without a scratch.  I would be horribly maimed and live an additional excruciatingly painful 18 months in a backwater West Virginia health center where lots of guys in beards would poke their heads in my room and whisper to the nurses “Oh my Gawd!  What happened to he-im?” as they gape openly at me.

My next logical cause of death is obviously from a hail of bullets from law enforcement.  I would be waving around my manifesto and screaming into a bullhorn some conspiracy theory involving Area 51, the G-20 Summit and The Illuminati.  I definitely see hostages involved, probably softly crying as I try to explain to them that “I’m not the bad guy here!” even as it dawns of me that I am the bad guy since I am the one with hostages in the first place.  When the barrage of bullets gets me, my manifesto will be released from the grasp of my hand and the papers will scatter with the winds.  (Note to self, bind manifesto before taking hostages and buying bullhorn.)

I suppose my next move is to call the guy with that camper for sale and place that into storage.  I could refer to it as “My Retirement Plan”.  When I am ready, I can begin to drive around the Midwest in it while spending nights drinking cheap whiskey and typing out my manifesto.  That will put me in position to achieve my last goals, whether that turns out to be slowly rolling to a stop with my corpse behind the wheel or with the camper parked outside “my last stand” wherever that turns out to be when my manifesto is complete.  To be fair, I could also save some money and get ready for that Wal Mart shuttle at the retirement home.  They probably have typing paper and a binding machine at Wal Mart.  It was quiet there.  Good place to write a manifesto.