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Showing posts with label Biographical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biographical. Show all posts

Friday, March 1, 2013

Is That All You Got?!?*

When I was in the 6th grade, I got a bicycle for Christmas...a ten speed bicycle. Yeah that turned out to be a disaster.

It's not because I was uncoordinated. Please. I played golf...played football, arm-wrastled grown men and entered my self into dog fights. I wore a cobra snake for a neck tie...My parents used me for alligator bait and I washed my face in a frying pan...OK?

Let's face it, I was a bad a**! Still am. Deal with it Haters!

But...but, as those of you who know me personally can attest, I was, and have always been, wholly unequipped to deal with any kind of machine or gadget. In this case, a gear box for a ten speed bike.

After a couple of passes through the neighborhood, I figured out that high gears were good for going up was easier to pedal. Then I discovered that the low gears could be used to gain traction going down hill...meaning I could go faster than gravity.

Can y'all see where I'm going with this?

I came up with a plan to break the Truck Route up-hill land speed record. I'd start on the top of one hill using the low gears to pick up maximum down hill speed. Once I reached the bottom of the bowl I'd shift into high gear and pick up a blinding rpm for the up turn. All very could it fail?

It failed at about 55 miles an hour, as I flipped the gear switch to first. The failure was almost immediate and it was complete. The pedals, now spinning without resistance, picked up enough speed to bust an atom. My feet were flung off the bike and for a second it vibrated but continued to pick up speed...then there was a wobble and a flash and piercing, head caving, pain.

I don't remember anything between that moment and opening my eyes onto the ceiling of our back deck. I'd been moved there by my mother and the Sister...who was about five at the time. Santy Clause had brought her a plastic doctor's kit for Christmas. Thankfully she was able to fit me into her schedule.

She wasn't nearly as busy back then.

I had ripped the skin on my right knee down to the cap, left a hunk of my shoulder on the asphalt and knocked halfa front tooth out. I still have big nasty scars on my knee and shoulder. For thirty years, up until last week, my broken tooth had been capped. That was before I had the temerity to bite into a soggy spring roll last Wednesday night.

Sexy? Like a mole on a super model maybe?

 So, it's off to the dentist for me where I will get high as Cooter Brown on gas and listen to Roxy Music. They'll give me some hillbilly heroin on the way out the door.
Unless y'all think I should leave it.
Up Next...The Special Needs Relationship: Part Two, Can't Get Back There From Here

*The title actually has nothing to do with this was intended for another. Sue me.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Swamp Rat

That's where I grew up y'all. 

I mean I lived in a house...went to school and church in buildings but, this is where I spent at least half of my childhood. It's Lake Cascade. We lived on Cascade Dr...a small neighborhood, that came off the truck route, made a loop along one shore of the lake and then back out.

This is where we played. When I was little, I got at least two whoppins for goin' down there without supervision. We found a dead gator down there one time...he'd been shot and hacked up. There was a baby gator that lived in one the pools around the lake. Seemed like he stayed on the same stump for a year. 

Of course, the place was the natural habitat of our arch enemy, Satan's charm bracelet...

I guess we just tried not to think about him.  There was a little island in the lake that was said to be so covered with Cotton Mouths that if you looked hard enough you could see it wriggling. Maybe it was a defensive mechanism...mentally we put them all out on the island. I did watch a fella kill one in the water with a bow. That was pretty cool...back to hell you go.

There were big, high banked canals that would connect some of the pools with the lake...we never went in those. That was a strip of black water running between 6ft  walls of roots and holes. We did swim in the lake though. Out towards the middle of the lake there was a homemade diving platform built in group of cypress trees. One of my fondest memories is being out there with my brothers and their friends. I was still wearing the bubble (an egg shaped piece of styrofoam with canvas straps that chaffed and dug into my under arms), I must have still been pretty little. They were trying to get me to jump off into the water. At my size it looked like were were 50ft in the air. They finally bribed me into it by promising that I could be the first to kiss Daddy when he got home from work. It was quite a race to meet him at his car in the evenings...with my tiny legs I didn't stand a chance.

One day, me and a buddy of mine come up on a fella that nearly drowned. His canoe had turned over and he couldn't swim. We helped him in the last few feet. It had to be a strange scene...two ten year olds draggin' a grown, gasping man out of a foot and a half of water. The most absurd part was that, except over sink holes, the water never really got that deep. He could have bounced off the lake bed from 100 ft out. 

It dried up every couple of years...or drained. Sink holes would drain it. The other side of the lake was near wilderness. It was crisscrossed with dirt roads...and pocked with sinkholes. Sink holes are just creepy. A perfect cone, about 150ft across and down to a pool of jet black water. Every once in a while they'll crack open in a populated area. Gainesville had a couple of big ones open up in the middle of town.

You can see the waterline on the cypress but, obviously this was taken after a long dry spell.

In its Glory.

The little cinder block house we lived in is gone now. In fact almost all the houses are gone now. The airport bought up most of the neighborhood years ago. It wasn't a fancy place to start with and now it's gone back to wilderness. 

Probably overrun with *&^^%% Cottonmouths.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Biographical Tid Bit #5

Once again, ,Satan sends his hand-puppet....


I was almost killed Saturday by this while looking for a golf ball.

The fact that I was one more three put from probably offing myself is besides the point.

It wasn't even my golf ball. As usual, always thinking of others...rarely thinking of myself, I was trying to help my partner locate his wayward t-shot.

Being selfless isn't easy...and it's obviously not without risk but, I won't be deterred.

I tried to post a the last time one of the devil's house pets tried to kill me...but obviously, Mrs. Perpetua, I am hopeless.


I've been waiting for Nat to chime in but...looks like he may be too chocked up. As a concession I have reprinted one of his all time classic posts. This came in response to pictures of a snake eating a frog....

Nay, not mildly; not a smidgen or a tad, but *HIGHLY* unnecessary - a deviant deviation; a violent violation; an abominable abomination!

Thank you.

That is all.

Let the matter rest here and no more be said of it as all that can be said of it has been said of it and it is now a matter forever closed. Good day to you Sir.

Forsooth man: let it be or be damned!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Biographical Tid Bit #4

I was almost eatin' alive by one of these...



For 38 years I've been coming to the Gulf Coast and I'd never seen one in the water til my brush with an attack this morning. I was watching some mullet jump around when I noticed him...about 10 - 15 in front of me. He slid by as smoothly and effortlessly as the shadow of a gliding bird...then he was gone.

He wasn't quite as big as the one in the picture...maybe 2 1/2 - 3 ft long, but menacing...very menacing.

It was a close one.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Biographical Tid Bit #3

I was almost killed by, and may yet die from embarrassment because of these.


It happened in the parking lot at Hudson Salvage in Brandon...I'll never forget it. We had just left the store and were headed across the parking lot to the car when my right foot slid...more like a glide really...out from under me. It was so sudden and severe that Martha grabbed my arm.

I was the first to notice what had happened. I stared at the rubbery fleshy yellow lump in silence...not wanting to believe it while my mind started calculating the implications of what had happened.

Then I heard it...a guttural braying that was hard to a pony and elephant having a heated argument..hahuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh heeeeh heeeh heeh...followed by gasping...huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh and sighing....aaahhhhhhhhhh...over and over. It sounded like the universe was laughing at me but it was just Martha...and when the sister found out....

It's a sound that's echoed in my head for 14 years.

"You slipped on a banana peel." That's their answer to everything.

As has been recently established by one of our loyal readers, I have the looks of a young Marlon Brando..."You slipped on a Banana Peel."

Style? I've got miles and miles. Martha's moseyin' around this morning in a pair of, admittedly flattering, sweatpants and short terry-cloth robe while I'm lounging in a red and white gingham oxford, a pair of perfectly faded jeans and loafers. Ralph Lauren told me he wanted to have my baby..."You slipped on a Banana Peel."

The two of them have a good degree from fine institutions. I have degrees from Superstar institutions...."You slipped on a Banana Peel."

I have a better record collection than both of 'em put together. They think James Chance was a game show host and neither one of 'em could name one Slint song or pick Mark E Smith out of lineup...."You slipped on a Banana Peel."


Nothing I've done in life or may yet do can get out from under the shadow of that banana peel. This may end up being the only biographical tidbit that matters in the end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Biographical Tid Bit #2 - Conclusion

I was alone on my bench.

Being alone was no problem. In fact, given the company that I'd been keeping over the last ten was preferable.

I spent the first night of the trip in London...where a man was kicked out of a bar because he would not stop telling me, the bartender, and the clock on the wall how much he loved my "Texas" accent.
There was the girl from San Fransico who'd given me a stern lecture on the racial history of Mississippi in a hostel kitchen...that was a real bonus seein' how all I had to do to get it was tell her I was from Mississippi. It's not like I could argue with her though because her credentials were impeccable...she'd once driven through the state.
There was the old man on a train who I'd had a pleasant enough conversation with until he started insisting, a little too insistently, that I come to see him the next time was in London.
Of course Holyhead was where I met Bevis and Butthead, but it was also where I was chased onto the ferry by a randy woman who had dragged her kids across the Irish Sea so she could buy and drink cases of duty free Fosters.

I was due some alone time.

It's the cold I couldn't handle. I'm uncomfortable when it gets under 60 degrees and that night, on that metal was like layin' on a block of ice in a fishtank filled with liquid nitrogen and pranhas.

I tried everything...I unpacked my duffle bag and stuck my feet in it, covered myself with the contents, and put my head in a sweater...none of it did anything for the two feet of empty, icy air-space between me and the floor.

When I did doze off for a second or two I'd wake up mumbling about the degoba system. I dreamt that a rugby player had killed a sherpa with a fork. I woke up unable to feel my feet, frightened for a split-second that they had been eatin. It was time to get up.

I didn't know what I was gonna do. I was exhausted, but unless I kept movin' I was certain I was gonna freeze to death. So, I went to the was about the only activity available. I noticed it was slightly warmer in there. It was still cold enough to hang meat, but I was willing to take a few degrees whereever I could get 'em. I was thinking I'd get my stuff and pile up in there as I stuck my hands under the dryer.

As the warm air pushed beads of water around the back of my hands and they began to thaw...I realized I could make it through the night.

I got my stuff and piled it as high as I could under the hand dryer...and sat against the wall. Whenever I felt the vicious cold slithering around my neck and into my ears I'd reach up and hit the button...warmth. I actually managed to get a few hours of sleep that way and finally the morning came.

I had a lot of time to kill before the train came...I had candy-bar for breakfast and wandered around Holyhead...

The trip back was uneventful. There were two American kids on the train from someplace here in the states where people communicate at a volume just below yelling, but I was too wiped out to be bothered.

When I got to Heathrow it was late, but I was able to change my flight to one that was leaving first thing in the morning. That process had not gone off entirely without a hitch. The old fella at the counter had called me a yankee. After three days without a shower, sleeping in basements and bathrooms I probably looked and smelled the part, but I informed him in no uncertain terms that I was not a yankee. Fortunately the lady standing with him smiled at me and said "he's a Southern boy."

I returned the smile with hearty "Yes ma'am." It was the first bit of comfort I had felt in days.

The old man grumbled.."You're all yanks to me." Whatever.

I found a chair and settled in, but before I could drift off there was one more visitor. A bag lady wondered in through the sliding doors, walked straight to the wall where I was sitting and began...well I'm not gonna get into it...let's just leave it at disgusting. There wasn't a lot of room in my chair but I did my best to get further away...she looked down at me and hissed..."Look at me again and I'll kill you."

"Lady if you're lookin' to scare a gonna have to find somebody that hasn't spent a night on a Greyhound bus...get on from here." She did.

So did I the next morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bigraphical Tid Bit #2 - Installment 8 Recap

It's gettin' close to midnight and I'm all alone in the port station at Holyhead, with no where or way to go until the next morning...on a bench. A bench of grated metal dipped in rubber. It's cold...very cold.

I'm tryin to get back to Hiedleberg Germany where I was stationed with the US Army.

Three days earlier, in Dingle Ireland, I realized I didn't have any money in my wallet. What little money I did have in the bank, 30 pounds maybe, couldn't be got in the Irish Republic. I needed access to a British bank. So I headed to Belfast with my Irish rail-pass...which, as it turned out, was no good in Northern Ireland...but, thanks to God gifted Southern Charm and a porter's fascination with Elvis I was able to sweet talk my way onto a train for Dublin. There I found a bunk for 5 pounds, but rather than conserve my money, I decided to spend one more night on the town. Next day I don't remember much except being on the ferry to Holyhead trying to change my luck with the slots...BIG MONEY BIG MONEY...wrong.

We got to Holyhead just in time to see the train for London pulling out. I barely had enough money to eat on for the next day...finding a bed was out. So, I picked a bench for the night and prepared to hunker which point I was engaged by two tweekers that mistook me for an undercover cop and soon split the scene in a fit of paranoia...leaving me all alone on my bench.

All installments can be viewed and read by clicking on the Holyhead label to the right.

That's where we resume our story...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 - Installment 7

The talker looked at me like I had an answer for why is squirrely friend had split. Reflexively I shrugged my shoulders. He got up and went to find his buddy.

I was alone and now had the biggest buffer in the everyone in the room had positioned themselves to be as far away from me as possible. It was just as well. I hadn't showered in two days.

I was just starting to notice a burning sensation on my rump and a slight scrambling sting across the exposed skin of my face neck and hands...when the talker reappeared on the bench.

"Look he says he'll come back if you'll tell him to his face you're not a cop."

Well thank heaven for that. The thought that I'd never see him again was just worrin'th'ell outta me.

"Will you do it?"

I shifted my weight on the metal bench to one cheek..."Sure, why not."

He dissapeared again and with a whince I shifted my weight again. My butt was goin' numb and the stinging sensation across my skin was becoming a steady burn. I had to face was cold, cold-cold. As I began to consider the consequences of this...

"Ok...tell 'eem your not a cop."

Beevis and Butthead were back.

"I am not a cop."

The talker looked at his buddy expecting to see relief I reckon, but he wasn't convinced. He looked down shaking his head and mumbling...then bolted again.

"Sorry. It just freaked him out when you asked what we were doing in Ireland...that and the hair."

The same short cropped hair that had an old bar maid in Cork fantasizing about me being her son-in-law had sent a young tweeker in Holyhead over the edge into full-blown paranoia...and I couldn't take credit for any of it. The Army made me do it.

He got up and followed his buddy out again...stopping to wave with a shrug at the door. I was heartbroken it couldn't work out too.

With that my last distraction for the night was gone. In fact it seemed as if everybody had gotten up and gone...picked up and taken to some place warm for the night. I had the biggest buffer in Wales now...I was where I was gonna be for the night and it was just me and the cold.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 6

I'd missed the train and there wouldn't be another one until 10 o'clock the next morning.

Two minutes before I had edged my way, as politely as I could, through a clamour...snippets of plans for the night, bags banging against the wall, laughter, rolling wheels, somebody spotted a loved one, the happy chatter of a crowd that had reached it's destination.

Now the crowd was gone replaced by streaks of relfected flourescent light across the floor and silence. The concession workers had locked down their stand and were spweepin up.

I wasn't the only one that had missed the train...a handful of people sat in small groups of two or three as far as possible from one another. There were just enough of these huddles that I was gonna have to break somebody's buffer.

I looked for a group of fellas...the last thing I needed at this low point was a dirty look from a female. I decided on these two that were around my age and obviously feeling no pain...they probably wouldn't even notice me and might be good for a laugh if they did.

They did..."heya...did you miss the train?"

"I'm afraid so."

"Us too...we've got somebody comin' to get us though...hopefully."

While one fella did all the talkin' the other just kinda rocked back and forth...his stare locking and unlocking on me suddenly.

"What were you doin in Ireland?"

"Just messin around. Nothin' really."

"We just went over this mornin'."

"What were y'all up to over there?"

His friend stopped rockin' at that point and locked in on me for a moment...and then ran...ran right out the door.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 5

The only thing I remember between deciding to go back out and getting on the ferry the next evening was being woken up in the middle of the night by a bunch of rowdy Austrailians.

The next morning and afternoon are just a blank...memories that have slipped beyond my reach. It's frustrating because I know I didn't teleport from Dublin to the middle of the Irish Sea, none the less we re-join our story in front of a slot machine on the boat.

I had about 14-15 pounds in my wallet when I left Ireland. We were suppossed to make it to Holeyhead just in time to catch the train. I figured 9 or 10 quid would be more than enough money for spending the morning in an airport...besides what if I won? I could stay a few days in London before heading my mind the narrative of the last few days had been building to just such a moment...I'll hit the jackpot! Whoo Hoo...drinks for everybody!!! I'll be at the Number One in Kings Cross when I wake up tomorrow just in time for some of that mushy sausage and beans...It was gonna be AWESOME!

No it wasn't. I didn't win. I lost.

Now I was down to it...if I didn't get back in a few days I was in trouble. I was barely eating as it was, and there was no chance of me paying for another bed. I needed to be on the on the train that night. I looked up at the clock on the was gonna be tight.

It was one of the lonleist moments I can remember...standing on the platform watching that train dissapear into the darkness.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit # 2 Installment 4

The sketchy budget I had devised for gettin' back to London was very delicate and did not include buyin' a train ticket. So, I played the Forrest Gump was the only one I had.

Of course...I don't sound like a baboon on cough syrup...I have an actual Southern accent.

"Sir I don't know what I was thankin'...I juss I didn' realize...I come up 'ere for what little money I had left...I kant buy anotha ticket...the Army'll be lookin' for me and if I don't get back..."

"Just relax...relax son..where are you from?"

"Mississippi Sir."

"Oh Elvis!"

"Yes sir, Tupelo...what'm I gunna dooo?"


I was off.

The only thing I remember from the train ride back was seeing some kids on a platform hauling around hurling gear...I thought that was neat (I can't imagine that tykes are actually allowed to beat one another half to death like that...maybe it was field hockey or something...but it's a better memory if it's hurling it is). Anyway, I got back to Dublin too late to catch the ferry, but I was prepared for that. I went straight to the first cab I saw and spoke to the driver...

"Where's the cheapest place to find a bed brother?"

"Gardner St."

I thanked him and started walkin that way. Sure enough I got a bottom bunk in a basement for 5 pounds. Once downstais, I sat on the bed for a minute or two while my wallet got hotter and hotter...and started tryin to work one more night on the town into my budget.

If I caught the early ferry the next day I could be at Heathrow by supper time and with any luck I'd be on my way back to Germany at least by dinner time the next day...hopefully...maybe. I didn't need a whole 25pounds for that...and besides when was I gonna be in Ireland again. I had spent two or three nights in Dublin the week before and I knew wouldn't have to spend much of my own money anyway.

I didn't make the early ferry the next day...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 3

Crows don't stop off in Belfast on their way from Dingle to Dublin...but crows don't need money for cigarettes do they? I did...and for a bed and food. That meant finding a British bank.

Technically I wasn't broke broke. I had left 50 bucks in my account so I wouldn't be completely busted when I got back to Germany. At the time though Irish banks and their ATM machines wouldn't process cirrus debit cards., it was off to Belfast to find a Barclays machine.*

I got there and didn't even have to leave the station. There was a machine just waitin' to give me my money...perfect. I had 30 whole pounds....the warm sensation I immediately began to feel in my pocket was a little troubling, but I was on my way. I had my rail pass...I was ready to rocknroll...get right on the next train to Dublin.


"This ticket's no good up here sonny."

Awwwww crap...I was in a different country.

*There may have been an easier way to do this but if you haven't started to question my judgment by now...I don't know what it would take.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 2

...I was in Dingle lookin for the fish stand where I'd eatin late the night before. It was nowhere to be found. Then it started raining...horizontilly. So, I found someplace to lite and began to assess my situation. I was broke...I had about five pounds in my wallet. Crap!

I could sense I was runnin low but...5 pounds? In those days it was not uncommon for me to reach into my wallet and get a shock like that. I either had money and spent like I did or I was flat busted (Martha's reading this grinding her teeth and askin' herself what's changed...I was even worse back then Sugar). Back in Hiedleberg, in the barracks, I had ways of gettin' around being fact I was an expert at it...but I wasn't in Heidelberg.

Obviously it was time to go...only I wasn't scheduled to fly out of London for another week. That was the least of my worries though...I'd just have to try and talk them into an earlier flight. The Irish rail pass I was carryin' would get me back to Dublin. I had a return ticket from Dun Laoghaire to London. Transportation was sorted out then...or so I thought as I boarded the train to Belfast....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 1


I'm pretty sure this is the Port/Train Station at Holyhead in Wales.

It's also the place where I set a trash can on fire, where I was hit on then vigourously pursued by a drunk woman who had more children than teeth, questioned at length about my reasons for being where I was and going where I intended to be...not much different than most weekends in my early twenties.

More significantly though it's also the place where I almost froze to death.

I was on my way back from Ireland where I'd spent a week or so ridin' the train and generally being aimless....I think I went to the movies in Cork. Anyway, I did that til I ran out of Dingle of all places.

Ultimately getting back meant getting back to Heidleberg Germany where I was stationed in the Army, but first I had to get back to Holyhead...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Biographical Information - Tid Bit #1


This is the boat landing where we used to live.

It's also where one of these...


tried to kill me.

You think I'm bein' dramatic? Take another look at that beedy-eyed devil. You think a second passes durin' the day that he's not focused on killin' somethin'?

It's a long story...made longer by the fact that I know nobody would believe it if told in it's entirety. All you need to know is that I was knee deep in the water...bein' a humanitarian...tryin' to massage a fish back to life.

I heard they did a study recently tryin' to prove that Cottonmouth's weren't aggressive (the point of which, even after it was explained, still escapes me). They dangled this mechanical arm out in the water tryin' to provoke these these vicious snakes...and got nothin'...crickets. I guarantee you if they had dangled a dead bream out there on that arm them moccasins woulda swarmed on it like hornets.

I've seen what happens to a human leg when one these gets hold of it too...poor fella was black, but his leg was the color of a school bus and big around as a ripe cantaloupe.

Anyway, I survived unscathed. I got outta the water like a ninja and he was more focused on the fish anyway.