Categories
Blather Making Fun Of People War Wounds

The Butt Of The Joke… Is Mine.

Things happen to me. Weird things. Injuries that no normal person would ever have to worry about. Insects bite me and leave bruises that make it look like I’ve been punching telephone poles. Cats dart under my feet, causing me to land face-first on doorsteps. I give myself black eyes with inanimate objects like telephones (while sober). It’s no surprise, then, that I often find myself the butt of a joke that only I am laughing at.

Last night, I had a bit of whiskey. I’ve been on a bit of a jag this week, really–but it wasn’t the whiskey’s fault. It would have happened with or without whiskey. These sorts of injuries are determined to happen to me, regardless of the circumstances.

I got home late, maybe three-thirty. I was tired, and as soon as I walked into my room, I dropped everything I was carrying and went to change into my pajamas. I keep my dirty laundry in my closet, so after I took off my pants, I walked across my room toward the closet to throw my pants in the basket. So there I was, pantless, shuffling across my slidey floor in my big cozy winter socks, and I went to avoid stepping on something that was on my floor and I lost my balance, stumbling and falling backwards into a large plastic storage bin that was in the middle of my room (filled, thankfully, with laundry and not something less forgiving). When I landed in the bin, there was a loud cracking noise, and the bin splintered into jagged pieces, several of which gouged chunks out of my skin, the largest and most painful of which was right in the middle of my left butt cheek.

I broke a plastic box with my butt. And it broke my butt back. The damn thing drew blood. And as anyone who’s ever been spanked can tell you, the skin on the posterior is among the most sensitive on the human body. It hurts to sit down, even on cushioned surfaces. Hot water is excruciating. I can’t put anything in my left back pocket. I have a bruise the size, color, and shape of a ripe plum. I look like I’ve been punched in the ass by a midget.

I laugh at myself a lot, and the moment of impact was no exception. I sat in the laundry bin for two or three minutes–stunned, cut up, bruised and pantless–and I laughed. I laughed until tears came to my eyes. It felt good. And I couldn’t wait to tell the story so that I could make someone else laugh. I thought to myself that my father would have laughed, too. And had he still been alive, he would be the first person I’d have called–though I probably would have left out the part about being pantless.

In the morning I woke up, whiskey-headed and groggy, and when I went to sit up in bed, I felt the sharp pain in my patookus and remembered and laughed until I cried all over again. And then I called my friend Sarah and brightened her morning with my story of a busted buttocks.

Categories
Family My Heart Hurts

The Words Won’t Come, Either.

I am trying to write my father’s obituary, and I just can’t do it. I’m a writer, I should be able to do this sort of thing. I know more about my father than anyone else still living does, but I can’t seem to formulate it into something cohesive that doesn’t sound…wrong. I guess that’s probably because the phrase, “John Evans Holmes Jr. died,” sounds so wrong to me that I can’t go any further than that.

Also, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that my father did, made, and accomplished. He was a welder, a truck driver, a boat builder, a carpenter, a woodworker, a mechanic, a fisherman, a master at the art of fried chicken, and a dedicated and self-sacrificing (though impatient) father. He built a tug boat, several barges, a pump-out boat, hot rods, a race car, his mother’s house, his own workshop. He helped to restore the Flying Horses Carousel, and took care of its machinery for years. He built sign hangers and railings and decorative iron work for the rich and famous. He restored a 1953 GMC semi truck, and it sits in his garage in near-mint condition. He worked 16 hours a day throughout my childhood and still managed to singlehandedly raise a daughter who’s a pretty decent human being.

He was a collector of information, a sponge in which chunks of American history were absorbed. He was fascinated by the transportation industry–boats, trucks, trains–and traveled around the country to see the important sites in its history.

He was an impeccable craftsman, able to achieve the same precision in a 10-inch model as he could in a multi-ton barge.

He was a great storyteller, a willing ear, and a loyal and caring friend. He was a more loving father than any child could ever hope for. He had a great sense of humor, and kind, dancing blue eyes, and he gave the best hugs in the world. He was my protector, my hero, my champion, and one of my best friends, and I miss him more than words can ever express.

And I can’t find the words to tell the world that he’s gone–I don’t think any amount of words will ever be enough. I am heartbroken, gutted, and speechless.

Categories
Family My Heart Hurts

The Unbearable Numbness of Grieving

My father died yesterday. My father who was my closest family member–I am an only child and my mother passed when I was 12–and one of my best friends. He was only 60 years old, and until March, he’d been in very good health. Recently he was doing well, although his strength was depleted due to his fight with liver disease, but he was waiting for a transplant and hopeful. On Friday night, I received a panicked call from him that he was very sick, and I left work and went to West Wareham to his house and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. I stayed up all night with him, and in the morning, we had him transferred to Boston, where his doctors were. Once we were there, I wanted to sleep, so I told my father I’d just go home for a few hours and then come visit him. When I returned, he’d been sedated and intubated–to preserve his strength, not because he wasn’t breathing on his own. The doctors told me he had an infection, and the infection had turned septic–and that his chances weren’t good, but they’d do their best. Days went by, and he stayed asleep, sedated, responding less and less to both voices and medication. Finally, he didn’t respond at all to voices. The doctors told me that the medication and the machines were what was keeping my dad alive, and had been for days. I begun to face and accept the inevitable, and I wept to the point that I thought I would vomit. After numerous painful conferences, I told the doctors it was time to take him off life support.

That was not even 36 hours ago. The proverbial bottom has dropped out of my world, and I find myself nearly incapable of crying.

I cried a lot this week, while Dad was in the hospital. I cried when decisions were made, and right before and right after–but I’ve barely shed a tear since, and I don’t understand why. I feel like I betrayed my father’s memory by laughing today; by enjoying Thanksgiving. Though I’ve kept three photographs of him in the pocket of my leather jacket since he passed, and pulled them out and looked at them often, I cannot even find tears then–even though the sight of his face makes my throat feel like it’s closing.

I’m actually looking forward to going back to work. I’m so far behind in school that I’m not looking forward to that, but I’m looking forward to work. I have a million things to do, and I’m completely overwhelmed, and I don’t want to be productive, or calm, or laughing. I want to lock myself in a room and sob until I’m convulsing, and scream, and kick holes in the walls. But I know the tears won’t come. They’re waiting, and I wish I knew what they were waiting for.

Categories
Books Insomnia Observations Rant School Think

A Torpor Only Joyce Can Induce

I had thought, with the terminus of Robinson Crusoe, that my sentence of terrible British literature had been served, but I was mistaken. I didn’t realize that Defoe could be outdone in the realm of boring, redundant and pointless prose–that is, not until I tasted Joyce. I have just spent the past six and a half hours reading A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my reading speed, I could have read all of Jane Eyre (some 500 pages) in the time it took me to take down this thin little wisp of a book. Though I have barely moved the entire evening, I am exhausted from trying to derive meaning from what is supposedly a great book. The only truth I have gotten from it is this: Anyone who willingly reads Joyce is either a zealot (religious or aesthetic), or a masochist, or both. And to think, people actually read Finnegan’s Wake, which is easily four times as long.

Everything hurts, and the Vicodin is not helping. I’ve wasted an entire night for the sake of a sophomore class in which I currently have a C. I’ve never had a C in my entire college career. If I ever sign on for another class in British literature, someone please have the decency to smack the shit out of me.

That is all.