Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016


Uncle Dave reading the Christmas story to me, my sister, Angie, & cousin, Jed, at Grandma Mac's house. Christmas Eve 1974.

Christmas Day in 2016. Went to church this morning. There was nothing else to do. I should really be happy. I mean we were singing these old songs written in the 19th century with beautiful verses about how the babe, the son of Mary, was born, how he was still and quiet in the manger and would be pierced to redeem mankind and bring salvation to the world.

But I wish I was back a few years, watching my kids open presents & putting together a two-story doll house for my daughter, Gabby. I'm not the greatest in the world at building things & Maria thought I'd bitch about it, but I didn't. I figured it was part of my fatherly duties. The dollhouse is long gone. Sold it in a garage sale, I think.

I watch couples in church (or anywhere) with their little children and I get jealous. That was me & my family once.

But I'm not forgotten. This morning I got on my phone to send a Merry Christmas text to my friends Brian & Tammy and they'd already sent me one. They have a nice old house with a wooden floor in the Dearborn neighborhood of my hometown, Jett, Kan. (pop. 4,000 in the '70s). I remember how nice Tammy was to my son, Max, when he was going door to door selling chocolates for the Boy Scouts. I've known her since high school.

Then there's my crazy friend Kristy, whom I've known since 7th grade. She's a rockn' rollin' fan, primarily of the Greatest Rock n' Roll Band in the World, the Rolling Stones. One of her top 3 favorite songs is "Rebel Rebel" by Bowie. For some reason I like the picture she posted on Facebook -- just her & her sister Wendy & the backs of their heads. Looked like they were laughing about something. Kristy is one of my biggest boosters, a diehard supporter of this blog. If it ever goes viral, she won't be forgotten.

i don't think anyone should ever be forgotten

Adam, my journalist-filmmaker friend, I contacted him this Christmas & he sent me a text back. Adam's known hard times in life, but also great triumphs. I feel an affinity with him. We like to eat burgers & drink beer together at the Buckhouse or shoot pool at Moonshiners. He even credited me for my help in his latest documentary, Out Here in Kansas. (We both believe our hometown movie house, the Bijou in Jett, Kan., is the greatest movie theater in the world.) And he's contributed to this blog.

(Now if I can just get Rachel Held Evans or Jamie the World's Worst Missionary to contribute a guest blog.)

With Adam, the circle isn't really complete until you factor our friend, Russ, into the equation. I knew when we were 19 and started hanging out together -- inseparably --that Russ was a bum, but man, was he ever a funny bum? Everyone needs someone like Russ in their lives. The character I would most compare him to is Roger Sterling from Mad Men. He's got that likable rogue quality about him. He's in Ohio now. Anyhow I texted him this morning. "Merry Christmas, dickhead." He responded, "Nothing makes me feel warm inside like a 'merry Christmas dickhead.'"

I remember one Christmas Eve. Russ & I were at our boss, Steve's house. (He ran the steakhouse we worked at.) We weren't 21 yet, but the guy treated us like men. Handed us each a beer.

Nowadays I'm living alone in a rundown apartment in an old section of town called "the village." My neighbors are artists and heroin addicts, but they're all right. It makes me kind of sad when I look at the county sheriff's online jail log and see the face of some 22-year-old kid I've met with all the other mug shots. Such shit is life.

I write for some conservative, family oriented publications, but I also offered to write for the Liberty Press, the LGBT paper in Wichita. I explained to the editor, Kristi, that I'm straight & my columns wouldn't necessarily be about gay/lesbian/bi issues, but hell, people are more than their sexual orientation anyway. She told me apologetically that she didn't have any space in the paper & there were people in the LGBT community chomping at the bit to write for her, should a space open.

i feel like there's an open space in my life

But remember what Mick sang, surrounded by the greatest rhythm section in the world, "There will always be a space in my parking lot when you need a little coke and sympathy."

The space is so agape. I hope Jesus will help me find my proper place.

I'll have Christmas with my kids on New Year's Eve at a get together at their Grandpa Guy & Grandma Marcia's place in Beulah, Kan. -- the place where the whole damn journey started for me. They'll welcome me with open arms. My kids will be so happy when they open their presents. I'm glad they're still kids, but they're getting close to becoming adults. Of course, I have every confidence that they'll be beautiful adults.

When Dad & I talk, invariably Grandpa Guy (that's great-grandpa to my kids) will enter into the conversation. In late January of 2017, he'll have been gone 10 years, but he was such a character. He still gets talked about. He's never really been gone.


Today, I'm alone. I should've got one of those cheap-ass Christmas trees like the kids in Peanuts had, but I didn't bother to do it. Didn't get around to ringing a bell for the Salvation Army this year either, which I regret, but we'll get it next year. I've been living on ramen noodles & loosing weight, but today I think I'll treat myself to pepperoni pizza & beer. (I remember Maria's Christmas brunch waffles.) I was going to get the really good beer, Fat Tire, at the liquor store. But there was a Mexican brand called Victoria, which was a little cheaper and which I had a curiosity about so I bought it. I like it because Victoria is my mother's name. I'll see her at the assisted living facility on New Year's Eve, the Saturday I celebrate Christmas with my kids. Mom will never be forgotten.

I'm determined that I'll make 2017 a good year for myself even if the orange menace is president. Screw him, we'll have fun anyway. It's what I really wish for everybody -- love & peace of mind.


       "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"--Darlene Love



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas parody letter 2016


(I'm dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones Trump used to know.)

Dear _________,

Ho! Ho! Ho! No, I'm not Santa Claus. That just describes my life since I got divorced --- ho ho hoing, but I think it's an okay way to deal with grief, don't you? Not that it always turns out right. I simply had a one night stand with my secretary Allison. The next day at the office when I treated her like a normal employee, she became enraged and threw my cigarette dispenser at me. Of course I tried to make it up to her by writing a letter of apology, but I was too drunk to finish.

Not that I've been drinking a lot.

Actually, I've been working a lot on my spirituality. I've been attending services at the First Presbyterian Church, even making it to the 6:30 a.m. Men's Bible Study classes on Wednesday mornings. Also, my uncle Dave once told me you can get laid easier, going to church than you can in a bar.

Along with my position as creative director of a secret underworld writing society, I've also moonlighted. I helped write skits for the Gridiron show, put on annually by the Society of Professional Journalists' as they satirize the news. This led to my hanging out with Alec Baldwin. I mean, the guy was still decked out as the Orange Monster Man from Cheeto Land when we had drinks together and ate schwety balls backstage at 30 Rock.

The next day a tweet from @realDonaldTrump read, "Bad skits flow from snl like blood coming out Megyn Kelly's vagina. Alec's the real f***stick. I know big words & love Chachi."

Of course, I continue to have a good relationship with my kids. They love the heck out of their old man. Take my daughter Gabby. She leaves little notes for me. Take this message she left for me on my typewriter. (I like to go old school & do it like Hemingway & Salinger did.)


I'm proud of my daughter as she's following in my footsteps as a writer. She publishes her own blog and the world better watch out because she's on her way. Here's an example of Gabby's perceptive writing:

The world has no room for war. Why do i say this? Well look at a globe or a map. There are seas and countrys. That is it. We are one. We live in the same place and that’s it.
Instead of treating eachother like enimies, we should be treating eachother like siblings. Because, in the long run, that is what we are. If God is our father we are siblings.
So another way to treat everyone right is this: pretend everyone is you. YOU all YOU. How do you treat them now?



She also wrote this gem:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I DONT WANT SPRING!!!!!!!!!!

Gabby also likes to sew & quilt. She sewed her own handbag. She's part of a sewing circle, but I don't think it will take a wrong turn & venture into witchcraft or crap like that. I mean nothing un-PC toward wiccan culture. Just talking about sewing. 

Then there's my son Max. He wanted to go to church & when your teenage son says he wants to go to church, you go. He's a leader in the Methodist Church Youth Group in my hometown of Jett, Kan. (pop. 4,000) in the '70s. I was brought up Baptist & there's always been a rivalry between the Baptists & those liberal Methodists. But I'm confident he's going to be all right & benefit from whatever church he attends.

He's also got his learner's permit so everybody watch out. Oh & he's taller than me now. How the hell did that happen? And guess what kind of music he likes to listen to on his gadgets? '70s rock. I've taught him well. And he hates stupid '80s music. Good boy, Sam.


For 9th grade English class, Sam's teacher has the class keep up with this word a day website. Last week he shared on Facebook, the interesting word, afflatus, which means inspiration. Literally, afflatus is a Latin word meaning "to blow upon." 

Afflatus sounds like a term for breaking wind. Would you please control your afflatus? Your afflatus is disturbing the guests. Put a cork in your afflatus. Funny, I often get an afflatus -- inspiration -- while on the toilet.

Now, this is serious so don't laugh. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be able to discuss flatulence, bowel movements or your butt without laughing. We're not in third grade. (Or maybe we are.) So here it is. My cousin Wally practices the art of pyroflatulence or flatus ignition -- the art of lighting one's intestinal gasses into a blue hue or perhaps a yellow or orange color depending on the mixture of gasses in the colon at a given time. Anyhow, Wally likes lighting his farts on fire at the frat house. Or at least he did. Until THE ACCIDENT! Fortunately, the cotton sweatpants he was wearing served as a precaution against the burns inflicted around his anus. I'm happy to report, however, that I just had a dinner of chili with Wally the other day (the meal was served by the Presbyterian Church) & he said he & his anus have healed and are doing much better. For example, it no longer hurts when he has a movement or wipes himself in the bathroom.

Well that's about all I have. I just want you, my readers, to know that I love everyone of you & isn't that what Christmas is about? I know how it is at Christmas when the family can't drink a few beers without someone losing their shit, but please be kind to one another. Watch what you say to each other because remember, once words are out there, you can't take them back. If you have people in your life whom you love, forget about how they sometimes piss you off and just cherish them because someday they may be gone. Like I said, I love my readers & some of you I know personally. I'm always sincere in my writing. What, would I ever lie? Be an unreliable narrator? Okay, maybe that part about whoring around wasn't entirely true, but given time I'm sure I'll get back on the horse & be ready for a cheap, meaningless sexual fling. Whether you're driving your car down the highway, running on the treadmill at the YMCA, standing in the shower, sitting on the shitter or whatever, I hope you have an afflatus. The world can never have enough creativity. Just don't let your farts on fire. It's dangerous and I want you to have a safe 2017. Go WSU Shox! Merry Christmas & have a Happy New Year.

Grab em' by the pussy,

J. Guy

                               "White Christmas" -- Otis Redding















Saturday, December 17, 2016

Broken

At a time like this, I wish I was writing about...Elvis. He always made life better. Or Jerry Lee Lewis, who was more of a rebel than Elvis ever was. The Killer standing at the pumpin' piano, fingers stretched across the keys, blond hair falling in his eyes.

Well I say come along my baby, whole lotta shakin' goin' on

But I can't. I'm lost right now. I love all my readers & I never wanted to tell you this, but now I know I have to. Maria & I got a divorce. I didn't want it & I still think with counseling, we could've saved our marriage, but that's a mute point right now.

I have  to let go of that little girl I met in the library, the one who loved me when I had nothing, the one who made me a better man, who brought me back to God. (I was hardly a believer before.)

When I was in a good mood, I'd walk into the living room, see Maria & the kids & say, "It's my three favorite people." I thought my wife & daughter were the two most beautiful girls in the world.

When I was in a bad mood, it was hell. I've struggled with depression all my life. I remember the last one before the split. Matt, the guy I worked for, was an intense guy. He'd bang around in his office, throwing a tantrum. Goddamit! Shit! Jesus Christ!  And I'd sit at my desk in fear, praying to God it wasn't something I did.

I feared my unhappy job being on the line. I couldn't sit still at home. I was literally walking anxiety, pacing the floor. Maria wanted to help me.

Jeff, I love you

She'd say it over and over & I don't know that I ever stopped pacing or looking scared & depressed long enough to say, "I love you too, little girl." I took her love for granted. I thought she'd always be there. I hated what I was doing, making her depressed too. She said she had to go to her mother's for a couple of days so she could feel better. She took the kids, but two days became...she never came back.

We had been fighting a lot that last year. I said some abusive things that I'll regret for the rest of my life. I never wanted to hurt that little girl. I'm so so sorry. She forgives me, but she feels, probably accurately, that if we got back together it would be the same thing again.

I had dreams -- that I'd get her a better ring, that we'd renew our vows on our 20th wedding anniversary, that I might actually live to be 82 & we'd be celebrating our 50th. I was going to be a better husband to her, I vowed to myself, but it was too late.

I failed her. I lost the love of my life. I lost my family. I used to feel like I had the family I always wanted. My first family was acrimonious, hell on earth.

I was 3-years-old. My mom was sitting in a chair in one end of the room, Dad in a chair at the other end. They told me they didn't love each other anymore. I kept going from one chair to the other. "Mom, do you love Dad?" "No," Going to Dad. "Daddy, do you love Mom." "No."

Mom re-married, then got divorced again. Everything was so final & hallow when he left. I was 12. I was sobbing uncontrollably. "Mom, please don't get married again because I can't loose another dad."

I vowed I'd never do that to my kids, that I'd give them a better life. We were great parents, but there were too many fights between Maria & me. I called her a nag. When I didn't get the trash out before it piled up, she'd say, "It's just the way you were raised."

I was okay, driving to the courtroom on the day of the divorce. I sat by her, but when I held her hand, I lost it. It was the worst day of my life.

It's like someone I loved has died. The depression has been insurmountable. I pray alone in my bed at night. "God, please give a disease so I can die." It would be the humane thing to do. But God's not gonna do it. I prayed that prayer before when I was depressed, just certain that God would take mercy on me, but it never happened.

I haven't told anyone I work with about my personal troubles. Why do it? Then they would be talking about my mental state & they would know when I go to the break room, multiple times a day, it's to bury my head on the table & cry.

When I was 16, a neighbor up the street from my house, was going through a divorce and he committed suicide by carbon monoxide. Now I can see how he would do that.

"You better not kill yourself," Maria said to me. "Don't do that to your kids."

Of course I'm in therapy. They have me for life. My therapist's name is Jennifer. She's good. I'm on four medications for depression and anxiety.

Maria is in love with another man now. She'll probably marry him. Have his big last name. Their relationship got 94 likes on Facebook. "Couldn't resist his charm," her aunt wrote. (Well I can have charm. When I'm operating on a functional level, I'm good.)

But I'm not ready. I want love. I want what I had with Maria. I want to love someone like I loved her. I want someone to love me like she loved me. But every other woman looks ugly or her personality is annoying or she isn't as down to earth & non-pretentious as Maria is. Jennifer tells me most men are re-married within a year of getting divorced, but it won't happen with me. I'm so broken. So many dreams have failed.

I failed.

Knowing I failed my best friend, my lover and that now she has a new love -- makes it so much worse. It's torture and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, not even some cocksucker I knew in Oklahoma and I hated that sonovabitch.

It's Saturday & I wish I was back in Jett, Kan. with my family, going with my son on his paper route & listening to Elvis.



                                "Everything I Own" -- Bread