Gas Powered Cement Saw: WINNER!

I’m a big fan of horror flicks. I’m not a gore-porn-aficionado, no sir. Frankly I don’t need the blood, guts, squirts, and pulsing organs to be afraid. One would think that given my very real problem of having a brain that constantly conjures the worst case scenarios possible for any situation, that I’d steer clear of anything that puts new ideas into my head. Quite the contrary friends. In my mind, feeding my brain with as many of the demented possibilities dreamed up by others is a methodology of preparedness that moves me up the Darwinian chain. I’m pretty confident that my exposure to the likes of American Psycho, Se7en, Hostel, Motel Hell, and the what-must-be thousands of others of films I’ve allowed these peepers to ‘enjoy’ have kept me alive from time to time. Very possibly they have kept me from doing things I might have loved to do too, like long solo backpacking adventures in third world countries, or following some hot-mess home for the night back in my bachelor daze–thanks a bunch Fatal Attraction.

There is a film, not seen by many, that was titled High Tension here in the states. It was a French horror flick that until the end had seemed like a total rip-off of the story Dean Koontz presented in his book Intensity. I’ll spare you most of the details, but let’s just say the twist that the writers, producers, and directors attempted to pull-off wasn’t disimilar from the character Donald’s film, The 3, in the Nicholas Cage picture, Adaptation. In High Tension there is a grandiose climax featuring a gas powered cement saw, and until I’d viewed the film, I’d not once given thought to what a device like that might be capable of in the wrong hands. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

This morning, not unlike many times since my return from the jungles of Costa Rica, I found myself walking down a street only to be confronted with construction workers performing miracles on the streets of Manhattan with their mechanical wizardry. The buzz made by a saw hell-bent on carving up the manmade ground beneath cars and feet here makes a wickedly sick and recognizable scream. Crossing the street is always an option, but who is to say the guys wielding those mini-monsters aren’t quite a bit faster than me and on the backend of a bender that’s left them disoriented, angry and confused? So, like each time before it, this morning I reversed direction, marched back up the street I’d just come down, to shift my path one block over where at least I might stand a chance of making it to work without missing appendages. A minor inconvenience to be sure, but I couldn’t help thinking that in the game of Rosch vs. Gas Powered Cement Saw, the match tally is currently 0-7, possibly more–I don’t keep count of my crazy, I just live with it.

Agents of Sloth

My paranoia never leaves me completely, but it’s seemed relatively quiet upstairs the last few days–if I didn’t know better I’d say the curse had been lifted. I hadn’t give much thought to my current state of bliss, at least what bliss is for this guy, until I started formulating ideas for this very post. It wasn’t the first time my mind put wondering against the notion that some day I’d not be able to write for this blog anymore, and that perhaps I’d have to change the title to Level 9 Happy Goodness Times. In and of itself, that thought proves things are still cranking up there. The battle between my brain and me rages on, but at times it plays a quieter game–moves to destroy my sanity with the more subtle themes of self-doubt and dread. I think my psyche knows that if it positioned every evil twist, potential fate, and the doings of others as over-the-top Hollywood blockbusters, that in time those fabrications wouldn’t impact me with the same ferocity. And so, this past weekend, it decided to play me a quieter head-film, in the vein of an Indie feature that dwells in subject matter one might describe as more probable in the real world, and only seemingly less heinous due to the lack of guts, blood, and booming soundtrack.

I spent a great deal of time working on my next novel on both Saturday and Sunday. It was equal parts rewarding and frustrating, not too disimilar from the efforts I put against My Dead Friend Sarah, but perhaps with the additional creative-crushing notion kicking around that the table of my life has now been set with some lovely place settings, at least according to some, and this second book will serve as the metaphorical meal for those waiting patiently at this table to consume it. Yeah, there might be a little more pressure this time around–no one even knew I was writing the last time, and even I had no expectations going in to that one, other than to complete a rough draft of a full story in a timely fashion, rather than give up just twenty-two or thirty pages in, like had been the case in previous attempts made by a younger, and often pig-stink drunk or hungover from having been pig-stink drunk, version of myself.

If you care to know, I can tell you that in spite of the laundry list of thoughts that worked feverishly to prevent me from putting pen to paper on the next book, I was still able to get quite a bit done by committing to the doing of it as though the results of my labor meant nothing to me or anyone else–even though they eventually will. Only by committing to writing was I able to ignore the following gems of delusion that seek to keep me lethargic and in a permanent state of sloth: This story had been told before, You can’t write in 3rd Person, People were just being nice about the first one, Did you read what you wrote in the last chapter–laughable Rosch, The title is taken, The title is taken because someone is writing the exact same plot as you at this very minute and will publish their story long before you are finished, You are missing out on a great day out there that could be your last, You aren’t getting paid squat to write this book–mind telling me what the point is friend, Wouldn’t our time be better spent coming up with a gadget people really need, Being a writer isn’t a real job Peter, stop wasting time on this and let’s butter-up that resume with actual accomplishments.

It’s going to be a long, slightly different journey than the last. Here’s to hoping the part of my brain that likes me continues to do just enough to beat back the parts that most definitely don’t.

Gator Rosch

There are days that my life as a drunk can seem like another lifetime entirely. Days where the disease works hard to position that huge swath of so-called living-it-up as possibly a former life–the kind you pay a penny arcade prophet to tell you about on a sullen day in Coney Island. The more time I earn in recovery, the easier it is to forget that very real version of myself that was tearing through days and nights as he pleased. The world, and her mysterious ways, lend a hand from time to time with the remembering of things. And depending on what that forced recollection conjures, this can either be a real treat or a brutal slap to my non-bendering rosy cheeks.

Yesterday morning, on the Lower East Side, while I stood lost in my own thoughts of all the amazing things I’d been able to accomplish so far this year, and all the things I like to let myself speculate are forthcoming, a young woman ripped me from the safe confines of my own pro-Peter party with this seemingly misplaced question: “Is your name Gator?”

My name, as you may know, is not. And so it won’t surprise you to learn that I responded with a confused shrug and a grunt that sounded something like, “Huh?” This was followed by mutual shrugs and maybe even an apology delivered by her to my backside as I spun around to get back to the business of celebrating myself on the remainder of my walk to work. Iced-Coffee, check. Smokes, check. Half an hour or more to kill before the feeling of obligation compelled me to sit still at my desk, check. Just another lovely, somewhat silent by New York standards, morning gifted to me by sober living.

A couple of blocks removed from the incident, that aforementioned previous life–at least one of the many special nights from it–spilled from some dark corner in my skull into the forefront of my conscious. As it reconstructed the narrative, I was relieved to remember that the story wasn’t one of the more spectacularly disturbing happenings from those soggy salad days.

It was a familiar opening–me, friends, a bar, too much to drink, and a spontaneous introduction to some female inebriated souls. On more than one occasion, my father has told me that at times when I speak, it sounds like I have a mouth full of marbles. Drinking never made that delightful little defect any better, and when one of the young women asked me what my name was, even though my response had been Peter, she heard Gator. She repeated it to me and my cronies. “Gator?” She Said.

Our sauced minds met collectively without a word spoken and before she could ask a second time, a decision had been made by me and the group to roll with that moniker for the rest of the evening. And so I replied, “Yep. Gator.” What stories might have accompanied the origin of that name–stories I’m sure I told her in my failed attempts to parlay such a ridiculous name into an overnight visit–I can not recall. But, I do remember that all of my friends went well out of their way to use the name for a significant portion of that evening.

“Wanna another one, Gator?”

“Gator, it’s your rack.”

“Gator, we going down south again this year?”

I suspect, my dear reader, that you’d love to see this tale turn into something that it was not. A yarn about how Gator and that gal crawled from one bar to another, deep into the night, ending up in Vegas perhaps–awakening the following morning after an orgy that appeared to my crusty half-swollen afternoon-morning eyes to have included midgets, bearded women, and an attractive mute from some distant cobra-charming country in the East. I’ll regale you with such a tale some other time. But sadly, like so many others, this night ended when Gator went home, alone, and probably carrying enough alcohol in his system to nurse a brood of some fictional baby animals whose lives depend on booze from a stranger’s teet.

So, turns out–or, it is at least conceivable–that the young lady from yesterday morning had every reason to ask me such a seemingly ridiculous question. And, at least for the time being, I can have a good long laugh about a night that didn’t turn most foul, but still served as a charming reminder of the scofflaw that I used to allow out to play back in the day. I miss that dude, sometimes.

I can only hope, that the next time a stranger drags him out of my subconscious, that it is for as seemingly benign reasons as referring to oneself as Gator. After all, what possible harm could I have caused–and I’m privy to The Butterfly Effect–by simply leading someone to believe I had a ridiculous name? If you’ve been paying attention, you know damn well I’ve already mentally outlined a dozen that can be filed somewhere between, “I’ve a baby boy named Gator” and “A party tale gone awry in which a young woman recounts her having met a fellow named Gator, which reminds one of her newly minted acquaintances of how her own son had been torn in half by an actual gator, who becomes so distraught over the incident that she pulls out a bag of pills she keeps handy from her purse, and then chases it with a tumbler of vodka before retiring to the coat closet to see her way off this earth.”

End scene.

Mediocratrocities

Success. I could start out this blog with a Webster’s definition, but it’s somewhat irrelevant to me at the moment. I know what success looks like to me. I’m not talking about fancy cars, flashy clothes, and a house on the hills–I’m talking about achieving something of value, doing something well, and reaching an intended goal I suppose. Throughout the years, the incidents that suggest my own standard for deeming something successful might be unrealistic have been many. I’m open to the idea that I hold myself, and perhaps more importantly, the company I keep intentionally or by way of happenstance, to a nearly unachievable bar. I’m not only open to the idea, I’m sure of it. But as of late, I can’t help but wonder if there is something in the water. In fact, many people believe there is indeed something in the water intentionally put there to dumb us down, numb us down, keep us from revolting and in a perpetual state of accepting mediocre results, behaviors, and near misses. I spent years using booze for many reasons, but one of the biggest benefits was its ability to make me simply not care about all the things I thought were wrong about a day, the world, and humanity itself. I’m soap-boxing a bit in this post, and maybe I’ll turn off a few readers in doing so, but when did we decide that almost achieving, half-efforts, and just enough was the best way to live?

If I let my mind go with it–as if I had a choice–it puts me on a speculative path about the impetus behind the sturdy reinforcement of sloth, uninspired efforts, shit-eating grins, and the go-with-the-flow head nodding of many of my fellows. In the rooms, those of us in recovery spend a great deal of time deconstructing all the daily incidents that illustrate the public’s blind-eye to these themes of atrocious mediocrity–even as we, the former drunks, are out there contributing to that general malaise with our own insincere efforts. No one is perfect, no one should be perfect, it would be damn boring. But I do wonder from time to time, if the hero worship of doofuses, slackers, lag-a-bouts, hipsters, just-get-byers, and perpetual selfish has us all brainwashed into thinking that our own efforts are far superior to that of our neighbors. I know I’m guilty of massive amounts of judgmental condemnation on folks I’ve never met. I’m not proud of it, but I’m aware of it. I’d like to open my heart up to all strangers, and believe they are all pulling their weight, carrying their load, and doing it on the up-and-up. I certainly don’t subscribe to a win-at-all-costs mentality. It’s cheap, cheating, and doesn’t suit me. I know this, because I’ve tried it.

The question I guess, at least for me, is will I slowly come to understand that not everything has to be a home-run? For a couple of years, right after getting sober, I was operating well using a suggestion from the rooms that allowed me to let much of what bothered me about myself and others not get too deeply into my head. Was an easier then I think, as I wasn’t quite putting myself out into the world as much as I am now. And my immediate social circle was comprised of brains, both normies and recovering alcoholics, who were living up to a code similar to my own. Again, none of us are or were perfect, but all of my besties were probably living with their own deep resentments towards themselves for not being  able to achieve perfection each and every day just like me.

As you look out amongst the landscape you might find just as many people kicking ass as there are sucking ass, but as of late, and I’m not against the idea that it is some chemtrail induced fog thrust upon the citizens of Manhattan, my own experiences seems to suggest the tables are turning in favor or the latter group of which we can refer to as Mediocratrocites. And even as I recognize the benefit of having tons of lazy folks around–after all, it only makes my own efforts shine that much more brightly–I am concerned that this particular malady might just be a much less noticeable version of a flesh-eating virus dropped upon the public for testing. What better way to remain the nations super power then developing a weapon that turns the inhabitants of other nations into drooling dullards.

Is it just me? Most likely. And since I intend on doing just about squat today, who am I to even say?