Truck Drivers or: how I learned that everyone, or no one, hates them all

trucks

I recently saw a semi with a sign on the back that said ‘Don’t like trucks? Stop buying stuff. Problem solved.’ My first thought was, who the fuck is that sign for? Is there a contingent of people constantly complaining about semi trucks out there? Like anyone that drives a car, I occasionally get annoyed with trucks that will try to pass another truck going uphill on the highway because it usually takes three miles for them to actually be able to make the pass. And there are times when a truck will veer into my lane and freak me the fuck out because they are huge, but I’ve never thought of trucks as unnecessary or something in general not to like.

I suppose we all need an enemy of sorts. I’m sure truck drivers see people do some of the dumbest shit imaginable because, lets face it, most people at one time or another are bad at driving. We often make bad decisions and then back them up with even worse decisions and while behind the wheel that can make things dangerous. There are people that will fly down the highway and zig in and out of traffic. Unless you are in the midst of explosive diarrhea or there’s a family emergency, if you drive like that you’re a fucking asshole. And seriously, even if there is a family emergency, try to not drive like a maniac. It doesn’t do your family any good if you wreck on the way to an emergency.

But back to the point, where does the idea that everyone hates trucks come from? Of course I want trucks on the road. I want my local grocery store to have fresh fruits and veggies, I want my mail to make it to wherever it needs to go, I want to be able to buy a 36 pack of toilet paper from Target. For all that to happen we need trucks, at least until drones becomes sentient and take over the world, but that’s another issue for another day.

There seems to be a defiant attitude for a lot of the country much like Cartman on South Park;

cartman

which is coooool, maybe, I think, actually, maybe not. A society of Cartmans sounds terrible. He’s the character you love to cheer against, a lot like our president. A constantly defiant society accomplishes nothing but arguing. And that’s why we have a congress. And boy do they do a great job of accomplishing virtually nothing.

While it can be a good thing to be proud and defiant, if you’re fighting an evil force that may not even be there, what are you really defying? So truck drivers, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I don’t look at you as a nuisance on the road, or even a necessary evil, I look at you with some understanding that you see the worst in people, have to log a lot of hours on the road and sometimes have to put up with people’s bullshit. Well, so do the rest of us. I think that’s the Merriam-Webster definition of work. Please don’t be quick to judge that those of us in normal sized vehicles on the road wish anything bad upon you, or even don’t understand your value to our society, but if you take three miles to pass another truck going two miles per hour slower than you, you might see me singing “get the fuck out of the way” from my driver’s seat. It’s nothing personal, it might be low key road rage, but at least it will be from the heart because I love you trucks. And we sometimes hate the ones we love, but please, put the fucking signs away. There’s enough defiant bullshit in our world as it is.

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Dream Girl

A girl in a dream
from a time past
to pick up where we left off
or never started
it is easy
and right
and gives closure,
happy closure at that.

And yet, a dream.

A cycle of the mind
completing something old
desiring something new
fighting against
settling for the present.

Or perhaps it’s just
a dream
random and fleeting
when it’s good,
raw and vivid
when it’s not.

A girl in a dream.

She takes my hand
I follow unquestioning
I follow because I want
to remember that feeling
in the pit
in the bellows
the flutter uncaptured
that evasive, unpredictable feeling
of a a girl
in a dream.

I wake and she’s gone
leaving her essence
to linger in my brain
to give me finger prints
to try to remember the hand
a reminder of a feeling
of a flutter
of a patter
of a past.

Of a girl in a dream.

Life’s mysteries and the Poop that goes with them

mr-hankey

I was reading Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs on the toilet today when the idea of this story hit me; it’s all about poop. Life, dreams, existence, all of it.  My goal this week was to the write the comprehensive ideology of how after such a vitriolic election we can still get along and learn from one another, but my thoughts, as usual, eventually turned to poop. I blame this, only slightly, on Burroughs insanely entertaining way of describing his anxieties and inner monologue.

I’m a 35 year old man that still looks forward to a quality dump, laughs at poop jokes and believes butthole is one of the funniest ten words of all time. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, I think it may be why I get along with kids so well. Some of this came about because of a podcast called Stuff You Should Know. If you haven’t heard it, it’s great. And it’s not all about poop. Honest. Anyway, one episode they did was about poop and it was much more interesting than you may think. They talked about color, consistency, the importance of going when you feel like you need to, constipation and much more. It got me thinking. Sometimes I know I have to go and I do, sometimes I’ve been farting for a while and I want to squeeze one out just to get rid of said farts and nothing comes, sometimes I think I might have to go and sit down and I lose four pounds. We can describe the feeling of needing to go, but it’s likely a different sensation for everyone of our body saying, “hey buddy(or lady), you should really go pop a squat.”

I work in food service and a lot of times you just have to hold it. There’s not much of an option. And it suuuuuuuucks. Anyone that has done customer service or been a server or bartender has dealt with this at some point. It’s terrible for your body, like a lot of things food service employees endure, but it’s part of the job. So you clench and pucker and squinch your toes and hope it passes without a loud fart explaining what you are going through. It can be a tricky prospect.

And different foods react differently for each of us, although spicy food will likely make your butthole angry the next day no matter who you are. We’re all creatures of getting out what you put in. Especially in the service industry, you’re often eating very quickly, often food you’re not hungry for and eating so fast you can barely taste it. Eventually your body catches up and the old b-hole decides that it’s time to shine is now.

Pooping can be a wonderful thing. Occasionally it’s terrible, but when it is it reminds you of the good times. Much like life. And poop jokes are still funny. I hope I don’t reach the age where I take life so seriously that I don’t find humor in them. And still, butthole, try and say it without smiling. Okay, you cheated, but it still makes me laugh. I’m not ashamed of it. And I hope I never will be.

The Appendix: Our bodies weird dangly organ that sometimes likes to burst

appendix

I woke up one morning to incredible pain. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is not typical for me, so I was a little worried. My stomach had felt wonky for a few days, but I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t have insurance so a random doctor’s visit was out, I just hoped it wasn’t anything serious. I knew my wishful thinking was for naught when I awoke at 3:00 in the AM with a clamp wrenching my insides. I squirmed, rolled side to side and sweat profusely until I felt a pop and passed out. The next time I woke I was happy to be alive and not feel that kind of pain anymore, but I knew a trip to the hospital was likely. I called off work, called mom and then dad, brushed my teeth and took a shower. If I was going to be in the hospital for a few day I wanted to at least go in clean.

I got to the hospital emergency room, parked my car and sauntered my way inside. Sauntering was about the only way I was getting around in my condition. I wasn’t in much pain by this point, but I definitely didn’t feel right. So I waited in the waiting room with all the other waiters until I got a chance to wait in a split room with a guy with a broken arm. We chatted in between nurse and doctor visits until we finally went our separate ways. You get a lot of questions in an emergency room, especially when you don’t have insurance. After most of the questions, a big gulp of barium and a CT scan it was determined that my appendix decided it no longer wanted to be inside my body so it exploded. The doctor told me he was surprised because I wasn’t in much pain, but after feeling an organ inside your body pop, there’s not much that hurts after that.

I went though surgery, got super drugged up, talked about having to poop into the hospital piss jug to my roommate and a couple other friends that were checking up on me and settled in to my hospital bed for the night. Aside from being woken up and checked on at random times of the night, I slept pretty well. The next day I felt okay, but the morphine was wearing off and some pain was settling in. There wasn’t much to do besides watch TV, read and talk to the doctor and nurses making their rounds. That night was the worst since my appendix actually burst. I had a headache and a fever and I woke up every thirty minutes or so. Besides the moment my appendix burst, it was the only time I actually thought I might die. I kept asking for more morphine and the nurse finally relented, giving me enough to let me fall asleep. When I awoke I felt considerably better, but still not great. I was getting tired of being in the hospital, coming off a shitty night of sleep and feeling helpless to my current condition.

This was more or less the exact time when an attractive doctor, making her rounds with a shadow, who was also an attractive lady, came in to check up on me. Appendix scars, for those who don’t know or had their appendix out before the surgery became less invasive, are small incisions around the abdomen. The two attractive ladies pulled back my hospital gown to check the scars and, naturally, my penis flopped out. Flopped is a bit of grandiose term because after two days of pain, surgery, medication, a fever and more medication I was not representing myself as well as I would’ve liked to. The ladies were nothing but professional as they checked on me, but I felt like George Costanza, wanting to yell “I was in the pool, I was in the pool.” Well, surgery, but you know what I mean.

After they left I comforted myself with the thought that it wasn’t the first time that has happened to them and they would likely see much worse, probably that day. Still, you always want to represent yourself in the best possible light and I didn’t and couldn’t that day. The moments of pain were by far the worst parts of the entire experience, but the one moment that has really stuck with me was that one. There’s nothing quite like coming a little too close to death only to get embarrassed about an overly medicated, floppy weiner.

Later that day I was up walking and the next day I went home and eventually healed up fine, not being able to take a normal, adult male sized shit for a while aside. My scars are barely noticeable and the hospital wrote off the surgery bill (thank god) because I made so little money at the time. Overall it was very much preferable to dying. But damn if I couldn’t go back and represent myself a little better to two nurses that I never saw again. I could’ve cracked a few jokes or given my dang dang a little pep talk. But that’s my neurosis. I’m no George Costanza or Larry David, but I’m not as far away from them as I would like to think. We all need the occasional pep talk. And so do our penises. (And maybe vaginas for the penis-less.)

Coach

baseball

I let the ball go, knew it was wide right and then BANG on the tempered glass of the gym office. It was my worst throw of the day and it came too close to nailing one of the coaches. Somehow it didn’t break the tempered glass of the office.

“Simers!” Coach yelled. “I was just talking you up.”

I heard that phrase a lot over the next three years of practice and games. Mr. Beadle believed in me. Enough to make me believe in myself. And I often let him down. I once dropped a foul ball off the third base line and he asked me what happened. He had turned away because he just expected me to catch it. The ball got caught in the wind and I didn’t get underneath it. It was hard to explain to Coach. He told me how to play it next time and I never dropped another ball like that.

Another time I took a hot grounder at third base and short hopped the throw to the first baseman. “Throw the damn ball!” he yelled from the dugout. I was pissed, pissed at myself for the throw, pissed at Coach Beadle for yelling from the dugout, pissed at the world. I hoped the next ball would come to me. Let me make up for the god damned throw, I’m going to break our first baseman’s hand with the next one, I thought. And the next play the ball bounced right to me. I scooped it up and threw it as hard as I could. The ball popped loudly in the first baseman’s glove for the last out of the inning. We jogged off the field and Coach Beadle called to me again, “I was ready to holler at you and then you make a throw like that.”

“Sorry Coach.”

I often needed a kick in the ass and Coach Beadle was there to give me one much of the time. He met my grandpa on the day I hit my first over the fence home run. My grandpa had been sick and couldn’t stick around for much of the game, but he got to see that and Coach Beadle helped make it happen.

He wasn’t always the coach we wanted, but his players, the ones I played with at least, really loved playing for him most of the time. He was a smart baseball mind, but more importantly he was a genuinely good guy.

He tried to get me thrown out of a game one time for saying fuck after a strikeout. I said that’s fucking bullshit, to be fair, and the umpire sent a warning to the dugout that he didn’t want to hear that word again. “Throw him out of the game,” Coach shouted to the umpire. “I’m not going to throw him out, I just don’t want to hear that anymore.”

I was benched for the last inning of the game and had to run singles, doubles, triples and a home run after the game. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is not fun at all. You run hard or you run it all again and it’s exhausting. I mostly learned my lesson from that. Later on that year I got thrown out of a game for saying that’s terrible while walking back to the dugout. The umpire later said I swore at him for the reason I was thrown out. He was full of shit, but there was no arguing it. I met with our athletic director and Coach Beadle to talk about what happened. Our AD didn’t believe me at all, even after I asked him to talk to any fans at the game or any teammates in the dugout. I don’t know if Coach really believed me; he knew my mouth and my occasional temper and a few games before he had me run for swearing during a game, but he never looked at me like our AD did. He never looked at me like I was some punk kid trying to cover his ass. Belief or not he looked at me with respect.

And that was a great thing about Coach Beadle. He respected his players and students. He made me want to be a better ball player for him and myself and my teammates. He gave me confidence in myself that I didn’t have before my sophomore year of high school. He put trust in me that I would play hard and play smart and I tried to do that.

We lost Coach Beadle about two weeks ago. I’d been putting off writing this since I heard. It’s tough to think about a man dying that meant a lot to my growth through high school. It happens to us all at some point, unless you are a highlander and even then you have to avoid getting your head cut off, but it doesn’t make it less sad. And it’s okay to be sad. It’s been a long time since I wrote down any old baseball memories and it takes me back to a good time in my life, being on that old ball field, smelling the leather of my Nakona baseball glove, kicking dirt over spit and sunflower seeds, hollering out two down to the outfield, trying to find the sweet spot for my cup to nestle. Being 15, 16, 17 is not often a good time in life. Adolescence is a confusing time and often tricky to navigate, but for me, I had baseball. And I can still hear Coach Beadle yelling out “Simers!” when I fuck something up. Just like in the games I always hope for the next ball to come to me because I’m going to throw is as hard as I can so I can jog back to whatever dugout will have me, just to see him shake his head and say good job. Not much beat that look from Coach Beadle. We’re going to miss you Coach.