mad drunk genius

I used to have all sorts of problems. Now there's just the one.

Tag: convenience store

Craziest goddamned thing happened to me the other day.

The night shift is usually pretty slow, so I was just kind of sitting there in the convenience store reading the newspaper and listening to the radio, when all of a sudden out of nowhere comes this brick—WHAM—right straight into the goddamned window next to my head.

Anyway, that woke me up for damn sure, and I stood up and looked around for where it had come from and that’s when I saw these two old homeless guys out between the pumps going at it like they meant to kill one another. The trashcan had been knocked over, and they were throwing rocks back and forth. One of them had a squeegee in his hand and he was using it like a sword or something against the other. Craziest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen.

But I couldn’t just let them keep going after one another like that because when the boss came in in the morning and found out what they done to the place, I knew goddamned well what she’d do to me for being there and letting it happen.I went around and stuck my head out the door and said, “Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing out there?”

“Exhibition fighting!” the, I guess shorter one said. “Extreme sport!”

The tall one charged about that time and tackled the short one and they rolled around on the ground for a while, punching and kicking, and it took me a few minutes to get their attention again.

“Why are you fighting for a sport?”

“Cause the pay’s good,” the tall one said, “All the porkchops we can eat, plus a harem of fine looking Martian broads for the winner.”

“Martians?” I said.

“Yeah,” the short one said as he ducked a punch and kneed the other in the crotch, “Martians pay good for street fights like this one. They watch it all the time on Martian television.”

“You’re crazy,” I said, “Martians aren’t real.”

“If they aren’t real, then who the hell is filming us right now?”

I looked around and didn’t see any film crew or anything and about then they stopped fighting and looked around, too.

“You mean to tell me we been scammed again?” the tall one said.

“What they say about Martians is true I guess,” the short one said, “Venus may rhyme with penis, but it’s the Martians who’re the dicks.”

Then the two of them walked off in different directions and I stood there awhile before I went back inside to get the stuff to clean everything up.

Craziest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen.

Weird event I got reminded of recently.

During the days that I worked at a convenience store, there was a night where a girl who worked at the nearby Taco Villa was at the payphone, talking to her boyfriend, from what I could gather and remember. She was on the phone with him for over an hour and a half, and I caught snippets of her conversation with him as I shut down the car wash, cleaned the bathrooms, and took out the trash as I closed the store. I think he had started drinking or doing some kind of drug after promising her he wouldn’t, but I’m not even sure about that.

I can’t remember the specifics now, and I don’t really suppose they’re important. She was crying, shouting, slumping down and moaning/pleading. The most dejected person I’ve seen in my life, and she was this way for an hour and a half.

I checked on her several times, asking her if she was okay or needed anything. She told me no,  that she was fine, but I asked several more times anyway. It was awkward, but she wasn’t upset with me for it. She was just preoccupied with whoever she was talking to.

When I left, I asked her if she needed a ride somewhere, but she told me she didn’t and so I got in my car and drove off.

There’s no insight, no closure, no definitive purpose to what transpired, just an odd event that found its way back into my head.

Useless Wisdom

The old man stands in front of me, eyes wide with passion and excitement, mouth half open as his tongue fumbles around in the inside of his mouth. He mumbles incoherent sounds as he tries to give utterance to the unimaginable wisdom and truth that surely exists inside his skull. And I stand waiting for it.

“Take it from an old man who knows,” he says finally, “You got to get you an education if you want to do something with your life. Got to stay in school.”

I nod and smile at his trite advice. So says the life long day labor, my mind mocks, but I don’t allow my mouth to give voice to it.

“But even if you don’t, you got to be able to enjoy what you’re doing, no matter what it is. If you spend your whole life trying to get somewhere, one day you’re gonna look up and see you missed out on everything. ”

I nod and smile. And maybe I should stop and smell the roses, too.

“If there’s one thing you gotta value, it’s your health,” says he, “Value it while you got it, cause there ain’t no money in the world that can buy it back if you don’t got it, and one day you won’t.”

I nod and smile. Crawl back into your hole, old man, crawl back into your grave and die.

“Nobody lives forever, boy, but only the lucky get old. Ain’t nobody invincible.”

I nod and smile. Yes, lucky like Marlon Brando, a fat joke, and misfortunate like James Dean, an icon. A tragedy to burn out like Morrison, and  a blessing to fade away like you, you old piece of shit.

“You don’t want to hear what I got to say and by the time you do, you won’t need it any more or be able to do nothing with it. But I’m telling you now, because I wish I would have listened when someone told me.”

I nod and smile. As if I need some senile old fucker to lecture me.

“No, really, thanks,” I say, “I’ll be sure to keep all that in mind.”

He nods and smiles. And we go our separate ways.

A shallow, complicated character study

I know a woman who, in order to get a job, told her future employers she had children, and coming up on three years later she is still working there and her employers still believe she has children. She uses these imaginary kids as an excuse to get off days of work, but all she does on those days is sit at home and watch television. Besides this, she is lazy, spiteful, and selfish. But she isn’t evil.

I know another woman who has half a dozen children from three different fathers and is dating another man. By her actions I know she favors the children from some fathers over others. By her actions, I know she is irresponsible and also selfish. I know that she used to sell drugs and may still, smokes weed regularly and has stayed out late at night getting drunk with boyfriend, all with six children in the home and often as a single mother. Her perception of herself and reality is biased to the point it is almost unrecognizable from the actual events taking place, a necessary device in order for her to gain people’s sympathy (and her own). But she isn’t evil.

Those two descriptions are not fair in the slightest, and I make no claims that they are. They are the worst aspects of two people who can be quite pleasant at times, the latter even more so than the former. They are not good people, either one, but they have good aspects, very good aspects, and I could spend pages listing them. They often seem to be quite good. And yet knowing the worst, I could never in my life call them good. I am tempted to call them sympathetic, but knowing the worst (some of which I don’t wish to mention here), even that is impossible.

I know a man who says racist things without remorse, who holds very strong racist opinions and holds them close to his heart. But this man is not just any man, he is in a position of strong political leadership and is friends with many political people in my city and across my state. From his statements it would be easy to gather that he thinks that Mexicans are all stupid, thieving, dishonest, and lazy, and you could probably get a similar or identical reading from his opinions on blacks.

And yet, from his actions I would never be able to tell. He gives money out of his own pocket to help Mexican children who don’t have enough for candy. He actually physically helps older kids whose tires have gone flat on their bikes. Any time anyone of any age, race, or creed comes to him for help, he does literally everything in his power to help them. And then when they turn their backs or get out of earshot, he’ll make disparaging remarks about how they’ll spend the money or why they were in that situation in the first place.

I don’t mean to be trite because surely you’ve all heard this before or reached the same conclusion, but there are very few people who fit the simple definitions we like to arrange others into. Unlike movies or comic books or most fiction in general, evil is rare and God knows true good is like a grain of sand in a haystack. Life is complicated, people are complex, but it’s easier and more attractive to write people off according to one word labels.

I’m no better on either account, of course. I still label people simply and act in ways that would quickly get me labeled if people actually knew about it.

I’ve pretended to be romantically interested in a woman just to get her friend (my co-worker) to like me better and therefore be easier to work with. I revel in the attention, get off on the idea of being desired and the source matter little at all to my ego. I am as selfish, loathsome, and wretched as any human being you will ever find, and if you knew some of the things I have done and if you knew the things I have the desire to do, you would agree and rightfully shun me like a leper.

But I’m not special in that way, either. For a while I used to think I was, but now of course I realize that all of those things are present in everyone to some degree. Those that know me may think I am nice, funny, pleasant, etc. I am. I can be a very considerate and thoughtful person. I can be intelligent and endearing. I am all of those things.

But I’m also an asshole, a pervert. A jackass, a selfish, unabashed cocksucker of the highest order. The “Illusory existence of an internet person” covers that concept fairly well, so I won’t delve into it any deeper, but what’s true in cyberspace is true in real space (and myspace). So what am I? A wonderful, dreadful schizophrenic?”

And you?

Is there something deep and significant in any of that? No, probably not. Does acknowledging that people, like each one of us, have many aspects to them, most of which we never truly see, mean that anyone will stop using simple definitions? Of course not. But it’s something to aspire to.