mad drunk genius

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

Tag: Texas

Not all scars fade except to turn to dust

I’m bothered by my shortcomings b/c I didnt used to be
able to see them & still cant see the shortcomings of others well.
——Jesus was wrong. The heart & eye cant sin as limbs do.
Not all stepped-in dog shit clings to yr boot.
——It’s important to remember your pain doesnt hurt anyone else.
Regret is just noticing you’ve traveled downstream.
——I can see the antenna from my house.
Most people just go where the tailwinds push.
Head winds should be trivial, but they’re explanatory.
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Everything the same still is different.

Lost, groping, throwing myself of anyone’s stupid pity to
tell me where is best to go, & when.
——Drinking too much before first flight with US Army
——soldier & infantryman Stephen Hawkins, uniformed & flying to
——Dallas to meet his fiance & family for the holidays tho she is
——newly pregnant & he is newly stationed at Fort Lewis & turned
——on to Candy Crush-ish games by that fiance.
Mother of boy, now engaged to his father, sits with us. She, too, lived in
sin. Her religious parents also will need to get used to it.
——Soldier buys Jagerbombs after Guinness  not available for Irish car bombs.
—— I buy us Maker’s on the rocks to feel less an asshole, but he’s on four
——hours drunk at not yet 1 PM. The bar has been high set.

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The other day I went to Austin for a vacation.

I hadn’t really planned on anything, but I’d requested the days because I knew I’d need a few off just to be somewhere else. I picked Austin because I knew a few people there, it’s a cool place, and it was far enough to get away from everyone here, but close enough to drive in a day.

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God I love football

This is being written at the time of the 2006 Rose Bowl where Texas just won an incredible game over the USC Trojans.

My heart is pounding, my head is swimming… I don’t even know what to say.

I hate USC. I do. I hate them almost as much as I hate the New England Patriots. And that’s saying a lot. But I’m neutral toward Texas. I rooted for them like hell in this game but only because a.) they weren’t USC and b.) they’re from Texas.

Maybe that’s part of it. I mean, sports is a great thing. It’s almost a religious experience, and I don’t mean that as a hyperbole. Sports help us to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to tie ourselves to a bigger entity and hundreds or thousands or millions of other people. It fills that need. When our team succeeds, we succeed. And as sweet and satisfying as that is, it’s just as crushing when they fail. Because we’re failures.

But with either, we’re feeling those emotions through our team and their accomplishments, and maybe it’s more powerful than if we were experiencing it ourselves. Texas won, and I’m a Texan. Texas is a better state than California because of this game.

There’s nothing reasonable about it, but feelings are rarely reasonable, and damn it, that’s how that makes me feel. I’m a success because the team I wanted to win won and the team I wanted to lose lost. That simple.

It’s a meaningless game in the greater scheme of things. It’s just a college football game, even if it’s for a national championship. But a lot of things are just whatever. A child’s birth is just another carbon lifeform sucking up air. A war is just a bunch of specks of dust fighting on a grain of sand.

Those are both hyperboles, of course, but unless you count the feelings and the effect on the human spirit, the human condition, nothing is anything.

Football is the greatest sport in the world. It’s great because of the interaction between preparation and performance, the balance between talent and coaching. The way possessions work and the wonderful math of scoring points. It’s great because every play is a build up and release of tension, and things can change so drastically each time. I guess I could try to explain it more than that, but if you love soccer or basketball or baseball, I can’t convince why those aren’t as good. Love isn’t reasonable either.

I love football, and at times, every hope and dream in my life is tied to eleven men trying to matriculate a ball across an imaginary line, or stop eleven men from doing so.

My entire week can be ruined by the events on a field thousands of miles away involving people I have never met and probably never will. Sad thing is, Hurricane Katrina or Rita didn’t do this to me. Not even the Christmas Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake made me feel anything. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about 9/11 except for the fact that I was annoyed over how much they would keep showing it on television. I could give you similar examples of my lack of religious faith or empathy, but I think you get the idea. Real things, things that should matter, just don’t to me, because I don’t relate to New Yorkers or Indians. I’ve never been there and only met a few people from there. I don’t love them. I love football.

I love it, and up to a certain point, I can’t explain why.

But then that’s love.

The problem with the big Odeezy

I didn’t even know people were calling Odessa that. I’m still partial to “Slowdeatha” myself, but to each his own.

Anyway, I think it’s fairly easy to see there are problems in and with Odessa. Check the wikipedia entry some time for some of them. Basically, though, we’re poor, undereducated, and crime ridden, with especially high rates of drug and alcohol use. On the east side you may not see those problems quite as much, but they exist, they’re just hidden better. Less quantifiable problems such as a high school football obsession and lingering racism might even be worse on the east, and those are fairly obvious.

So the question is “why?” Why is Odessa the way it is?

That’s a much more complicated question to answer than it is to ask, but I’m going to try to anyway.

The first reason is: Mexicans. Yes you read that right, and no, I’m not a racist. If anything I’m a culturalist, because I am talking specifically about people from Mexico, especially first and second generation immigrants. We have a lot of them and naturally, they’re going to bring the average down for the city. I say naturally because a person who doesn’t have the equivalent of a high school education and doesn’t have a firm grasp of the English language is going to have a much harder time getting and keeping a well paying job. This means the person, and his family, is likely going to be poor, and poverty brings with it a lot of interconnected issues, most of them lasting at least into the third generation. Culturally, Mexicans are disadvantaged in America, and this makes them less successful, therefore the city of Odessa is less successful than it might otherwise be.

But that’s not the whole story. Whites in Odessa perform about as badly, drink and use drugs about as much, drop out higher than the national average, etc. Honkies are for the most part poor and uneducated too. So there has to be a common factor for that as well.

There’s an intelligent old man who comes by my store from time to time. He’s smart, but sadly crazy as fuck, so it’s tough to hold a conversation with him. He is of the opinion that Odessa is in the shape it is now because with every oil boom come workers from all over, and most of these workers are criminals or manual labor hands who settle here and dirty up the gene pool.

I disagree completely, at least for the long run consequences. While a criminal may commit crimes, that doesn’t mean his children are predisposed to it. Let’s not forget, Australia, the destination for however many thousands of British criminals, has a lower crime rate than America i.e. the land of the Puritans.

I think he’s right about the cause being related to oil booms though. Almost definitely in the short term, and probably also in the long run.

The problem with Odessa is the economy. It is almost completely dependent on the price and demand for oil. We’ve got it and when other people want it, things are good. When they don’t, things are bad.

It’s a boom and bust economy. Everyone knows that. But the reason that things are consistently as bad as they are during busts, why they are worse than they should be, is that so many people rest their entire futures on oil. Twenty or thirty bucks an hour is good money, I don’t care who you are. But that’s not a steady job. The economy slows down and you’ll either get your hours/wages cut back, or laid off entirely. People don’t get the education they need to have alternatives, so they don’t have the skills necessary to diversify the economy when the next bust comes along.

Things can’t improve because there’s no one here able to improve them. Or at least not enough people able to.

This indirectly effects the drug/alcohol use in the area, as well as teen pregnancies. Because the economy is so heavily focused on oil, there isn’t much entertainment. There’s the mall. The movies… And pretty much nothing else (except football games in the fall). Being so near to the border with Mexico, it doesn’t take a genius to see why there’d be more weed around, but the reason why the use is so high is because we are basically a big rural town. You drink, smoke, and fuck your girl or boyfriend. That’s not an excuse, but I think it’s the explanation.

So what we have is a culture of failure. There are exceptions, of course, but in my experience, Odessa produces two things: people with no skills and people with no ambition. There are many people who want to get out, to go some place and do big things. But they spent all their time in junior high and high school living life and thinking of what they were going to do instead of learning the things they needed to do them. Meanwhile, the other kind of person spent all of his or her time learning in schools, but not developing the goals or life experiences to be useful in practice. Neither kind can truly be successful.

As for the exceptions, they leave because there’s nothing for them here. And it all continues for the next generation.

Like I said, I prefer the nickname “Slowdeatha”.

An update to this because it really doesn’t warrant its own post. A friend of mine from junior high and high school came by tonight, we shot the shit for a couple of hours and then he left. We were pretty good friends for a while but drifted apart in high school, kind of went our own ways. Eventually, he moved to Midland and I didn’t see him again for a million years. I’d seen him a couple of times before he came by most recently, but nothing much had changed for either one of us. He’s still playing World of Warcraft, Counterstrike, and smoking weed, and nothing else. I’m not doing much better, I’m just doing less. But it’s kind of funny. We are typical products of Odessa.

He also reminded me of his original term “Odessolation” which is also pretty nice.