The past few years have been surreal. 2018 is just fucking bizarre.
As I write this, I am watching breaking news that Michael Avenatti has been arrested for domestic abuse. Which doesn’t shock me or anything. The fact that our reality includes an attorney who is defending a porn star’s right to discuss having sex with the current president just a few months after his son was born is fucking weird. Well, and all the treason. That’s pretty fucking weird, too.
Watergate almost seems quaint.
Life is weird now and I don’t think that is going to change any time soon, so we might as well embrace it. But all the weirdness doesn’t have to stem from US politics. We need some balance. I need some balance.
So, this is what I want to do. I want you to tell me a fucked up story. Maybe, not your most fucked up because I know how fucked up my most fucked up story is and I’m not telling you that shit.
I will, however, tell you a completely fucked up story.
I was 14 years old in 1977. There was a 16 year old boy named James who I loved. He had wavy hair like Robert Palmer, a wispy little mustache and a tattoo of a panther on his forearm because of course he did.
I was friends with his younger sister, Margie.
James and Margie had the party house.
In the year that I lived in that neighborhood, I never once saw their mother. I think she worked double shifts as a truck stop waitress, but that’s probably not right, because if you asked me what any of my childhood friend’s mother did for a living, I would answer “truck stop waitress”. Either way, I never saw her.
The living room was usually filled with kids smoking cigarettes and weed while listening to music. I loved hanging out there.
It was a little dangerous. They had no supervision at all. The bad kids hung out there. Robbie, Richie and Rodney Harrington hung out there. They made John Bender from The Breakfast Club look like an Amish kid. The real draw though was James.
As much as I loved being there, there was a drawback.
There was an adult in the house.
James and Margie had an aunt who lived with them. Their Aunt Shirley.
I have no idea what their aunt’s ailment was, but she was bed ridden and nearly catatonic.
I would say completely catatonic, but she did communicate.
When Aunt Shirley wanted a cigarette, she would call out. Not words or anything, just a series of sounds.
The rule of the house was, we took turns. Everyone had to take a turn feeding Aunt Shirley her Kools.
Aunt Shirley’s room was at the front of the house. Her room was dark with just a hospital bed, night stand and lacy crocheted curtains.
I hated taking my turn. I found the experience to be profoundly disturbing. Aunt Shirley couldn’t light or hold her own cigarette, so you would have to light her Kool for her and then hold the cigarette to her lips.
I will never, as long as I live, forget how it felt to feel my fingers pull slightly toward her face when she would draw on the cigarette.
I used to have nightmares about it but they stopped over 20 years ago. Thank the stars.
Unfortunately, that isn’t as weird as this story gets.
So, this one time, when it was my turn, I fed aunt Shirley her cigarette, but wasn’t paying attention and the ash dropped off the edge of the cigarette right between her nose and her upper lip. I watched for a second, mesmerized and horrified, watching little bits up ash go up her nose as she breathed in. Then, I leaned over and blew the ash from her face.
Of course, at that precise moment, James walked in and started laughing. “Michelle’s trying to kiss Aunt Shirley.”
This was over 40 years ago, so my memory is somewhat hazy, but I am pretty sure that was the last time I gave Aunt Shirley a cigarette and I’m pretty sure that is what squashed my crush on James.
So, there you go. Don’t you feel better now? Not a goddamn thing about politics, but still, terribly fucked up.
It’s all about balance.
Hit me. Tell me your weird stories. I have got to think about something else for a while.
Photo courtesy of realworkhard.