Old Friends

I’ve written on this blog before about my buddy Mike, my older buddy who got booted from the Marines for selling pot on base. Here’s part of our conversation from this morning:

“You’re never gonna’ make that one, son.”

I am not good at real basketball, but I love trying to make shots of litter into the trashcan. The trickier and more difficult the attempt, the better. I have come up with some good ones.

“Oh yeah? I’ll take it up a notch.”

I made a behind-the-back attempt from a ridiculous distance. The empty plastic jar of instant coffee was off by five feet.

“Nice try,” commented another down-and-outer who fritters away his mornings in the federal plaza. He laughed when I said that my specialty was empty vodka bottles.

“Good,” Mike joked as I returned to our bench, “now that you’re out of coffee maybe you’ll chill the fuck out!”

Like all my friends, Mike hates to see me wasted. But I also bug him out when I’ve got too much coffee in me.

“Actually, the term of my generation, or Generation Y or some shit, is ‘Chillax’.”

“‘Chillax?’ As in, ‘Take a break from chopping wood’?”

“Nice try, but it’s a combination of ‘Chill out’ and ‘Relax.’ Because, you know, they save two syllables with that neologism.”

“And then you go and waste ’em right back with whatever that last word was.”

“Yeah, but these stupid kids only use words that can be texted.”

“No fucking shit. They do that shit more than they actually talk. I was at my ex’s last month, and she’s on the front porch, texting my son who’s in his old room. I’m like, ‘Why don’t you actually walk to his room’?!”

“Are they fat? Or scrawny fucks like you?”

“They’re in shape, you know. It’s just a stupid thing.”

“Speaking of stupid things, I had lunch with that lady yesterday. She’s straight-laced herself, but her daughter is 21 and already an alcoholic. I don’t know if she really is or if it’s just the normal drinking of someone that age.”

“Could be either.”

“That’s basically what I said. But–you’ll love this–she said that she was doing fine until she went to that Otakon shit.”

Otakon is one of three or four conventions that entail that Baltimore has several Halloweens each year. People dress up like anime characters and you’ll see people dressed up like the characters throughout downtown. Everyone else laughs at them.

“Fuck, if my kid was into that shit, I’d become an alcoholic myself.”

He instantly laughed when he realized what he’d said, since we’re both drunks.

“I know you say you’re from a redneck area of Bawmore, but I’m from the edge of Pennsyltucky. And my dad was from pure redneck stock. But when I went through my freaky, skate fag stage, he had no problem with that. When I wore shit like a pink sock and a yellow sock to school, my refined mom worried that I was gay.”

“One of my boys went through a Grunge thing, with like black nail polish and a little light make-up. I was cool with that.”

“I could see you taking him aside and saying, ‘Son, I don’t care if you’re gay or what, but stay the fuck away from that goddamn Otakon shit. And if you look for more than two seconds at a My Little Pony horse [a Bronycon reference], I’ll fucking kill you’.”

“‘Here’s a bottle of Jack. Take that costume off and drink it. Want me to get you some coke’?”

“‘How about some whores, son?’ You’d get a call at four in the morning: ‘Mr. Lykens, we’ve got your son down here at Central Booking.’ ‘What’d he do?’ ‘Sir, he attacked an officer so we had to kick his ass.’ ‘Did he have a costume on? Did he really assault them or did he use a toy sword?’ ‘He just kept yelling, “Fuck you all”!'”

“That’s my boy!”

The Reverse Wilson

I was never a fan of Home Improvement.  Frankly, I think Tim Allen should’ve stuck with dealing coke instead of lowering the collective comedic bar.  Yet I am familiar enough with the show to be aware of the Wilson character.  He’s the sagacious neighbor whose face you never see.  You just see the hat over the fence, if I recall correctly.
My buddy Mike and I occasionally hang out in the morning at the outdoor plaza outside the federal building.  I sometimes imbibe, but he’s always got an open beer with him.  He’s one of those former Marines with that “Fuck it” anarchistic mentality.  And where better to commit minor misdemeanor offenses than on federal property?
The closest bathroom is in the nearby Bank of America building.  You actually need a code to get into the bathroom.  There’s a guy that we suspect lives in one of the stalls.  Seriously, he spends hours in there.  Every day.  And he’s not shy, as evinced by his chattiness.  “Hey man, do you know if the Orioles won last night?”  “I hear it’s supposed to rain all week.”  And so on.
Neither of us has any idea what he actually looks like; we just recognize the shoes.  On those rare occasions when we find ourselves at the spot in the afternoon, the question for whichever of us has just returned is:  “Was he in there?”  No, at some point he moves on.  He probably has an afternoon stall to inhabit.  A “regular” routine, if you will.
The phenomenon raises several questions:
1)  Did the Bank of America foreclose on his house, somehow compromising by allowing him to live in the bathroom?
2)  Does he suffer from some horrifying, Mask-like facial disfigurement?
3)  Per the Home Improvement scenario, should we start asking him for wise advice?
4)  The Fonz had “his office” in Arnold’s bathroom.  Does this guy have the same M.O. and he’s merely a workaholic?
5)  Does his diet consist of foods that entail incessant, around-the-clock diarrhea?
6)  I have three degrees of separation between myself and Phish.  If I ever get to surpass that gulf, I’ll necessarily ask if they know this guy, based on the following data:

Reservoir Dogs

Portland draining reservoir after man urinates in it

Portland, Oregon’s Mount Tabor reservoir holds 8 million gallons of drinking water.

“Oregon’s Portland Water Bureau is draining an 8 million-gallon reservoir after surveillance cameras caught a man urinating into it this week…”

One of my role models, Abbie fuckin’ Hoffman, jokingly threatened to dose Chicago’s drinking supply with acid during the tumultuous ’68 Democratic Convention.  Even in the hysteria of those days, authorities realized that such a feat would be impossible to have an efficacy.  Yet some bureautard in Portland decided that people wouldn’t want to drink such contaminated water.  It looks pretty; maybe the guy’s awe was such that he felt the sudden need to relieve himself.  Or, to be sympathetic to the city, maybe he had drunk a million beers.

Still, if I was a citizen, I’d be pretty damn pissed.


Choose your targets wisely

MSNBC Defends State Senator Who Told Gun Rights Activist “Go F**k Yourself”

Ailing network attacks Infowars correspondent for asking real questions

Paul Joseph Watson
March 28, 2014

“MSNBC host Chris Hayes rushed to defend Rhode Island State Senator Josh Miller (D) after he told a gun rights activist “go fuck yourself,” laying the blame instead on Infowars correspondent Dan Bidondi for daring to ask real questions of public officials…”

Since I’m so nonconfrontational by nature, I was actually proud of myself when I said to a duo and an individual, “Fuck you!” on two consecutive days.  (My Russian therapist had advised me to do so.)  But I knew that neither of them was packing heat.  Apparently even extremely drunken Brian is smarter than this (presumably) sober talking head.  Shooting your mouth off can, well, get your mouth shot off.

In Related News, Marion Barry Set His Clocks Ahead 49 Hours

#Fail: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gets daylight saving time all wrong

By Jimmy Orr March 8, 2014, Los Angeles Times
“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might have missed the ‘spring forward, fall back’ memo: His Twitter account was used to wrongly advise his 130,000 followers to ‘turn your clocks back,’ instead of forward for daylight saving time this weekend…”
It is completely understandable that he would want to turn back time.

She Actually Thought the Show was Called “20/20/20/20”

ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas: ‘I Am An Alcoholic’             

By Tim Molloy  January 24, 2014 6:27 AM                            


“ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas: ‘I Am An Alcoholic’
“’20/20″ anchor Elizabeth Vargas discussed what she said was an “exhausting” battle with alcoholism on ‘Good Morning America’ Friday…”
And that her hubby’s one hit was called “Staggering in Memphis.” 


As a spiritual guy, I’m obviously impressed by synchronicity.  One such area is unintentional occurrences on certain anniversaries.  Because of their salience, I can really only recall those related to holidays. 

I may have pooh-poohed the idea of astrology were it not for the matter of my birthday.  After cynically realizing that I made more money waiting tables than adjunct teaching philosophy, I was content with that for the time being while I figured out what to do next.  Yet as I realized how much I missed teaching, I decided to go back for the PhD so as to eventually get a full-time job.  Yet I also decided to switch fields to religion.  The only school I got into, Temple, accepted me into their MA program but wouldn’t offer an assistantship.  Because of concurrent problems in my life, I opted not to take out more student loans and didn’t go.

Several months later, I looked up my birthday (including the year) when I happened across The Secret Language of Birthdays.  The opening line, “A career in philosophy or religion in philosophy is very likely for you,” made me a believer.  Yet it also continues to sting in that while a return to adjunct teaching is always possible, I will probably never pursue further academic progress and hence not make a career of it.  Yet it also did say something about writing.

So (in chronological order):

–For the second New Year’s Eve in three years, I got so wasted I did a faceplant.  It’s not that I got so wasted because it was New Year’s Eve; that part was coincidental.  I never hit my head or face in years of skateboarding, nor did I ever break a bone through the sport.  Yet I (probably) broke my pinky years ago when I was drunkenly roughhousing with a buddy.  I broke my nose this past New Year’s Eve.  But don’t worry ladies:  this fall didn’t leave any traces nor missing teeth. 

And I rationalize my falls as unconsciously paying homage to cities’ festivities that feature dropping things at midnight. 

–My dad was a twin whose sister died at birth.  On the first anniversary of his death, his sister’s son’s twin boys were born.  (Sadly, this cousin died of a sudden heart attack at age 36.)

The timing of my dad’s death itself was strange.  He died on the day of another sister’s husband’s funeral.  On the day of my dad’s funeral, the young grandson of the dead brother-in-law died in a motorcycle crash.  I said to my buddy as we were driving around during that time, “Drive carefully, man.  God’s taking out Williards.”

–I recall at least four Labor Day weekends as highly spiritually charged for me, each occasioned by highly synchronistic activity.

–I was emotionally shook up after 9/11 and prepared to join the military.  I ended up drinking at a bar soon thereafter with my sister, her future husband, and my friend who was closest to my mom (the one with whom I broke my pinky).  I committed the no-no of tearing up at a bar.  I then realized that it was the second anniversary of my mom’s death.  It got harder to choke back the tears.  My friend then told me, “Dude, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I heard your house is haunted.  From what the girl who lives there told me, it sounds like the ghost does stuff your mom would do.”  I ended up crashing at his place, where I bawled my eyes out.

I investigated the haunting a month later and determined, consistent with the girl’s assurances, that it was not my mom. 

–From ’07 to ’12, I spent three Thanksgivings in detox for alcohol.  Again, unplanned.

–Although I loathe Christmas, it is often occasioned by some sort of unforeseen blessing. 


So what’s the next big holiday?  Valentine’s Day?  Shit. 

Not the best animal to make a quick getaway

Florida man tried trading alligator for beer

By   December 18, 2013 4:23 PM The Sideshow

“In today’s economy, it’s not uncommon to trade personal items in the marketplace in lieu of cash.

“But leave it to Florida to offer the world a truly unusual spin on bartering, when one man walked into a convenience store attempting to trade a 4-foot-long alligator for a 12-pack of beer…”

Always do what the man with the alligator says.