Those Fleeting Moments

During that long hot summer there was always a house to drink at. Boisterous, drunken affairs that always seemed to wind down to quiet conversations in small, shadowy corners. The air that hung over everything seemed dark and heavy.

She attended a few of the parties that summer but he never paid her much attention. One night he stumbled upon her as he stepped outside to take a piss. She was seated on a quiet back patio and she invited him to sit with her. They talked and got drunk as the warm night slowly cooled.

They eventually made their way inside to a smattering of bodies lazily draped across each other on couches, beds and floors. In a front room they held each other close and caressed one another until dawn broke pale through a picture window and he heard her snoring in his arms.

Over the next few months she was vigilant to be with him.

They sat outside her apartment one rainy night and he told her things he never told anyone. She held him and stroked his shaved head as the rain beat on the hood of the car. The windows fogged and their breaths steamed in the cool humidity.

Eventually she gave up on him and those meaningful yet fleeting emotions that seemed just out reach. She was the first person that gave him hope and made him believe in something bigger. His gratitude dissipated into the ether and he hoped she understood how much those fleeting moments meant to him.

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Comforting Cold

He awoke in dark bedroom laying in a heap next to a passed out girl he had never met before. They were both clothed, which was disappointing. He attempted to rouse her to ask her where they were. She didn’t move. He checked to see if she was still breathing and then stumbled out of the room and into the chaos of a raging party.

The apartment was small and packed with people. Music blasted making it difficult to think clearly. Smoke hung at eye level like an ominous fog. Around him he saw familiar faces. His body felt heavy, like a gravitational shift occurred the moment he walked out of the bedroom.

He made his way outside to a biting yet comforting cold. He walked down stairs and was surprised to see snow covering a vast parking lot. The flakes fell softly and quietly and the party became distant.

The quiet was almost deafening. He couldn’t tell if his ears were ringing from the party or from the silence. He trudged along in the snow and found his way to the street. It was deserted in both directions and the street lights cast a haunting glow over the white landscape.

He walked down the middle of the street for a long time, his feet crunching with each step. He fumbled in his pocket for a cigarette and lit it. He took a long drag and spit, his saliva seemingly freezing before it the ground.

He then cursed as he tried to remember what happened to his coat.

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The Senseless Emptiness

He stared across the bar as he took one long sip from a lukewarm glass of whiskey. The liquor in his system produced a wicked combination of agitation and unease and he felt the urge to light a cigarette and strike up a conversation with the drunk girl sitting next to him.

His friends were somewhere else in the packed room, and he enjoyed the brief, albeit loud, solitude. A thick layer of smoke hung overhead and he motioned to the bartender for another drink. As he attempted to light his cigarette, the drunk girl bumped into him and he dropped it onto the floor. He felt indifferent as it was ground into the moist floorboards. He looked over at the drunk girl and a wave of disgust washed over him as her head bobbed back and forth as she whispered “Sorry.” Her friend caught her as she almost fell off the back of the barstool.

He rubbed his eyes until they burned and tried to remember what day it was. Wednesday? Friday? The days were running together lately and he had almost forgotten what it was like to notice.

His friends were wrapped up in the night and drinking like conquering heroes completely unaware of who they were. The senseless emptiness of it all hit him hard as he walked back into the crowd with a fresh glass of whiskey.

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Dancing Into Oblivion

The first night he first met her he saw her dancing from afar at a party. Swaying drunkenly to some soft, emotionless, radio-friendly anthem that she later told him was deep and meaningful to her. As the empty pop music spoke to her, she turned the wood paneled basement into her private dance floor.

No one else at the party was dancing but that didn’t stop her. She moved across the musty carpet and people watched her as they absently drank watered down beer and cheap wine. Groups of drunk girls in dark corners took languid pulls from their cigarettes and whispered to one another. He imagined they were judging her because she seemed more free than they were.

She wasn’t smart, or unique, or even beautiful. But she seemed different.

He pulled her aside and struck up a conversation. Later she would tell him that night was filled with poetry and magic. In a dusty laundry room on a concrete floor, they came together over a pack of cigarettes and red Solo cups full of keg beer.

It started the way he imagined all great love affairs do. Late nights that turned into dark mornings where the reality of it all hung heavy in the dawn’s cold light. Long, sad conversations were spawned by the emptiness in the world around them. He never remembered anything they talked about of significance, but he felt in those moments she understood him. She loved listening to Mazzy Star and he pretended to love listening to Mazzy Star. They made love for hours and she often fell asleep afterwards. With her long legs intertwined with his and her dark hair flowing across his chest, he felt content for the briefest of moments. He enjoyed laying there in the darkness with her and listening to the soft hum of traffic while smelling her shampoo over the ashes of their Marlboro Reds.

When he was with her, his sadness and depression seemed to ease, so he lost himself in the time he spent with her and longed for more of it. He smothered her and she quietly slipped away. Those eyes that once appeared so warm and vivacious turned distant and he finally saw her for what she was: vacuous.

He soaked his heartache in alcohol, determined to drown the memory of her.

He stumbled down the steps of that basement not long after it ended and there she was, dancing alone. The lost faces around the room watched her and either yearned to be her newest conquest or pitied her. He looked around and realized the basement and those furious nights were never filled with magic or poetry. Disgusted, he walked back up the stairs and out into the cold night where the snow had just begun to fall.

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1984 Equals Cinematic Gold

After reviewing this list, I would have to say that 1984 was the best year for movies. I can quote countless lines of dialogue from memory on most of those films. My dad really let me watch some inappropriate films during my impressionable years. He took me to see Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the very first movie rated PG-13) and Police Academy in the theaters. Terminator, Red Dawn, Revenge of the Nerds, Nightmare On Elm Street and Sixteen Candles found their way to me via HBO with my dad’s standard caveat, “Don’t let your mother know I let you watch this.” There was some excellent gratuitous nudity in those films; Police Academy, Purple Rain (Apollonia jumping into Lake Minnetonka), Revenge of the Nerds (full frontal), The Terminator (right before Sarah Connor’s roommate gets “terminated”) and Sixteen Candles (Caroline in the locker room shower). Sadly, there will probably never be a year of cinema packed full of winners like that again. Unless someone decides to resurrect Steve Guttenberg and Ralph Macchio’s careers.

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An Open Letter To The King Soopers Parking Lot Attendant

I could not help but overhear your whining to the manager on duty regarding the broken cart-pushing machine while I was waiting in the checkout line with my steaks and diapers. I wish I could say I felt sympathy for you, kid, but you are nothing more than a spoiled bitch. Back when you were still playing with your own crap and watching Sesame Street, I was pushing carts for Uncle Sam Walton without the aid of mechanized transport. The Slushy Gutter Crew toiled and labored in that godforsaken parking lot, but we all took pride in pushing cart trains into the warehouse with our youthful exuberance and brawn. We also took pride in pushing those same carts into the lake behind the warehouse, playing Nerf football games when the manager’s backs were turned, daring each other to climb into the hydraulic bailing machine and turn it on, loading eight flatbeds full of merchandise into a motorcycle gang‘s refrigerated truck and kicking boxes across the asphalt. In short, suck it up and push the carts in yourself, princess.

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The Weekend That Was

Friday. The wife and I attend the 2008 Punk Rocks show at Red Rocks. The band lineup includes NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bouncing Souls, Street Dogs and young Denver skate punks Frontside Five (the Circle Jerks are a no-show). I soon recognize how old I am when I breeze through beer lines in mere minutes. I soon learn that new punk kids like smoking weed way more than old punk kids. NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bouncing Souls are still awesome. The Street Dogs are the opposites of awesome due to an hour and a half set and a fifteen minute dissertation on who the Ramones are and why they are so important to punk music. The only way to make their set less cliche would have be for the lead singer to not remove his shirt before his Ramones tribute song only to reveal a strategically planned Ramones shirt underneath. I conclude that six hour concerts and $7 beers are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.

Saturday. Enter the annual neighborhood pool luau. We represent a respectable drinking crew and my next door neighbor’s classic rock cover band melts faces. Our HOA is awesome because they allow (tolerate) my next door neighbor to wheel an ice-cold keg over to the pool to serve free beer. I soon realize that inflatable monkeys cannot sustain the belly-flop weight of a grown man from a diving board. Post-luau we torch a fire in the backyard pit and the wife provides ingredients for ‘smores. Three people fall asleep in their chairs. I conclude that staying up late and drinking until intoxication two nights in a row is not nearly as fun in my thirties as it was in my twenties.

Sunday. My annual fantasy football draft goes down in the living room. Being as this is the fifteenth year of my league’s existence and the same team owners have been in said league for the past six years, I expect the draft to take no more than two hours. Four hours and eight cases of beer later, the draft concludes after much humor, animosity and stupidity (this sums up my fantasy football league perfectly: upon the draft’s conclusion one team owner loudly proclaimed, “I have to get going. I am late for marriage counseling.”) Steak, potatoes and a gigantic apple pie from Costco are then decimated in less than twenty minutes. I conclude that sports gambling and NFL football viewing are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.

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Dimebag Sleeping With Jesus

In high school I listened to thrash metal almost exclusively. I considered Pantera to be the quintessential hardcore band (even overlooking their three pussy metal albums before the big thrash breakthrough Cowboys From Hell). They took hold of my immature teenage mind and led me to believe that punching people in the face was cool, tattooing “Unscarred” on your stomach illustrated that how tough you were and serenading a lady with the song “This Love” was the most efficient way to win her heart.* Back then I would have been downtrodden if Phil Anselmo and the boys broke up, but I doubt I would have dealt with my grief by firing six bullets at point blank range into Dimebag’s head.

* During my sophomore year I made a mix tape that included “This Love” for my girlfriend. I believed that she would enjoy the song and award me originality points for its placement amongst the cacophony of hair band ballads. Our relationship was over by summer’s end (upon my discovery of cheap liquor and loose women) and I assumed the mix tape became a relationship casualty of war. Fast-forward eight years into the future to her wedding. While dancing with her during the traditional dollar dance, she mentions to me that she still has the “This Love” mix tape. Yeah, it is that easy.

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Ten Year High School Reunion: Epilogue

Over the weekend I celebrated my ten year high school reunion. Festivities spanned the entire weekend, capping off with an adult prom on Saturday evening. I chose only to subject my lady and I to the Friday night homecoming game and post-homecoming game drinks with former classmates. Here is a breakdown of said evening:

  • Number of former classmates I did not recognize due to an excessive weight gain: Three.
  • Number of former classmates I did not recognize due to an excessive weight loss: One.
  • Number of former classmates who had to, “Go get something out of their car” then came back smelling like marijuana: Three.
  • Number of former classmates who had just “Gotten something out of their car” that thought my lady went to our high school and graduated with us: One.
  • Number of former classmates I had to convince that this website was not pornography: Three.
  • Number of former classmates that look like Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan: One.
  • Number of former classmates that look like Lou Ferrigno: One.
  • Number of former classmates that were wearing a trendy GAP-style stripped shirt: Five.
  • Number of former classmates that are working in real estate: Four.
  • Number of former classmates that are working in real estate that got pissed I did not use them to sell my town home: Three.
  • Number of former classmates I told, “My lady is only in it for the dick” to: Two.
  • Number of former classmates I told “You did not like me because I am white” to: One.
  • Number of former classmates I gave my business card to: Twelve.
  • Number of former classmates I gave my business card to that I expect to hear from: Zero.
  • Number of years I hope to see the majority of my former classmates in: Ten.
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When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

I am a public urinating menace. My patented move in high school was the “piss walk” where I would whip it out, amble side-saddle and relieve myself on the move. I am all about multi-tasking. And taking leaks on trees, bushes, lawn ornaments, car doors, truck tires, off of balconies, off of bridges, off the top of houseboats, in lakes, in rivers, in goldfish ponds and in shampoo bottles. Unfortunately various authority figures do not share the same affinity as me for public urination. One evening outside of Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre for example, my friends and I were draining Fosters oil cans in the parking lot in an effort to enter the concert venue intoxicated (who we were seeing that evening escapes me as most of the concerts I attended in my 20s all blur together in a glorious miasma of noise pollution and overly-priced, watered-down domestic beer). As we walk to our seats, I decide to take a piss on a nearby chain link fence behind some pine trees (the line for the men’s room had a long a line). As I begin relieving myself a sawed off rent-a-cop emerges from the shadows and tells me in his best authoritative voice, “Zip it up, punk.” I taunt him as I continue urinating saying, “I would probably have a Napoleon complex too if I did not graduate from the police academy.”

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