|Something on my mind...Page 1 of 2 (1, 2)|
|Something on my mind...|
I saw a kid at Pep's gym. He was boxing like a Kangaroo. Head up and pulled back. I wasn't around for maybe, well, for over a year. I go back and I see this kid and I am amazed at how much he improved. He finishes sparring and I ask him, "Did you fight yet?" "I had an exhibition." "You're ready. You can fight right now." This kid was throwing effective clean body shots. From outside. I was impressed. The kid fights last weekend and loses a very close fight. I'm told he won the first two rounds. How did he lose? But it is electronic scoring or whatever. We talk. What happened in the third round? He got tired. Something happened that he can't articulate. But I can and I do. This kid really lights up when he sees me. Maybe that's my place in the gym. Boxing is a lonely sport.
|Something on my mind...|
Posted: 2/26/2011 3:32:35 PM
|Glad to see you still here, pro ;)|
Always enjoy reading your stories...
Posted: 2/26/2011 4:23:12 PM
Not too long before I finally left Vegas for good I was in a 7/11 and I saw a blue package, an envelope with these little flat pills inside, called Mini Thins. There were six of them and it cost a couple of bucks or so.
I ask the clerk, "What's that for?" It’s for Asthma." But I knew it was for getting high. It was Ephedrine, a main ingredient in Meth. I had been clean off meth for about three months when I started with the Mini Thins.
The directions advised no more than six pills a day but I ended up taking about 18 of them.
They gave me energy but it wasn't nearly a meth high. I mean I could sleep.
When I got the job managing the bakery in California I relied on those things to function. This came to my mind, I was thinking about this: every month, at the end of the month we had to make cookies for a steel company in Pomona. The company president was a friend of my boss, Sandra, the owner of the bakery. I really hated making those fvcking cookies because I had to do it on top of my regular production. I was working massive overtime as it was.
Well one time Sandra forgot to tell me to make the cookies and I forgot to remind her on purpose. But, guess what? The steel company phones up, "Where is our goddamn cookies?'; because they gave them out at the monthly safety meeting. It was some kind of tradition. Anyway, I work double extra overtime and then I have to drive the cookies out to Pomona myself, to the steel factory. But at least I had my trusty Mini Thins.
Sometimes I got a decent buzz off those things. When I moved back to Canada I was still kind of strung out on them. What happened is certain individuals were getting heart problems with Ephedrine so the dosage was restricted. But I would go to supplement stores and get them under the counter. I mean the stuff on the shelf was so low dosage that I would have had to have eaten the whole bottle to get high.
People were using this shit to control their weight because it does kill your appetite.
The funny thing about being an addict is it is almost irrelevant what your substance is although some things destroy you quicker. I'm saying that addiction is internal. But being a coffee addict and being a meth addict is more than just semantics.
|I'm outed as a believer anyway, so what the hell...|
Posted: 2/28/2011 3:04:16 AM
|I went one time to a different church in Vegas. This was in 1993. Off Maryland Pkwy. It was a prosperity church. A woman there, she had an accent. I told her that I was a Jew. She said, "You are Jew? God really wants you."|
But I don't know. All these years and I never knew how to hold it.
I keep coming back to this: I asked, I ASKED. It was really that simple. The guy, my witness, he said he had never seen anybody come to Jesus that strongly. "I broke, broke hard."
There are so many ways to discount and dismiss my experience. When I made a naked plea to the universe I was ready to receive if I ever was going to be. The door opens inward. Choice. You have to ask. And I wasn't asking for anything more than a reason to live. Not for any material thing on this planet.
|I don't know how to live...|
Posted: 2/28/2011 2:37:56 PM
|I don’t know how to live.|
In late January 1993 I got back to Vegas from Reno. I bought a car and found an apartment. Then I started looking for work. Things were slow, the country was in sharp recession following the Gulf War. I was looking for work as a dice dealer. My game was weak; I had been out of my game for over two years. My hands were stiff and I had no rhythm.
I wanted the strip. I had left, I had quit my good money, high status job and I wanted my old life back. The first place I auditioned was at the Hacienda on the south end of the strip. I had one player, a lady, and I didn’t have enough action to look bad. I hear the pit boss talking to another floorman. “I’d like to hire this guy, he’s been around.” But if I had any juice I would have used it for myself. He said it was too bad I hadn’t been around at New Years. He could have used me then.
I didn’t want to break in all over again, I didn’t want to start at the bottom again; it’s a tough climb. But that’s what happened anyway.
I subsequently got the El Rancho for three days. There are soft, lower middle level joints on the strip that are worse than working downtown. I had left town in the first place running from things you can’t run from and looking for something that isn’t on this side of the veil. I just wanted to get comfortable again. Back to before when I wasn’t a raw wound. I was ready to settle for the emptiness of status and money, if only I could get them back. I was regretting looking too deeply. I was ruined.
I wrote about this before. I won’t repeat it here. A man proselytized me at Red Rock. My impulse was to discount it. On top of that I’m a Jew and it felt like I was betraying my people. I started going to church with this guy and his wife but I had that hunted feeling. Churches make me nervous.
Around about this time I started driving out to Laughlin to see if I could get work. Laughlin is 73 miles from Vegas on I-95, a two lane highway; a little over a one hour drive. The town is on the Colorado River. At that time there were about seven casinos and the town was growing. These casinos catered to snowbirds from Arizona. Bullhead City was right over the river. A lot of dealers lived there in a park with little tear drop trailers.
I had been warned to stay away from Laughlin, “It’s a trap.” Low tokes, low money and lots of drugs; no different from Las Vegas.
I auditioned at the Riverside; this was Don Laughlin’s joint. He started it all. He owned the land around there and he became wealthy. Once again my game was too weak. “If you dealt blackjack I could use you. I can only put you on graveyard and I don’t have an opening.”
He told me to check back again. The next time it was the same story. The Riverside was the bottom level job out there; if I couldn’t get that…
I had a ’73 Mercury Marquis with used tires. The second time I went out there I blew the right rear. Changing a tire in the desert heat, the lug nuts burn your hands. I go over to the Bullhead side to a tire place. I open the trunk and the guy looks at the shredded tire. “Can you put a plug in it?” He laughs and I buy another used tire.
One last time I go out there. In between times the comedian Sam Kinison was killed on that very highway. He had a gig at the Riverside. Some kid pulls out to pass in a white pickup truck. He and his passenger had been drinking. It’s a two lane highway. Front end collision with Kinison’s Camaro. His wife steps out unhurt. Kinison steps out and he stands there but he’s already dead. The impact snapped his aorta. He’s bleeding to death inside. Bystanders help him to the ground. Now he’s talking softly, “Why now?” He pauses, He’s talking to somebody you can’t see. “Oh, okay.” And he expires.
This was his new wife. He had recently cleaned up, quit drinking and drugs. He was at one time a Pentecostal minister.
But this is on my mind on the way out there. I get there and I have to wait. They are not ready to audition me. I go down to the river and crouch down. I start crying. I know I’m not going to make it.
I’m in my penguin suit, black and white. I do blow it and head back to Vegas. Halfway back I blow another fvcking tire and pull over. The hubcap flew off and it probably landed on the moon. I’m messing with the tire and the spare, burning my hands, sweat stinging my eyes. A Nevada Highway Patrol tracker pulls up behind me. He asks me if I’m alright. I tell him I’m okay. He offers to help me find the hubcap and drives off the road into the desert. He doesn’t find it and I tell him its okay.
I get the tire changed and I make a halfhearted effort to find the hubcap. I give up and head out. I’m driving slower this time. I don’t have another spare. I start bawling in frustration. I’m sobbing, “I don’t know how to live…” Over and over. “You take my life. Take it.”
I stopped crying and waited to see if I could conjure God up like that. I heard nothing. I felt a thin presence.
I got home and carried on with my life. I ended up working downtown like I figured.
|The last shall be first.|
Posted: 3/1/2011 10:51:17 AM
|The last shall be first.|
Heading north on Vegas Blvd. when you get past Sahara, past Vegas world, Main St. starts and runs parallel to Vegas Blvd. all the way downtown. It starts to get a little seedy around there. Little wedding chapels, dive bars, pornographic bookstores, cheap motels.
Around Utah and Main there was this place that sold used VCR’s and Beta players, TV’s, and that kind of stuff. This was in about 1994. I was there with a guy I worked with at Vegas Club. I started hanging out with this guy. I was a dice dealer and he was a more experienced dealer that they had put on the floor.
We had both fought; I had been an amateur lightweight and he fought pro as a featherweight. We had that in common. I think I was there for something or maybe it was something for him. I remember talking about how come the Beta’s fell out of favor? They were the better machine. It was just about marketing.
Right across the street was a non-descriptive building, it had had some kind of retail utility at one time, but now it was a church. I had been to this church before with the girlfriend of my pot connection; Eddie, a black guy that I knew from the Buddhist temple.
This church had a congregation that consisted of largely marginalized individuals, people on the social fringes, and the losers of America. Ex convicts, crack heads, prostitutes, gang bangers.
The lay minister, the guy who ran this church; and he had them spread out in Southern California as well, was under investigation for allegations of money laundering and running a criminal enterprise. Which, I don’t know, but if he was he had the perfect flock.
The sermons consisted of a kind of feel good theme, “You are last here, but you will be first in the hereafter…”
He drew parallels to the original disciples who were also the dregs of society. And really, that’s valid, because of what use is God when you are satisfied with the things of this world? Who needs him? He just gets in the way. Unless you’re hedging your bets, but that’s not God, that’s something else; a celestial insurance policy.
And these people were bereft, in serious psychic agony. I may have been clean at the time, I don’t remember, but it wasn’t like I had thrown in the towel. That took another ten years.
When I was there with this guy from work, we saw these guys in the back of the church, in a carport there, and they were working on a car. We waved at them and they started cussing us, really angry, really viscous.
We looked at each other, surprised. Wow, whatever. Amen, brother.
|A fork in the road.|
Posted: 3/8/2011 1:55:57 PM
|A fork in the road|
On March fifth I got the news I had been waiting for and half dreading.
Here it is, hope you dig it. Needs some TLC, ut think the guy is raw and
cool and interesting and talented.
This guy is what you say he is: raw and talented. I love the feel of his
voice. But I do not have the personal resources necessary to shape this into
a market-ready book. The major difficulty, as I see it, is its being a
collection of many, very short stories. If he comes up with a novel-length
sustained narrative, I would be happy to look. But as it stands, there would
be too many factors working against this in-house.
Still, I would be interested to know what else this guy's up to. Is he
placing stories? Writing online? Giving readings? If ever he wanted to chat
about book publishing, if you haven't already taught him everything he needs
to know, I'd be happy to speak with him.
As always, thanks for the look.
I got this as a forwarded email. I know I’m not ready for print. I have a lot of work to do to shape up my manuscript. It needs to be more linear. I can consolidate some stories into the same time line and make transitions so that the narrative is smoother. I wrote these stories out of my memory, out of my life. Chaotic, intense, confused. The door is open. I did write this guy back. This is the top. This is one of the top publishers in North America. James is a famous bestselling author. I made my own juice here on a whim, on instinct.
Maybe once upon a time an editor would have hacked it together for me. I don’t relish doing it. It is going to take real discernment. I don’t want to lose the rawness, which is not an affectation, that’s the power of my narrative, the immediacy.
I was relieved to get this email. I know where I stand. I got a chance. There is no denying my talent or vision now. These folks are at the top of the food chain, in this business. If this is a blog I don’t know. This is my life I’m writing about. I am very fortunate; on the other hand I earned these stories. I don’t know where my voice came from.
Meanwhile I finally got my surgery date. I went to pre-admission last Friday. The anesthesiologist was the same guy from my throat surgery six years ago. He says it’s going to be fine; easy and a good outcome. He was confident. It will take less than the allotted 2.5 hours, he was sure of that. It’s a spinal surgery to relieve a stenosis in my lumbar area. I have an arcane incurable disease, but it is moving slowly. God willing I will be able to dispense with the cane and the walker.
After close to a year my life is moving again. I have a lot to be grateful for and I really am.
|A fork in the road.|
Posted: 3/9/2011 6:43:23 PM
|I will send out thoughts of peace and energy to the universe for you. It's as close to praying as I get. I think it's more effective than praying to god, or God.|
|A fork in the road.|
Posted: 3/9/2011 9:35:47 PM
|Okay. Thanks. I'll tell God to stand down on this one.|
|A fork in the road.|
Posted: 3/10/2011 10:00:54 AM
|My apologies. Although well intentioned, I was presumptuous.|
|A fork in the road.|
Posted: 3/10/2011 11:08:24 AM
|No, I apologize. I was just running my mouth again. I don't have to be so touchy. But I am. Right now, I am.|
Posted: 3/13/2011 5:54:38 PM
I phone VGH admissions this morning to get the appointment time for my surgery scheduled for this Monday. “What’s your name?’ I spell it.
I’m not on the list and I have to phone the surgeons office tomorrow and find out why and when I can be rescheduled. She can tell me nothing. I got bumped and that’s it; a pisser, probably two or three more weeks.
This is my forth major surgery in BC and I never had one postponed before. It happens. It happened to my father at Vancouver General and he was prepped, sedated! He had to wait around until the stuff wore off before they would let him go home. Shit happens and I have to roll with the punches. I’m upset not just for the disappointment, because it took the better part of a year to get this far, but also because someone who is helping me had to make costly work arrangements.
Whatever; I got to roll with the punches, I have much to be grateful for.
A couple of weeks ago I got an invite on face book for Rumble at the Rock V111 (8). This is another one of Manny’s fight cards that he promotes in conjunction with the River Rock Casino in Richmond. I know Manny since 1982 when he was a 14 year old kid starting out and I was an adult getting into boxing at the advanced age of 27.
Manny was a nice kid and he’s a nice man who has done well in life. He’s a principle at a school for delinquent children. He’s got a masters degree. He had a great amateur career and a useful pro career. He was my main sparring partner for a period of time. I had a modest amateur career that culminated in a Silver Gloves.
So I write Manny back, “How much do free tickets cost?” “Call me.” Because guaranteed he’s getting touched. Probably a fifth of the people at any fight card are on the cuff, connected friends, media, officials, and of course the fighter’s handlers. He says he’ll find something for me to do. I can help out. Get there early. At 4:30.
I grab a cab to the train station; take the train into the terminus station in Vancouver; Waterfront. Then I hop on the new Canada Line, heading exactly back the way I came but it veers off and I get out at Bridgeport, in Richmond and take the overhead walkway into the casino.
Jesus! It’s only 2:30! I’m always early. I hobble around with my cane. I go over to the dice pit except it’s not a pit anymore because they got rid of one of the games. One craps table. A full game but not jammed up, moderate pace, prop bets but the stick isn’t buried. I’m watching the dealers. Their hands are okay, not bad. No big money on the table, blue, red, and green action, with black in the bank, hundred dollar checks.
I’m trying to remember my game, see if I can remember. But it’s been fifteen years since I pushed checks. I notice a lady bet a six dollar place five. Why I don’t know. It pays 7 to five. No breakage. But like a good dealer the guy just places the bet.
I drift away and go over to the food court and buy a twelve dollar Triple O Burger. I eat it as fast as possible and woof half of it up later and feel better.
I go hang out at the entrance to the theater. I’m seeing the usual suspects starting to drift by. I find an open door in a corridor and I enter the theater. My legs hurt. I go the lower way and I come out on the stage and the ring is there and casino workers are setting up the ringside chairs. Manny arrives, and he is immediately busy. He quickly acknowledges me. Later he tells me that my job will be to empty the spit buckets every two fights or so. Take them to the bathroom and dump them. But just like all the other times I end up doing nothing much. I put water bottles out for the judges and media.
I can’t lift anything. I am fairly useless. As the time ramps up towards the first bout I am seeing people I know, catching up, and gossiping. I’m having a good time. On time I asked a guy, this was a long time ago; I asked him if I could even call myself a fighter. I only had nine fights. This was Hedgeman Lewis, a very, very good fighter in the sixties when it really meant something.
He says, “You got in there, you fought.” It’s really that simple. But I feel privileged and honored to be a part of such a rare guild on any level at all.
I know four guys on this card from around, from gyms. Pep is working Dave Petryck’s corner. He works out of Queensborough Gym but also comes to Pep’s. He’s short and tough. He’s improved a lot. Not a puncher but very strong and he does have some power. He sparred with me about five years ago. I was fifty and what I was doing I don’t know, but he worked around me. I was trying to get in shape and I was giving him work so what the hell? Dave is from Peru.
The first fight was; I didn’t know either guy. I noticed the black guy had bad muscle tone. His stomach was loose. His facial expression and body language indicated an early stoppage. Besides he had a losing record. The ref let it go on too long. Maybe he was trying to get another round out the guy. Regardless the black guy ended up on the canvas for a solid ten minutes while the doctor and the ambulance attendants administered to him.
The next fight was another four rounder. The guy that ended up losing had his opponent hurt in the first round but he couldn’t finish him. Two very tough fighters and they got a standing ovation.
Dave was up next. A lady there had told me that she had seen Dave’s opponent on another card and to tell Dave not to worry because the guy has no chin, and she was right.
Dave fights at 140 but tonight he fought at super welter, coming in at 149, which is too heavy for him and he knows it. This guy is my height, 5’4” but he’s thick. He’s much bigger than me. I don’t know how he makes 140. I fought at 132, the amateur lightweight limit.
Dave’s opponent is a black guy in beautiful condition. He is tough and a good boxer, and in fact he could be a good fighter save for one problem. You can hit this guy on the cheekbone, on the side of the jaw, on the forehead, anywhere, hard shots and he can take it, but if you find the chin, find the button with anything, he’s going down. Dave dropped him in every round and twice in the second. One more and it would have been over. This guy got up from the knockdowns and he wasn’t hurt. He would fight back immediately. He might have to rethink his career choice; anyway Dave won a unanimous decision by a wide margin. He looked good. When you’re short you got your work cut out for you. He certainly has improved defensively under Pep. I figure he could win a Canadian title. He needs to get on it. He’s in his early thirties.
In between fights, Ivan, a guy I knew from the old gym, has to go up into the ring and wipe up the blood with a towel so no one slips. The next time he tries to convince me to go in there. “Nope, no, I can’t, I’m crippled man!”
In between rounds there are the round card girls and other little perks. I was sitting in the wings off of the stage. I found a chair and I was guarding it jealously. I would go to the bathroom and some bum would swipe it. I have to be able to sit down because of my back.
But some nice media lady said, “Sit in my chair. I like to stand anyway and if you sit behind me you won’t be able to see.” So I got a nice red padded chair to sit in.
I knew the next fighter from North Burnaby Boxing Club; Jeremy Phillips. He was fighting at middleweight and this was his pro debut. He hadn’t fought as an amateur for two years. In other words he had been idle for two years. He’s a good amateur. I guess he won Golden Gloves. I don’t know if he won a national title. I figure he had about forty fights. He’s fast and he throws straight punches, a decent puncher without being a puncher. That’s rare in boxing anyway; a pure puncher, very rare.
He got stopped in the third round. I had him with a slight lead throughout the first two rounds. Jeremy would move his upper body briefly when he was out of range. And then walk straight in anyway. That’s one thing Pep’s guys learn. Move your upper body! Move your head! Don’t wait for the punch to start, that’s too late. Think about moving your head, your upper body, your legs and your arms, for three minutes. That’s a lot of work, a lot of pressure, fast, faster than you can imagine. You get caught and you didn’t even see it. Your mind struggles to integrate it, to figure it out. You are in trouble and you are getting hit. Now you have to survive.
Jeremy got hurt and he backed straight onto the ropes and stood there. His hands were up but they were weak. His guard was weak and he took two more brutal right hands and the referee jumped between and stopped the fight. From when he got stunned and the fight was over was less than 15 seconds. Jeremy was still hurt and his face was registering the reality of getting stopped in his pro debut, stopped at the 2:57 mark. Three seconds if he had held or otherwise been able to survive...
Cards like these, with novice fighters for the most part; it’s difficult to distill beauty out of violence. It just isn’t aesthetic, it’s not pretty. So I look for the human angle. Character is exposed. I see deeply into these guys and I am awed by their courage. A fighter’s game is also dictated in part by his physique and his physical abilities and then the intangibles. The intangibles are where the fear lives.
I asked Pep if he would give me a ride home. He lives about four blocks from me. “Yeah, but I’m leaving early.”
So I missed the last three fights. They did the ring announcements for any fighters of note in attendance. They did Pep’s: “Tony Pep, Canadian and Commonwealth Featherweight Champ, and went the distance with all time great Floyd Mayweather.” And then we could go.
On the way back his Saturn was running poorly, rough. It was gonna die. I told him, you need a tune up. “It’s the motor mounts.”
He dropped me off and that was it.
Posted: 3/13/2011 11:30:49 PM
|Bad luck about the op, bodypro. Hope they get you in SOON.|
Posted: 3/15/2011 11:01:34 AM
Yeah, he's crazy alright, crazy like a fox! He's a ratings slut? I picture Charlie sucking on that glass d1ck and holding it in till his heart is slamming into his chest. Then letting it out really slowly. I can almost feel the rush crawling up my own spine. Yup, he plays chicken. But whatever.
I know and have known more people like that guy than "normal people" throughout my life. I don't mean famous people although I met a good number of them types, I mean drug addicts and people with um, mental dislocations.
He's actually in a bad position because he's got a lot of ticks on him. Guaranteed. Other sick people around him that are feeding on him.
He could surface. Right now he's deep in the vortex. People think they want it. Want fame and fortune. I do. I want it. I want it bad. I want my book to be published and take off. Money and fame? I'll take it. Would it be dangerous for someone like me? That shit is dangerous for almost anybody.
I went to a church on Main Street heading downtown once. This was in Vegas. The congregation were the deeply wounded. Drug addicts, ex convicts, prostitutes, street people. The church pandered to that type of person. The preacher tried to draw a parallel between these folks and the early followers of Jesus. He wanted to give them a context to try to heal in. These were the dregs of society and he was trying to give them space, a place to be, trying to give them some self esteem. Because that's what Jesus did. Come to me, come as you are, with all your deformities, and you can live in grace.
There are always going to be losers in this world.
The preacher told them this, "If you people hit the lottery you would be dead in week." He was right and the congregation laughed.
Posted: 3/31/2011 5:06:04 PM
This was last Thursday and we were heading to the hospital for my spinal surgery. My ex was driving her Jeep. She was helping me out. We stopped to pick up my father about five blocks from my place. He was waiting out front wearing a tan rain jacket/overcoat thing. He’s getting old now, 81, full white beard; he looks like a rabbi.
We take Canada way and get on the freeway; traffic is heavy, stop and go. Which exit? I’m feeling a little tense. My mouth is dry. No food or water after midnight. Admit time is 9:00 am. It’s a little after eight, lots of time. Still, I want to be there. What if we’re late? I waited close to a year for this. We take one of the exits, who can remember? Now we are half lost. I’m on pins and needles. Kelli keeps telling me, “Don’t worry, we got lots of time.” “I know…” But I don’t believe her.
We’re on First or somewhere, she stops and reads a map, that doesn’t help. We turn around and backtrack and finally we get on Broadway. Now it’s 8:34. We get to Willow and turns left and it’s like 8:42. They drop me off and find parking for four bucks an hour. I hobble in with my cane and find the admitting desk. Some guy is in front of me; some kind of misunderstanding, something, something…
Grace under pressure; I don’t have that. Finally it’s my turn. I relax and my humor returns. I’m in the chute now. It’s going to happen. She asks a lot of questions regarding my particulars about am I me; because spinal surgery impersonations are rampant these days. I get my wrist band. Kelli and my dad arrive and we go to wait in pre op. I got a surgery time of 10:55, so, not too bad. It’s on the second floor and a lot of people are waiting. We check in and the same questions. Name, age, zip code…
Every step of the way these people are patient, polite and kind. I might have to turn into a better person off this. I’m listening to my IPod shuffle. I take them off and we’re sitting there. A few minutes later I call out, “I’m ready.” Kelli laughs. My dad has to leave, he’s got a student; he teaches ESL students.
The anesthesiologist comes and talks to me. It should go well, no problems. They come now and I have to change. I get on the gurney and get the IV. I feel the acceleration. I’m in a funnel. This is major surgery number five but it’s been a while. Kelli falls off, she can’t come. She offers words of reassurance and, “I will see you when it’s over.” I go through double doors. I am sedated through the IV. Soon I will get the mask. They sidle up to the operating table. I’m going to be on my stomach. I hear, “Let’s put him on the table now.” I’m totally vulnerable, a rare experience for me. They reach for me and that’s it, lost time, a gap.
I wake up in post op and I hear voices. I open my eyes and I see the white capped North Shore Mountains, the north facing window are huge. “Wake up! It’s over.” I’m disoriented, “It’s too soon, and I’m not ready!” I pause, “I’m dreaming!” “You are not dreaming.” Anyway, I feel okay. I’m not in pain, no pain in my legs! The nurse checks me out, “Can you feel that? Push. Pull…” He is checking my legs. I came through alright. Not paralyzed.
I’m wheeled into the post op on the ninth floor. I’m to stay overnight. I share a room with one other lady. I feel the incision, it’s sore and it burns. I like it. It feels good to me. Something real happened, something that will change my life.
Kelli comes and she is moved by my delight; new legs! Pain management is one thing; no pain is not on the same spectrum. I feel lighter by immeasurable atmospheres.
I get the TV and phone thing. I can’t sleep. I got intermittent pain here and there but not really my legs. Hospitals are noisy places. I get an influx of visitors, mostly nurses, checking vitals. Towards the morning I get the assisting surgeon. He tells me that the stenosis was very narrow, “I can imagine your discomfort.” I tell him, “It was a long road.” I get an assistant to the surgeon. I briefly get Dr Paquette the chief surgeon.
I’m pretty well gushing with gratitude. It’s their job, but some people have special jobs, a calling and a privilege. I am determined that they understand that, the difference they made in my life. I get a PT and there is instructions and information regarding the dressing and my rehabilitation. I will be seeing Dr Paquette in about six weeks. I have to take it easy until then.
I'm walking around. I got out of there early. I wanted out of there, I couldn’t sleep and I was tired of the bells from the call buttons. Kelli came and we checked out a little after 11am, roughly 24 hours after they started cutting.
That’s it. I’m at home and it was a little more than I thought. It’s the anesthesia that beats you up. I figure that’s as close to being dead I’m going to be this side of the veil. It shuts down your whole body. I was lucky; the surgery only took 90 minutes out of a scheduled two and a half hours. This is my fourth major surgery under the Canadian system and I am single handed bankrupting it. The system is under intense pressure. Nobody knows what will happen or where it will go but I was born at the right time. I seem to be catching the tail end of it.
Posted: 4/1/2011 8:47:37 AM
|^^glad to hear all went well!|
Posted: 4/1/2011 1:42:56 PM
|Thanks happybunny. I'm fine, I'm okay. It's the anesthesia that takes a piece out of you. Especially now. Now that I'm older. My last surgery was six years ago. I started working on my manuscript again. It's coming together in a linear form as a sustained narrative. I'm pasting these stories together by time frame. It's very intense, especially since it's my life. In my face, all over again, from a place of detachment. |
But I'm not totally detached. I had a messy life. What can I say?
Is this blogging? Would you say it is? Can I reasonably respond to my readers?
|I meet some boxing icons|
Posted: 10/19/2011 6:22:36 AM
|I meet Ken Norton and Ernie Shavers|
I was resting in the hotel room when my girlfriend and her daughter came in. My girlfriend looks at me, “Do you know who Ernie Shavers is?” Well yes I do know who Ernie Shavers is. She tells me that he is signing autographs in a memorabilia shop in the Miracle Mile mall of the Planet Hollywood casino, hotel and retail complex. “Do you think he’s still there?” “Yes, do you want to see him?”
And I did want to see him. We’re staying at Hooters which is behind the Trop; just off strip. We go down and get in the car and we go via Harmon and find a parkade in the back of the Planet complex. We find a spot and enter through the back, into the Miracle Mile part, the shops.
I’m feeling excited but I’m walking with a cane, walking with difficulty. I’m still recuperating from spinal surgery that I had last spring. Here it is late August.
We come up on the shop pretty quickly and there is Shavers sitting at a folding table sideways to the front entrance. He’s got a cell phone pressed against his ear. He glances at me and he is aware that I’m there to bother him. I’m feeling bashful but I don’t care, I’m there to get a handshake and that’s it. He talks briefly and he hangs up. I walk over, “Sir, can I shake your hand?” He doesn’t look too friendly but he reaches out with his large right hand.
I’m telling him about all the other boxing notables that I shook hands with but he is underwhelmed and I falter and then I just leave him alone. I wasn’t offended really. He’s there to make a buck and I wasn’t buying anything. Maybe he had personal problems.
The owner of the store shows me a picture of Tyson. He says, “Mike’s doing well now. He’s married and happy, he’s settled down.” I tell him that’s nice, I tell him that I saw Mike around town, at the gyms and what not when I lived in Vegas.
The owner is telling me that Ken Norton would be arriving soon and as he’s telling me that a big guy, really big, walks in from the back and its Norton! He’s pushing a walker and I feel better because I got to use a walker sometimes. Norton looked good, muscular and fit save for he doesn’t walk well. He looks like he lifts weights.
He’s smiling and he looks relaxed. I tell him that I don’t want an autograph or anything; I just want to shake his hand. He reaches out and my hand disappears. I tell him how good he looks. He puts his hand out, “Oh, stop.” I tell him he beat Ali three times. And I really believe that. Norton had Ali’s number like no other fighter. He points to the picture of him chasing Ali on a football field and they both got gloves on. He points, “Street shoes…” He’s telling me,” It’s the 70’s.” The shoes have those built up heels.
Norton has a speech impediment because of his car accident. He’s hard to understand. I make a concerted effort and he is patient and not self conscious. He’s disabled but he is Ken Norton first. Some small talk; he’s telling me that it’s the little guys that carry boxing now; 130 to 147, and he’s right of course. I figure it’s getting to be time to leave. I don’t want to impose on this guy. I thank him profusely and thank Shavers and we turn and walk into the atrium. I’m telling Kelli, my girlfriend, “I can’t believe it! Ken Norton!” He was so nice to me.
We get about 20 feet out of the store and I started crying. I don’t know why. I can’t say why. My life came into focus; the passage of time. It got real. But I pulled myself together and we spent the rest of the day out at Lake Mead.
|I meet some boxing icons|
Posted: 10/20/2011 3:23:50 AM
|With all due respect, man, I understand that a lot of people on this site dig your style, and that's all good and well. I don't want to spit in your soup, enjoy the fact people like your writings.|
But I for one, and I don't know why I have this strong feeling to express it, find your topic and subjects pure drivel. It is autobiographical, and whether it all happened or not, is very, very boring. You know, you went from vegas to reno, then back to vegas, and drugs and sex and fights and this and that, and it is so not something I would ever want to read.
Don't let me put you out. You have your fans, you have a ship of followers. You are well-liked and well-read by others. Don't listen to me. I am just one guy who can't stand to read what you write. Please don't be influenced by one guy, when there are so many who like you.
That is the secret to success. You have to be able to shake off the negative, and thrive on the positive.
Maybe that is the reason Mikie got a new stash stolen from him and got his knee=caps knocked out of their natural environment as a direct consequence, and maybe that is why Trish got AIDS, but nobody knows for sure if it's for screwing too many guys, or from the intraveneous. Bloody Hugo is big, he works the bars now in the lower north side, etc. These are all people in trouble, and that is so because never learned how to shake off the negative.
Don't be like them. Learn from their examples. BE positive when you can be negative. Except for HIV, of course.
|I meet some boxing icons|
Posted: 10/20/2011 6:06:15 AM
not something I would ever want to read.
So, why bother? And then to post here for the sole purpose of slamming his writing style? I don't get it. Nobody is forcing you to read his thread. Do you critique all of the creative writing threads, or just this one?
I actually have alot more to say, but I'm presently reminding myself of the rules against name-calling.
|I meet some boxing icons|
Posted: 10/20/2011 6:22:12 AM
|Trinity, did you have to read my post AND respond to it?|
You did not have to read it and respond to it. So why blame me for doing something that you turn around and do right away, AND forget that you are just as guilty IF it is an offence as I am.
Why am I to blame for something I did, by YOU, when you do the same thing?
Are restrirctions on conducts of behaviour applicable to me, but not to you? The SAME ONE VERY RULE?
If yes, because you do explain and prove that with what you did, then why am I singled out to be forbidden to do something that YOU think is not forbidden to YOU?
I don't understand people.
Let's not turn this into a flaming war. I just expressed I did not like his topic and his subject matter. So what? Are only positive remarks allowed on the forums? I don't think that that is in the rules.
Why are you trying to control me over what I can read and what I can't, and what I can write and what I can't, Trinity?
|I meet some boxing icons|
Posted: 10/20/2011 10:52:58 AM
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxx <editors.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: Jesse xxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 805 AM
Subject: Re: Mimi
We actually had a chance to table your story on Wednesday--everyone finished early so we sat down and discussed!
And yes, while there were many typos, which can be easily fixed, the story itself still shined. We talked about this, noting that typically when a story hasn't been proofed to the Nth degree, it makes it very difficult to keep reading. As editors, these small glitches make us stop frequently, thus pausing the flow of the story. Ironically, in your case, no one cared. Your story was so gripping, that everyone laughed at how easy it was to ignore the typos and keep on with the pace of your tale.
That being said, I have pasted our consensus below:
"Jesse xxxxxxx' Early Out is an engaging read. Bottom line. The protagonist grips you from page one with his unique style of narration. The author has a gift for literary simplicity, which allows an easy tunneling through candid perspectives. His tell-it-like-it-is technique drives the novel, taking readers on a surprising journey that will have you laughing one minute, nervous the next, shocked, and you will continue reading because you’ve probably never read anything like it before. This is a solid manuscript, one that is as interesting as it is original. And for that, I thank Jesse for the time and energy spent on creating this story."
As my name is the one associated with the review, we write our thoughts from my perspective. I noticed you sent previous reviews of the manuscript, which I just read so as to not influence my judgment of your text. I see that our consensus mirrors the feedback that you have aready received, which should tell you how powerful your script is.
While you've got a great main character and a brilliant story on your hands, we would definitely suggest tending to your typos before shooting this out for publication. Typos unfortunately can be a deterrent and with a story so great, you wouldn't want that to be a deciding factor for someone laying down your work.
I believe if you clean it up one more time--do an entire read through, sifting for typos and overall fluidity of the text--you will be good to go. You've made it to what we call the "clean up" stage, where you just need to give it one last polish before showcasing. This is more for the editor's benefit than yours. That way you don't make it easy for anyone to find fault within your work.
But I would say a Congratulations are in order for finishing this work. You are a very fine writer and I would be very happy to promote this text to my readerships and my editorial peers. While this can never guarantee publication, it definitely guarantees exposure...which is never a bad thing when trying to promote oneself!
What are your thoughts?
|You sure it's not just envy? |
Posted: 10/20/2011 6:14:45 PM
|Maybe YOU can't read:|
"But I would say a Congratulations are in order for finishing this work. You are a very fine writer and I would be very happy to promote this text to my readerships and my editorial peers. While this can never guarantee publication, it definitely guarantees exposure...which is never a bad thing when trying to promote oneself!"
This is from the first competition I entered. I placed third.
1st Book Competition: Reviewer Feedback
From: First Book Competition
I've gone to SFU and collected all the feedback submitted about your manuscript, "Early Out." These comments come from our reviewers (all SFU The Writer's Studio grads) who read your manuscript and nominated you for both the long and the short list.
"This protagonist is fascinating -- he writes in an original voice (the manuscript reads like a transcribed monologue), has a compelling story, and just seems like a genuine, interesting human being. I think the manuscript could be edited down to a less onerous length and would have broad appeal as a book."
"This manuscript takes you places you've not quite been (surprising, informative, original)."
"Convincing and coherent structure."
"Clear setting consistent with overall theme."
"I don't know if this can be shaped so that each 'chapter' doesn't go in the same circle. In the beginning, the voice sounds strong but as it progresses, there's no change / development which is disappointing because there's something / a perspective we don't often get to experience."
"Solid and well-considered points-of-view."
"Engaging characters with clear motivations."
"Consistently strong and well-paced."
"Very strong perspective -- as a reader I really felt I'm with the narrator (even through the quite violent, sometimes awful situations he gets into). I can't help but empathize with the narrator -- in many ways he's not likeable, but I like him and have compassion for him."
"Fresh use of language and images."
"Skillful use of sentences."
"Nearly a wow!"
"Excellent read -- distinctive voice (reminds me a little of Hemingway maybe), fast paced, tells his story well, has humour, conviction, sincerity. I enjoyed it a lot. Definitely a contender."
I hope these help (as you can see, we really liked your work) and again, I want to congratulate you on making the short list -- it's really something to be proud about. I also want to tell you -- keep at it -- never quit. This is a strong manuscript I believe has what it takes to get published.
|Three of my stories are published in a |
Posted: 10/20/2011 6:16:36 PM
|lower mainland quarterly literary magazine. I was paid for these stories. I don't think I can post the name of the magazine or the publisher. I don't think that's allowed.|