Feb 19 2014 9:01 pm

don't cross me

Everybody always says “follow your dream.” My dream is to be independently wealthy and travel the world and fish for everything everywhere and do a lot of drinking and when I got sick of all that I’d retreat to a beach house in the Keys or a big apartment near the Blind Tiger or a cabin in the Ridge and Valley and write about it and I’d make beautiful things and everyone would buy my books and I’d drink nothing but fresh, hand-pulled mild and half liters of dunkel lager and have a really responsible, sustainable opiate habit and then when I got sick of being cooped up I’d head out to Kamchatka or Bolivia or probably both and I’d have a wife that loved to do what I loved to do and we never got sick of each other and we had all sorts of weird sex that was completely fulfilling forever.  

I guess I tend to think that the “follow your dream” advice does more harm than good. I hate clichés as much as anybody and probably more than most, and both of these perspectives are equally clichéd, but I do take pleasure in going to a real job everyday and being part of making things that people want and the routine that comes with it. I take pleasure in making things better and trying hard and seeing things work out in the end for the effort. But it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for this. And it turns out I really need deadlines to actually get anything written either way.

I’ve been weird lately. Some things are going great: promotion, job satisfaction, really hitting my daily drinking stride after a few years of practice, self abuse peaking in the morning, tapering off never, constant thoughts of small city strippers and what they’d do for fifty bucks. Tramadol Thursdays have been a highlight. Having actual responsibility in a fast paced production environment is stressful and maybe not quite as rewarding as I thought it’d be, but at least I’m appropriately self-medicating.

I’m mad at fly fishing not because I don’t like fly fishing but because I’m kind of generally mad at everything these days. I’m about to buy a jet boat which is what happens when you get a promotion and don’t have kids, I guess, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just rip around the river being a dickhead and only throw giant perch husky jerks and put all three trebles in the face of whatever shows up: big browns, smallmouth, pike, deer, canoers.

Don’t look at me the wrong way because I will wake your canoe. Even if you have children in it. You are going down. Don’t cross me.

Chad’s wife’s brother was seventeen and he wrecked his truck last week. He was speeding between Panama and Clymer, heading south towards the PA line doing seventy when he grabbed some loose gravel on the shoulder and lost control of the truck and rolled it into the ditch and he was thrown around the cab because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and probably died then but the truck caught fire and burned him up and his cousin, the lesbian embalmer, was the one who cremated his body.

She was close with him, so it kind of surprised everyone that she wanted to do it, but that also probably explains why she wanted to do it. The thing that was most amazing was the way Chad told this story, clearly excited to share a story like this, close enough to partake in some sort of narrative authority, but far enough away to detach himself from the emotions and just spit it out with macabre fascination, hawking it to us on a Monday afternoon like something we’re supposed to buy.


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