Category Archives: rat bastards

Lessons Via Bastards Telling You Painful Stories

Once upon a Christmas Eve while visiting home for the holidays, my step-father, after having consumed his customary seven to eight gallons of cheap, rotgut whiskey, cornered me in the kitchen and apologized, ad nauseam, for being such a gigantic douchebag my whole life. He then elaborated on his sorrow by telling me a story I could have happily lived the rest of my life never having heard.

Before I relay the details of this glorious yuletide tale, (cause shiz about to get real……personal, that is) I want to pre-defend my mother’s honor. She was a very good mom, my mama: sweet, warm, loving, super fun and deeply devoted to her one and only child. As a human being, she is equally stellar: funny, intelligent, strong, reliable, incredibly talented and in possession of a heart as big as the mighty universe. But she came into this world with birth defects, back when ruthless bullying didn’t make the news or launch outraged media campaigns to abolish it, so she suffered. Greatly. Horribly. And, naturally it follows that, with low self esteem so instilled, perhaps she didn’t make the best choices in men. To this she always said, “I didn’t have that many options.” Given the right guidance in life, she may have felt differently. She may have empowered herself and she may have discovered many more desirable options, but that’s just not how our collective cookie crumbled.So….what happened was….

Back in that 2007 Christmas Eve kitchen, with my mother and my boyfriend serving as the audience, my step-father cornered me and muttered sloppy, random apologies about my upbringing over his ethanol-laden breath. Then, out of nowhere, he slurred the following cringe-inducing confession: “I feel bad sometimes…..like for that one time…..that one time me ‘n yer mom went to the bar……and you were sleepin’ in the backseat…..you musta been about three years old….and we left you asleep in the car….. while we had some drinks…..I don’t know how long it was….but then this one fucking asshole comes in…..he’s all pissed off….and he yells, at the top of his lungs, ‘WHO THE FUCK LEFT THEIR FUCKING KID ASLEEP OUT IN A FUCKING CAR???!!!’ ….and I kicked that guy’s ass. That guy was a fucking asshole!”

Isn’t that great?! Wonderful story, yes? One to snuggle up with loved ones and tell by fireside every Christmas, for generations to come. Warm family fuzzies for EVERYBODY! (Christ Almighty.)

As Step-Daddy-Dearest recounted his version of deplorable events, I remember turning to my then-boyfriend, now-husband, with wide dear-god-make-it-stop eyes. In that moment I felt an awful mixture of absurdity and embarrassment, and I sent the following message with my fully rounded, please-kill-me eyeballs: “Oh Scottie, I knew I was fucked up. I knew my childhood was fucked up, and that I am ultimately, psychologically, and possibly irreparably fucked up. But I didn’t know I was THIS fucked up! And I’m sorry. I would have warned you if I could’ve. I’m so sorry. If you leave me, I will completely understand. Matter of fact, you should probably leave me now. Save yourself. This ship isn’t sinking. It wrecked a long, long time ago.”

He didn’t leave me, though. He married me instead. Turns out he had a less than Norman Rockwell upbringing himself. Not Child Protective Services worthy, not even close, but his parents’ marriage couldn’t be categorized as a healthy one – and he picked up a good number of his own relationship-killing habits watching that mess go down. Even still, 2015 will mark our ten year anniversary. Ten years of working on taming our inner-insulant-children, and ten years of helping one another to do a lot of growing up. Progress. Improvement. Growth and expansion. My oh my, but it’s a marvelous thing.

I only wish my mom could revel in the same sense of accomplishment, having battled and won so much in her time. Because, while her husband sat spewing old, drunken, dirty family laundry that Christmas Eve,I looked over and found her with her head hung in shame – which simply broke my heart. I hate to see her in pain. I’ve seen much too much of my mom in pain. She’s dealt with more than her fair share of suffering this lifetime, and she really did do the best she could by me. Her parenting wins far outweigh her parenting fails. She taught me honesty and integrity. She taught me compassion and (though it took me something like 25 years to show it) responsibility. She taught me how to love with my whole heart. And, whenever anyone compliments me on what a good mother I am, I let them know I’m only emulating her example – and her overall example was LOVE.

Again, I could have died a happy woman never knowing that I was once a tiny, blonde, pigtailed three year old left alone in the back of a car (1979 Camaro? 1976 Nova? It’s anybody’s whitetrash guess), while her mother and her mother’s jerk of a boyfriend went to drink in a bar. In fact, after hearing the story, it took me months to absorb it. Sorta shook me up. In a logical sense, it shouldn’t have. There are much lousier childhood incidents I can recall easily and vividly, but I still tear up when I think about that little girl left alone.

It’s not the worst thing that ever happened to a child. As far as kids and atrocities go, I got off all sorts of lucky. But a wound is a wound. A scar is a scar. And a drunken stepdad on Christmas Eve is a pitifully old, selfishly unburdening-himself bastard. However uncomfortable inebriated step-dad’s over-sharing might have been, it afforded the opportunity to confront a bunch of my ancient mental bullshit, and it prompted me to work on getting the sam hell over it. I’m far from all the way over it (clearly), but I’m getting there.

What I find truly fascinating, even encouraging, is the idea that I might just be a better person for it. For ALL of it. All the sad, all the shame, all the massive heartache: the whole tumultuous lot of my youth. This notion that it didn’t just “all work out in the end”, or that I didn’t merely “turn out okay”, but rather than it all meant something and it was all intrinsically necessary in order for to me be ME…….well, I dig that. I get that. It makes sense. I lived it all, and now the trick appears to be learning to love it all.
.
If you pay attention, all existential roads seem to lead back to love.
And if you’re not getting there….maybe you (we, US) are doing it wrong.

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Unfinished Blogging Business of 2013

Welcome to the unfinished thoughts/would-be blogs/mad ramblings of 2013.
It wasn’t all sunny vacations and lovey-dovin’ times.
Some of went a little something like…
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On the affordability of organic food for the average American family:

(Working Title: Organically Rich)

I wish my Facebook news feed had less “Hurry! Buy all the ammo you can from WalMart before Obama takes your guns!” and more, “Holy fuck, are strawberries supposed to be the size of my fist? Because, I want to be worried about this….but they’re SO MODIFIANTLY (hello new word) DELICIOUS!”

Even the staunchest fuck-the-environment-global-warming-is-a-lie-eat-more-mad-cow citizen is having a hard time denying the chemical and genetic creepiness in our FDA approved num-nums. Yet I’ve seen a decade of organic food that is simply way too expensive for the average American family. Buying solely organic is a budgetary ball-buster for general, not-poor-by-national-standards families – like mine.

Do you have any idea how much fruit my kids eat? An entire apple tree a day, at least. And while it has kept the doctor away, it has also kept the college fund away. “Hey kids, sorry you have to work full time at McDonald’s in order to put yourself through the next ten years of community college, but at least you didn’t get cancer. And you’re welcome.”

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On the separation of Church and State….

School Friend: “Do you believe in the devil?”
My Daughter: “Uh, no. I don’t believe in scary things like Hell, either.”
School Friend: “Oh. Well you SHOULD! Do you listen to rap or Katy Pery? Because they sold their souls to the devil. You need to listen to gospel!”
My Daughter: “What business is it of yours what I believe in? We’re not even supposed to be talking about this. This isn’t a Christian school!”

I love my daughter.

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On Creepy old men…..

(Working Title: “Next Up on To Catch a Predator”

Older men of planet Earth, roughly 35+, please stop being gross. More specifically, stop openly lusting after girls significantly younger than yourself. Do whatever you want in private. Amass your collection of “barely legal” porn and have a big old freaky creepfest, all to hairy yourselves. But, for christsakes, what happens in your pervert den needs to stay in your pervert den!

When I was in my teens and twenties, and men my father’s age hit on me, it was gross. I smiled politely, because that’s what nice girls do, and because it’s a little sad, but ultimately…just gross. And all these years later, as I watch middle-aged men make the same millenia-old advances on very young girls…still gross.

Tonight I stood in a checkout line behind a dude between 35 and 40 years old, witnessing his miserable attempts at flirting with the teenage checker. After idle chit-chat, he angled his head to look at her name tag. “Carly. That’s a very pretty name. Just like you.” She thanked him, courteously, scanning his purchases as fast as she could, as he continued with, “I’m Dennis. It’s nice to meet you.” He inquired when she was getting off work. She wisely avoided answering.

When he left, and she was ringing me up, I said, “Hey. So, uh, my name’s Dennis. What time you gettin’ off?” She looked up at me, surprised, then busted up laughing. She said, “You caught that same vibe, huh?” I told her I couldn’t help mentioning the weirdness, and she said, “You see this blue dot on my name tag? It means I’m underage. I’m 17.” She smiled and rolled her eyes. This happens to her a lot. In my best redneck, I drawled, “Yeah, but Carly sho is a purdy name.” We both giggled, and I felt I’d helped scrub away a bit of the yuck that had been left by Stranger Danger Dennis.

Then I said: “But, in all seriousness, maybe have someone walk you to your car tonight.”

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On letters to my daughters…

Dear Bubby,

You recently helped an elderly woman carry her groceries into her condo, unprompted. Afterward, she called out to your dad and I, “You are doing a wonderful job with her! Children these days just don’t do things like that anymore!” What she didn’t know is, while your dad and I feel pretty solid in our parenting, and happily take credit where it’s due, the driving force behind your thoughtfulness is generated directly, and purely, from your own gigantic heart. It’s not a learned behavior. You are just wonderful.

And I hope the world doesn’t beat that out of you. Rather, I hope you don’t let it. Because it’s easy to let it. Trust me. Enough people will repay your kindness with a knife in your back, and you will begin to doubt the wisdom of remaining kind. Some say those that meet kindness with cruelty are the ones who need kindness most of all, and others (like me) say, f*ck those guys. You’ll learn how and where to draw the lines in your own compassionate sand. And if you listen to your instincts (and not the babble of your head), you’re gonna do just fine.

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On Pop Music…..

I just watched Nicki Minaj give Lil’ Wayne a lap dance on stage at the Billboard awards. I don’t generally watch these things, but icons from my youth were being honored: Madonna and Prince. And before I could weep for my daughters’ generation, I remembered the biggest song on the radio when I was 11 years old was “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael.

And I turned out just fine.

(Be afraid.)

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On New Year’s resolutions….

At the start of the year I wrote an email to myself: “I will learn to forgive in 2013. Not just accept, not just deal, not just “let go”, but forgive. I will do so with a clearer head and an expanding heart. I will face fears and summon courage.”

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So long, 2013. Onward and upwards.

Sincerity Prayer

In the spirit of ever-enriching the spirit, I penned the following:

God grant me the serenity to accept the assface motherfuckers I cannot change;
The courage to change the landscape of assface motherfuckers where I can;
And the wisdom to not become an assface motherfucker myself.

Amen.

Rainbow Elvis Cloud Dog Agrees

Rainbow Elvis Cloud Dog Agrees

Happy Birthday: You’re Gonna Die!

Having spent a couple of frightening years as an insurance agent, I can say, without a doubt, that I am 100% satisfied with my current insurance company. Their rates, coupled with their customer service and corporate ethics, are seemingly unrivaled. HOWEVER, they need to stop sending me the postcard that reads, “Hey, you’ve got a birthday coming up! You might want to think about getting that life insurance soon, while it’s still somewhat affordable for you to do so…hag.” Every year. For real. Just stop.

Hurry! Before you DIE and we can’t collect any premium from you!

And since when did it become okay to call a lady out on her age! Did you see that? The “34” in there. Clearly a typo!
Well, I never.

I understand the importance of life insurance. I truly do. I also understand, having worked in the industry, what a huge money-maker a life policy is for an insurance company, and the push that exists to accumulate them. But, reminding a woman that she’s ever closer to tea time with the Reaper, and attempting to impart the urgency of her purchasing a policy by informing her that her rates will only increase upon her next birthday – because she is that much closer to DEATH – is a brand of marketing genius well beyond my rapidly aging brain’s capacity to comprehend.

I can only imagine the message waiting for me in next year’s postcard.

“Dear Mrs. D:
Since you’ll be turning 35 this year, and since you’ve yet to purchase a life policy, it’s obvious you’re exhibiting signs of early dementia. But, never fear, it’s not too late to protect your family from both your old-womany-stubbornness and your overall accelerated decay.
Call one of our helpful agents today!”