Before I get into the following post, I’d like to thank those of you who have been fans, friends and family. At the beginning of the summer, I thought the forthcoming days would be difficult, to say the least, but all of you, with your love and enthusiasm, showed me that all I needed to do to get rid of the rancid, maggot infested swill at the bottom of the trash can was to kick the fucking thing over and let the putrid disease fester in the dirt.
The title of this piece, aside from what I define later in this narrative and the reason I chose it, is because I don’t want to look at a fence like a barrier but as a method to measure the distance around the field—to be able to see every corner of it. For some people, there’s always greener grass and they’re in a hurry to jump the fence where they come to it. Those are usually the people who destroy the lawn they’re on by pissing on it and bitch when their shoes get wet.
As you can expect, or assume, there’s much left out of this five day reflection. I hope that doesn’t disappoint you. This is, more or less, the best way for me to thank my friends for an amazing visit. Anyone party to the events that transpired are more than welcome to email me or add a comment. Anyone not party to the events are welcome to comment, just don’t say anything fucking stupid or I will take a virtual shit in your mailbox. My attempt here is to warm-up, so to speak (if I may use an idiom to loosen the joints) in preparation for a new series and scattered bits of philosophical banter that I intend to unleash on you. Unfortunately, Facebook isn’t giving me the validation I need these days. People aren’t commenting on my status updates or liking my photos as much as I want for me to truly feel important enough to keep on living or maintain a meaningful, animated relationship with anyone. It is kind of an accomplishment to log on to Facebook and talk about how successful I am at sharing the mundane, arbitrary bullshit and hollow accomplishments in my life with people I barely know. So, I’m going to use my blog, passive aggressiveness, sardonic implications, and a TON of narcissism to get you cunts to pay attention to me.
So, without further hesitation, I give you, Fence Posts. Enjoy, fuckers.
I think I got cancer from that Krystal’s.
The Snow Wizard picked me up in Memphis and brought me to Krystal’s. I wanted a Super Sonic Double Cheese Burger with jalapenos, but in the moment, I was too hungry to care. After nine of those microwaved bad boys, my stomach had something else it wanted to tell me. Within two hours of my plane touching down I was burning up on the Mississippi River with Eugene, a friend I hadn’t made until then, and friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. A few hours after that, I could feel that southern accent, that drawl that extends drank or it into almost two syllables but shortens Mississippi to Missippi, tumble around in my throat. While I drank beer and bounced around the aluminum hull of a boat like a gerbil in Richard Gere’s trunk, I felt a tiny lump in my armpit. Immediately, I blamed the Krystal’s, but nobody else seemed to think I could get cancer that fast.
We headed down the river, the five of us, to a sand bar where the Mexican would be safe from the authorities. Carp leapt from the water around the boat as we coasted into shore. The Mexican, who was to be married that weekend, commented on how they’d split your head open if they hit you. We spent a short time on the lookout for Killer Fish.
Lots of beer drinking.
I’d never spent any time on the Mississippi river. Heat pushed below the surface of the water into the mud where we dug out chunks of wood that may have been Cyprus. Eventually, the clumps of mud were the only thing we could pull up and they became objects that we used to peg at the groom. Killer Mud. We made it off the river as the sun was setting and I knew that Samuel Clemens had earned his authority on that waterway.
Thursday… Oxford, Mississippi
Thursday in Oxford, Mississippi, the stomping grounds of my early twenties when I was learning about women and manners and the Oxford Police Department’s Good Ole Boy system, I found myself at a bar by 2:00 P.M. It hasn’t been since I left Oxford that I’ve found myself at a bar before five on any other day besides St. Patrick’s. Knowing how dangerous it is for me to be drinking in Oxford, I kept myself limited to beer and breaking the twelve hours of drinking into chunks and buffering them with club soda, which did little to keep me from passing out face first in a recliner later that night.
I spent the majority of the night at City Grocery, where some of you know me to be a bartender some five years ago. It’s strange that much time has passed, but redeeming in that I can post up at the bar next to friends after so long, in particular, Bob and Tim, who I spent most of the afternoon visiting, and Terry my last roommate in Oxford. I also appreciate how close my friendships are with some of you, that disagreements and misunderstandings are cast out like soiled beverage napkins.
Lots and lots of beer drinking and a few shots of tequila.
Of all the days I spent on this little excursion, Thursday was the one that left me a bit disappointed. I have so many friends there, that not getting the opportunity to see everyone always leaves me feeling a bit unfulfilled. And those friends that I do get to enjoy some time with, it never quite feels like enough. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to speak with those of you who were present, and I hope to see those of you who weren’t during my next visit.
Friday… Southaven, Mississippi
Hey, Joe. Is there anything you want at Arby’s?
Let me the fuck out of the truck.
Golf is one of those activities that I find to be excessively frustrating. If not for drinking beer, and the humor I find in slicing balls into neighboring houses, I’d probably find a much more redeeming use for golf clubs. The Snow Wizard and I played together, and he allowed me the use of his clubs. At some point in the day, I made reference to a tall-boy, and what we call in Maine, a Poundah. The Snow Wizard peered at me through his precious, doll-like eyes and said, fence post. (For all of you classy motherfuckers reading this, tall-boy, poundah, and fence post refer to sixteen ounce canned beers)
Whether he put some wizard dust on the pillow I slept on or not, fence post stuck. As much as I like saying the word, poundah, (sometimes in a different context) I can’t help but favor, fence post. We started drinking earlier that day, upon arrival to the golf course, and the few beers were a relief to the feelings in my body from the night before. In essence, I’m sure I drank through what would have been a pretty heinous hangover.
The Snow Wizard introduced me to the other members of the groom’s golf party, one of which seemed particularly familiar to me. A few holes later, a vague memory returned. After inquiring with the Snow Wizard, he confirmed that he had once prevented me from stomping a mud hole into the familiar douche bag.
Rehearsal Dinner. Lots of drinking. Lots more drinking. A bar. Adding shots of Jameson to the drinking. Adding shots of Wild Turkey to the drinking. I’m wasted. Oh fuck, I’m going to throw up.
There’s always that crucial moment when you’re about to throw up from drinking too much that you try to A) convince yourself it won’t happen or B) when you take those few pertinent seconds to get to a safe place. Anyone you’ve ever seen puking on a bar or on a floor or in a church has had that moment and made a poor choice. I haven’t thrown up in a long time, and probably longer from drinking, but after that shot of Wild Turkey, I felt it like the hot ooze of bird shit sliding down my neck.
I made it to the gender appropriate bathroom and pulled my trigger, freshened my mouth with some hot water and guided myself through the haze back out to the bar where I was hoping I wouldn’t have to rally. Fortunately, the Snow Wizard and the Triathlete were ready to go when I stumbled outside. Before we returned to the hotel, the other two decided that Arby’s was a convenient place to stop for nourishment. That crucial moment rose again, and though it may have been the alcohol, I’m going to blame the second bout of vomiting on Arby’s. I will; however, concede that my desire to sleep in the grass outside of Arby’s was entirely motivated by alcohol.
Saturday… Tunica, Mississippi
I’d rather shoot myself in the dick with a BB gun.
There’s a lot I’d rather do then push through a hangover. Hangovers wouldn’t be that bad if you didn’t spend the whole day trying to feel like you could drink again. Fortunately for me, because of my purge the night before, I avoided an exorbitant amount of pain. What residual torment there was, was quickly alleviated with a few slices of pizza.
During the early part of the afternoon, before the wedding, the Snow Wizard and I went to Claire’s in search of belly button rings. I thought a nice animal print would really accentuate the follicular density of my torso. The Snow Wizard agreed until I detailed what I wanted him to do to my belly button ring.
After the wedding, forty-five minutes of my confusion as to whether the priest said Jesus and wine or cheeses and wine, we moseyed over to the reception and again, I found myself on the banks of the Mississippi feeling a bit homesick for a place that was only ever my home because of the friends there who became my family.
Post reception, we ventured over to the Gold Strike in the Redneck Riviera to watch a bunch of douche bags in a cover band perform like someone in the band had written the songs they were singing. While I posted myself at a table where the majority of our crew gathered, some women, who looked like they may have known the buffet a little too well danced violently beside us screaming the lyrics into each other’s faces. During the chorus, the two girls turned and screamed the words at our table. Since I was closest, I had the privelage of tasting the batter from whatever remnants of fried food flew from their lips. For much of the crew, Saturday was the night that everyone said their goodbyes until the next wedding or chance meeting during football season or thanksgiving. I’d offered to drive, so I refrained from whiskey and mass consumption of alcohol.
Despite my lack of alcohol consumption, I spent just as much time hugging my friends. However, it did give me the opportunity to see how tightly we’re bound. Handshakes and hugs are replaced with hellos and goodbyes. I got to see one of my favorite former roommates get married after a long, long struggle that he strode through with a tenacity that makes me admire him with a tremendous respect.
Sunday… Memphis, Tennessee
Water polo would be so much cooler if there were alligators in the pool.
I finished the drinking binge with two fence posts of PBR and a Muffaletta at the Young Avenue Deli in Memphis, Tennessee, with Eugene. Three of the televisions played the ongoing Olympic event, which at that time was men’s water polo.
Eugene and I took turns pointing out how fucking stupid the event was or its comparison to the skill required for rowing. We threw around ideas that would make the event more tolerable to watch. Sharks and piranhas were a few of the suggestions. I wish I’d thought of it then, but using a koala instead of a ball might prove more entertaining. Eugene paid for my lunch, but told me I wasn’t sweet enough for him to pay for my beer.
There’s a truly gracious hospitality in the South that I envy. My friends’ parents welcome me with hugs and urging to come home even though my home is fifteen hundred miles away. While the South may never be my home again, it feels damn good to be there, and it feels a lot like home when I am.
These men and women, who will forever be my friends, are some of the best I have. We’ve sat together in bars until the sun rose, they’ve seen me through hard times, they’ve gotten me drunk, they’ve taken me to thanksgiving dinners with their families, we’ve seen concerts, lived under the same roofs, they’ve bailed me out of jail or kept me from going, and some of these boys, without a doubt, would help me get rid of a body.It’s always sad to leave, and often, after returning to wherever I’ve made my home, I feel a bit displaced. After this visit, though, because of how much time has passed, I realize that regardless of how far apart we are, or where in the field we’ve been planted, we may just be fence posts, but we are still connected.
May the bleeding piles torment you
And corns grow on your feet
May crabs the size of roaches
Crawl on your balls and eat
And when the whole world is against you
And your life’s a fucking wreck
May you fall through your own asshole
And break your fucking neck.