Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was...Required 8th Grade Reading

I truly admire those who optimistically look for positive angles in life situations, especially without developing a moderate alcohol addiction.

Sensing that stress might possibly be casting a dark shadow upon my usual positive mindset, last November I decided to burn up two-weeks of accrued sick leave days before I contracted an incurable illness and be forced to use the company benefit for legitimate purposes.  I felt that a break was needed in order to rejuvenate and recharge. 

My downtime afforded the opportunity to learn a great deal about myself and others.  I met interesting people, I met irritating people and even tried my hand at a few fun work challenges, one of which involved me being yelled at a lot by an old man with a heart condition. 

I also participated in a short stint at a suburban city lock-up due to sloppy record-keeping.  They actually made me wear a black and white striped jumpsuit for 13-hours!  I felt like I was in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"  Only surrounded by meth addicts. 

It seems that I forgot about a $200 balance owed on a traffic infraction from years ago and now owed said balance PLUS a contempt fine.  

As a matter of record, I hold contempt for several people but they don't charge money for it.  

Elsewhere during my sabbatical, I  joined a flock of believers at a local church which seems to be shepherded by a very nice pastor who's admittedly in anger management counselling AND pornographic addiction therapy.  I'm not certain as to whether one sin has anything to do with the other...But, I'd love to take a peek at his computer history logs.

From: Mike Klein, Editor
To: James Patrick
Re: Time Off

Did you quit again?

From: James Patrick
To: Mike Klein, Editor
Re: Re: Time Off

Not at all...I told you that I was burning up some unused vacation and sick days.  

From: Mike Klein, Editor
To: James Patrick:
Re: Re: Re: Time Off

Yes, but that was last November, over 300 days ago.  Where you been?

From: James Patrick
To: Mike Klein, Editor
Re: Re: Re: Re:  Time Off

I spent a spell of time at a middle eastern radicalization/re-education camp.  Shortly thereafter I realized that it wasn't for me...primarily because I cant grow a scruffy beard and I don't particularly want to blow anything up...except for your condo.  Besides, I'm blonde...not exactly a physical attribute that the radicalized underground embraces as a poster child.

As a matter of fact blondes, typically, can't grow beards and those who CAN usually grow spotty facial hair, making them appear as one of those pedophiles you see on Dateline NBC spotlighting an Internet underage sex bust which is being conducted at a seedy inner-city motel near a Waffle House.

From: Mike Klein, Editor
To: James Patrick
Re: Re: Re: Time Off

Hmmm...any fruits of labor gained from your time off in the way of writing?

From: James Patrick
To: Mike Klein, Editor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Time Off

Indeed!  I kept a diary.  Actually girls call it a diary; I think guys are supposed to call it a as not to sound needy, sexually confused or emotionally unstable.  

From: Mike Klein, Editor
To: James Patrick
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time Off

I see.  May I read a sample of your journal during this "finding Zen" journey of yours?

From: James Patrick
To: Mike Klein, Editor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Time Off


21 November 2013
I just received a text from my friend Jeff.  Any guy who texts "K" "OMG" or "LOL!" has a vagina!  End of discussion.  I can't be friends with this guy now.

19 December 2013
I took in a stray cat a few weeks ago.  I named him Sneaky Pete.  He's kinda scruffy but affable.  He has a meow that sounds as though he's smoked cigarettes for 25 years.  

Pete was apparently separated from his family years ago after Hurricane Katrina (according to the microchip implant).  The phone number on file was disconnected so Pete has a new home with me now.  He's been therapeutic, good company during my time off and search for inner-peace.  

20 December 2013
Sneaky Pete was, sadly, struck and killed yesterday by a driver who was texting while driving past my house.  She didn't even STOP!  I wonder how that text read?

"I'm stopping to get take-out gyros and beer on the way home...OMG, I just ran over a cat.  LOL!  Be home soon! xo"      

27 January 2014
It's been quite some time between journal entries.  Along with Todd, I helped our friend, Amanda, move into a brand new (even shittier) place of residence last weekend.

For as long as I've worked with her, Amanda cant seem to ever catch a break.      

In order to foster an air of positive reinforcement for Amanda and her downward spiral, I reminded  that she seemed to be moving backwards in life...but that it was far better than moving in with her parents...since they like her older sister much more.  I assured that no one would judge  if she considered a career in topless dancing or suicide.  

As a side note Todd got into a scrape with the authorities. 

Todd is  the only person at Pontchartrain Press who happens to own a pickup  truck.  He also, apparently, was never a boy scout as evidenced by his knot-tying prowess in securing Amanda's mattress.  We lost it about a half block from Amanda's old apartment where it fell onto a homeless man and three pigeons.  Talk about Manah falling from heaven!!  

Todd's truck is large and macho.  I think it's the Ford F-3,570.  It's black.  Actually, I think the factory color is called  "Black Lung." 

It's equipped with a state of the art "towing package", leather interior, the entire defensive line for the Green Bay Packers, a mounted surface to air missile launcher, a fully stocked bar and a malfunctioning left brake light.  

The brake light especially caught the attention of a helpful New Orleans police officer who took time from patrolling notoriously safe streets for which the inner-city of New Orleans is world famous.  

Fun Fact:  The Louisiana driver's license exam contains (and I'm not making this up) the following question:

"How much does the state spend on highway beautification projects annually?"

At least gang members have a neat and tidy playing field in our roadways and now have more vehicle lights at which to aim after Todd and I wrap up our day of assisting Amanda in her next chapter of personal disappointment.

The officer also helpfully indicated that he smelled beer emanating from the truck.**

**Note: For the record, Todd was not drinking.  He only drinks in his kitchen late at night while watching The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.  Realizing that adultery isn't a viable option, Todd usually prays that his wife and child don't wake up as he cries himself to sleep on the living room floor.  

Now that I think about it, moving day is a ripe opportunity for police departments across the country.  As a matter of fact, DUI inspection points should occur on Saturday afternoons which fall on (or about) the first of the month.

As a public service announcement, I fully support removing drunks from the roadways and, in many cases, from the bar stool located directly next to me.  

In the meantime, brake-light traffic patrol overtime payrolls rise while drug dealers safely continue to collect payments from Federal and state funded life-enrichment programs, free insurance and I-Phones while officials nab dangerous guys such as my (sober) friend, Todd, who flagrantly piss on the Constitution by smugly strolling through life with a faulty brake light.    

Rather than risk jail time...I skipped the urge to voice my (not sober) opinion and opted for the safe approach, thereby, in a distinguished English accent, I removed my hoodie and informed the officer:

These are not the droids you're looking for."   

Then I offered him a slice of Papa John's pizza.

Todd passed the field sobriety examination quite famously and his wife, Melissa, is (once again) not speaking to me.  So much for Jedi mind tricks.

14 February 2014
It's Valentine's Day!  Which means absolutely nothing to me. 

Anyway, my friend, Nick, is trying to name his band.  It's a shitty band but I enjoy watching them play, mainly because they put my name on their free bar tab wherever they perform.  I recommended that he name the band:

"Tom Selleck's Moustache"

Sadly, he didn't like my suggestion.

02 July 2014
I simply can NOT begin my day without the brilliant take on tragic world events without weighing in for impact angles as presented by Matt Lauer, Kathie Lee, Hoda Kodb, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and the amazing Carson Daily.  

12 August 2014
I hate my life.

17 September 2014
Assisted a friend who owns a construction company by taking part in a house "demo" & drywall hanging project which was located on a hunting camp in northeastern Mississippi.  As an important reference note, my friend is a black man.  With "hanging" involved, this seemed to have a tragic movie plot written ALL over it.

Since I didn't know what the terms:  

"Hanging drywall" 

"House Demo" or "Mississippi" 

meant, I agreed to participate.  Especially since he offered to pay me cash.

In retrospect, what I should have done is to lie on the ground, arms outstretched, flat on my stomach and demanded a rescue helicopter.

I must admit that smashing walls and house frames to pieces with sledgehammers all day left me with an immeasurable sense of manliness. I believe that I even grew a third testicle.*

*Note: Applying body lotion at the end of a construction workday sadly negated ANY sense of manliness.  OMG!  LOL...K? 

With seven entries in a 1-year journal it's abundantly clear that I'm simply not responsible enough to keep a journal.  Which is fine by me since there are any number of items on my list of personal inadequacies.

When I began this exercise, I read an article that touted the practice of keeping a journal.  That it's supposedly the closest experience one can reach in time travel--  an invaluable tool with which to learn about ones's self by revisiting entries after an extended amount of time has passed.  (Also known as reading drunken out-box texts sent from the night before)

Maybe so, but I feel strongly that I learned far more from what I DIDN'T immortalize in the written word on these pages...memories (both good and bad) which subtly linger as background noise or an afterthought-- sort of like any song recorded by the group Train.   

I hold experiences in my mind as a basement of sorts,  a musty room, illuminated by dim lighting through dingy windows-- strewn with history, dusty artifacts and a number of missing neighborhood children. 

I can choose to revisit them or I might simply wait for them to naturally disappear as a vague memory, sort of like Bill Cosby's television career.  

Most importantly, I learned that taking a year off is not the most financially sound decision that I've made over the years and I now know that unlimited text/SMS packages can actually control the stray pet population.

“You'll have bad times, but they'll always wake you up to the stuff you weren't paying attention to.” -- Robin Williams