Social Norms

It was one of those mornings you wake up and you don’t know if you’re naked or what time it is or even where you are. As I glanced around at my surroundings I found out I was at my place. The clock on the wall told me it was almost quarter after ten. I felt disoriented and closed my eyes to try to sleep again. It didn’t work. I estimated I got an extra twenty minutes though. Twenty minutes at least. My eyelids felt heavy like I’d been in a deep sleep.

Neither the hour hand nor the minute hand had moved an inch. It didn’t feel like I’d gotten enough sleep, but is there ever enough?

Never the less, I rolled out of bed and rubbed my eyes to get the lazy bastards to stay open. My hands ran down my cheeks, over the beard that’d grown from last week’s stubble. I usually didn’t let it get past a five o’clock shadow, and rarely let it graduate from that to stubble; but a beard is useful in New England during winter. Plus, being out of work, I could grow whatever style facial hair I wanted. I treated winter like a bear who drank and took painkillers recreationally.

I ran a bait and tackle shop up the road from a couple big lakes and right at the edge of a pretty wealthy neighborhood. The kind of place where if they didn’t have a bait shop around all the dumb trust fund babies would be putting caviar or kobe beef on their lures.

I took a look at myself in the mirror, focusing on my facial hair. It was more grey than brown. The ways aging sneaks up on us. Getting invited to less house parties and basement shows and more funerals and weddings. Ever since I’d opened the bait shop, I was getting invited to a lot more weddings and funerals. On one hand, I had the only bait shop for about twenty to thirty miles so I did get to see a lot of the same faces, on the other hand, who the fuck invites the guy who owns the local bait shop to significant life events? Yeah, I gave your son a free miniature tackle box key chain, sure I’ll be one of your groomsmen at your wedding. There are some social stratospheres I’ll never understand, like the people who will readily publicly broadcast their private lives to anybody they can. I made a Facebook a couple years ago because of this one ex-girlfriend of mine and regretted it immediately. Within a month, I felt like I could’ve written biographies of over a dozen people I’d graduated high school with – and their kids and pets too. I deleted it and realized social media wasn’t meant for me.

I gingerly walked out to the kitchen and found a note on the kitchen table with my name written real big at the top. I picked it up:

Yo that girl I’ve been talking to that I told you about last night said she was down to hang out and get lunch today

Sorry I didn’t wait til you woke up but I had no clue when you were gonna wake up. 

Thanks again for letting me use your car. Here’s the stuff I said I’d leave for ya for lettin me use the car.                                                                          Be back around like 6 or 7

Ted

Next to the note was a pill and a couple joints. I picked the pill up and my memory reproduced an image of Ted talking to me the night before about wanting to hang out with this girl but not having a car because his was in the shop. I vaguely remembered agreeing to let him take my car after he offered a 30mg Percocet and some bud. Good job, fucked up me, you got a pretty good deal out of this. (At this point I still didn’t remember that the girl lived about 45 minutes away)

Ted was my roommate and friend who I’d met a couple years after high school from hanging out with some of the same people. He was a musician and sang and played guitar in this band Porches and Plains. It was good music and Ted was good with a crowd. He was also a real dick about his band.

The Lazy Life

All night everything

with no instructions anywhere,

At least there's no more disco.

Counting calories, then counting steps,

New diet plan -

THE BEST ONE YET!

Get off the couch,

that's good enough,

Breathe in, breathe out,

that's exercise,

now get back to The Lazy Life.

Your phone knows more than you do,

No one knows more than you do,

Let's get offended,

everyone needs more attention.

More public displays of how they can't deal with rejection,

You have to hate everybody so there's equal tension,

And debunk the whole "common" in common sense myth.

Instructions For Choking on Your Own Tongue 

With something of nutritional value, or psychological dependency, in one hand,
use the jaw’s muscles to open mouth and use the other hand to keep the mouth open,
take the almond, or pumpkin seed, or small, blue (or white or pink or any other color) pill and place it in the open mouth,
if it’s an almond or pumpkin seed or genetically modified beef or anything else that falls under the category of Food, then chew. chew. chew. mash up into tiny fragments. swallow. (Don’t choke.)
if it’s some sort of prescription pill with someone else’s name on the bottle, swallow. (Don’t choke.)
For Food – let stomach acid digest and do nothing. Nine times out of ten it won’t be food.
For a pill – Wait anywhere from half an hour to an hour and feel high, the chemistry of the human body tells the brain it’s feeling pleasantly altered within (usually). If no fuzzy feeling rushes through the head or spine then: 1. someone got burned, or 2. one pill wasn’t enough. Take more, or, if burned, use violence.
Violence is either always or never the answer.
Open mouth again, high or not, and stick fist into it.
Snap jaw shut. In one scenario, the fist flies out of the mouth fearing for its safety – the tip of the tongue suffers the bite, blood vessels explode, tendons snap – “Fuck.” In another scenario, fist gets bit, bur nerves light up with pain and fist pulls out of mouth before serious damage is done. This time.
Scenario 1 ends like this…
Missing tip of tongue makes speaking next to impossible and so, with this new inability, there were no verbal missteps.
No confrontation,
No misinterpretation,
Safe and stripped of pertinent experiences for better, and for worse.
Lonesome, but free of enemies. Free of friends. Free to use a computer, free to order a black handgun, free to unload when all hope is lost.
A gushing hole in the head.
Scenario 2:
No lesson was learned, the point was completely missed:
“You’ve gotta learn to put your foot in your mouth sometimes,” this line came through the other end of the phone, a half-obsolete cell phone with practically no service, just unclear enough to morph “foot” into “fist.”
Sarcasm and satire are greatly underappreciated
also largely unnoticed.
With no damage to the tongue, speaking continues to go off without a hitch.
A dark bar finds a fist with teeth imprints high off some downer and holding a beer,
The game of pool that had been going for some eternity (picture five minutes painstakingly dragging by) finally ends.
The teeth-imprinted hand grabs a pool stick and tries to talk someone into joining, the charisma of talking, nobody wanted to play, egotistical, masculinity-belittling comment, angry stranger overreacts, he was an ex-con, flash of a pistol, loud blast, ears ring, body abruptly collapses to the ground, the jaw’s clenched so tightly then that the tongue is severed.