Friday, November 30, 2012

"Yeah, well, I was fouled..."

Jon sped through Kentucky quickly approaching the border of Indiana. Erica was asleep in the back seat as we passed through her hometown.

Erica didn't know her, but Jon did. I mentioned that she had a baby now. He mentioned the size of her breasts.

We stopped for dinner outside of Indianapolis. The dining room was large. I sat near the window watching the door.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Great Disturbance

Dear Lucas,

I’m sure this letter is too little too late, but I wanted to at least say something, If not just to apologize. The manner in which you were raised as a child has just now been brought to my attention. Unfortunately, I didn’t see you or your brother and sister very often due to living in California while you and the rest of the family were in Kentucky. I spoke with your father on the phone at least once a month and he always said you guys were doing fine, but were in bed for the night or doing homework. I should’ve caught on, but when you trust someone things like that typically go unnoticed.

As an adult you must think that the family around you was in on it and rightfully so. We were completely fooled by your father into believing your childhood was a normal and healthy one. He sent Christmas cards and school pictures with annual updates about your lives. You all seemed like happy children and I have always been a proud uncle. In hindsight, I can see all of the lies and different pieces of the story and have been trying to put it all together ever since I first heard about it on the news.

The F.B.I. has contacted me regarding the case that you’ve brought against your father. I assure you that I’ve been giving them my complete cooperation. With that being said, if there is anything that I can do, any information I can pass on or any questions that I can answer, please know that you have my support.

I know these memories are painful, but I am wondering to the extent of how warped your father was. I believe by knowing some more information that I might better help the investigation. The news reports claim he led you to believe that fictitious stories were in fact true, that you spoke unknown languages and committed crimes against your will. There hasn’t been much factual elaboration outside of Sci-Fi references and a few internet memes(I promise that I didn’t laugh).

With that being said, what I am about to tell you is not to justify your father’s action, but to potentially shed some light regarding his delusional state. Before your mother passed away, she too was not in her right mind. The doctors had her on all sorts of medication for the pain that she was dealing with after the accident. Her passing was a shock to all of us, but in her last few hours alive your mother had your father make deathbed promises that I believe were not based in reality.

She wanted you and your siblings to know the ways of the Force. I was in the room when your mother died and I heard her say these words before her passing. Whereas I and the rest of the family took her dying words as a sweet reference from your parents’ favorite movies to raise you the right way, he took her final words literally.

Since childhood most of the males in my generation have commonly communicated through Star Wars quotes and references. I apologize that those were applied directly to your life in a literal sense and that no one really noticed.

Again, please contact me for any information regarding the case. In closing, the family is here for you and your siblings and we hope to rebuild trust after this ordeal has been settled.

My apologies,

Uncle John

Monday, November 12, 2012

What We Remember Defines Us

People usually remember where they were when something life altering happens. If you were alive, you probably remember where you were when Kennedy was assassinated, Nixon declaring the end of the Vietnam War or even when Princess Diana married Charles.

As a kid I remember sitting on the floor in the TV room when the Berlin wall came down... I believe that the memory mainly stems from me not understanding why Michael from Knight Rider was singing songs of freedom to the German masses.

Some might tell you that they remember the first time they heard the Beatles... and similar to hearing the Beatles, where they were when they found out that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Lovers never forget their wedding day, parents never forget the birth of their children and an alcoholic never forgets their first drink... I know I haven’t.

Whether it’s a tragedy or celebration or just a surreal moment-- we all have occurrences, circumstances and milestones in our lives where there’s nothing we can do to strike them from our memory. Good or bad.

Personally, one moment among many sticks out in my mind.

It 1990, in Eagles Landing, a small subdivision in Northern Kentucky, Craig Alderson called me a faggot. I was 9 years old.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life I have heard that word too many times to count, but on that beautiful spring afternoon in Craig’s backyard where we were playing trampoline dodgeball he took it upon himself to introduce me to a slur that supersedes race, gender or belief and goes right for the jugular... or the genitals.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck like little antennas trying to pick up the frequency that was broadcasting what the hell had just happened. I felt different. It was like walking in on your parents sixty nining or what it feels like after you do meth for the first time. With all of that being said. I had no idea what the word meant. I just knew that it was wrong.

By summer time all of the guys in the neighborhood were calling each other fags. Making repetitious humping motions toward each other every time someone bent down to tie their shoe or turned their back for a second. It doesn’t take long to become desensitized, but like they say, boys will be boys.

I almost felt as though Craig was self-projecting because everyone in the neighborhood knew that he was the biggest cock sucker alive, figuratively speaking of course, but then again, I haven’t seen him in almost 10 years. Preferences do change or at least reveal themselves over time.

I eventually realized that it was probably not a good idea to go around calling people fags. Shortly after the start of high school and my conversion to Christianity I decided to stop using derogatory terms for homosexuals and started praying for them instead.

This sudden concern for their souls was due to a man named Brother Chuck Mericle. He was the basketball coach, principal and preacher at the Baptist Church School I attended in Elsmere, Kentucky.

One Wednesday afternoon in chapel Brother Chuck revealed to us that “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.

Brother Chuck had another saying that I’ll never forget. A Bible verse out of Exodus. It was along the lines of “Your sin will find you out.”

But when you’re 14 and sitting in chapel, you’re more interested in breaking the 6 inch rule with Kathy Turner, the hottest girl in 8th grade, rather than actually paying attention to scripture verses that are constantly being thrown in your face to discourage you from acting out... or just acting normal.

Brother Chuck would be proud though because that verse never left me, especially when I found out that he had been self-projecting as well. He was caught having an affair with the school secretary by her daughter a few years after I graduated.

Not to be judgmental, but who cheats with their family in the next room?

Christians are terrible at “sinning”.

For a few years after high school I let my Christian guilt lead me to Central America to tell non-English speaking people that Jesus loved them... and that they would burn in an everlasting hell fire if they rejected his free gift of salvation.

I had a very successful close rate when it came to saving souls.

The worst part about telling people that they’re going to hell is trying to act like you sincerely believe that you have the answers. In all reality, I too, was struggling with the idea that God loved me and feared that he was going to send me to a deeper level of hell for lacking faith and being a

I was hospitalized when I was 17 because I felt so guilty about looking at internet porn and masturbating into socks that I started having panic attacks. Mom thought I was having heart palpitations.

Eventually my subconscious saved my life by going into survival mode and doing what I couldn’t on my own-- finally rejecting the idea of faith. I never told them, but I’m sure my parents would’ve been happy to know that I could finally enjoy masturbating into articles of clothing again without feeling bad about it.

Unfortunately, this was a major milestone in my life.

After 27 years of marriage my mom called it quits and left my dad for another woman. Memories of Craig Alderson calling me a fag entered my brain and I tried to hold back the cheap shots as I watched my family crumble around me.

At that point the meaning of the word had changed for me.

It no longer meant boys thrusting their pelvises at each other with hopes of making everyone laugh. It meant that at the age of 21 everything was broken. My foundation, my family, my father, my beliefs and ultimately my heart. No one was laughing anymore.

My parents divorce caught me off guard as I was well on my way to becoming a white middle class right wing god-fearing republican like my father had raised me to be. But when everything is broken and being forced to change, you might as well throw everything in the pot.

The reality was that everything was already broken and had been since I was a child. All of the changes that were occurring was just the setting of the bone. The righting of the ship. All of the BS they say about hindsight.

My cell phone lit up at 3am on a Tuesday night about a year later. The Ludacris’ “Roll Out” ringtone on my phone woke me up in my Gwinnett County apartment.

The bar was loud and I could barely hear his voice, but he was laughing. He sounded like he was having a good time and he was definitely drunk. For a split second I was happy for him.

After he ordered another double of Jameson he told me that he didn’t want to live anymore.
And before he had left for the bar that night he had scratched his name into the side of a bullet and loaded it into the pistol that sat on his night stand.

He planned on taking care of business when he got home from the bar if he didn’t kill himself in a car accident or get a DUI.

I told him that I hoped he got pulled over. He agreed. You know things are bad when the best thing that can happen to you is a DUI.

I laid in my bed while I talked to my dad that night knowing that I would never forget that moment, that conversation or that overwhelming feeling.

And before we hung up that night I told him that I loved him and that if he pulled the trigger... I’d be right behind him.