Saturday, September 29, 2018

Aloha and Mahalo

[no picture because I forgot]

Aloha and Mahalo!
Thank you and Hello!
I need to write a poem
But now it's time to go

LAX lacks sex
HNL ain't hell
KIX plays tricks
DMK ain't BKK

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Raise the Flag

Best as I can recall, this is my first trip to a strip club. I'm sure there's a more P.C. or professional name for these joints, but let's call it what it is: a strip club outside an Army base. It's possible I've been here before with Warner and Wolff, but whether it's our first trip or not is irrelevant. The point is, Dick Lips is in the house and that's all that really matters. Otherwise this is just one more forgettable night lost among beer-hazed memories.

Imagine you have a completely repressed hardcore fundamentalist Republican Mormon churchgoer with zero social skills. Zero. A dude whose ideals were passed on without ever being allowed to critically think or form his own opinion about anything (except Rammstein - he loves those fuckers and I seriously doubt he got that from his parents). A guy who is ardently against everything a strip club has to offer and exposed to all the evils of society. Evils like overpriced drinks and girls who pretend they're actually into you at a rate of $20 per four minute rock song. Just imagine this person. The kind of guy who isn't savvy enough to realize he's wearing his helmet backwards. And don't worry, I'll tell you that story another time. So what happens when you introduce this individual to such a wretched den of iniquity?

Well apparently said individual takes all his fundamentalist ideals and throws them right out the fucking window. Because tits. And ass.

The sign outside says "Deja Vu - Showgirls." Yeah, it's a chain. God bless America. What would hardworking soldiers and airmen stationed around Tacoma do without such a place? Go out and try to actually speak with girls in the wild? And face rejection? Fuck that, it's payday. Friday. "The day the Eagle shits," as our First Sergeant always says.

And that slogan: "100's of beautiful girls - and 3 ugly ones." McDonald's marketing has got nothing on Deja Vu. That billions and billions served bit is old and busted.

I've already had my inaugural lap dance and fallen into the whole trap about buying your dancer a super overpriced non-alcoholic beverage. I don't understand the scam right now, but I've got that feeling that if I don't do it then Moose and Rocko are going to haul my ass out onto the street. I've got cash to burn so I go with the flow for one round. Don't rock the boat. I learned at a young age that's the easiest way to get through any unknown situation. Go with the goddamn flow.

I don't recall which song they just played even as I leave the VIP room. I would have preferred "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails but probably got "All Star" by Smash Mouth. It's already a haze. Anyway, I get roped into the whole buy your dancer a drink routine along with Warner and Wolff. We were very clearly marked as newbies the moment we walked into this place. So they're in the same situation. Three dudes, and three ladies desperately watching the clock so they can skate away from the fake conversation after like three minutes.

Meanwhile, Dick Lips is still sitting there looking awkward and trying to tell us to leave. This isn't the kind of place for people to be. These dancers are someone's daughter. That whole spiel.

So I don't even know how it happens, but of course he breaks down eventually. It takes maybe ten minutes. I'm laughing and high fiving the Super W Brothers when some girl gets ol' Wild Man to break down and leads him by the hand back to a private booth. We did it. We got him to realize he's a normal guy just like everyone else, with a dick and everything. Ok, well maybe not like everyone else. We can do things like tell a joke and remember to tie both shoes before leaving the house. But you get the idea.

Next thing I know Dick Lips is back at our table after the song ends. And I can't believe my fucking eyes. This dude is standing around, out of breath like he just sprinted a half mile. And he's got a raging tentpole. Kinda hard not to miss because we're sitting down and Cap'n Winky is at eye level.

"Jesus Christ, Wild Man! Wolff shouts. "Have a good time in there?"

"Huh?" He looks down. "Oh, yeah."

I've seen a lot of shitty 80s comedies and I thought the lap dance boner trope was just a joke. Nope. Dick Lips has got a rager going.

"Dude, fucking sit down man." He does.

Over the rest of the evening before we leave which is probably about an hour or so until we hit up a bar, two notable things happen. One: a dancer tells me that a bouncer has escorted Warner to an ATM off the premises because his card didn't work at the ATM in here. So we probably shouldn't leave without him. She's a nice girl. Probably pre-med. Law school, maybe. And Two: Dick Lips enthusiastically runs up after his second or fifth lap dance and tells us there's a girl on girl shower scene going on in the VIP lounge.

"Come on guys! It's OK, you can bring your drinks!" He runs off, waving us back to where there is, in fact, a girl on girl shower scene going on. I didn't expect to see two chicks in a kiddie pool when I woke up this morning, but whatever. Roll with it. Wild Man is apparently the guy who knows what's what in this joint.

"What the fuck, it's like he's been going here for years," Wolff says. "This is old hat for him already."

Eventually Warner gets back with sort of an embarrassed look, having been escorted to find his wallet since they wouldn't take an IOU and all. And we have to practically drag Wild Man out so Wolff can drive us to the next bar.

It only takes until Monday afternoon formation before all 80 or so soldiers in Bravo Troop know Dick Lips popped a tentpole in public. This is only the beginning of his legacy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Seriously, seven bibles!

Tacos on street
Dorms, no en suite
Awake in ears only
Marching to
Marching fro
Where the hell
Do I go?
Place of note
Stand in line
Is it just
A waste of time?
Seven Bibles
One dictionary
Two bags
A thousand crumbs

Sunday, September 23, 2018


"I fant to fuck your blood."

"You want to what!?"

"Fuck! Fuck! Flurp. Dwink." The man in the old-fashioned tuxedo pointed toward his extremely long canines. "My teef."

"Oh, sorry."

"It'f juft fo hawd," the man broke down. "No one takef me ferioufly."

The blonde let out a sympathetic coo. "Oh, you poor baby." She moved over and began to stroke the man's arm. "I'm sure it'll work out someday. Have you considered getting them trimmed?"

"Yef." the man stared at the ground. "I'm a fampire. I wegenerate."

The woman sat with him for a minute. "I'm not a virgin you know."


"I'm not a virgin. I thought vampires had some preference for virgins or something."


Saturday, September 22, 2018

to Gabi

A desire we share
From babe to gray haired
Is to be free
And explore where we dare

To wander the land
As long as we can
What cities we'll see
Until we got sand

We'll swim 'round the beach
Whole schools of fish teach
Lessons from the sea
Which we must then preach

We must let others know
How to help the world grow
And how best steward to be
To life high and low

When finished, we'll fly
Soar high in the sky
We'll send word to Gabi
Just to say "Hi!"

Friday, September 21, 2018

Suicide King

I shot myself.

Sometime in March 2006. Not sure of the exact date, but I’m pretty sure it was March. I remember time by relating it to movies. I can remember in startling detail where a saw a movie and who I was with. And in this case I know I had already seen Revenge of the Sith about a year before. And that came out in 2005. So when I tried to kill myself the following year that’s how I know it was 2006.

I used a Glock .40 caliber pistol. Serial number on the barrel was CRF 404. I bought it at a sporting goods store in Tallahassee in the late 90s when I actually feared for my life while delivering shitty pizzas to even shittier neighborhoods.

Anyway, in that spring of 2006 in Portland, Oregon, I damn sure left a suicide note for my then best friend and put a round right through my gut. Left side of the abdomen because I was shooting with the right hand. I was going to go for the head but I chickened out at the last second. Metaphor for my own life, right? Turns out I missed the vital organs so after I realized I made the biggest fuck up of my life and called 911 I had a fair chance and didn’t bleed out. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a shitty experience and I spent 2 weeks in the mental health ward. I’m told it was the same hospital where they filmed One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Not sure if I’m supposed to wear that as a badge of honor or not.

While I was there I had a few calls from family members at a pay phone in the ward. My mom telling me I should maybe go live with my dad for a while, and my dad saying maybe I should come down to California. Seems like both of them wanted to pawn me off to the other. My parents’ relationship is probably the number one thing that fucked me up since I was six years old, so who knows what I was supposed to make of this.

My best friend and his wife visited me in the hospital. They were good friends and I was the best man at his wedding. This was one of the last times I saw either of them, and flash forward to years in the future: they don’t talk to me anymore. I don’t blame them. I’m a liability.

The one phone call I remember the most was my sister. She broke down even more than I did and I could tell she was in tears. She said, “I just want you to be happy.” We didn’t grow up together, so it really made it that much more poignant when I realized that my actions had hurt her. Of all the moments in my life I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad as when I heard her crying on the other end of the phone.

After I got out of the hospital I was homeless for a few weeks. About a month in total as I remember it. I grabbed my most important possessions and abandoned the rest to drive down to my grandparents’ house in Salinas where my dad was still freeloading. I remember him yelling at me because he demanded I go with him to some bar to hang out with his friends, while I didn’t want to. Because I was scared of interacting with people. Also I’d just shot myself and tried to remove myself from this Earth. He stormed out. I told my grandma that it was time for me to leave. I got in my truck and left. It was the last time I ever spoke to either of them. Grandma Hosford passed away shortly after this. My dad died 10 years later in 2016. We never spoke in that 10 year span. I was too furious to reach out and he probably didn’t know how.

Ironically I got the news while watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my mom in Philly. I say “ironically” because Star Wars was the one thing my Dad & I bonded over. He took me to see Return of the Jedi on opening day May 25, 1983 and it was arguably the best moment of my childhood. To quote Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam: “Oh how quick the sun can drop away.” I associate Star Wars with my dad, but I remember the first movie I ever saw in theaters was The Empire Strikes Back with my mom. Can you be any more fucked up as an 80s kid in a broken home?

So after the .40 cal event. 10 years later, where am I? I’ve got a great job. I own a house, which is weird because  I was homeless living out of my Ford Ranger for a while until my mom took me back in. I activated the G.I. Bill and Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, and went to school in Florida at UCF. Eventually I ended up with a degree in accounting and got a great job with the IRS in Philadelphia. I chose that city because my sister lived there. She got engaged while I’d been going back to school and I figured a change of pace would be good for me. And it would be awesome living near a family member who understood the ins and outs of a broken home.

After I moved to Philly my life started to get on track. There was a good 2 years where I didn’t socialize and just adapted to having stability in my life. Eventually I met some folks thanks to the Internet. I have a few good friends to this day dating back to 2013 when I decided to leave the past behind and see what was out there. Guarantee a few of them are reading this story. And to quote my favorite literary character Roland Deschain: Thankee-sai.

One of these friends, a lady... I call her “Bartendress” for the same reason that Charlie in Always Sunny referred to “the Waitress.” She understood my mental health issues. It was the biggest weight off my shoulders knowing that somebody understood. That’s all I needed. Someone to understand. I’ll probably never talk to her again because people go their separate ways and I’m a burden that people would probably prefer to forget. But I will always be grateful that she was an ear when I needed it most.

And although my old friends have lives of their own and we don’t communicate anymore, I do have a few select awesome folks that I met since I moved to Philly. We don’t talk to each other on a daily basis because that’s how it is in adult life. But we’re all there for each other when we need someone to listen.

I consider myself a minor character in everyone else’s story. But since I live my life my song lyrics and love 90s rock, here’s my favorite Alice In Chains chorus that I feel is relevant to this story. If you read this far you’re a champ. Thanks for sticking around.

“You my friend
I will defend
And if we change, well
I’ll love you anyway.”

B.H. Hosford
July 14 1976 - ??

The Very Smallest Tokyo

How scary is this place?
A fence, a wall, a brace
All for quick lockdown
Of a library downtown


You'll be killed, you'll be shot
They will take all you've got
Beware Los Angeles

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Forget it, it's Chinatown

Sitting and searching
Nothing to say
How will I waste
The rest of this day


I wrote a bit
Just this morn
My pen is mighty tired
The well is dry
From which that
Good ideas are sired


Poems are supposed to be
Love Letters (Words)
Dear Favorite Language
My poems turn out
Ink on Paper (Letters)
Characters without Character


Floozle Zip Astound
Crack open sky
Bright staggering stripe
Human Achievement
Titanium White

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

to Colter


James Hill stared at the card in his hand, not quite sure what to make of it. In fact, it took him several minutes to figure out if it was really meant for him.

"Jimmy, what'd you get?" his mom inquired after opening and discarding a few pieces of junk mail.

"I got a love letter?"

"Oh, who's it from? One of the girls in your class? I bet it's from Molly. Is it from her?"

"I think it's from God."

James put the letter on the counter in front of his mother. It had all the hallmarks of being a love letter - red, white, & pink coloring, shaped like a heart, frilly edges, and all that jazz. His mom inspected it for a moment.

"And where's the envelope? Is there a return address?" The envelope was dutifully produced - interestingly, it had neither address nor return address, just 'James Hill' neatly embossed in gold leaf. His mother flipped both envelope and card over and back several times. She paused, stumped for a minute.

"What is it, Mom?" James finally broke the silence.

"Well, this is much too nice to be someone playing a joke on you or to be one of the people in your class. Who did you think is was from again?"

"I think it's from God."

"And why do you think that?"

"Well, I wrote him a Valentines Day card saying I loved him."

"First up, young man, God could be a woman, so be careful with this 'him' business. Second, why would you write a valentine to God?"

"Miss Harmon had us make cards and I didn't want to write one for anyone in class, so I wrote one to God and I put it in the collection basket just yesterday."

"Is that so?" James' mom had a look very similar to the look she gave when James totally didn't eat all the cookies or when James definitely cleaned his room and made his bed.

"Well, I've never heard of God writing anyone love notes before, so I think there's a better explanation out there." James' mom surveyed the room. "I suppose it doesn't really matter anyway - even if it's a prank, it's harmless. Now, while I get dinner ready I want you to sweep up a bit and straighten up around the front door. Okay?"

"Okay Mom!"

With that, James got the broom and the dustpan from the closet and got to work picking up shoes and sweeping and making sure coats were neatly on hooks instead of thrown in a pile. It took him a few mnutes, but it was an easy chore to do - not the big kind like cleaning the bathroom. Once all the shoes were on the rack and all the coats were on the hooks and all the dust & dirt was collected, he stepped outside to throw the dust out.

A thought struck James as he shook out the broom and dustpan. He looked up to the sky and cheerfully said "Thank you God!"

He took a step before looking and tripped. Luckily he was able to catch himself as he fell and didn't get hurt. His hands were placed square on the mat in front of the door. He looked down at the letters in the same typeface as those in the card: WELCOME

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Trek

"It's certainly ominous," someone in the group let out. Sure we were all thinking it as we crowded down the path, but the act of speaking the thought aloud gave it a certain power - our collective mood soured noticeably.

'I wonder if this is how livestock feel as they're led to the slaughter.' Flickers of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle came unbidden to my mind. I looked ahead at the collection of rags and unwashed heads in front of me - looking down wouldn't have netted much different - feet instead of heads, I suppose. It was concrete elsewise.

I'd done my best to keep my rags clean over the past few weeks. They'd not started as rags, of course, but the crossing took its toll. Salt water, sleeping in boats, sleeping in the woods, endless treks, all of it and more. Even the most stubborn of us had dropped their bags and extras a week or more ago.


Writer's Blok

Buttery Buttholes
be better than this
why write poems
only when pissed?
Both definitions
whether anger or drink
should encourage
a Simon to think.
Why do these things
spur imagination?
Is it a release
of gratification?
Poetry flows
from all types of thought
Cheesy last line
what hath God wrought?


Wailing stem bent
Potted not preserved
Vomit stance


Phone on table
out of mind
Black on grain
For once object
Not temptation


Boners and benders
and shiney chrome fenders
in a world rent
where are the menders?


A question mark in every poem
Does it spark from the unknown?
Or just a device for rhyme schemes tricky?
To make them end nice when going gets sticky.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Written Under Duress

Everywhere's a Library
in Anchorage
Buses, Bookstores, Back Alleys
From birdhouses in the 'burbs
to churches in the city
Everywhere's a Library
in Anchorage


Afloat, floating
Adrift, drifting
I'm not in trouble
It's just a feeling
Existential freedom
Distress, stressing
I need to know
Becalmed or calming?


I did not eat a calorie
for the day yesterday
While I did my fast
One whole day went past
Did I waste the day?
I certainly can't say
A body pained in bed
Does wonders for the head.


There are so few perfect nights in life that I'm thrilled to be able to count this one.

It's the day before Valentine's Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are only 4 songs deep in the setlist. It's the first time I've ever heard them live. I know that their sets don't run long now that Kiedis is getting older and has to save his voice for each show. But ever since Flea and Josh started off with an E minor jam that turned into "Can't Stop" I knew this was gonna be one for my own personal record books.

She's standing next to me. Enjoying the show, having a great time. There's that awkward intangible vibe between friends and maybe something more than friends. But music wins the day, and I hear Flea hit that first bass note.

"Oh man," I tell her. "They never play this one! This is a treat!"

"I don't think I know this," she says.

"It's a rare one. I love this song!"

The irony isn't lost on me. Something in the back of my mind tells me this won't work, so I sieze the moment to lock this one perfect memory in time before it becomes a lost prophecy. I slip my hand around her waist as we both groove to the song.

What she doesn't know, but unfortunately I do know, is that the song is about knowing when love is lost. When it's time to walk away. It's about a guy who put too much effort into a girl he cared deeply for. She didn't reciprocate. And he realized that sometimes in life you have to throw in the towel and move on.

What I don't know is that she is happily dating someone. That they will be married just over a year from now. That she says she is a friend but will eventually stop talking to me while she moves forward with the people that are important in her life.

I enjoy the 5 minutes of live music. A moment in time that can't be recreated. One of my favorite bands playing a song that has personal meaning to me, while a person I care about who doesn't feel the same way is in my arms. Every second that passes is one more second closer to this perfect moment ending forever. That makes it extra precious. Although I know this will have a bittersweet ending, I hang on to that moment. The music, the feeling of her smiling next to me, and all of life's problems forgotten for a few brief minutes.

The only thing that could make this night better would be if the band played our favorite song. And as it turns out, the penultimate song just so happens to be the one. As soon as I hear the first arpeggio: A, E, face lights up and we look at each other.

I got a bad disease...but from my brain is where I bleed

She says, "You thought they weren't going to play it?"

And yeah, I kind of thought they weren't going to. But they did.

And when Soul to Squeeze is over, I think back to two hours ago when I took a picture of us in front of the Wells Fargo Center. Because for my first RCHP show I figured there's no better way to capture the moment than a picture of us

Standing in line to see the show tonight
And there's a light on, heavy glow
By The Way, I tried to say 
I'd be there...waiting for

As fate would have it, the last song of the set just so happens to be By The Way. I know it as soon as I hear the first F/C/D minor chords. This evening couldn't have been any more perfect if I'd scripted it myself.

But after we leave the show that one rare cut is nagging at the back of my head. The song that she hadn't heard. The song I know is about love lost, giving up, and moving on.

Hey...oh long?
I guess I oughta walk away
Hey...oh long...
What you gonna do today?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

TGI Fucktards

I'm sitting at a table in Fridays, with Wolff on my left, Warner across from me, and Wild Man in the last seat opposite mine. His eyes look out at us through his stupid glasses, and there's those fucked up lips that I'm constantly trying not to laugh at. Sounds mean, but hey, fuck him.

So the waitress shows up with our salads, and the salad ritual begins. I'm starting to dig into mine, as are my counterparts, when we notice something odd. Wild Man is eating his house salad with ranch dressing.

With his fingers.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Wolff asks. Me and Warner have the 'never-ceases-to-amaze' look on our faces.

"Huh?" he says between ranch dressing coated lips. "I don't have any silverware."

"Just take some off the table next to us!" Wolff has opened the door to reality to Dick Lips, but he's too fucking stupid to step through.

"I don't want to get in trouble," Mr. Passive mumbles.

I can't take it anymore. "You moron!" I say. "Just take it. There's nobody there, nobody gives a shit."

"I'll just wait for the waitress," he explains. Another chunk of jizz-covered lettuce with tomato passes from fingers to lips. Warner is making his usual 'you fucking idiot' face.

As I'm wondering if anybody else in the restaurant who isn't three years old is eating salad with their fingers, Wolff stands up. "I can't take it! Here!" He reaches all of three feet to the next table, vacant, and grabs a napkin-rolled fork and knife. He slams it down on the table in front of Wild Man. This once happened with Ketchup in Applebee's.

"Thanks," Dick Lips mumbles. He unwraps his silverware, smearing ranch dressing on the napkin in the process, and Wolff hangs his head in disbelief. In many situations, I take the opportunity to use a Hoss-style movie quote. This is one of those times.

"Wild Man," I begin.

He looks up as he spears some crap on his plate.

"When you go to the bathroom and the toilet lid is down, do you shit your pants?"

About one second of silence passes, then Warner, gotta love him, almost chokes on his food, he's laughing so fucking hard. Wolff catches it a second later. I wonder at times like this if the people think we're the most obnoxious assholes they'll run into all night, making so much noise, usually at Wild Man's expense.

"Ha, ha," he says in his stupid little mock laugh.

I'm still laughing over that one, because that dumb fuck just re-enlisted for six years.

So the rest of the meal goes by normal, with the occasional at-Dick-Lips'-expense joke. Any other normal human would have stopped hanging out with us a long time ago. But he takes the abuse. Likewise, we would have given up on Captain Dipshit even longer ago, but hey, he's got a car.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Wild Man excuses himself to the bathroom, making the cardinal mistake of leaving his food unguarded. Wolff wastes no time grabbing the salt shaker.

"Sweet," Warner says between burger bites. I'm grinning like a fiend. Wolff unscrews the top of the shaker, and proceeds to ceremoniously dump half the contents into Wild Man's fruity drink, one of those fru-fru things he always orders. No alcohol. Wild man and alcohol don't mix.

About that time, the waitress steps up to our table, and sees our mischief in progress.

"You guys are sooo bad," she admonishes.

No shit.

Wolff still has that big goofy face as he hands me the salt shaker. As I return it to its original spot on the table, he stirs the drink with the straw. They're free here.

Enter Wild Man just as the deed has been done.

So the meal continues, all three of us silently cackling evilly, willing him to take a sip. I enjoy the look from Warner across the table, a look that says he takes pleasure in knowing those big lips will pucker up in disgust any moment. But they don't.

And then the waitress shows up with a refill for Wild Man, knowing what's coming up. This should seem odd since his current drink is almost full. But Dick Lips can't find his way out of a paper bag. I know. I actually drew him a map once.

Come on.

Drink it!

The salt must have settled.

And then, when Wild Man gets near the bottom, he takes a nice long, slow sip from the straw. Then I am rewarded with those huge lips puckering up in disgust.

"Which one of you put salt in my drink?" he yells at us. Cool, because he doesn't get pissed that often. Then Wolff goes off on him.

"What!? Don't you dare ever accuse us of fucking with your drink!"

"Well, it had to be one of you," Wild Man reasons. Sound logic. I'm impressed.

"We're your friends!" Wolff continues. "We don't do that kind of shit! And I'm pissed off that you'd have the balls to think we'd do something that stupid to you!" Me and Warner try not to choke on our food.

"Maybe you're right," Wild Man admits. "Someone might have messed up in the kitchen. I'm sorry."

No shit.

This guy really exists.

Six fucking years.

Author's note: I originally wrote this shortly after it happened circa 2001 when I was in the Army. I recently discovered a written copy and transcribed it exactly as written. Partially to preserve integrity of art or some such bullshit, but mostly so I can look back and see my shortcomings as a writer. I don't like my excessive use of commas and run-on sentences, but hey - live and learn. It's a product of its time.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rookery Rhymes

Early Morning
Check-out race
Rush hour broken
(by a) Smiling Face
Through overcast drizzle
A sunshine ray
Great to see you
Enjoy your day!


I am required
to be inspired
by a hulking mass of ice.

And by surrounds
where life abounds
from towering trees to mice.

But when writing
the theme inviting
is something else I hold dear.

To be honest
it's my fondness
for whiskey and wine and beer!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Best Man

I've been tapped for best man duties twice. I did and still do consider it a great honor. It's a pretty big deal if a buddy thinks highly enough that he'd ask me to fill the role over say, his brother or a friend he's known since grade school. And in both cases, these were two friends I'd only known for 2 or 3 years at the time they got married.

First time was my rookie outing. My friend and his bride were together since high school before I knew them. I remember being really nervous because I knew I'd be expected to do a speech. Nowadays I'm much, much better at speaking in front of a crowd. I fucking hate doing it, but I've got a certain sense of style and comedic timing that I've developed over the years. So for my first time doing a speech I gave up trying to write something and just decided, "Fuck it. We're doing it live." Shot from the hip and totally winged it. I was nervous as hell but glad when it was over and I could get back to drinking a beer and reenacting the "Louie, Louie" scene from Animal House during the reception. All in all, I'd give it a 3 out of 10. They were really good friends and it felt awesome to be included in their special day.

The second time was like night and day compared to the first. You're gonna need a bit of backstory first, though. The groom in question was a great friend I met in the Army. My first line sergeant actually. Supposedly there's no fraternization with the enlisted Joes, but we got along well enough that we threw that rule right out the window. We had a lot in common, including the same birthday as it turned out. Odd, right? Anyway, he had met his bride back in high school (there's a trend here, I know) and they separated when he joined the Army and she went to college.

At some point when we were hanging out talking about high school girlfriends, the way guys do, he pulled out one of those wallet photos that were popular back when physical pictures used to be a thing. I was dumbfounded. She was a beauty. I recall my reaction was something along the line of, "This girl? She actually talked to you?" They were both from Portland, and one weekend trip down to Portland from Fort Lewis I got to meet her when she was home from college. We used to take a lot of weekend trips down to Oregon to escape the drudgery of being on base all the time. I was amazed when I got to meet my buddy's ex-girlfriend, because she had personality, manners, charisma: the works. Stellar human being. On the drive back to Fort Lewis we stopped at a gas station. And I remember while he was filling up his tank I said to him, "Dude. If I find out someday that was the girl that got away, I will find you. And I will beat you." Something really close to that, anyway.

Flash forward a few years. After me relentlessly egging him on, they ended up dating again. And eventually engaged. And since you started this short story at the beginning obviously you know they ended up married. When I was doing my best man speech I even invoked the "girl that got away" quote, which was now null and void since he was scared enough of me that he got married instead. Don't thank me. I just do what needs to be done. Anyway, I owned that speech and good times were had by all. Solid 8 out of 10.

I find it ironic that a guy who doesn't know the first thing about relationships or marriage somehow made a good enough friend to two different couples that they included me in their ceremony. And I won't lie. It does hurt a lot that they don't talk to me anymore. Friends moving on is sort of a recurring theme in my life. Over the years people fade away, and in their case it's more important to focus on their families than an old friend who isn't in the picture. I don't blame them one bit, and even though I'd like to say I'd never do that if the roles were reversed, I probably would. There's only so many times you can try to keep friendships active before you realize you're making all of the effort and it's time to stop. Eventually I learned to step back and let them move on to be happy in their own world.

What else did I learn? Good friends are rare and an incredible find when personalities click. Enjoy friendships while they last. Embrace the laughter and good memories. Step aside when it's no longer your time.

Also, I'm not the best man. But I do think I'm a pretty good one. Solid 10 out of 10.

Bench Press

Expensive; Offensive
It all adds up
If rumors be true
Trade a day for a cup


I slept here just yesterday
'neath this very awn
My body weary, my spirit broke
My mouth affixed a yawn
I wanted to sleep elsewhere
But my strength had gone
I was feeling a long way away
From where a thing's a jawn

Friday, September 7, 2018

How much does attention cost?

Attention ever elsewhere

Take some time
Write a line!
Attention ever elsewhere

Look, a gal!
A chat pal
Attention ever elsewhere

Push your pen
Can't find zen
Attention ever elsewhere