Tuesday, October 25, 2005

MLWS: Against My Better Judggment

I stole a song that reminds me so strongly of my manchildhood (that period between age 22 and 26 or so) that I had to tell you guys about it. I don't know how long it will last, or what form it's going to take, precisely, but it's another part of my life that I haven't really talked about...

GG and Rebecca, you know some of these people. Keep it to yourself, although feel free to correct me via email if you feel I'm getting something wrong.

Sometime after the giant acid retailing days of the early nineties, and after the brief social remission I had as a result, I somehow hooked up with a couple of old friends from my second go-round with college. We had drifted apart after I left college the second time, mostly because they didn't approve of drugs and I didn't approve of gun running...which sounds kind of melodromatic, but it's the truth. Although I didn't really have any problem with gun-running morally, you understand, I just didn't feel comfortable storing crates of contraband in my rather limited closet space. I prefered wafers and doused papers to crates and gun oil, in other words. Inconvenient.

Anyway, they were my friends, and while I'm not sure how we jumped the gap between "friends" and "hanging out regularly again," I'm pretty sure it wasn't my fault.

There was a lot of deep background that I could expound upon, if I felt like giving you the best foundation in My History, but this isn't a history blog, it's a story blog, so I'll just pick it up...sheesh...what was the first memorable story?

Ah, jeez. The first memorable story...no, it's not memorable, at least not for you. For me, well, let's see:

Edless was a big guy, smart, but with a short temper and a broad waistline, which seemed at odds with his abundant energy and professed lifestyle...I wasn't really sure if I liked him or not, but he sort of came as a package (one of those annoying heat-sealed-plastic packages that takes a boxcutter to get into) with another friend of mine, Chuck. Keeping it simple, Chuck and I had met the previous semester because he was doing a paper on Satanism in Oklahoma....and...well, we became friends. Not due to Satanism, you understand (although lots of Evil Dead movies and whiskey were involved), but due...well, yes, perhaps it was whiskey. Anyway, by the end of 1995 I was a regular invitee to some of Chuck's parties.

It soon became apparent to me that Chuck had a lot of rather colorful friends. Now, I'd pretty well plumbed the depths of colorful people as far as punks, acidheads, hippies, hipsters, homos and hoodlums is concerned, but I found in Chuck's crew a gang of people who seemed...as energetic, as happy, and as dissolute as my own crew. The difference was their...creed, you might call it. Most of the specific group I want to talk about were skinheads of various sorts--I want to be clear that Chuck's friends were not predominately skinheads, but rather the group that I'm talking about was primarily skins.

Eh, I know this is rather disjointed, but I've been working my way up to telling these stories for quite some time. Personally, I'm not one for joining any group, much less one that requires a haircut and a uniform...

But tomorrow, or sometime soon, I'll tell you drunken stories.

Yes, feel free to jump the gun and start a comment thread about consorting with fascists and such. I'll be here, and I have a much bigger font than you. Sucka.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rudy Jones: Predatory Mites

Since I can't seem to Google any references to Rudy on my own fucking blog, I'm hoping I don't tell the same story again. For those of you who weren't reading (assuming anyone still IS reading), Rudy was a chemical applicator for me several years ago. He's absolutely wacko, but quite charming in his own way.

Now, Rudy was really superhuman when it came to a lot of things. He sprayed more turf than I've ever seen anyone spray, ate hugely (my boss once followed him down May, and watched him stop at six fast food restaurants in the span of half an hour), and had an optimism about life and his place in it that I haven't seen matched anywhere outside of the White House.

But Rudy had weaknesses. Gurls, as you're all aware, could wrap him around their cruel talons with a smile. The sight of his own blood caused him to shut down for a week. And he had a fear of the microscopic that bordered on supernatural obsession.

Rudy believed to the core of his being that there were bugs that lived in and under his skin. These bugs came and went periodically, and made their presence known by boils or eruptions on his skin. To me, these looked like quarter-sized scabs, but to Rudy, they were tiny parasites, or monsters. He regaled me with earnest tales of cutting them open to try and dig out the little critter inside, with varying results. "Normally I get 'em," he said, "but sometimes they just move."

Once I saw what Rudy was using to dig around (in his own flesh, let's be clear on this), I was sure that the problem wasn't anything other than a very bad skin condition (brought on by not fucking bathing for weeks on end) complicated with unclean "surgical tools." The original tool was an X-acto knife, which was crusted with matter and secreted in the glove box of his work truck, but later he switched to a swiss army knife the company handed out as gifts one Christmas. Sometimes, when his flesh was very tender, he'd dig into his face with a toothpick.

Gross, huh? Where did these bugs COME from, you ask?

Off trees. Cedar trees, specifically.

See, his face was bad, but not truly horrifying, until the second winter he was living in his car. Previous to this, he'd taken a shower pretty regularly (although not exactly frequently), but upon losing his apartment and moving back into the MMRU, the whole hygiene thing just fell apart for him. Further complicating this was the fact that he spent most nights in a crappy little restaurant very close to my house, which had both off track betting and the dubious patronage of Jamelle Holloway.

(As an aside, will someone please tell me I'm not an old coot because I know the name Jamelle Holloway?)

Thus, he spent most evenings that fall and winter hunkered over a draw beer and a plate of greasy steak, eyeing the big screens and the firm buttocks of the serving staff, who soon learned they made a lot of money if they'd just shut up and smile.

But as time wore on, his face became a serious problem. It got bad enough that children (and not a few housewives) were scared of him, and I began urging him to see a doctor, or barring that, start bathing nightly.

"Aw, man, them doctors don't know nothin'! I know what it is already!"

"What, then?"

"Predatory mites! They jumped off them cedar trees we put in a few months back, and I been trying to get the little suckers out of my face for the longest time!"

He went on to tell me that it's a well known fact that predatory mites get on people all the time, and while they rarely do serious injure to people, they're also hard to get rid of. Rudy felt that the only way to really get them to leave was to keep their little entry wounds open, so they could crawl out on their own. Thus, the X-acto knife in the truck, so he could work on them during lunch.

This went on for several months, but as his face worsened, his outlook worsened, so by springtime (that is, after his wrongful arrest for DUI, which is another story), we forced him to visit a doctor.

Of course, we paid for it, and had to pitch it to him in terms of our own peace of mind, but he did go. The doctor wrote him a prescription for an antibiotic, and told him to start washing his fucking face already.

But Rudy wasn't convinced. "Aw, man, them doctors don't know what they're talking about. It was one of them minimum wage doctors, anyway. He never even heard of predatory mites!"