Don’t Murder People, Yo!

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“I can’t go to the gym tonight. Somebody got murdered.”
“What the fuck? Who got murdered?”
“A friend of ours. You don’t know her.”
“Well do they know who murdered her?”
“Yeah, her ex.”

 

Life is fucked up and people do fucked up things. It is also wonderful and there are many wonderful people alive right now who are up to some amazing stuff. It’s better for me to focus on the good things going on in the world. That’s hard as a political activist because a lot of that work is pointing out the disastrous and sometimes illegal bullshit that those clowns in Washington DC are up to. It’s hard, too, when your buddy; with whom you’d sweated a swung hammers all day, went to Lowe’s and AutoZone with after work, looked at all the other working class motherfuckers who were still dirty as we were from work and had gone to these places shortly after dark, after work to fix their own sink or carburetor, talked about getting a beer with but decided instead to go to the gym, when he says that someone he knows has been murdered, it makes it hard to stay positive. But we must. We must at this moment in our history; we must or we’re sunk.  Even when devastating news comes.
Stop murdering people, assholes.

 

I was tired when I walked in the door. Dog-tired. The carpentry work is hard and I love it. I love sweating the day away moving my body around. It’s the only time my body doesn’t hurt. I love running the forklift too. I love making that big machine do delicate, surgical moves of big heavy things. I love that people will watch the shows on Food Network and never know that it was me who helped build the world inside which it was created.  I love my coworkers; they are working-class heroes to me, all.

 

Although I love the lighting gigs and the set construction too, I have no intention of giving up the writing. I still have my dream of getting Lilac and Liquor to Broadway and Suffrin, Alabama Netflix, Hulu, or cable. It can happen. If I let it.  I have to balance the side hustles with the art (for now at least until the flood of wealth and fame that truly must be on its way). Balance has never been my forte. I’m trying.

I was tired when I walked in the door. And I stank. I mean, I like the smell of me after a day’s work. And I know most of the guys I’m attracted to like that smell too. But it can’t be guaranteed that someone getting a massage from me would like it and although I was dog-tired and stinky when I walked in the door, there was a message from a new massage client wondering if I could see him tonight and I’m not in a position to turn down work. I have lots of travel coming up and although most of it is for work, some of it is for deferred pay and travel is expensive. My truck broke down this week. I thought I’d fixed it but ended up stalling out on the highway last night and having to be towed home. I hope the $120 I’ve spent on cleaners and sparkplugs and fluids will be enough to do the trick. I need my truck to work. I need to spend as little as possible. I have a couple thousand dollars worth of parking tickets from when I lived in The Quarter and I haven’t had a current tag in two years. How do people do it? I work hard and I try to contribute in valuable ways to this world. How do people do it? The passenger side window motor is burned out. I’m going to have to order another ($190) and hope that I’ll be able to install it myself. As I said, I need my truck to work and I have to do these side gigs to survive. They are not interested in a monologue at the register at the grocery store; they want cold, hard cash.  Even with my artist and residency, I still am only treading beneath the surface and gazing longingly toward the light. I have a straw to breath. That’s getting old. I hope that one day I can shoot out of the water like dolphin. I do work hard. It just seems that when I pick up extra work or work more hours, another “something” pops up that costs me the extra. That too is getting old.

So I told the guy to give me a few minutes to set up the table and shower and then I’d give him the best massage he’s ever had. That’s the guarantee I offer: if it’s not the best bodywork you’ve ever had, you don’t have to pay. In 23 years of doing it, I’ve never had anyone not pay. I need the money but also, as tired as I was/am, I was really happy to work on him. My body hurts. I empathize very deeply with people when I do bodywork on them so it feels good to my body too. Even if I don’t know them, I pray for their wellbeing while I help their body feel good and whole again. It’s also a peaceful hour inside my life which as you know can be very, very chaotic at times.  For me it’s like an hour of Tai Chi. I’m glad I helped that man feel better tonight. And I like that $85 sitting on my desk.

 

It’s half past ten and my buddy is picking me up at 6:20 to do it all again tomorrow. No matter what’s going on in my life (and I have at least one major stressor right now which I won’t mention), I need to stay close to the page. I’ve not been as faithful to the blog as I like to be and all I can promise is that I’m trying to do better.

 

I need this. I need you to read. I need to feel like I’m not in it alone and I want you to feel the same.

Oh yeah, and don’t murder anybody.


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