Nut Jobs I’ve Known; #147

Mud Shark BluesInterested Gentleman


I’ve met a few.  Over the years I’ve made the acquaintance of one or two…hundred.  Collected them all.  All brands.  All flavors.  The full spectrum.  Weirdos.  Oddballs.  Freaks.  Colorful crackpots.  Entertaining eccentrics.  Whimsical fruitcakes.  Absent-minded mystics.  Neurotic non-conformists.  Fevered visionaries.  The bat-chain insane.  Deviants.  Sociopaths.  Compulsive liars.  Babbling idiots.  Tortured geniuses.  Paranoid parolees.  Cross-addicted dope fiends.  Chemically-imbalanced cutters.  Klepto-Dipso-Nympho-maniacs.  Bi-polar bulimics.  Dual-diagnosed uni-brows.  Didn’t matter.  If they were haunted or hunted–they swarmed my front door like summer bugs to porch light.

I’m not sure why they sought me out.   Probably felt some sort of affinity or kinship.  Probably sensed I wouldn’t be too judgey.  Probably thought they found safe harbor.

I know I felt compelled to provide it.  I tried to be friendly.  Call it Stray Dog Syndrome, but I’d take them in.  Give them a chance to relax and talk freely.  I figured no matter what Beefheartian parade music they were marching to, or living nightmare they were enduring, they were doing the best they could.  In their own fucked-up way, they were just trying to make it.  Like everybody else.  They deserved a break from the withering blows.  A little breather in between beatings.  They were yearning to breathe free and I would be their Statue of Liberty.

"Looks like Sexy Webster is up early for breakfast duty. Nice! Don't burn my bacon, bro"

Looks like Sexy Webster is up early for breakfast duty. Nice! Don’t burn my bacon, bro

Besides, I knew what it was like to feel different or not understood.  It gets lonely.  Frustrating.  Depressing.  One is more apt to breakout in bad behavior.  Which is different than just flying your freak flag high.  Bad behavior means somebody winds up getting hurt.  And that’s no fun.  Not in the long run at least.  That’s why I did my best to cut them slack.  Made the effort to be respectful.  Tolerant.  Understanding.

But I also hid my wallet and extra beers.  Made sure to stash any medicine or solvents.   Kept the croquet mallet handy.

"Easy there, Sinbad. Watch the bong."

Easy there, Sinbad. Watch the bong.

Things didn’t always go well.  There were the usual misunderstandings, hurt feelings, broken promises, raised voices and violent attempts at physical submission.  But that’s people for you.  Nutty or normal, humans can be dangerous.  Say the wrong thing and you can get a stamp collector to come at you with a letter opener.  Or the onyx statue he brought back from his vacation cruise to Mexico.

Yes sir, a few poorly worded observations and the next thing you know Mr. Mild Mannered is attempting to bludgeon you with it.  15 pounds of Aztec War God head.  Just bringing it down with both hands.  While you cower behind his globe.  Crouching.  Dodging.  Waiting for your chance to tip the mahogany desk on him.

Trust me, angry ape-warrior shit can erupt anywhere.  In a lunatic asylum or a leather-bound library.  Things go down in the real world, baby.  Things you can’t believe.

Especially with the cannons I chose to roll around on deck with.  They were already cocked and tethered rather loosely to the boards.  Even more prone to misfire.  Break a vase.  Put out an eye.  Take off a head.

You learned to watch your step and mind your mouth.  You learned to be a gracious host.  That’s it.  I think hanging out with the emotionally-imbalanced taught me to be more polite.  More attentive to other’s feelings.

"Look Honey, this lovely couple is vending handcrafted souvenirs. Let's be generous."

Look Honey, this lovely couple is vending handcrafted souvenirs. Let’s be generous.

In one rehab,  I had to room with a dweeb in coke-bottle glasses, who as a kid, had stabbed his parents in their sleep.  No bullshit.  He even showed me an old copy of the Newsweek article.  He didn’t kill them.  See?  The article was about the parents suing the shrink that got his med combo wrong.  So it really wasn’t that bad.  And that was years ago.  And he’s better now.  Lots better.  Except for having to come off the massive amount of pharmaceuticals he’d been forging scripts to self-prescribe…

…to dull his desire to kill.

Well, that’s a relief.

Now he was in the bed next to me.  Bug-eyed.  His mole face pale and waxy with Vicodin ooze.  Fidgeting.  Agitated.  Now and then twisting at the crotch of his pajamas.  Telling me bedtime stories.  Stories about things he would like to do.  Stories about what he would love to do again.  Things he knows he shouldn’t do.  But does anyway.  Because it feels so good.  Feels so good to do them anyway.

And because he thinks he has a demon.  One that follows him around.  Everywhere.

Well alrighty then.

Nothing like a cocktail of revenge torture fantasies and disturbing sexual confessions.  Some relaxing thoughts on demonic possession and murder.  And fear.  Before bed.

While trying to kick booze.

Nighty night.

"Dude, I think it's totally normal to want to kill your parents. Chill!"

Dude, I think it’s totally normal to want to kill your parents. Chill!

My new besty.  You bet your ass when he wanted to talk, I’d lend a sympathetic ear.  He terrified me.  I nodded earnestly as he told me his troubles.  Clucked my tongue.   Kicked the carpet.  Periodic pats on the shoulder.  Did my best to keep his spirits up.

“I know, brother, I know.  One day at a time.”

But I also kept a cake knife from the cafeteria under my mattress.  And one eye open.  All night.

Hey, that’s people for you.  Gotta make them like you enough to not want to kill you in your sleep.  Same old dance really.  The Dance of Life.

He never did try to kill me.  So that was good.  I didn’t have to stress too long.  They bounced his ass the minute his insurance balked.  So that was good.

But probably not.

He was one spooky dude.  Clearly a troubled individual.  One I surmised was struggling with impulse control.  Probably in need of some institutionalized assistance.  A Dixie cup full of psych meds.  Some time doing arts and crafts under close supervision.  Special mineral baths.

I tried to convince staff that this gentleman needed to be housed somewhere other than a beach-side rehab.  Maybe somewhere less razor-wire-free.  More Thoraziney.

They didn’t want to hear any of it.  In fact, the folks at administration felt that without insurance, he was as good as cured.  Free to stroll around Laguna Beach.  With all kinds of feelings.  Thoughts.  Desires.  Ideas.

That didn’t seem right.

"Check this place out, dude. They serve Tapas and validate parking.  Looks fun."

Try this place out, dude. They serve tapas and validate parking. Looks fun. You should at least check it out.

I don’t regret being nice to him though.  I really did try to steer his thoughts toward recovery.  Not just out of self-preservation either.  I wanted him to feel better.  If only to defuse any bomb he was building in his brain.  Why not climb in there and see if you can’t stop the ticking?  Clip a few wires.

But then he’d tell me about another “thing” and I’d find myself reeling with revulsion and loathing.  If I had my usual eight to fourteen beers in me I would’ve gone ahead and beat him down.  Just on principle.  Give doctors at the hospital a chance to take a closer look-see.  But this was rehab and the lack of beer allowed me to think my actions through.  Really think about the consequences of striking another patient.

There was jail.  Sure.  But there was also the possibility of coming-to someday, duct-taped to a chair in a basement.  Having to helplessly watch as Mole Man searchs for a blow torch striker.

I decided to apply the love and acceptance thing instead.  Did my best to talk him down.  While maintaining a three-foot safe zone.  And a clear path to the box spring.

Who knows what good it did?  It’s not like I had many answers at that point, coming off my own World Destruction Tour.  But I tried.  Maybe a little harder than usual.

Hopefully,  I bought some time for somebody else out there–some quality time with loved ones– before the calming effects of my loving acceptance wore off.

After that you pretty much have to hope the next person treats him with kind deference, instead of open disdain.  You have to hope some SoCal snotball doesn’t set that mad motherfucker off.

Because brother, you have no idea what kind of hurt that overt eye-roll of yours could cost you.  Not when you roll them at a demon-host like that.  One that doesn’t like you making him feel bad.  One that really likes to feel good.  His kind of good.  And is willing to do whatever it takes to feel that way.  No matter what.

You have no idea.

Yeah, better to be kind to everyone, I say.  As much as you can stand.  And pay special care to those you find odd or strange.  It’s not only the right thing to do.  It’s the best thing.  Because most nut crazies are amazing creatures.  Masterpieces that inspire awe and wonder.  Holy messengers.  You never know what hidden wisdom they might possess.  Or giddy delight they can bestow.

And yes, in some cases,

un-holy wrath deliver.

You really have no idea.

So be nice.

Nighty night.

"Yeah sorry, he was here but they bounced him. You wanna give me your number in case I see him, or just wanna hang out?"

Yeah sorry, he was in here, but they bounced him. You want to  give me your number in case I see him or you just want to hang out?








17 responses to “Nut Jobs I’ve Known; #147

  1. You’re a poet dude. And a damn fine one at that. Poet Laureate of the Misaligned Folk, in fact. Schooling us all in the fine warrior skill of salty pseduo-saintliness. And can I tell you that I haven’t laughed this much in a while? Dual-diagnosed uni-brow? How dare you string these words together. Must have been like the peanut butter / chocolate guys getting together that one fine morning in Reese’s County, USA.

    You have quite the storied life, Herr Gustaitis. I can’t imagine the folly and ferocious high-wire acts you have been spectator to and Grand Marshall to. You never cease to inspire awe and nervous chuckles. Or full on guffaws. But the dude you speak of here…Bubbles, that guy? I have met a few of those odd birds in my treatment center too. No mass murder types. This is Canada, remember. Those kinds are shipped to the Galapagos or Baja.

    But birds of a feather flock together, don’t they? Do they do that in America too? I’ll take your word on it if they do. So yeah, had some humdingers, but once you put the macho guard down and open up a bit, you see that these are just ordinary blokes who hit the pavement hard. Wet brainers. Sex fiends. Compulsive lunatics. Street thug-orphans. One of my roomies used to drink hand sanitizer when desperate. The other roomie walked with a cane from injuring himself from a withdrawal-induced seizure. All of us kicking our drug-of-no-choice while trying not to kill one another. Or ourselves.

    I learned to keep my mouth shut at certain times. I would have the job of emptying cigarette ashtrays (I was the only non-smoker there, by the way) and would listen to these guys talk about their lost lives. I felt like the bartender who’s wiping down the counter listening to One Tooth Joe talk about the glory days one more time.

    You’re a better man than me, Mr. G, because I often get intimidated by those kind of guys today. I see the tattooed, big biceped guys, smoking angry cigarettes, baseball caps backwards, reeking of testosterone and resentment, and I move away to the nerd corner and see if anyone has any Pokeman cards they want to trade. I see the disenfranchised and I am fearful of them. I know in my heart that they are frightened too, and they don’t even know it, but I don’t have the fortitude to bypass that yet. Maybe one day. I need some more compassion in that way.

    And that’s why you get it, Mr. G. You’ve been in dark places with even darker people. You not only saw the seedy underside, but stayed there and even decorated a bit. That’s where your experience is invaluable. That’s where you can get passed that toxic ooze and mental meltdown facade. Guys like me need guys like you to go first in the batting order. Show us how it’s done.

    Anyway, this was a fantastic piece, kind sir. Made me laugh, and also showed me that I have some work to do. And to remind me that we’re all children from the same Universe, not the latchkey kids we think we may be.

    Less Thorazinely Yours,


    • Mr. Paul, Indebted to your graciousness and generosity of spirit. I mean it. I’m really racking up the bills. Starting to wonder if I should seek credit counseling. Or just burn the shit-box to the ground and collect a check. Find an Indian casino and put it all on black 13. Catch the 35-to-1 pay-out. Take that money to Mushroom Man in Taos. Have Scott and Richey get rid of product. And not burn me. Then take that money back to the casino and this time play it safe and only put it on Red. Or Black. Haven’t decided yet.
      Anyway, if all goes according to plan, we will be even-steven by Labor Day. So I need you to chill until then, Canada. I have a sincere thank you I can give you in the meantime. You know, as a token of good faith.
      Now on with my reply-
      I get the intimidation factor that comes along with dealing with the backwards hat big bicepted bully boy. (I wore mine in same direction for many years. It’s an iconic look for trouble-makers) I think the unease from proximity is an entirely natural reaction. I still feel it pang up on me when encountering a male potentially more Alpha. Yep. The size-up. Going in both directions. It’s one of those awkward man moments. “If I had to, could I take him?
      If you’re really honest with yourself, sometimes you’ll have to admit no, I think he would kick my fucking ass. Destroy me. Utterly.
      In the old days, my advice would have been to get as drunk as you can, and give it your best shot. Go out in a blaze of glory. Fuck it. Give the papers something to write about.
      Now that would be my advice to you, but it wouldn’t be something I myself would feel compelled to follow. I would instead try to create an ally. Win over the barbarian. Have him fight for Rome.
      It might be a long-shot, but we’ve already established that getting one’s ass kicked, at this point, is the favorite. So why not try? See if you can’t find a way to get Goliath to drop his armor.
      So you can come in with the cheap shot. Just kidding.
      -by the way I love “smoking their angry cigarettes.” Yeah nice. Very. That made me laugh.
      Truth be told, I don’t much enjoy the company of Agro Ape Warriors much. They’re usually pretty boring. I’m thinking of a certain type. Here in California, they seem to be manufactured in Long Beach. The ball cap. The sleeved tats. The hot rod. The ersatz Bettie Page girlfriend. Sublime on tape. Those dudes are loads of attitude. But they can usually back their shit up. They know their way around the dance floor. Long Beach is a tough town.
      But so is Fresno. And National City. And you don’t see those guys driving around in a car you want. With a girlfriend you want. The sexy thing using an I Love Lucy lunch box for a purse–giving off just the slightest whiff of irony. Mmmmm. Irony. And what’s with the Oxfords and ankle socks? What kind of signal are you trying to send? That you’re a good little bad girl? Or a very bad good girl?
      But I digress. No, as cool as those Long Beach dudes may be. As cool as their rides (both kind) might be, and their well-earned reputation for hard-partying and mayhem, I wouldn’t necessarily seek out their company. They generally come up light in the sense of humor department. To be really funny, you have to be able to let your guard down and be brutally real. And these cats tend to cling to their adopted persona with tight claws.
      For them, it’s all about image. They figure if they have the image down, that’s enough. They don’t expect to have to hold an interesting conversation. Much less an entertaining or funny one. Not when just getting to look at their girlfriend should be enough entertainment.
      For your night.
      Much later.
      No, give me a group of misfit oddballs. Any day. That guy right there, the one nervously shuffling the Pokémon cards, he seems interesting. And funny. Dude, put down the ashtrays and come hang out. I’d say. To you.
      I always gravitated to funny people. (still do) If you were funny, I didn’t care about anything else. Nerd. Jock. Stoner. If you could make me laugh, you were okay by me. And if you were funny AND a girl, well forget it. Toast.
      Now you, my friend, are a funny dude. Especially on caption duty. I’ve said it before, that’s where you really unfurl your freak flag and give it a big stadium wave.
      I look at the photo, read the cap, and think “He’s from my tribe.” That’s where your warpedness really leaks through. Where you pirouette to the razor’s edge. And spin.
      It’s just the best.
      So are you, Paul. I am honored to have you roll with my crew. As for being my kind of nut job, my ex-thirsty friend, you’ve more than earned your colors and a bar stool in the club house.
      And again, thank you again for the always wonderful comments.
      Karate chop to your neck!

  2. Great post Mr. M, and boy o boy can I relate. In my wanderings I have come across a commune that seemed at first to be some old hippies, into free drugs, booze and sex. They invited me to a little winding at their place, and as the party commenced they kept talking about this dude Charlie, and how he was really great, misunderstood, and was a modern day prophet. After a while my curiosity compelled me to ask “Charlie who?” “Charlie Manson!!!” was their enthusiastic reply. At first I thought that they were pulling my leg, having a little fun, then I found the altar to Charlie and decided right then and there that this wasn’t the place I thought and it would be more beneficial to my well being to politely head to a safer environment, and not leave a forwarding address.
    I strive not to judge, because I don’t know how I would react and what I would do if I was in their place, and everybody can change and come to be one of the good guys, helping others to overcome their personal hell. So now I extend the hand of peace, yet there is still a part of me that wants to keep a shank handy, keep the exits cleared for a quick escape.

    • Great story, JR. Glad you made it out of the helter-skelter hippy house alive. I’m sure some folks weren’t so lucky. Similar thing happened to my buddy, Ace. Back in the 70’s him and some friends wound up at one of Charlie’s places. Drawn by the lure of free love and drugs, they figured they’d check out this commune of “party people.” This was before the murders and headlines. So when everybody was talking about Charlie this and Charlie that, he had know idea who they were referring to. He never saw Manson that evening. It was only later, after Chuckie became REAL famous, that Ace put it together.
      It’s stories like that though, that keep me a little wary about inviting anyone and everyone into my circle. It’s a balancing act. Being open enough to make new friends. But not wind up being butchered like livestock.
      You really have to trust your gut sometimes. Sometimes it says, “It’s time to go!” and your mind says “Hey, the party just started!”
      Better listen to your intuition. Get out!
      Many times, I didn’t. Many times, I’d wish I did. I’m sure you’ve experienced something along those lines, the “why didn’t I listen to myself” thing. It’s quite the burn, because you really don’t have anybody but yourself to blame. You knew what you needed to do, and you done didn’t do it anyway.
      And now you are paying the price. Having to deal with something your inner guidance was trying to save you from. And would’ve, if you had listened.
      “Speak louder next time,” I’d say. “Listen better,” I’d hear back.
      When I was even listening.
      Thanks for coming by Agent 1707. I always enjoy your company. Really feel good about not getting a meat cleaver in the throat from you. Which means a lot.
      Peace, brother.

      • It is funny how those gut feelings can be ignored, and I find all sorts of reasons to not listen. Going through that right now, although there are more lessons to learn, and some of them are not what my fear is insisting on. Thanks for being here and delivering your different view, and allowing this silly dude to ride with ya on this.

      • More than welcome on this ride, brother. I dig “some of them are not what my fear is insisting on.” That’s really good. Fear can be pretty insistent too, I’ve found. I hope that, whatever obstacle course you’re having to run through these days, the jumping, wall-climbing and rope-swinging gets easier soon. Or soon enough.
        Best vibes,

  3. Marius, I think you’ve brilliantly covered just about all the ‘below the liners’ here. Fantastically written as ever. Again, you’ve confirmed our siamese twin status (watch out, I’m one of dem balooneys featured). I feel sorry for my long suffering wife who would often wake up and find my latest loon-pet sleeping on the front room floor after a night out in London town.
    Alcohol aside, I would see something worth saving in the poorest wretch – I suppose giving myself hope in the process. There for the grace of a picnic sandwich go I.
    I think that training also gave me the heart to stare through the harshest exteriors of the present day crop of professional bastards that inhabit our world. They are mad too, but just don’t know it. Dangerous fuckers indeed.
    Love and respect.
    Lord Pong.

    • Pongy, Yah, I figured you as a collector as well. Maybe bordering on hoarder. I think my Cancer birth sign is responsible for this maternal instinct. You know, Johnny, I really think I’m just an extension of The Great Mother. I feel like it’s my duty to walk the Earth and be a mother to everyone I meet.
      But a bad-ass one.
      Like Shiva. That’s one bad-ass mother. All those arms holding Mexican souvenirs. Ready to smite.
      Anyway, that’s at least one of the things I think. There’s lots of others. Some I tell my therapist about. Some I don’t.
      Don’t want to scare the freckles off her legs.
      So wait, you’re saying that our appointed leaders are suffering from sort of collective mental illness? Why Pongy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Just think where we would be without them. I would call the thought police on you, but they don’t answer my calls anymore. Said they’re tired of my run-around bull-shit leads.
      I tried to rat-out Gurz the other day, and they told me he’s one of them. Yeah. Deep cover shit. But don’t go yapping this, Pong. It could put him in great danger. And he’s such a fragile soul.
      (Hey scum-bag if you’re reading this, give me a call. But use my mom’s land-line)
      Well alright, good looking out, Johnny Boy. When I get done here, I’m gonna head over to and check out this new book thingy of yours.
      I’m thinking I should write a book someday.
      But I think a lot of things.

      Soldiering on through velvet fields,
      with much love,

  4. Jaysus! That’s as deep as I can get right now because all my emotions are still tightly wrapped within these words. The bottom line though, comes through free and clear. Captivating read.

    • Hey, that’s deep enough! And thank you. Glad you were enwrapped in my sentences. But now, alas, I must release you from your captivity. Have to set you free. So you can make like a butterfly that was not meant to be. But then changes her mind after a few drinks, makes a late night phone call, and finds herself in the same old mess. But worse.
      I think that’s how that saying goes.
      That’s the gist at least.
      And that’s all I have.
      Hope it’s enough.

    • Hahahaha! Oh, Frater, I have some disturbing news. None of them. I think you’re perfectly normal. Yeah. Cogitate that for a bit. I think you’re normal. Kind of sends a cold chill down the spine, eh? But don’t fret. That’s only this man’s opinion. I’m sure there’s plenty of folks out there that find you a little strange. People I wouldn’t want to hang out with.
      Still awaiting your visit,

  5. Oh honey, I’m so grateful that you took me under your spikey wings in the Field of Freaks over ten years now. I’m honored that you speak of my clan with such foggy eyed devotion and empathy. You listened and we came. lord love thee. I read this post and was bedazzled by the timeliness of it all… endured my moans and groans of madness just yesterday, and still decided to keep me in your medicine cabinet for further use as prescribed. But be warned, I’m not out of my cage that often and can be dangerous when not under the care of the great physician. I am forever endeared to you for being one of my primary caregivers. You never uttered, “freak, heal thyself”…you simply listened. At your expense, I might add.
    You’re so much better than wearing a waxy Vicodin face. You and that great MD in the sky are the two reasons I’m soiled and sober today. Thanks for listening and not calling the state hospital Marshalls on me. Consider yourself adored.

    • Well my little honey nut I’ve been meaning to talk with you. I know we live together, but I can’t think of a better way for a couple to really communicate than in the comment section of a blog. Forget about couple’s therapy. Why not reveal our most shameful secrets to one another right here in public?
      I know it’s safer.
      This way.
      Ah, I’m just messin’ with you. You know I love you doll face. As daffy dames go, you’ve been aces. Loving you is worth it. Any of the un-happy “waffle-robe” incidents have been more than made-up for with the laughs and love. It’s what I keep telling you, toots, I’m coming out ahead on this deal. Or is it you that’s always telling me that?
      Okay, see we agree. And on something important. That’s some plant-your-love-and-let-it-grow stuff right there.
      Oh, before I forget, tomorrow I’m going to go through the fridge. Should I just shit-can all that fruit? I took a strawberry out the other day and I had to pull it out of a green web of mold. Fuck that, right? Some of it is beginning to taste fizzy. I don’t want to have to get a new sobriety date because of a fermented slice of apple. Still it’s a lot of fruit. Fuck it. I’m throwing it away. Tomorrow night before trash day.
      If you play your cards right, missy, you might be lucky enough to witness it. Kitchen. Sunday night.
      Gonna sky-hook that shit right into the can. All of it. In one hand then pow! With majestic beauty and grace.
      Then I’ll turn to see you blushing from the heat. And I’ll do that thing where I kiss my own finger and press it to your lips. Telling you I love you. But don’t talk.
      Because I need to vibrate the names of God into my skull.
      Mucho romantico. I am.
      Que no?
      So take a chance on me, my sweet.
      Let me try to earn you.
      Drink from my ornate and bejeweled goblet of madness.
      Intoxicate your innermost.
      Let the flames of my love melt you.
      Let them burn you.
      Your desire for me
      butter-churn you…
      While I dance.


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