Nut Jobs I’ve Known; #147

Mud Shark BluesInterested Gentleman

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clockwork Cat Fight

Every morning, Louie wants out.  He has an important engagement.  He has to fight Boris, one of the other neighborhood cats.  I’ve written about their relationship before.  Humans might recognize it.  It’s a relationship based purely on antagonism.  All they do is fight.  Or wait to fight.  That’s their deal.  Their mutual agreement.  To be sworn enemies.  Forever.

He's late. Hope nothing happened to him.

He’s late. Hope nothing happened to him.

Each AM, Louie patiently waits for Boris to pop his paw up through a warped part of our deck.  That’s the signal to begin a hissing, yowling and howling cat brawl–with each one giving and taking swats while ducking in and away from the fightin’ hole.  It’s an amazing thing to witness. Louie will claw from above.  Boris from below.  They’ll go at it like that for twenty minutes or so, their cries and moans echoing off the lake, which I’m sure the neighbors appreciate.  Ah, the soothing sounds of nature.  “Dear God, is somebody strangling a baby out there?!”

Sorry about that, but you never saw Marlon Perkins or Jim run out and try to break up a cheetah fight on Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  Oh hell no.  They stayed put–crouching behind some bush.  At least Jim did, while Marlon had his ass cheek parked on a TV studio desk in Nebraska.  The point is they only observed.  If they ever did deal with some lion, it was with a tranquilizer dart.  Tag his ear and set him free.  Back to a life of tearing apart Gazelles.  Eating.  Banging lionesses.  Eating.  Napping.

Back to nature.

And Nature always takes Its course.  Eventually, Louie and Boris grow tired or bored of the sparring, cease fire, and go their separate ways.  Until next time.

I’m glad they’ve decided to fight like this, with each cat relatively protected from the other.  It’s better than when they used to free-style it top-side.  That’s when they would really fuck each other up.  Fur tornado shit.  I’d feel compelled to run out all clapping and flapping trying to break them up.  Cat fights, whether in a whorehouse bar or on a sunny patio deck, are hard to break up, and it’s easy for a well-meaning bystander to get hurt.

So this is better.  And they came up with it on their own.  It’s a morning ritual I’ve learned to tolerate.  Even respect.  They obviously both need it.  Or Louie wouldn’t wait.  And Boris wouldn’t show up.  Right on time.

On his way to an ass-kicking

On his way to an ass-kicking

One morning, I saw the Blonde Beast hurrying over from across the street.  He was a little late for his appointment.  I figured I’d prevent him from showing up at all, thereby making Louie winner by default.  A victory without violence.  So I chased Boris off with a bullwhip and a club with a big rusted nail through it.  Then I went inside and looked out on the patio.  There was Louie.  Waiting.

Waiting for his hit of Ultra-Violence.  From his favorite enemy.

But now waiting in vain.

Because I ruined it.

I robbed the fight.

And denied him the fur-bristling rush.

It fucking broke my heart.

What have I done?  Me and my misguided do-gooderism.  That’s when I decided, if the boys want to fight, let ’em.

Scarred but not scared and ready for more.

Defending the Motherland from inside his pillbox bunker.

I remember when I was in 7th grade, I was trading trash-talk with this other kid, Mark Koroknay.  We were at the Lakeside Village pool and my mom was there.  She told us we should duke it out and that she would referee.  She lead us to a patch of grass where we could fight.  I remember feeling embarrassed that my mom was taking such an active part of our conflict.  I’m sure Mark was wary of the impartiality of her refereeing.  He didn’t need to be.  My mom reffed a clean fight.

After trading some initial blows, we went down to the ground, where he got me in a headlock.  My mom stood by, waiting for me to either tap-out or turn it, but I couldn’t break out.  The best I could do was to reach around and hit Mark in the side of the head– repeatedly rabbit punch him with my middle knuckle.  The harder he choked, the harder I hit.  It was a classic match-up, The Choke versus the Chinga-su.

We fought like that for a long time.  Planes flew overhead and landed at the airport.  A newly married couple opened up a joint checking account.  A retiree put on a second coat of varnish on a cabinet he built.  Finally, after our shadows grew long enough across the length of the lawn, my mom stepped in and stopped the fight.  She called it a draw, and made us shake hands–which we did.  And that was it.  No hard feelings.

Actually, we became friends after that.  Mark and I used to party together.  He was a cool, funny dude.  If you’re reading this, Mark, good fight, bro.  Was real close to crying “Uncle.”  Maybe my mom did rob you.

Now, I’m not sure if you could extrapolate a Geo-political policy based on these two examples of controlled aggression.  But I could.  That’s because when it comes to extrapolating Geo-political policy, I’m notoriously lazy.  I’d probably spend more time coming up with a jingle for a breakfast food than I would deciding the fate of the free world.

“We don’t have to rush into every conflict to play peacemaker.  That’s a good way to get hurt, and make everybody involved hate you.  Fuck that.  Let ’em fight it out.  But try to make sure nobody gets too hurt,” I’d tell my defense ministers.

Before turning back to rooting for my cat.

“Use your right, Lou.  He’s got a cut over his left eye.  He’s blind to your rights.  Right paw! Right paw!  Now left!”

High on post-fight euphoria.

Strung-out on post-fight euphoria.