Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bogey at four a.m.

The trouble with most advice you get about smoking and drinking, is that most people don't enoy these things the way you do.

And it's true, probably, that that these self-same people, once hooked would fight like the devil for any bluenosed politically correct prudes who would deprive them of these pleasurable habits.

Smoking is great. It makes you feel the way you did as a kid again. Drinking is also great. It kills pain. It inhibits fatigue. It is a formidable enemy of the blues.
It takes you away from your awful self.

Let me tell you of a time when drinking and smoking pulled me through.

I had no job, no apartment, my mother was dying (again), I had really bad teeth and my wife was suiing me for child support.
This was a time for serious drinking and smoking. How would I do all that with no money?

I would begin to lean on all my contacts, set up luncheon dates.
Usually, the editors would be late.

I had to do something to control the trembling of my hands.

I would sit there and down an entire caraffe of wine. The owner and the waiters were wondering what in hell I was doins sitting there all alone, drinking expensive wine on a tab I hoped my editor would pick up.
Little glances between the owner and the wine waiter. "On-the-tab wino."

Finally, the editor shows up, but he has brought his top salesman with him and soon they were talkin' real slick and smooth about hall-tones and rotogravure advertising and the sure news that the Toronto Star was going to go full colour any day now.
I had ordered a thick roast beef sandwich (I would eat half and take the other home in a doggy bag...I hoped).

I tried to get a word in edgewise, but all I got from the bearded editor was a nod. I took it to mean that my boat was coming in.

"Your boat is coming in," said the editor, smoking a Havana while I ingested my Rothman's. Ah, the camaraderie of the after-dinner smoke, the echoes of Victorian society. The editor had looked at my Salvation Army trenchcoat with the burn hole in it. "That your smoking jacket?"

Thanks God I had the remnans of a reputation. I think I looked and smelled like a brisling sardine.

Looks like I was going to get the job.

I would do a major series on style, on Rosie the Riveter and how her style continues to affect print, radio and television, especially Britney, Madonna the musical group known as "No Doubt".
Gwen Stefani. Yeah.

Lord knows how I could have gotten through this "interview" without drinking and smoking.

But once I got the job, I decided I'd better stop drinking and smoking quite so much. Obviously, I had to cut down
or they would see the real me, the nervous wreck, the homeless guy with a drinking problem, the ciggy-bummer from all and sundry.

I had to cut down.

Now that's easy to say.

How pleasant it is to take a nice Scocth to bed with you.

How lovely the slight buzz of a Camel first thing in the morning, and after a caraffe of coffee, even more coffe, even more cigarettes. "I am a genius, Martha."
...But it is all stimulant-induced.
Still, wouldn't you?

How great if feels to be ten years old again, no worries, no pain. To be bulletproof and omniscient--this is how that Mayan gift to man makes you feel.

Still, I had to cut down.

There is that pack of cigarettes you usually have first thing in the morning.

Well, lets have breakfast first, no sense of smoking on an empty stomach.

You somehow get through the day with no beer lunch and on only ten cigarettes.

This relative abstinence, this self-control is doomed to failure, and you know it.

Now come the ten p.m. bites that get you when you've had dinner. You should be absolutely content--while all this time, you're dying for a drink.

Not yet.
Gotta use the drinking as a reward. Gotta write something. Blog somethng.

During these rare times of employment and self-control, there is the inevitable woman, who thinks you have been a fancy magazine writer all along.

She is sitting there in the restaurant, writing something, scribbling furiously, as all the young girls do when they break offf with somebody or are in some sort of emotional turmoil.

You raise a glass, you are ignored. She goes on, writing furiously.

Writing, writing, writing.

A page of 8X10 paper flies off her bistro table. I glides your way. It is her address and telephone number.

Here we go again.

We are in her apartment. We are drinking so hard, I swear our beer and liquor bottles are piling so much that we are invading the poor frightened cat's territory.

I excuse myself for a pee.

For some reason, she wants to go in there with me. "Here is your drink," she says, while checking out the hardware.


Guess she wan't impressed.
"Hey," is say. "This is first draft. Not hard copy."

She was a little depressed once I got back to the kitchen table.

"I think we've been spending too much time together. I think we should be seeing other people."

"Who," I said. "Ron Jeremy?"

"Something like that," she smiled.
There are images of failed European and Asian products in Canada. I had seen some of the ad layouts. Trimpecker fish . Pansy Chocolates. Blue Peter Margarine. All failed because of nomenclature. I mean, would you eat a pansy chocolate?
Migod, I am a failed European product.
I finally raise a little bravado.

"Well, lady, I ain't deep, but I'm fancy."
"I think you should go home now.

Ah, the old Bukowski rag.

Now I'd have even more reason to drink when I got home.

Professor is a colossal fossil with a docile tassle.

Back to the room, back to the liquor cabinet.

A 26--er and a pack of cigarettes.

You look at yourself, bottle in hand, cigarette dangling from the corner of your lip.

Hey, Bogey..

"Oh, if only Susan could see me now!'



Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

wow, I hear a man raging about life. You know Ivan, I have this romanced picture of you in my mind. No matter of truth or story could change that. Because it is the words that flow from your mind that brings you into my attention.

I suppose that is the way I am. The enticement of your words makes you all the more interesting and seeing hardship makes you even more real. There is something to be said about being so real that people either stop in their tracks or they deeply see the person. I should like to think that we all share a part of ourselves... invisible or not.

Soft love Ivan Man said...

"At first I thought it was enfatuation, but oohh..."


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


Deep breathe.

Tara said...

We might be scaring the dog.

And what will the Quarks think?


Josie said...

Well, I was going to post a comment, but you know what they say - two's company, three's a crowd.

I'm being rejected all over the place today.

Maybe you two should get a room. said...

What am I going to do with everybody?


Donnetta Lee said...

Someone told me once, "It takes pain to create." I don't know if that's true, but I've had my share. As have you. Some dreams just go up in smoke.
Donnetta said...

I don't know.

At any rate, I think I've been ignoring the animal kindgdom.

The nearby park is full of wild ducks.

No Ibsen, this guy.

I kind of like ducks.

There is something about the flapping of their wings.

Ah well. What's a litle zoophilia on a big operatin like this.

Taking a walk. (I think I need one...That, or a cold shower).

Will be away for a couple of hours.


Sienna said...

I love ya mate...I love how ya think, how ya write, your sense of humor...Tara is spot on, dinky di; couldn't a said it betta meself.

David the printing guy's retarded son rolled his ute, put a hold on any reprint....working other places, are publishers always this arrogant?

Never mind...

Your health sounds not too bad for smoking and drinking?

Take care! Maybe you could try viagra? See your medico first tho.


EA Monroe said...

Hey, Ivan, stopping in to say hiya! Enjoy your walk. Those Bogey's at four a.m., will always send one running for cover. ~Liz said...


Heaven forbid I should have seduced the two of you with my copy. :)
What a sweet thing for you to say!

Yeah, publishing and young guys. Had the same thing happen in Oakville, Ontario some years ago.
Little straw boss.


Almost the same problem when I serialized The Black Icon in Bradford, Ontario.

"We are paying you $360 a chapter for this?"

I honestly think the publisher in Ontario felt somehow threatened...He and I started off at the Star together, though he was an editor..Maybe he felt outshone, I don't know.

Darn awful luck.
Get your Dad after them!

Viagara? Who needs viagara?
I pole vault all over the apartnment, looking for pole dancers.
But then, like Glen Campbell used to say, "You can jump as high as the young guys, but you can't stay up as long."

Ivan said...


Yes, things go bump in the night.

Ivan said...


Yes, don't the dreams sometimes go up in smoke?
...But then ordinary decent people will go out the same door, through the same garden every day for thirty years--and then this bear comes over and eats them.
There ain't no justice, I tell ya.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

ugh breath.. my typo again

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ugh, didn't mean to step anywhere ... I shall leave thy company...

ever soft love

benjibopper said...

you sir can certainly spin a yarn. so, i've given you an award! for originality. hope i'm the first.

the walking man said...

Booze on a tab, bummed cigarettes, a tawdry imitation at a stand with a damsel distressed then caffeine and a half a pack before 10.

Sounds like a pretty typical day in the working world of the looking for work.



the walking man said...

Josie good thing today is Friday ha ha ha ha ha


mark said...


Two awards in one day!

Josie has passed one on earlier, "Recommended Reading" and now I get to be an official "Crash Dummie"....Most accurate, actually, on the dummie part.

My techie is away, but I'll put up both awards ASAP.
(My son has used an arcane system to set up my URL and nobody can break the code).

Ivan said...

The Walking Man,


Easy for you to say.

You actually work! :)

Ivan said...


Toronto women are coy and acquisitive.

American women from the midwest seem all-loving.


Anonymous said...

Hello ivan
You MUST enlarge ur penis! said...

anonymous spammer,

Yes, yes, I must!


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


Ha! i am from Virginia... what are those women like?

Soft love

the walking man said...

Uhh Ivan I haven't done an honest days work for pay since 12/99 when I had my first spinal fusion, then in '02 broke my neck and had four more fusions, after a 19 yr old with their head up their ass "T" boned me and rolled my vehicle over breaking said neck, with said fractures never repaired and because of the American system of insurance they healed mis aligned putting me in a chronic pain condition 24/7.

Even though I can honestly claim for each beer or scotch or whatever you drink I do three pain pills. You actually EARN more money per yer year than I do.

The longest I sleep now since the most recent car crash (07/04/02) where a fool in a huge 4x4 P/U rear ended me because his head was up his ass the longest I sleep at any given time is 4 hours.

Now I realize that if I did that 6 times a day I would be getting more than my fair share of sleep but seeing as how eventually the pain drugs wear off I am not able to do that. So I normally sleep in increments of 2 hours at a time with no REM sleep as a side effect of one of the drugs.

So I guess in a way you are correct, in a way surviving, surviving is a full time goddamn job.



the walking man said...

We spent 5 months in western Virginia not far from the Blue Ridge and to be honest with you not only the women but everyone on that side of the state made it feel like the only place I would ever want to go back too and call home.


The Very Long E-Mail Writer said...

Toronto women use their intuitive/intellectual machinery.

The one who is slightly loose and just in from Northern Onario knows intuitively whether you have an actual place to take them to, that you are not a hobo, that you will pay for dinner and the drinks. "I just don't pop my cork for just any guy in town."

The middleclass chicks are assessful. What's his status? How is he perceived by others? Is he good looking, intelligent? Does he have the right attitudes? Does he understand that if this relationship goes on that I will be the boss?
You will not take these women straight home from a bar. They will think for three days and then phone you.
Basically, Toronto women don't put out. said...

There is an expression in Newfoundland: Luckier than a three-peckered goat." said...

The Walking Man,

I stand in complete awe.

Selfish bastard that I am, always looking for the most comfortable seat on the raft, I wonder how you get through it all. And still manage to write and write brilliantly.
Something like superhuman.

Ivan said...

p.s. to Tara,

I spent part of my honeymoon in DC.
Chevy Chase,actually.
The Walking Man is right.

I have never met a more honest, decent people.
We left some stuff behind in our motel and the owners spent months tracking us down and returning our valuables.
Yes, Virginia is a place I'd like to go back to.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan and walking man,

I am glad to see my home showed you much love. Here in the north they rather rude and lost in material world. I ws here five years before my neighbor would return my nearly everyday hello. Stubborn people really.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan ... by the way.... what about that room....::smirk::: said...


I have become something of a stick-in-the-mud of late.

A great traveller for a long time, I got into a bad accident outside Wheatley, Arkansasas. Had to lay over for a week...Then I observed that other toursits were getting smacked again and again at that particuar intersection...Something not cool in the state of Denmark.

But while watiting for my car to be repaired, I again came across some really nice people...largely on food stamps, but nice people.
However, I did meet a motel operator named Orville who was just the nicest guy. Real down home. Made the experiece bearable.
Then I got smacked again in Texas, but it was my fault...riding the brakes.
But again, in Texas, I met the nicest folk while I was once more waiting for my car to get fixed...Unfortunately, my fellow Canadian tourists all had their BMW stolen...Saw the stately cars all heading for Tampico out of Brownsville, all in a row.
So I don't travel much any more.

So this "relationship" is so much
"inside our heads." :)


the walking man said...

I should have been paralyzed when the Cherokee I was in flipped. I broke C3 and C6 but the spinal cord was seriously impinged but stayed unbroken, I hung upside down in my seat belt unconscious for 45 minutes until they got me out.

The hospital they transported me to was having labor problems so a supervisor gave me a large shot of Demerol and said to go to my own doctor who was on her honeymoon the next day.

Goddamned hospital wouldn't even give my wife an ice pack for her neck she bought a can of soda to put on her sore spot. Neither of us was given the customary wheelchair to the door where we were picked up.

I went 5 weeks before they even did an MRI this was after 4 weeks of a PT manipulating my neck which further damaged the fractures this went on from July to December before I was operated on the first time for fusions. C6/C7

In July of 03 I was finally able to change ins. and the doc that did my low back immediately went in and took out the hardware a supposedly eminent neurosurgeon had put in and fused two discs. C4/C5/C6

Apparently his eminence had pierced the bone with one of the screws and the screw would have gone through the "dura" ( a thin layer of organic sheathing) that protects the cord, had I been knocked down, fallen or whatever the screw would have pierced the cord.

This last accident herniated two more discs in my neck and they are trying to determine what the best course of action is, in two weeks from today they are going to pierce the dura and shoot something in there to block the nerves.

I've had 6 of these shots in the past seven years and they never have lasted longer than 3 weeks where they are supposed to last for that number of months.

This shot will be given to me by an older Black female anesthesiologist, the only one I trust to do it, she has shot me before so it's a crap shoot but I like the odds better with her.

Now as for superhuman nope...uh uh...not me, more than fragile I'll agree at 6' 240lbs and large boned (I've only broken 14 bones total)but I credit my survival to God and that spirit that dwells within, nothing else. I have been through worse things than this; the devil that has been trying for years to kill me. Fuck 'em I live because God simply says it is not time for my rest yet, so I go on and get over whatever it is trying to stop me.

The writing I do because it is my voice and I deserve to be heard as well as everyone else who chooses to speak.

And now you sort of get an idea how long and detailed the E-Mails I send out are. wonder why they never get answered though lol.

It's either peace or rage, same coin heads or tails. Your choice personally I let the situation decide which side the coin lands on.

Mark said...

Don't worry about the length of your comments.

They are highly readable, fresh from the senses and experience, painful experience for sure.

I'll bet Donetta Lee, another correspondence would like to share some god-awful medical stories with you.
Michael Moore was just on Candadian TV with his "Sicko" promotion. Bright guy and he had some real things to say about every doctor waiting on orders from, say New Delhi before he does anything; the insurance business.
Rage agains the machine!
But overall, medical progress has been made. They may yet find a way and you might have your pain eased.
Old Voltaire used to say the doctor has to entertain the patient till he gets better. ...That's half of it.


JR's Thumbprints said...

Everyone should have a vice, regardless of the excuse. There's no other way to live.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Just read all the comments. Hey, at least the Michigan prison system will have an HMO. said...


Who was it that misquoted (Nietzsche?):

The unaddicted life is not worth living! :)


the walking man said...

I like my drugs and cigarettes even though none of them is more than a WHO class 4 med but I take enough to knock out an elephant. Took 'em 4 hours ago or so and still not knocked out...JR got an elephant gun handy...but I'd prefer a tranquilizer dart.



Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ahh shucks Ivan, does that if there was the will there would be travel?

You are too sweet and believe me I know where I stand. I am one in a ling line to admire you.... I live not in a dream world....smiles

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I give up my fingers are not working... although now Josie may understand why...smiles...

Walking man, I hear you and everyone with car accidents... they are brutal. Fingers still do not work all the time....I still owe you that email. I have not forgotten. said...

This is the Tool-Pusher and the AntiQuark.

Now all you
Kates BEHAVE Okay?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Now, now Ivan, You love it that we fuss over you. said...

What sez The Walking Man?

What says JR--They all swoon over him too.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

We swoon because we lust, we lust because we are human, but we care because you are consided a friend. said...

Full moon coming on.

Maybe Josie's got a touch of Full Moon Fever.

Her blog just went awol.

Full Moon Fever, and I'm getting Saturday Night Fever on my own blog.

I'm getting my literature mixed up with old pop music.

Supposing King Lear were Disco Duck.

That's about the oxymoronic feeling I'm getting on my blog of late.

Seems I too have two daughters, Goneril and Regan, one bad and the other good.

They are all over my blog and driving me to drink-- and old Disco:

Somebody help me, yeah.
Life goin' nowhere.
Somebody help me, yeah.
Stayin' alive
Life goin' nowhere.
Somebody help me.
Somebody help me, yeah.
Life goin' nowhere.
Somebody help me, yeah.
Stayin' alive