Archives For Memory Loss

I was the first kid on my block to get a skateboard. An older kid that lived across the street gave it to me. I think I was around 9. I didn’t know if he thought I was cool and different-hence deserving of something cool that he no longer needed. Or maybe he felt bad for me because I was a pudgy little runt that also had the misfortune of having to wear an eye patch-hence deserving of something cool that he could mentally write off as a good deed (he was kind of a delinquent).

But skateboarding was what I wanted to do. Most of my friends and my brother’s friends were super athletic; they played baseball, basketball, or football and of course all of them were amazing athletes. I loved those activities a lot too, but not nearly as much as they did. For some reason I felt that those sports required years of practice and … talent. And I was too impulsive to want to practice anything and talent wasn’t a think that I had.

But skateboarding was different. And it was a good reason to force my parents to buy me high top Converse All-Stars. You couldn’t have a skateboard without a pair of high top Converse All-Stars. Not in the late 80s anyway.

The board was called “Bone Crusher” and it was bright purple. It had a purple tail bone and black rails. And it was huge in comparison to today’s standards. But I loved it.

Until it sucked.

I must’ve fumbled around on that behemoth for a week before I decided that it wasn’t working. It was too cheap. It was too heavy. It wasn’t named after a pro skater. And all of those important facts made it impossible for anyone to ollie on. (I was convinced that even Natas Kaupas wouldn’t be able to make Bone Crusher airborne). And I mean, really, if a board wasn’t good enough to ollie on, what was it good for.

So, like I always did when I didn’t put enough time and effort into something I wanted to do, I whined until my parents bought me better equipment.

On a Saturday morning my dad took me to a place called Board Stiff. It was on Greenfield Avenue in West Allis, real close to the old Paradise Theater. The place smelled like heaven.  Or grip tape and shoe rubber. That toxic but clean scent is something I’ll never forget. We looked around for five minutes and then I found my board. It was the first Tony Hawk deck, made by Powell Peralta. I had seen it in Thrasher and Transworld and knew I wanted it before we even got there. Back then skateboards came in sizes and my 9 year old frame, short and a tad round, definitely needed a mini and not the adult large that we ended up purchasing.

My new deck was nearly as big as the Bone Crusher. But it was a Tony Hawk. And yep, I still couldn’t ollie on it.

But just as this incident – I always – ALWAYS – had to have name brand merchandise. I would settle for nothing else. Air Jordans, Z Cavaricci, Guess, etc, etc, etc. Today it’s nothing new. Beer. Coffee. They may not spend as much on a marketing budget but if the brand has proliferated into my psyche or found a way into my thoughts – I’m going to try whatever the product is at least once.

I’m a brand whore and I really don’t think it’s a bad thing. If products are marketed well and appeal to me – someone has done their job properly.

Found at Half Acre Tasting Room- Chicago, IL

No Intention

November 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

I discovered for the 400th time recently that memory, no matter how you perceive it, is vital to who you are or who you become. Somehow, while nostalgia continues to be a motivator, I’ve found a way to obscure or manipulate how my memories evolve. I translate or obscure what has actually happened in my life to become the thoughts or ideas that my mind has imagined. It’s a false reality that I’m comfortable with and that means what I need it to mean with no intention of ill will. It’s safe and okay.

I think that this is directly related to wanting to be a writer (?) and may, I guess, be considered a hazard or problem for some. The way I break this down is this – when I was snot nosed and starry eyed, I knew that I had to experience cool shit to write about cool shit. And I guess I did. But, well, when the cool shit was happening wasn’t the cool shit that I wanted to be a part of, I found ways to make what I was doing, days later, after the events happened, cool shit. Never out loud or relayed to anyone as fact, I would obscure events, conversations, and whatever the hell I wanted to to make what I thought was a good story.

I guess maybe all writers do this in some way or other but what I’m thinking is that in some weird, to me, way, everything that happens now goes through this fiction machine immediately and either gets tapped out on a keyboard soon after or it remains living in my head with the actual events. Two versions. Sometimes very similar. Sometimes very different. Sometimes hard to tell which one actually happened.

Again, not a problem. Adding spice to the dish or something like that.

Cleaning out my old apartment and paging through words that I wrote when I was wide and wild-eyed really opened me up and made some things incredibly obvious to me. While there’s little opportunity for me to return to the reckless (read-irresponsible) imaginings that emptied pen ink all over those pages, the underlying excitement needs a kickstart.

First, I found that I’ve lost sight of what I want to accomplish or what I want to do with my life. I’ve let everything around me consume and occupy a good portion of who I am. This is not to say that I don’t have and take advantage of my time or appreciate what’s around me. I don’t enough. But my equilibrium is jacked. And that makes it as unfair to everyone, especially the most important people around me, as it does to myself.

That’s my most recent wake the fuck up realization.

One of the things that I’ve always wanted was expertise and mastery of something. Of anything actually. And I don’t have that. I don’t seek it. I rarely think about it.

Instead, following the ebb and flow of hours, days, weeks, and months is easier and requires less fight and vigor. Requiring less of yourself when necessary is understandable but making it a habit makes you passionless. Dead. Boring.

And secondly, it is becoming more and more obvious that, besides God, I need to find something that I believe in. That’s it. With little explanation the vanilla dust that coats my existence is starting to cake.


(Black Cloud)

December 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

When I was a kid, we blew up a fish.

We stuck a bottle rocket into its still breathing mouth and lit it.

I don’t think we really  knew what would happen but when it didn’t die,

we were more than surprised.

Later that day I set off M80s and more bottle rockets with a lit cigarette.

I was too young to play with matches or a lighter.

I kinda hoped I would blow my fingers off for the fish.

But I only got grounded.

And told that there must’ve been a black cloud over me on that day.

It was the last day before school and the breeze that waltzed through the screen and past the shade in my room calmed the guilt in my heart.

The kids reveling and laughing in absolute joy on their final night of summer freedom didn’t.

I can still smell the cool night air and hear those conversations that I longed to be a part of like they happened yesterday.

For some reason I distinctly remember a terrible morning about six years ago where I sat in my car, defeated. My lips trembled, tears fell, and with my psyche as bruised as a tossed about apple, I listened to old Christmas songs on my iPod and smoked a days worth of cigarettes before my shift started.

It wasn’t winter. There was no snow on the ground.

But for some reason the only thing that satisfied the anything but wondrous mood that I was in was seasonal songs that were as sad as losing or longing for a loved one.

Those songs didn’t really help me that day. Or maybe they did. But all I know is that I listened to those songs, songs that used to remind me of staying at my grandma Sylvia’s house the whole week before Christmas so I could spend time with my uncle that would fly up from Florida and we’d go to the movies and have lots of laughs while the stereo played those songs all through the house. And we’d sing them and smile at each other a lot.

But now I’ve got that morning to remember instead.

You Don’t Exist.

November 30, 2011 — 2 Comments

“What’ya mean you’re gonna pass on the award? If anyone deserves it, you do. I mean, after all you’ve done for everyone and everything and the this and the that you’ve taken the time to handle with the kids and the elderly and the sick and you visited my grandmother and brought flowers to the wounded and somehow managed to donate more of your time to the this and to the that.

Seriously. C’mon!”

“Have you ever woke up and looked around your room. You know, the room that you have spent the last 5, 10, 15 or more years in. Rolled over on the same side of the bed that has been yours since you changed your habits and decided that it would be better if you had someone next to you at all times. Let go of the pillow you clench as a stand in for your childhood blanket>Teddy Bear>baseball mitt. And then realized that you have absolutely no idea who you are?

“If you’ve never felt that, I pray that you won’t ever have to. That alone might be the scariest feeling you will ever have.

“And right, that feeling can be terrifying. It’ll freak you out. Or you can decide, after a short or long deliberation, that that feeling might mean something bigger.  Maybe then you realize that there isn’t really a you. You don’t know who you are because you really don’t exist. For one reason or another, the you that did exist (if it did) doesn’t anymore and you have to do things to make other people feel important or wanted or needed or good. You exist for others.

“There’s no reward for being you.

“And if there is, I just don’t want it.

“Give it to someone that needs it.”

Amongst what seemed like a thousand shouting voices in an overcrowded establishment- these words managed to meet my ears and speak volumes. Without knowing what the apology was for. How severe or harmless the wronging. I guess it doesn’t matter.

“Well. For what it’s worth, I’m really sorry.”

“Fuck that. Life’s too short for that shit.”


January 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

I sleep. I mean. I think that I sleep. Momentary glimpses of rapid eye movement fulfill quotas and masquerades the fact that  I can’t remember the last time I got a good night’s rest.

Meaning escapes and nonsense consumes overrun thoughts of greatness. Ciao for now I suppose.

15 hours later//

*********I’ve decided that not sleeping is the most detrimental to those that educate themselves and live by the contents of their dreams.

And now I wonder if dreams have the ability to bury or eject themselves due to inactivity.

This might sound a bit silly and a touch absurd but I’ve been thinking a lot about the possibility of losing all of the digital data I’ve been collecting since 1999.  Since I place way too much faith in technology and also due to my own idiocy, I back up nothing.  (Got a nice 500 GB external hard drive. In a dusty box).  I don’t trek to big box retailers to buy hard copies of films or new music anymore either.  I mean, after all,  it’s much more convenient to click than walk, drive, or shift weight of any kind.

So, I’m thinking that if there was some sort of large crash and all the data that keeps me current, hard edged, and hipper than thou was erased along with my collegiate creative output and floppies worth of Neutral Milk Hotel rarities, maybe my current state of being would evaporate with it.  And if that unfortunate and horrifying incident were to happen, I would be out an unimaginative amount of green.  But I’m also wondering if, I, along with the rest of the compact discs and cassettes tossed away in  my parent’s basement, would become a relic.  Would I, momentarily at least, be stuck in a pre new millennium world?  Held up in a perpetual “Groundhog Day” where I’d rise to, instead of “I’ve Got You Babe,” “Crush” from The Dave Matthews Band’s mediocre smash, Before These Crowded Streets.

At least I’d have Ok Computer. That, and I’d be able to introduce Kid A to virgin ears again.