WORDS

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Here is a new page that I’ve just created. I’m going to add various writings and so forth as they are invented. Just little short stories and anecdotes that I hope you’ll find amusing or at very least mildy entertaining.

Cheers

MB

PS pardon the spelling and grammer( I opted to write sans spell check)

 

A Relatively Minor Case Of OCD (eh?!)

Sometimes I’ve wondered where the mid range OCD aspect of my personality originate. I know for sure that my father Neil must have some mild OCD. When we were kids he use to bring a tiny notebook  along on road trips in which he wrote a travel journal in even teeny tinnier script keeping track of every mile, every ounce of gas and every minute it took to get from point A to point B . Not only that but he would also make little comments to our mum mile after mile after (and then starting in 1974,)kilometer after kilometer after kilometer  notating how much gas was saved by driving at 65K rather than 70K , where and at what time we filled the tank, the cost per gallon of the fuel and even the name of the attendant and whether he simply filled the tank or gave the bug splattered windows a good clean. etc. etc. etc. etc, etc, etc . and so on and so forth and so on for many many tedious days on end. It is indeed a long drive from Deep River Ont. to Saint John NB.

I generally viewed his behaviour as simply pedantic.  He was after all a Nuclear Physicist and wasn’t that just part of his  job description? I don’t even think the acronym OCD had been invented yet to describe that sort of thing.  I had no idea the kind of mental anguish he must have faced each time my mother took the wheel and insisted on driving much faster than the posted speed limit . My sister Janet and I were always exited to have her drive.  The boredom of the endless Canadian Shield miles would hence be replaced by the thrill of another high speed overtake or the narrowly averted complete disaster of a sharp bend in the highway.  Nighttimes were particularly thrilling when mum drove especially foggy ones when there was always the chance of a bull moose or deer crossing the road. And lest we forget we lived in Northern Ontario where the winters were long , cold and very exiting and the roads even more treacherous.  Our father never tired of pointing out the scientifically proven fact that driving 10K above the speed limit only ensured no more than a 2-3 minute earlier arrival at the next destination and surely wasn’t worth the risk of life and limb  nor the extra gas wasted. Who can argue with cold hard facts? I do believe he even had a mathematical equation ready on hand to back up this argument. (X=Y+mental torment squared)

 

Many years later our Grandfather Arthur Boulton had a minor stroke and was unconscious for almost a week in hospital as a result (not I should add due to the driving) . Each of us took turns keeping vigil at his bedside lest he awake and need comfort or assistance. During one of my shifts at about 4PM one afternoon I was roused from my reading by a faint grumbling sound and short gravelly cough. I looked up to see Grandads eyes slowly opening from the bed and then staring straight past me upward above my head to the unoffensive hospital landscape watercolor hanging up on the wall directly within his immediate view. After nearly a week out cold and very near death his first words were” bloody hell Malcolm will you straighten out that bloody picture. It’s been driving me  bloomin’ crazy for three days now. Flamin’ ‘eck lad , fix it will you”

Now I don’t claim to be too much of a knit-picker in general but to this day I can’t walk past a bit of lint on a Persian rug in our home without bending down to pick it up. Even if the house were on fire.

Kingston NY 08/04/2015

 

 

Hey, did you fuckin’ guys hear about Elvis man?

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We had a day off from the long hard hurting hours of picking Tobacco in Delhi (pronounced Del-hi) , south Ontario.We’d been secluded in the boonies doing hard labour  for six grinding twelve hour days straight getting our hands tarred up and our noses full of dust priming up green leaved  Virginia Tobacco.  From 6am when our boat driver Hal banged on the door yelling” come on  boys , pitter patter let’s get at ‘er , it’s daylight in the swamp” as our wakeup call until just after sundown when we’d fall back down on in our bunks like dead sacks of potatoes sometimes too tired to even eat  ,there was no relief from it all ,  so today was meant to be it and all of it. Me and the boys  headed into town in the  farmers beat up aqua blue 1966 Ford pickup to get some groceries and then maybe let off a little steam. We were 17 at the time with our heads bigger than the inside of the CNE Stadium and our balls even bigger.

Over in town that fine day off I remember it was a typical hot humid mid August day with just a bit of breeze blowing in off Lake Ontario. The sky was bright blue . We’d been and done getting our food supply for the coming week and John and I were just sitting outside the local A&P foodstore on the sidewalk yacking and smoking and just kind of waiting from something to happen.  A girl  to walk by, a deal to me made , whatever.  Then some guy we don’t even know walks up  newspaper in hand and says out of the blue and to no one in particular,”hey , holy crap, Elvis is dead”! ” No shit” replies us with a big bit of who cares in our voices. “Elvis? Who the fuck cares about fat old fuckin’ Elvis” we both said. We cared about Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Rush and “oh oh Black Betty bang the lang come on yeah, yeah bang the lang”, (or whatever the hell the words really were as long as they sounded cool) not some washed up  old dude from Las Vegas who always seemed more like a joke than a reality.

Not too long after that another dude came up and offered us some “bennies” which are basically  uppers.  Ten cups of coffee in one magic little pill. In those days we’d take just about anything that came along no questions asked. If they were drugs and they were illegal we’d take ’em. We made the deal and I pocketed the small plastic bag  of about a dozen or so pills quickly enough so as to avoid detection on the busy street. The guy split and John and I stayed sitting there vaguely discussing Elvis and whether he really did suck or just maybe he might have once been a bit cool.

A few minutes later all I remember is this big dark four door sedan pulling up and two guys, police  badges in hand , coming straight at us like dogs in heat. Instinctively I took the plastic bag of bennies out of my pocket, put it in my mouth and just sat there frozen while the two cops yelled ” ok, who’s got the drugs?” we know you have them so give ’em up NOW!”

Holding the bag on the top of my tongue in my mouth I just looked right at the dude and gulped the whole god damned thing down  my throat before he could say another word. The cops stood us up and roughly frisked us down from head to toe, one cop even going so far as to open up my mouth and try to see down, poking around with his  index finger and just about making me puke. But it was too late. The bag and its contents were well on their way down into my guts and if they wanted them now they’d have to make me shit the little  fuckers out. “we know you had ’em, where the fuck are they you friggin’  punks” yelled the cops in frustration. Apparently it had all been a set up and us two stupid dorks were the dupes . It’s moments like these when things all just sort of roll out like a shitty carpet in your minds eye. Things like” oh fuckin’ shit, now what have I done?!” “I don’t want to get busted. Shit. My Dad will kill me. I’ll loose my job and my bonus. God damn fuck, what a stupid thing to do”!

After about another five minutes of questioning the cops knew at this point  they were just wasting their time with us two idiots. We were small fry and likely there were bigger busts to be made that day. They told us to get the hell out of there and don’t come back and that , just like Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry  “I guess it’s your lucky day”.  Still feeling a bit dazed and in shock John and I went and stood down by the pickup truck just as the other guys showed with the rest of the groceries and beer.  Now in those days it was like a badge of honor to get away with a near bust and live to tell the tale especially with the dope intact. But the trouble was the dope was down inside of me and the only way we figured it would come out would be later that day or tomorrow morning covered in turd. Nobody seemed much interested in that retrieval so the joke was kind of on me. We had plenty of laughs about it the rest of that day and as I lay in my bunk later that night the last thing I recall thinking about was ” I hope I don’t die from this shit.That’d be fuckin’ dumb”

Well the next thing I knew it was another six a.m.  a-banging at the door cocksucker Hal yelling at us to “get the hell up boys, it’s daylight in the swamp”. We’d always yell  back “Fuck you Hal!”  as we dragged our asses up and out into the frosty morning dew.  The drugs hadn’t really entered my mind or system yet and we all just kind of figured it was done with. But this one smartass french dude on the crew named Pierre kept on saying, “tabernac, bordelle de merde, yous’ are goin’ to ‘av a crazy fucking day putain  , wash dis’ guy go comme une fou, crazy like  une lapin ”

Sure enough some time half way through the work day around 11am when the other guys were already baked and burned ,filthy and worn, frayed and torn and begging for a break and just when I’d usually be aching from head to toe I suddenly felt as if I could work all day and all night and just get the whole god damn field done in one day all on my own. This is friggin’great I thought. I was laughing and telling the other guys” come on , let’s get this whole fucker done  boys” They all laughed at me like I was the class clown as I literally ran from one end of the dusty field to the other under the hot midday sun yelling  ” fuck it boys, I’ll even work through lunch ”

A few hours later as the day wound down and like the ever ready rabbit outta’ batteries of course so did I . I was struck by the interesting notion that the drugs really do work . If I could do this every day then shit , that’d make things a whole lot easier.The fact that I didn’t die or get busted paled in comparison with this wonderful revelation.

Now many years later I have come to have a great deal of admiration and respect for Elvis Presley. He really was the first and the greatest. He really was The King. I’ve heard and seen his immense talents on display both in performance and on record and I never cease to be amazed at what he was and what he did and he did it first, way before everyone else , and he did it  all alone. He didn’t have anyone who’d gone before him to ask” what do I do once I’m the most famous guy on earth?”” How do I deal with it, whom should I trust? “Is this damn song really any good? Do I suck?” And once he’d joined the army and got hooked on pills in the tank corps doing 72 hour stretches at a time on high combat alert  (it was after all during the height of the cold war), well I can see now how that kept him going further on up higher ever off into dis-Grace-la-la-land.  Sure he did some lousy stuff  in his time but his best stuff is so much greater than everyone and anything else before or since  that who really cares? Check out his “Comeback Special” from 1968. I mean who the hell compares to him , decked out in his leather pants and his tan? Not even the lizard king himself Jim Morrison comes remotely close. Elvis was just the coolest. And right up to the end he never lost his sense of humor or his voice. There’s a Youtube clip titled “Elvis drunk on stage” but hell, he wasn’t drunk and stoned , he was just goofing off having fun being Elvis. And who could have blamed him?

 

Kingston NY 08/15/2015

 

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