Too Many Beers for John

In 1992 my life changed again. In more ways than one, but complimentary to the gateway. I learned more about death, in the personal sense. I learned about not seeing someone that you care about. I learned about my own body as well. My living body.

It was labor day weekend. I went camping with my friend, Chris. My mom and his mom are still friends, yet I haven’t spoken to him for years. Not for any reason, really. Just that he is older, I am older, and older people grow apart. We were with his parents and grand parents. We were in a trailer and I remember lots of white pants.

There was a man-made lake where we were at. It was dry, I remember yellow grass, but the lake was wet and i caught two frogs while I was there. I kept them in a jar to bring home. My friend didn’t know why I would want them. My only answer to that is that I love living things. All living things. To that point, I only knew death through movies and St. Louis. St Louis wasn’t real. Movies aren’t real.

Now, I remember noticing my body for the first time this trip. My family wasn’t with me for really the first time in my life. I noticed a girl at the pool. Reflecting, I’m not sure if she was a teenager or adult. I just noticed that she was a woman. A developed woman. A developed woman that led to my development as a developing boy. I, for the first time in my life, had to tuck.

I was sitting by the fire. My friend was there, his mom and his dad. I was sitting uncomfortably. There was a lump in my pants and I was not sure how to get rid of it. I became concerned and it was enveloping my thoughts. I could not concentrate. I did not know what to do. My personal picture show, for the first time, became that girl/woman from the pool. The lump became harder and more uncomfortable.

I quickly taught myself how to relieve the tension. The ground breaking moment was quickly overshadowed when I came home. It was a monday when I came home. Like another Tuesday, nine years in the future, my life would be affected by death. I was watching the Rocketeer. My dad bought it that weekend on VHS. He walk through the garage door, which was by the TV. His shoulders were slumped. His eyes were heavy. His demeanor was deflated.

He came over to me. The Rocketeer had just taken off. “Uncle John is dead. He didn’t show up for work. His boss called the police. He fell down the stairs.” Short and to the point. My dad’s brother was dead. Dead and surrounded by empty beer cans. Fell down the stairs while cleaning up after a party. I stared back at my dad and said, “Okay.” Not my first brush with death. He went upstairs. I grabbed my frogs and went outside.

I went and sat on the stairs by the driveway. I was holding one of the frogs in my hand and balling my eyes out. My sister, Shauna was there crying as well. Her friend from the neighborhood was there. I cried out and asked, “Why?” Before anyone answered, my anus let out the longest and deepest growl that, to this day, was the greatest wind that I have passed. My sister laughed. Her friend laughed. My life changed in two ways that weekend. Yet, to this day, I feel awkwardness with embarrassment.

Please to enjoy.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Your writing, at least in this one post, has a cool way of intriguing me without leaving me hanging or feeling like my mind was getting intentionally pulled in a direction. It was really pure, and really real. Honest without being vulnerable in a way that made me want to protect you, and fierce in a way that made me happy you were sharing without feeling intimidated by that fierceness. Hope that makes sense; bottom line = thanks :)

    Reply
    • jen, that was one of the kindest things you could write about a writer. in addition to a little therapeutic relief, my audience is you and everyone else willing to read. i hope that you find everything else i write interesting. take solace that everything i write is true (i will announce when i am entering fiction) and written so that you and everyone else will be entertained and not tricked. thank you so much for the ridiculously kind words.

      Reply
      • :) I’m glad that they made sense, and even more glad that you liked them!

        Reply
  2. That was a very touching and also very strange story. It’s definitely what made it unique. A writer can be as self-deprecating as he wishes to be, so as long as he does it with humor. It also makes the passing of your uncle easier to take from a narrative standpoint.

    It’s as Oscar Wilde wrote. If you tell the truth, make them laugh or they will kill you.

    Reply
    • joe, thank you very much. as my wife can attest, i have zero shame. I will always find a way to make myself the loser in the story. I thank you to no end for the read and hope you will continue and tell your friends.

      Reply

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