green tea and fog.
But at the end of today, I’m just
as lost as at the beginning of
proportions. Show me a woman
who can’t lie to herself.
And I’ll show you a liar.
The lights from the city
remind me that I’m a
long way from home. It feels
good. It’s a blanket of solitude
and loneliness that’ll lead to
a back alley sundae
The air is cold where it’s supposed
to be warm.
Blank thinking replaces creativity
that was supposed to hang out
with onions under the sink.
Stop with the platitudes. It’s a prelude
to Thanksgiving day dinner,
sweet potato pie
green bean casserole.
Just so you’ll feel even more fat,
there’s homemade cheesecake.
During the Bears game,
there will be a short time out to
pound on the nephews.
The juxtaposition between California
Thanksgivings and Indiana turkey days
is one of the seven wonders of
my life. One time, I sat on a
curb outside a liquor store and ate a
Alone and on my way to a good bout
of alcoholism, cocaine addiction.
Don’t forget opioids, either.
Those days are over. So is
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s gonna get cold as hell around here. Are you ready for it? Me neither.
I’m sitting on the bed writing to the three or four of you with my feet tucked under my body. This is how you keep the world’s ugliest feet warm. I don’t know about the three or four of you, but I spend half my life just a little bit cold. That’s how long winter lasts at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Six months of cold feet and several weeks
of holidays means that your blood doesn’t
circulate as much as it should. You
look like someone threw bleach on
your face as an act of Christmas.
For Thanksgiving, Alexis and I went to my sister’s house and her parents' house. For the first time in 29 years, we didn’t have at least one of our own kids around. Steve has his own family stuff to do. Jeanie’s in New York. And Jackie, old reliable, has a beau with family out of town.
So there we were on Thanksgiving night laying in bed watching the last episode of Homecoming. This was because
- we ate too much.
- we partied like rock stars on Wednesday night.
This is true. It’s been 29 years since we had the opportunity to go out on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. For 29 years, we have been shopping, putting groceries away, changing diapers, picking kids up from college. On Wednesday night, we made up for lost time.
It started at 4pm. Alexis and I met Mary Kaye and Billy Baker for a Diet Coke at Johnny’s Tap in Munster. That went well. I made fun of Baker. He made fun of me. We laughed like hell until real partiers were coming in. Time to go.
But a funny thing happened in the parking lot of Johnny’s Tap. It’s on the corner of Calumet Avenue and Broadmoor in Munster. The three or four of you probably know where it is. I grew up right behind Johnny’s Tap.
There’s a lot of history there. My next door neighbor, Leo Chruby, used to go there every day. He was the older brother of Joey Chruby, my best friend growing up. The coolest thing about Leo having his own seat at Johnny’s Tap was that Joey and I could sneak in the back of the bar, hand Leo some money, and he’d meet us out back with a six pack. It was a great arrangement.
Anyways, Alexis and I were getting ready to leave the parking lot of Johnny’s Tap when this woman came running out.
“They told me you were just leaving. You have to come back.”
It was our friend Lisa. She and her main man Wayne had come in the front while we were leaving out the back. I thought we were going home to pop popcorn and play Scrabble. Instead, we partied in to the wee hours. It felt good to have a hangover on Thanksgiving. It’s been 30 years.
Put on a tee-shirt and
stare at the moon.
There aren’t that many
The walls are closing in
on life expectancy.
You’ll leave them
On the way to choose
a casket, your wife’ll
stop at Starbucks.
By the time it’s over,
cars will fill up
Kish’s parking lot.
It’ll be crowded and
at least for a while,
But when it’s all said
they’ll go about their ways.
shrug their shoulders
For you lived a long life
You’ll find rest in a
dark canal in a local
You might be close to
the action, but
you’ll no longer be
part of it.
You’ll be separate, wet
gasping for breath,
just like how the whole
Today, the day after Thanksgiving, I was not scheduled to work at all. Instead, I got cajoled into coming in and hosting the mayor of Hammond show. Since it’s the day after Thanksgiving – National F--- Off Day, as a local pipefitter informs me – the mayor and I joked around more than usual. Then we got serious. We talked solely about the town of Griffith wanting to come to North Township.
The mayor laid in to Griffith. It had mostly to do with how Griffith won’t play Hammond High in sports.
“Since you don’t want to play Hammond High, I don’t want you in our township.” It got a lot of phone calls and it allowed me to inject some silly quips. And then we were done.
Here’s where the fun didn’t start. As the three or four of you know, at the age of 56 I am a student in MBA school at Purdue. It’s an arduous curriculum for young people. Try doing it with gray hair growing out your ears.
After the mayor’s show, I sat in my office for five hours and did a statistics test. I got a 76. After all that work, I only got 10 out of the 13 problems correct. What a sad example of a student I am. What once was a Berkely honors student is not a solid B MBA student at a Midwestern university.
There was some light in the tunnel. For the weekend, I’m in charge of carting my 15-year-old nephew around. I took him to practice at Munster High, where he’s on the freshman basketball team.
“Hey, when I come back to pick you up, I’m gonna come in and watch practice,” I told him.
“No. It’s not okay. Don’t do that. It’s embarrassing,” nephew Al said.
“Maybe I’ll just go in and check on my plaque then, make sure it’s okay.”
“Really? You’re gonna pull that card. Your plaque’s fine. I walk by it every day.”
Now you know what plaque I’m talking about. I blogged about it years ago. That’s when they inducted me into the Munster High Hall of Fame. I forget what for. But for whatever reason, my nieces and nephews have to walk by the plaque every day. It’s good for absolutely nothing except that when I want to walk in, I can.
I came at the end of Al’s practice. The varsity was practicing right next to them on a different court. They got a really good team this year. That’s what happens when two 6-9 guys drop out of the sky. I’m not kidding. A team that just needed a little height to be one of the best teams in the state had two 6-9 guys transfer in. Watch out, Valparaiso.
I glad-handed for a while. Mike Luksich, the “volunteer” varsity coach. Christian Young, who is Al’s coach. The Zabrecky kid and more. By the time Al and I were walking to the car, he had had enough.
“Do you know EVERYBODY?”
“Al, it has nothing to do with the plaque on the wall. I’m the media. I can go wherever I want. Remember that.”
I took him to Five Guys for a burger and the best French fries in the world. Then we came back to the house and watched Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods in #TheMatch. Alexis made me buy it for 30 bucks. I bitched about it to Al every 20 minutes.
“I hope you’re enjoying this, Al, because it cost me 30 bucks. Did I tell you that?”
“Yes, uncle Jim. You told me that. Aunt Alexis wants to watch Tiger Woods. You’re just jealous.”
Maybe I am a little jealous that after all of these years, my wife now likes watching sports as much as I do. I met her 30 years ago on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’ll tell the three or four of you about it tomorrow… right after I study statistics for five hours. Life sucks and then you die or go to grad school, whichever comes first.