Life and Times…

Updated January, 2023… Damn, it’s 2023?

✫ Read this bio as if I’m speaking it out load, as I would be if you were sitting here beside me. You are probably more fortunate to be reading rather than having me say it to you. Here you can skip parts that are boring but it would be rude to ask me to skip parts in person, wouldn’t it?πŸ€” So go on, then…πŸ‘‰

Welcome to my world ! I would like to say “the story you are about to hear is true…” Unfortunately, Dragnet beat me to it. Even so, the sentiment in Dragnet’s expression applies here. I’m not making this shit up. Promise!βœ‹ This is my real story. It’s not the whole story because I didn’t want to write a book. Maybe I’ll do that later. My life is insignificant and I’ll not be gravely missed but my story is unique. I hope at least you find it interesting.(No 😴) Also, please complete the form at the bottom and let me know. πŸ“¨ I’m interested in your thoughts good, bad, or whatever. Thanks πŸ™‹

Notice: I am who I am. I talk as I talk. If you haven’t discovered by now, my views, speech, and attitudes are not con-formative, often weird, always irreverent. Some people even find me offensive! Funny that. To them I shall repeat the immortal words of Rhett Butler, “frankly…, I don’t give a damn.” If you are that sensitive or delicate it’s unlikely you’ll appreciate anything I write. Perhaps you should stick with Disney , or some other something more palatable to your fastidious nature.

The Basics. I am the son of loving parents who passed many years ago. I’m a husband, father, Texan , caucasian. I was born in August of 1957, which means I’m 65 as I write this and a Virgo which doesn’t mean shit. I’m old. My wife and I have been together for 44 years. That’s a long fucking time. She is the sunshine in my sky. I am a father to two great kids, now young adults. My daughter is in a good job, happily married, and my son is a tough Marine Sargent (OOOoorahhh!). I’m third out of four siblings. I’m a citizen of the US, Texas, and resident in one of the most crappy and fucked up towns in Texas. Maybe the world. I’m old. I said that. I’m a man, average build, average looks, so damn average that I fit into any street scene ever filmed. But looks and first perceptions are extremely deceptive.


Abouts

Positive Delineations. This section will load you down with TMI to the extreme. And it’s abbreviated! Imagine what it would be like if I expanded it all to a book?

The Deceptive Parts. I’m a silly, goofy, crazy kind of guy , often melancholy, occasionally depressed, often confused. I am a thinker, an open-minded bohemian kind of guy, and an atheist. I am not very judgmental but there are things that I find appalling, disgusting, pathetic. My views about life are unconventional. I make no apologies for them. My outlook for the world and for myself is bleak with a smidgen of hope stirred in. These are the deceptive parts because they float beneath the surface of my casual smile and friendly demeanor as I check out at Walmart. I would say check girls out but my wife would whack me.

Idiosyncratic, unconventional, aberrant and preternatural. More words that define me. I love big words, a thesaurus, and a dictionary. Perhaps I’m a bit quirky too, ya think? I have opinions. My opinions are not aligned with any point of view. I’m not ashamed to share them. I’m happy to discuss or maybe debate them. I will not argue over them. They have been changed several times and will likely change again.

What do I believe? Nothing. Belief and faith are two things I rejected long ago. There are things I know, like the sun is a ball of fire🌞, the earth is a planet🌎, and there is no creator god. There are things I think are likely, such as the existence of extraterrestrial races πŸ‘½, the existence of secret societies , and reincarnation . Then there are things which are bullshit, like religion. I do not “believe” in any of these things and I certainly do not have “faith” that some of these things are true.

What do I like? I am eclectic. In general I like pop music but I also like hard rock, occasional metal, classical, oldies, swing and smooth jazz. For entertainment I’ll watch drama, adventure, science fiction. No blood and guts or horror, please. I’m a Star Trek fan, too. I love seafood and sushi . I’m not choosy though. I’m up for anything except asparagross or cilantro. I try to keep calories down. I live for coffee. Un-sweet tea is good. (Hell yes I’m a Texan so just shut up.) I don’t drink colas very often but I like coke-a-cola. When it comes to spirits, don’t ask what, just pour. I can adjust to almost anything if I have good company. What do you like?

Politics? Don’t ask. I am extremely apathetic. Pin me down and I’ll tell you that I swing left and occasionally libertarian with some Texan mixed in. I may rant about and re-post MAGAt stupidity because those fuckers are just imbecile but I no longer have any desire to be involved in anything political. Been there, done that, had my ass fried a few too many times.

Religion? I don’t have one. This should be quite evident on my website. I don’t give a shit if you find it offensive. My wife wants it on the QT, though. Her tender fanatical right wing family might have problems with it. How platitudinous. Sigh. I do love the Buddha, the man not the god. Siddhartha Gautama was a great and compassionate teacher. He is dead. His words, teachings, and legacy live on. I’m not a very good Buddhist but I give it a shot sometimes. I am a stoic. I admire stoic philosophy and like philosophy in general though it twists my head about. I am one of those “infernal” thinkers and I love the statue called The Thinker.

What do I do for fun? πŸŽ‰ Funny you should ask that. This is one of those goofy questions I hear on personals sites all the time. πŸ‘« And yeah, I hang out there hoping to find the perfect friend. It’s no secret so mind your own business. So, what do I do, or have I done, for fun? OK sure, I’ll tell you. Some of it anyway. πŸ˜‰

Occasional delights. I love to travel. Road trips are great.πŸš™ Ocean breezes and crashing waves are the bomb.🏝 Camping and fishing are fun. 🐟 Chilling with conversation, drinks and background tunes works for me. I love staring at the moon and the night sky. πŸŒ” I’m up for anything that doesn’t require stupid risks like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. πŸ›© I love airplanes, though. I even have a few hours flight time myself.

I’m handy. Because of all the jobs I’ve had, all that training, education, and shit like that I can make or fix (or break or disassemble) anything. I do all kinds of stuff. I have a little shop where I make things out of wood, fix stuff, tear stuff up and generally chill sometimes. That poor, ratty shop (which I built from old lumber) is so full of useless parts I’ve held on to there’s little more space for anything. Electrical parts, pluming parts, tools both old and new.

I’m adventurous. I choose to live life unscripted. Fuck plans, let’s just do it. Take off through the woods, go somewhere I haven’t been, visit something weird. It’s all fun. So is seeing what’s to drink and getting mutually corybantic. (Damn I love a Thesaurus!)

I’m curious. When I’m doing housework or chillin’ in the house I usually watch documentaries or those true crime shows. When I’m working outside or in the shop I listen to audio books or podcasts. Museums are terrific, too. I’m really down to all that boring stuff kids don’t like.

I’m broke. Not something I’m happy about but it puts limits to my fun.😏 I’m not a “broken man” (maybe partially broken), but just a poor man. πŸ‘Ό Until I can win the lotto or find a job I’m stuck with a pissy little Social Security check.

I’m a writer (theoretically). Well, duh. Writing has never been something I did to make money. I’ve made a few bucks but not a hell of a lot. I need an agent. Anywho, writing is fun and cathartic. With fiction I can travel to places and do things beyond my ability. Essays and blogs allow me to put my thoughts down and express myself, especially when my wife says, “shsh, I’m watching a movie.” I started writing stuff with pen and ink when I was a kid. In college I learned to type on an old electric typewriter. When computers came along I moved to them. I’ve owned a couple of typewriters and well over a dozen computers, from a clutzy old 8088 (which I still own!) to desktops, laptops and tablets. When I was younger I read a lot. Now, I more often write a lot. I don’t read or write much when I’m wallowing in depression and despair, aka, fuck it mode.

The dark side. This little biography would not be complete if I did not include some mention of my dark side. No, there’s no real juicy bits or morbid stories. My dark side is a feeling of inadequacy and a battle with depression that sprung out of my life as a kid. I was abused, condemned, mistreated and generally fucked over. It wasn’t so much as home as at school. I mention this stuff not for sympathy but because it is a part of who I am. Sometimes I conquered the things that haunt me and sometimes they have risen up and bit me in the ass. Since escaping from Hellspittal (St. Luke’s) hell I have not done well in the conquering department.

Confession. Here’s a cute aside: My brother was a church pastor once. One Sunday in his church some guy got up and confessed all his sins out loud. They were not impressive. When he finished, an ancient old lady squeaked out, “confession is good for the soul.” True story, I was there. Indeed. Confessions might be good for the soul but they’re also good at fucking up relationships. Some might be better left unspoken. All the same, here are a few confessions that may or may not be good for the soul, or enthrall my readers. This list is not all inclusive. I’m not bashful but I’m not stupid either.

I am a fuck-up. I may as well start with this one because all my inlaws think I am. I’m not nearly as bad as they think but I do fuck things up sometimes. Most of my grandest fuck-ups, to my inlaws, is in the area of employment. πŸ™Š Every time I fucked up and lost a job it was because of my religious convictions and/or scruples. It took me way, way too long for me to learn to shut my mouth. By then the damage was done. Outside of work, my fucking up is related to my limited talents and because I have never been able to grasp how people’s minds work.

Not all fucking up. I must say that often accusations that I fucked up were unjustified. “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.” That old song from HeeHaw fits me well. I’ve lost jobs because businesses closed, I got injured, it was temporary, and due to corporate bullshit. Many of my dedicated religious efforts were crucified by never-well-meaning christians and holy dickhead pastors. Other things I tried to do flubbed because of lack of finances. I have never been able to understand people or find anyone I could trust. That’s why I say “fuck it” and mind my own business nowadays.

I am a cynic. Once upon a time I wasn’t. Through the years and decades, however, I have experienced, seen or learned about the extreme dark side of humanity. I’ve learned things so depraved that I have yet to find someone I can share them with. I’ve been treated like crap from “good, loving christians,” pastors, friends, and people who saw it as their advantage to do so. I’ve witnessed unbelievable ignorance and stupidity. I’ve met people who raised the level of dumb to incredible heights. And I’ve seen all those ideals I was taught trashed, flung in the dirt and flushed down the toilet over and over again. Now I sort-of have the hope of a drunk man waddling down a sidewalk just focusing on getting his ass home. Just make it to the door. Then maybe I’ll survive.

I am a stoic. I’ve been a bit of one always but stoicism, ie. indifference and and lack of emotion, has been thrust upon me by circumstance. It was a matter of survival. Joseph Campbell said “Suddenly you’re ripped into being alive. And life is pain, and life is suffering, and life is horror, but my god you’re alive and its spectacular.” Ripped I was. I’ve known the pain and suffering that makes life horror. But as he says, I sure as hell am alive, and not with the help of some god. A country boy can survive but to do so he must learn to be indifferent and unemotional. Otherwise he goes totally nuts or explodes. At least I would.


Being Negative

Aversions. Some people, most people, think ‘hate’ is a bad thing. It’s destructive, they say. “It’s wrong.” But their god hates a lot of things, according to their bible. Hate is what it is. Hate is an emotion, of course, and a stoic avoids emotion. But no one is a stoic entirely, unless they are emotionally confuckulated or a psychopath or sociopath. There are, therefore, things I hate. Here are some of them.

Food and music I hate. Asparagross (asparagus) and cilantro. Other foods I occasionally dislike but nothing else rises to the level of hate. There’s not any music I totally abhor other than hard-core rap and hip-hop. Pop music with a bit of a rap beat is fine but that nasty underground shit that makes me sound like a sunday school teacher is horrible. EEee-haw (country) music is usually too silly, too mundane, too repetitive and often too religious for me. Old country, the greats, some other stuff are ok.

Movies/TV I hate: Anything considered Horror. Gratuitous gore. I will never understand why some people like to watch slaughter and etc., of people or even animals and aliens. War films makes sense. If a war movie or show is accurate there will be considerable blood and guts but the film is not made to exploit gore. Chucky, Slasher, the Walking Dead, and many others are all about exploiting gore. They do not make sense. I wonder about the sanity of people who find that awful, bloody, graphic shit entertaining. I dislike Chick flicks and most comedies. You might cajole me into watching one of those but that would be a challenge. Too many comedies are stupid, moronic, and/or hateful. Happily-Ever-After love stories are sappy and unreal.

People I hate: Psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists. I occasionally entertain the notion that humanity is not a single species but a conglomeration of species which has become genetically intermingled. Psychopaths, sociopaths and total narcissists are humans whose traits fall back to a different species than the one I am a member of. I also hate the asshole who fucked me up in the Hellspittle. I have an extreme aversion and dislike for cowards, bigots, and selfish assholes but that aversion does not quite rise to the level of hatred.

Other Things I hate. I hate religion. (not religious people) Religion is a scourge, a horrible, damming, disgusting monster that destroys people, nations, and civilizations. I hate bigotry, judgmentalism, selfishness, cruelty, abuse. If the human perpetrating these things are psychopathic or sociopathic then I hate them entirely. If they are not I only hold them in extreme dislike.


Living and Learning

Where do I work? I don’t. I’m retired. Or as my daddy used to say, “I’m just retarded.” I didn’t leave a career and retire. I got sick. And not because of anything I did or a condition I developed on my own. It was the result of medical negligence. More of that below.

Very few people can say “I’ve done that” to as many different kinds of jobs as I can. It’s been a hell of a ride, for sure. White-collar, blue-collar, brown-collar, red-collar, hell, I’ve done it. Sometimes I hacked away a few years, sometimes a few months, but I got around.

I have followed a few of my dreams. I’ve driven a big truck across the country. My big brother hero was a trucker. I’ve been a radio DJ and program director. My dad was a radio engineer.

I did lots of other things, too. The Air Force trained me in air conditioning servicing which I worked at a few times.. I was once a rental car agent. Once I worked as a janitor cleaning aircraft. (Ah, the DC 9 Super 80, Muse Air, sweet aircraft.) I’ve done my bit as a cook, cashier, and manager in food service and convenience stores. I was a food stamp/welfare caseworker for a few years.

There have been a few other jobs in other fields. I forget some of them. And sure, I’ve earned money as a writer. The last thing I did before my trip to hell was driving Uber and Lyft. Great job. I miss it badly.

I haven’t just been trying to set the record for the most different kinds of jobs, either. Some jobs I chased, others chased me. Lots of those jobs were ways to earn a buck or two. Some were fun; some were hell. I made it through. I learned more things about more things than the vast majority of people ever learn. I have many skill sets in my tool box. Sometimes they come in handy and often they save me a lot of money. They’re not worth a damn when I look for work.

I would not recommend living a convoluted life with a work history like mine. As years have progressed it became increasingly difficult to find a job. Often employers simply didn’t believe my resume. It’s also a given that employers don’t want someone so versatile or who has changed jobs often as I am and have but instead they want a nose-to-the-grind-stone kind of worker they can depend on to be quiet, dumb, and dedicated. Wasn’t me and never will be.

Learning. Life is itself a school. It behooves us to pay attention and learn from everything we experience. The school of life is the most important school of all and we are all attendees. I’ve learned a whole lot of things from it. I’ve had lots of formal education, too. Public school taught me a lot, inside and outside of the classroom. The Air Force taught me Air Conditioning and Refrigeration repair. When I got out of the service I dabbled in college and mostly just screwed my GPA up.

Getting Serious. I started a more serious and determined effort to further my education in summer of 1981 at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. My goal, as usual, was to become a politician and change the world. Later I gravitated to history because I wanted to know how the country got so fucked up in the first place. I trundled along at SFASU until summer of 1985.

The Sparkling City. My wife and I needed a change so we moved to Corpus Christi and I went to Corpus Christi State University. I received a BA in History May of 1989. My wife started college at Del Mar and finished at CCSU in 1992 with a degree in communications. Lufkin sucked us back again. CCSU became Texas A & M, Corpus Christi and went straight to the dogs.

Truck Driving? February, 1993, my career took an abrupt change when I attended truck drive training school ran by Northeast Texas Community College. Not much demand for a History major except for grade school and I sure as hell was not going to teach there. Instead I went over the road. It was fun, sort’of, while it lasted. Then I broke my leg and returned to Lufkin. Again.

More Learning. I took a semester of drug abuse counseling in 1995 and a semester of pre-law in 1996. From September, 1993 to September 1996 I received worker’s comp so I had free time. Counseling seemed like a great idea until I discovered the pay and benefits badly sucked. Law or para-legal sounded good too but my former company fought me all the time over the worker’s comp so I went back to work. The State of Texas trained me to be a caseworker.

Genius. OK, maybe I’m not that but I am well educated, extremely resourceful, adept and competent. “I can do that (whatever it is)” because of my weird diversity, my formal education, and the commixture of both which makes me who I am.

Enough of this silly shit. Once when I was a kid my youth pastor’s wife said I had “the gift of gab.” She was so right. I get that from my dad. It’s what makes me a good writer but a lousy reporter. Sometimes an obnoxious talker, too.

I have now summarized my fabulous life. You can stop here. Or, if you are a total glutton for punishment, read on. Below is a more blow-by-blow account of the life and times of yours truly. I don’t hit at being a fuck up and a ner’do well, I outright prove it. If I wasn’t 65 and retarded, um, retired, I might worry about what people think with all this confessional shit. I don’t worry. Consider this:

“You don’t have to have a mental disorder to be a great author, but those lightning leaps of imagination and hours spent constructing fascinating stories, multi-layered in meaning and unique in style, can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
“Many of the 20th century’s great writers, including Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Fitzgerald, and William Styron, suffered from mental illness.

Librarypoint.org https://www.librarypoint.org/blogs/post/burning-with-creativity/

Guess I’m in pretty good company, right? I can get away with being a crazy bastard if I’m a writer.

Enjoy.


In The Beginning

August 29, 1957, the world was first blessed with my presence. I was born in Lufkin, Texas at the “old” Memorial Hospital, long before the Catholics fucked it up. My dad was a radio engineer at KTRE Radio and my mom was a housewife. I had a brother and a sister, eight and nine years older than me, respectively. My mom had a fourth and last child, my younger sister, in 1960.

The Sixties

“The Sixties” was a time of wild changes, war, political strangeness, and rebellion. My own life was not much less muddled than the country was then. My mother was somewhat abusive, mostly verbally, and my dad was absent most of the time. He wasn’t gone, he just stayed at work or hunkered down at home. We still had a lot of good times, though. We’d camp, fish, take trips, more so in the early years than the latter. By the end of the sixties my older siblings were part of the “rebellion” and our house was often not very happy.

The Seventies

I came “of age” in the seventies. Right around 1970, give or take, my home life went to hell. My brother was an alcoholic who mom tossed out of the house and my older sister had a “shotgun wedding,” the tradition back then when someone is pregnant. Both of my older siblings quit school long before they would graduate.

I suffered from depression because of my troubled home life. At school I did not fit in and through the years became the butt of everyone’s joke. My third grade teacher managed to brand me with a nasty nickname which I hated and everyone used. By the time I had started 12th grade I was dragging bottom. I quit school.

Working

I started to work at a small grocery down the road from our house when I was 15. I worked there through the end of the year, until my boss would not leg me off for a church event. I quit. It was the first of many idiotic decisions I made because of religious “conviction.” I worked at different stores and fast-food restaurants through the next couple of years. I spent a few weeks with my sister and her crazy husband in Dallas and did tree removal work with him. We didn’t get along so well. I was soon back home.

Air Force

My decision to join the military begins with a funny story. At first I signed up with the Marine Corp. Vietnam was still going then and as all good recruiters do, this one lied to me. He was a prick, I soon found out. He said the Air Force would not take me because I quit school.

I was scheduled to go to Houston for my Marine physical when the Air Force recruiter came to see me. He said quiting school was stupid but my scores on some test I took before I quit were high enough to get me in. I signed up with them. The Marine guy was pissed, to say the least. I passed my Air Force physical the second time I took it, after dropping thirty pounds. I swore in. Then I worked at a construction job until I went to basic, March of 1995 when I flew from Houston to San Antonio for a new adventure.

Basic at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, started March of 1975. It was challenging for an over-weight and out of shape kid but I survived. After basic I attended Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Tech School at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. I’d wanted electronics but “the needs of the service trumped the wishes of the serviceman.” I got a GED while there, before my high school class graduated. School went from May to September.

Tech school ended in September, 1975. Leaving was hard for me. That’s the way of the military. Get to know new friends and then move on and never see them again. I went home for a month’s leave. That was a bad idea. I was in another “rebel” phase at that time. I made a new friend, my parent’s pastor’s son, and we got into mischief. I had another friend from high school (one of the very few) with a younger sister with whom I rather fell for. I was in a “stupider than normal” phase, a chronic ailment I’ve had all my life.

My permanent base was stationed Tinker, AFB, Midwest City, Oklahoma. The unit I was assigned to, the Third MOB (Mobile Operations Battalion) was not the kind of assignment I had expected. It was a front-lines qualified mobile communications outfit world-wide deployable within 24 hours. What the fuck was that? Suddenly I was in a mud and guts M16 toting unit! I did not like that.

Being a rebel and a total fucking idiot I did a few very stupid things like asking for a discharge and later overdosing on prescription medications. The latter got me a stint in an Air Force Funny Ward. After a while, however, I got past both of those things, made friends, and was happy once more. I “returned to god” and was very active doing god stuff. Unfortunately the discharge request I made on my second day at Tinker caught up with me. I got an honorable discharge in March of 1976. At the time those were very easy to get. I headed home believing god had great things in store. Stupid me.

Religion

There’s not enough time or space for me to detail how religion shaped (ie. fucked up) my life from when I was a young boy to after I turned 50. My Christian beliefs guided me, or rather misguided me, more than anything else in my life. Every time I followed my “convictions” I fell into rabbit holes, dead ends and heartaches. Before I ever entered the military I was convinced I should “go into the ministry.” A primary reason I left the Air Force was to go back home and “work for god.” Some day maybe I’ll write a little book about all those experiences but for now just let me say that there was much more hell and trouble than peace and joy in all the efforts I made on behalf of god. The rest of this sordid tale has much to do with religious stupidity.

Growing Up

I use that term, growing up, rather loosely here. I am not sure I have ever “grown up” in the true sense of the word. Getting married tends to bring someone around a bit, however. I was assistant manager at Ken’s Pizza in the fall of 1977. The most beautiful girl in the world (my future wife) walked into Ken’s to apply for a job. She got it. Six months later we were married. Life has not been perfect. She often suffered from my religious lunacy. But she stayed by my side and she’s still here. She’s my rock and my reason.

College

I obtained a GED while in the Air Force. Air Force Tech School in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration not only gave me a skilled trade but counted for sixteen college credits. Once back home, in between bouts of “serving god,” I attended a few classes at Angelina College in Lufkin. I wanted to be a reporter. Other things got in the way and I dropped out. In summer of 1982 I started classes at Stephen F. Austin State University. At first I concentrated on political science because my new goal was to be a politician and change the world. Before long I switched to history. I was trying to figure out how the country got so fucked up. I transferred to Corpus Christi State University (CCSU) in Corpus Christi where I got a BA in History in 1989.

Post-Graduate

Although I did not do a lot of post-graduate work it is important to note a bit about my studies after I got the BA. I took a semester of graduate classes at CCSU with the plan to transfer to a school where I could get a Masters in History. That didn’t work out. Instead we moved back to East Texas. A few years later I took a semester of drug dependency counseling and later a semester of pre-law. Once again my goal was to “save the world” or at least save some people, as a counselor or maybe a lawyer. Go Figure. Neither idea panned out.

The Eighties – Part One

As the decade began I had already been a part of several evangelical efforts. They all blew up in my face. My tech school training came in handy, though. I worked at a couple of jobs servicing air conditioners after I got out of the Air Force. In 1980, however, I wound up running a cash register at MacDonalds. I was offered a management position there but turned it down to do something very different for god, of course.

Radio

In 1981 I flew off to West Texas to work at KBSN radio: “The Joy of 810.” I’d been doing a part-time bit at KSPL Gospel in Diboll. The manager there got a gig in Crane, Texas. He hired me as program director. I had a whopping salary of $600 per month! My wife and I were there six months. She worked as a janitor at the First Baptist Church and made more than I did. It was mostly a fun time in West Texas with a few challenges and opportunities. My wife did not like it there.

The station sold and the new owners indicated they were going to animate the programming. There went my job. We left for Fort Worth. I worked there a couple months and then went back home. Lufkin has always sucked me back no matter where I’ve gone. (I must have done something really fucknutty in my past life!) For most of the rest of that decade I went to college. I worked at an assortment of jobs from part-time radio announcer to cashier and clerk. I tried to move to Dallas in 1984 where I’d gotten a job I loved cleaning aircraft at Love Field. We could not find a suitable place to live, however, so I returned to Lufkin and went back to college.

The Eighties – Part Two

For several reasons my wife and I decided to move to Corpus Christi. I should have taken the hint that all would not be well when my car blew up on our way there pulling a trailer full of our things. We had to rent a truck, load our stuff up, and go on, leaving the car and trailer. I would never see either one again. Our time in Corpus Christi started out great. I not only enjoyed college but found a “good” church to attend. Everything was nice for a few a while. We did go broke a few times and needed help. The church helped us. I loved the city, and still do. It’s a great place to live. But like always, my little dark clouds followed me around and kept raining on my parade.

Church

When we first arrived in Corpus we decided we should go to church. We had attended First Assembly of God in Lufkin off and on and we called First Assembly in Corpus. There was no-one to pick us up and we were stranded without a car. City buses did not run on Sunday. Another church, Bethel Assembly of God, was happy to send someone for us. It was not long before we jumped in there with both feet. The pastor when we got there was actually a pretty nice guy. There were several young couples there and we made lots of friends and had a good time.

Bethel’s pastor left after we were there for a few months. The church went along for a couple months looking for a new pastor and then voted in a real dorky kind of country guy to lead us. He and I became good friends. Everything seemed to go well for a year. Then the church met to vote on keeping the pastor or letting him go. For reasons they would not say, almost every person active in the church wanted him gone. But since they’d not say anything he was not voted out. They all left for other churches.

Those of us who remained took on all kinds of new positions. My wife and I became very prominent members. We worked hard but always uphill. The pastor was less than helpful. Actually he was a total asshole. The people who stayed were lethargic and cowardly. Eventually that little knife all christians carry around wound up in my back and I left. (That dickwadd preacher knocked up a church member a few years later, wrecked his marriage and was sent packing. Go figure.)

In The World

In 1987 I was in a car crash. A kid hit me head-on. His insurance covered the bills but I got fucked up. I sustained an injury that would come back to haunt me. In the end we were left with nothing when I could not work.

In 1988 that little knife I mentioned ended our religious efforts. l put everything behind me and concentrated on school. I graduated in 1989 with a BA in History. About a year and a half I worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car but corporate life and corporate politics was not something I was good at. There was the interesting part involving my “christian” boss and his less-than-christian business decisions I’ll tell you about sometime. When that jewel of a job ended I worked on the island (Padra Island) a summer job at a condo. In the fall I went to work for Circle K stores.

Back Home, Sort’of

I took a graveyard shift at Circle K, a convenience store on Corpus Christi Bay. It was just a cashier position but I got to watch the sun come up over the water. That was cool. About a year later, May of 1992, my wife graduated college, getting a BA in Communication. She wanted to go home. Her grandpa had died while we were living in Corpus and she did not want to be so far from her grandmother. We moved back to East Texas. I was supposed to transfer to a Circle K in Nacogdoches but the job fell through. My wife went to work running a Burger King in Jacksonville, Texas, so we moved closer to Jacksonville. We rented a little house in Maydelle, Texas. I couldn’t find work. In early 1993 I went to trucking school. When I graduated I hit the road.

Big Wheels

I drove over the road for a pathetic trucking company called Oakridge Transportation. After six months of wrestling with a broken down old truck and asshole dispatcher I quit and went to work for J.B. Hunt. I was rolling then. J.B. Hunt was a good company. I got great pay and drove a good truck. Sadly, a month after I started with Hunt I fell and broke my leg at a Walmart Warehouse in Mississippi. Truck driving came to an end, at least for half a decade.

Casework

We set up housekeeping in a cabin I built in woods owned by my wife’s mother. For a time I did a little work for an old Christian friend, took some classes, and fared well with the worker’s comp income I had. But wrestling with Hunt over the worker’s comp pay was frustrating. I looked everywhere in Texas for work. I eventually found it. In 1996 I took a job in Seagoville, Texas, as a food-stamp and welfare worker for the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS). We moved to Mesquite and had a great couple of years. We both had great jobs with good income. Mesquite was a good place to live. I was happy.

My wife was forever wanting to live in Lufkin, however, and my dad was getting old so I transferred to the Lufkin DHS office and we moved back home. Another very stupid move. My dad died a few months after we moved back to Lufkin. It hit me very hard. Dad was my number one best friend. But life goes on. We bought a new mobile home and moved it next to our cabin. I enjoyed my job but my new boss was a real bitch. We butted heads a couple times. Eventually one of those head-butts landed me out on the street.

Back on the Road

I really liked my job at DHS. It sucked how it turned out. I took some time off and travelled some. I flew to Vancouver, BC, Canada, for a week to visit with a friend whose story I wanted to tell. (See the book, PAWN) While looking for work in Austin, Texas, I applied for a dispatch job at CX Transportation. They gave me a driving job. I drove a day-cab and pulled a dry bulk tank. That company expected me to blow off the regulations and drive all the time. After coming close to killing myself from lack of sleep I left them and signed on with Arnold Transportation, over the road.

There were a few good months with Arnold but it got very lonely. I transferred to the Lufkin yard to drive regional. A few months later I reported a dangerous driver. They told him I was the one who reported him. He threatened me and later assaulted me at a client’s warehouse. They fired me when it should have been him. It turns out companies like dangerous drivers because they break rules and get loads delivered faster. Christians aren’t the only ones to carry those little knives. I worked at one more horrible trucking company for a couple months. My pay check bounced there and my driving came to an end.

Fostering

My wife and I were never able to have kids. There are biological reasons. We had one last chance to get kids of our own through the Foster Adopt program. We signed up and got our first group of kids in February, 2003. I wound up the stay-at-home parent. We took in two boys and two girls. The youngest two, boy and girl half-siblings, eventually became our adopted kids. The other two, their cousins, did not fare well because their caseworker was a lazy bitch. They went elsewhere after half a year. We cared for several kids, up to six at a time, for a couple years. We tried to open a group home but never could get support. We gave up fostering after we adopted our kids in 2005.

Daddy

Never had I ever considered being a father. My wife was the one who doted on kids. I more often found them annoying. Even so, when we got our own I fell right into it. To say it was a challenge would be a great understatement. The kids grew up, though, as I trundled along being daddy. My daughter was a little pickle of a kid. She was not much trouble. My son had issues and was more of a problem but we made it through. I came to love them without limit and am proud of how they have turned out. Sadly, they grew up too fast and left me to myself again.

The Pain

A couple years after I started my new adventure as home parent I decided to improve my health. I went on a diet and started walking. Then I tried a few sit-ups. That activity inflamed nerve damage I had from the wreck I mentioned back in 1997. I had incredible pain from that. The VA was less than helpful. For years I went from one doctor to another, trying to find someone to actually diagnose my pain and get me relief. After several years I’d had enough. I put signs on my van reading “The VA Is Trying To Kill Me” and parked on the street in front of the clinic. A couple of days of that and I got a new doctor and some actual help. then a few months later I wound up getting a heart bypass. I am still not sure I actually needed one but the side-effect was a relief to my nerve pain, more or less, so it turned out ok for a change.

Ride-share

In 2017 I had a good friend who was driving for Lyft in Houston. She made good money. I decided to try it. My kids were close to finishing high school and I was a bit of a fifth wheel. I bought a car and went to Houston to do ride-share. I drove for Lyft and Uber. I spent most of my time in Houston. It was a bit lonely but very exciting to be out doing something again. It was a fun job. I worked full time, all kinds of crazy hours, and covered the Metro area. I went into every neighborhood and carried all kinds of people. Over two and a half years I drove 150,000 miles. I carried all kinds of people, very rich and very poor, and from a few dozen countries. Then came the virus and I had to go back home. A few months later everything really went to hell.

Hospital

The

Attempted Murder, July 31, 2020. I visited my doctor at the VA on that day, as mentioned above. I had a bit of congestion and didn’t feel very well. My doctor thought I had Covid. He sent me to St. Luke’s Memorial via ambulance. I did not have Covid. All I had was a bit of pneumonia which should have been treated with antibiotics. I was supposed to go home the next day. Instead some asshole screwed up and by noon August 1 I was in ICU. My condition got worse. A botched peg tube insertion led to sepsis which led to emergency surgery August 29. My birthday. I was kept in a coma from August 1 to the first of October. My family went through hell, thinking I was going to die several times. The hospital wanted to put me in hospice but my family refused. I was transferred to the Post Acute Medical (PAM) Hospital. That is where I woke up.

The PAM unit, as it was called, was a hell hole. Doctors were idiots. Nurses came and went almost daily. Many nurses were inattentive and some where down right evil. The food was nasty. After I awoke I was in pain. The solution was to over-dose me on strong narcotics until I went bonkers. The place was a living nightmare. I escaped in November. When I got home I was entirely bedridden. The doctors told my wife I would die within a year. Morons.

I tell the first part of this little adventure from third-party accounts. I have zero memory of the VA visit, the ambulance, or anything else until mid-October. Not only did St. Luke’s hellspittal (fucking Catholics) fuck me up but they covered it up with a nice, strong, continuing dose of propofol.

Recovery

The doctors were wrong. I worked hard at getting better. My body began to heal. Within a couple months I was back on my legs. A few months later I was walking and doing well enough to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. The depression I had due to the hospital stay was harder to shake. I did not take good care of myself.

Better

I wound up in the other Lufkin hospital, Woodland Heights, twice, in February 2022. When I got out the second time I was feeling much better. I made a pledge to myself to turn my health and attitude around. I went on a diet. I kept up with my medical statistics, stayed on my meds and insulin, and got better. As of this writing I’m in far better shape than was six months ago. I’ve lost seventy pounds from what I was in April of this year. Nevertheless I still have a blistering and intense hatred for St. Luke’s hellspittal and the bastards who fucked me up.

Looking Forward

Most people have ordinary stories that can be summed up in a few paragraphs. There’s school, maybe college, getting married, having kids, work somewhere, retire. Bits might change, new careers, different spouses, but still fairly simple. It’s not that way with me. This short autobiography does not come close to describing the wild and woolly life I’ve lived. A whole lot of things have been left out. I tried to hit most of the high points but the missing parts would turn this little essay into a very long book. Maybe I will write that book someday. I don’t know. Until then you’ll just have these bit-pieces to help you understand where I’ve been and all this time.

Author and Writer

If I were to list all the jobs I’ve had it would take a few more paragraphs. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve listed only a few of the ones I had here. I’ve also attempted to create or been a part of many religious efforts, most of which either fizzled out or worse. It does not matter what I’ve done, however. All that matters is what I am. I am a writer. I am one of those strange and curious people who are compelled to observe, analyze, and write. I have to think, to learn, to move forward adjusting my life and world view according to what I’ve discovered. And I have to put it down in words and paragraphs.

Through the years I have cranked out countless stories, essays, and books. I sold articles to an online travel magazine, did a short bit as a reporter, and wrote several books along the way. Three of those books are listed on this website.

I am what I write. I write pretty damn good. My works have not exactly been best-sellers (yet?) but they have sold some and I’ve never had a single bad review when it comes to my work. Now that I’m retired due to my former illness, I have time on my hands. I developed this website last year. I jumped into it with both feet earlier this year to make it better. If I could just kill that asshole Lethargy I might crank out even more work.

That’s about it. Well, not all of “it” but a ridiculously abbreviated version of my very weird life so far. Venture around this site, read my stories and get my books. IF YOU SEND ME A NOTE AND TELL ME YOU READ THIS BIOGRAPHY I WILL SEND YOU ALL THREE OF MY BOOKS IN ELECTRONIC FORM ENTIRELY FREE! At least you’ll get something for all the time you blew reading this convoluted biography, right? So…

Bye Bye, now!

H.J. Ted Gresham

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