Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 14, pt 1 (Austin)

This is part of a series… click here to start from the beginning

No, you’re out of order! I’m not sure how I skipped over it, but I did a perform comedy one night at Maggie Mae’s on 6thStreet. I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this yet and honestly there’s no way for me to remember each little thing that I’ve written about so far. Memory just doesn’t work that way. Memory is such a motherfucking… ahhh I forgot what I wanted to type. It’s so fucking cool and scary. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to type a few words ago, but I can remember a song from 20 years ago, if I only have a trigger of some sort such as just hearing a few notes playing from the stereo of a passing car, or by seeing the obituary of a passed musician on the news or online, so many things can trigger memories, it’s just fascinating. Korsakoff’s Syndrome should scare the shit out of any alcoholic. That might have been the thing that really got the ball rolling for me as far as being able to quit drinking. Man, when I heard about that shit while sitting in a psychology class? Korsakoff’s Syndrome is a type of dementia brought on by alcoholism. A type of dementia brought on by alcoholism. Dementia by alcoholism. Dementia. And you did it to yourself. Fuck me. Nothing scares me worse than that. You want to see me cry? You want to see me really scared? Just mention the mere thought of me forgetting the last 7 years of school because of my former drinking and drug abuse. Fuck man. I gotta take a break for a couple of minutes now.

I’m serious. I don’t even like my brain having to think like that. I’m…just…nothing scares me worse than that. Nothing. That’s one of the reasons why I try to eat good (brain food) I guess, food fats, proteins, I eat a lot of unsalted mixed nuts. Yep, get that laugh out you children. Steven loves those nuts. C’mon keep laughing. Straight up though. Let’s be adults now. Now, repeat after me. In my diet, I will try to include a handful of just random nuts at least once a day.  I love unsalted mixed nuts. I eat of a lot of bananas and apples also, and I love blueberries, but blueberries are one of those foods that I can eat WAY too much of them…and I seem to have very little or no self-control over myself around them. I can eat a pint of blueberries without much thought. It’s just an awful spectacle really. Don’t stare at the blueberry eating freak, children…

I have kind of an addictive personality sometimes and for some reason blueberries are a type of trigger for another weird uncontrollable addiction. Is that addiction bad though? Am I going to have to enter a rehab for blueberry addiction? Am I going to be found dead in a seedy hotel room with empty boxes of blueberries found scattered around the room with a blue stained mattress shown in the background of the autopsy photos readily found online when people search (Berry Scary Overdoses?) Am I scared regarding a blueberry overdose? Think of someone eating way too many blueberries. Who do you see? See how that just triggered Willy Wonka? Now Wilder and Depp. Now, the Oompa Loompa Song. The brain is so fucking weird.

So, how the fuck did I skip the night that I did stand-up comedy at Maggie Mae’s on 6th Street in Austin? Now, if you go by Maggie Mae’s today, you might not be that impressed. It’s still a big place and the original pub is there, which is a great old bar, but that place used to be massive. It’s not the biggest bar that I’ve ever worked at, that would be Cane’s in San Diego, right there in Pacific Beach, CA. Canes’ was fucking huge. Maggie Mae’s was pretty fucking big though back in the day. If you are standing in front of Maggie Mae’s now, you’ll see the pub and then to the right will be a courtyard type area with an upstairs deck. Back in the day it also had that other bar that completes the building all the way to the corner. It was just huge.

I had just begun doing comedy, so I didn’t have that many shows under my belt and it had been a while since I had worked for Maggie Maes, but when I was doing real estate I dated for a short time a girl that worked at Maggie Maes in a daytime business manner. She was nice enough, not about her. The general manager at the time asked me about my comedy once when I was taking my girlfriend for lunch one day. I probably told him a lie like “It’s doing great. I’m getting lots of laughs.” Or something along those lines because the next thing I know he’s offering me a gig at Maggie Maes opening up for a band. I was so excited to have a gig, working with a band, even if it was a cover band. I even knew the cover band. It was the Be-Wires. The Be-Wires were a cover band that was incredibly entertaining for what they were doing. They played a lot of R.E.M along with a megaphone type horn to do that one part in Orange. They would bring a lot of women into the bar also which was also good for business. You know what’s not good for business? Having a young, inexperienced comedian named Steven Kendrick do a set between bands. I was supposed to do two sets. Hmmm. That turned into a nope really quick. I did one set that was almost a fight starter. It was my fault. I made a lot of mistakes that night.

  1. I should not have accepted the gig. I didn’t have the material and when the gig was offered to me, the GM said “You can do half an hour right? Bah hahaha. “Yeah, of course.” I should have said. Fuck no, not even close. I got 7 minutes. Maybe.
  2. I asked a group of about 20 people what town they were from. I then started to bag on their town. Hard. They of course, got really mad. They were actually from a town that I’ve been to many times that I really like, but on that night I was less than respectful. They said. “San Antonio” and I said “You call that a river walk? It looks like an open sewer, I flushed the toilet at Dicks Last Resort and the flow of the river walk changed for a few minutes.” My joke was met with a loud wall of BOO! BOO! “Fuck you!” I might have heard a bottle break in the distance. I’ve got a microphone screaming at them, they are getting mad. Shot glass wizzes by. The band is nervous for me, they are kneeling by the stage trying to just start their next set. The bartenders are watching customers pile out of the (might be a bar fight atmosphere), bartenders are then yelling at the barbacks and security to get me the fuck off of the stage and then I get kind of ushered by security into the pub part of Maggie Maes where my girlfriend was in tears.
  • Never bring a date to a comedy show to watch you perform if you still suck as a comic. This rule is so underrated keep your date and your comedy completely separated. Not being funny and dates don’t mix, you’ll find yourself in serious shit. I’ve seen it happen over and over since I did it. Nobody wants to be the date of the sucko comic. Nobody. Which comic are you dating? Oh, you got the one that is awful. Good for you. What’s it like to be born without a funny bone? Do they make prosthetics?

Here’s the funny thing about comedy though. I was the only comic at Maggie Maes that night, so I was all alone. I could have gotten my ass kicked. But if that was in a club…like around a roomful of comics…I’m not concerned at all. I’ll tell you why. I’m not sure that this is true for every comedy club or comedy room, but I’ve seen this exact phenomenon play out in several different comedy venues.

For some reason, every blue moon some audience member would try to punch or hit a comic either while the comic was onstage or just after the comic did a set. I’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions all with very similar responses. The audience member barely gets out alive. If you touch a comic in a threatening way, punch or hit them, the other comics in that room or going to lose their fucking minds. Not all of them, but enough to where if it’s late enough in the evening and enough booze has been flowing…watch the fuck out. I can’t wait to get to the time that happened at the Comedy Store in La Jolla, but that is a long way away. I just met Man-Boobs form the morning show back where we left off during the last post. Man-Boobs in the Morning…On Austin’s Rockin’ Roll Connection…KLBG FM…

Is it the lying that makes suicide remind me of drug addiction so much? The dirty little secret that is being kept from others until the news is made public. Some argue that they are the same. That drug addiction is a form of suicide. It must be oddly similar behavior to an addict as they are preparing their own suicide method and even up to the moment just before they pull the trigger or slowly nudge the stool away with their big toe. This little piggy gets none. I wonder if that reference ever goes through the mind just before? It’s got to feel close to the same as when they are fixing a hit in a needle or when cooking up a batch of cocaine, well not during the early, fun days of addiction, but after addiction has stopped being a little dirty secret and no one is whispering any longer. Holiday party invites cease. Christmas card collections dwindle. “We’ll just take them a plate later.”

“They’re an addict.” “They have committed suicide.” Those two sentences. If those two sentences were people, they would be the best of friends. They would reminisce about their adventures while going through old photographs. They would have matching hats, favorite brunch spots, love the same movie quotes. Photographs…so fucking weird, aren’t they? They represent a moment in time that has been captured perfectly, now in digital forms that can be shared by email, but photographs used to be printed on authentic Kodak paper, that would begin to yellow at some point while residing in an old photo album, that was used to being flipped through, while an anxiously, happy grandparent was visiting to see the new baby or whatever the case may be. Photographs seem so permanent, but I swear to you that the appearance of a photograph can change almost instantly right before your eyes, morphing almost from a picture into a window once suicide enters the picture. Suicide seems to change a photograph. Suicide lets the eyes see the photograph different now. Do your eyes see the photograph change? I’ll just mention the name Robin Williams. Just to preface, Robin Williams wasn’t my favorite anything. I didn’t like his comedy, not a huge fan of his movies, I liked Mork, but I was a fucking child. But ever since his successful suicide attempt, I can’t see a picture of Robin Williams without seeing a really sad, lonely, person. Ever picture is like that. Robin could be smiling in the picture. Doesn’t matter, he still looks so fucking sad. Here’s Robin next to a thousand people. Robin looks completely alone. Here’s Robin laughing. Nope, you can see the tears, behind that laughter. Every picture.

But that’s life isn’t it. Ups and downs. It’s funny to me how life can seem just like a speedball sometimes. A speedball being heroin and cocaine of course. Heroin and cocaine dancing together in a spoon, being mixed together and placed into a syringe purposely in order for the user to feel up and then down, up, down, just like life, just like life in the macro sense and just like life in the micro sense. I’ve only shot up a few times in my life, but those few instances put me in a category of individual who said “Sure, I’ll share a needle. Sure, I’ll knowingly inject a foreign substance into my arm, into my body, not knowing if I’ll die, but knowing it’s an option. Yes, I’ll partake in this activity that I’m ashamed to be participating in. I’ll participate in playing pharmaceutical Russian roulette tonight. Fuck it.”  That scares me to know that I can just say “Fuck it” so easily. That’s not a practice that needs improving.

The senseless loading of crack into various pipes throughout those years of my not so young, but somehow ongoing youthful indiscretion period that has no real probable end in sight, brings immense bursts of pleasure and confidence to me, but they all keep facilitating my out of control sense of survival, my suicidal drug intake and decisions that you’ve read all about, so I won’t repeat them. Those lost, depressed moments hunched over a hot, soot covered spoon in the kitchen trying to not skip any of the crucial steps of cooking up a rock of cocaine, keeping the secrets of my spiraling addiction from the ones that loved me the most, just living a secret life almost, with so many people who love me being completely oblivious at times, but so concerned at other times. The loneliness of an addict just builds as the layers of deception accumulate day after day and the evolution of being able to lie right to someone’s face naturally occurs without any real practice or ha ha formal lessons, but soon the lies just slip out so easily in order to cover up the addiction that they aren’t really lies, are they? No, they aren’t lies. An addict doesn’t really lie as much as that the addict in question is just making sure that the language used can be rationalized according to the particular circumstance where the addict must call an audible and change the operational definition of the word in question.  You say tomato, I say “I’m fine. I’m actually on a break from partying right now.” (pager goes off in pocket…it’s my dealer. Looks like break time is over.) Now, that’s graduate level rationalization right there.

The depression associated with addiction can bond with the immense guilt with an ever-multiplying, almost like some cruel compounded interest, that just keeps accruing mass until one day that depressed, drug addict lets the bad days win the battle just that one time. All it takes is that one slip. That one mistake. It’s not fair that a heavy weight fighter, a heavy weight addict, a heavy weight human being, can have a good run of being able to cope with depression and addiction and can have years of success but then with one knock-out punch just be out on the mat as the countdown hits the last numerical digit. And this is what I write after I take a week off. See, I really just needed a moment.

I must admit that when I look at the quantitative aspect of age mine just doesn’t make sense to me. How am I so old, yet I still feel so incomplete, so unfinished, so new to the game, when I’ve been here the entire time, but not really. I was pretty drunk for a lot of it. But looking way back why could I not handle the stress of bullying? Those moments in high school seem as if they should be able to be managed, the bullying seems less traumatic now somehow, and when I finish a blog entry, I feel very embarrassed regarding my adolescent behavior and lifestyle at by all accounts an adult age. For fuck sake’s I was in my latter twenties at the time. What a loser.

“I want them to have the childhood that I never did…to have things and opportunities… (wipes tears) …that I didn’t have.” (Camera pulls back, and sad music starts to play.)  It almost seems like the American dream and perhaps this is relatively universal, but the overall goal is to allow our children to be children a long time. The age of marriage gets pushed back and the stories of the hardships endured by our parents when we were kids can send a child into a moment of disbelief. “You didn’t have computers?” “No, kid. Typewriters, and onion film. Then liquid paper became the delete keys.”

Still though, wtf? How was I in my late twenties and still such an immature idiot? I’m not really sure, but let’s go through it really quick. After I flunked out of college for the first time I just had no idea what to do so I just did. I just did…life, things, jobs, gigs, parties, depression, anxiety parties, gigs, depression, anxiety, life, things, didn’t get married around the same time as most of my peers, bar back, parties, depression, lack of confidence regarding my future, comedy, jobs, gigs, parties, depression, anxiety, the thought process of “I don’t feel like an adult.” becomes very prevalent.

When everyone seemed to be getting real jobs, getting married and finding their work cubicles I was becoming some type of comedic, drug addict, night owl that worked and lived during the late hours, while my former college classmates clocked in day after day. The biggest need for me was a bedroom window that would be covered completely so that no light could come through and I could sleep during the day. Not all comedians live this way but the ones that do have a tendency to find each other. We may not be roommates, but we will find each other and spend many nights in the comedy trenches waiting for our turns on the list.

“Where’s the list?”

“Have you seen the list?”

“Who made the list?”

“Who’s in charge of the list?”

“Who books the show?”

“Can I get a guest spot?”

“How did he get that spot? He fucking sucks.”

The list was everything and when I was running a show with either Rabon or whoever, it seems like the list would always get fucked up somehow. Rabon and I would only book sober comics when we were getting a case of beer from the bar for each show, and then later on I would fuck up a list by booking too many comics or some comics would go long and then we would have comics that wouldn’t be able to go up.

I was drunk and doing blow pretty much as a constant pre-show ritual around this time, such a tragic mess, but with hope. I had some hope that I would become a famous comedian. Just having that ludicrous dream in the back of my head during the day, then just add some booze and cocaine during the night, and that daydream has some legs to it. All that dopamine, bump after bump in the bathroom stall, flushing the toilet with my foot as I sniff a really big bump off of my “little-pocket” key that has taken up an almost permanent residence in my Levi’s coke pocket. You mix all of that with steady shots of laughter from being in a comedy club and it will add years to your life while robbing you of others. What a mind fuck. What a speedball. It seemed like the only time that the cocaine and alcohol would stop was when I was sleeping, but then I started to drink in the middle of the night when I woke up because I needed to throw up or if I had to go to the bathroom. I’m hiding the extent of my drug use to Teddy and my other roommates, but they seem to be suspicious of my behavior and one night I almost get caught.

I had been doing pretty good and laying off smoking crack, but I ended up scoring a bag, doing some and then cooking it up in the bathroom.

I’m 29

Published by Steven Kendrick

I'm a recovered cocaine addict that used to smoke crack. I went back to school when I was 41 starting by taking one Spanish class. Since that time I have earned an Associate of Arts from Houston Community College, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the University of Houston, a Grad Certificate in Business Development and Management, and I'm about to earn my MBA in August 2018. I have made the Dean's List and I've also been a research assistant for the Bauer School of Business at the University of Houston. I've finally accomplished enough that I can tell everyone about my past drug addiction.

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