Cheesecake Monkey and Houston Ice (not part of series)

            My addiction monkey found cheesecake… then he found out that there are amazing bakeries all over Houston that feature all kinds of cheesecake and other delicious things… cookies, tarts, holy fuck my addiction monkey went fucking crazy for a little while there. Calling my favorite spots… “What type of cheesecake do you have today?” oh…. Not my favorite, but it will do. Then as I get there the last piece gets taken. Stolen… the last piece… even though being purchased with a valid credit card from the person in front of me… she just stole my cheesecake… “but I called and asked…” I thought about saying, but did I really want to get that crazy? How bad is this going to get? Is it like cocaine where I’ll eventually be walking 4 miles to a spot because I’m too drunk to drive, then ask a stranger in a bathroom “that I heard he sells cheesecake… can I have a slice?” Maybe. The answer is a definite maybe.

It’s both entertaining and frightening to notice some of the same behavioral patterns develop with cheesecake and then later cookies, and really good cake from small-batch bakeries as would with trying to score an 8 ball or tasting an expertly cooked rock of crack. The pride in knowing the difference between small-batch cake and the defrosted from frozen store-bought bullshit that really is only around for kids, office parties for “those people we don’t care for much and thanks for leaving before you got fired” and then I guess people that don’t just dive in and wonder… how good could a piece of cheesecake be though? And then start chasing it. 

Slice after slice for months this went on… gaining a little weight but not much really… still a 30 waist. But I think I liked letting my addict side just go run around the park and play for a bit. “Go play in Cheesecake Park for a little while, you cute little addiction monkey!” It’s relatively safe if you can remember to step back… or if you have someone there to help you notice that your monkey has escaped its cage and has been calling the same bakery now in month 6 of this binge of bountiful baked goods, the drive-thru Black Forest at Common Bond is so playful and fun I just want to shove it in a glass pipe and grab a bic lighter. There’s a Yelp.

Now, with an abruptness that would cause waiters to spill their trays on a sailing vessel I am now eating healthy again. Crazy so. It’s a healthy heart diet type of thing. I’m getting older and my youth took the brunt of the storm so now I’m eating things like butternut enchiladas, tiny smoothies, and steel cut oats. Lots of fresh veggies, low oil, and lots of coffee.

I love being able to write whenever I want to. Hmmm actually I don’t always make it to the keyboard in time to write when the urge hits to be honest.  

No power for a couple of days in Houston… cold, but manageable, base layers, wool socks, and at least there was a gas stove. I’m sitting at my desk wondering about the cold and its victims, but I can’t stop thinking about Vincent Jackson. He was a player with the Chargers while I was working around the organization in San Diego, and I never said more than a few words in passing here and there. He was always nice enough. I never would have believed that he had and alcohol problem. To read that it was longitudinal and chronic enough to be a factor in his death just makes me extremely sad. I worked for a radio show in San Diego that was trying to make the jump to internet TV before it was huge. It was a small staff, like 6 or 7 of us… and I was right in the middle of having a horrible drug habit mixed with a voracious appetite for alcohol and cocaine. Doing lines in porta johns while attending a tailgate party… and it got worse than that at times. Fuck, it hurts to know that VJ was an alcoholic, going through a lot of the same things many of us have, plus whatever trauma he was going through every season being a professional football player, and wasn’t able to get to the other side of addiction / alcoholism, where you can mark the years since your last drink. Or maybe he did and relapsed… there are so many ways it happens… a few months of going to AA can fill your brain with hours and hours of stories about former alcoholics that just didn’t make it. So sad. The commercials for alcohol will be aired during the next NFL season either way. 

Houston is cold and dark without the electricity flowing through the city, lighting up the night, warming the homes, waking up to the eerily silent sound of having your power shut off. It’s an odd quiet, noticed by the lack of sound coming from a ceiling fan, confirmed by the absence of the clock belonging to the microwave. I have familiarity with this sound from my many years of making minimum wage and performing stand-up comedy. I know this sound well. I know this silence well I should say. It’s a trigger… it brings me back mentally to struggling with other minimum wage-earning roommates as we try to figure out what we can pawn or what the others might not notice gone. 

I have a different understanding and philosophy regarding technology, business, and life in general, the rule or roll of government in our lives etc. Technology should serve us. When a robot or artificial intelligence has developed enough to do your job then you should still earn ¾ of your wage, get lots of time off and be happy that you won the robot lotto, and some free training and job placement… maybe just a part-time since you’re still getting ¾ of your paycheck. “Mr. Kendrick… this robot and technology in general has made your job obsolete… here is ¾ of your salary per year, but for the other ¼ of your salary please come in and oil the robot here and here every other Thursday and enjoy your week.” Woo-Hoo! Maybe that could work.

Houston is cold, but I’m in my bedroom with an extra-long extension cord stretching out the back door all the way towards the backyard, under a patio umbrella to protect it from the occasional rain, sleet, snow, etc is my Champion 2000w generator / invertor. It helps keep my space heater going, a coffee maker chugging, a lamp, and an ability to charge electronics. I bought that thing years ago just in case. It was ready to be a hero. It was ready to shine. It had a full tank of premium gas and Royal Purple synthetic oil in the chamber…6hjyg is what gets typed when your cats jumps on your keyboard.

I’ve been taking a break from writing, but not from being creative and as I gain more time away from drowning in alcohol my mind continues to get a clearer and getting through another circumstance such as this winter storm only adds to the self-efficacy, making it seem a little easier to keep going down this path. I like writing in bursts.

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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