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Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA, Post 1, Pt 1 (Austin)

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA Post 1, Part 1 (Austin)

When I started pre-school as a kid it wasn’t long before I knew something was different and wrong with me. I was broken.

I didn’t know how to talk. I would say things, but people would just look at me, and then my mother would translate for me. I would end up participating in multiple developmental reading programs and I would have many private speech tutors until the 7th grade.

By the 7th grade, the only letter that was still fucking with me was the letter r. I hate the letter r. Fuck r. I love the word kangaroo though. Kangaroo was the first and last r-word that I pronounced correctly during my experience in institutionalized speech therapy. It hasn’t occurred to me until this moment, but I said kangaroo and then I bounced out of that program. Ha ha.

It’s terrifying going through life as a young kid when there is only one person that can understand you. I would talk incoherently, and my mother would translate for me. This went on for years to a degree, but there was slow improvement over time. Very slow.

My mother became the “room mother” for my pre-school class that year and then she assumed the same role at the various schools until my family moved to Georgetown. Then, I was on my own and really, really scared to talk out loud. At my new school when the kids began to look at me funny, I told the other kids that I was from another country. They soon found out that I was lying, but what an imagination for a silent kid.

I needed speech therapy badly, but in order to participate, the children with the speech issues were herded together and removed from another required and fundamental class, like math, reading, or English. So, you have the slight improvement in speech, but now you fall behind in other classes. Now, I couldn’t talk correctly, and I started falling behind my other classmates. FML wasn’t evented yet, but I must have felt the equivalent.

For example, I was too scared to go trick or treating. I couldn’t say trick or treat correctly, and I didn’t want to be made fun of. I skipped a year, but the next year I ended up just growling at people. I could sound like a little monster and growl, so I was one for Halloween. I went as a little monster and growled for candy.

I’m just now beginning to focus on this part of my life and how the process of institutionalized speech therapy, and just having the inability to communicate with others, has correlated with my anxiety, but I think it needs to be done.

Thank you for listening.

My parents never owned guns and that’s why I’m still alive.

My sophomore year in high school was and still is the worst year of my life. Four classmates of mine stole a boat from a house down the river. I saw them in the boat that day and they told me that the boat belonged to one of their uncles. Later that day, I saw someone towing that same boat down the river, but the boat was in really bad shape now, like it had been looted. The person asked if I knew whos boat it was, and I told him that it belonged to my friends.

About a week later the police came to my school and I was interrogated by the police and the principal regarding the boat. The next day I showed up to band practice in the morning and my life changed. My seat was with the other tuba players, but this morning my chair was pushed away from the other chairs and directly on the chalkboard behind me, written in huge letters was the word “NARC”. The kids that stole the boat had told everyone that I had informed the police that they were smoking pot and that in turn, the cops had busted them for weed.

Then it started. The threatening phone calls to me. the sexually violent calls to my mother, the dead cat on my yard, being punched in the halls, slapped on the back of the neck, kids would sit behind me during football games, while I’m holding my tuba and threaten me. It was hell. All my friends left me, I was sometimes even escorted from class to class by an assistant principal and sometimes a teacher, but nothing happened to the children that were doing this to me. The scariest part was lunchtime at school. I couldn’t leave campus and I had nowhere to go to, but I found a place to hide.

I made my lunch every day and then I would open up the band hall door with my knife, by moving the locking mechanism with the blade. I then opened the door, closed it and locked it behind me. I would find an empty up-stairs practice room in the adjacent choir practice hall and I’d step into the choir practice room, lock the door behind me, turn off the light, and hide in the dark shadow, where no one could find me. I felt so safe there. I would eat my lunch in the darkness all by myself. Just me, the narc that everyone hated, alone in the dark shadows of a locked practice room that was not big enough to fit four adults. That lasted for months, but the kids were looking for me and they knew the band hall lock trick also. I would hear them hunting for me as I sat hidden in the darkness eating my sandwich. No chips. Chips make noise.

Then, a band director caught me, and I got into trouble for breaking into the choir hall. I began to miss a lot of school, I stopped marching in the band, claiming a back injury, and I had to go to summer school again. But summer school was in another town and they didn’t know me. I made some friends and having that time in summer school really helped. I was liked again and met friends that were nice, but I had changed and my trust towards people had been altered. I started to drink and experiment slightly with drugs. They made me feel good. Finally, something made me feel good.

Why didn’t I fight back? I was under 5 feet tall and scared. My parents obviously knew something was wrong, but I didn’t tell my parents the extent of my abuse and what was going on, because who the fuck wants to tell their mother and father that they are getting beat up and are too scared to go to school. I’d rather have shot myself in the fucking head. Better yet, I would have loved to have shot those four motherfuckers in the head. I’m so glad that my parents didn’t have guns.

I’d be dead and so would those four other kids.

During my mid-20s I became a real-estate agent. It was the perfect plan. I had just flunked out of college and I was lost, depressed and about 6 months away from my first weekend long coke binge.

This was B.C. (before cameras), so you could get away with murder if you worked in a bar (late night parties until the morning with the doors locked) or in real-estate, it basically meant that you were never going to be homeless, but not necessarily due to personal monetary gain. When I became a real-estate agent they gave me an MLS key that would open the lock boxes all over Austin, of any vacant house that was on the market. I fully took advantage of this.

I had parties in a few vacant homes and met my first big dealer, who is dead now. That was the worst decision of my life, getting hooked up with that dude. That’s the closest that I ever got to being a straight up bad guy. I was right there on the edge of no turning back. He was out of Tarrytown in this crazy house where a local, bass playing legend was dealing heroin in the basement apartment.

I saw kilos go in and out and beatdowns every once in a while. I fucked up once and got beat down in front of about 6 people. I did the last line of coke that was on the plate and apparently that was a no-no. That house was part of my life for about 2 years until the dude got busted. I overdosed in that place once, but I was lucky and came out of it.

Well, gotta hit the books.

The difference between crack and freebase is zip code. I learned that in Austin. If you were using cocaine that way, back then, it was crack on the east-side of town, but in Tarrytown it wasn’t crack. It was freebasing. It wasn’t a crack house. That was a big house with a Porsche 928 in the driveway. Yeah, the one like in Scarface with those fucking headlights that flip around crazy and shit.

This wasn’t crack head central. This was a house with drug-addicted call-girls (heroin) going in and out of the residence for Mike to fuck. This was a house where local musicians or a random local celebrity might be seen at some weird hour. Mike was a weird guy. Mike had been burned over a lot of his body during a misunderstanding involving a mason jar full of gasoline, a match, and Mike. Apparently, Mike had pissed some people off years before. They rang his doorbell and when he answered the door, they smashed a mason jar, that was full of gas on Mike’s head and lit him on fire when he was out cold.

Mike had burn scars on his body that would poke out from under his shirt and reach toward his missing ear. Mike had scars, bitches, cars, coke, and everything figured out. Mike knew it all. I was set playa, I knew Mike.

I’ve never known depression like what I experienced when I flunked out of college the first time. I was a budding alcoholic that didn’t understand the panic attacks, what they were, or even what to call them. I was just crazy.

I would sit in my bed at night and rock back and forth with my eyes closed, but they never really closed. The light always was able to shine through my eyelids. Not really of course, but that is what it felt like. These bright lights going off inside my head while I tried to sleep.

As I was laying still under the covers my body felt as if it was inside one of those parking lot, amusement park rides called “The Zipper!” That is what it felt like. A less violent version of “The Zipper!”, but while trying to sleep and with a job to try to find the next day.

I tried medication, which just made me a zombie. I loved it for about a month or two, but believe it or not the zombie life has its drawbacks. Booze helped a lot if I drank enough, but I couldn’t drink enough and function, plus it didn’t help me with the depression.

The depression was the loneliest time of my life. High School sucked, I had made some friends in college, but fucked that up, and in my mind EVERYONE was doing better than me in life and now the Dallas Cowboys are doing training camp in Austin and throwing another hundred or so well-paid young men in the mix to fuck up the already dwindling possible female alcoholics and soon to be addicts to party with on 6th street.

I was 23 years old and I was just over it.

I was always a Bar-back, never a Bartender. Well, I did bartend, but not for very long and not very well. I don’t perform well when people are looking at me when I’m not 100% sure of what I am doing. I get distracted and so nervous during those close encounters with people.

You wouldn’t think that working on 6th Street would be so stressful, but back then you would generally be working with an annoyed bartender who knows EVERY line from the movie “Cocktail” and sits there practicing bar tricks, discussing the importance of well cut bar fruit, making sure the bar-back had enough Zima stocked or two rows of Corona, labels out, ice topped off in the well, and making sure that the bar-back is in pain by the time that the shift is over. Then you have to worry about the roided-out security guy that wants to play “nut-check” as some type of non-erotic testicular tapping that is prevalent in these jobs. It’s just stupid.

I could make a drink so smooth at home, but if I was on 6th Street trying to bartend I just had such a hard time remembering what and how much went into a drink that I just couldn’t do it under the allotted time. According to the regulation Olympic stopwatch that was usually being used for some reason during a bartender test.

Why do I mention my inability to bartend under pressure? I had just flunked out of college, which is a shame that resonates within the family and spills out of the house into the street for everyone to see and discuss. Loved ones begin doing amazingly fast calculations regarding how much money they spent and wasted in order for the college dream to be crushed by my alcoholism and these panic attacks that weren’t called panic attacks yet. It was called I’m really broken, and I don’t know why. It’s important to emphasize the destruction of self-efficacy. Self-perception and self-efficacy is where “fake it till you make it” can really fuck you up. It’s like a cat pretending not to look hurt, so that it’s not mauled by other animals when it’s assumed weak. If you fake it till you make it when mental health is concerned, the ending can be really fucking bad playa. The end. The inability to bartend wasn’t the only issue.

My first impressions are just awful. Multiple Migs has a better first impression than I do. I now just try to say as little as possible without seeming like a complete douchebag and I’m not doing well at it. I need more practice, but I don’t like meeting people. It’s scary as fuck to me. I have to practice first impressions due to my anxiety.

Then, when the meeting happens things need to be very close to how I imagined it, while practicing it. Everything in its place during that. Nobody just coughed or said something just before I said hello. I have their name written down three places, but now my shirt is stupid and I picked up a snail on the sidewalk outside and moved it to the bushes so that it wouldn’t get crushed, because since I know it’s there and it does get crushed then it’s the same as if I just crushed it, but I didn’t wash my hands before I shook his hand. His hand will smell like a snail. I hope that wasn’t a stinky snail because then he’ll think that I have stinky snail hands. How do I bring that up in a casual way? “You know I actually pick up snails to save them from getting crunched. I’m a good person. That’s why your hand smells like snails.” “Smell your hand. Snail?” “No, I actually asked if you were able to find parking ok.”

Unfortunately, that’s not far from one of my first impressions. It’s just awful.

So, I barely graduated high school, flunked out of college, I’m having panic attacks, ulcers, and I can’t bartend. I’m not smart enough. By this time, I’m just panicking. WTF am I supposed to do? I’m worthless and my first impressions are horrible, which leads to fucked up interviews. I have no chance in life, matter of fact, the only time that I’m cool and fun is when I’m drunk, but that’s only until I pass out. Then I’m just me and I suck. I can’t do anything, and I shake sometimes while trying to sleep. I’m 23 and I just hate everything that there is about being Steven Kendrick. Why did I have to be short, stupid, balding, and without anything in the world that was going to turn it around. So, I just drank every night until I blacked out, until the next day started. Then I would put my dirty Maggie Maes shirt back on and go to work as a barback. There was this girl that I met though, and she knew this dude that would make money taking polaroid pictures of people while they were on 6th street. He sold all types of things.

I want you to know how I got to where I did. How I ended up at Mike’s house and how I eventually became a crack-head (or Freebase Fanatic on the nice side of town) for a few years. Don’t worry, the ending is really good. I end up getting multiple college degrees, but the path is fucked up and scary as shit. I have no idea how I’m still here in this world. It just doesn’t make sense. When thinking back to those days, I’m about to start my real-estate career and perform stand-up comedy for the first time. Well, the second time, but I never told anyone about the first time when I was 19. I’m also about to become roommates with John Rabon and move next door to a one-stop shop of 24-hour drugs.

BTW- I talked with Rabon before I started writing about our time as roommates and he gave me his permission. Yes, I asked for his permission to discuss that time in our lives. John is a great guy and I feel a lot of guilt in regard to John. A lot.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 19, part 1 (Austin)

This is part of an ongoing series. Please start with the first post by clicking here!

Holy shit. That was on our answering machine. I made it. I was going on the road.

As the days that remain until I graduate slowly pass and as I write this blog I sometimes just stop and wonder what the fuck is going on? I’m now going through the process of cleaning up after a semester is about to wind down. This semester feels so different. There’s the finality of it all. I’m about to earn my MBA after being in school for so long. I haven’t really organized as well as I should have during this process. I just kind of kept going. I’ve been cleaning the area around my desk and it had becoming extremely messy throughout the past 7 years of this academic trip and I’ve ran across a couple of old assignments from a few semesters ago. I just picked them up and looked at them, but it took me a second to recognize what the contents of the assignment detailed and then I recognized it just a few moments later and my mind wandered off to about a year ago. I was looking at supply and demand equations. I folded them and placed them into a notebook knowing that it will be a long time before I see that piece of paper again, but I bet that when I do find it…that I sit back and smile, thinking to myself “I can’t fucking believe that I did that shit.”

It feels so unnatural to me to be putting my calculator away, my favorite mechanical pencil that has been my “right-hand man” in a way, as I was fighting the quantitative dragon of the day. I bought that mechanical pencil during my stint at HCC getting my associate degree. I wanted a really good mechanical pencil that would keep my math work sharp looking, I really don’t like mushy looking pencil markings. Aahhhh hate them. I just laughed at lough because I really do hate those fucking things. Wooden pencils in general suck. They are fun to chew on or to break though. I’ll give them that. Most transitions are kind of weird though, but I can’t help that this particular transition of mine is just really fucking weird. I feel good though. Old, but good. Ha ha. I actually don’t feel that old, I just feel so tired you just would believe it. The stress of school is just insane, especially when every semester is a huge question mark followed by huge, crushing waves of self-doubt and insecurity. After looking at every syllabus I’ve been handed on the first day of class for the last 7 years… “What the fuck is this bullshit?” “I don’t know how to do this shit.” Then I would start the process. My Tascam field recorder would start secretly recording while in my backpack so that the professor wouldn’t know. I bought the Tascam early on in my Academic career because I wanted to be able to adjust the microphone to hear a pin drop if I needed to. I would record those lectures and then listen to them again over and over. I would read my vocabulary into that Tascam and then I would listen to it over and over. I wasn’t sure about this process until the As, started to roll in. When I made the honor’s list and the dean’s list the following semesters, I knew that I was on to something. But, wait just a minute…I thought that I had destroyed my brain by doing drugs? Ha! Tell that to the Dean…it’s his fucking list.

Go ahead tell me about the cognitive impairment that occurs with hard drug abuse. Uh huh, do what? Oh, I’m just looking at my fucking degrees that I earned about 20 years, give or take, after the fact. I’m the one who was drinking every night, I was the one doing blow, smoking crack, any pill that I could find. That was me playa, the same motherfucker with that associate degree, the bachelor-of-science, the grad certificate, and soon to be motherfucking master’s degree. That was me, the guy with no chance. If you are reading this and you are currently in a bad spot, just realize that you can most likely get out of it. If I did, it’s possible.

You know, really quick right before I jump back in time and we go back twenty years or so to where we left off in Austin, I just want to say thank you to anyone reading this. I’ve had more people reading my blog lately and it’s just so fucking humbling to me when I see that people are enjoying my blog or getting something from my writing. I can’t tell you how much it helps me in my everyday life just knowing that people care enough to read what I type on my MBA 11. (Apple MacBook Air 11 in.) Old I know.

I would get to know the guy that the Austin community knew as “Man-Boobs” from KLBG’s morning show extremely well over the next decade or so, but in another way, we didn’t really get to know each other very well at all. We both were shit canned drunk and high for at least the first 5 years of our friendship. It was a hilariously destructive, yet positive friendship. We were best friends sometimes and we could really get on each other’s nerves with both aspects being fueled by a lack of shit to do other than whatever bullshit job we had going on at the time, finding weed, coke, or whatever, and doing comedy. We had just moved into our place, but it was tiny and we were close to being broke after all of the moving expenses, paying the rent for my spot on the floor up the hill and then making sure that we had weed, so food was in relatively short supply at first. But we did have beer. As the old saying goes. There is food in beer, but not beer in food. Meaning if you have to make a choice, go for the beer. We also didn’t have a charcoal grill to cook on. Man-Boobs and I would have these afternoon “steak-grilling” days at his old place occasionally where we would just murder these poor steaks. Neither one of us understood any type of cooking theory such as how to cook a steak and know when it’s done by touching it. Nope, were drunk, stupid, and cutting steaks in the middle to see if they are done. Yep, dumbshits. We would also use two forks, one in each hand, stabbing at steaks in order to tenderize them. I am more ashamed of that than any of the crack smoking for sure. Ha ha.

Man-Boobs was still pretty hurt over being fired and publicly humiliated in a way on-air both during his time at KLBG and especially for how they raked him over the coals after his departure. I mean he was just so well known. I remember that my sister-in-law was very impressed when she found out that my roommate was the one and only Man-Boobs. She wanted to meet him. He was a legend.

I had sent a tape to a stand-up comedy booking guy that had some rooms that he booked, and he called me back. Holy shit, I’m going on the road and they are even giving me a hotel room. I’ve made it! In your face everyone that ever said that I was just wasting my time! In your face!

(Spoiler alert!…I was an idiot. I hadn’t made it. The gig was in fucking Beaumont and Lake Charles, but I sure felt like I made it. I felt like a million bucks. Oh, yeah. It was probably that fat line of blow that I had just done after I got that message. I’m going on the road!

Back in the day, in Austin, one of the comics had written a story about being on the road and it was in the Austin Chronicle. It was very well written, and it wasn’t about some great gig at some big comedy club or anything like that, it was an article in the Chronicle about a shitty little one-night gig in some BFE town out in the middle of nowhere if I remember correctly. I remember reading that article and wishing that someday I would be that guy, rolling a few joints to smoke for a long road trip, opening up a beer once I hit the highway, and being a rolling potential quota-buster for any of the small town’s police department that I would be driving through in my ’83 Toyota Tercel SR5…The T-Cel as the other comics started calling it. I didn’t have insurance for the car, barely enough money for gas to get to the gig, a weird noise coming from the front axle, a slow fuel leak, and a battery that was sometimes iffy. Of course, when I got to the motel, I had to check the door locks several times on my Tercel, just to make that it was locked. I even disconnected the battery cable. I didn’t bring any blow with me, I got scared to at the last minute, but I did bring some weed. I now have a slow leak in my radiator to match the rest of the issues. Fuck. Somehow, when I get my room key, get to my smelly room at the hotel, motel, holiday inn, I feel like a motherfucking superstar. I’ve made it. I’m the opening act for a hypnotist in Beaumont!

Most of my nights were spent sitting on a bar stool at either the Velveeta Room or at Cap City Comedy Club just trying to get into the comedy scene during this time. That was becoming my thing. I was just kind of there pretty much all of the time. I made sure that I always had weed on me and I usually had some blow as well. My depression was still there and so was my anxiety as I’ve said before, but at that point I was holding it in better than I could in my later years. Hmmm. Something just occurred to me as I was writing that. Ugh, never mind. The depression was better for sure. I didn’t want to die anymore really, I mean maybe during binges I may go into an alcohol and coke binge crying session, but that’s not motherfucking depression. I was throwing up a lot before I would go on stage during this time and really that pretty much kept up until I stopped doing comedy, but I used to throw up almost daily anyway. I haven’t in over a year and a half though.

The excitement of stand-up comedy though was so intoxicating. I couldn’t quit. I could be throwing up in the bathroom before a set, hands shaking while holding the mic, feeling like shit after bombing, being told by Howard Beecher that I suck the second that I get off the stage, right after Howard Kremer has decimated me using the back mic (all from previous post). I didn’t care, there was something about finally being special in a way, well, special enough to be handed a microphone and given 5 minutes to talk. That was special enough.

All that abuse that we all endured was really difficult at times. We all loved it though. Have you ever seen one of those Comedy Central Roasts? Of course, you have. On those, people are getting killed onstage and they just sit there and laugh. Do they go home and cry afterwards? Who fuckin knows? Some do probably and get really mad…watch it over and over and fume…others probably just keep laughing at it…at themselves and it never bothers them a bit.

The Austin Comedy scene back then was like living in a real-life everyday version of a Comedy Central Roast. It was motherfucking brutal, but we were all laughing. We all loved it. Well, most of us did. There were some that just got decimated week after week, the ones that end up becoming punchlines. Most of us would have our moments in the crosshairs. It would just happen. Even the two Howards got their moments from time to time getting destroyed by the other comics, but there were as I said, some comics that just got more abuse than others and I’m so ashamed to admit that I was part of handing out that abuse.

I keep mentioning speedballs in this blog. The mixture of heroin and cocaine. Usually injected. One up, one down.

Stand-up comedy was fun to be a part of for me though for the most part. I think that fun is the right word. When you never make it as a comic, but you played the game for as long as I did, 15 years or so, it seems to affect individuals differently. It’s a weird feeling when you step away from the microphone and just stop going out to open mics as much, especially when it once meant so much. I know what has gone through my head since I abandoned the dream. I have felt a sense of loss and also a sense of gain. I don’t miss looking out at an audience that doesn’t give a shit or that are just drunk as fuck. I don’t miss the general underlying competitiveness of stand-up comics with actual goals. I do miss the ones that I would hang out with sometimes. Not really losers, but certainly not winners either. Man-Boobs and I got along very well usually. He is absolutely one of the funniest, if not the funniest person that I’ve ever seen on stage at one time and also maybe the worst that I’ve ever seen at the same time. Maybe even the same week. Don’t get me wrong. One of my personal biggest weaknesses as a comic was my inconsistency. I would love to sit here and type away that it was alcohol that kept me back from being successful at comedy, but I honestly don’t think that is the issue. I’m an addict, but that wasn’t it either, but kind of. The point is that I was very inconsistent, but Man-Boobs was even worse. Together, well we just should never do shows together, there would be way too much chance for horribly bad shows, mixed with really good ones. The only thing that could be worse is if we threw someone else into the equation. That would happen. Eventually we would get several other comics together that would have some really, really, bad, shows and then a really good one, followed by a series of awful performances, and then a great show, and then really bad ones. Motherfucking powder kegs filled with some comics drunk, high, coked-up, on meth, Vicodin like they were skittles, shrooms, just absolutely crazy shit that went from Austin out to San Diego and even a few shows in Los Angeles. By the end of our run as a group of comics, working together, we ran through bank accounts, credit lines, favors, promises, lies, fuck you’s, standing ovations, standing no-vations as the audience walks the fuck out, and then reduced to a pile of worn-out comics, all with major addiction issues of some sort just trying to figure out what the fuck we had all just been through. Weekend shows that we did with an 8-ball in the greenroom while someone was outside standing watch. Door guys know, they are the ones watching the door. The bartender is doing the line right before ours, the manager is crushing it up with my license on the plate that is on the greenroom coffee table. We had years of midnight comedy shows that would sometimes be absolutely off the motherfucking chain, followed by huge parties, followed by huge egos, followed by all kinds of psychological biases that when mixed with the booze and recreational pharmaceuticals sure did provide a breeding ground for young-ish, kind of stand-up comic wannabes to feel as if they are the real thing and to make bad, or at least questionable decisions. We could almost feel like real comics, bet we weren’t though really, and we all knew it. We were able to get some neat gigs, but also some real shit ones as well. We also had to do most of the promotion ourselves, which was a bitch back in the day. We were passing out fliers, 2 for 1 tickets, hand-bills, to audience members after shows, outside of music venues, posted all over town, all done by us. We were sending out press-releases, putting together promo-packs, just trying to make the break for ourselves, but also enabling each other’s addictions. There wasn’t any type of social media at the time to help, it was just us, some drugs, whoever had a car at the time, and a lot of fun. We were really fun addicts with a dream.

I remember being so happy and excited about that first gig though. I was going to make it. That first gig was just the start. The problem though was that I just wasn’t good enough yet to be able to handle that gig. Looking back, I might have had the jokes to pull it off, but I didn’t have a reliable plan. I didn’t have a map of the set. I had some, “I hope that the crowd will like that jokes”, but at that point I didn’t have any BOOM jokes. The ones where you know it’s going to hit and hit almost every time. It took me probably 6 years to get a few BOOM jokes and they were good and reliable. Here’s the problem. I wasn’t. I keep stressing my inconsistency and as I’ve been writing this blog, since the first post, I’ve been trying to pay attention to myself, my addictive mannerisms, quirks, qualities, contributions, anchors, and those sometimes debilitating  aspects of who I am, the decision making, the choices. I have to sometimes say this to myself. “ERP. Exposure, response, prevention. The world is going to throw shit at me. How do I respond is something that has a moving average that I can control.” Why would I have these jokes in my pocket, these BOOM jokes, but sometimes I wouldn’t use them? I would just go up as if I didn’t have any material at all. And just die. Then, I would feel like shit about it. Sometimes I’d be really drunk while this was happening, but alcohol isn’t the main issue. It’s just there also. It’s convenient.

I wasn’t ready for my weekend assignment as a comedian, my first paid, professional gig. I thought that I was, but I wasn’t. Knowing what I know now about studying, knowing what I know about how much work it takes to get an associate degree, a bachelor-of-science, a motherfucking MBA, I’m shaking my head right now, because I know that I never put in the work that it really takes. I never did. I didn’t know what academic preparation looked like, felt like, I mean I knew what it felt like to go to a 24-hour diner and drink lots of coffee, “study” with a group and then go get a C on a test or fail it, sure I knew that, but I didn’t know how much work it takes to make the Dean’s List for example. I had no fucking concept of that type of academic commitment. The hours that I spent working on my comedy were inefficient at best and completely ineffective at worst. That’s a tough pill to swallow, luckily, I know how to crush that pill, snort it, and deal with it. I don’t need to swallow shit motherfucker.

I did the math and all I basically have to do is show up and give my presentation. That should be enough. It sounds so simple, but it’s going to take another few days of preparation both individually and with the other members of my MBA group project. The class has this weird feel to it now. Everyone there are just days away from the last class of the program and we’ve all been working on the BSG Online business game simulation as part of our Capstone. There are 26 of us that are in the class and we all have horror stories of former classes, past projects, group dynamics that were just horrible, professors that required unbelievable amounts of work to be done, etc.

It’s weird not to have any current assigned reading lurking in the back of my mind or hibernating on my calendar just past the current page where I can’t see it, but I know that its due date is approaching. There aren’t any professors to look up on ratemyprofessor, no textbooks to order, no parking pass to purchase, no folders, notebooks, scantrons, or Khan Academy. No more recording lectures, transferring notes into a speech generator so that I can make my own audiobooks within minutes, no more having to read what they tell me to read.

But, I now know how to read. Wait? What? Of course, I knew how to read, but the way that I read is different. The way that the information is received, processed, packaged, and distributed has changed. I read like I have a master’s degree. That’s how I motherfucking read! I just type like I don’t. Ha ha. Fuck it. I joke around, but I’ve had to read a lot of in-depth business-related material that could potentially cure insomnia in even the most stubborn cases. Hundreds if not thousands of Annual Reports and Letters to Shareholders, Harvard Business Case Studies, peer-reviewed articles, just all kinds of stuff.

I was a lot younger when I started this academic path. I was 41. I would suggest it to all and not wish it on anyone.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA (random weekend post)

This is just a random weekend post… not part of the ongoing series… to go there just click here.

My biggest enemy is my own mind… my own insecurities, and I’ve improved a lot in the past decade. I really have. My 40s were all about improvement. My biggest friend is my own mind as well. It just took me longer to figure that one out… longer to hear the voices from that side ha ha. Not voices, but yeah sort of. The articulatory rehearsal loop that goes on in our brains whether we like it or not… the key is to learn how to recognize a negative articulatory pattern forming and how to squash it quickly upon detection. Shutting down the inner voice that’s saying “you’re not good enough” … It just happens so rarely to me now, but that’s because of many variables… it takes work.

I use my psychology education every day, the critical thinking aspect mostly… just being able to view life differently. I’m so grateful for it. I’ve been going through former posts, thinking of what it was like getting through those difficult days of addiction, alcoholism, even just smoking cigarettes and how different my current life is from my past. Every day really does get better…

I’ve been having a lot of fun making music and writing… been spending some time on Instagram listening to other people that are trying to make music with electronic boxes. It’s fun to hear what other people do with limited gear, knowledge, experience, etc …  just what they came up with at the time. It’s fun. 

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA, post 18, part 1 (Austin)

This is part of an ongoing series… it is suggested that you start with the first post by clicking here. This is actually an older post from my blog that was deleted a while back. I’m trying to let the past blog posts catch up to the current day. We’ll see…

I posted to reddit for the first time and holy shit…I’ve met so many other former recreational pharmaceutical enthusiasts and some individuals that are still struggling with addiction, as I guess we all are, but they are still suiting up every gameday as my buddy John Rabon might say. I’ve also had a few thousand blog views in the last 24 hours and quite a few messages from complete strangers. I’ve responded to everyone and I’m just blown away from the massive amounts of support. Is this what reddit is? I’ve just had an outpouring of love from people, just really positive shit. Wow, I’m so fucking lucky.

I LOVE drug addicts and alcoholics. I just love hearing the stories of relapses and success stories all told from the same person. The war stories. You know, it’s the same thing about hanging out with former comics or the old ones that are still in the game. When you make it through the rough times, the moments that claim the lives of some of the individuals around you. BTW. A good friend of mine, Andy Huggins is on America’s Got Talent as a comic. Andy used to work with Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison back in the day and got clean a while back. When I was struggling to remove alcohol from my life, Andy was there.

close. I’m not going to walk for graduation. I just really don’t care for shit like that. I do think that I will have some type of get together, I’m just not sure when or where. I’m going to get a class ring, but I’m considering going with silver over gold just to be a little different, plus I’m not a huge gold guy. I never got a class ring for my undergrad, so I was thinking of combining the two on the same ring. One side MBA the other side Psychology. Maybe just a face tat. I finished my last quiz and turned in the second to last paper that I’ll ever be part of and now there is just one more paper, some BSG simulation decisions to make, my 3-year plan, and a presentation. Then, I am done. I just caught myself shaking my legs nervously. Damn it. That is crackhead body language. Don’t do that. You and to look more educated, less like a former cocaine addict. Less like a drunk that is still trying to figure out their addiction, their struggle. Don’t look down at the ground. That’s what my professor told the class while staring at me.

“Don’t look down at the ground, it is a display of low self-confidence.”

“I agree, but it has an upside.”

“What is that?”

“I’ve found a lot of money and drugs on the ground.”

“………………….”

“I’ll work on it.”

I have two classes left until I earn my MBA after 7 years of being a student, starting at the college level. I didn’t know how to use Microsoft Word when I started, I had to learn it during my first full-time semester, and it took me a while to just get to the point where I could type for thirty minutes without needing assistance of some kind. If you think that you can’t go back to school, just remember that I didn’t even know how to correctly use the their, there, and they’re until I was in my late 30’s. No shit. I also went through a period where my mind just wasn’t functioning very well. I call that period of time my 30s. Ha ha. Weird fucking decade man, weird fucking decade.

During class last night we were watching a Ted talk and the speaker began to discuss feeling like a fraud in certain situations, and of course that hit home with me. I hate saying this, but I still feel somewhat like a fraud while sitting in that MBA class. The other students discuss their corporate jobs, their bosses, their subordinates, and the other aspects of their professions, but I don’t have that experience and I don’t think that’s where I’ll fit in. It’s kind of weird to be getting an MBA when I don’t really like big business, but I’m not limited to work in a big business or large corporation with an MBA. I’m just not sure wtf to do with it. I have debts to pay so I can’t just fuck around. This school wasn’t free.

I want to be able to give back, but I’m not sure how. I want to help those that think that they have no chance in hell, because I’m telling you right now. I had no chance in hell. I’ll say it another way. Steven Kendrick was a motherfucking drunk with absolutely no chance of doing anything with his life. Between 2006-2010 I was waking up in the middle of the night just to have a shot of vodka. My girlfriend was getting just enough unemployment that I could get drunk all day and not have to do shit. Maybe go do a comedy show, but my best comedy days were behind me. I’d slur out a few jokes, be told by other drunks that they loved my bits about getting all fucked up, that drunk audience member who “was a huge fan” would then ask me if I knew where to get any blow. I would usually say no, but sometimes I would say yes and then go grab some coke from a dealer, if they were around the club, charge my “fan” enough to cover a lot of my cost, and I would end up having a “fan-subsidized” gram of blow. This type of scenario would happen a decent amount of time for a while. So, when I tell you that I had no chance, I really do mean that I had no fucking chance. I couldn’t quit drinking or doing blow. Ask anyone that knew Steven Kendrick back then. I worked at the Comedy Store for 3 years and then got banned for a performance while I was too drunk and fucked up. You have to be really bad off to get banned from the fucking Comedy Store. I know that I just jumped around a bunch, but I just want the reader to understand that this is a longitudinal (lasting over a long period of time) issue.

If you are a bigger fuck-up than I was then, how are you still alive? Ha ha. Please understand that there is a chance to pull yourself out of the daily routine of pouring cheap vodka into a glass, doing blow, and learning how to be functioning.  You can stop rehearsing the play. It’s possible.

Last night I looked around at some of these classmates of mine that are under the age of 30 and it’s difficult not to compare myself to them, using the person that I was when I was their age as a reference. These young adults have so much promise, too bad they are going to waste their young lives behind a desk, probably making lots of money. It’s such a shame. Ha ha. One of them wants to be a stand-up comic… “Dead Man Walking!” haha. “Don’t do it!” “Don’t jump!” Is all of the advice that I would ever tell him.

Back in Austin, where we were on the last post, I’m trying to figure out how to convince my parents to let me have some money that was left to me by a deceased relative. As I was writing the last post I had some internal dialogue happening regarding the concept of enabling. I’m sure that some will disagree with me but when my parents would give me money, I would usually use at least some of it on drugs. That is correct. Here’s the thing though. I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol. I was caught in the current, the riptide and I was being pulled into the huge sea of alcoholism and drug addiction at a rate that seemed so slow at the time, but it was really happening so fucking fast, almost lightning speed. The money wasn’t going to have any effect on my addiction other than to keep me from crossing the line of straight-up robbing motherfuckers. I didn’t have to go out and break into cars or homes in order to get drugs when the urges were just too strong. I’d love to sit here and pretend that my moral character was strong enough not to commit random braking and entering’s, but I’ve already dicked over friends during this addiction. If I would fuck over a friend, why wouldn’t I be crawling through a window like a Kodak Black video? I was caught up in that rip current of addiction with no control over when I would be spit out or would I just drown like the others?

I spent my money on drugs. The money from jobs, the money from birthdays, the gift cards were traded, and the gifts all returned to the stores while they were relaxed on receipts during the post-holiday gift giving season. I’ve heard of parents that would cut off the addicts in their lives either financially or emotionally or both. As if there are these conditions to familial love and I guess that there are sometimes, but I feel so fortunate that my parents never fully abandoned me. Yes, they said that they cut me off completely, but I would get the occasional money slipped to me through a card sent through the mail or at a lunch with my Dad, so it wasn’t really being cut-off and they knew that I a “poor, starving, struggling stand-up comedian” which started to work well as a cover for drug addiction. “No, I’m not sleeping on the floor of a duplex because I’m an alcoholic with a massive cocaine issue, I’m an artist!” Perfect cover story.

I called up my parents and asked them if they would meet me for a late lunch some afternoon. They said that they would love that, and so we set up a lunch date for the upcoming Friday afternoon which was just a few days away. I began to prepare. I’m not sure if other alcoholic/drug addicts do this but I prepared like a motherfucker for this meeting with my parents. I put my plan down on paper and began to rehearse. I practiced my lines, no pun intended, and prepared myself to answer any possible rejections that my parents might come up with that would create an obstacle in the way of me accomplishing my goal. I had pages of what to say and pages of what not to say. I had to come off as believable but not manipulative. I couldn’t let them see that they were being conned, which was very difficult with my parents because they had already seen my show before, many times. They had front row, season tickets to the performances that I would put on if I needed money for something. They had seen my methods of money manipulation evolve over the years since I was old enough to recognize that my parents could buy stuff that I wanted. Good lord, when is that age 3 or 4? As a child you start to point and want things, then that evolves into being asked what you want for Christmas…wait I have a choice…hmmm let me think. I would usually try to push the boundries on the Christmas presents or birthday for that matter. I would ask for something really expensive or dangerous first in order for them to get that first No out of the way. I had no idea as a young child that by implementing that approach I was actually using a psychologically-based selling technique called “Door-in-the Face.”

My pager still hadn’t gone off and I kept feeling as if this was karma coming back to get me. I had fucked over a good friend and now I was getting it handed right back to me. I was starting to crash over at Man-Boobs place, on his couch, while his roommate was out of town and that was exactly what I needed in order to hide out from the alcoholic roommate that I owed money to. I was desperately trying to get ahold of my buddy and so I drove over to the general area of his apartment.  I just happened to see a mutual friend while buying cigarettes at a convenience store that was located directly across from the apartment complex that I was pretty sure my dude was staying at. This guy knew more than I did regarding the situation and let me know what had happened. Damn, my buddy moved a few days earlier and took my money with him. I remember not even being that mad, I just shook my head in disbelief. I had been taken, but nobody is going to believe that I got ripped off and that’s why they can’t get their money or weed. I had to start thinking about damage control. The first thing that I did was to make a mental list of the people that I owed money to and then I listed them in order of the probability of them kicking my ass regarding the debt and that’s the order that people go paid back. I couldn’t come up with that much money and other way, I had to get that money from my parents. I worked on that “business meeting” for a few days until I was ready. Man-Boobs even helped me with some lines. (npi)

“Your father and I need to think about this.”

That was the answer after I had my scheduled, business casual, luncheon with my parents. We had lunch at The Monument Café in Georgetown, Texas and this was YEARS before it became so popular. I had my go-to at the time, chicken fried steak and it had been a while since I had eaten anything besides whatever 99 cent menu items of the day were in the dietary rotation or a peanut butter sandwich that I had made from the loaf of bread and peanut butter that I hid in my room.  If I owed a roommate that much money, I wasn’t going to leave my food out in the open. Not with her.

I was so nervous about having lunch with my parents. I tried my best not to look overly prepared, but confident. I took my ear-rings out and shaved my goatee as my mother had always nagged me about doing. “Those earrings make you look silly.” she would say, probably being right. She certainly wasn’t a fan of the goatee.  They agreed to give me the money since I was going to move in with Man-Boobs. That was the plan. So, I went to go pick up Man-Boobs up from his job working at the swinger’s club, “Anchovies” in Austin. I had to go around to the side door and knock loud between songs. The door was next to the DJ booth. After the 4th Prince song…Controversy! The music paused, and I banged on the door. I had been hearing some dude get a BJ behind the dumpster… Oh, yeah, did someone say classy? so I was thrilled to see the door begin to slowly open. “Helloooo? Whoooo is it?” I heard said in an overly comical, extremely dramatic, but very funny way. Man-Boobs opened the door and I was now inside of the DJ booth. I get handed a full pipe of weed that tasted decent from Man-Boobs and told to hit it after he turns on the fog machine and he hands me a paper towel roll with a bounce sheet stuffed into it. The fog machine goes off, I squat down to take a hit and I blow out through the paper towel roll bounce sheet filter. Man-Boobs and I had been discussing the possibility of getting a place, but he also needed a car, so we just figured out how everything could work. I’d put down more of the cost of the new place initially and then he would pay me back. And he did. Man-Boobs is usually really good about paying people back. This way Man-Boobs could buy a cheap car and we could both get out of the bad roommate situations that we were in, plus Man-Boobs wanted to dive head first into stand-up comedy, so that’s what he did. We went back to his place, we hung out and started planning how we were going to start our hunt for housing.

Man-Boobs asks me to take him the next day to look at a car that he wants to buy. It’s an early 80s Toyota Corona. Now, here’s the thing about that car and Man-Boobs in general. He wasn’t supposed to buy that car. Man-Boobs had decided to hire one of those services that has a mechanic meet out when you are looking at used cars in order to have an unbiased third-party opinion regarding the condition of the vehicle. Basically, it’s a mechanic to make sure that you don’t buy a lemon. Man-Boobs was so fucking tired of not having a car and this was the only POS that he could afford that was still one color. We met the mechanic and the owner of the car over at the owner’s house and the mechanic looked over the Toyota Corona. When the mechanic was done with the inspection, he took Man-Boobs over to the side in private and said “Hey, man I’m not supposed to say this, but don not buy this car. It’s been wrecked and even though it runs ok, I’m not sure about the reliability of it.” For whatever reason Man-Boobs said to himself. “Fuck it!” and he bought the car. Now, Man-Boobs has an old Toyota Corona that he was told no to buy. And…he paid full price. That’s Man-Boob’s negotiating power right there in a nutshell. Great guy…Art of the Deal. “The mechanic says that I shouldn’t buy your car…will you accept the full amount in cash?” Ha ha fucking Man-Boobs.

So, Man-Boobs has his vehicle and within the first week of owning it the water pump goes out. No big deal, Man-Boobs fixes it in about a week of working on it for a little while at a time while he’s not at work. Man-Boobs has a new day job working as a Barista on the University of Texas campus as well as being a DJ at the swinger’s club. The swinger’s club DJ gig is easy money, but it’s cutting into the time that Man-Boobs has to hang out in the comedy scene, which is crucial when you are first starting out in comedy. We start looking for places to live and we find a tiny little 2/1 house in South Austin, just a great location, for $550 a month. If you are living in Austin right now you just threw up in your mouth. Yep, it was on Elizabeth Street. Corner lot. The landlord didn’t do a background check and said that he trusted his impeccable sense of moral character. I was able to show my parents the lease application and I was given the money. I could now figure out how to pay everyone back the responsible way. Right after I get some blow to celebrate the new place. We get the keys and I pay back the biggest dude that I owe money to.

I told my roommates on top of the hill, living in the duplex that I was moving out, but that I was going to pay my portion of the rent even though I wasn’t going to be there that month. They all seemed cool with that and I was excited to start fresh. A whole new start. I promised the alcoholic roommate that I would pay her back once I had some more money. I never did. It’s really difficult to type some of these words. I just shake my head in disbelief, because the moments that I’m embarrassed regarding my past actions are accumulating with each post it seems. It’s so difficult to admit that I wasn’t a very good person when I was using.

I hadn’t paid my part of the duplex rent yet when we were moving into our new place and our first guest was one of my former roommates looking for the money. I gave it to him and he left after smoking a joint with us kind of a house warming present, or at least that’s how it was termed.

Our new place on Elizabeth was a tiny, little house that sat on a corner lot. Our next door neighbors raised birds and worked as a shade-tree mechanic. He specifically worked on dually trucks, which are the ones that have extra wheels in the back. Jimmie Vaughn, Stevie Ray’s brother would bring his dually by there to get serviced and we would see them out talking every once in a while. Kind of across and diagonal were some neighbors that we would end up getting to know a little bit. We called that dude “Crazy Mike” until he overheard us call him that. He was a crazy motherfucking guy, but he was nice and ALWAYS grilling up chicken leg quarters and then like to discuss how he bought them in a 10 lb bag for 39 cents a pound, on sale, while also doing the math out loud of how much they would cost if you bought them some place already cooked versus how much he spent, including charcoal, labor, etc. He was a nice guy and he knew some of the members of The Gourds, who are an Austin band and at least one of them lived just down the street. It’s interesting how “cool” it all sounds…living in Austin during that time, just being young and beginning to chase a dream, but once again it’s not like my anxiety and depression just vanished. It’s still there. It is better though. The depression at least. The anxiety is still through the roof as most full fledge crack heads, coke addicts will get. Not a lot of relaxed crack heads out doing yoga in the park, or at least not that I’ve seen. Being friends with Man-Boobs was fun though. He’s a really funny dude and his musical knowledge is really good, almost perfect. He can listen to some hip-hop songs and start naming the original music that they sampled in order to make the current song. That is not only cool, but it’s also entertaining as fuck for quite a while. My depression is still there and it’s nice to have this place, but my random bar-back jobs have been kind of drying up. I’ve been just working randomly and I ran into my boy Jason again. Do you remember Jason? The dude that I lived next door to over at Stonehollow when I was living with John Rabon? (who just recorded his first comedy CD)

Yeah, the dealer. I ran into a mutual friend, got his new number and hit him up. I go over to his new house and I see that he has a new girlfriend and that he is living with one of the dudes that was growing weed right next door to Jason at Stonehollow. Yeah, those two guys were trying to partner up and grab a place to turn into a grow house. They are just starting out on their new business adventure together, but they are really excited to tell me about it. “Hey, do you want to hit the bong?” I say sure, why not.

Jason hands me a dry, plastic, red bong. I now remember what Jason means when he says bong. I had briefly forgotten that when Jason smoked freebase he used a dry, plastic, cheap bong with no water. I actually say no. We both seem surprised, but I was able to say no, which brings me to a very interesting point. I was able to say no sometimes. I was able to say no a lot. I was actually able to say no with an alarming rate of reliability. Here’s the problem (whispering). I had to say no hundreds of times in a day on really bad days back then. I could have thousands on “No!” answers logged on the books and then all it takes is one “Yes” and then all of that work is lost and forgotten. I’m just a fuck-up again. That really sucks and is an ineffective way to measure the success on an addict, by the few losses on the record. Jason and his roommate had cleared out one of the 2 bedrooms and he was sleeping on the couch in order to use one of the bedrooms to set up a grow room. The plan was to have one successful grow room turn into a successful grow-house. Jason kept telling me about his plan and I’m looking around and see a bent-up spoon on the coffee table and random splotches of watery baking soda surrounding the spoons immediate area. His new girlfriend is not sure about me, she doesn’t know me, and we’ve never met before. She keeps watching me as if I’m a shoplifter in her store. Smart girl. Jason informs me that he’s about to take a sabbatical from smoking crack and he was just doing the last bits. He does have some powder for sale and I do buy some of that along with some good weed that he has. He says that he will be getting some opium tomorrow and for me to come back. I leave some money with him to hold it for me. I can trust this dude and I know where he lives. Even though I got burned recently, I have known Jason for a while and yes, he can be a dick sometimes when he’s been smoking crack for a day or so, but can’t we all?

Jason also is a decent businessman and informs me that he will be having “Kind Bud” or “KB” as they called it in Austin at the time, on a regular basis. So, now I have a coke guy close again and he also can get opium and good weed. I’m sorry “Kind Buds” Ask around. That’s what it was called. “The Kind”

I went back the next day to pick up some opium and Jason is dressed decently. He says that he’s going to a job interview at a local bar. One of his “clients” got him a job where he can sell bags. He laughs about how he is just doing lines and that he threw his red crack bong away last night. “Some homeless dude is going to find a lot of crack resin in the stem that I left in it!” “They will be so happy!” I remember leaving his place and walking by that dumpster on my way out to my car. I had just turned down a fresh bowl of crack from Jason just the day before, but here I was actually debating whether or not to jump in that dumpster looking for that bong with the resin-filled stem produced by hours if not days by an addict that has the intention of staying away from crack for a little while.

I said no to crack just the day before and felt so strong, now I stand there and I’m a fiend.

“Steven…yeah, this message is for Steven Kendrick. This is blah blah from Comedy Bookers. I wanted to check your availability for a gig. Get back to me at your convenience.”

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 17, part 1 (Austin)

This is part of a series, it is suggested that you start with post 1.

This post is from my older blog, which is catching up to todays date eventually. haha

Three more classes. That’s it. My project team is currently working on the BSG-online business simulation as part of our MBA capstone project. It’s fascinating, but there are so many variables to consider when making business decisions that more or less run the length of the supply chain. We’re making decisions regarding plant capacity, inventory, tariffs, social responsibility, manufacturing, product differentiation, marketing, private labeling, wholesale, retail, celebrity endorsements, etc. It’s so much fun to pretend for just a little while that we are the board members of this hypothetical corporation.

At the same time, I’m trying to learn step sequencing programming on my Korg Volca Sample. It’s the cheapest sampler that you can upload your own samples on, plus still have step sequencing, and the level of sample manipulation found on it. I know. I’m too old to be playing with music, too this, too that. Save that shit playa. I don’t live in a box other than my house. I’ve really also enjoyed messing around with some of the apps available like the Korg Electribe, just fucking around, listening to the beats and finding correlations, no words, it’s almost like sitting in a drum circle without hoping that I’m not allergic to patchouli or db manbuns.

I’m just trying to find creative outlets for my addiction to take roost. I’ve had school and it’s about to end. School has been my addiction, my line, my rock. When I say that something is my rock… not a good thing. Ha ha. I’ve said before that I could feel my addiction before I found cocaine, before I found alcohol, tobacco, or pills, as a child. I really could, it was in my nervousness, my thought process, my DNA. It was there the entire time. The recreational pharmaceuticals were just someplace else that my addiction found to live, take up residence, then move on and just occasionally show up at bad times, like it’s a poorly scheduled time share on a beach that is only available during the rainy season.

My addiction was showing itself early on in the way that I could fixate on things or food, in a way that is not healthy, just almost obsess over these things. That type of fixation is so unhealthy when it meets cocaine, but when it meets a difficult math class it can really be quite helpful. I unfortunately was mixing my drug use with my academics at first. Snort a huge line of cocaine, then start working on a math problem. Give yourself another huge line of blow when you’re done. That’s what I did during my time at Houston Community College and it got me through college algebra. I made a B. I was really coked up during my final, but I earned a 89 on it.

I don’t do coke anymore, because I really don’t want to anymore. I mean why do coke if you don’t drink? So, when I quit drinking, I chronicled it on my personal Facebook page and I’m going to make those public but I’m not sure how to incorporate them into this blog. Why don’t I just wait and let this blog catch up? Because most of my friends still use the most dangerous drug that I’ve ever consumed and a lot of them are addicts as well. Most of the people reading this still consume the most dangerous drug that I’ve ever ingested, a lot are most likely addicts, and I’m just now getting to my time being roommates with Man-Boobs. We still have a lot to cover in Austin, I’m already at about 60,000 words on this blog, when I add the other stuff, yes there are things that I’ve left out, we’re looking at over 100,000 words by the time I’m done with Austin. That’s skipping over a lot of relationships, dating, all of the workplace organizational cultures, shit-bag managers etc. Then I will start writing about my time in San Diego, my peak as a comedian and then my rapid descent towards rock bottom. How I was just a fucking drunk that couldn’t even make it to a gig on time or a commitment of any sort without smelling like a minibar had just been raided. That alcohol bloat just sitting there letting life just happen. The thought of me being successful academically would be said only in jest. So, I sat in my MBA class last night wearing my nice clothes, nice briefcase on my desk, MacBook Air with quantitative analysis results displaying on the screen, wondering if this is all real. Am I really sitting here during a lecture in the last month of an MBA program? But I’m just a fucking former addict, former drunk that started with one Spanish class. Now, I’m about to have my MBA. If I can do it…I mean seriously just think again about my past. I’m not alone either. There are a lot of addicts that get through the alcohol and drug addiction and then become successful. You can to. It gets better, so much better.

So, let’s get back to the late 1990s and living on the hill with Teddy and the others. I ate a lot of shrooms during the next year or two. They just kept appearing around me. Everyone had shrooms around Austin back then, well, not everyone of course, but since my circle of society was filled with fellow aspiring comedians, actors, musicians…. you know waiters, bartenders, ever been to a Thundercloud Subs?

My dive into shrooms really started over at Stonehollow (earlier post regarding Rabon) with having access to a lot of shrooms but being around Teddy back in the day was like having access to shrooms all of the time. Not from Teddy, ha ha Teddy didn’t have “go buy a big bag of shrooms money” and Teddy isn’t a hustler either. Teddy is an actor and an artist. Painting and shit and he’s bad ass, but not a hustler. I actually bought some of Teddy’s art a while back. I don’t really do that, I’m not out “buying art” on an afternoon, but his were inexpensive and fun. I have a shark eating a cupcake that I bought from Teddy. I’m smiling ear to ear just thinking of that shark right now. Isn’t that fucking great? That piece of art, that colorful drawing that Teddy created, probably in his spare time, just doodling as I’ve seen him do so many times, just as if everyone has his amazing abilities. His eyes focused intently on his work, never looking up, moving the thick hair out of his eyes and face, while the pace picks up just a bit. Then he is slowing down and he is complete. Teddy would look up to see us high as shit motherfuckers on the couch, up on that hill. We would just say shit like “Dude, that is so fucking cool.” “How do you do that?” “Is that Darth Vader doing stand-up?” Teddy would just look up and see us all, then Teddy would smile and ask “Oh, thanks. You like that?” or something as if he’s never been complemented before. Maybe he doesn’t hear those compliments. I don’t know. I’m not Teddy.

I was becoming friends with Man-Boobs from the KLBG morning show and his roommate situation was getting worse. His roommate was starting to get into screaming matches with the next-door neighbor when he was loaded, and my living situation was old before it started, but thank God I had a place to go at all. I had a decent little hustle going with a few people that I knew that smoked weed. There was a guy that worked on computers, a construction contractor, and a fledging comic like me who were all looking for ¼ pounds of weed or Q.P.’s as we called them, then I also knew a few people that needed ounces of weed. This was about every two weeks that I could run this hustle. I could hook all of these people up at the same time and have free weed for myself. Here was the deal though. I had to pick up some of the money first and then go run the errand of picking up a pound of weed and then splitting it up. It seemed fool-proof, but fool-proof doesn’t mean addict-proof. Fool-proof doesn’t mean fuck-up proof. And I was an addicted to being a fuck-up it seemed. I’m running this hustle and then my re-up dude takes my money and says that he needs to go pick up multiple pounds of weed, but that I’m going to get a lot more, since he’s going to be able to get such a great price. This is going to be just what I needed. I had saved a little money from my last few deals, so I went all in. I went back to the hill, to my room and grabbed the last money out of my Welcome Back Kotter lunchbox and I asked my roommates if anyone else wanted in on the deal. She said yes. My alcoholic roommate said that she wanted some. She gave me $175. I drove my uninsured Toyota Tercel over to meet my guy in a parking lot. I gave him my money and waited for my pager to go off. And waited.

There is a guy in my MBA program that is an addict. He’s a young guy that doesn’t know that I know that he’s an addict. I found out by accident. I was walking by as he was discussing his former issues with addiction and I just caught a short bit of the conversation, but it’s interesting to watch his mannerisms during class. He has a hard time sitting still, he always seems to try too hard during our class discussions and he is annoying as fuck. He reminds me a lot of myself, especially when I was younger, except that he already knows he has a problem. He still looks like an addict though, with his nervous shaking and stupid 24/7 grin for no reason. “WTF are you smiling at?” Anyone that smiley just seems like they are up to no good. I keep expecting him to do some shady shit like cough, squat, and now he has a prison shank in his hand. Squat, cough, stands up, no shank. I expect that type of shit.

I’m really trying to find a remote based sales or business development job with the MBA that I’m about to earn so that I can have some freedom to move about the country a little bit. I’d love to be able to live in a few places over the next few years, just working a day job, doing music and writing. I can’t wait to be able to put more energy into my writing, but I am also trying to remember to enjoy this time, the last moments of my time at the University of Houston – Downtown. I remember the last walk that I made across the campus at the University of Houston’s main campus back in 2015. I felt the cognitive dissonance regarding wanting to get the hell off of that campus before they changed their minds or just finding a bench to sit on in the middle of campus and not wanting to ever leave. I loved walking across that campus. I was still drinking heavily during those days, throwing up between classes, getting home and slamming three or four beers just to feel normal-ish. I made the Dean’s List and finished with a decent GPA 3.23 out of 4 on a plus or minus scale. Meaning my A was a 94 or better. No shit. Those were some tough fucking A’s to earn playa. If you get a 91-93…A-. WTF? Yep, A-. I earned a few of those. I had a professor that made a 92 in one of his last classes and he just missed getting a 4.0 for his entire academic career because of that grading system. That would suck so bad. I’m going to really enjoy my last walk I think, but I have cried on a campus before. At the University of Houston and at Houston Community College I sat down and cried. Both crying episodes occurred right after I learned of my grades in math. The first time was when I was handed a scantron with a 99 on it after a college algebra class. I thought that he had given me the wrong exam back and then I saw my name. I said thank you and just started walking and walking, just walking as fast as I could while tears started to well up in my eyes and roll down my face. “I made a fucking 99 on a college algebra exam?” Kept going through my mind. I finally made it to my truck, sat down and bawled. The second time was at the University of Houston when I found out that I made an 82 in Finite Math. I couldn’t make it to my car that time. I just cried on a bench. I couldn’t believe that I had made it through a class like that. I want to enjoy those last steps during the first week of August as I may never be a formal student again. I may never be handed another syllabus or buy another scantron, but then again, I didn’t fucking think that I would have ever be in the position to be clearing off space on my parent’s wall of frames for yet another degree from their youngest son. This one will say MBA. This probably will be my last walk across a campus as a student, but who the fuck knows. Life is weird.

There are three students at school that know about my past and they know about this blog. Well, there are four, but one person pulled a ghost move after reading it. Doesn’t want to talk, I guess. The others are very supportive, seem to find me entertaining and it’s nice to have a few people at school that are familiar with my background. I went to a neighborhood civic meeting the other night. Yes, I am a motherfucking member of the civic club. Problem with that? Ha ha. I know, it’s funny as shit to picture me at a civic club meeting, talking about median cleanup and neighborhood issues like speed bumps, which I really have to hold in a laugh when they are discussing not having enough bumps for everyone to be happy. You know that show Breaking Bad, where he said that he made meth because he was good at it? I started to get pretty decent at cooking up rocks, but I never really got to do it on a big scale, just small. I also never got really good at cooking rocks either. You see I hardly ever just bought a lot of blow just to cook up in order to make it all crack. That didn’t happen that much. I would end up doing a lot of lines and then crossing over to cooking it and smoking it around the end of a binge. I was a spoon cook, not a stainless-steel soup ladle chef. The weird thing is that if there was a bowling league for crack cooks I would join, just for the pleasure of making the rocks. It was that much fun to cook up rocks. I’d love to be able to do it as a legal, artistic, competitive, endeavor. I know.

I’ve been very conscious of my nervous leg twitching lately. I really don’t want to look like a drug addict, but I’m afraid that I do. That’s what I see in the mirror lately. I see a drug addict that has some college degrees. I don’t see an academic who used to do drugs. I hope that changes, but maybe it’s for the best. I don’t want to lose the connection that I have with where I have been. Education is powerful, so is money, and as time goes by, I’ll get used to being called Mr. Kendrick and I’ll have MBA on my business card right next to V.P of Bofa Deez. How many years will have to pass and how many business cards will I have to hand out in order for my reflection to trigger thoughts of success over the memories of struggle in my brain? You know, I’m not fucking sure, but I have the time and looking like an addict ain’t that bad. You just have to show your ID to school security until they get to know your face. “Oh, you are wearing a different hat today.” “It’s cool. I understand.” It happens when you are trying to rise above I guess. If I get confused looking at my own reflection in the mirror, how can I judge others for questioning what they see when they look at Steven Kendrick?

Back on the hill and I’m just waiting for my guy to page me back. It’s been several days now, and my friends are asking me why it’s taking so long. My alcoholic roommate is now turning her drunk, late night fits of verbal rage towards my direction. I can take the abuse, but it isn’t going stop until things are ok money wise with her. She’s not as mad as a couple of other people, so I am just trying to lay low and hope to God that my guy pages me back soon. The guy had just moved recently and so I’m not sure where he lives exactly, but I know what apartment complex. I’m so tempted to try to find his vehicle just to leave a note on the windshield. Fuck, man. I don’t know what to do. I’m fucked.

“Any psychology undergrad worth their weight should be able to plant a false memory into a subject by the time they graduate. I mean it’s unethical, but here’s how you do it.”

That’s what one of my psychology professors told the class during one of our class lectures. Ha ha now, that’s the type of shit that can help you out in life. I remember hearing that and instantly feeling like I was about to gain some amazing ability and it is very interesting how it can be done, it’s not at all universal, but over time there can be false memories inserted into people’s imaginations. “Bullshit” I can just hear you saying to yourself but go ahead, Google that shit and then call me a liar. Pffft. Psychology is really cool man and of everything that I’ve learned, my psychology education has helped me the most, to help me just figure out how to be me.

Don’t get me wrong I still feel lost as fuck now, but at least I’m not a lost dumbshit. I’m just lost, meaning I have no…ah crap. I have no real plan. It’s driving me fucking insane not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I’m fucking 48 years old I’m getting an MBA really soon and part of my Capstone is that I need to present my professor with a 3 year plan. How the fuck do I not have a 3-year plan? “But you need a 5-year plan Steven.” Shut up. Here is my 3-year, 5-year, 10-year, next week, tomorrow, plan.

  1. Don’t fuck it all up.
  2. Don’t drink even when it’s really fucking hard.
  3. Don’t do blow.
  4. Don’t fuck it all up again if you’ve already blown #1.
  5. Don’t be found dead in a seedy motel.
  6. Don’t try too hard to fit in. It will just look stupid.

Well damn. It looks like my 3-year plan assignment is done. You know, the assignment is only 5% of my grade…might as well just turn this in and see what he says.

For the last 7 years my plan has been… “Don’t fuck up school.” There wasn’t anything else other than that. That couldn’t happen. I couldn’t fuck up school, but I had no long-term plan. I didn’t even know what my major was going to be until I was a Junior. At U.H., I had to start out as “Pre-Psychology”, then get approved to be “Psychology” after I passed a couple of required courses. Psych Stats and Psych Methods. In order to be a Business Administration minor I had to have a 3.0 just to be approved for the courses, meaning that I had to wait until I had a GPA. I couldn’t just declare my major or my minor. “I don’t where I’m going…I’m just floatin’”- Kodack Black.

So, my first year at the University of Houston was spent having no real plan, just hopes, and maybes. “Hope/Maybe = Fuck it.” That was my academic plan. “Fuck it”, I probably won’t finish, but they will have to kick me out. I’m not quitting this like I’ve quit the other stuff. It was going to be different this time. No, I was going to be different this time! This was too important. This was my lottery ticket. A really expensive lottery ticket that can be lost really fucking easily. Did you know that there are theories that support the notion that personality can be manipulated? You can change your personality. It’s difficult to do so but I was taught in Personality Psychology that it is possible. Isn’t that fascinating though? Wouldn’t that save a lot of fuss? Ha ha.

Back in Austin, during the late 90s at where we left off, I am waiting for my pager to start buzzing and making noise. I want to see the lights flash and for the vibration to cause a ruckus on the coffee table, but I keep dialing it myself every day just to make sure that it still works and that I haven’t lost service for unpaid bill. Stupid Pinky’s Pagers.

I’m in my late 20’s but somehow it’s almost as if I keep just being late to things in about every metaphorical sense. Born with a tardy slip. Late to class, work, life, maturity, just behind it all. I’m short, bald, no real skills, I can’t even fucking bartend and my glass washing skills leave the Band-Aid man in business. Of course, I want to feel good. Drugs, booze and comedy. Do those and wait to die. That was my every day, this week, next week, just tell me when it’s over, this fucking sucks, plan.”

I’m hoping to look at my pager to see my buddies phone number across the small digtal display, but every time that I look at my pager it’s just filled with the numbers of people wondering where their weed or cash is. I now have other shit to deal with though. Most of my shit is in a storage facility in Austin and I’m a month behind on rent. I had to put my shit in storage after I was roommates with Rabon and I got behind on the payment. I’m so fucking scared about losing all of my shit but that looks like what is going to happen. My parents have cut me off, but every once in a while, I hit my Dad up for a random lunch date. He works at IBM. He’s a success. I hit him up for lunch and we go to Wendy’s. I’m sure that I told him about the great shows that I’m doing, but his eyes seem so concerned. He doesn’t say much other than to smile and to tell me how proud he is of my comedy. I should bring him half of the next sandwich that I earn. (reference from previous post)

My father informs me that one of my relatives just got old and died. No big story, no cool ending, just sitting back in a chair. Not even a Lazy Boy of death, just a recliner. But, this cool motherfucker left me some money! What? You shouldn’t have, but I’m glad as fuck that you did. But, it was just a couple thousand bucks and my parents were concerned with me having that much cash. But why? Oh, yeah. Fuck.

Wait…Bonus, my Dad gives me $100 for gas money! He says it’s to help get me to my comedy gigs, but don’t tell Mom.  Man, how cool is that?

Now, I have a very short time to convince my parents that I’m not going to OD 24 hours after they give me this money. How the fuck do I convince myself of that first though? I need to get some blow and figure this shit out.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA Post 16, Part 1 (Austin)

This is part of a series and it is suggested that you start from the beginning. To do so just click here. These are older posts that will eventually catch up to the current date.

I’m about 4 weeks away from earning my Master’s in Business Administration. Wow. This has taken so much work over the past 7 years but to see it coming to an end is enjoyable to say the least. I’ve also met a couple of other former drug addicts recently at school. They have different backgrounds than I do, both having undergrad degrees from extremely respectable universities, and earned at the appropriate corresponding ages, but we are all examples of individuals overcoming or conquering addiction. I’m not sure if those words, overcoming or conquering are correct due to the heterogeneous nature of addiction but I think that you get what I mean. I’m not sure what I’ve written about regarding this era before I took my break so if I repeat anything please be patient. It will get edited out eventually. During those days on the hill I did have some “relationships” with women, but those were weird days and like I said before, I’ll probably write a blog or book regarding the relationships in my life, but this isn’t the time. I honestly would have hated dating me. Everything about me was so fucking broken at the time. One false move in just about any figurative sense could be the end. I have no idea how I kept waking up every morning, but I did.

I was meeting girls and I would occasionally date someone, but I just don’t have that good of game. “Hey, I sleep on a floor and our electricity is out. Feel romantic baby?” Why not just throw on the movie “Kids” and really creep her out? Oh, we can’t watch a movie. No electricity. The women that I would meet in Austin from this moment forward all had some issues. No shit. We all have issues, but if I seem like a good choice of boyfriend…that girl is about to either get arrested for some old warrant or come to her sober up and come to her senses. I seemed to meet a girl right when she was about two months away from beginning her downward spiral. At about 6 months into the relationship I’d hear this. “I need to get my shit together and my life straightened out. Bye!” If I heard a woman say “So, I went to an AA meeting the other day.” “I got a gym membership.” “I’m going back to school.”, really anything related to self-improvement, pretty much meant that if she made a list of shit in her life that needed improving, I was somewhere on that fucking list. I may not be in the top 5, but my day is coming. Sell those CDs of hers while you can, because pretty soon on a Friday night just before her unscheduled weekend away with friends… “We need to talk. You know I started working out…” Long story short, who in their right mind would be anywhere close to a dude like me during that time. Girls with coke problems that’s who and thank God for them. Short term relationships can teach a young person essential team building skills and how to dodge a high heel being thrown at you. Come to think of it I did have some two-month relationships during that time. I guess when you find yourself dating an unfunny, coke-head comic that smells like a stinky fridge and dirty laundry then if you have any girlfriends at all they are going to give that girl a talking to. Intervention and shit. The “Did you realize you’re dating Steven Kendrick sit down that must have occurred with those girls. They were all sweet, just sour at the time. We all were. We were addicts right in the middle of the shit. It’s weird though, when you’re sitting in the back of the Velveeta Room in Austin laughing like a motherfucker, you could forget that you owe someone money, you can forget that she hates you, you can forget that the electricity is out at home. It works for a little while. Add some coke and a decent set where you start to get your first laughs, and you can almost believe for a second that you have a shot at your dream. It’s intoxicating as fuck.

The laughter could sometimes make me forget how fucked up my life was. I loved comedy for that. Yeah, I still sucked, but like I said I had a dream to follow, to be a stand-up comic and that gave me that place to go. The stage was that place. God, I was just awful, but I started to get shitty gigs around the outskirts of Austin. I did a show 45 minutes outside of Austin around that time and I was so fucking happy. I did a road gig and I even got paid to do it. Kind of. They gave me a sandwich. This was a coffee shop that sold sandwiches just like any random coffee shop that lasts a few years and then closes. They had been doing comedy for a little while, but they would only pay the comics a meal. I got a sandwich and some chips. On the drive back, in my head I’m wondering what is next for this not so hungry, but only because of the sandwich, comic.  Those shitty first road gigs seemed so fucking cool at the time even though we all knew that they were also lame at the same time. So now I had a choice. Do I tell people that I’m doing comedy, but getting paid in sandwiches? Do I lie and say that I’m making money? I’m pretty sure that I lied. I’m not telling motherfuckers that I’m getting paid in fucking sandwiches. Order the sandwich before your set if you are going to bomb. That way to don’t have to worry about a barista fucking your sandwich while he makes it because he was offended by your jokes.

Life on the hill was getting really motherfucking old. There was some dude that would crash there sometimes, but just random as fuck. We never locked the front door as what the fuck are people going to steal? The dirty carpet? Our electricity that isn’t on? The stinky-ass refrigerator? I hadn’t lived with a mean alcoholic before. I’ve lived with and I have been the mean at moments alcoholic in the house, but our one roommate, the girl, was a mean drunk. She’s probably changed a lot by now and I get that, but back then…just a bad drunk. But it’s about to get worse. Long story short, the random dude on the couch brings over a bunch of blow and some of us cook it up and smoke it. Some don’t. There were a few extras in tow so it’s difficult to say who was there and who wasn’t. We had partied for a couple of days and then he left. He came back in a couple of weeks and we did it all over again and then one morning he was gone. Poof never saw him again, but that was the last full on crack out with a room of other people function that I can remember attending. Everything else was in groups of three people or less. I don’t like a room full of fiends. It makes me nervous now.

So, Man-Boobs invites me to hang out with him one night at a DJ gig that he has. The motherfucker is DJing at a swinger’s bar in Austin called Anchovies. I go.

“How do you live like that? Man, I just couldn’t live like that.”

I was asked this by one of our hill-top neighbors as he whispered to me even though we were smoking a bowl of good weed in his place, no one else was there, and there was no way in hell that any of my roommates could hear him.  Was he referring to my drug use? The fact that I slept on the floor? He and I had our similarities as he had pointed out to me during the smoking session that he had invited me to attend with him, just the two of us. He was sitting there with his nice, glass bong, Pantera poster on the wall because it was in the 90s and he was a male in Texas. His Ford Ranger sport truck had been almost stolen by car thieves one night, but they couldn’t get it down that hill that we were perched on. The incline was crazy and if you were not used to backing down the long driveway, you could easily become disoriented and wind up in the bushes or crashing into one of the small trees scattered on the hill. He kept saying that I was a lot like he and his friends. They all did blow and drank, but I wasn’t like his friends at all. He felt as if he fit in. His friends seemed confident and almost like they were always ready for a fight. They all just kind of seemed like dicks, but as I think back on it now, I probably looked like a dick too. Just a broke dick with a coke problem. His day was starting at the same time everyday going to work, but I was a comic. Kind of. I at least called myself one and I hung out where comics would tend to hang out. Shit open mics that happen in small restaurants or coffee shops that are desperate to fill any chair possible.

You could just tell that some people were almost naturals with their comedy, not me as I’ve said before. There are comics that are kind of bullies during their sets, discussing celebrities and bashing them into oblivion, or each other, or the three audience members at the different comedy nights. Sometimes the comics will be very self-deprecating and seem able to say things out loud that would hurt most of us to think about even in private. I know it’s a very general statement, but I guess that I’ve always seen the comics in one of two camps. The comics that were the funny bullies that picked on the other kids at school and then the kids that got picked on that learned how to laugh at themselves. I had a video camera that my parents had given me about this time and I started to record my comedy sets. One night while I was watching my set from the Velveeta Room I heard some of the other comics talking about how bad I was and how much they didn’t like me. Even though I was aware that I sucked and I was not doing myself any favors trying to get to know people, I remember that for some reason it hurt hearing it from the same people who had been shaking my hand and patting me on the back after that same shitty set. It’s so petty, but I just didn’t know that they thought such bad shit about me, but honestly I was a fucking mess and when I think about who I was back then I just find it difficult to believe that I’m that same guy. I have several degrees and I haven’t had a drink in about 20 months. No cocaine, no sodas, no cigarettes, still nervous sometimes but Exposure, Response Prevention. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not even motherfucking close to being one. But ERP was something that fascinates me in so many ways.

Now for no good reason. I want to talk about my grandfather, and I might have already shared this about him, but I’ll share it again.

My grandfather was going deaf and was wearing hearing aids, but he was always so damn happy. My grandfather was always in a pretty good mood, but he always seemed to be in his own world. He died when he was 98 years old but had remained very active until the last month or so of his life. He was so independent and extremely untraditional when considering what appears in most of our imaginations when we begin to picture an old man in our heads. My grandfather would drive his old truck out to his farm and sleep in the bed of his truck, while staring at the stars, during his late 80s and early 90s. No shit. He didn’t care what other people thought. What was his secret? He had turned the volume down on his hearing aids. He turned off all that bullshit that we hear every day. He just said, “I don’t fucking care what you have to say.” And he just lived his life. My uncle would get upset exclaiming that they would find him dead out there someday. I witnessed my grandfather crying at his son’s funeral, my uncle. That hurt to see my grandfather so sad but living long has its drawbacks as well as its benefits. Living a long time would be really cool if you could hold onto grudges for a long time also. Sit there smirking while a decade’s argument finally came to a conclusion that was acceptable. “Fine, I forgive you since you’re dead.” My grandfather turned down his hearing aids and tuned out the world. He couldn’t hear any of the bullshit, but he couldn’t hear the other stuff either. He couldn’t hear “I love you.” “Would you like another plate of turkey?”, nothing really, but he knew that we all loved him and he probably had enough turkey. He just wanted people to shut the fuck up and leave him alone. I love it and I understand it. I sit hear listening to repetitive Korg generated beats going off in my head, blocking the entrance of the outside world with the help of my Dre headphones. I’d rather listen to this sometimes than hear the world around me. I guess it all depends on what’s around me.

I had class today. It’s so different during these last weeks of my academic career than it was when I began. I was so fucking scared during those first few classes at the community college and wondering if I would even make it through. I wouldn’t make it through if I had listened to the naysayers or even worse to my own inner voice telling me that I was too old and that I already tried the school thing. But at the same time the voices of encouragement were extremely helpful when I was unsure or worn out from studying but with exams still left to take. So, I guess the answer isn’t to tune the world out unless you are just done learning. Maybe.

Now, that I have my psych degree knowledge I hypothesize that deep down I’ve been scared for a very long time. I’m not really sure what the fuck I was scared about then and honestly, I don’t know if I’m not still scared of something while I’m typing this. It could just take some time to stop walking around waiting for someone to pounce on you or punch you, because I did get a lot of that growing up or maybe I was just born with this nervousness about me, perhaps it’s the isolation associated with having speech impediments, I suspect that all of those are correct to some degree, all with weighted averages of their own. Thank God for my Psych degree.

So, I go to this place Anchovies where Man-Boobs is DJ-ing. He works there on the weekends and says that he’ll get me a couple of beers. I had never been to a swinger’s club so this was a completely new experience for me. It was just kind of uncomfortable to watch a bunch of old people having sexual contact right there, not really out in the open, orgy style, but if they had turned down the Prince that was blaring the air would have been filled with the sounds of middle aged people fucking in a gymnasium. The swingers club was in an old warehouse or industrial complex type of building and smelled like lube and Old Spice. The DJ-ing was not really DJ-ing. There weren’t any turntables or grooveboxes that I recall. Just loading cds and playing them. But, Man-Boobs did get a BJ one night by some dude’s wife as he watched. I wasn’t there that night to witness the Dinner and a Show, but he was quite proud of that accomplishment.

I end up getting some weed through one of Man-Boobs friends and I start hooking up people again. Not a lot, but enough to get me some free weed. I run into an old real estate client and he offers me a really good deal on some Mexican brick weed. I bite at the deal and I start to round up some cash. Bulk baby.

Today is my birthday. I am now 48 years old and no shit, I feel better than I did 20 years ago. It’s not even a close competition. I’m not hung over in the morning, I’m not coked up, and I’m not spiraling out of control due to alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal fixations. No, I’m 48 and I am a quitter. I quit stand-up comedy. I did and that makes me a quitter. And I’m totally cool with that title. Add loser to it. I’m comfortable with it. I’ve been a loser and a quitter more than I’ve been a success. I’ll hang my loser degree right next to my MBA. Ha. See how fucking powerful education is? Hang that quitter plaque right next to my psych degree. Ha ha. I am all of those things and I’m fine with being a successful, educated, loser that quits shit occasionally. I wish that I had paid more attention to the people around me when I was a young man. Not, my associates, my friends, my drinking and drug buddies, I mean of course I should have hung around some less shady people, but I mean in a macro sense. I wish that I would have noticed the old alcoholics more as opposed to the old pot smokers, but most of the old pot smokers were in the closet, I guess. Not all though.

Teddy had a lot of friends and I met some of them. He had old friends from high school and of course everyone at Esther’s Follies just adored Teddy. Teddy is still around and working in the Austin theatre scene, making audiences laugh, or cry for that matter if the scene would call for it. I just love Teddy so much and Teddy isn’t his real name, but it is so poetically perfect if you know that motherfucker, because he is a Teddy bear. I’ve never seen any of those movies with the shit-talking teddy bear, the ones with Markey Mark…yeah, I haven’t seen those, so I can’t use them as a base line.  Did I tell you that the last movie that I saw in the movie theater was “March of the Penguins”. I cried during that movie quite a bit. How the fuck do you not? Well, I’ve gotten off track. Time for my coffee. I LOVE my espresso machine. I bought it with the money that I don’t spend on energy drinks. I used to spend at least $4 a day on energy drinks. Fuck that shit. Quit those and went 100% into coffee. I love my Chemex, but my lever-pull, dude…that is a crack machine. My addiction loves that motherfucking lever-pull espresso machine. You should see the smile on my face. Love it. Get back monkey!!! I’m getting all pookie just thinking about it.

One of the people that I met through Teddy was this older woman, most likely in her late 60’s or early 70’s, I’m just awful at guessing the ages of women when they get past the age of 40 that it is much safer to no attempt that at all. The point is that she was older than most marijuana smokers that I had met up to that point.

She was an older woman past her early 60s for sure and she smoked marijuana with a sense of elegance about her, sitting back in an antique chair, in an older home hidden away in Austin near the University of Texas campus. Her large dogs, the racing kind…greyhounds were lounging about, being rescued much like Bart Simpson’s dog had been. She would smoke a joint as if it was teatime in England with style and elegance as I mentioned before. She didn’t quite care for me and I understand why. I’m sure that she could see that I was just a wreck. I could fool some of the younger girls my age, but a woman that has dealt with some losers in her day would be able to spot me from a mile away. One of her dogs had this weird growth thing hanging off of its dick. It’s difficult not to stare at weird dicks. Teddy would visit her quite a bit and since he didn’t have a car at the time I would drive us in my uninsured Toyota Tercel with one of Teddy’s Frank Zappa mix tapes blaring out of my cheap 6×9 flea market genuine Sorny speakers and a cassette deck that wasn’t actually attached, it just slid a little in the cassette deck dashboard hole, just above the ashtray. Full ashtray.

“Did you hear that Mary almost got busted?” Mary was the name of the older, mature marijuana smoker. “No, what the fuck happened?” I asked Teddy. Then Teddy told me the story.

Mary had driven down to downtown Auston to pick up a paycheck for her musical talents. Mary was / is an accomplished piano player that has entertained literally hundreds of thousands of Austinites over the years without them even knowing her name. Funny how that happens. Well Mary was parking her car and lit up a joint once she was settled. She was an older woman that just wanted to smoke half of a joint before she walked the streets of downtown Austin, picked up her paycheck and grabbed some lunch with friends at the place across from the Parmount with the bad ass buffet. Hickory Street. Mary’s older model Honda CVCC was quickly filling up with the billowing viscous smoke as Mary quickly licks her finger, then places her finger to the joint, smiling slightly with satisfaction as the runner in her joint was just presumably fixed. The smoke in the Honda is a little much and Mary has one of her favorite, bright flower patterned yellow dress on, so she opens the window slightly and the smoke pours out with the first slight opening as the hand cranked window lets it all slowly dissipate into the humid, Austin afternoon downtown, skyscraper induced windstorm. Mary hits the joint one more time…about to exhale… BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Or whatever fucking sound a police officer’s nightstick makes on the glass of an old Honda CVCC with hand crank windows and a mature, successful, Amelia Bedelia looking woman in the passenger seat.

Mary looks up and then quickly to the drivers side window and sees the police officer standing there. She rolls down the window.

“Yes, officer?”

“Mam, that’s marijuana!”

“Yes, I know. I took it away from some kids. I was making sure it’s real.” ‘It is.”

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA, Weekend Post: Facebook Addiction (not part of the ongoing series)

I’m all about self-improvement… giving up crack, cocaine, pills, cigarettes, alcohol, earning an associate degree, bachelor of science, graduate certificate, and a masters degree, not too bad for an addict / alcoholic… and now I’m just trying to keep that continuous improvement, Toyota-type philosophy of life going in the positive direction. 

I’ve been trying to take a break from Facebook and honestly, it’s been more mentally challenging to do so than I would have expected… just to stop that behavior of logging into Facebook and spending time there. I deactivated my account, which seemed like such a strong move at the time… so “well, I’m done with you for a while” but that’s not what happened… I mean I’m writing about Facebook right now, so it’s not as if I’m taking any kind of break. I’m just not on the site currently. 

I have a fucking psychology degree from the university of Houston, Go Coogs! (2015) and I did well, studied hard… it doesn’t provide any relief when trying to back up from Facebook at all and to be honest it just makes it worse. I only have a BS in psychology, but I hypothesize that there is more than one Psych professor at some university trying to figure out how to stay off of Facebook in order to give them a break from its world. It’s access to friends, casual conversation, time killers, acceptance, likes, emojis that give you a fucking hug and they also care… the emojis care now… that only adds to the pain and anxiety of separation ha ha. 

I tried to stop, I deactivated my account…temporarily, I’ll be back bubble filled in and within a couple of hours I just, by a combination of instinct, learned muscle memory, and working memory, I looked up just as I was finishing up my password and boom. I was on Facebook again. OMG, I was so embarrassed and shocked, WTF? I wasn’t even consciously thinking about it. I wasn’t thinking “oh, I’ll just check it once.” No, I did not want to be on Facebook for a bit. Seriously, I had just deactivated my account earlier that day. 

This process actually has repeated itself for the last few days… even this morning I almost signed in… but stopped before I actually breached the entry…I was on the last part of my password… it felt like a win. I have to be honest. Because, I’ve had to deactivate my account several fucking times since I originally tried on the 16th of July. Yes, I’ve actually had to do that. You see, when you deactivate your Facebook account it’s easy to just let bygones be bygones as far as Facebook is considered… just log in and everything in Facebook land will return to normal as if you never left or deactivated it at all. Constanza move. 

And I found myself doing just that several times… a day, maybe more, just to curse out my degree and nod my head while going through the same deactivation process again. 

I miss Facebook terribly ha ha, the attention, the instant likes, smiley faces… hug emojis… who the fuck doesn’t like that? I’ve also dropped some friends lately on Facebook, because I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with anyone trying to spread divisive hate or someone that is just toxic. That felt good, but Facebook in general was just finding my time more than I wanted it to and like I said I’m still discussing it now. 

I like these random blog posts that don’t follow my background, my story, and I guess that at some point I imagine that they will catch up to each other….my background blog, how my alcoholism and addiction began… born with some, found the rest, ha ha nature nurture as they say. I think that I need a master’s degree in psychology in order to say “as we say” when referring to something based in psychology like nature nurture. Ugh, the lowly undergrad of psychology… some are baristas, some go into sales, some… some must just never speak of it again.  

I turned 50 the other day, which is just a huge, big number that shouldn’t have anything to do with me. Not me motherfucker… no kids, never married, working in a bunch of bars, clubs, comedy clubs, some sales here and there, doing some event promotion, time just goes by… and missing out on those events, such as going through childbirth with someone, all of those moments that can help define someone’s place in life… moving on to the next Maslow step, just dealing with the stress and the everyday burdens and also pleasures of the family life, which I have only experienced in the aspect of growing up in a family… then just fading off, doing my thing, then you try to figure out that it’s been 25 years since you tuned 25 and wow… those past parties don’t seem as cool anymore… those nights out in Austin, San Diego, Hollywood, and to be honest I’m not sure how much fun they really were at the time, the mind can play tricks with your memory… things can seem better than they were or worse than they ever could be. 

How long will I be off of Facebook, probably not long. I think I have a new job starting up soon where I’ll be working a lot with social media advertising, analytics, creating content, etc. so I’m going to have to be back on, but it’s such a strange feeling knowing that it’s really that difficult to go back to life without being able to reach out to friends and see them there at a moment’s notice with likes and emojis that care.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 15, part 1 (Austin)

Part of a series…please click here to start from the beginning

Taking shrooms and going to 6th Street on Halloween had always seemed like a cool idea, but I was usually working. I did however go one year, and it was such a fucking trip. Thousands upon thousands of costumed, drunken revelers turning in this circle, not unlike a zombie version of Nascar racing, just all of them turning left and then going in a circle again. I’d see all kinds of costumes and if you’ve never been to 6th Street in Austin for Halloween, you probably just shouldn’t. It was a fuck-story back then and it’s probably worse now. We used to call those nights, amateur nights. 

Those nights when the drinking amateurs would feel the need to join the rest of us out on 6th Street in Austin to party would just be both loved and hated by the group of workers on 6th Street. The employees would love making extra money and seeing the tip jars get filled up, but there would always be issues such as more fights and altercations during those busy annual event type nights. Those tip jars though would get really full and you know, every once in a while, some dumbshit would try to steal a tip jar off of the bar. Sometimes you would find an empty tip jar in a bathroom stall or if you did catch the thief? Damn, I saw a dude steal a tip jar once off of a bar on 6th street and as he was stealing the tip jar one of the bartenders saw him, but didn’t yell at the guy like “Hey! Stop stealing that tip jar!” or anything close, he just kept his mouth shut and grabbed a security guard. They just grabbed this dude and through him down a flight of stairs. Those busy nights like that could just get crazy.

My first experience with working on 6th Street was when I got my very first job on 6th Street just before Maggie Maes. I don’t like to talk about it much, but I worked at the Daquiri Factory on 6th Street for about 6 months before I got fired for showing up late and then telling the boss to fuck himself. That’ll do it. I did work my first Halloween on 6th Street while at the Daquiri Factory though. I wasn’t sure what to dress up as, so I went as the porn star John Holmes. All I had to do was stuff a tube sock with other tube socks and then stick that in my pants to make it look like I had a huge dick. I put a name tag on that said “John Holmes” and I went to work on 6th Street. Actually, I couldn’t drive with the sock dick, so I had to remove it in order to properly use the pedals on the automobile. Shaq must have a chauffeur for the same reason. “Sorry bro, can’t drive. Huge dick, can’t work the pedals.”

I’m 29

We’re going to go back up that hill and get back to Austin during the late 1990s really soon. I promise, but I’ve been listening to a lot of WordStar Hip Hop lately. I have to be honest I’m not sure if WordStar is the label, producer, or channel, but I just see that on the screen before the videos. Then YouTube takes over and starts to recommend that I listen to other rap artists. I like most of it quite a bit and on YouTube you can find the instrumental version of most rap or hip hop and I really like the use of sampling and the different drum machines. I find it fascinating. There can be such a range from very intricate, to just a very simple beat, being made from the same type of drum machine. So, fucking cool. I bought a Korg Volca Sample. It’s so much fucking fun. You can use your iPhone to capture samples and then load them into the Korg. It was like $160 new, which isn’t cheap, but once again…in college textbook or cocaine money…$160 ain’t shit. You can smoke $160 worth of blow pretty fucking fast and $160 will sometimes get you an entire textbook, sometimes. Maybe buy it used. It’s tough to buy used cocaine, so the correlation ends there.

I would mention some of the artists that I like of WorldStar, but I don’t want to accidently start a beef. I’m not built for that. There’s that one label though with Lil Xan. I could beat up Lil Xan. Not too worried about him. Unless, he knows martial arts of some sort. Damn, I’d hate to be on Youtube getting my ass kicked by a jiujitsu Lil Xan. I do like all that independent looking new stuff in hip hop though. I love that hustle. I admire it a lot. These motherfuckers are just making music and posting music. Not asking permission. Plus, that mumble shit is not only catchy, but very replicable. You really don’t need to know the words and I’m not completely convinced that Lil Xan knows all the words to his own songs, even though he has very publicly stated otherwise. “I remember my shit though.”- Lil Xan

I slept a lot yesterday. A lot. I just felt so exhausted from all of the worrying, studying, and the depression that seems to correlate with the unknown. My unknown future and my dynamic identity. For 15 years or so I knew who I was. I was Steven Kendrick the fledgling comedian that drank too much and had a cocaine problem. That’s who I was. I wasn’t happy with who I was, but at least the identity was known to me. I could see my face or name on various comedy show flyers or tickets and know exactly who I was. The comedy poster told me who I was, the ticket reminded me. Those nights of drinking, hanging out with other comics, talking shop at the bar with other comics, talking mad shit about a comic while they are onstage, just to tell them “Good set man!” when you see them at the bar just following their 5 minutes of fame. “Good set.” Doesn’t that seem like a relatively transparent phrase? “Good set.” I have seen someone get punched for saying that to another comic, because it was said in jest. As sarcasm. I really miss those times of just hanging out and bullshitting with other comedians. I miss that more than the stage time probably. The stage time though gave you the best high. That high is really good, there were nights where the high of being onstage was equal to the high of crack. Not now. I felt that in San Diego, but never in Austin. I just wasn’t that great when I was performing in Austin. I wasn’t great ever. I was good though and being good at stand-up comedy takes a lot. I was unfortunately only good for a short time. You can run a funny engine on alcohol and cocaine, just not for long, but without the booze I couldn’t perform. Too nervous. I was having a conversation with one of my MBA professors, a brilliant professor holding a PhD in management and we were discussing my past academic failures and she asked me a question. “What was different? How can you do it now?” I knew the answer immediately. Efficacy.

Being up on that hill in Austin during the late 1990s, just as if the world doesn’t exist, just the comedy clubs and the partying associated with my lifestyle. I’m doing more shrooms and acid, sitting on the roof watching falling stars and meteor showers, playing Frisbee golf, denying my growing alcoholism and trying to only snort blow, not smoke it. The trek up the unknown path that young artistic types sometimes take can be so contradictory at times. It can feel so carefree when the bills aren’t due, but so fucking restricting when the money is tight and the refrigerator is empty. You can get away with that lifestyle as long as the variable of youth is still present in the equation. When the equation of life begins to omit the variable of youth, then that lifestyle of a carefree existence becomes a cage. A cage of living with roommates until you are in your 50s. There’s nothing wrong with having roommates in your 50s. Probably. I have to be honest though, the only example that I can think of off the top of my head of that being remotely successful was the Golden Girls, but admittedly I haven’t seen many episodes.

Life isn’t fair and comedy isn’t fair. If life was fair Sean wouldn’t have been in so much pain. If comedy was fair Sean would have had his own fucking plane and his own fucking mansion. He was that funny. Fuck. I hate getting the news of a friend passing away, but when it’s a friend that’s also a comic that I’ve worked with it just seems to hurt a little more sometimes. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. Sean was never calling me up to join him on a show, but he was nice enough to perform in some rooms that I booked and through that we became the type of friends that would talk to each other when we saw each other out and once in a while on the phone when we were really fucked up. We didn’t talk very much after I quit drinking, but that happened with quite a few people, it wasn’t just with Sean. Ugh. The stories that start floating around in your head and all the laughs. Fuck. Not everyone takes the comedy path that leads to personal chaos but it’s so easy to just jump in the party mode and not get out for a long time. The party mode to some isn’t really a party, but just a pain numbing mode. Sean had so much physical and mental pain going on all of the time that I don’t know how he lasted as long as he did. Sean Rouse passed away recently, and I wasn’t one of his closest friends, but close enough that he had crashed on a couch of mine in Houston and in San Diego. We had partied multiple times together and I was in awe of his talent. I was jealous as fuck the first time that I saw Sean perform and honestly, I was a little jealous of him every time that I saw him perform. The jealousy wouldn’t last long though, usually dissipating extremely fast once I caught a quick glance at Sean wincing a little in pain. That look on someone’s face when they are trying to not show the world that they are hurting is tough to see and it can take any jealousy out of the equation. Maybe jealousy is the wrong word, but maybe it’s not. I have a feeling that his really close friends never felt jealous at all regarding Sean’s comedy, but I’d be lying to say that I wasn’t. Who didn’t want to be that fucking funny? Who didn’t want to be able to wordsmith their way around punch you in the fucking face topics? Fucking innocent looking face, like a choir boy, but when the jokes started to come out, just holy fuck. I saw Sean perform many times throughout his life and at just about every stage of his comedy career. To see Sean Rouse and Doug Stanhope performing back in the day was just amazing, I’m not quite there yet in my Austin story, but with the recent passing of Sean I just can’t get that era out of my head. It was such a destructive, drug filled, booze flowing, time during 1998-2002, while I was in Austin and just a few years away from moving to Cali.

I lived up on that hill with Teddy and then in multiple places with Man-Boobs after he was fired from KLBG. At one point we lived in a huge house just a few minutes from Cap City Comedy Club, where one of our roommates worked answering phones during the day and waitressing at night. There were parties at the house with famous and not so famous comedians almost every weekend with mounds of cocaine on a silver platter in the kitchen. Seriously. That was where it peaked in Austin right before I left for San Diego. I’m jumping so far ahead right now, and I will go back on the next post, but my mind has just been fixated on the macro sense of it all right now.

Seeing comics like Doug Stanhope and Sean Rouse back in those days was just insanity. Capital City Comedy Club would be this crazy environment for the week of shows, Tues through Saturday night, and there would be two shows on Saturday night followed sometimes by a midnight show. Fuck yeah. The midnight shows. Holy shit. I loved those shows. The Tuesday night shows would usually be slow for any comic, I believe that there were less than 20 people for a Dave Ahtel show on a Tuesday during that era so that is a good base to work with. Ha ha. I just thought about how I’m going to need to use the term baseline instead of just base, when describing anything in a scientific or statistical manner. I use the word base to mean a couple of things during this blog. Base is either smokable cocaine like freebase or base is a baseline as in finding something to use for a comparison.

The week of shows during those days were so much fun. The first time that I opened for Doug Stanhope was at Capital City Comedy Club. Doug was hilarious, a comic named Boris featured and I… well, I wasn’t very funny. I just hated not being very good, but who gave a shit? I was going to a strip club with Doug Stanhope and partying that week. That alone was worth looking like an idiot in front of a few hundred strangers that only know me as that one guy that sucked on stage that night. Whatever. That was all such a crazy time in life and Sean Rouse would come through Austin a decent amount during those days, just tearing the roof off of the place.

Later on, Sean was really proud of my academic success though. He told me that one night when I was still drinking. He was actually asking about how to apply for FAFSA. I’ll talk about getting to know Sean better later on when I’m writing about San Diego maybe. Maybe not. I just wanted to say something about that time in my life and also how much I’m going to miss Sean Rouse being in the world, just being Sean. And the hacks seem to just fucking live on forever and ever. It’s just not fair.

“Hi, Welcome to the Messy Omelet Café, is it your first time here?”

“Yeah, this is my roommate Steven. He wanted us to come here.”

“Oh, and why is that? Do you love omelets?”

“No, he wants to bang one of your waitresses.”

Damn it. I can’t believe he actually said that to the waitress. This is what keep it on the dl means? Fuck.

“Oh, my God…Which waitress? They all have boyfriends except for two.” The waitress impatiently asked.

Living with a bunch of roommates can really suck sometimes. Especially when they think it’s extremely funny to watch me go into anxiety attacks. I’m laughing at it now, but I remember being so pissed off at my roommate. It’s not Teddy, but the other guy. Tall lanky motherfucker. Nice enough guy, but he loved pretending to be a douchebag, either that or he was just a professional cock-blocker. He worked at a costume shop in South Austin called Lucy in Disguise and through that connection we had a strange hookup of costumes if we ever needed them, which when mixed with mushrooms can make a boring afternoon groovy as fuck. It was such a fun time being broke when the bills weren’t due, but my lingering addiction and anxiety are just always there as if they are my other roommates that I just always kind of live with. I found myself outside one morning smoking some crack that I had cooked up in the bathroom. I had been doing powder that night, just snorting key bumps in multiple bathrooms while on 6th Street and then I had cooked up some of the coke after I had gotten back to the duplex, driving while all fucked up of course. I didn’t have enough coke to do a good job, just enough to make my body want to go all in and drive around town looking for a good rock or two, but I fight the urge to drive around hunting for crack, not because I don’t want to smoke a lot of crack, but I am scared of the street-level crack score. I’ve had some close calls, and an arrest, but I’ve heard of worse shit happening to people and I’m content with just hiding behind the duplex smoking a few hits of poor quality home-cooked crack cocaine. It’s so lonely to be that guy, that fuck up, that person who is crouching down, hiding behind bushes putting the hot crack pipe to your already blistered lip, wondering how to explain the sore on your lip in the morning or hoping that no one will say anything.  I then just go and sit in my car that is parked under the carport. I just sit there and think because there are still people awake in the duplex, I’m cracked out, depressed, and I really suck at comedy, but I am getting better, but not fast enough. The possibility though that comedy offers is kind of fun. The possibility of fame, the possibility of greatness, the possibility of stardom, the possibility of fortune, which by all of my calculations will equal personal happiness, fulfilment, and finally goodbye to all of my anxiety. It’s just that easy. Whisper quiet.

There was a building on 6th Street with a rooftop access door where Teddy and I knew someone that worked in that building and we would gain access to the roof. We would sneak up there, sometimes with a friend or two in tow, smoke a joint or a few bowls of usually kind of shitty weed and listen to the chaotic noises of the crowds of people on 6th Street, while we were all just above them, smoking a joint or bowls and being kind of hidden in within all of the madness, just relaxing and giggling away at Teddy’s Darth Vader impression. The up moments of hanging out with my friends, all of us so sure that one of us will make it big someday and then bring us along with the others. Drunken nights eating shrooms and then going onstage sometimes telling other comics about what we were doing and sometimes not, just to see if anyone calls us out on it. Those fun moments of being a shitty comic, without a real job or a real chance of making it, but without ever taking a probability class at that point in my life and relying heavily on the hope and dreams that seem to come with those outlier stories of comics that make it, I still believe that I have a shot. Those rare stories of comics that make it can keep those shitty comics like I was, hunched over a plate of cocaine, doing lines with each other, laughing hysterically at things that aren’t really that funny, and feeling like motherfucking coke fueled comedy geniuses until the night of hard drinking and drug consumption wins over the desire to stay awake, and then the comic that’s full of drunken ambition and cocaine passes out on the spot on the floor that is next to the mattress and falls asleep. The mattress belongs to someone else that pays more money for rent than I do. I just get this spot on the floor. That’s cool.

Damn, I’m about to get a little bit of cash.

I’m 29

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA… I would have been the hated parent in the story told (not part of the series)

I’ve never had children… during the years of life when that generally takes place I was performing on small dive bar type of comedy club stages, usually located in a small bar or restaurant that built a stage in order to provide entertainment… karaoke one night, comedy, trivia, when the bar-back gets married it’s a reception hall type of place, those places began to feel like home to me. I could walk into a dive bar that I had never been to before and it would feel so comfortable… same type of feel as so many others… not a lot of pretty people, not some polished bartenders… no, the staff at these places have seen a thing or two, not the type that you find working at a large chain restaurant / bar or any place that might do a drug test or background check.

Hell, even after the cleaning crew leaves in the morning you might still be able to find a tiny, jewelry sized discarded coke baggie lodged somewhere in a bathroom stall, corner of a booth, tucked into a piece of missing brick in the DJ booth, it’s weird where you can find those things sometimes … those places, those stinky dive bars that did comedy one night a week became my safe spot almost.

The schedule and lifestyle that parallels being a drug addict / alcoholic who also has some jokes is so much fun at some points, so healing in some ways… laughing until tears are in your eyes multiple times a week, being around other comics… I miss those parts, but my desire to go deep into drug abuse, deep into alcoholism, numbing everything that I could so that the tears wouldn’t find their way out was too strong… the tears that were still there from childhood, from being scared, from being misheard, misunderstood, and unable to fully communicate with others… never being dealt with, just band aids made of substances, bottles, and some jokes.

I was around someone not too long ago that grew up with an alcoholic, drug addicted mother. Just bringing her up filled this persons face with color, bright red… anger and embarrassment changing the hue of his face, describing her issues, telling brief stories… the stories that keep those anchors embedded into the deepest foundation so that they are firm… never to release. Nothing could change the past and with those stories… the hurt that is still present was just adding more dirt, mud and rocks holding this anchors in place.

I kept thinking of how I would have become that so easily. The hated parent… “We just don’t trust her to be alone with the kids…” “She calls sometimes… sends cards… little too late.” I just nod and feel very bad for this person who is sitting in front of me describing the absent mother, the drunk, the addict… and I can’t help but think that they are describing me, not her.

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

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 13 pt 1 (Austin)

This is part of a series. It is suggested that you start with the first post, post 1

“Hey, do you think that they would get mad if I wore the milk jug costume?”

“Do you care if they get mad?”

“Good Point”

I look back at my days in Austin frequently, reminiscing in my mind sometimes feeling so glad that I left, moved to San Diego, then to Houston, and who knows where to next, and at other times I’ve felt so sad that I ever said goodbye to that city. I’ve never seen the level of creativity and original comedy at an open mic, than what I witnessed during those first few years at the Velveeta Room.

The Velveeta Room now seems to me to be a present to the city of Austin from the lovely people of Esther’s Follies and a present that hasn’t always been appreciated. There was such a variety of comedic styles on any given Thursday that you might see just regular stand-up comedy, then maybe a quick musical act, at least one guy taking off his shirt, or a sketch comedy routine, it was just so comedically random at times that being able to describe a typical night at the Velveeta Room during that era presents quite a few challenges. Sometimes there would be a decent sized audience there and of course as the saying goes “If it’s packed, do your act.”, but then sometimes it was really slow, without much of an audience in attendance and believe it or not those were sometimes the best nights. No, you wouldn’t experience a room full of strangers laughing together, which is just amazing, but there was a certain sense of freedom when there were very few audience members there. It was almost as if you could get away with pushing the envelope a little more, since there weren’t many witnesses and at that time in the historical timeline of recordability, we were still at the camcorder days, and not a lot of broke comics had video cameras. Some did, but not a lot.

There was a sense of expiration to the evening. Once the night was over, it would be done, no video to post online, no tweets to send, no evidence at all. Just do whatever the fuck you want to do, and for the most part we did.  The original and creative comedy wasn’t done by me of course. I still sucked as a comic during this time, I’m just not that good yet, but I did get good later, when I was working at the Comedy Store in La Jolla. I was good then. I was really good for a little while, until my demons took center stage. We’ll get to that. Eventually.

The Velveeta Room was its own place, original in so many ways, differentiating itself from other comedy clubs even without really trying. It sits on Austin’s 6th Street right there next to Esther’s Follies, where Esther’s could help make sure that the bills at the Velveeta got paid on time etc., since there’s just no way that the room itself could make enough revenue on its own merit business wise. Are you fucking kidding me? I would love to hear the stories of how they juggled those two rooms, Esther’s and The Velveeta Room sometime, especially since I’m about to have a master’s degree in business.

The small nature of the club, the door guy Michael who barks down the street. “C’mon in and make her grin here at the Velveeta Room!” trying to make eye contact with the lively 6th Street crowd, “Free admission with your Esther’s ticket stubs!” Mike will advertise as the perpetually sold-out crowds from Esther’s pile out onto the street or right into the Velveeta Room via the side door at Esther’s only to be ushered right past the Velveeta Room stage, almost shocked to see a comedian performing so close to them as some of them sit down to enjoy the performance, others just walking by the stage as fast as humanly possible in order to escape the possibility of being engaged into an type of conversation with whoever the comic was onstage at the time.  

There is one guy that is probably the best all-around comedian that I’ve ever seen work a crowd. His name was Charlie Shannon. I saw Charlie Shannon do things with what might be considered a bad audience that was just amazing. An audience so bad that it would make other comics scratch their names off of the list, but not Charlie. Charlie wasn’t scared of a fucking thing. I would love to fill a few pages with nothing, but Charlie Shannon jokes and I’m so tempted to, but it would almost seem wrong to do so. There are several reasons why, but I’ll just name the top 2. The first reason is that he and I weren’t really close at all. He was nice to me and gave me advice occasionally, but I knew him better another way. And the second reason is that Charlie could be so unscripted, that if taken out of context, some of his jokes may not seem as funny. You just had to be there. Charlie seemed to be able to sense things in an audience that other comics couldn’t see, and he just knew where to take them. He didn’t follow the rules. Charlie’s fashion sense was almost as if he went into Goodwill and asked if they had any clothes that weren’t as fancy as what they had hanging on the racks. He wasn’t trying to find an outfit to look his best on stage as the rest of the majority of comics that I’ve known have down at least once. No, Charlie must have just not given a shit, because I guess, and this is just a guess, he knew that his jokes were his fancy suit perhaps, or again maybe he just couldn’t give a fuck. Man, he was good. No, he was the best.

He wasn’t the only bad ass though. I’ve mentioned the two Howards earlier, Beecher and Kremer, but there was a group of really good comedians there. I mean really good. The following comics are not listed in any particular order, but these were the funniest, at the time, according to me. Eddie Gosseling was one of the funniest motherfuckers that I’ve ever seen period. The dude was a fucking beast. He wasn’t screaming or yelling, he was just calm as fuck, but he could just blow the fucking roof off of the place. He went up with this puppet one time…never mind. It was so offensive, but so fucking hilarious and I’ll never mention it again, but all of the Velveeta Alumni know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about. Blew the roof off of the place and it would never happen in the present day comedy scene. It was too edgy.

They also did a roast of Eddie Gosseling when he left for Hollywood, where he ended up being a writer for the Daniel Tosh tv show as Daniel Tosh would be around Austin a lot in those days. But during that roast there were some of the funniest moments, that I once again, I’m just not going to discuss the material, because it could be taken the wrong way if you were not in the room at the time. That’s one of the things about really edgy comedy like that. You have to see where the room is allowing you to take it, but every once in a while, you get an audience of straight up deviants that just want you to take it as far as possible. Try that set the next show, you’ll start to walk the audience. Laura House is a comic that is in LA now and I’m not sure how often she performs, so if you ever see her name on something, Go See Her! Laura House is about as genuine and funny as you are going to find in a comic, and I believe that she has done some acting and writing. Tom Hester was a comic from Houston that was older than I was, but we got along very well. Tom is such a great storyteller that he can just get an audience to go wherever he wanted to it seemed. When Tom is in his zone you can hear a pin drop while he is onstage, the audience is so captivated, and then when his punchline drops…watch the fuck out. Nancy Reed was an absolute powerhouse as well. Nancy always reminded me of what Bonnie Raitt would have been like if she picked up a microphone to tell jokes instead of to sing while playing her strat.  There was also Chip Pope, who was a very original, kind of like a Beastie Boy, swear to God the dude looked like he should be listed as the lost Beastie Boy that got kicked out of the group just before they made it big. I’m pretty sure that Chip went on to be a writer. There was a comedy team called Scott and Stacy that were kind of nerdy funny, and they would do these great quirky sketch comedy routines that were just so amazingly creative and original that I would just find myself mesmerized by their performances. There was also the very funny J.R. Brow, who never really liked me after I fucked over Rabon, but he is still working the road and telling jokes. There of course were others that either got good later, or that I’ve just forgotten about, but those were the top ones that I remember from that time period. I apologize if I left anyone out and I reserve the right to add to this list later. There were others of course that got better later like Matt Sadler and Matt Bearden, but that happened later than the point in time which I’m currently discussing. I know that I mentioned it before, but I really must irritate how much it helped my depression to have a place to go once a week to hear other human beings laugh. There was something about being in a room watching comedy and it sometimes seemed like the Velveeta Room was just kind of a room for fuck-ups to make other fuck-ups laugh.

There were the really funny comics and then there were the rest of us like John Rabon and me that just weren’t that good yet, but we could host a show ok, not anything like Charlie Shannon, but we had been getting our chances around town. At some point we began to do a show at the Ritz Lounge on Wednesday nights. The Ritz Lounge had a movie projector screen and we would show South Park on that big screen followed by live stand-up comedy. We made small hand-bills to pass out that advertised the Ritz show and the Velveeta Room open mic and we began to put together a street team to pass out flyers for shows. I would bar-back after the show at the Ritz Lounge and of course, I would have a lot of fun up in the projector room night after night. I was still fighting depression as most likely I will forever I suppose, but I was making it through and looking forward to getting better at stand-up comedy. The frustration of seeing other comics getting better faster than I was had been getting kind of old, but I was trying to be patient and honestly, what the fuck else was I going to do? I’m fighting the constant urge to smoke crack and it’s really difficult not to. I’m still doing lines of powder coke a few times a week, but it’s not every night anymore. That’s the way my addiction was at that time. I would just keep trying not to smoke crack. I would have dozens of victories, where I would be so fucking strong, but all it takes is that one time when the cravings get too strong and then the cognitive dissonance that follows is just awful. Because if I fuck up just once… one slip-up, one moment of weakness… I’m just a crack head again.

But for now, I’m Teddy’s roommate and Teddy dresses up in costumes all the fucking time. He works at Esther’s Follies, it’s required. Plus, being around someone like that is fun. I’m about to go onstage at the Velveeta room and I notice that there is a milk jug costume inside the green room. Hey Teddy…

I’m 29 and don’t fuck with this milk jug. Check my expiration date. I’ve gone bad baby. I’m bad.

I have about 9 weeks of school left until I earn my MBA. I sat in a classroom last night discussing the Ryanair Harvard Business Case Study with some other MBA candidates and during a break I had one of those moments where my smile seemed like it was almost obnoxiously plastered to my face. To the point where I tried to hide the fact that I was so happy for that moment. I wiped my face, just because. I wasn’t sweating, no crumbs, random spider, nothing. It was one of those “what the fuck is going on?” moments where it’s so pronounced in your own mind, to where you can almost hear it audibly, in fact I caught myself asking internally “did I just say that out loud?” and then quickly realizing that no, it was just a thought. I slowly took a sip of water and thought “Oh, well. I have no idea how life works.”

And then a few minutes later the other students returned so that we could finish our debate. “Would anyone like a Kind bar? I have several.” I like to keep snacks in my briefcase and of course enough to share. I’m not a dick. And if you don’t care about being a dick then put some snacks in your briefcase or purse anyway. Seriously. The Rule of Reciprocity. Look that shit up and study it. For real. It’s one of the easiest, most available, most affective, and replicable negotiating or business tactics that there is. There have been countless, countless, countless, countless, countless, countless, countless, not a typo, countless, countless, and then probably even more experiments performed regarding the power of reciprocity and even in the smallest forms, it can be found to be extremely effective. I’m not going to go through all of the cases, but the items were small like a can of soda, or a candy bar, or even giving more than the usual amounts of post dinner mints to the diners at a restaurant as long as those diners were casually informed regarding the extra mints. “You guys are great, Hey, just for you, two more mints.” It sounds ludicrous, I know. Total bullshit. That is until you start looking at the quantitative data that supports it. The data that is replicated over and over from separate psychology departments across the country, those experiments backing up the findings of the others. The data will tell you what is right. Just trust he data. I love numbers and data now, but I didn’t pass College Algebra until I was 43 years old. And I failed math almost every year since 5th or 6th grade, so just being at the point where I’m still not great, extremely slow, but I eventually get the answer correct, almost, is just fine by me. It’s funny how an “almost” correct answer becomes more acceptable as the math get more difficult. “Oh well, shit man, you were close…that’s an A.”

I wasn’t a good comedian, but I was getting better, but I was unfortunately one of those comics that thought that they were much better than they actually were. I also thought that I had more material and more time than I actually did. For example. “Hey, Steven. How many minutes’ worth of material can you do?’ “I can do 30.”   Right now, if any comedian or former comedian is reading this, they know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about. This is extremely common among new comics. I could probably do 7-10 good minutes, but even that wasn’t consistent. I couldn’t stay on script. I would always drift away to another topic, while I was in the middle of something else. Just a mess. I got better, but still. What a fucking mess of random thoughts interrupting prepared material.

Anyway, I went over to hang out with a newer comic that had been coming around the Velveeta Room where my weekly Thursday night sets were becoming the preferred pee-break for regular audience members, “Kendrick’s up next? I’m going to the bathroom.” and at Capital City Comedy club where I had been starting to get noticed a little bit by the lower management, not the top. Nope. That would never happen, I fucked it up BAD and I’ll discuss it in about a month at the current writing pace.

Well, I go over to this comics house to smoke weed, grill steaks, drink, and talk comedy. This guy was just an awful excuse for an open mic comic. Just horrible. One of the worst that I’ve ever seen, and also pretty much a dick. I was only planning on staying there as long as it took me to eat my steak and smoke enough of his weed to compensate me for my time. There of course was an almost comedically tall, plastic bong with Mexican weed filling the bowl as my host goes on a 20-minute tirade regarding the overpriced good, indoor-grown, weed that he had just last week, but is of course all out of now, and the really nice glass bong that he broke, then swore NEVER to buy glass again. He did all of this in a Saddam Hussein voice. Then he did Saddam Hussein ordering at McDonalds along with a closer. Ah, shit. This motherfucker is doing material on me. WTF, damn it. I just sit there realizing the dilemma that I’m in regarding whether or not to begin heckling this guy in his own living room, and then his roommate comes home and puts on some music that sounds really fucking familiar, but I can’t quite place it. Then it hits me. (Wait, is that the fucking Beastie Boys? No, but wait. That is the beat that they used though. WTF is this song?)

I was just kind of floored to hear the original song where the Beastie Boys had found one of their beats from and I wanted to know more about it. Then the dude said “Oh, my roommate. Hey, do you listen to KLBG Morning Show with Dave Diddly, Brad, and Samantha? Yeah, he was the intern called Man-Boobs.” Holy shit. Fucking Man-Boobs? I was honestly kind of surprised. Man-Boobs was a motherfucking legend in Austin. That’s not the real moniker, but the amount of market penetration that was created by that morning show on KLBG with Diddly, Brad, and Samantha made Man-Boob damn near a household name. I cannot stress to you enough, because at that time there wasn’t access to any level of celebrity like there is now. When you got in your car in the morning you would turn on the radio and in Austin at that time, Jesus…radio was awful. B-93 or some pop shit, KNACK was fucking cool with their PSYcHo Baby stickers, but the absolute leader was KLBG, and the morning show was the most popular morning show in Austin. And Man-Boobs was the intern that got to do all of that intern shit. Running errands, getting sent to this location for a remote broadcast, getting sent across town to another location to get hit with golf-balls while wearing a protective suit, or while in a cage, I’ll have to check with Man-Boobs and touch on the details in a later post. It’s true, that the staff of KLBG kind of abused and beat up on Man-Boobs, but that was also just kind of the gig. He was kind of the clownish, but lovable Man-Boobs. Man-Boobs had his role on the drive-time early morning show Monday through Friday, but he also had his own Saturday or Sunday morning shows, where I began to listen to his radio show years before the day that I’m currently discussing.

I remember turning on my radio one weekend morning and driving to the real estate office where I was going to show an apartment to a prospective tenant. I was shocked to hear kind of a jazz sound coming from KLBG, which usually just played older rock. I really enjoyed the old music and I started to listen to Man-Boobs in the morning when I was awake at that time. Sometimes I was awake, just not fully rested of course. Not awake, I guess. STILL awake, is a little more accurate. Well, what do you know, the actual Man-Boobs is this guy’s roommate. Well, I get to know Man-Boobs quite well, but by this time he had recently been fired by KLBG and they had aired a lot of his dirty laundry, but Man-Boobs and I ended up being roommates and really good friends. For over 10 years Man-Boobs and I had a pretty good fucking time, should have gone to jail a lot more than either one of us did, and when Man-Boobs was drunk he would do a dance in the middle of a dance floor called “The Funky Butt”. Ha ha ha Man-Boobs was a fucking riot.

I’m 29 and I’m about to sit around another coffee table. Fuck, this again?