Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA (random Post)

(This is a random post, not part of the ongoing series)

Water Damage? Who the fuck rips off a terminally ill cancer patient that is beaming with excitement while enthusiastically describing her need for a good used RV… so that she can travel back and forth between California, Texas, and Tennessee, while stopping for chemo and other assorted bone and various cancer treatments designed to slow the growth and delay the pain? What a piece of MAGA hat wearing shit this guy was… claiming that he knew everything about the RV, it was solid. He’d take it anywhere. 

The thought of ripping anyone off is horrible but taking thousands of dollars…thousands… from an individual with terminal cancer… Fuck you man.

What does Hillary do? The one with terminal cancer? She says fuck it and throws a metal futon frame and a mattress in the back of a cargo van and says fuck it… there’s my RV… and hits the road. Leaves the RV in Tennessee to get fixed and just goes on anyway…smiling the entire time, taking pictures and blogging about it. 

I almost feel as if I’m learning how to live by watching someone as they prepare to die. It’s a mind fuck.

Hillary’s blog can be found here

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA (random post, not part of the ongoing series)

I’ve been neglecting writing lately, but as far as self-inflicted neglect and my life goes…the act of neglecting my writing seems rather minor… just brings a little cognitive dissonance, no biggie smalls. I’m working in a position that seems way below my education and experience level in just about every regard right now, but I try to find my education in any given situation…what I can learn regardless, so it’s not too bad. At least I work remotely and 2020 is weird man. 

I’ve been feeling creative, messing around with music creation a little more, enjoying the relaxation and mood enhancement that comes with some electronic music, the ability to do it all yourself… drums, bass, sample of this, sample of that… it reminds me of the learning process of anything… I love that process, whether it’s academic, automotive, mathematic, comedic, audio, video, business, psychology, that process of turning questions into steps of knowledge. 

Remember when I discussed the rats in a box with the switch, the flashing light, and the pellet of food? The rat was hooked up to a device that would measure its brain activity… the brain would have its greatest moments of stimulation just after seeing the light and knowing that the pellet would follow… even more so than when the rat was actually eating the pellet of food! I always thought that was so fascinating… the antici…pation (Tim Curry Voice) was the best part.

Just knowing that part about life helps answer so many things like why some activities might get boring after you actually do it. Like going to a concert, date, or whatever…. Being really excited about it before hand and then not quite as excited when it’s actually happening. Maybe not answer… that’s too strong of a term. It’s still interesting af. I’ve mentioned this about the rats many times… I won’t mention it again for a year or so… I promise.

My mind has been feeling clearer lately…it’s difficult to describe but as time goes by… year after year there are these subtle changes that happen…I usually attribute those positive moments to the absence of alcohol in my life, whether that’s an accurate accolade or not… I’m not positive admittedly, but those moments still go in the win column. Ha ha. 

Those subtle moments of improvement help give way to dreaming of how cool life might be in another few years if I just keep staying away from booze.

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

(This isn’t part of the ongoing series)

I haven’t written in a bit, I’ve been busy…but I’m still alcohol free after all these years… coming up on four here pretty soon…just a few months. I’m also coming up on my cigarette anniversary… 11 or 12 years maybe on that one. It’s funny how it just becomes so every day, so just run of the mill… that is why we quit. Well, one of the many reasons.

I’ve been working from home, doing some sales over the phone… meeting during the day with co-workers, customers etc. I’m not going to be talking about that part of my life other than to mention it here… just in passing so that you know that I at least have a job right now. The working at home part was the most important aspect. I don’t like office chatter… the back and forth conversation where you find yourself listening to a conversation that you just don’t care about… and furthermore would rather avoid, but you’re stuck… just like in a line at a convenience store and a horrible song starts to play. WTF are you going to do… “How dare you play this crappy song!” while stomping out in a full Karen like move. I’m glad that I’m office chit chat free for the most part.

I’ve also been busy trying to get better every day. Continuous improvement… like Toyota follows Kaizen… embracing mistakes or imperfections as a part of growth, as a part of development. It’ so different than the philosophy of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”, but actively looking for ways to improve. 

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA post 20, part 1 (Austin)

This is part of an ongoing series. Please start from the beginning which is post 1 by clicking here.

Now, if we go back 20 years or so, I remember getting up to the hotel room, I guess it was a hotel room. It had that industrial carpet that is common in the “recently remolded” or “under new management”, “less hookers and higher class!”, “Sheets have 5 stains or less!” types of accommodations. I crank the AC as hard as it will go and throw my beer in the refrigerator. The room check-in was 3pm. It’s 3:15 ish. I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for it to turn 3 pm. I wanted plenty of time to go over my stuff, but that’s not what I did really. I didn’t study. I didn’t really know how to really prepare like a student would. I know that there are a lot of very successful people that know how to study or how to read and learn from that reading, absorb the information, process it, all of that correctly, in an effective and efficient manner without the help of an education, but I did not have that ability to the extent that I do now. I personally probably really needed the structure of college to build a repetitious, habitual, process of…

I’m trying to say that school isn’t a necessary variable for success, but for me, I really needed that structure and forced series of reading with the accountability, and then the GPA which would be acting as the dependent variable. There are independent variables and dependent variables. (for the sake of this) The independent variables are what causes and then the dependent variable is what you measure, or the outcome.

I was up in my hotel room, AC blasting, I pop open a beer, get my bounce sheet-paper towel roll contraption out and place it next to the TV that is on the built-in desk near the Domino’s Pizza ad and an advertisement for the show. I go to the ice machine and I notice that they have a flier on the wall by the elevator. It’s a flier for the comedy show. My name is on the flyer as the opening act. Holy shit, I’m famous. Does this place have a bar, because I’m a local celebrity in these parts. Where are the comedy lot lizards at? Nope, none of that here. The bar isn’t open yet and I wouldn’t even walk into the showroom, but we are supposed to check in with the comedy club contact. The bartender is cutting limes, bitching about the bar-back that called in sick and then I hear a waitress talking about having to train a new person on tonight’s shift. I guess that they usually split tips, even when someone is training. It’s still 2 hours before the show so they must be managers or dating a manager, but I ask if they know where I can find the comedy night contact. This guy comes out and I introduce myself and he just says what time the show is and to be here 15 minutes before it begins. He then turns around and walks away. Did I piss this dude off already? How? Do I remind him of someone? Did he have a bad day?

I go back up to my room and worry about that while I pace back and forth, and I write my set down on a tiny piece of paper. I’m doing 15 minutes’ worth of material, but I feel the need to write it down on a list. Why? It honestly is just a list of joke titles and maybe a punchline. It is shocking to me now, but I had to write those joke titles down on a piece of paper because I didn’t think that I could remember them, so I just wouldn’t even really try. My brain was mush from all of the drugs that I had done, and it was for a time. I just couldn’t think that straight, maybe from the narcotics, maybe something to do with genetics, I have no fucking idea, but I now have a bachelor-of-science in psychology and I understand the undergrad amount of knowledge regarding the plasticity of the brain. It seems so crazy for me to say that as I sit here just days from my last MBA class, but I felt like I was an idiot with a messed-up brain. Why try? I mean really…why even fucking try. Seriously. Listen to me. Yes, you. Stop I’m back in the present day and I am talking to you as an individual. Person to person as if we are sitting together having coffee. I look up and you ask me what is on my mind. I say. “If someone has a lifetime of bad grades, low scores, and failed classes, why would they ever try hard on any type of cognitive test or any test for that matter? Isn’t easier on your ego to just not try at all? At least you can say that you didn’t even care about it enough to try. You failed because you didn’t care, not because you are stupid.” Once you conclude, to yourself sometimes even out loud, while in the shower or after banging on the desk at work. “I’m so fucking stupid; I can’t do anything!” Said in a loud voice sometimes, but then also in a very soft voice just before tears start to well up and the memories go toward the epic failures or those little moments where the wrong words were muttered that could never get taken back or erased once they are set free in the airwaves or on the computer screens of friends and associates. Those mistakes in life that we have promised to ourselves to just finally let go and heal from, but they still hurt, they still make the eyes begin to blink and the low coughing to begin in an unsuccessful attempt to keep a good day from turning into a shit one, just because the memories of the measurable fuck-ups and “I’m so stupid” moments just keep coming at you like a pitching machine aimed at your head with a full bucket of balls sitting right next to it. “Just keep them coming.” “I deserve it.”

No, you don’t and I wasn’t stupid. I just had very low self-confidence. I needed to know that I had something. That I had a chance. Anything.

But an MBA? Not a fucking chance in hell of that. But…here I am just 5 days away from my very last MBA class. I’m that same dumb-ass, I just laugh and smile a little now when I call myself a dumb-ass, because yes of course I do stupid shit all of the time. But I don’t believe for one second that I’m stupid. Bahahahahaha are you motherfucking kidding me? I’ve seen so many students flunk out, just quit, buckle under the pressure, change majors, change universities, and even change MBA programs claiming that this one was too demanding. The MBA program has been extremely challenging, I really had no fucking idea what I was in for and when the dude from Ohio State, well he has at least one degree from there. He’s an engineer and now about to have an MBA. Anywho, this motherfucker says that the MBA program is a bitch even compared to his master’s degree in engineering program. Maybe he is just trying to make us feel good. Ha ha. Maybe the school brings in ringers like that just to make the regular mofos like me feel better about their choice of MBA degree.

Back 20 years ago in Beaumont, Texas I’m just trying to remember these jokes that I’m supposed to tell and drinking a beer before the show. I go throw up. I can’t do this. I’m just too nervous. I’m just too stupid to even remember my own jokes. I throw up again. (Yeah, yeah, mom’s spaghetti.)

Ahhhh. My first sips of espresso. I just had them. I love feeling the caffeine start to hit. I really love almost everything about making a shot or two, always at least two, I mean…my addiction monkey will not be pleased, and it will become agitated if he only gets one. I love grabbing the coffee beans out of the bag or container, having them in my hand. Smelling them…and I’m not sure why, because I can smell them just fine, but it is just an instinct to shove them just as close to my nose as humanly possible. I buy mine down the street at the little hipster place. They were roasted the day before. I used to get the Ruta Maya espresso beans located in Austin because I have loved Ruta Maya for years, but then when I moved into this ninety nine year old under 700 sq ft house in Houston I wasn’t as close to the store that carried Ruta Maya coffee beans and now I get them down the street. I got lucky on this batch. They were just roasted. I think about coffee a lot during the day. A lot. and I still love I love the grinding of the coffee beans in the grinder. That smell of freshly ground espresso beans. I love tapping down the grounds and heating up the boiler of my espresso machine. I love the crema.  I’m not talking about or referring to those coffee drinkers that use an automatic machine or the time it takes to insert a tiny pod of coffee into a plastic container. I’m not dissing your coffee method if that’s what you are doing, but that’s not what I’m talking about at all. I’m not discussing the process involved in The steps that must be done. The care of the machine, the warming up of the glass. My leg is now twitching like an addict as I type. Nervously shaking. But I’m becoming aware of those addict-like mannerisms, so I stop. I’m not even done with my first cup of coffee, yet I’m already thinking of how much I’ll enjoy my next cup. Not even half-way done with my first cup, already thinking of the next one. Sound familiar to any of you reading this? I need that second cup now. Leg twitching again.

BTW if you LOVE espresso, seriously consider buying a used La Pavoni on Ebay even if it leaks. Just buy a seal kit and you will have a kitchen that smells like a coffee stand. Seriously, all you have to do is replace the seals every blue moon on those. They will last a lifetime and that thing helped me give up energy drinks. Those things are fucked.

I’m sure that it sounds relatively naïve and stupid for someone to think that they have a shot at becoming a professional stand-up comedian, but for some reason I did. It must have been the drugs and booze, because when it all comes down to it, the variables needed for comedic success just aren’t there for me. The biggest one is that I don’t really care for people that much. I mean that in the nicest way and I do like people, just not people. I have no idea why I chased stand-up comedy for so long other than I was addicted to the rush of it. The high of it. The danger of it. The acceptance of alcoholism and addiction as being almost an occupational hazard was pretty fucking cool also. and I’m sure that things have changed some and not every comic ends up where I did. I wasn’t even a big deal at all in the comedy scene in any city that I performed, no TV spots, no big headlining gigs, nothing like that. I was really funny sometimes and I was just awful at other times. Why keep going? I’m an addict.

Once again, I did feel like I had a chance of making it, even with my style of offensive, drug and party-based humor and I’m just continuing to meet the crazy, drugged-out, drunk as shit comedy club audience members at almost every open mic or show. It’s my own fault, that’s what I’m portraying, that’s what I’m joking about, that’s what I’m asking for, begging for it would seem to some.

The Panic Button Effect- refers to a reduction in stress or suffering due to the belief that one has

the option of escaping or controlling the situation, even if one does not exercise it.

I’m motherfucking fascinated by The Panic Button Effect and you should be too. Seriously.

I was recently reading some back and forth conversation between a former drug rehab worker and a former drug rehab patient and it reminded me of some things that I had both experienced and then read about academically. They did not previously know each other before this conversation. The former drug rehab worker was discussing the different ways that she could tell if someone had relapsed and how she would have to kick some patients out for smuggling in narcotics, of some sort or another, into the rehab facility that she worked.

The former patient was discussing one his experiences at a rehab facility, the one time in his mind when then rehab had worked. He has been clean ever since, but his reasoning is what struck me. He said that he had gone to rehab many times, but it had always failed to work. He hated the loss of control over his addiction among other things. On his last attempt at rehab he really didn’t have much hope of recovery, sobriety, or any positive outcome correlating with his treatment. He did something that he had never done before. He smuggled some dope into the facility just in case he needed it. He admits that he did use some at first, but then he didn’t. He just liked knowing that it was there. He ended up flushing the dope down the toilet on his own accord, and I’m not suggesting at all that this is a representation of the majority of rehab patients’ experiences, but it did remind me of the Panic Button Effect.

I was so scared as a small child. I was really scared of people and of other kids. I would sit by myself and suck on my thumb in a corner during my pre-school years. Just terrified as my mother describes it. She knew that I needed social interaction with other children though and home-schooling wasn’t really even a theory yet. It was called skipping school. My mother would put a piece of candy in my pocket, even though my school was firm on the “enough for everybody rule” both as an institution and among my peers’ social set of accepted cultural norms. I would usually forget that I had candy in my pocket and when I returned home from school, the candy would still be there, and my mom would make sure that I had it for the next day. That little piece of butterscotch candy was my “Panic Button”. I just rarely had to press it.

The Panic Button Effect in this case is also helping ease the unwanted and undesirable complications that arise from reactance as someone has something taken away from the. The Reactance Theory states that basically people generally don’t like to lose freedoms or possessions of any kind. It facilitates the development of cognitive dissonance in the participant and can just be unpleasant in general and creating another obstacle in the recovery process.

When I started to focus on the Panic Button Effect and its relationship with Reactance, I wondered about the Panic Button Effect and anxiety. I wondered what the result would be if someone prepared for a possible or probable uncomfortable, future event, by establishing a “Panic Button” of their own, that was made specific for the event in question. For example if I was worried about an interview I could establish what my worst case scenario was and then construct my “Panic Button” as in my escape route if it goes to shit. What do I do? If I write down the specific steps that I would take to remedy the worst possible scenario, would that preparation be my “Panic Button”? Let’s think about this for a bit.

This post is weird. I started writing it last week, but then the whole school thing, you know…(cough) uh getting that whole MBA thing. (smiling and dancing in my head) Some of this post was written last week, but I didn’t just want to scrap it. So, here is a fucked up, old post, plus some new stuff. My brain is so tired right now. I have this post-MBA, punch drunk type of shit going on. My brain is so fucking tired. Well, here is the older one.

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.