g r a v e l
A L I T E R A R Y J O U R N A L
MOSTLY TRUE RANDOM THOUGHTS
Writer's block is a... uh...
I lose all wrist watches. Stopped buying them a long time ago. Now I'm almost always early. Not sure what that means.
Same deal with sunglasses; I used to lose them all the time, too. So, a few years ago I decided, from then on, to buy my shades only at the dollar store. Now I hardly ever lose them. They break first but it always takes a very long time.
I once was a busboy. And I was really good, too. Boy, could I clear a table. Didn't spill much, either. But when I got promoted to waiter... hell, I spilled all the time. And most of the time, it was the busboy that had to clean it up.
The only time I ever shot a basketball effectively from beyond the three-point line: I was in my late twenties, mid-afternoon at the Y, with my buddy Mike feeding me passes, both of us ridiculously high on pot. I couldn't miss. And there were witnesses. They were all treadmilling, stepping, stationary biking, etc., all aimed at the gym floor, pretty much forced to watch. Afterward, one guy came up to me and asked, “Who are you?”-- which confused me.
The Ant and the Anteater is a tremendously underrated cartoon.
When I was fifteen, I ate my first peanut. I survived, but it was a close call. To this day, I can't help but giggle nervously every time I hear the word goober.
I did not cry when my mother passed away. But when Vonnegut, Bob Ross, and Jeremy Brett died, I did. It is entirely possible that I am a bad person.
I have signed one autograph in my life, when I was seventeen. It was after church, avidly requested by an eight-year-old kid who had been watching me play high school sports for a couple years. Evidently, I was his hero at the time. The autograph was entirely illegible. Also slightly misspelled. I doubt he still has it.
May twenty-third, 1993: I bedded with a woman sporting two completely different boobs—one round and fleshy, one firm and kinda pointy. It was a one night stand but, at the time, it seemed like so much more.
Back in high school, I taught myself to be mean. That middle linebacker crap? I forced myself to do that. Got me into college but I never liked it much. Gave it up entirely. Got myself into the theater program at the U. I'm kind of a wuss, now.
On a related note, when I'm home alone with my television, I often cry for little or no apparent reason. The last five minutes of cop shows particularly get to me, especially the ones in which the bad guy is obviously missing a marble or two. Sometimes I start the process on purpose--tear up to the tube, so to speak--so I can at least try to feel something in my life. My current theory is that I am possibly a tad overly sensitive, or perhaps fall within a loose definition of deep, but what's the difference if nobody else knows?
I was in my mid-forties when I first audibly burped. Currently making up for lost time. Pardon me.
Late April, 2013--Finally, finally, finally: In today's weather, for the first time this year, it's actually going to reach sixty degrees. Of far less significance, later this afternoon, the calendar on the fridge suggests that I will turn fifty-five. There was a time not all that long ago when I was certain one of these occurrences would never happen, but now I forget which one.
When I retired from slow-pitch softball at age thirty-nine, right smack in my prime, if you had lobbed a ball in the general direction of my bat, preferably a little down and middle in, chances are better than fifty-fifty somebody in another color uniform began running like hell in the opposite direction shortly thereafter, keeping one eye peeled for fences.
Sixty-forty. But, again, that was more than fifteen years ago. (Sigh)
Actually, longer ago than that, in an effort to at least somewhat stifle the teeming perfectionism raging within me, my then therapist suggested, in my next in-game at bat, that I swing and miss. As in, on purpose. Completely miss the ball. I told him I couldn't do that. He said of course I could. I said no, I couldn't. He maintained I could. This went on for quite a while. I never did. And I got myself a new therapist before the next game.
I occasionally feel like killing somebody. He doesn't know it yet, but that's okay. I'm a pretty big chicken anyway, so... ah, never mind. It's not that important.
When I was four, my grandmother spanked me. Real hard, too. Still hurts.
Pretty sure James West was gay; the psychiatric world has never witnessed a more classic case of overcompensation. Not sure about Mr. Gordon. He kinda looked the part. But then, Artie always looked the part. All of them.
I currently own more books than I could possibly read, for the rest of my life. Yet I still enjoy going to book sales. But now, for each one I buy, one's gotta go. I may be a lot of iffy things but I am not a lit-hog.
I know for a fact I've had five concussions, but I can only remember four of them.
I would love to have had my portrait painted by Salvador Dali. Dig that man’s work. Why is it that all the great and powerful odd ones have just... melted away?
When I was ages five-ish through ten-ish, I compiled my own joke book. At each family reunion-type get-together, I was allotted 10-15 minutes to entertain the rellies. Question: What's green and goes slam, slam, slam, slam? Answer: Why, a four-door pickle, of course. God, I thought that was hilarious. Everybody else in the room did, too, as I recall. Once I reached my teens, I just sorta sat there.
Okay, I admit it: I have a problem with getting chastised, yelled at, or otherwise reprimanded when I do exactly what I’m supposed to do. Incidentally, it is during these personally stressful moments that I feel a lot less chicken than usual.
A long time ago, when I was a wee, wee little writer, I wrote a short comedy essay entitled Can Openers: “I gotta take a leak,” “Hit the head,” “Water the old horse,” “Drain the snake,” etc.--i.e. Can Openers. About twenty-five years later I reread the piece and decided it was pretty much a tubular chunk of man-made excremental material so I made it my personal offering to the great porcelain God. Had to flush twice, though. It was a total pile.
I have always wanted to appear on my own baseball card. Nice, smiley photo on the front, wielding a bat. On the back, printed along with my yearly stats, would read the following provocative anecdote: “Mike was three years old before he spoke any intelligible words, which, much to the Ruthian chagrin of his mama and dada, were, “Kill… ump! Kill… ump!”
From my all-time-favorite-things-to-do file: I very much enjoy blasting The Beatles' Mean Mr. Mustard on my stereo as loud as I dare while thoroughly cleaning the lint trap in my dryer. Don't know what that means, either.
I have sung, semi-professionally, for six weddings and one funeral. I greatly preferred the weddings. The funeral wasn't any fun at all. Good food, though. The Angel Food Cake was to die for.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...
And now, to quote Frank, the end is near. Time to face the final curtain, wherever that is--no clue here. But, as has been discussed at great length by so many—and apparently this is of limitless importance--the ends always justify the means. And you know what that means…
… yeah, neither do I.
Widely published in literary journals, Michael Price has been writing fiction for over 30 years. He earned his BA in Theater from the University of Minnesota in 1980 and performed his own one-man one-act play “No Change of Address” to considerable acclaim at the 2011 MN Fringe Festival.