Notes From A Walkman Junkie: All About Ernie
I once encountered a misplaced mouse in the middle of my living room that I would later come to refer to as Ernie. It was about two years ago and our contact was quite brief, spanning two, maybe three days at the most. Of course, anyone who has ever encountered a mouse knows how long two or three days can seem, unless the mouse is your pet and you expect to see the little fur ball looking at you. Judging you.
The thing is, I am quite convinced that this mouse was some one’s pet (he was fat and cute and brown as apposed to gray, small and nasty–plus, I live in a concrete building on the second floor and have little to zero food in my apartment. Ever), just not my pet. I already have a pet and he is a sturdy, soft, good-looking bunny, called Edgar Esther Constabulary.
My suspicions of my new hairy resident, Ernie’s origin only heightened when in addition to his stout, non wild appearance, his behavior was also odd and questionable. There was no furious scurrying away when I entered the room as one might expect. He just sat there, squarely in the middle of the floor, staring at me as if I owed him something like, say, food. I am assuming that when Ernie realized there was no food to be had in my kitchen, the wily mouse began swiping my bunny, Edgar’s food.
I pictured a nightly scenario of Ernie creeping into Edgar’s cage and demanding in a husky mouse voice, “Eh bunny….listen, you long-earned rat, gimme some of that weird pellet food or else the tall, bald bunny gets it…and you better get some nice cheese up in this joint. Cheddar. Sharp.” I am guessing that there was some roughing-up involved as well–mainly due to the terrified look in my bunny’s eyes each morning and the rapid “warning thumps” that he would dole out to me when the abusive intruder was near.
Naturally, I had no choice but to set up traps and be rid of Ernie. So I did. And it worked. And nothing else interesting happened.
OK, if you are still reading, that whole Ernie bit was merely a test (much like the entire chapter in the novel, The Grapes Of Wrath that consists solely of a turtle crossing a road that a friend of mine theorized as being strictly a “weeding out” chapter in the book. “If you make it through that, you are in it for the long haul”). So, if you are still with me, I will now proceed to bare my ass, so to speak.
I made a decision three weeks ago that has been a long time coming, but that I have desperately put off for a variety of reasons until things (I) recently came crashing down. Like many great falls, it began with a run. It was a brisk, breezy night, consisting of great fiends and good fun. I had indulged in perhaps one (or six) too many stiff drinks–so naturally, a little jog down the sidewalk seemed like a swell idea. It was not.
The evening had started off well enough–dinner and drinks with friends followed by even more drinks and even more friends. As the night progressed, however, so did my exceeding charm and wit. I told several riveting tales (the exact same story fifteen to eighteen times, complete with an increasingly poor and more than likely, somewhat offensive Greek accent) and provided several inspiring and profound observations (“There is no greater influence in our life than being born” and ” I really like soup” and “Why is my mouth so salty and where is my shoe?”) about life.
This kind of a night has steadily become more frequent for me and generally (nearly always) ends badly with say, ridiculous, but passionate arguments about how “raw like balls” a particular song is, or perhaps disproportionately heated accusations while playing a friendly game of Porno Marquee, “How could you not pick my ‘Fuck My Chipmunks, Please?!?!?’” “Fuck you guys.”
Due to these ever increasing regretful evenings of drinking too heavily, I have, in the past, flirted with the notion of giving up the booze, but this fleeting idea was often immediately squelched by a flood of nervous and irrational thoughts: How will I be my charming (louder), funny (dangerous), interesting (repetitive), witty (mean) self with out multiple drinks? How will I sleep (pass-out)? How will I make it through the holidays and be around my family (Really, how will I make it through the holidays and be around my family)?
These things, along with countless other essential factors (will my story of stopping be good enough “I decided to stop drinking because I kept repeating the same story that was not very good in the first place and my accent was way off and I ran and fell down and people saw my butt”) have continuously staved off my fleeting idea of cutting out the booze until a few weeks ago when I hit something similar to rock bottom; a really hard sidewalk.
My brilliant idea to swiftly trot along the sidewalk ended abruptly with what, from a distance, appeared to be a classic cartoon-style face-plant (though according to my cuts and bruises, was more of a hands, wrists, arms, knees, pride, dignity, low self-worth, humiliation-plant). The gaggle of my friends that witnessed my plummet, ran over to help me (once their laughter subsided) and questioned, “Are you all right?” I responded with an appropriately drawn out and quivering, “Noooowaaaaahhhh” then followed up with the all important query of, “Is my ass showing?”
It was not until the sober light of day, after surveying the shameful severity of my war wounds (which greatly resembled being mauled by a small, but very angry bear) from Battle Concrete, that I made the decision to knock-off the drink, indefinitely. It has been nearly a month since I have had a drink and so far, I hardly miss it (only when I am having a meal, hanging out with friends, watching movies, listening to music, talking, thinking, thinking about talking, breathing, or doing laundry).
I am attaching “Intil” by Menomena because it makes me think about drinking. And not drinking. And never attacking something larger than me–like a sidewalk.