By Dr. Bud E. Bryan
"She left a yellow rose and a long neck bottle
On a table beside my bed
With a short little note that said I had a good time
It was written in lipstick red..."
Austin. Those opening lyrics to Toby Keith's "Dream Walkin" seem oddly appropriate right about now, seein' as I'm waking up in a hotel room hungover like, well, like an All-Pro O-line was using my head for forearm-shiver practice. On top of that my mouth was feelin' like I'd been pushed up my uncle's mile-long gravel driveway in east Texas - face first.
It was right about then that I realized I was spread-eagle naked, staring at the ceiling, with a cowboy hat propped on my privates. And no shit, about eight Pearl long necks were stacked up next to me on the nightstand - inescapable evidence of... I'm not sure what.
And the clock radio was flashing "12:00" of course. "12:00" noon? "12:00" midnight? Oh boy.
I found a half-gone giant bottle of water on the nightstand, which I began to maneuver myself over to reach. Propping myself up on one elbow like an extra in Lawrence of Arabia, I strained for a drink. I managed to get most of a couple of big gulps in my mouth, which helped, but then again the more water I drank the more I realized that this probably hadn't been a good night, or maybe it had been one of the best nights ever. I wasn't really sure. In between the bashes my forehead was taking I thought, it had to be at least intermittently good, right?
And then I saw the note left on the nightstand. It wasn't written in red lipstick, but it was noteworthy nonetheless...
"You're so damn sweet Bud! But you already knew that. You know where to find me."
I decided that if I could make it to the bathroom, I was just going to fire up a hot shower and camp under it - for hours. And as I was standing there - the spray feeling like heated needles being inserted directly into my skull - the evening slowly came back to me.
Trying to reconstruct what happened and how it happened was bad enough, but the bigger question was why?
As in why was I here in the first place?
Maybe I should step back and deconstruct a little...
First of all, hanging out in a college town is probably something I should stop doing, but hell, I live here so it's kind of unavoidable.
And I fully subscribe to the theory that hanging out with younger people is good for the soul. It kinda reminds you of who you were once, and who you can never, ever be again.
And it's not about imparting wisdom, because why in the hell would they listen to me anyway?
No, it's about catching a glimpse of life through young eyes again.
You remember those, right? When every day was new and every waking moment was anticipated and unencumbered by experience?
Everyone says, "If I could go back to (insert year here) with what I know now..."
Yeah, well guess what? It doesn't work that way.
We had our time, and we we were meant to experience life when we experienced it, that's just the way it is and will always be.
So sue me for allowing myself to hang out with young people. Young girls too. That makes me a bad guy to some people.
And yes, in case you're wondering, I really don't give a shit what you think. And I love all of those self-righteous bastards out there who love to write in and say that I should just "grow up."
That's rich. Grow up to what, exactly?
To be a part of your touchy-feely world so we can share our feelings with each other?
To sign up for a maudlin suburban grind that's laced with sweetness but punctuated by abject dissatisfaction, emptiness and quiet desperation at every turn?
No thanks, ol' sport.
Yeah, I'm still here. I'm inappropriate, unapologetic and too damn happy doin' what I'm doin' for most people. And a lot of you out there don't like it and can't stand it, because in this politically correct world we live in there's no room for people who wander outside the lines. If you don't say the right things or do things just the right way you're automatically ridiculed as being, well, different and, you know, not one of us. As if that's something to aspire to.
There's a beautiful passage in the "About AE" section of this website - and if you haven't been there you owe it to yourself to check it out - that was uttered by Kevin Spacey as "Lester Burnham" in the film American Beauty. Here it is:
"It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you've forgotten about."
I would venture to guess that the spineless weasels who write in to lecture me have completely lost their way. They're mired in manufactured "comfort" and blissful in their mind-numbing predictability - day after day, dawn to dusk. Meanwhile they've lost the point completely.
And as sure as I'm writing this they're going to wake up one day and mutter to themselves, what the fuck happened?
Well, as Samuel Goldwyn once famously said: "Include me out."
Not me, no. I'm going to drink in life... and all that entails.
Besides, someone has to do it if, only to give the self-righteous hordes out there something else to be outraged about.
(to be continued...)
By Dr. Bud E. Bryan