Most of my dreams are abstract but directly related to what’s going on with me. For example, if I ate cheese right before bed and earlier that night I had a fight with my mom, it’s not unexpected that I would dream about flying wolves liquidating into puddles of green slime every time I hiccoughed.
When I was a kid, a high school kid, I used to connect dots where there were no dots to connect. Especially when it came to peoples dreams. I loved interpreting their dreams to what I thought they meant. At that point, the highest level of education I had was probably grade 9 science and even then I didn’t know the difference between a neutron and an electron.
A dear friend of mine back in the day would always come to me with her dreams. I always knew what was going on her life and was able to make clear distinctions between fear-based dreams to adrenaline-based dreams but sometimes it would be so out of wack, like the flying wolves, that I would just be pulling answers from my ass.
Not that that wasn’t what I was doing in the first place.
"Well, you’re graduating soon and everyone’s asking you where you’re going to go, what you want to be, what colleges have you applied to, etc, and you want them to go away. You’re not afraid of the future and you’re not afraid of these people or else your hiccoughs would go away. Instead, they turn into green slime because in the end they seemed scary and wouldn’t leave you alone but they had no power and something as little as a hiccough was able to transform them into slime!"
Something like that.
Which brings me to last night’s dream. Where I was sitting around the dinner table with a family that wasn’t mine. In the middle of the table was an atomic bomb and everyone was blaming me for wrecking dinner. I explained to them that it was still good and the mother figure insisted it was overcooked. The father figure wasn’t surprised by my typical behaviour and the brothers and sisters took great pleasure in my humiliation. I had to prove my point. I had to prove that I wasn’t a fuck up and that I made dinner. That, even though it didn’t look good it was in fact good. So I took a fork and knife. Poked in the fork. And as I penetrated the atomic bomb with a steak knife…
My friend Craig called me up today and asked me how it feels. “How does what feel?” I asked. “How does it feel waking up not feeling guilty from the night before?”
Which brought me to a point I hadn’t yet made myself. I was so focused on the task of sobriety I completely overlooked the joy. Craig is right. There’s something to be said for the immediate gratification of waking up and knowing that yesterday was fully yours and today is fully yours, the good and bad of it.
That sense of ownership of the very air you breath and the seconds that age you.
He gave me some shit the night before. Told me I was focusing on the wrong things. I was somewhere in the future coming up with arts and crafts projects to provoke the fear of drinking into the heart of my very being. Some very dramatic stuff.
But Craig is very now. A forward thinker, optimistic, positive person. Good to be around.
Yesterday Craig was telling me just focus on now, go to meetings, do 30 in 30, rock it out. Just go with it.
And today, when I told him no I didn’t wake up with the regrets and guilt from the night before but I’m still harbouring guilt and baggage from a week ago, he gave me a slap with his “Just go with it” hand and told me to “Let it go”.
Just go with it and let it go. It being two totally different things in this context. The first it is the present and the second it is the past. Same word though. Hmm.
Note: This is an excerpt of something I’m writing. With no intention to what it is or what it’s for, to enjoy it or hate it, however you prefer.
Music slows down for me when I drown everyone out. I’m not a runner, I don’t run, and if I did run I wouldn’t be creeping on four hundred pounds. In my mind, more importantly my imagination, I don’t stop running. The music is slow and all the people are drifting underwater and in this one sacred thought; nothing can hold me back.
I always found it fascinating to feel free all I had to do was close my eyes and confine myself to my body. In my imagination I have a physical soul as light as a shadow. I fold it like silk pajamas and keep it somewhere safe like a pocket or one of those hobo bags on a stick.
Why would I drown everyone out? You can’t possibly mean everyone—your wife, your mother? They love you, don’t you know? The “everyone” in this instance is the invisible everyone I imagine. A person is who they are and who they project to be and who others imagine them to be. I could have said this different. Rephrased as “who others perceive them to be.” But my war isn’t with my perceptions. It’s with my imagination.
This has been my biggest, if not my most fatal fault.
There is little to no evidence that the people in my life think or feel any of the thoughts and feelings that I imagine them to have.
When I was a child being bounced between divorced parents my imagination had sword fighting and castles and a dragon; and then as a child understanding the impacts of divorce my imagination began to wonder why that dragon had to leave and why was I the only one left to protect the castle?
When you escape to your imagination to deal with the emotional impact of your physical life—what’s to come is years of war, of a lonely child in an empty castle, facing his shadow and fencing against the wall.
I know you used to go to Bible College and now you're a comedian but are you still a Christian?
The fact that you asked anonymously makes me believe that you are my mother.
Hey mom. I’ve gone full circle with the Christianity thing. I don’t belong to any one church but I do go to church. I believe in standup comedy and having the freedom to joke about whatever I want and that one specific freedom is the one thing that keeps from being apart of a church because I would be asked to forfeit that freedom. Yes I believe in God. And yes I still think dick jokes are funny. I’m not sure if that answers your question but like that one guy said in that one song, “Life is a highway… I’m gonna dun dun dun bwow chicka dun bwow wow chicka waaaaaaaaaaammm dun dun dun” … More on this another time.
I think I’m done with the sobby hopeful sobriety stuff. I meant what I said and I’ve been getting help and going to meetings and doing this one cliche at a time but I know these things have their honeymoon periods so I’ve changed my perspective. I’m not “getting sober”. I am sober. My drinking is a thing of the past and now I’m moving forward. Got some good books at the library. My apartment smells like Raid. My wife is wearing the sundress that I like and I look forward to buying a bike that can actually fit a guy my size. I think it’s nutso to spend $700 on a bike that I may or may not ride but what’s most important is I get a bike, get healthy, and make my way down to an A cup.
Here’s my current reading list. Books due back June 20th.
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps by Marya Hornbacher (almost done this one, it comes from the perspective of how to deal with the 12 steps when you got the double dose of a mental illness, in my case depression and anxiety) What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Allen Berger and The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
She told me not to talk about it but I explained to her that there are millions of people on the internet who want to know about her vagina appointment and then she came around. Not really. But her appointment went really good. She has a golden vagina but the doctor says the paint should wash off in 3-4 days. Then she’ll be back to her regular, ol’ boring green vagina.
Two things going into sobriety. What keeps you going and what holds you back .You already know what holds you back because you have a 100% success rate of being held back. Going forward you need to keep busy, find joy in things, and think of others.
Remember the two days that don’t matter: yesterday and tomorrow.
Have a good day, today.
PS: I’m tagging along to my wife’s vagina appointment. I’ll write about that later.
Yesterday I wrote a post addressing my most recent relapse when I allowed my alcoholism to lose my performer’s spot on an NXNE showcase. I don’t want to keep the blog too heavy considering I started it off with photo of me and a dildo. Like to keep things light around here.
I wanted to throw in an Afterword regarding the situation.
Since going public with the depth of my alcoholism I’ve been faced with many difficult decisions and it’s been personally liberating and scary. I owe the booker a big thank you for booting me off this show. The reason why we make mistake after mistake after mistake is because your consequences didn’t outweigh your desire to make those mistakes.
We talked on the phone that day and he was extremely understanding and forgiving and had some good thoughts to share. I understand from his perspective why he made the decision he inevitably made. I have made no excuses for myself and I am taking my lumps. He assured me we would still work together in the future and for that I am very grateful because this is a guy I get along with and enjoy the company of. It’s just unfortunate I got drunk and disrespected him and his company.
Here’s some stray thoughts I’ve had over the past 48 hours - I can’t drink anymore, I need to be proactive - I feel terrible for wronging other people and I can’t shake that sort of shame - I can’t wait until my next show to do what I do best and make people laugh - Extra bonus if one of the comics can make me laugh - I’m going to be open-minded about AA this time - Though I’m iffy on the God stuff I’m attracted to the mentorship element of the program and could see myself having a strong impact on those in the same situation I’m in now - I want to smack myself over the head for being so personal online but it gives me nowhere to hide, all I ever do is hide. - I’m on my way to being a professional. Not yet, but one day, and this sort of life lesson is ten times more worthwhile than any festival show. Sure I would have killed it but in the end I’m off to address the shit that’s killing me. - The two big questions in my head is why did I STOP doing the things I loved (volunteering, community involvement, event coordinating, etc) and why did I START doing the things I hate (the drinking, the pills, and other forms of self abuse)?
It’s comforting to know that millions of people have gone through this journey and now I get to go on this journey too. I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life but I’ve also never been more assured in who I am as a person. I care about consequences and kills me to know I hurt others. When I drink that holds me back from being a good comedian, a role model to younger comedians, and a role model to younger alcoholics. I’ve always had that leader bug inside me but I tuck it away because I don’t know what it means but sometimes you have to open up Door #1 to find out what’s on the other side.
Sobriety is a part of my life now and I will be discussing it candidly as well as my comedy shows, my pug, and the weird things I find growing on potatoes.
If you’re an alcoholic and you haven’t said it out loud yet. Don’t wait to lose an opportunity your own mother was proud of just because you wanted to drink.
Someone told me yesterday to “think before I drink”. I would also like to add “…and then play with your dink!”
I wrote this on Facebook addressing a recent relapse I had. I’m an alcoholic and that’s a bad thing.
You can read what I wrote here:
"Hey everyone. I’m just going to be transparent and honest about this. I won’t be doing the June 16 NXNE show due to the bad behaviour I displayed last week when I got too drunk at someone else’s show. I’ve been open before about how this is a problem for me but haven’t given updates because I would like to project that I’m getting better and not worse but to be honest it’s a bit of both. There are really good days and really bad days and in this case there are consequences. I am very sorry for wronging other people especially comics I respect and look up to. I have been bone sober since Friday and I am proud of my 4 days of sobriety. The longest I went was 46 days and then I got to a point where I was justifying drinking "socially" again and then inevitably it stopped being that. I’ve only said the words "I’m an alcoholic" a few times out loud because I’m embarrassed for who I am when I drink and ashamed of myself. This is just me being honest about it. I’m glad the booker of the show got a hold of me and told me I was no longer allowed on the show do to my drunken behaviour. Sometimes you need tangible evidence to hold onto as a reminder as to why staying sober is important. I might go to some "open" meetings this week if anyone wants to come with me. I know I need to make sobriety a part of my reality and ultimately kiss alcohol goodbye.
I know a few of you told me you were going to that NXNE show and were proud of me for getting into the festival. Please still go to that show! It has a great lineup of comics and you’ll get to feel the buzz of the festival. It’ll be great.
So let this be a lesson in mistakes. We make them and there are consequences but the worst thing you can do is get stuck in a circle of the same old mistakes. We’re past this. I’m past being a drunken idiot and to be honest it shames my character because I work hard to treat people with kindness and respect and alcohol undoes all of that.
Again, for anyone I may have wronged last week, please contact me privately so I can apologize personally. I honestly don’t remember all that was said and done.
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. And hopefully I will too.”
First of all, I think it’s safe to say I’m a city boy. As Lindsay and I (Lindsay’s my wife) were driving up to Dundalk the scenery became increasingly hilly and I said something along the lines of, “Wow, I feel like we’re in New Zealand”. Now, for any of you who have had the pleasure of exploring Ontario, Canada… it’s not really anything like New Zealand.
RE above picture: I understand this photo does not do the hillyness of the Southgate Community justice.
I’m such a tourist when it comes to anywhere new. We pulled into a pizza place ran by a guy named George. Everyone who came in said “Hi George”/”Bye George” but further conversation would ruin his concentration on the TV wedged between the half-wall and the ceiling.
A young girl was working the counter, she had an arm tattoo and looked to be 13, maybe 12. I asked her, “So, what is Dundalk all about? I’m doing a show here tonight and would like to know a little more about your town.”
She didn’t have to think to long, she said, “Honestly, mennonites and old people.” AS SHE SAID THIS a horse and carriage strolled on by the window. It was then I knew I was in for a very different show.
The crowd was mostly women and old people. I was talking to Lindsay at the back of the theater and asked her, “I’m not really sure if this is my demographic.” But my wife was comforting as usual, “Don’t worry. Just talk about how you’re a disappointing husband.”
Last Saturday I was in Richmond Hill at a St. Louis Bar and Grill performing for a half-filled room of drunk people who love chicken and ribs. I was the last performer and I had to deal with this loud-mouth white boy who looked like he worked for Bell. Blue dress shirt, grey dress pants, he was wearing dress shoes, like funeral shoes, at a rib and chicken joint. The dude was dressed wedding-appropriate for dusted riblets.
Anyway. I was doing my thing and he was yabbering on and I addressed him, asking him, “What did you say?”
To which he responded, “Oh no. It’s too offensive.”
I thought the guy was going to make a fat joke or something so I told him “out with it” and said that it’s hard to offend me.
Then it was his turn to speak again and he should of opted out of this one. But he didn’t, so he says to me, “Well, it starts with an N and ends with an Igger.”
The restaurant goes silent. And I let him feel the silence. There were a few black people in the room and it was very uncomfortable.
I didn’t know what to do. To be honest I don’t touch on racial stuff too much because I’m a fat Portuguese guy who looks Jewish but dresses Mormon. I try to stay away from race and religion for the most part. Not because I don’t know how to talk about it. Mostly because I don’t have anything new to say.
So after giving this guy a good 15 seconds of awkward social tension and potential danger, I said the only joke floating around my head, which was the lamest joke I could possibly thing of.
I said, “It wasn’t easy growing up. I was the only alligator in an all crocodile high school. When everyone was saying “in a while” I was the only one saying “see you later”.
This got a good laugh because I chose the high road which was the pre-school approach.
An approach that I now know works best for taking down stupid drunk white boys.
Last November I had the pleasure of taping a comedy set for ‘No Kidding’ on iChannel and last week I had the pleasure of working with the same crew for a round table discussion show linked to ‘No Kidding’ called ‘The Inside Joke’. Basically, 4-5 comics get together and discuss a reoccurring theme in their acts that relate to each other and I was apart of a segment on bullying.
I’m pretty much an expert on being bulled seeing as I was a fat kid with braces who became a Christian and lead an impact group in the most ghetto school in Oshawa, Ontario. But when I was a kid I was bullied the old fashioned way: swirlies, wedgies, pushed against the locker, etc. I’m not jealous of kids today. If someone didn’t like me they told me to my face. They didn’t pull out their phones and start calling me a slut on Facebook. Jesus Christ.
There used to be an art to bullying before being a nerd was cool. There was a clear divide between the bullies and the nerds and there was a certain rite of passage when you finally stood up to your bully. Sure you might of gotten the shit kicked out of you that much harder but there was a personal pride in sticking up for yourself. This ladies and gentlemen is called “building character”. There’s an important moment in life where you either learn you don’t need to take shit from people or you default to doormat.
I remember one particular day in high school some kid in army pants walked by and smashed my head into the wall. I blacked out for a few moments and when I came to I was crying in front of a crowded hallway full of high school kids. Embarrassing right? I didn’t know how to face this kid because he had Columbine written all over him but I remember I saw him snickering at me in the library a few days later while we were watched The Diary of Anne Frank and in the middle of the movie I just yelled over to the kid, “Go fuck yourself!” I got sent to the principals office and was told not to tell kids to go fuck themselves but even my principal knew, hey, I had to do something. I had to let this kid know I wasn’t going to take his shit. He tried messing with me some other time but I was with my big punk friend Joe and Joe grabbed the kid and said he was going to eat his face or something scary then the kid never bothered me again. I’m pretty sure he dropped out that semester and is now dead from drinking too many Monster Energy drinks and jacking off to horse porn.
That’s right. You can die from watching too much horse porn.
So this is old news. The internet has created a bully evolution but I would go one step further and say the internet ruined bullying! Ruined the art of sticking up for yourself. The underdog stories that built our character and made us better people. How boring would The Breakfast Club be in 5 kids sat in the library and texted swear words at each other? Not only is the internet ruining bullying, a once vital rite of passage, but it’s ruining dating too!
I was on Facebook the other day and some kid wrote on my cousin’s wall and said, “Hey, your pics are super hot. We should go to the movies.” That’s a paraphrase. I’m sure the grammar was off and some of the letters were replaced with numb3rs. But what happened to old-fashioned asking a girl out? I mean, walking up to her in the cafeteria, rubbing your heels together, sweating, praying she won’t say no and that you won’t be embarrassed for the rest of your high school career, coughing, stuttering, putting together the words, “Hey Sally. Wanna go to the movies some time?”
I’ll end on this. If you’re going to bully, fucking man up and do it in person. None of this internet shit. You want to treat someone like crap you go up to them yourself and try to lift their underwear over their head and then learn your lesson when that nerd musters up the courage to punch your fucking teeth out.
Also, I saw this on Twitter the other day and appreciated the irony.