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Living Out Loud
 

Hard Miles

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I’m up shit creek with a full complement of paddles, but only one arm with which to row: two days before deadline, three days removed from shoulder surgery, lost in a haze of Oxycodone while wearing a space-age sling and stockings sans garters for anti-embolism purposes.  

Living It in 2010

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Last month, the Living Out Loud column started its eighth year in CityBeat. That’s a little amazing to me, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Those who write here are observers of everyday life. If you’re paying attention to that life, you’re always going to find something to write about.  

Never Knowing My Father

1 Comment · Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sometimes I believe a person can't control his or her own thoughts. As Christmas approaches this year, my mind is on my father and our relationship. It's much too late to change anything now. My father is dead. I'm going to take you back to a Christmas that happened close to 20 years ago. This is what I remember. This was on a Christmas afternoon eight months after my divorce.  

A Gentle Giant

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Mom called to tell me Uncle Roger had died. When someone says a person’s death is a blessing, they had people like my Uncle Roger in mind. He was diagnosed with Huntington’s chorea shortly after his retirement. It is a slowly progressive genetic disorder that affects coordination and leads to mental decline and dementia.  

Questions I’ll Never Ask

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I consider myself a pretty decent guy. With people that I see and meet, I try to be nice and polite. I make the attempt to treat other people the way I want to be treated. But let me be honest here. Maybe I am a horrible person. When I pay attention to the people around me, so often it leads to questions I want to ask but don’t dare.  

Leaves Off the Trees

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Most of the leaves are off the trees now. In walks that I take in my neighborhood, I watch neighbors rake up those leaves — a job I haven’t done in years. However, I remember the last time I did, and it always brings back memories of an old friend. In the early 1980s, my then wife and I decided we wanted a puppy.  

Unsuccessful Serenade

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I had just sat down for Thanksgiving dinner when my phone rang. It was my sister, but I couldn't understand her. "Take a breath," I implored. After doing so, she cried, "Mark, Mom's dead! She didn't come out of her room this afternoon and Arlene broke down her door and found her face down on the floor! Oh God, Mark..."  

Sit or Spin vs. Everything Melting

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm set, focused on my plan. At home, dressed in all blue, I'm ready to do laundry, then kick back and watch some artsy love flick about two handsome people. Restless, I need an imagination fix. Restlessness. Lately it swallows me up, coming at me like the leaf-blowing men outside — a daily, relentless explosion.  

Rubber Balls

3 Comments · Tuesday, November 9, 2010
This story is basically true, but I'll be changing a few facts around. I don't want Mary — that's the name I'm going to give her — to recognize herself. The reality is she probably won't be reading this anyway, as she doesn’t like alternative newspapers. The Wall Street Journal is more her thing. She’s a businesswoman who works downtown.  

Eternal Flame

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I wasn’t supposed to be kissing my stepsister. No, it was supposed to be one of her friends, The Twins. Which one I wasn’t sure, but, no matter, she chickened out and my stepsister suggested herself as a replacement. Thus, we lay in the basement making out, my head swimming with the absurdity of it all.  

Meanness

1 Comment · Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I could hear the three of them making fun of me as they started to get closer. I’m guessing they were teenagers, 17 or 18 years old. I was walking back home from a convenient store carrying a plastic bag full of grocery items. One turns to me, “hey, motherfucker, what’s in the bag?”  

Strange, Beautiful

1 Comment · Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Five a.m. Dear God. Often, that’s how I begin journal entries. And so begins this one to you. Dear God, where’s J? Miss you, bro. Gonna caulk my tub today. Damn, can’t stop thinking about that kid who jumped from the GW Bridge. Could’ve been me a while back. Amy’s frozen meals on sale. God. When I use that word, I mean something inside and out.  

Rituals, Routines and Ruts

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 5, 2010
On most mornings while at the bus stop downtown to catch a Tank Bus over to Kentucky, I see this guy. Before he gets on the bus, with his hands, he makes the sign of the cross. I'm smart enough to know this is a Catholic ritual. That's all I know. One morning, I got curious about what he was doing. I asked him why he went through this ritual.  

Stay Positive

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The irony wasn’t lost on me: Mere weeks following my debut in these pages, the alternate title to which might have been “In Defense of Suicide,” I almost died by my own hand. The little I do remember has me in front of a wooden door with two rectangle panes of glass, poised to throw a punch, thinking you’ve broke your hand twice, try something different. Thus, the glass.  

Farewell Old Friend

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I must have been on some kind of list of people to notify when she died. I didn’t know the person who delivered the sad news. A few days later, on a Wednesday morning, I took a bus up to that funeral home on Glenway Avenue where she would be laid out. I wanted to show my last respects.