Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Drugs, work and packing it all in. (A cheery wave goodbye from a man stuck in the burbs)


I’ve been slacking at this writing thing lately. The truth is, nothing of interest has been happening, and some people are getting mad about me writing about my past. Too many toes stepped on I suppose.
I started a new job, its part time and the pay is low, but after a year of unemployment I’ll take what I can get.
I started taking new meds, Adderall and Xanax. They seem to doing their job. I’m not scared of the outside world anymore and I am finding it easier to focus on things.
That’s it really. I mean who wants to read about the adventures of a middle aged suburban guy with mental problems?
No one that’s who.
I’ll check in from time to time if anything of interest happens, but consider this the end.

Cheers,
James

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 1978 fruit basket (How to ruin your parents coke party)

My friend Hal told how to make a fruit basket. " Bend over and stuff your balls between your legs." He also told me what a brown eye was.

My mom and dad were having a typical 1978 coke and disco party. I was in my room practicing my tricks. When i felt I had perfected both feats I walked out into the living room naked. I shoved my junk between my legs and bent over. i spread my ass cheeks apart and yelled " Hey! Brown eye everyone!" The room was silent except for the music.

I sat like that for about 30 seconds before my dad started laughing. My mom started apologizing to all her friends saying how embarrassed she was. One of their friends said "Verne's going to be a real swinger when he's older. I better keep him away from my daughter!"

Laughter

I took a bow and went back to my room. My dad came in drunk off his ass and gave me half his beer. He told me how funny I was.

I was so proud.

The next morning I went to the bathroom and tripped over my dad. He was passed out hugging the toilet bowl. My mom was nude on the living room couch. I poured myself some cereal and watched cartoons.

No one ever mentioned it to me again.

Dead Cows and Grandpa


I had one birthday party when I was a kid. All the neighbor hood kids were there. I got a lot of Star Wars toys.  My birthday cake had Tweedy Bird. I don’t know how I ended up with that cake. I wanted a Star Wars one. I didn’t care really though. I was just happy I was having a party. My mom was pregnant with my sister at the time. It was my last hurrah.
I was excited to be having a little sister. I asked my parents how my sister got in there. Mom went to a library and checked out an extremely graphic book. She explained to me about the penis and vagina. I told all my friends about it.
My dad dropped me off at my grandma’s house. I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept thinking that the next day I will have a baby sister. I got up the next morning. We got in grandpas’ car and drove to the hospital.  I was too young to go inside. Mom’s room was on the first floor. She opened the window and held my sister to the screen. She was dark and screaming.
“That’s not my sister, that’s some Mexican baby.” I said.
My sister came home three weeks later. She was sick a lot and couldn’t eat. All she did was cry and throw up. I would hear my mom yelling at her to stop her fucking crying and just sleep.  I was scared for her. I wanted to take her and run away so she wouldn’t get hurt and yelled at.
She had a few operations. She started to eat and hold the food down. My parents decided we should take my grandma to Ohio for my great grandparent’s 50th anniversary. I don’t remember a lot of the trip. My sister throwing up every half hour or so, an electrical storm in New Mexico. I saw cows getting struck by lightening. My grandma told me not to touch anything metal in the car or I might die. I got my head stuck between the bars on a motel balcony. Dad spread the bars apart and pulled me through.
I remember my great grandparents. Andrew and Anna Kichka, they barely spoke any English. She was a tiny little woman. She just in her chair with a huge smile on her face. I sat at her feet. She put her hand on my head and sang Slavic songs to me.  It was uncomfortable, but I liked the attention. Great grandpa was a huge man. All muscle. He took me to his garden and let me pick raspberries.
I don’t know much about them. I know they left Czechoslovakia, went to Hungry and came to New York in the late 30’s. Eventually they settled in Cleveland.
In 1953 my grandma met some Ukrainian sailor and got pregnant with my mother. The sailor left. No one saw him again.
Some how she and my mom ended up in LA, I don’t know how. No one ever told me about it. I never asked about it. I figured if they wanted me to know, they would have told me.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Minnesota.


I think I was eight. It was Easter break and my mom, sister and I were going to fly to Minnesota to visit my grandparents. I hadn't seen them in years. I missed them. They were a nice escape from the crap at home. My parents didn't have a lot of money so we took the cheapest flight out there. WE had to take six different planes to get to Minnesota. Because this was a series short flights, we didn't eat. All together it took 12 hours to get there.
My mother was pissed that grandma and grandpa didn’t take time off from work to visit. I didn't care, my aunt Catharine was around and I liked her. My mom and Catharine did not get along. Catharine blamed my mom for taking her big brother away. My mom didn't like Catharine because my mom was my mom and no one was good enough in her eyes.
We went everywhere in the twin cities. Different zoo's, restaurants, amusement parks, and then it got weird, my grandparents were Mormon. My mother was Catholic. I was already an eight year old atheist. I had decided around five years old that it was all fake. I would try to hold in the laughter when the old people started speaking in tongues and rolled around the floor. Anyway, All these missionaries started coming over to visit. They showed us movies, read us books. I was bored. Mom was pissed. "You people are all wrong!" she said. She started getting extremely vocal and rude to them. They were just two teenage kids trying to do what they believed in. She kept telling them they will burn for what they are doing.  Grandma stood up and told mom "Debbie that is uncalled for. You need to knock this garbage off now."
Mom got pissed and walked out.
They pretty much left each other alone the rest of the trip.
On the day we left, grandma packed me and my sister a bunch of snack food for the trip. WE had a layover in Salt Lake City. Mom took us to an airport lounge. My sister and I were told to sit on the bench outside the door. She went in and had a few drinks. She came out in a better mood. Shawntele and I ate our potato chips for dinner. The last flight home was eventful. Mom slept it off, Shawntele played with her doll and I read a book.
We got off the plane. Our neighbor Nancy picked us up. "Is the bastard drunk somewhere?" my mom asked.
Nancy said she'll talk about it later.
We got home and Nancy handed me a rabbit. She told me there was a cage in the backyard for it. I put the rabbit in the cage and went to my room. What the fuck was going on? Why is my neighbor handing me livestock and where is my dad? Why am I being forced to stay in my room? Turns out dad had a heart attack.  Nobody bothered to tell me. I found out when he got home. I asked where he was. He said he had a heart attack and was in the hospital.  That's all that was said about that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your Academy


When I was in the Air Force I had a roommate named Charles. I absolutely hated him. He was the anti-James. He was a hard core Christian. He was always going through my crap. I'd wake up and he would be standing by my bed praying. When my friends would come over to visit, He would take out his knives and start sharpening them mumbling loud enough for us to hear about “Taking out any dumb sumbitch that crossed him”. How very Christian of him.
He told me he roomed with me because god wanted him to watch over me. His half of the room was covered in Reba McIntire posters. Mine was covered in Hubcaps, Christmas lights, bike parts and whatever else I could attach to the walls. I didn’t have any girlfriends. He would ask if I was a “fag”. Being from California and not having a girlfriend automatically made me gay in his eyes.
Chuck would invite his church group over for bible study. He ended each meeting with “Let’s pray for Jim.” He called me Jim, another reason to hate him.  
 I decided I needed to get rid of him. We couldn't just move out without all this paperwork bullshit. So I decided to scare him into moving out. I started collecting Serial killer/Mass murder books. I had trading cards. I started a correspondence with a couple. I gave my number to Richard Hanson and told him to go ahead and call collect. After about two months Ole’ Chuck split. He moved out to some Christian housing thing. I feel shitty about it, but he was an asshole.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to make a first impression.


Ed’s fiancĂ© was coming to visit him. Ed had to work. He asked me if I would pick her up and show her around Fairbanks till he got off work. Sure I said. I pick her up. We go to lunch and get some coffee. She’s a nice girl. Ed’s a good guy. They are perfect together. I asked her if there is anywhere she wants to go. She says the naughty shop. That’s an odd request but oh well if that’s where she wants to go I guess I’ll take her. We drive a half hour out of town. I pull up into the parking lot of the porn store. She looks at me and says you’ve got to be kidding. “Why did you bring me here? I’m not going to tell Ed, but let’s leave.” I said “You said you wanted to go to the naughty shop.”  She said “No I wanted to go to the Knotty Shop.” An Alaskan gift shop an hour out of town. I had never heard of this place.  She told me not to worry that it would be our dirty little secret. That night I brought her to Ed’s. He asked her I had if she had a good time. She said “Yeah, but Jim is a pervert.” She looked at me and smiled. I had to explain to Ed what happened. He laughed his ass off and gave me a beer. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I miss my jacket.


In fourth grade Enoch stole my Destro figure. I brought it to school to show off. No one else had it yet. Enoch was poor white trash. He always had a shaved head. His mom made his clothes. He never had any food for lunch. Enoch was one of the few kids nice to me. We'd play GI Joe or with Hot Wheels. He asked if he could borrow Destro to show his parents what he wanted for Christmas. I let him take it home.
The next morning he had Destro in his pocket. I asked for it back. He told me that he lost mine and his parents bought him that one. I didn't believe him. I didn't do anything about it.

Eighth grade.
I had a black Denim jacket with blue plaid lining. I wanted that jacket for Christmas. It's the only thing I asked for. To my surprise I got it. I wore it everywhere. At that time the Miami Vice and surfer look was in at our school. Not for me. I had my black Converse all-stars, jeans, black t shirts and that jacket. I wrote James Robison in big letters with black marker on the lining.
This kid named David had an older, faded coat like mine. He asked if h could borrow mine one day. He said he'd kick my ass if I didn't. Not remembering the Destro/Enoch, I gave him the jacket.
The next day he handed me his old jacket. It was a size smaller. It was faded. Verne Robison was written with an ink pen on the tag.
This isn't my jacket I told him.
Yeah it is.
He socked me in the chest and told me to shut the fuck up about it.
I threw his jacket in the trash and walked home.
I told my mother that I kept the jacket in my locker. I walked back and forth to school without a jacket the rest of the winter.
I really need to start standing up for myself.

Monday, February 27, 2012

60 things people have said about me or called me.


1. A walking Wikipedia of useless knowledge.

2. Intelligent but disillusioned.

3. Oblivious

4. Lacks commitment.

5. Stupid

6. Beefcake

7. One of the most cool uncool people.

8. I seem like I’m from New York.

9. Nerd

10. Geek

11. Obsessive

12. Needs constant reassurance

13. No style

14. Looks better in life than in photos.

15. Fat

16. Skinny

17. Lazy

18. Failure

19. Dreamer

20. Distracting

21. Quite

22. Will be a cult hero someday.

23. Too sarcastic

24. Too honest

25. Too punk for the indie kids and too indie for the punk kids

26. Vampire cult leader.

27. Needs direction

28. Needs motivation

29. No ambition

30. Daddy

31. Husband

32. Ex-husband

33. Clumsy

34. Too caring

35. Doesn’t care enough.

36. Scared

37. Too polite

38. Asshole

39. Fag

40. White trash

41. Thief

42. Friend

43. Brother

44. Bi-polar

45. Manic depressive

46. Annoying

47. Ugly

48. Smelly

49. Lackadaisical

50. Cowardly

51. Poor

52. Lucky

53. Strong

54. Tough willed

55. A survivor

56. Inspirational

57. Addictive

58. Uncle

59. Bastard

60. Boring

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sleeping with mom.


Age ten and eleven I had to share a bed with my mom. We were living with another family. My sister got her own bed. I wasn’t allowed to sleep on the floor. I had to sleep with her. She didn’t molest me or anything; she would just cuddle up next to me. I didn’t like it. I wanted my own bed. I wanted to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. She would play the radio and sing when we were in bed. She would sing the songs that would come on. She made me go to bed at the same time as her. I would lie next to her and she would read and drink her wine sometimes rubbing my head. My dad was gone by that point and I guess she just wanted to have somebody next to her.
We moved out to our own place and I had my own room. She would get drunk and sing sad country songs and call out my dads’ name. Sometimes when she was drunk she would come into my room and get in bed with me. Breathing her horrible wine breath in my face as she tried to make he hold her. I would push away and that would piss her off. “Fine then no one loves me I guess.”
That room became my prison. I was not allowed out of my room unless I had to use the bathroom. All my meals were eaten in the room. I could go to school, but after school I had to back in my room. I would read and listen to music. They became my salvation.
As I got older she got worse. She would walk into my room and tell me things like if I ever had a girlfriend I would be going to hell because it was a sin to touch girls. She told me she knew everything I did because she had microphones hidden around the house.
I had to keep my door so I wouldn’t beat off like my father.
After awhile the yelling and paranoia weren’t enough. She started hitting me. First it was just a slap then a wooden spoon, it moved on to fist and kicking. Hell, she even hit me with a blender once.
She would tell me to get out, that she couldn’t afford to feed me anymore. I’d leave and walk around and be picked up by the police after a few hours. She would call them and say that I had run away.
The worst was in ninth grade. I had gotten a D in some class. I had a ten gallon aquarium with two newts. When she got the report card she stormed in my room picked up the tank and threw it at me. It missed my head and shattered against the wall. Glass, rocks, water and the two dead newts were on my bed. “Clean up your fucking mess you god damned dummy!” was all she said.
The next day it was like nothing happened. She asked where the aquarium went. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to make a first impression.


I had been stationed in Alaska for three months before I met anybody to hang around with. It seems that an indie rock listening to idiot from California is not exactly prime friend material. I had met a few people, but they were the party boys of the dorm. I went to their parties a few times and hung around on base with them. But that’s it. They had no desire to leave the base. I didn’t have a car yet, so I was kind of stuck there. They were my friends for convince purposes more then anything. They tried to get me to dress differently, buy designer clothes, and listen to popular music. Still, we got along and I did have fun with them.
When you don’t hunt or fish, there is not a hell of a lot to do in Alaska.  W mostly sat around watching movies and drink beer. I still wanted more. I saved up and bought a used car. While walking through the halls one day I ran into a guy named Jon. I had a Nine Inch Nails cd in my hands. Jon saw it and asked if it was any good. I told him I hadn’t listened to it yet. We decided to go to his room and give it a listen.  We threw the disc on and talked for the next hour or so about music. Jon asked why he hadn’t seen me around. I told him how I had just gotten there and had been hanging out the other guys. He suggested I tag a long to a party of base with him and some friends.
Later that night Jon knocked on my door. With him were Ben, Mike and Blaine. I had the biggest car so we decided to take mine. We piled in and drove to Fairbanks. They were shocked that I had never been off base. Before the party they directed me around town, pointing out cool things I should go check out. I saw the Northern Lights for the first time. To me they looked like red glowing curtains blowing in the breeze.
We went to the party and I met all of their friends. They were all very nice and accepting. We drank a lot of beer and talked till about two in the morning. We decided to call it a night.
We started driving back to the base. I had to pee. Badly. We drove around looking for a place to stop. We gave up and stopped at a vacant lot. I got out and started.
I heard Jon say “Jim! Cops!”  Again with the Jim, I hated that name. I figured they were fucking with me. I feel a tap on my shoulder.
“Stop what you’re doing.”
“I can’t, I’m pissing.”
I turn around and this big Fairbanks cop is standing there.  
“We just don’t piss wherever we feel like in this state. Next time I suggest you take a leak before you leave. ”
He wrote me a ticket for public urination. He told me he could get me for indecent exposure. I could hear everyone laughing in the car.
I went to court and had to pay $300 bucks for taking a piss outside. It was either pay the money or be placed on the sex offenders list for public masturbation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peer pressure and dogs.


Larry and Debbie met at a place called The Tasmen Sea, a restaurant in San Pedro. Debbie was a maid or something. Larry was fresh out of the Air Force looking to get laid. They went on a few dates. Larry's aunt tried to tell my mother that Larry was no good, he was a looser who would take all her money and split. Debbie didn't care; she was in love with him. Larry just liked getting laid.
A few months into this, I come into the picture. What do we do? Debbie asked. Get married said Larry. They drove to Vegas and got married. Debbie told her parents she got married and moved out. Larry brought Debbie to his parents’ house in the Ridgecrest. They lived with Larry's parents till I was born. We lived in a few places before we had a place of our own.
Larry and Debbie were still young and partied with their hippie friends all the time. There were always bottles of wine and beer lying around. I would pick them up and take sips. Everyone laughed. "Look at big Verne! The little brother can party."
My uncle Ronnie would stay over on the couch, he would get drunk, pass out and piss himself on the couch. He always blamed me. For the year he was there, I would get in trouble for peeing on the couch. I had to sit in the corner and repeat the words" I will use the big boy potty"

I once asked my mother why she had me. She said that she wanted something that would love her forever and never leave her side. She said she just wanted something to cuddle with her and think the world of her.
I asked my father. He told me all of his friends were getting married and having kids so he thought he should too.
So that’s why I’m here. I’m a product of peer pressure and my mothers need for love. They should have got a dog instead of a kid.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In 1985 I found out that I am a lying attention whore.


I had to do a book report in Mrs. Perez’s English class. I was supposed to make a poster showing my interpretation of the story. I bought the poster board. That’s as far as I went. The night before it was due I drew a boy leaning against a palm tree on it. I drew clouds and rain. I wrote across the top “Billy at Sea.” I made up an author’s name. On the back we were supposed to write a summary of the story. I wrote. “Billy falls off a boat swims to an island. He makes it”
I had to get up in front of the class and give a presentation to the class on my report. I made up the story as I went along. I told them how Billy was tossed overboard for being a stowaway. How he swam to shore avoiding sharks. He collected wood and made a shelter. How he lived off crab and coconuts. He was rescued by a French fishing boat that had stopped on the island to get water. Billy got back to California and wrote his story and became a hero.
Everybody in the class loved it. They complimented my drawing. They told me that that book sounded awesome. I didn’t bother to tell anyone that I made the whole damn thing up. I got an A.
I would make up stories about what I did on vacations and days off from school. I told people about places I had never been to, making up the details as I went along. Things I had done with friends from out of town or uncles I didn’t really have. I wasn’t close to these people so I didn’t really care if they believed me or not. But if they smiled or laughed at one of my stories, it egged me on and the tale would get bigger and bigger. I would make reports on these fake travels in English class. I always got good grades on them. I found out later that Mrs. Perez was friends with my mother. She asked her one day how she enjoyed going to Mexico. My mother told her that she had never been there. The jig was up. I was busted. My mother beat the crap out of me for lying to the teacher. My fantasy life was so much more entertaining then the real thing.
To this day, nothing makes me feel as good as when someone laughs at one of my stories or smiles at something I said.
 I did that.
 I brought them a little happiness for a second. 
It makes me feel alive.
I am such an attention whore.
I continued faking the book reports.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My first Broken Nose


When I was six I wanted a skateboard for Christmas. I got it. I didn't know how to use it. I had never seen a skateboard in real life. I had seen people on TV ride them. I asked Hal what I should do. He said I think you run and jump on it and go. I set the board down in the middle of the driveway. I ran from the garage and jumped on. I missed the middle of the board and landed on the back end. It flipped up and smacked me in the face. A fat lip, two chipped teeth and my first broken nose. I ran in the house covered in blood. My mom said fuck now who hit you? I told her I fell off the skateboard. All she said was that she knew I'd hurt myself on it. She cleaned me up and took me to the Dr. He taped up my nose and sent me on my way. When we got home my dad was there. Ever the racially sensitive one, he looked at me and said “You got a nigger lip." The skateboard went out in the garage. I never touched it again

Friday, January 20, 2012

Totally Random Man.


Whenever I would get sick, my mom would say god was punishing me

My dad and grandpa would take me fishing on boats out of San Pedro. They would get drunk. Once they got drunk and left for home while I was still on the boat. The crew gave me a hamburger and I waited with them till dad came and got me.

I went to the nurse’s office one time. She put the thermometer in my mouth. I bit the thermometer and broke it. My mouth was filled with mercury and broken glass. The nurse came back in and I spit it out. She asked if I swallowed any of it. I told her no and she sent me back to class.

My friend’s parents were always away. We would go to his house to play. We had a bunch of smoke bombs. We decided to light them in the house. The house filled up with blue smoke. We ran away and the fire department showed up. He got in trouble and told his mom and dad that me and our friend Bill did it.

I started school a year late. I don’t know why. I was always a year older then everybody. They thought I had flunked a grade.

I used to have to clean up the dog shit. The people behind us had a pool. They never invited us to swim so I would use the shovel and toss the dog shit over the fence into the pool.

I don’t know how to swim and I have no intention of doing so
.
My uncle taught me how to cast my fishing line. We were standing on the riverbank, I cast the line. The hook caught my dad in the shoulder. He was down the hill from us so I didn’t see him. I felt the hook catch. My uncle started yelling “Reel it in Verne! You caught a big one!” I started yelling “daddy! I caught a whale!” My dad backed up the bank yelling for me to stop.

A desert tortoise would show up at my backyard gate every morning. I would feed him dog food.

On my first date with a girl named Katie, I rear ended another car.

I took a girl to a hockey game one. In between periods I told her I liked her. She asked if I wanted some popcorn and left to get some.

I made a t-shirt that said I am not cool. Everyone told me it was cool. I told them no it’s not.

I used to make flyers for my fake band.

I fell down a small waterfall in Lytle creek.

I was so hungry that once I stole a can of spam.

I found a bunch of coyote skulls in the desert. I gave them to people for Christmas.

The first time I got drunk, I told Beth I love her and threw up on her feet.

In 4th, 5th and 6th grade I sat behind Shonna Hoback. Holy fuck, I loved her. She may be the only crush I really talked to. I would sit and stare at the back of her neck all day. To this day, whenever I remember how I felt whenever she turned and handed me a paper, smiled at me and said “Here you go Verne.” I melt every time.

While in 7th grade I kept a knife under my pillow incase the Nightstalker decided to attack my house. I would save my family.

Richard Robinson threw my lock to the PE locker in the toilet. Mr. Moonie told me to get it out. I told him to get it out himself. I got detention because I didn’t stick my hand in a toilet.

I went to a movie one night when I was 21 or 22. I can’t remember what we saw. There was some girl that sat next to me after the lights went down. I have no idea what she looked like or who she was. We both fumbled our arms on the shared armrest. I took her hand and held it. She squeezed my hand. We watched the movie with our thumbs caressing each other’s hand. She put her head on my shoulder. The movie ended, I got up said goodbye and walked away.

My mother had a part time job working in the kitchen for Rialto school district. I would get secretly offended when someone complained about the food.

My first car was a 1976 Vega that had a bumper sticker on it that said “I love my kids” I left it on.
I was bit by a black widow once.

Once in a mall, some counter girl said “Dude, you are fucking hot” I didn’t know what to do so I mumbled thank you and walked away.

I would steal books from the school library.

When I take the train to and from work, I put my headphones on and pretend to listen to music and listen to the people around me talk.

This girl I dated gave me crabs. We broke up after that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things will never be the same. (Why mom hates me)


I was either 6 or 7. I don’t really know. I remember we lived in San Pedro on 23rd street. The only places to play were the cemetery or a construction area across the street. We decided to go to the construction site. Earlier we had watched the workers throwing hunks of broken concrete into a dumpster. After they left for the day we thought we’d help out and throw the rest away for them. We started throwing the pieces away, neither one of us paying any attention to whose chunk went where. Glass shattered, we stopped. My friend ran away. I started to, but someone grabbed me by my shirt collar.
This hysterical woman was yelling at me, calling me murderer and shaking the hell out of me. She dragged me to her house, and into a bedroom. In the room was a crib. A baby of a couple months was in the crib with a giant chunk of concrete on top of it. The baby wasn’t moving. Blood was splattered around the baby. “You killed him you fucker!” She kept shaking me. She took me to the living room and shoved me on a couch. I was crying, asking for my parents. “You’re not going anywhere but jail.”
The police, fire department and an ambulance showed up. The police asked me who I was with. I told them my friend’s name. The officer asked if I knew my phone number. I gave it to him. He picked me up and took me to his car. He told me my mom and dad will meet me at the police station, and to stop crying, it will all be ok.
My friend was at the police station when I got there. We went into different rooms and talked to different officers. They wanted to know how this happened. I told them. The police decided that there was no way of knowing whose piece of concrete went through the window. It was decided that we were too young to prosecute, and that it was just a terrible accident. The baby’s parents showed up. We both said we were sorry. The father seemed to accept the apology, but I have never before or after seen such intense hatred in someone’s eyes. The mom kneeled down in front of us, put one arm around each of us and said “Both of you will pay for this.”
My parents showed up. My dad said “Come on, it’s over lets go home.” My mom didn’t say a word. That night she came into my room. She sat on my bed and told me that I am going to hell for being a murderer. She said that she can’t love me anymore because I am a murderer. I wasn’t allowed to be anywhere my baby sister. No one in the neighborhood would play with me. Nobody would talk to my parents anymore. At school, the kids would whisper and point at me.
After two months of this we moved. We didn’t have any money so we moved into a travel trailer that was parked near the harbor in a dirt lot. At night a group of Mexican guys would drink in the lot. We were scared. Mom said this is my fault, and that she will be forever punished by god for giving birth to a murderer.
I think about that baby a lot, covered in broken glass, blood and concrete lying there still in that crib. I think of the mothers eyes burning through me. I think of the hatred in her eyes. I think of my mother’s hatred. I think of my father’s indifference. I think of the faces of those Mexican men peering into the trailer. I think that at that exact moment, I realized things will never be the same.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

These are the dark times.


The noise in my head will not stop.
For 39 years this buzzing static has never ceased. I want it to end.
It just keeps getting louder each day.
I’ve tried everything to stop it. Meds, alcohol, exercise, drugs and every other suggestion doctors or friends have given me.
It will never go away.
I woke up this morning and decided to stop the noise once and for all.

I’ve been here before. I can’t count the times I’ve been here before, sitting and looking at a bottle of pills trying to figure out if I should take them or not. I know my kids are taken care of. Dawn and Rob are doing an awesome job of raising them. I’ve pretty much become a guy they visit every other weekend. When they are here they never come out of their room unless I drag them out. We used to have fun, but they aren’t any more.
The whole unemployment thing is really starting to get to me. I can’t find a job. I can’t expect people to take care of me, and I’m tired of feeling like a sponge. 
I woke up determined that this ends today.
I won’t do it. I can’t do it.
Something keeps telling me to hold on, that it will get better someday. The only problem is, I am tired of waiting for that day.
I don’t want a moment in the sun.
I just want clarity. I want the noise to stop and the darkness to disappear.
I’ll still be here tomorrow.
I won’t do anything to hurt myself.
I can’t give up. I will not give up.
But please make the noise stop and let the light shine through.

Cheers,
James.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Zen Arcade



I have a band name tattooed on my arm. It wasn't topical. I do not regret it. If I was in the chair I would get the same one. I've touched upon my upbringing. It sucked. We can agree on that. It shaped the person I am today. I am not bitter about it. I just don't care.

In 1986 I heard a song on the radio. The station was 88.1 KUCR , a collage station out of Riverside. They would play punk and what is now considered indie rock. I heard a song called Broken Home Broken Heart by Husker Du. It was nothing like I had ever heard before. It’s like this song was written just for me. A two minute punk rock blast had had captured everything perfectly.

I called the station and asked what album it was on. The next day I ditched school hopped on a bus to San Bernardino. I got off at the Mall. I can't remember the name of the mall. I think it's called the Carousel Mall now. I walked to Licorice Pizza across the street and bought it. Zen Arcade by Husker Du. The cover was bleak. A couple people standing in a junkyard. I looked at the names of the songs on the back cover. I couldn't wait to get home.

I went straight to my room and put the record on. I was completely blown away. The power, the urgency, everything was perfect. Every note rang true with me. I understood every word. Everything was about me. I didn't feel alone anymore. Someone understood. Someone knew what was going on.

Whenever I would fight with her I would lay down with my headphones on and dissolve into Zen Arcade.

The name Husker Du translates to Do You Remember.

I had Husker Du tattooed on my left arm. I never want to forget the pain and horror I went through. I never want to forget that no matter how hard things are, there is somebody going through the exact same thing you are. They will survive it and you will too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

High School Number Two of Four.


High School number two.

After leaving Rialto I ended up in Perris Ca, which was a bigger shit hole then Rialto was. My father had moved us into a house with a lady named Lynn he met at a mental hospital. It was a big house up on a hill with an awesome view of the valley below. She had two kids who she never mentioned. Both were over 18 and just split. The floors were all brick. There was no heat in the place. I had my own room. Really I had the whole house to my self. Dad and Lynn were never there.
Dad said as long as I go to school I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could smoke, drink, smoke pot, whatever, just as long as I went to school everyday. School was horrible. There were maybe 30 white kids in the whole place. I had knives pulled on me all the time. My Money stolen, my clothes disappeared from the gym locker. I had to wear my PE uniform all day. I got tired of having my money stolen so I started spend it on cassette tapes. I begged the front office for free lunch passes they gave out to the poor kids. Food was taken care of, but what about the knives and occasional gun jammed in my ribs? Fuck it, I said if it’s my time to go then so be it.
My math teacher brought in some guest speaker from the Nation of Islam. It was a full hour of I hate Whitey. Being the only white kid in class sucked. Every verbal attack on the white race was directed at me. After class I got the hell out of there. I didn’t want to be the victim of a beating.
I met my first real girlfriend there. Her name was Kim. She was blonde and in the senior class.  She gave me my first real kiss. I had to hide the boner I got during the kiss. She pretended not to notice. Kim was a trooper. We would make out every chance we got. She would call me up at night and ask me to come over and sleep with her. Being the oblivious ass I am, I never took her up. I thought she was trying to be funny. Kim got tired of trying and dumped me after a few months.
Some one broke into Lynn’s house. They only touched her stuff. Mine was safe, which looked rather suspicious. The police came over and took a report. They told Lynn that it was probably her drug addict son and to stop blaming me. I had my own suspicions. I thought my dad had set it up. He owed some pretty shady people a lot of money and probably told them not to touch my stuff.  I’ve got to give it up to dad on that one.
She threw us out. We ended up in some trailer park in a 13 foot travel trailer with no electricity. Dad slept all day and all night. I just listened to tapes on my walkman. When the batteries died I stole some more. We couldn’t go to the bathroom in the place. I had to walk a block to the public showers in the camping area. My clothes reeked. We had no food. Dad had a supply of pills though.
I came home from school one day and saw two sheriffs cars parked outside. They were walking in and out of the trailer with all my things. They packed up my stuff and split. My dad didn’t come home that night. Some guy came banging on the door demanding to see Larry. I told him to fuck off, that I had a gun and would kill him if he came inside. I guess he believed me. He left.
The school year ended. Dad said he needed to go away for awhile. He gave me a hundred bucks and split. The nearest store was back in town, 13 miles away. I found the keys to his car and drove to the grocery store.
I got really bored waiting for him to come home. I took a razor blade and cut question marks into my arm. He came home and freaked out. He wanted to have me committed.
He asked if I wanted to kill myself. I told him no, I was just bored and I thought it looked neat. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A bunch of savages in this town. Broken hearts and bloody heads.


In kindergarten Mrs. Wallner would start each day asking if it was anyone’s birthday. At least once a week it would be some ones. They had elevated status for the day. Mrs. Wallner would have them sit up next to her and would sing Happy Birthday to them. At story time they would sit next to her again on a bench while the rest of us sat on the floor. They got to wear a crown made of yellow construction paper. Mrs. Wallner let them choose a cookie form the jar on her desk.

I was born on December twenty first. It was after Christmas vacation started. I would not get my chance to be the birthday king. A few months after we went back to school, I decided I would have my turn. She asked if anyone was having a birthday today. I raised my hand up. She looked at me strangely, but asked me up to the front. Everyone clapped when Mrs. Wallner put the crown on my head and sang to me. I had my cookie. I got the story that was just for me. After class she asked me to stay and talk to her. She asked if it was actually my birthday and that if it wasn’t I should tell her the truth.  I said it wasn’t my birthday and begged her not to tell my parents. She swore she wouldn’t.

I got my first girlfriend in kindergarten. Her name was Noel. She used to show me her underwear on the playground. We would sit under the monkey bars and kiss when no one was looking. On my real birthday she came to my house and gave me a brown and white tank top.

Living in San Pedro there wasn’t a lot of places to play. We played in an old cemetery and construction sites. It was the 70’s and there wasn’t a whole lot of security at the sites. Once the crew was done for the day, we would invade. We would run around the half built structures and play Hide and Seek.
When I was five we had our choice of two sites to play on. The first one was on 24th street. Every kid in the neighborhood knew that was our site. No one else could play there but us. The other was on some street that intersected 23rd and 24th.  We didn’t play there much, a bunch of teenagers hung out at that one.
We decided we wanted to claim it as our own. We walked up to the teenagers and told them we were going to play there. “Fuck you babies” was the response. They said they will beat us up if we stayed. We turned and ran.

WHAM! Something smacked the back of my head. I fell face first in the street.
“Shit man you hit him!”
“Let’s get the fuck out of here before he tells on us.”

Hal and Joey picked me up. My back was all wet. I put my hand on the back of my head. I looked at my hand. It was covered in matted hair and blood. There was a broken beer bottle next to my feet. The bastard threw a beer bottle at a five year old kid. Hal yelled out to the teenagers that we are going to kill them. I started crying. Hal and Joey walked me home. My mom threw me in the back seat and we drove to the emergency room. The nurse shaved the back of my head and comforted me. The Dr. came in and cleaned the cut out. He kept squirting water into and spreading it open looking for glass. It hurt like hell.
He stitched me up and I was on my way home.
I got sit in the library for recess for the next couple days.
First grade started. Noel was in my class again. We sat next to each other and held hands. It was raining one day and we couldn’t go out to play. Mrs. Kanouse played disco records in the class at recess time and told us to dance for some exorcise. I walked up to Noel so we can dance. She said she didn’t like me anymore and was in love with Joey.  I sat back down at my desk while Noel and Joey danced.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Awkward and Annoyed. 9th grade, the Bi-Polar year.


A lot is two words.

Mrs. Orrick hated me. I’m not exaggerating here, she really hated me. She told my mother on Parent Teacher night that she thought I was a bad seed and would never amount to anything. When my mom got home she asked me if I did anything to Mrs. Orrick to make her hate me. I said no, she’s just mean.
It was bad enough that I had to sit in her class an hour every day, but I was an office TA and had to go collect attendance cards from her class every morning. Her door was always locked. I had to wait for someone to open the door. I would have to stand next to her desk while she took roll and filled out the card. Years later I was told by a friend that I looked awkward and annoyed. I felt like the whole class was looking at me and silently laughing because every morning Verne has to stand up under the words “A Lot is two words” which she had printed on the chalkboard all year long. I tried not to make any eye contact with anyone in the room. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.
There was some girl that worked in the office with me. She would sit and stare at me. It felt good but at the same time it creeped me out a little. I felt bad for her. The secretaries would tell her to stop daydreaming about James right in front of me. I blushed every time. I could only imagine how she felt.
I was given the office gig as sort of a punishment. The year before me and some friends forged a teachers name on a library pass. We had to go to the Vice Principals office. She took us in one by one. She told me that she knew I was a good kid and that she suspected that I might be having family problems at home. She said she was going to look out for me and make me work in the office the next year. I figured she was joking.
First day of ninth grade my schedule says Office TA for first period. I walked in and she said “Told you so” I learned to like working there. All the ladies there loved me. They always told how cute I was.
That started to bring me out of my shell. I guess all I needed was an ego boost. I had a girl fawning over me. Years later I found out there was another one. I started making friends. My grades were going up. I even made the honor roll.  With the exception of my bully problems with Danny, life was pretty good for a while.
Danny was my own personal bully. We were friends, but one day he decided he needed to beat me. I’m not sure what happened. He would grab me after science class and slam me into the wall, grabbing my shirt and throwing me. I always did the same thing. I stood there. I never moved. I never spoke. He never actually hit me. He would just stick his face inches away from mine and just yell, shoving me harder into the wall.
This got to be a routine. Every day after fourth period I would get shoved around. He’d stop and I would follow another group of bigger kids to lunch. A few months of this I started to get tired of it. I knew he wasn’t ever going to do anything. It became an inconvenience more than anything. I’d get shoved, follow the kids, go to lunch and stare at my crush for a while. Hoping she didn’t see Danny shoving me around and thinking I’m some wimp. He started flattening my bike tires. Every day I would go get my bike and the tires were flat. Fuck Danny, I got on my bike and rode it home anyway. I’d patch the tires and he’d flatten them. My mom told me to tell the principal. I tried to tell her how that would make things worse.
Eventually he stopped. He got a girlfriend and started ignoring me. She was a nice girl. I couldn’t figure out what she saw in this asshole.  I guess it was that he was a bad boy.
High School started and I never saw him again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am embarrassed by my bodily functions.


I was in first grade with a kid named Bryan. When there was a fire drill he would cry. He used to take his pants off to pee at the urinal. He always backed away from the urinal to see how far he could go before he missed and wet the floor. He used to stand up and yell “I have to go number one!” The teacher always let him go.
In second grade I wet my pants. I sat there for an hour or so in pee pants because I was too embarrassed to say anything. Mrs. Lynn said no one goes to the bathroom unless it’s an emergency. The girl that sat next to me kept looking over at me making this scrunchy nosed face. She knew.
The recess bell rang. I waited till everybody left before I got up. I told Mrs. Lynn what happened. She walked me to the office. I had to call my mom to bring me new clothes. I sat around for another half hour waiting for her to show up. When she did I was relieved that she didn't yell at me. She just handed the nurse some clean underwear and a pair of pants. I changed and went back to class.
I told everyone I slipped in the boy's room and landed in a puddle of pee. I don't think they bought it.
In third grade, I did the exact same thing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The 4th Grade Love Doll


In 4th grade, my mother got me a fake Cabbage Patch Kid. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want a doll. She made me take it to show and tell. I begged her not to. I wanted to take my new Space Shuttle picture. She said no, take the doll. I walked to the bus stop with the damn thing under my arm. The other kids were relentless. I was called fag and spit at. Someone said they were going to steal the doll. I sarcastically said “Oh no, please don’t do that.” No one stole it from me. I was stuck with my dolly.
It was too big to fit in my desk. I had to keep it out in plain view of everyone. The teasing never let up. I got up for show and tell. I said “This is my doll. I hate it.” I threw it down and walked away. The teacher made me pick it up and go back to my desk. The rest of the school year I was greeted with taunts of “Verne plays with dolls.” None of the boys would play with me after that.
The new school year started. The first thing I heard was “Hey Verne, where’s your baby doll?” 5th grade was not off to a great start.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The early 80's. Rialto scum.


I always felt like I was in competition with older popular kids growing up. I was fine till we moved to Rialto. Before that I already knew the better looking, better dressed kids were treated a little better than the rest of us. It wasn’t really the teachers, but the other kids. The good looking ones stuck together. The kids from the well-off families stuck together. The poor kids like me and my friends stuck together. We would be the ones whose money was stolen, our homework torn up on the way to school. It didn’t really bother me then.
We moved to Fontana first, another travel trailer in a shitty trailer park on Valley Blvd. It was summer so I didn’t have to worry about school. My dad kept telling us our house wasn’t ready yet. He said we bought a house and it was still being finished. I had to go to the bathroom outside behind the trailer.
We moved to Rialto into a house with another family from San Pedro. They had a son; I shared a room with him. We would play with his Star Wars toys. I wore his clothes. I didn’t have any of my own. We left everything in San Pedro. He was a couple inches shorter and a little fatter than me.
School started. I was the new kid who dressed funny. I was a target from the get go. I sat and played alone at recess. I ate my lunch alone. No one ever talked to me. Then I pissed my pants and that ruined it forever.
We moved out of John’s house. We had our own house. I had my own room. There weren’t any wheels and a tow bar attached. It was a real fucking house. My bus stop was different. That’s where the popular kids let it be known that I was not accepted. One kid in particular really didn’t want me around. His name was Rich. He liked to punch me in the stomach and spit at me. The other kids laughed. I didn’t care. Fuck Rich and those assholes. I sat in the back and plotted my revenge. I never did anything, but the thoughts were there.
During Show and Tell the kids would bring interesting toys from home and show all of us. This is when I started my storytelling. I made up stories about going too far off places on my vacations. I’m pretty sure the teachers knew it was all bullshit, but the other kids ate it up.
My parents started sending me to therapy. I had to walk to his office every Wednesday after school. I walked with some kid named Mark Vander something or other. I would basically follow him. He was going the same way so why not walk together? After the third time he told me flat out he didn’t like me and I should find someone else to walk with. I walked alone after that.
The therapist would always ask if anyone was touching me in special places. He liked to ask about the books I was reading. He would tell me I just wanted to be accepted and loved. No shit. I already knew that.
After the appointments I would walk home. It took an hour and a half to walk home. It was usually dark by the time I got home. I asked my mom if she could give me a ride. She told me she was too busy taking care of my sister. I stopped going. Seven years old and walking around Rialto at night no longer appealed to me. I told my dad I didn’t want to go anymore. He agreed.
I started going to daycare after school. I was older then everyone by at least three years. It wasn’t very fun. They made me take a nap. I asked why I have to go there. I’m too busy with your sister, its better if you go, you’ll get some attention. I thought about asking why she just doesn’t give me attention, but I thought better of it