i write what the drummers in my head tell me to



now playing: jimmie spheeris, “somewhere there’s a river”


the pounding in my head has, over the course of the last few hours, finally started to subside – well over twenty four hours after starting. i don’t have anything convienent to blame it on – and i’m not typically someone whos’ beset by such things. certainly, not to the extent that i’d miss work for it…especially when i know what it’ll cost me to miss work between now and april (my anniversary date, at which point my personal days are replenished)…and now’s not a good time to be frittering away income opportunities…not in the face of some of the changes that are about to take place in my life.

i just got off the phone with pete errich (of the band shame) a few minutes ago…he had called to ask about a DVD burning project i’d committed to some time back which, naturally, i haven’t finished yet. we also took advantage of the opportunity to mutually “rant”…

pete is a teacher at governor mifflin high school, and he’s in the interesting position of being a “long term substitute” – which is to say he’s not a member of the union, but he’s allowed the benefit of showing up for work every day and fulfilling all the duties and responsibilities of an “actual” teacher…and i think he must like it. if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t be so passionate about it.

anyway, we talked for a while about what teachers are up against now, and the general mentality of the kids he comes face to face with…and i’m not sure how they do it. i mean, i used to want to be a teacher when i was in high school – but i wanted to be a cool teacher. you know the one i’m talking about. i wanted to be mr. vernon, my civics teacher…or mr. belvin, who taught psychology in high school…one of thoseteachers. i thought at the time that anything i could do to displace a mrs. o’neal from american history or mr. rickman from study hall would be my contribution to furthering the human race in some form or fashion.

looking back, i think that it was about my desire to have that kind of charisma – i wanted to be able to relate to other people as easily as it appeared that they did…and they made it look easy. they got up in front of a room full of hormonal teenagers and they made their subjects interesting, even though i couldn’t have been less interested in what they were teaching at the time. odd, now that i find both psychology and government fascinating. guess it could be related somehow.

pete said, though, that there are teachers who show up for work in sweatpants because there’s no actual dress code in their contract…which he found offensive because he takes pride in his job and considers himself a professional. i wonder what kind of teacher shows up in front of his class in sweatpants? i just can’t imagine that. what the fuck, really? no one says anything?

i guess it’s indicative, in some ways, of the entitlement society that we’ve created. ironically, from pete’s perspective, he gets to see it from both ends of the generation gap – he gets to see the kids who feel the system owes them a break bitch and complain about how the system is out to get them…and he gets to see the bitter, pathetic fifty-somethings who show up for school in their sweatpants because they don’t feel that they owe it to the system to present an image that deserves respect…or that their job owes it to them to allow them to wear the same clothes they rake leaves in, i dunno.

as an aside, i have to say that i don’t think i’ve ever heard anyone who’s covered wild horses who hasn’t done a better job of the song than the rolling stones did. this is a case where the original version of the song is hands-down the worst.

so far.

(had to throw that in there, before the fuckin’ black eyed peas or someone got their hands on it….)

i’ve been mentally preparing myself for the worst, where the kids’ grandfather is concerned…his health has been deteriorating for a while now, and his kidneys have failed over the weekend. jill is keeping a surprisingly stiff upper lip, when you consider how huge this would be if he weren’t to make it. i feel bad for her, and for the kids…i haven’t had any contact with him for the past eight years (since jill and i parted under less-than-ideal circumstances), and he hasn’t spoken to me since. everyone else in the family has mended fences with me, but not him. in fact, the last words i recall hearing him speak were when he told his dog to “bite his fuckin’ leg off” when i came to the door at jills’ house to pick up the kids.

those who marvel at my ability to hold a grudge – i’m “not even the makin’s of a pimple on his ass” (to quote the fictitious willie brown character in walter hill’scrossroads). he’s the king.

and i have to say, it’ll be one of my regrets that the opportunity never presented itself for us to mend our relationship. we used to be buddies. we’d go to mountain springs bluegrass festival together and we’d roam the parking lots, with our guitars in hand and jump into little impromptu jam sessions that happened all through the campground area…holidays back then always involved instruments coming out of cases and we’d play around the kitchen table at jill’s parents’ house. (this was before holidays became an olympic-scale event in mutual humiliation and sarcasm. again, i learned at the feet of the best.)

in those days, there was definitely a different vibe surrounding the family than there was in later years, as i was searching for a seam in the fabric to slip through…it turned pretty ugly over time, and it got to the point where i’d avoid family functions as much as i could…family reunions, holidays – if i could come up with an excuse for staying away, i did…because it got to a point where if someone didn’t leave in a flurry of tears, someone would ultimately feel as though they hadn’t done their best.

still, hindsight can do a lot to erase the bad and leave only the good, and that’s what i hold on to.

i sincerely hope the old boy pulls through…even if he would prefer to see me as a chew toy for his hyperactive winross dog.

two things i have to finish for jayda tomorrow – i have to finalize the remix of alicia keys’ song karma for her to use in the talent show, and i have to help her finish her science fair project.

and i think that maybe i should probably take a shower and put on some clean clothes and hope that maybe fifteen minutes’ worth of hot water on the back of my ailing skull might help the throbbing to subside.

hell, where would we be without wishful thinking, anyway?

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