Memoirs »
PICKLE JUICE – Chapter 4
Chapter 12345678910

“My good fortune is not that I’ve recovered from mental illness. I have not, nor will I ever. My good fortune lies in having found my life.”
― Elyn R. Saks, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

He spent another two months out of work by doctors’ recommendation, during which time his understanding of his situation became more broadly clear and he spent his free time bowling and reading newspapers and spots in movies that seemed to know more about him than his closest confidants.

An estranged acquaintance called Justin out of the blue, telling the scientist that he had done something for somebody that he “knew was right.” Justin remembers it sounding like a written speech.

Cause for reciprocated mistrust between Justin and his handlers was blossoming. Explosive diarrhea and stomach pains was used to bend him whenever he strayed from an accepted narrative of submission and silence, which meant he spent a lot of time in close proximity to a toilet. Still, getting the idea out of his mind was important for his safety, and Justin sneaked into work as a secret mission to upload an hypothesis.

Friends approached him after weeks of stressors, made positive contact but began prosecuting him due to his anger. The implanted friends asked the guy if he had any stomach pains or diarrhea. “yes, my dermatologist even mentioned it.” “Do you know what that is?” “HEAVY WATER!” A voice from the peanut gallery rang out, “Justice for all!” Then the guy pleaded with Justin, “Three thousand people are out of a job!” The counterinsurgency brought up his entire past history of mistakes, back 15 years before he met any of them–to which Justin answered the arguments. The patriated solicitor shrieked, “My wife’s gonna be so mad at me!” The electromasshole didn’t care. “spread ’em and push,” a prosecution. Justin thought of a time in his past. “One time, I had sex with a girl, like we both agreed to do. Afterwards she got really clingy, like right away.” The electromasshole didn’t acknowledge that he didn’t even go down on her. “Woof,” the friend barked. Oh no, Justin worried. Could it be that they found the one friend he told about a sexual incident with his dog?

Justin closed, “Call me whatever you want. Electromass is right. If you have any other questions, you know how to find me.” He brought his wife to bowling the next week, and it was clear she wasn’t involved. He wasn’t even talking about himself. Yet when Justin mentioned that he missed the United Nations, he remained in character, “It was all me.” He was just doing his job. Opponents of spying seem afraid of their own shadow they leave behind. What better way to have free expression than to be held to account? Justin neither questions the surveillance capabilities nor the background checks. At the time, he questioned the motives behind the interference. He would later learn another perspective.

The American President gave a personal message, by telling seniors citizens on television that he wanted to help them retire, but they had to go a bit further; but Justin’s access card at work was shut off, to scan and upload a more clear postulate. Instead of going to the store and buying a scanner; he forced his doctor to let him return to work, uploading the September 2009 hypothesis(right) to the internet. It proved too early and the stress of his body and environment ended his career abruptly(earworm) a week later, in September 2009. Emails had surfaced through engineering of a mathematics challenge, “stay tuned,” one read. Justin had been back for only a few days, struggling with the stress of focus and concentration on ten-thousandths of an inch. He also noticed new faces changing the mood of the halls. Justin asked one of his bosses if he could take a look at a co-worker’s math problem between projects. “I think there’s other things you should be doing.” Justin quit the next day, “you’re right.”

A most valued friend showed the hypothesis to a Nobel Laureate, who asked for a few more pages to describe the idea; but Justin was so scared of those seeking to steal the idea, he refused any attempt. It was referred to as gibberish and he lost a dear friend that day.

When I announced my resignation, I admitted the underhanded behavior of obtaining that laptop, and returned it, then admitted treating myself to expensive dinners with 35 euro bottles of wine while away on company business. My brain was purposefully overworked and I hadn’t been sleeping, chalked full of sedatives, and yelled at human resources when they called to ask what my letter meant and why I wasn’t at work. “I’m not interested in the paycheck anymore!” I blurted. I learned after surviving many backwards layoffs, once human resources gets involved, your career is over. Quitting was simply the avenue, leaving a sense of abandoning the people who needed me. They accepted my resignation and never spoke to me again. It’s funny. I cheated on my piss test due to pot use, smoked after work nearly every day, and it was the legal drugs that broke me.

The halfwit lost his healthcare coverage, stopped treatment, and moved in with his brother; borrowing from his mother upwards of $18k to pay off his last loan. A feeling lacking closure remained whenever he thought about the things he left unfinished at work and the programs he never had the chance to master. Legally refused from every career for which he applied–and never talented at the process anyway; he continued to write electromass and published it that winter; playing pick-up soccer whenever he could, living off his 401k, and acclimating to his new world.

When asked to clarify the alleged violation of his theology, the religious figure from that September afternoon in 2008 said, “I do not think I can reconstruct what I was thinking at the hospital. I don’t remember saying that ‘our experience did not coincide with my theology’ , but I would not be surprised if i said it.” “My memory of the day seems to be very different than [Justin’s]. “I remember a very confused, tired, incoherent young man. I remember that [Justin] had illusions of grandeur that did not match my understanding of the scientific method, physics, economics, and the universe.” “I made the best assessment of the situation that I could.” If I made the wrong decision and caused [him] suffering or stumbling on [his] journey I am sorry.” Justin doesn’t make claim to any religion, to protect each church from being tied to his behavior involuntarily. He has no ill will towards the unnamed source, but merely contests the notion that a prophesy was violated.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So much was known about Justin, while confessing to allegations against him, the writer said an incomplete statement that inferred a major misstep, failing to disclose right away exactly how endorsements of electromass came about and where the influences lay, and he suddenly felt a violent vibration throughout his body. Frigidly going outside; all the lights in the neighborhood brightened and the vibrations grew stronger. Justin affirmed the position that his ideas were his own, and the tremors subsided. They knew so much about his past that while writing this disclosure, he placed blame for having repeated a story about someone, on the person egging the story out of him a second time in front of others. He was thinking of the people who would egg information out of him for their own perverted amusement, when he looked over and saw a shadow duck and hide behind the only vehicle in sight, parked conspicuously close to cause surprise, that happened to be the same year, make and model of the person Justin threw under the bus. He went home and changed the memoir to accept blame for tattling–a story that is presented to show their innocence in a world itching to blame his demise on himself or anyone else–and there were many to choose from. Someone had tried to run him off the road, and it wasn’t anyone from his past. The scary part is that nobody would have known.

I have worked for a lot of pizza places, and applied at them from all over New York to California. There was an open secret, that pizza makers sweat due to the heat of the oven and the quickness of the pace. When it get’s busy, sweat drips on a pizza before putting it in the oven. One place taught me some tricks and said, “if you ever tell anybody what I taught you, I’ll slit your throat.” Many places I worked or applied had similar delicacy towards pizza making skills. I taught and demonstrated pizza making widely, even in a classroom for public speaking. One interviewer said, “awesome,” but didn’t give me the job. My hand could barely write my number, I was shaking so hard.

I had a job where I developed some skills through experience, but that was short lived. I decided to take my artistry and work for indirect competitors to sustain my lifestyle and desire to serve, where I thrived. If a finesse is not utilized, it’s not much of a talent. My teachers deserve the credit for the substance, but sharpness is mine to bear. Now I work for nobody and share my facilities with everybody; hoping my work means something to someone who can do better, and valued at least in the eye of those who consume it.

Gaining fame necessitates being accepted by various groups in power. Each group needs to sign off on whether or not the person in question is going to be a part of society. Doing this allows people in power to have stature. The fraternity was no different. If enough people didn’t like a potential candidate for brotherhood, he was not allowed to even begin pledging.

Someone I had never met approached me naming the Italian mafia. I gathered that he was put into my path to threaten me–not over my pizzas–but because of my unworthiness of teaching this great science. Aparently someone had capitalized on an old family recipe. It was the thief who sent him. “I hope you find the guy,” I called. Having that old secret meant that someone I knew could be blamed for my unfortunate demise. Dispelling the secret, and protecting the many innocent pizza shops, prevents a masked attack from a third party into the dark hole of dirt. Speaking of dirt:

Justin and a peer would play with his friend’s G.I.Joe collection–the ones with a rubber band holding it together–along with Star Wars ships. His friend had everything. They would take the Joe’s apart and mix and match the parts until we got unique characters having everything we each wanted–be it cool camouflage pants, black jackets, bare arms with gloves, or whatever pleased them. They would fly the characters around in x-wing fighters as they took on the imperial walker, and zip around the room om speeder bikes. “I would go on to do many of those things and others: Fly a virtual x-wing and later warthogs on a Pentium computer, make love to a woman, and eventually ride my own speeder bikes–only mine had wheels. He never got to do any of that.”

As early as 5 years old, I began a game with my male friend called, “sex game.” We would sit facing each other under a bed sheet and look at each other’s privates. He wasn’t as interested in the game as I was. He wasn’t interested in it at all. I suggested we put each other’s penises in our mouths. He stopped the game.

By age 10, Justin already floundered with affection as his only friend contracted a rare form of cancer, was hospitalized many times, lost all his hair, gained a lot of weight, and was taken by death prematurely. “When he got cancer and died, I thought it was because of our sex games and continued to harbor that fear in silence into adulthood.” Justin felt responsible for not being a good enough friend, as he recalls his first thought was about himself not having to hang out with someone whose common interests had begun to diverge. At the funeral the mother walked down to the water and cried hysterically. It sounded like her husband had told her a joke and she was laughing, so Justin laughed–at a funeral–of his only friend–whose cancer he caused. It’s selfish to even bring up Justin’s hardships with friendship because that guy lost the struggle for his life–at his very beginning.

His brother walked toward the bleachers at a busy basketball game, then turned around and walked away. I made fun of his walk, saying, “it looks like he has something stuck up his ass.” A bunch of people laughed, and then I thought of what I did to his brother and I suddenly didn’t feel very cool.

At 10-11 years old, On a half a dozen occasions, I put my leg between my dog’s legs and she would start humping it. Along with many other tricks like holding a biscuit on her nose and shaking her paw, I taught my dog to give me kisses on the face. I tried to have her lick my penis, and she didn’t want to. She growled. I realized that that was wrong, and discontinued. We used to share a bed. I would order her to cuddle with me instead of letting her decide. Once, I had her roll over and my penis covered with a sandwich bag, touched her privates. I did not insert it at all and realized that was bad. I’m so ashamed. When she got hit by a car, my first thought was of myself not having to have anyone find out what I did after hanging out with her. A girlfriend’s dog later in life would try to get in bed with us and I would deflect it to the ground with my foot. When we were romantic, I would push it off the bed. It refused. Another girlfriend’s dog would try to nuzzle my crotch, so I was on guard to prevent that. She ran away often after the break-up, and would come back hours later. I went looking for the dog one night and saw some dogs where she was. I approached them and reached out my hand. The dog licked my hand and scrunched up its nose in a growl. I later learned that licking is sometimes a defensive measure.

At 11, I was playing hide and seek and inappropriately tried to find myself near a cousin so we could be alone together. The urge to kiss her was the only thing on my mind.

I stuck my penis in a vacuum cleaner (8); violated a container of frosting (15), but wasn’t satisfied so I ate the whole thing so nobody else would. I performed autofellatio for much of my adolescence and lost my virginity at 17.

I learned some techniques of massage early in life, and offered massages to men and women alike with no interest in sexual relations; but also to women I had no long term romantic interest in, but selfishly leaving the door open for sexual relations anyway. A boy I used to massage, I would wonder if, almost wanting the satisfaction of arousing him. A girl on a camping trip later admitted she was aroused, but I had not learned the transition into sexual seduction. Most if not all of my best and longest lasting relationships indeed began with a massage.

The church had dance programs; and a few of us branched off to take private lessons–memorizing the moves from every swing dance movie we could get our eyes on. I used that knowledge to make inroads with peers at school. I would meet up for one dance with a few girls at school dances–the envy of the crowd–practicing risky moves with some to perform later. One move was very intricate, throwing my partner off my hip and into the air. But of course they wore skirts and when I put them into the air, I often wondered if their privates were being exposed–not to me, but to the audience. I took genuine encounters and all I could think about was sex.

I did accidentally bump into a dance partner’s perky bosom with the back of my hand when I was sixteen.

I have also accidentally walked in on people in the bathroom, at least twice.

At age 8, I ice skated for the first time, thinking it would be cool to pick out the neatest looking pair of skates (that were a couple sizes too large) instead of ones that fit. It wasn’t long before I face planted. I blamed a kid who had offered to teach me how to skate, for neglecting that promise. At home the consensus was to blame the school regardless of my story, who it was insisted should pay for the dental costs. The school never looked at me the same. It was my fault and my responsibility.

I had sex with a girl at a friend’s house; and there was a stain on the bed afterwards. I made the bed poorly and the next time they saw me, ranking of the best adult influences at the time said, “If you soil the sheets; wash the fuckin things.”

“Pandora’s Box could not be unopened,
no one could return to Eden.”

― Selena Kitt, Temptation

Marijuana and alcohol weren’t the only substances I tried over the years, but I wouldn’t consider either of them a gateway just because they were the first. Many drugs have entirely unique intoxicating effects. I was always curious what the attraction was. After a couple tries with opium, it’s clearly not as good as marijuana. Hash oil isn’t as tasty as straight pot, but it spreads the life of each bowl considerably.

I rolled on ecstasy once. Friends tested it to make sure it was of appropriate quality, because the wrong chemistry or not drinking enough water could burn a hole in the user’s brain. It was a really fun experience. I felt like the best dancer, but friends who showed up later all looked at me with judgment. I didn’t care; there were whirling colored lights to hang out with. Given its danger to the brain, lack of the correct circumstances, and the memory of the look on sober friend’s faces, I never did it again.

Tried mushrooms and ate them a few more times over the years, support its occasional use in safe environments, and would eat them on rare occasion myself once every few years if the conditions were right.

I took a hit of nitrous from a whip cream spray can on a half a dozen occasions. It made me light headed and giggly for about 20 seconds, and then the effects went away with no noticeable short or long term side effects. It is not recommended because it starves the brain of oxygen.

I took one hit of salvia, a legal drug. My brain was confused and I could not form any phrases or get out of my seat for approximately 2-3 minutes. Everywhere I looked was a wall inches from my face. After that, I tried simple tasks to gain confidence that I was recovering from the drug. After 10 minutes, I felt normal. I never tried it again. I do not recommend it.

I used cocaine, even buying small amounts (eight-ball) to split between friends on a few occasions. I defend careful users’ rights to put in their bodies what they wish, and caution people about the dangers of addiction. The dopamine released takes a long time to rebuild after use, and users go through various stages of depression days after, and then again months after your last use, as the dopamine rebuilds in the brain. These depressions accompany addictive qualities which make people crave the drug. It also affects judgment and care, excitement in participating in conversations, paranoia, and permanently damages the nasal honeycomb, as well as damages the heart. It was a good experience in what addiction is and how to overcome cravings. Though it got me in trouble.

I went to a bar bathroom to snort some. After like 45 seconds, the door swung open and I got spooked. So I put my stuff away and exited, only to be grabbed and thrown out the back door of the bar. Disoriented, I went back into the bar from the front. The bouncer got right next to me but I pretended to be oblivious.

An acquaintance of mine was addicted to cocaine. On two or three occasions, he showed me a technique using a spoon and water to concentrate the cocaine. He would then put that on top of a bowl of weed. I don’t know what that’s called or how it is done. He did not charge me for spending time with him. It was a big body high, but it wasn’t very interesting. I met other people who would sprinkle cocaine on the end of a cigarette and smoke that, having a similar effect. I don’t know what that’s called either. It wasn’t a good high.

I met up with a longtime friend. We smoked together for the first time. A few years later, I saw another old friend passing by, and she mentioned him. Instinctively I mentioned the last time I saw him and remarked on him smoking pot. Since my elicit birth in 1999, opening up to and revisiting childhood friends has been difficult. She said, “I heard you [get a little saucy].” I immediately said that I smoke as well. “Everything,” I confessed. The next time I saw him he called me an asshole.

I was at a bar out of state and some random stranger offered me a couple pills. He warned me about taking them with alcohol and I didn’t care. I didn’t drink heavily but I didn’t drink lightly either. My friends found me sleeping on neutral ground on the way back to the hotel and they helped me to the room. I woke up next to the toilet and threw up for the next two hours waiting for my plane home. It was the worst hangover of my life, and I spent it confined in a plane next to a hot chick. I threw up once or twice in the plane bathroom.

By september, 2008, I smoked a half a pack of cigarettes over seven years. A mental hospital wrote that I smoked a half a pack a day. By 2010, I had smoked a total of 2 packs of cigarettes. They are not interesting to me.

I met an ex-heroin addict in jail, and there is very little blood flow left in their veins. It is a scary sight to see the long term damage. I never tried the drug.

In August 2011, November 2011, December 2011, January 2012, and February 2012, I was addicted to sugar. Sugar is by far the worst drug of all of the drugs I’ve tried, both from damage to the body, the cardiovascular system and heart, and from the most addictive properties known to man.

The first summer I drank, I brought my own liquor cause I didn’t like beer. Fire and Ice. I went to a party with my then girlfriend to socialize. When everybody went to bed, girlfriend and I landed on a couch. I wanted to have sex, but we were in a room full of passed out people. My wonderfully disciplined girlfriend said to take care of myself, so I did. It was like the first time I spent with many of these people outside of school and made a straight fool of myself.

One day, I woke up in the wrong bed. It was wet. my neighbor was pissed. We agreed to switch mattresses and I washed his sheets. “fag,” he later snickered.

That wasn’t the only time. A girl and I were flirting. I was tired and told her that I was going to go take a nap in her bed, where I had never been, and she could come when she was ready. I woke up standing up in her bathroom. I peed in her toilet and then began putting the pieces together. After a moment, I found her bedroom and saw her sleeping on the floor. That was odd. Next I realized why. I had wet her bed. I went home and saw her the next morning and paid her for laundry service.

There were many occasions one semester where I would fall asleep after drinking, and was caught sleep walking to a trash can, or the kegorator fridge door, or my closet and urinate on them while asleep–once blamed for an oven incident that nobody knew about until somebody cooked fish sticks at lunch the next day.

Midnight of my 21st birthday, I told my girlfriend I’d be sleeping on the couch just in case I peed myself. I did. The day of my 21st was spent in Canada. We were at a party drinking birthday shots. They had a room covered wall to wall with cardboard. I was enjoying myself and they said I should go to the cardboard room. I informed them that I was fine, but we went anyway–even mocking the need for a cardboard room. The thought of the room entered my mind as soon as I sat on the couch, and I immediately vomited all over the place.

This from the guy who had a sip of hard cider in high school and dumped the whole cooler because he thought it had gone bad.

One night in NYC, there was a 2 hour drink special that we were planning on. We got there with only a half hour left and had been drinking moderately prior. Wanting to make good on the special, I drank probably 6-7 shots. My body did not appreciate it and as I was feeling sick, a bouncer picked me up and threw me into a wall of people exiting. I’m sorry. I woke up in an ambulance; the paramedic stole my leatherman. They informed me that I fell asleep and since I had vomit on me, picked me up. They said they would not let me out and I had to go to the hospital. That is understandable. Once there, I never made it past the waiting room. People in scrubs gathered and joked at me sitting in a waiting room chair. They laughed at me and enjoyed telling me I was stuck with them. we were still in the waiting room area. All they wanted was for me to sign forms (to get money from a patient). I refused to cooperate as they spent few minutes checking vitals, while I continued to refuse. They tried to force feed me salt water to vomit again. I told them I didn’t want to. I drank it anyway and did not vomit. I decided to fart to show my protest. They would not let me leave. Something wasn’t right in my digestion, and it wasn’t the result of a few beers and a half dozen shots. It was not a fart. They allowed me to go to the bathroom where I shut myself in, threw out my boxers, washed my hands, and went to sleep. Someone checked on me in the morning, apologized for barging in, and I left. Then they billed me. I don’t consider that treatment. I paid the ambulance bill and refused to pay the doctor bill. It went to a collection agency where I responded and misused the word incontinent. The truth is that I forced that fart and did not lose control. I’m not a doctor. My letter wasn’t very nice to them for the treatment I received. It would have been better had I rephrased the statement without using the word incontinent. What is the word for trying to fart and pooping your pants? They wouldn’t let me leave. Then demanded payment for next to nothing. I’m not holding a grudge. I just don’t think I should have to pay it. I think patients should be free to leave when they don’t want to be treated. I don’t have perfect recall and don’t remember the exact wording of the entire letter, but I do remember considering saying I thought somebody slipped me something. The truth is that If somebody did slip me something I didn’t know for sure. And the truth is that I’m not sure if I actually thought someone did. I at least thought about including in my letter that I thought someone did, but that night I voluntarily took a pain killer.
I’ve taken pain killers both prescribed to me and otherwise, even stealing a pill or two from a parent’s medicine cabinet when I didn’t have marijuana.

It’s not the only time I’ve pooped my pants in adulthood. Sometimes you just can’t be sure until it’s too late.

After I started taking mental illness medications, I was at a party where I drank more than usual. I went back to the hotel, and my ass burned. I wiped it with a wet hotel wash cloth, using soap that broke up into little pieces in the tub. I barely remembered it and blamed the mess on someone else; but remembered more clearly later on.

Reports of steroid use are true. I am allergic to bee stings and was given steroids at a hospital in October 2009 to negate the effects. When the nurse was injecting me with an anti inflammatory, they dismissed my concern that viles worth of air were being pumped into my veins, because it was only 30% of what causes an embolism. Sometimes air gets in the brake lines of my bike, and I could crash.

love is found in a line with no equation fleeting in space along the x, y, z axis. best anyone can do is a high order corellation coefficient with as many inflection points over time–just to increase the probability of fourth dimensional equality to tangle with someone else’s electromagnetic curves. At that, those synapses have to be repeated to strengthen the vascular density of the dendritic fields. Everyone has different love curves so else quantum entanglement tunnelling to the friend zone via recessional velocity, there has to be gravitational lensing, bandwidth considerations, and plasticity to bend available nodes towards each other by mutuality–resulting in the big bang, expansion of the Universe, and resultant derivatives.

The beginning of my dating life turned out to be with a serious partner, but we were hours apart and she met up with her then boyfriend to sever completely to date me exclusively. I offered that she be free to do what she wanted with him as she made her decision; but I got upset when I heard the news of the encounter. I retaliated by having a fling with a longtime crush I had, never even had the courage to tell her what I did or that I was interested in getting to know people closer by.

I heard if I was interested in a girl, to look at her mother. I broke up with a girl because her mother was heavy, barely even knowing her. One girl exercised herself weak and I did nothing. I stopped dating a girl in part because she had a big mouth and was a sloppy kisser.

I attempted to have sexual intercourse with a boy at age 12 using a sandwich bag, but he decided not to. I would put a cylinder shaped toy in my butt when masturbating. I would wonder what other people’s sexual privates looked like and would like to compare parts. Eventually, this curiosity dissipated.

At 18, I said I wouldn’t mind giving a boy a blow job, having done it to myself. I had a threesome one night with another guy, and I think he ejaculated inside her before I had her sit on my face. I didn’t care, but I didn’t go back for another night. I had a threesome with another girl but could only achieve an erection with my girlfriend. They were more interested in each other.

I met a guy who had a very flamboyant voice. I asked him directly (with no malice) if he was gay. He said no. I have a high pitched voice too, and people used to think I was a girl on the phone. I have met other men and women who are gay and I see no problem with that decision or any correlation between quality of person and sexual orientation. Transgenders are celebrated as a manifestation of the freedom of the human mind to be and to love whoever we want.

I worked with a girl who at the very moment I saw her I was devastatingly dumbfounded. She began to show an interest in me and I was frozen. I became surrounded by beautiful women. A bunch of them got t-shirts commemorating a band they were impersonating. I was a chef on display, so they got me a shirt as well. It was three sizes too small. My gut poured out of it. I said the tight shirt looked gay, and that got a big hug. I would have worn a dress for those girls.

One day another worker said to me, “why don’t you just come out?” People like to assume that because they realize something isn’t “normal” and so gay is the easy judgment. As she said that, I wanted to confess that I actually liked her sister but was terrified of her. As expected, it all blew up. After work one night we’re all out dancing and one of the co-workers who had been the most talkative and inviting to me got close; I saw my face near her neck and I kissed it. She immediately told everyone and the girl I liked the most started crying. Of course, nobody told me exactly why. She cried the rest of the night and I didn’t know what to do. Later that night, she finally said something to me, “Justin, you suck at life.” I know. After that I didn’t hold back flirting with co-workers–sometimes entering into fun relationships. I would pass out my business cards to women instead of colleagues. I even made up another name and career so women wouldn’t just like me for my job, and so men wouldn’t hate me either. My name was Alex, and I was a sub sandwich artist. I would go into details of how to fold the meat and space the toppings for perfect bite by bite satisfaction.

A former soccer teammate saw me in a bar years later. He said I was a favorite. That’s quite a compliment. I took it in a different sort of meaning. It’s not the first time a gay man has hit on me, but I was in no position to determine that. Sometime later, I was drinking at the nearby bar and told some former players of that incident. It was very embarrassing. It was a moment that I did not use good judgment. It was to me, my reluctant impression. It’s not nice to call anybody gay if they don’t want to be, and it’s not polite for me to utter rumor or speculation. He was always a good friend to me, a great player and role model. Anyway, the other guys were forming a team and decided not to let me play with them. A slip of the tongue and a pile of resent.

I lived in a dozen or so locations over the years. I learned the stereotype in college that Jersey was the armpit of New York City. A friend once told me that she was from there, and I let out a bit of laughter. She got pretty upset; I don’t even dislike the state; it’s just tongue in cheek to make fun of it.

one landlord was a real jerk. I remember walking into the livingroom just as the news broke on 9/11. The landlord had called a tow truck company and towed my first car because I had taken off the license plates following a crash, and hadn’t repaired it. I actually used 9/11 as an excuse the day of 9/11 to the driver to avoid the car being towed, “we just got bombed!” I smiled in my head because the day before was an awesome 40’s party and I was dizzy from getting bombed the night before. It didn’t become real until the documentaries showing people leaping out of billowing windows and testimonies of crammed staircases before being smothered. The number of dead had not been reported, nobody I knew.

Impound returned the following week and took the car.

I couldn’t afford to fix it or get it back. The landlord would obsess about the apartment and the fuel oil bill and we worked hard to lower the temperature as much as possible. He only got more enraged. One night, I peed down the steps to his on-site basement office. I also once peed into a fraternity brother’s SUV trunk when the window was left open at an away party.

Finding an apartment wasn’t always easy. Often, it’s being in the right place at the right time. One summer, I was fortunate enough to get a room in one of the prime apartments in town. Not showing gratitude to a genuine network of caring people; I would blast music and my housemate, who gave me the room, soon moved out.

When I started my career, I shared an apartment with my brother and we would split rent and utilities. We would only buy heating oil when it was low, and the landlord got very frustrated with us. One day, he came into the house, shut off the water and left the front door open. We soon moved out. He kept the security deposit.

My next apartment was a house shared by the landlord himself, who worked a separate shift in town. I would play loud music to relax and entertain guests and was frequently visited by an angry landlord awoken from a sleep. Eventually there was a maximum volume established where there were no complaints. When I left, I completely filled the dumpster and then left some thrown out items like a deep fryer next to it, also leaving several used motorcycle tires in the apartment. He kept the security deposit.

His brother would take him to restaurants, buy groceries, and most genuinely, treat his little brother without the taboo of mental illness; and wouldn’t put up with his shit–teaching the younger to better pick up after himself. Justin was not welcome to squat, and not finding a job landed him at a home of his estranged father. It was a round about way to get to California, but Justin knew it was the place he had to be.

Homeowers weren’t the only group Justin pissed off. When the waters flooded to his doorstep, he grabbed his car from a low lying auto repair shop, where it was getting a quote. Apparently, they fixed the car instead of quoting a fix, and the driver had a few bolts loose because he didn’t think he should pay for a free estimate. This happened in multiple locations. It’s not wise to upset people who know things that you can’t do on your own.

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