Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Freedom: Part One

Most of the time when asked how I am, I can get away with one of the more traditional responses such as: “fine”, “good” or “go ask your mom”; but over the past couple of months I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked this question in one form or another by people who know me well enough to see through such attempts at deflection.

We should all be fortunate enough to have close people in our lives that keep us honest.

Maybe not this honest.

So, this is for you.  The old teammates, roommates, bandmates, clinicians, co-conspirators, co-defendants, codependent co-ed classmates, ex-girlfriends, and asshole military buddies that have all recently made the same grievous error in judgement by asking the same question my shrink therapist used to bravely posit every couple of weeks:

“How are you?"

In this moment, I’m melancholy.  I’m relieved to “soften this old armor” and finally open-up about my life without serious regard for reprisals.  Simultaneously, I have a natural anxiety over several imminent changes in my life, such as:

  • I’m in the process of moving to a new apartment.  It’s larger and is the next logical step toward my housing goals.  On the flip-side, it means leaving the place that I’ve lived for the longest consecutive time in my entire life.  See, my silly monkey-brain wants to correlate geography with the success I’ve had over the past few years; a concept that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I lived in this apartment for years with nothing but turmoil until I gained access to the mental health care that I desperately needed.  Now I’m just going to miss the view.  I’m not joking. Seriously.  At all.

At. Fucking. All.
  • I have set an intention to advocate for the modern medical treatments that led to my success in recovery.  While sharing anything that could help people in their recovery sounds like an easy decision, it is absolutely guaranteed to enrage a large group of people, which isn't my intention.
  • I recently got back on the mat for the first time in over a decade.
  • This may have been a mistake.
I wish this was a joke.

  • I’m also entering my 10th consecutive term as an undergrad.  I’ll get into this lunacy in a later post.
  • The business side of SD has been worked on from day one, but for the last year I was stuck in that awful “as soon as everything is perfectly organized, we’ll go live...” stage of creation.
  • Fortunately, the amazingly talented entrepreneur and author Chris Guillebeau used just the right method (friendly sarcasm) to get the point through to me that I already had everything I needed.  "RH" goes live on March 31st next year!

Unfortunately, our entire business plan hinges on time travel and cupcakes.

  • Finally, I recently committed to the life-changing decision to finish my B.S. - then apply to grad school - at PSU, instead of pursuing a nursing degree at OHSU.  More importantly, I went from being terrified about sharing my doubts around a career in nursing with people, to setting an intention and changing my path without much regard to how others would feel about it.

Turning my view to the past, it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that I have friends and colleagues going back decades who saw me drop off the map without a word.  I wish I could say that I’ve broken the pattern of disappearing when stressed.  What I will say is that I’ll never stop trying to improve communication with my friends and family.  Luckily they seem to possess infinite patience and compassion.

So, let’s see if I can get everyone caught up on the Drama...

After the Army, I returned to Michigan where I eventually returned to work in law enforcement and security operations.  First for a Fortune 15 Company’s Risk Management Department, then eventually returning to contract HUMINT work on an OGA task force.  I spent several years working under both official and non-official cover, A situation which I used to minimize attention around some unhealthy coping mechanisms and mental health issues.

By “unhealthy coping mechanisms” I mean the big Irish three: drinking, fighting and fucking.

Also known as: "Irish Therapy".

Following a particularly nasty event, the personal identities of several members of the task force were released by an extremely incompetent federal magistrate, resulting in many of us receiving several credible death threats.  More disturbing though, was the actual damage done to several ongoing investigations.  People with badges went to jail.

Ultimately though, it wasn’t a threat to my safety that caused me to “hock my brains, pack my bags and head west”.  You see, there was this woman…

It’s always about a woman.  Write that shit down.

So, I packed up my 1994 Ford Escort hatchback with some gear and drove the 2,300 miles to Oregon to meet an online romance.

I spent the next couple of years between Portland and a small city on the Oregon-California border called “Klamath Falls”, spending time I’ll never recover dealing with the Army, OGA’s and a relationship that could only be described as “unhealthy”.  I’m not pointing fingers - we were both dysfunctional and unskilled when it came to playing grown-ups.

When I came back to Michigan to live with Francis I was in bad shape.  Drinking was a daily event, but even more concerning was the unpredictable capacity for anger I would display when intoxicated.
Fortunately, in addition to being extremely compassionate, Francis was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps at the time. No stranger to addiction - he’d long-ago fought his own kind of demons - and somehow to this day - I don’t know how – recognized that I was drinking to self-medicate something deeper.  Something dark.  He and Bosco (my other brother) had both expressed concern about something deeper that appeared to be haunting me.  They were now in the situation I’d been in for over three decades – knowing something was wrong without any real idea of what was causing it.

I mentioned in “Her - Part 3” that Francis would go on to save my life again; what I neglected to mention is that he did this by means of “forced evolution” i.e. punting me all the way back to Portland.  Years later it occured to me that he might feel some misplaced guilt, even though it was obvious he made the right move.  So I brought it up one day and made sure he understood that I held nothing but gratitude in my heart for saving my life and apologized for putting him in a position that forced him to make a painful choice.

It's good to be back.  Part 2 coming soon.

Semper Anticus,


np: "Lighten up, Francis" - Puscifer

Friday, June 17, 2016


A “flashback can be an extremely intense experience.  Much like addiction, psychopathy and schizophrenia; Hollywood and the media portray Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in an extremely sensationalized manner, increasing the already overwhelming stigma that is attached to these disorders.

A recent example is how lately I’ve been finding myself with intrusive “joyful” memories.  They're still overwhelming, and can be intrusive in my day-to-day life.  The flip side to this of course, is that melancholia is a welcome change from rage.

A recent “flashback” from high school was triggered by hearing the Candlebox song “Cover Me”.  Before I knew it, I was sitting on the desk again in 11th grade humanities, mortified after messing up the song’s chorus, which I was currently performing for a grade.  Yes, I was (badly) covering “Cover Me”.  The irony isn’t lost on me.

A sharp voice cut through the music aimed at a particularly vociferous critic: “Why don’t you get up there and do it?!  Do you have any idea how hard that is to get up there and play in front of everyone like that?”

It’s nice to come back to the “now” with a tear of joy instead of balled fists and rage.

Her name was Gillian Shepard*; and I never told her - until our paths crossed many years later - the impact it had on me.  She was the smart, popular, gorgeous cheerleader that defied the “mean girl” stereotype and fearlessly stood up for me.  Of course with me the rabbit hole always goes a little deeper – even though this was one of those secrets I thought I’d take to the grave…

...but in elementary school I had my first “crush” on her, which I made the unfortunate mistake of mentioning to my fraternal grandmother; who taunted me about it unmercifully from age 9 to 19 and even then only stopping because I was getting married.

It was her kindness that helped build my self-confidence enough to form and preform with several bands, playing local gigs around Detroit, including a few “Fortune 15” company parties.

Mmmmhmmm, laugh it up...

Until that day.


*obviously fake, so don’t bother looking through the yearbooks

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Part of a Nutritious Breakfast

I look out the window of the Residence Inn Suite and count nearly a half-dozen police cruisers running cold as they begin converging in front of the studio I’ve rented for my sister Susan’s high-school prom after-party.  I step back from the window and scan the thirty-plus faces and fail to see Susan.

This will not end well.

The DJ (Yes, the fucking DJ.) gives me a puzzled look as I quickly walk to the kitchen area, smiling as I remove the bag of weed from my back jeans pocket.  Everyone here is hit, and starting a panic before I need one will only make things worse.

I shook the cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator, finding the “Fruity Pebbles” one to be the fullest.  I saw my former colleague’s K9 Unit cruiser was among the sharks - both a blessing and curse.  I bury the bag under the loose cereal, roll up the plastic and close the top before I return it to the top of the fridge.

Madison Heights’ finest would be calling 10-23 and putting the cruisers in park by now.  The good thing about this many showing up is the few extra seconds they’ll take to gossip like schoolgirls before getting to the door.

I move a bit faster as I hit the stairs – I need to find my sister.  Now.

The second floor is constructed in such a way that a person can see the entire studio over a half-wall leading to the bathroom - which I found empty.  Damn.  I stand at the half-wall and scan the room - she isn’t there, which means she isn’t here - damn ninja.

I grabbed the first thing I saw – an alarm clock – and pounded on the top part of the half wall like I was Caesar-Fucking-Nero.  All I needed was a toga and laurel.  As I continued banging I summoned up my best R. Lee Ermey:


I have to admit I found the ensuing chaos hilarious from my vantage point, but I could hear a Maglite banging on the door over the cacophony and needed to be the first to the door.  I’d have to miss the show to become part of it……’story of my life.

I made the door in a couple of seconds, took a deep breath and smiled – there was zero-margin for error – and opened the door while simultaneously stepping through it, slamming it closed the second my heel cleared the doorframe.

This did not make them happy - but I had to try and hold the cork in the bottle for as long as possible.  If the officers enter they'll be exponentially more likely to arrest people.  At least this way they'd have to earn their dinner.

“Ohhhhhiiiii guys.” I said, voice dripping with surprised concern:  “Sooooo time to go, huh?”
My former colleague: “Dick” motioned with his finger for me to follow him.  At least he didn’t have the fucking dog out.  Yet.

I was less than three steps away from the front of the studio when I heard the champagne bottle explode.  It was like fucking poetry.  The next 20 minutes were like a goddamn Monte Python skit.

While that played out, I got the dressing down of my life from Dick, which conveniently kept me away from the people being issued tickets.  See, my sister had decided to have a hoola-hoop contest in the suite, with prizes that included high-end booze.  A lot of high-end booze.

After I took my licks I asked if I could go inside and grab the food from the kitchen to take home, hinting that the $500 worth of unopened booze wouldn’t be missed.

You’re goddamn right I walked out with my Fruity Pebbles.  

Bosco extracted me from the circus and I tried to call my sister for the nth fucking time – this time she finally answered:

“Where in the fuck are you?”
“Across the street having a drink.”
“How in the fu….”
“Jumped out the second floor window.  I think I broke a heel.  Come get me.”

Total score:  0 Arrests – a fistful of tickets (none mine) – and minus $500 in top-shelf liquor.
Oh yeah…..and the hotel deposit.  There was no fucking way I was getting that back.

But I got my Fruity Pebbles.

Friday, November 6, 2015

"Her" - Part Three

Welcome back to the drama.  Grab your Snuggie and your favorite beverage or herbal relaxant and gather around the's time to wrap this story up.

Writing this turned out to be surprisingly more difficult than I anticipated, so I took a 30-day break to meditate on my ideas and intentions before continuing.

I may have talked it over with my shrink therapist.

Brock T. Sampson

When last we left our curious couple we were just old enough to start really doing permanent damage to our lives while simultaneously having no fucking clue what in the hell we were doing.

We were both so clueless.  A good example of the classic mistake that highly-intelligent people are often guilty of:  Always thinking we were the smartest people in the room.

Hubris is a bitch.  Write that shit down.

Looking back twenty years later, I really do prefer to remember the good times, of which there were a great many.  But the level of destructive power that it took to destroy something so holy left a tattoo on my soul.  This isn't unique; I think most people can identify with an overwhelming sense of grief that never completely goes away.

I can only hope that - personality disorder or not - they find a better way to cope than a bottle of Jaimeson's, a random warm body and enough pot to forgot it all the next day.  

It's really not as glamorous as it sounds.

The schism played out over a few weeks in early 1997, during which we decided to sit and have a serious discussion; a final effort to reconcile and save our relationship.

She was still waiting tables at Denny's, so I met her near the end of her shift.  I walked in and grabbed a seat at the counter…

…with three of my friends.  Stoned out of our goddamn minds.

She was completely unfazed and simply asked: "You guys are high as fuck aren't you?"  Which of course we denied while laughing hysterically - confirming her suspicions.

In that cosmic millisecond - that heartbeat of time - I knew.

I always know.

As I began to realize the magnitude of the moment, she looked me in the eyes for what seemed like forever.  I waited for anger.  Disgust.  Contempt.  Anything but the cold blank stare that was as clear as the message to follow:

"Okay then."

"Okay then."  Those two words formed an echo that I can still hear when it's really quiet.

So this is what I want you; dear reader, to understand going into this next part.  We loved each other a great deal and had a capacity for perseverance that was only rivaled by the venom you are about read about.

A Choir of Angels

As we had met in a combat oriented sport, possessed alpha personalities and weren't old enough to drink, things went from bad to completely off the fucking rails in a nanosecond.  Whenever we met, we fought.  Money owed, property to be returned…culminating in our final fight:


We had never had full sex, having agreed to wait until we were married.  Being Catholic, her virginity was extremely important to her.  Or so I thought.

I was temporarily living with my sister at the time, having just reunited after a childhood of being "holiday siblings".  Her absolutely hated Susan for reasons I still don't completely understand.  One particular night I had the place to myself and "Her" used the opportunity to come over and drop off some of my things.

"Her" pulled up into the driveway, leaving the car running as she walked up to the garage where I was waiting.  My cigarette smoke made intricate swirls in the light of her headlights reminding me of the Fibonacci Sequence.

I don't recall how it started.  There was a Him.  There apparently had been for a few weeks.  All I remember are those fucking words.  It didn't make sense...

Why does she keep mumbling "Fuck it", like she's trying to psych herself up?

(All it takes is one bad day...)

Wait.  Did she just say...?

(To reduce the sanest to lunacy...)

Those fucking words.  No.  Oh God Please No.

(That's how far the world is from where I am...)

"It wasn't like a choir of angels or anything..."

(Everything changed...)

I couldn't speak.  Those words just kept swirling around my head.

I hated her for making me hate her in that moment.  Hate was the only thing keeping me standing.  I breathed hate.  I became hate.

Up until that point I had idolized her.  But now I was breaking apart from a cruelty that I could hardly imagine existed - not to mention endure - and had enough undiagnosed mental health issues that nobody could have predicted what would happen next - or how lasting of an effect this would have on my life.

"4 Days Later"

I'm sitting on a bed in an unfamiliar messy room.  I've been drinking copious amounts of tequila to get up the courage to use the Sig-Sauer P223 I have stashed in my leather - in a way that it was definitely not designed for.

The problem here's not my bed I'm sitting on.  Nor is it my bedroom.  Hell, it isn't even my fucking house.

My sister's friend Francis - who was known for an unusually strong set of personal ethics and extreme kindness - had decided I shouldn't drink alone.  More accurately he probably didn't think I should kill myself, so he sat for hours listening to me rant about how this was a fuckup so big even God was going to be impressed.  He never tried to stop me when I flat out stated my intent to take my own life.  He knew better.  Instead he just kept talking.

That was the first time Francis saved my life.  It would not be the last.

The next day I met with my friend Bosco praying he'd have a solution.  Bosco knows people.  Bosco is a problem solver.  Simply put: Bosco does not fuck around.  Bosco had also known Her and I better than anyone.

Bosco also told me that there was an easy and fast way to get past the pain: Hate her.  He advised me to: "Remember every single negative thing about her" followed with: "It doesn't have to even be real, as long as you believe it is.  Demonize her.  Hate her."

I love Bosco, but he's no mental health expert and abso-fucking-lutely should not be permitted to give relationship advice.

Of course, I did exactly what he told me.  For the next two years.

I contacted a friend in her cities PD and asked him to meet me in uniform with a cruiser at her house with the goal of humiliating her family while I collected my belongings.  Not that I needed to, what with the six zombie-looking-stoner-cum-drug-dealers carrying everything so I didn't have to enter the house.

Soon after, my friends and I began…harassing Her.  Not physically or anything, more mentally and emotionally.  I'll simply say this until I research the statute of limitations in that area: I've used those Words as an excuse to become a monster to Her and almost every woman I've dated since.

I've never raised a hand to a woman, don't get me wrong.  But I was once told by an ex that she'd rather be subjected to a physical beating than to have to ever hear my venomous words ever again.

"My words are weapons." - Marshall Mathers

Damn.  I'm relieved to be wrapping this up.  I keep in distant contact with her siblings and have had the privilege of finding out that Her went on to have a damn good life…married to the guy mentioned in this story.  Fuck, who wouldn't root for her?

I will likely never know all the details of what happened to her after we stopped talking.  A family member told me that she went to therapy to help work through it.  Whatever happened I'm truly happy that she was able to heal.  It only took me: two decades, an embarrassing number of meaningless partners, some overnighters in jail for barfights, a few failed bands, an assault charge with my favorite shotgun that led to Active Duty in the Army - all wrapped up nice and tight with a bow that says "HOMELESS" before it occurred to me that I had problems I couldn't fix on my own.

For the record, I wouldn't change a fucking thing.  There are two beautiful young ladies in this world that wouldn't be here if my path were any different.  Today I continue to get to know myself better and better because my path has led me to amazing friends, colleagues and head-shrinks psychotherapists that enrich my life - while reuniting paths I separated with long ago.

I'm grateful for the hard lessons and ego smashing that my path has challenged me with.
I'm grateful for every single mistake I've made, because nobody learns from perfect.
Most of all, I'm grateful for every single moment that I was privileged to share with Her.

Until that day,


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Disclaimer and Clarification


I should have been more up front about this, and for that I apologize.

I use the word "fuck" as a noun.  I honestly make a fucking effort to cut back, but you've been fucking warned.



This little place is to help me deal with some issues, and if by relating to it you find some help yourself, mission fucking accomplished.  That said, I'm going to be talking about things that will shock people who know me.  We'll call this the trigger warning. (I hate that fucking phrase)


Friday, September 11, 2015

"Her" - Part One

The windows of the suburban Karate studio I'm sitting in are almost completely fogged over, save for a few spots where kids press their faces into the glass to peer inside.  It's not even halfway through the hour-long class before someone props the door open, letting in some of that awesome Michigan winter evening.

I'm here to see Her.

It's 1990 - 2 days before Christmas - and I'm sitting amidst a group of observers in the lobby area.  Though the studio had become a second home over the years, that night I felt like an alien.  I clutched the mix tape I'd made for Her and wondered how much further in over my head I would get.

At least this much more.

Sensing my tension, one of the people next to me asked if I was a student at the school or just an observer.  I nervously replied that while I was both a student and an instructor, my reason for being there on that particular evening was to meet with another student to exchange Christmas presents, meet with Her mother and hopefully get to spend some time together.  I continued to describe Her as only a 13 year-old boy can do, nervously stammering on about how beautiful and kindhearted she was.  (SD - For the record, this girl was so far out of my league it's not even funny.)

I finally caught a glimpse of her auburn hair as she exited the locker room.  I quickly excused myself and went outside to make a few deals with God.

At least I think it was God.

A quarter of a century later and I can still recall every detail of her face as she walked out of that door into the night air. My gaze caught her soft brown eyes contrasting against a razor sharp smile that betrayed her depth and intellect.  Her upper lip adorned with a tiny scar from a car accident that she and her father were in when she was younger.  The lightly falling snow getting trapped in her hair before melting gave it a silk-like shine.  I even remember the smell of her perfume as we gently brushed our lips together.

I didn't stand a chance.

When does this story get to the funny?

After a couple of minutes, she laughed and asked in her Tomboyish way if I was "ready".  I think we made snare drum marching noises as we walked back into the lobby.  We specialized in Gallows Humor.

"So, when is your mom getting here?" I asked as I kicked the snow off of my boots.

"Oh, she's already here." she said, with a barely perceptible smile in her voice.

I knew before my eyes confirmed it.

She was pointing at the woman I had been talking with.

Not sure if funny or sociopath...

Now dear readers, if you've ever been skydiving you likely know the exact inner monologue I went through as her mom approached us smiling like the Cheshire fucking Cat:

We've bypassed funny and went straight to horrifying.

"FUUUUUUUUCK.....okay..okay...don't panic, we trained for this.  Check altimit..err...I mean boots tied, fly up, nothing in my teeth?  Pull the main.  STOP.  BREATHE.  We got this.  Good.  Breathe.  Scan left-right.  Shit, is this Her lip gloss?  It tastes like it.  I probably smell like Her too, but there's no way to jump back into the damn plane, so hold on and prepare for the PLF!"*

She owned me from that point on.

This wasn't so much a turning point in my life as it was the beginning of something extraordinary.  She came from a Catholic family with strictly enforced rules. (Notice that I didn't say: "strict rules")  Interestingly enough, she was more protective of her heart and honor than her parents were.  Though it may sound self-serving; she knew what she was worth and wouldn't settle for anything less.

(SD - Women please take note, this kind of behavior will drive a man 100% chewing-on-the-furniture-fucking-bonkers. There exists no quality in a woman more attractive than self-esteem.)

*Parachute Landing Fall : Adj. - A basic technique of hitting the ground in a round canopy with a full combat load that minimizes risk of injury.  See also; PFL**

**Pretty Fucked-up Landing : Adj. - A basic technique of hitting the ground in a ram-air canopy with a full combat load that maximizes the amount money your orthopedic surgeon has available to spend on weed and hookers.  See also; "Marine Mike's Motorcycle Incident" - One man's passionate attempt to achieve flight from level terrain in a 1/2 ton wing suit.

In the fall of 1991 I moved into a large studio office behind our house and began living my life as an adult at 13.  I went to two schools during the day, taught Karate a few nights a week and spent most weekends with my paramour and her family.  When we turned 15 we both got jobs waiting tables together at Denny's.  This was both as tragic and hilarious as it sounds.

So many memories from those years:  The first I Love You - events at her school - church every Sunday with her family - That. Little. Black. Dress. - the lesson at the play - the shirt thing was cool - the Detroit River fireworks from the Canadian side - her writing - Jack and Devon - her piano recitals - making mix tapes - indoor soccer - Chocolate Chip Cookies - the dance floor to ourselves at senior prom while the DJ played "No One Like You" by Scorpions.  All eyes were on us.  (To this day, I have no fucking idea how she pulled that off)

Not every memory is rainbows and puppies though:  At her Senior Homecoming dance it became clear that she had appendicitis, which led to a terrifying and intense night.

I was completely terrified of losing her.  To me, hospitals were not a place people went to heal.  It's where they went to die.  I sat in an all too familiar waiting room feeling an all too familiar tension.  For example: The moment the surgeon explained to her dad that they had to run a pregnancy test as a precaution before they began surgery.

"She'd better not be pregnant." her father said, giving me a look that made my insides cold.  

"That would be impossible."  I stated matter-of-factly.  "She's never had sex."

I could see the skepticism written all over their faces.  17-year-old kids do not stay celibate.  I admittedly became a bit testy: "With respect, I think when it comes to this particular subject, I know her better than anyone."

If that seemed like an awkward moment, about 30 minutes later I broke a long silence in the empty waiting room with:

"She's a virgin."

Her dad looked at me incredulously.

"You know how I feel about her.  I wouldn't lie about that at a time like this.  Under other circumstances, admittedly I might.  But not here.  Not now."

His gaze softened and he nodded his head.  This made logical sense to a logical man.  It also had the advantage of being true.  We were very reserved about using restraints....or something.

(SD - So remembering back to our Gallows Humor: About ten seconds of silence passed after finally getting him to believe me, when I had to quell a gigantic urge to jump to my feet and exclaim: "Wait!  You can't get pregnant from anal can you?")

I don't want to die without any scars.

Next up: A Clarification and Disclaimer  Until then, chew on this:  If you died during auto-erotic asphyxiation, would you rather whoever found you told everyone or made it look like a suicide?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Oakland County Family Circuit Court in Pontiac, Michigan is...

...quite intimidating in it's size and grandeur, especially to a 12-year-old kid.  As I fidget impatiently in the hallway with my "Guardian Ad Litem" I distinctly remember becoming cognizant of how fragile my living situation was...

At the end of the game, the King and
the Pawn go back into the same box.

It's 1990, and in the previous six months both of my "King" grandparents died.  First my grandfather: after decades of battling poliomyelitis, the disease finally spread to his major organs, causing respiratory failure.  (Note from S.D.: This was around 30 years beyond what the physicians that first diagnosed him predicted.)

Precisely 8 weeks later my grandmother died from a massive myocardial infarction.  This was in no way a surprise, as she had suffered from severe cardiomegaly for years.  In fact, when I was about 10 I remember her having severe angina during an IRS audit.  I later learned that she had faked it to postpone the audit until her client could get his shit together.

Are they gone yet?

As for my grandfather, I cried so damn hard at his funeral I thought I'd never stop.  I still miss him terribly.

Now a warning: If you are related to me you may want to skip the next paragraph.

I didn't shed a single tear at my grandmothers funeral.  It wasn't because I was in shock or emotionally's because she was a horrible fucking person who manipulated everyone she came into contact with for personal gain.  She cheated on my grandfather and her clients, lied to the IRS and last but not least, called my father a couple times a year to come over and go a few rounds with me.  This isn't even going into how she used narcotics as a motivational tool.

My lack of grief didn't go unnoticed.  As I greeted people at her funeral with: "Hey! We really need to stop meeting under these circumstances." I didn't notice the effect it was having on others.  Later at the wake (Yup - Irish), the youngest of my mom's sisters decided she would call me out on this - with fists.

I'm going to stop for a second and point out that I was still 12-fucking-years-old and had just buried what was effectively my parents.

She was so drunk that I didn't even need to defend myself.  I just let her swing wild while trying to talk her down.  All this while my family watched.

While my family watched.

I'd say more, but we have rules...

Two years later back at the courthouse, it's my turn in front of the Hon. Judge Young.  She asks a few questions concerning my mental health of my Guardian Ad-Litem, then asks me to step into her chambers alone.

The judge explains that Mark and Cheryl have offered to legally adopt me in their family.  I say legally because by this time, I had lived with them for almost a year.  She went on to explain that the reason for all the lawyers and court dates is that my sister and I have a substantial trust fund setup from our biological mom on top of receiving monthly social security benefits, and that it, and we, needed protecting.

Judge Young continued: "This is your decision and as such, you take as long as you need to make it.  I'll even adjourn for another date if that will help".  I went on to express how Cheryl had already filled the parental role of mother over the last several years and that was where home was.  Literally.  Cheryl had purchased my grandparents home from her other surviving sisters.

So we returned to the courtroom together and she announced we would be waiting for my biological father to show up, as was his legal right.

I remember Judge Young flashing me a knowing smile as she approved Cheryl's petition for adoption five minutes later.

Next time - we'll get to that romance and possible auto-erotic asphyxiation.  Exciting no?

Semper Anticus - SD

To say that I was raised by my grandparents would be less than accurate...

The full cast of that lovely drama consisted of:

It took balls to hang with these women.

The Kings:

  • Cheryl - My stepmom
  • Susan - The youngest
  • Lois - The matriarch
  • Bill - My grandfather (Not pictured)
  • Cathy - The sole survivor of this picture
  • Carol - My biological mother
  • Paul was the cute one

While all of these people (except for Paul...or was it Ringo?) were constantly in my life in one way or another, it was Cheryl who took on a maternal role after Carol died.  Like her father, an entire book could be written about her alone.

I will of course be dedicating some time to writing about her in the near future.

In the meantime, allow me to introduce:

Susan Lee:

Meet the enigmatic heroine of our story.

My sister.

Perhaps she'll grace us with her presence here, if only to bitch about the photo of her I chose to use.

Her story deserves a major motion picture, 5 seasons on FOX and a fucking Saturday morning cartoon.  Alicia Silverstone could do her voice.  It would be awesome.

Why don't I get paid for these ideas?

As her and I were raised separately, I think any attempt I could make to tell her story wouldn't do it justice.  I'll never know how things happened through her eyes until she tells her story.  Because of this I'll only be writing about her as our stories overlap.

Now that we know the players, next time we'll examine the game.

Semper Anticus - SD

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's the summer of 1982...

I'm standing in a hallway filled with a blue haze of cigarette smoke.  There are too many people congregating in the living room of my childhood suburban home and I can feel the walls closing in.  Now I'm following my biological father down the hallway into the bathroom.  

I already know.  

I always know.

He squatted down to try and get eye level with me to make sure I understood what he was about to tell me.  But I only remember him hanging his head and staring at the floor.  His words were full of a pain I wish I wasn't familiar with now.  "So you understand?  Mom's not coming home.  Okay?  You understand?"

I only remember feeling cold.

I'm grateful that it's all I can remember,

Because dead puppies is going too far.

Over the next 15 years, my only interactions with that broken man was through threats and violence.  Usually both.

I'll spare you the details.  But it's worth noting that most of the beatings actually came when my new parent-maternal-grandmother would offer him some "dope money" to come and "discipline me".

She handled the psychological abuse and he tagged in as the bruiser.  A Dream Team of fuckery that only ends in my therapist buying a boat.

I don't recall her mentioning a boat.

It wasn't always lunacy.  Around age 6 I fell in love with Japanese culture and martial arts, which my mom's younger sister Cheryl and her boyfriend Mark encouraged me to pursue.  It became a refuge amidst bedlam.

My grandfather suffered from paralytic polio.  One of the very last people in the US to contract the disease.  It resulted in paralysis from his neck down and left him using a respirator belt just to breathe.

This extraordinary man deserves a book written about him by an actual writer, but I'll be dedicating a post or three to him in the near future as he is an absolute hero.  For now lets just say he was a constant source of hope and inspiration.  Work in medicine for longer that 30 seconds and you'll encounter the "bad back" or "knee issue" patients that prevent them from working or going to school, or doing anything that doesn't involve Oxycontin and weed.  I often have to bite my tongue to keep from asking some of the obvious fakers: "If they had heard about the guy with polio that ran a business six fucking days a week for up to 12 goddamn hours a day, using archaic devices that barely allow him to WRITE, NOT TO MENTION BREATHE!?"

I didn't think so.

Breathe in......and out....

Tomorrow we start getting juicy.  Deaths and a courtroom drama.

Stay tuned...

Semper Anticus - SD

Friday, September 4, 2015

On August 29th, 1977 at 2:33 in the morning, a newborn was presented to it's family after a prolonged delivery...

The nurse approached carrying the swaddle of pink blankets as the waiting family looked on, overjoyed.  A girl.  They would name the newborn girl "Susan" after her aunt. As the nurse handed the baby girl off to the family she informed them of a hospital issue that caused a slight complication...

My first taste of obfuscation.

...they had run out of blue blankets.

So the happy family had a good laugh with the nurse and took their new bouncing baby boy home and lived a rich life full of meaning and purpose.  - The End

Let me try that again...

So the criminally dysfunctional tribal members would return to that same hospital only four years later to watch my mother - brain dead - waste away in a coma over the course of months after an aneurysm burst in her Circle of Willis.

I've never expressed it to anyone, but I hope it was a doctor or nurse that had the courage and compassion to let her finally go.  A mixture of cowardice and selfishness had kept her body alive for far too long.  Not machines.

What followed has been described to me as "frightening".

Screaming, accusations, violence, property damage, (my grandmother put her fist through a wire mesh window) and good old fashioned chaos.

This would also prove to be a very serious turning point in my life, as I lost both of my parents that day.  A little dark, I know...

Here's Gary Busey to help lighten things up.

That's enough for a good first day, yeah?

Welcome to Selling Drama.  I'm happy you're here.