New piece in GQ, talking guns and hanging out with mom & dad. ‘Merica!
Today, the cable guy came — we’ve been having issues — and swapped out our shitty cable box with one that presumably won’t suck. This is great news, because our old cable box was a terrible presence in our living room except for one critical aspect: it contained, on its creaky hard drive, a very important recording — that of the February 2011 Manchester Derby. You’ll remember that match as the one when Rooney scored that goal.
I was at Old Trafford for that match. I saw it, and I hugged the strange man standing next to me, and he hugged me, and we jumped up and down and cheered like something vital had just happened (it had!) and we’d been blessed enough to be there to witness it (we had!), and all of it was so exciting that we did not know what to do but to jump up and to hug the strange man standing next to us. Which is precisely what we did, and what one should do in that situation.
I’ll not get into the grand significance of the match or, more pointedly, of that glorious strike — both were crucial, for the Red Devils and for me, in very different ways. But, here, at home, I kept the recording of the match (the one stored on our decrepit cable box) queued up to the 77th minute, and when I needed a little boost, I could hit play and watch what Sir Alex called the best goal he’d ever seen at Old Trafford. But now it’s gone. And yes, I know that I can watch the video on the Internet, but it’s just not the same: the Internet, in my house, does not play through a soul-rattling home theater system; the recordings on my shitty cable box do play through a soul-rattling home theater system. Also, the Internet cheapens everything it transports, and it lacks the tang of the visceral.
I was watching today’s match (2-0, weakly, over Norwich) when the cable guy broke the news that he was putting our shitty old cable box out of its misery. That meant losing all of our recordings, he said. Kyra knew: she said, “What about your match?”
I was momentarily gutted. I’m better now. I do miss it. (Of course, I will note that it should be enough to have fucking been there, at the match, in the first place.) But there’s nothing to be done. Like Johnny Thunders said, you can’t put your arms around a DVR recording of a footy match. But you can, of course, download the torrent, burn it to a disc, and make do.
Reading Hunter S. Thompson turned me on to Wild Turkey. I wasn’t old enough to buy the stuff, but I knew people who were, and so it was that one night I found myself at a friend’s apartment with a fifth and a tumbler and no idea how to proceed. So, I look at the glass, which doesn’t appear to be very big, and I fill it up, no rocks, and, hey, I get very drunk very fast and am in love. Since, I’ve had $7 plastic-bottle rotgut, I’ve had some crazy $200 bottles, I had a brief and violent infatuation with boiler makers. But recently, I gave it up. Mostly.
For a good stretch until just under a year ago, I spent many bourbon-drenched afternoons and nights with my now-dead friend, a not-inconsiderably sized Scottish dude with a couple decades’ edge of hard drinking on me. We’d go for a walk with our dogs, inevitably end up at the bar, and then remain there for a long, long time, drinking 1:1 beers and vodka (him), 1:1 beers and Maker’s (me). One time, I woke up to a text message from him: “Did u know u had a spoon in yr butt last night?” I didn’t know this, but I’m sure it was brilliant and in the service of comedy. Or, perhaps, a lie? (I miss him.)
Anyway, what I loved–and still do love, cautiously and infrequently–about bourbon is the swelling of possibility you (read: I) feel after a couple. You drink a couple of beers, and you’re where you were when you began, except more bloated. A couple bourbons? Shit is going to be allfuckingright. Let’s turn up the music, and, hey, I’ma dick around with the guitar, but wouldn’t it be better if the guitar were louder? It would be! But then you can’t hear the music, so you gotta turn that up, and then there’s another drink or five–always hard to tell when to stop: best thing is not to–and the couch has a fresh burn, and, and, and the neighbors are pissed and, jesus, what the fuck is up with them, anyway? Fucking mail order bride could still be stuck chugging gristly cock in a sticky St. Petersburg brothel, so the fuck’s she got to bitch about some noise? Quiet time, then, and your forehead is pressed against the cold window and you’re sorta watching what ain’t doing nine stories down. Maybe. Or not. At this point, it’s… blackened.
Actually, I’m fine with all that. (Except the neighbors, who are horrible people.) It’s the hangovers that did it for me. These used to be regular hangovers that a fistful of Tylenol, some coffee and a Tabasco-heavy breakfast could kill. And then I got old, and, goddamn if a switch didn’t get tripped. Hangovers became crippling two-day affairs every day. Migraines were fixtures. I’d smell the booze oozing out of my pores as I showered. I could form sentences in my head, but couldn’t figure out how to speak them. I’d sit down to write and end up staring at a line of type for 20 minutes trying to make sense of it. You know, standard-issue hairy hangover shit. (Never got to the point where I woke up with the bottle! still! in! my! mouth!) Regardless, I finally had enough, and that’s how I found gin. A clear, delicious liquor, gin. Much easier on the back-end. But here’s the problem: I used to walk into a bar and order a Maker’s rocks. Easy, reliable, not beer. But I haven’t found an acceptable gin-based substitute. I drink martinis at home, but I’m a drink snob slugging it out on a trade mag salary, and nowhere I can afford to drop in on routinely makes a passable martini. (Note to River Cafe: shave $8 off the price of a drink, and I’m there, jacket and everything.) So, until I win powerball, I’ll be nursing along my blossoming agoraphobia with store bought Plymouth.