Friday, May 26, 2017

Overdose

It's happening all over the country, right?

Young adults dying on the streets because of heroin.

One after another.

A couple of weeks ago a kid was found in one of the port-a-lavs on a local job site. The man who was tasked to clean the toilets found the kid.

Lifeless.

He shot himself up at work and it killed him.

The next day, on another site, syringes were found in another portable toilets. Luckily that shoot-up went a little better, I guess.

But it shook me a lot.

It's one thing to read about it...

...when it's that close.

Damn!

As per usual the news of the day was debated back and forth on the sites throughout the region.

"We used to drink beer," one guy said.

"On Saturday night," another guy added.

"I don't much get this."

Nobody does, but it comes down to the fact that it's readily available and cheap. What's more, it's not at all like beer.

It needs to be sustained.

So the needles are being found on the construction sites, in the schools, and in every other area.

Big trouble!

"Beer wasn't life threatening," the first guy said.

Other than the drunk driving of people back in the day he's probably right, but I don't have any answers.

Lives over before they get started.

In the worst of all places.

Just horrible.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Getting There

"Your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold. Sometimes I feel so weak I just wanna' explode."

Not one of Bruce's most optimistic of lines, but I think of it now and again when I get a little fatigued.

I have a job that calls for action...

...lots of phone calls and plenty of places to visit. I joke with co-workers saying that when the phone rings, and you're a safety guy it's usually not someone saying:

"We're doing great over here!"

Nah, it's usually an emergency, and the fact that there are so many different things to look at and think about, makes it eternally interesting.

I couldn't imagine sitting in a cubicle.

But I also know when I need a mental health day.

A round of golf?

It hasn't happened yet.

Back-to-back days of nothing?

Well, there's good news!

A holiday weekend coming up.

Our wedding anniversary too.

Twenty years.

Who'da' thunk?

So, I always wonder about the guy that Bruce was singing about in that song.

The next line is:

"Explode and tear this whole town apart, take a knife and cut this pain from my heart."

Really down!

But there's good news...

...it's from The Promised Land...

A song of eternal hope!

Just a couple of more work days.

We'll all get there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sitting Ducks

On Monday afternoon news broke of multiple fatalities at a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester U.K.

My heart sank, of course.

It's a horribly dangerous world.

I must admit that I've thought about it before.

Back in the 1990's I went to the Bills playoff game at the stadium. This was during the first Iraq war. We all had to go through metal detectors for the first time.

It was hard to believe, actually...

...and was wildly inconvenient because we'd never had to do that before.

Now, of course, there are metal detectors everywhere. You can't get into a courthouse or Federal building without placing all your belongings into a bowl and stepping through metal detectors.

At the airports we all have to remove our shoes because of that one goofy shoe bomber. You can't even bring a freaking razor or more than 3 ounces of deodorant.

We can never be too safe, right?

When I went to the Kansas City-Yankees game last week I was at the entrance 15 minutes before first pitch. We were all gathered in one spot...

...hundreds and hundreds of us.

...sitting ducks.

It entered my mind.

I got to the front of the line. Everything out of my pockets, stepped through the turnstiles and received a quick frisk.

Used to it now.

It's no longer shocking to be evaluated, and that's probably a good thing.

And yet, it happens.

Large groups of people are sitting ducks now because there are small groups of terrorists killing people in the name of religion?

Tell me how that makes any freaking sense!!!

We live in a different world now, and I'm pretty sure it won't ever go back to the way it once was.

Thoughts and prayers appears to be all that we have left.

Those poor people.

Out to have a good time.

Murdered.

Sitting ducks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Madoff Movie

We caught the HBO movie with DeNiro playing the part of Bernie Madoff.

First off, the acting was great. I had recently seen the Comedian with DeNiro and as I was watching Madoff I kept trying to sync both performances. He's such a great actor. Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth was stunning as well.

I felt a little torn as the movie humanized Madoff a little bit. Even one second of feeling bad for him was way too much!

He stole billions of dollars from people.

Hard-working, honest people.

It appeared that he justified it in his own mind as having preyed on the greedy, which he most certainly did, but he also wiped out pension funds, life-savings, and people in his own family.

He obliterated existences and he did it without conscience.

He didn't even know why he was doing it after a while. It was a game of poker and he truly didn't even ante up with his own money.

Sociopath!

And every time one of these scandals hits...

...it infuriates me.

The robber barons who caused the bank collapse were never punished.

The multi-millionaires pulling down 8-figure bonuses think they deserve it...

...and they go home and watch their wide-screen televisions, consider the working poor as dregs on our society...

...and never look back.

I suppose that Madoff and guys like him (and while his robbery was unique, there are plenty like him) aren't the ones who bother me the most!!

Nope.

I'm more bothered by the people who think that guys who steal for a living while wearing fancy suits are somehow entitled to do so.

While men who work two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads, and get assistance to help pay the light bill, are somehow pathetic.

I don't much care for people who look down their noses at those people.

And here's the rub:

We are all a lot closer to that second group than the first.

Yet it's funny, but people who have a tiny bit of the American dream are prone to look down upon those who are struggling.

They generalize:

"Get a better job!"

They patronize:

"Do without your phone!"

And they fail to look sideways at the millions walking out the door, carried to summer homes by the very wealthy

"Get rid of Obamacare!"

So we can give a tax cut to the rich????

Makes no sense.

You wonder how Madoff was able to pull it off for so long?

Yeah, our system allowed for him to pillage the poor.

And we're working hard to strip the regulations so another guy just like him can do it again...

...and blame the money problems on the people who don't have any.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chris Cornell

I didn't know too much about the rock group Soundgarden.

They were a little after college for me, so while I heard some of their songs...

...they weren't on my music list.

I did hear their lead singer speak a few times, though, and he actually played live on one of the radio shows.

Talented guy with a distinctive voice. I even thought about investigating their greatest hits, but never did.

Soundgarden was still playing live.

They played the other night in Detroit, and after the show Chris Cornell, the lead singer and face of the band, called home, spoke to his wife (he was slurring his words), and then he hung himself in his hotel bathroom.

It caught my attention.

First off, he was 52 (same as me) and the human moment of his phone call home really bothered me. He had three children. His wife said that he kept saying "I'm so tired."

She sent someone to check on him and they found him too late.

Damn.

He was successful in his field. He had a family and was beloved.

Why?

There are stories floating about his meds causing him problems...

...depression and suicidal thoughts...

You hear that trumpeted in the disclaimers about this medication or that.

Shame.

May he get some rest.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blurting Stuff Out

I know how Donald feels.

Evidently, his mouth got him into a bit of trouble when he was showing the Russians around his new office.

He mentioned 'nutjob' and firing the guy who was investigating him because he was feeling pressure.

I don't think the pressure is off now.

And I think of Ralph Kramden saying:

"Me and my big mouth."

Been there!

Plenty of times!!

I think that my very worst example of this surrounds the death of a friend of mine back about twenty-five years ago.

Ron was a decent guy who had a lot of bad luck. Whenever he missed a day of work I would have to sit in for him.

It happened quite a bit, but he was a relatively young man and he always bounced back. We busted each other's chops quite a bit so when he called me one Friday, after missing three days of work, I said:

"Are you coming back to work? We have a pool going on what day you're going to buy it."

He laughed.

"And what is gonna' take you out."

"I feel better," he said. "But I'm thinking it'll be my heart and a few days ago I thought it might be relatively soon."

"Oh good!" I said. "That's what I have."

Ron laughed.

It was my last conversation with him.

He died the next day.

Three days later I was pretty shook up. I went to his wake, and stepped up in front of his grieving family.

"I'm Cliff. I worked with Ron. I'm so sorry," I said.

"Are you the guy who started the pool?" Ron's wife asked.

That was the exact moment when I knew exactly what Trump felt like when he learned that his Comey comment was out in the public.

I wanted to crawl in with Ron!!

"Well," his wife said. "Rest assured that Ron thought that was funny as hell. He was telling everyone on Friday. He really enjoyed working with you."

I felt badly about my dopey remark for a lot of years...

...Donnie might too.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Twenty Years

Ran into a guy who I met twenty years ago.

Weird to imagine that so much time has passed, and the twenty year anniversary of things is hitting me hard because 1997 happens to be the year I was married, and became a Dad, and moved into my current home...

...and a lot of other things.

And it's weird when you think back to those days.

I was 32.

I felt good!!

"Imagine how quick it went and then imagine twenty years from now," my buddy said. "You'll be 72 in the blink of an eye."

Damn!

And I think about all the living packed into the twenty years.

Kids, dogs, four Yankee titles (on average), zero Bills playoff appearances, five presidential elections...

Laughs, tears...

...passes and fails.

A lot happens in two decades worth of time!

The milestones will be different.

The next twenty will probably be filled with weddings of our kids, grandkids, hopefully retirement...

...things slowing down.

Unless we blow the whole thing up.

Then I'm not quite so sure what comes next...

...but gotta' see what happens, right?

"I can't believe I've known your dumb ass for twenty years," my friend said. "Same stupid old jokes."

"You wouldn't change a thing," I said.

He laughed.

"That's the thing about the past," he said. "You can't stay stuck there."


Overdose

It's happening all over the country, right? Young adults dying on the streets because of heroin. One after another. A couple of we...