A Nation on Probation

"Shut up and let me go!"

Moment of Truth
I wonder from time to time if I'm a good person.  I am able to justify all the shit I ever do pretty well.  I can compartmentalize things so well it borders on a superpower.  But still every now and then I think about the scope of things and wonder how I really feel.  I saw a lady on "Moment of Truth" once the Fox game show with the lie detectors etc. who was up to several hundered thousand dollars after revealing life ruining secrets only to get eliminated and lose all the money by the question:

"Do you think you're a good person."

She said yes.  And the lie detector test determined that answer was false.

That's kinda what I picture with myself.  I answer that self posed question with "yes.  i've done some terrible shit.  but overall i'm a good person."  Well good is an opinion, but do I really believe that I fit what I consider to be good?  Pass or fail, if I was on Fox's "The Moment of Truth" and I was posed that question and answered "Yes," would I be eliminated for lieing?

I have so much shit to deal with first, out of necessity for survival, that I don't hold it that much against myself that I don't shed a lot of tears for the kids starving in Cambodia or whatever.  But that's normal, with the geographical and intangible distance between me and that kid, he's hardly even real to me.  But I also don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about the troubles of people in my life.  I mean, fuck I have enough to worry about.  Right?

Well, my last remaining grandparent has inoperable throat cancer.  And continue reading, because I promise it won't be as pedestrian as that.

Grandpa Junior has throat cancer, and has had it for about 8 or 9 months.  I found this out in jail, and I was told that there was a good chance he would die before I got out.  I remembered saying please don't let that happen, I'll never forgive myself if I don't get to speak to him now before he dies.  I even contemplated writing him a letter, which would reveal the awkward nature about where I was since all outgoing mail must have a big disclaimer stamped in red ink saying "______ COUNTY JAIL."  This would open up the subsequent conversations to all sorts of uncomfortable questions that I would prefer leaving unasked.  And unanswered.

Well I did get out, after about 5 months, and he was still in stable health, although looking like shit from hair and weight loss from chemo.  I was on the bracelet at this half way house for about 10 days putting off something as simple as making a phone call, not because I didn't care, but fuck I just hate dealing with shit like this.  I feel bad enough already just going through daily life in a state of blindingly obnoxious soberness.  As they say in Trainspotting about daily life when Renton gets off heroin "...to have to endure it in a state of FULL CONCIOUSNESS."   Yuck.

But I did eventually place a call to him and to my 19 year old sister living in Minneapolis with her 1 year old, my niece.  Grandpa knew something was up but I didn't elaborate on it much.  He was actually surprisingly quite a bit harsher and more judgemental about it all than I would've expected someone diagnosed with terminal cancer to be, but in the end he just said get my stuff together and he's sure i'll be fine.

Yeah.  Lets hope so.

Anyways, I went on the run from that half way house in one of the coldest weeks all winter, in Wisconsin, and eventually after one of the craziest (and trust me there have been some CRAZY) weeks of my life decided "fuck it, this shit is too cold" and turned myself in.  I was very surprised to only be given a week in jail for punishment for going on the run, and was let out and able to pull off some amazing shit like the magician I am and was able to convince my parents to let me stay at their home.  Shit is comfortable there, extended cable, broadband internet, pantries and fridges full of food, and all the conveniences of white suburbia heaven (or hell), but living with my parents makes it far from a picnic.  Believe that.

Anyways, even though my Grandpa's home is only a few blocks from my parents house where I was living, weeks went by without me stopping by to visit in person.  Maybe because of the hassels being on the bracelet creates (you have to get everything scheduled and approved ahead of time yadada), maybe because I just can't deal with shit and get along by telling myself "tomorow" "tomorow" "tomorow."

Maybe it was because I'm just a bad person.

I did end up stopping by with my father twice, for only a very short visit.  I knew the suffuring he was in was incredibly painful.  But it was something I was able to not get too tore up about.  He got hooked up with a nurse who stops by daily, started taking his meals through a feeding tube, and breathing with the aid of a machine.  All the standard things that come along with the progression of cancer.  A few days ago he was moved to a nursing home.

But last night at around 4 in the morning, I had been awake surprisingly for about half an hour and was watching Big Love, an HBO crime drama much like the Sopranos, but with Polygamists and Mormons instead of Mafioso's, on my computer.  A call came in, and the home phone started ringing in the kitchen.  I normally never answer that phone, since I have my cell phone I never get calls on that number, but I looked at the clock and was surprised to see it was 4 in the morning.  I went to pick it up and placed the receiver to my ear to hear a conversation already started.  My mother was aparently also awake for some reason at this strange hour. 

Here's where it fucked me up.

The nurse on the phone explained that my grandpa's oxygen levels had been fluxuating the past couple of days, and that he wasn't doing well.  They said they had difficulty saying or doing anything to ease him. 

Saying that he was fighting off sleeping against their advice, and that he knew he was in very rough shape, and that "he was afraid to go to sleep because he was afraid he wouldn't wake up."

He was afraid to go to sleep.
He was terrified.

That image of him coming out of the semi-sedated state of morphine and klonopin to that horrifying glare of reality, to "wake up" to a state of full conciousness at 3 in the morning in a nursing home bed.  Alone.  Looking around the room to see no one.  Nothing to hear but the deafening silence of the institution cut with the piercing monotonous hums and beeps of health care equipment and monitors of all sorts.  To hear the cadence of footsteps echoing through the halls as nurses make their rounds.  Maybe even the incoherent rants of the patients who's demetia has advanced more severely.  And the one's who think (or know) they're going to die.  That's gotta be reassuring.

The call was very brief, they just basically told her that they were already giving him as much meds as they were allowed to and about him fighting sleep I didn't really need to hear much more details.  I didn't really know what to say or do like usual, but that little detail the nurse gave over the phone just really painted a painful color of real and I wasn't able to put it on the shelf to deal with "later" like I usually do.

I didn't know what to do, I just kinda walked upstairs to my parents room and said "what the fuck" kinda and asked i dunno, i didn't have any good words.  But basically my mom had to work that day and my dad had stuff too but they were going to go down there immediately of course.  I was on the bracelet and not allowed to leave the house so they left without me.  I fell asleep, and phoned about 2 hours later and asked how things were going,

"Is he even there?" 
"About 60/40," my Dad replied.

I basically just told him "screw the bracelet" and that i thought i should come see him or, something.  fuck i dunno!?

I did and it was an awful sight.  His face wasted away, cheek bones popping out.  Head hanging down virtually unresponsive, tubes and monitors of all sorts.  His legs, swollen up like balloons.  They were terrible.  In a hospital gown and slippers.  Every now and then his head would bounce up out of his nod (which it turned out was exactly what he was in) to meet my eyes with his.  Wide and glassy.  Painful.  Old.  Like someone who was about to die.  I did get a great deal out of seeing that his pupils were small as pin-pricks.  He acknowledged me, was able to bleat out little messages which the person closest to him was able to interpret in between popping that thick film that would appear in his mouth like a childs bubble-blowing wand dipped in the solution.  The only thing i remembered him saying was a response my dad provoked in him about my hair (it's very long.  about shoulder length.  and my dad HATES it.)  I couldn't really make out the words.  But i could tell it was supposed to be funny.  He always had that great old-people sense of humor.  And no one loved laughing at his jokes more than himself.

I didn't stay long.  And I'm not planning on going back.  I just wish THAT I could be the one to dose his meds.  Wtf do nurses know anyways.  But it did dawn on me that when I heard that call, the only thing that went through my mind was my grandpa in that scenario i just described.   No thoughts about expectations or responsibility.  I didn't feel a "oh I should feel this."  Or the "i have to do this now only a rotten person wouldn't" type of shit that clouds our true emotions.  I didn't feel motivated by a sense of "Guilt" or "OBLIGATED LOVE" like my dad has for me (Bull shit love). 

No the only thing I felt was unadulterated compassion for a human being who i knew was terrified and alone.
And tonight of my mother who must be roling around in bed upstairs.

That's hardly enough to convince myself of if I am really a good person or not.
But at least I know I still have a heart.  Somewhere down under everything.

Thanks guys, God bless.

(no subject)
"With my naked eye I saw the falling rain, comin' down on me"
   ~Luscious Jackson

  Due to some crazy DrAmA, circumstances changed and I wasn't able to access a computer for awhile, and even if I could've, it would've been about the last thing on my mind givin' what was going on!  So I ended up neglecting my LJ for over a month.  Until today.  When I randomly thought to log in to see if anyone even read my little debut into the blog world, and was pleased to see that not only had it been read, but I recieved a few comments inspiring me to give the conclusion of the story.

  So here it goes.

  I slept quite soundly that night, even with the anticipation of the possibility of an itchy blissful state the next evening, one I haven't had the pleasure of enjoying in over 6 months.  Dreams of sugarplumbs in my head.  I woke up that morning with just enough time to swing by Justice Sanctions for my daily breathalizer and make it down to the dentists office.  Still wearing my PJs (black Adidas soccer warm ups and an old American Eagle sweatshirt cut by me a few inches down the front like people my age sometimes do with their old sweat shirts) and without time to shower, I hopped in my car and headed out.  It was freezing, infact it was one of the coldest weeks we had all winter, but it was sunny, and my mood was too, so it ironically felt like a nice day.  The dentist appointment was a necessary one, about a year overdue, and revealed that there was about a 50-50 chance I was going to need a root canal.  This didn't cramp my style in the least, infact having never had a root canal before I thought it might be like when I had my wisdom teeth removed as a teen, and prove to be a great chance to score some legit narcs when the time comes.  I doctor visits like those.  Always feels like it's my fuckin' birthday.  I left the dentists office without scheduling a follow-up and headed for the new Pawn America.  As I said in my previous blog, we just got this Pawn America while I was locked up.  This was my first time visiting, and I was surprised to see quite a few cars parked and a few people outside waiting, even as the place was about fifteen minutes from opening for business.  Looking around I couldn't help but think the only people who would stand outside in the cold waiting for a Pawn Shop to open are probably up to no good just like me.  I just hope none of them are trying to sell stolen merch.  They don't play games with that shit, record ID's for every purchase along with serial numbers, and if I had a dollar for every person I met in jail who caught a Pawn America case, well I'd be like well on my way to buying that Oxy pill.

  So finally they opened, I asked them about the gift cards, and they said they do infact buy them.  Some of them.  And they take you to the fucking cleaners.  My Wal-Mart card was the only one they would take, and for 50 cents on the dollar!  Fuck that!  15 bucks for a 30 dollar gift card?  Something like that for a Herbergers card I could understand, but a Wal-Mart card is practically good as cash in my opinion.  You can find anything you would want to buy at Wal-Mart.  Food, DVDs, ciggarettes, alcohol.  I just hope my dealer sees it this way.  My sunny day was already looking gloomier.

  Next stop, the county building, to pick up my check from the jail cashier's office for the money I had remaining in my account when I was released.  I cruised all the way to the otherside of town to that dreadful place I just spent the last 5 months.  When I was greeted by the friendly attendant at the counter I was also greeted with a friendly surprise, when I found that my check was for TEN DOLLARS more than I had expected it to be.  There was a disgrepancy between how much the jail charged me for certain services and what I thought should have been billed.  I called and complained about the mistake the day before, even though I thought there was about a whore's chance in hell of them fixing the problem.  I thanked her with the sincerity of a junkie who was just givin 10 bucks by a stranger and thought I...

Oxy Against All Odds: A New Years Story
"I've developed quite, quite a taste for a well made mistake."
      ~Fiona Apple

    As promised, my (I mean SWIM's) misadventures.

  In the course of the five months I was locked the fuck up, I devoutly and sincerely swore to myself that I'd take advantage of this hopefully (but more than likely not)  once in a life-time chance to quit smoking.  Since I made it roughly 6 minutes after heading out that purple steel door and down the path between those infamous gray cement walls that define that glorious walk that is: "exiting the ***** County Jail," before lighting up my first disgustingly stale Newport.  It should probably come as no great surprise to me then when my resolve to not do any Oscars for the duration of my ankle bracelet sentence started heading for a crash just shortly before leaving the ground.

   My friend calls me, "are you gonna want any oscars?  Cuz I'm going to get some tonight and I can make sure to save one for you."
  The devil on my shoulder goes "hehehehe, yes.  go ahead.  buy a 40 from her.  Fuck it, buy an 80!  It's New Years Tomorow!"
  Than the angel on the other shoulder counters with "yeah Fester, it is New Years!"

Some good you are Mr. Shoulder Angel.

  "Yeah, save an 80 for me!"
  "Okay you got the money?"
  "Of course I got the money,"  I reply without hesitation.  Fuck, I have a check for 15 dollars and a Wal Mart giftcard for 30 (those things are basically as good as ca$h right?), I'll be able to russel up the rest won't I?  Probably not, but I'd rather have her get pissed at me and stuck with an extra Oscar, than for me to be able to somehow pull something out of my ass and scrounge up the cash and have her RUN OUT!  On New Years?  You've gotta be kidding me.

  So the quest began.  I dialed my mom's phone (one of the most reliable sources for small loans) to no avail.  God that woman has had a cell phone for 6 years and still never uses it.  I dial the house phone and my father answers the phone.  Now he on the other hand, is the staunch opposite when it comes to a situation such as this. 

  "Hey Dad."
  "Hey Fester, uh what's going on?"
  "Oh nothing, just wanted to talk to mom to see if she'll be able to switch dentist appts. with me"
  "Well she's not home yet, you want me to have her give you a call?"
  "Yes Dad if you wouldn't mind."
  "Okay, everything all right?"  (It will be if I can find about fifty fuckin' dollars!)
  "Yeah Dad everything's fine."
  "Alright be good."

  Now my mother, bless her heart, knows damn well as my father does all my bullshit, but she's just too much of a softie.  She does infact return my call, and I in my Oscar winning (Literally!) performance am able to convince her to spot me 25 bucks for gas and food (even though this half-way house is bursting at the seams with freezers and pantries full of fantastic stuff, and even though my car has a full tank of unleaded).

  "Just don't tell your father Fester, let's just keep this our little secret.  He would be fit to be tied with me if he found out I gave you some money"   (No.  You think?)  God Ma, you're the fucking greatest.  The surprisingly enough, I felt quite a bit of guit recieving those crisp bills from her furry mittened hand when she swung by the half-way house an hour later.  Even though it was only 25 dollars, and money is really no object with them, she is just too sweet, that I feel rotten for it.  But fuck, I'll save the sob story for Oprah, we got work to do...

  Now having half the price of the desired wares, I was confident enough to explain more truthfully the buying power I actually had to said hook-up.

  "I got 40 bucks and 65 bucks worth of gift cards," I explain, cringing as I await her response.
  "You got giftcards!?," She says in a voice that certainly wasn't pleased, but didn't contain the tone that this would be a dealbreaker (as it would with many such people in her new found position of power.  many "connects" in our circle have so many gift cards, iPods, digital cameras, limbs eagerly cut off to be freely given in exchange for a couple short **sniff** **sniffs** of some Oscar, etc. that they demand it be a ca$h only business.  No exceptions).
  "Why don't you just go to Pawn America?," she says.  That's right!  We got a Pawn America while I was locked-up!  Oh hell yes, with 40 dollars in cash and now a Pawn America in town to take my giftcards off my hands, tomorow's New Year's Eve will be a itchy-scratchy nod fest for sure.  Fuck yeah!  So it was settled, I would swing by Pawn America after my dentist appt. (since it's in the same part of town), than drop by her house, pick up Mr. Oscar quick before my time allotted for the dentist appointment was up, and somehow keep him out of my nose til the night gets started.  

What could possibly go wrong?

To Be Continued...

Wacky Misadventures in Obtaining a New Years Oxy Against All Odds: A New Years Miracle! :-)
Out of Jail Less than a Week!,  Broke, Pennyless, On the Bracelet, and stuck in a Half-Way House.
Will our protagonist succeed in procuring his prize against all odds, thus saving New Years Eve?
Who knows?

Stay Tuned to Find Out!  Right here, in Probation Nation!
Will have the entry posted in a few hours at the most.  Right now, I gotta dip to swing by my favorite place in the whole wide world:  Justice Sanctions.


Welcome to My World. A Nation on Probation...
"What I need is a good defense, cuz I'm feelin' like a Criminal."
      ~Fiona Apple

December 28, 2008

   Just released from county from 4 and a half months of life dominated by routine.

-Wake up at 5:30.  Have Breakfast.  Try to get back to sleep with those lights blaring like you're about to get a fucking tan.  Why the fuck do we have to wake up at 5:30 to eat break fast, when we don't even have head count til 8.  Oh that's right.  Just one more way to fuck with us.

-8 A.M.    "Alright gentlemen!  Time for headcount!  We need everyone in a single file line against the walls!  Up and out of your cells right now or I'll start taking privelages away!"
Then we do so, grab our bins, and begrudgingly head downstairs for another day in paradise.

-8 til 3:30 P.M.  Required by threat of "Going to the Hole" to remain in the dayroom watching the same damn shit day after day. 
Maury Show.  "You are not, the father!"
Tyra.  "Oooh, hooo, oooh. fucking theme song, make me want to blow my brains out."
Then court t.v. and celebrity news the rest of the day til we can go back upstairs and finally lie on our bunks instead of the filthy concrete day room floor.

Two meager trays of institutional "food" a day.  Garbage I wouldn't feed my dog.  But in here when you're stomach aches all day... few leave a scrap.

Spades games for "mains" or "canteen," possibly a fist fight or at least some gang-banger wannabe threatening one, over food gambling debts of course.
That's about it.  That's about our entertainment for the day.  This has been my life for the last four and a half months straight.  And off and on for the last three years.  I was released though, after those 4.5 longest months of my life Friday.  Just a day shy of Christmas.  On the bracelet however, not free as a bird (will that day ever come?) and under a strict supervision program called Justice Sanctions.  No matter how much drama I've endured all ready, the hardest part of my journey may be still yet to come.

You see, I'm starting my story in the middle of the page.  Over the course of the next coming weeks and months, I will open your eyes to a strange and unbelievable world.  A world of hypocracy, and insanity.  A world of control (or attempted control at least) of life that borders on fascism.  They want to change us.  But I have very little intention of going quietly;-)  I will reveal the wringer I've gone through the last few years since I've been in this track, as well as those beside me in the programs, trying futilely as I have to make it through the struggle, and come out on top. 

I will also reveal to you, in time, my most deep, and personal secrets.  Secrets I've never yet breathed to another human soul.  But secrets that none the less, that I carry.  For this reason, and because I am not sure yet the legal rammifications of blogging about things I've never been caught for, I will for the time being be known merely... as Fester.

Welcome to the Nation, where nothing is what it seems.



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