Accidentally Like A Martyr

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Alcoholic

Bill Fielding was an alcoholic when he was 20 & didn’t know it. He was drinking 6 cans of beer every night to relax. By the time he was 25 it was taking him 12 cans of beer to relax as his tolerance had increased.

He had a girlfriend by this stage who commented on his alcohol consumption. Bill got sneaky. He took to buying bottles of vodka & hiding them outside of the house. He was forever making excuses to go outside. The smell of his beer covered the smell of alcohol but his girlfriend noticed his eyes becoming glazed and him slightly slurring his words.

One morning his girlfriend found a bottle of vodka outside. Bill didn’t have a leg to stand on. The relationship was over. By 4pm, after much scurrying about, Bill found himself a nice apartment. He saw this as an opportunity to drink to his hearts content. So he did.

Within 6 months he was drinking 12 cans of beer and a bottle of vodka a day. His tolerance continued to increase.12 months later  he was now up to 12 cans of beer and 2 bottles of vodka a day.

Due to the fact that his tolerance increased slowly, over years, he  was still functioning. He was what is referred to as a ‘functional alcoholic.’ He paid his bills on time, did his groceries as needed and was always well presented and well groomed. Nobody knew that he was an alcoholic.

Then Bill noticed that he wasn’t passing much water. This went on for months and he became rather bloated. One day he noticed that when he did pass water, he was passing blood. He paid no attention. Alcohol & logic don’t know each other.

3 weeks later in a moment of drunken clarity that only alcoholics know Bill emptied his last bottle of vodka down the sink. He had decided to quit. For the remainder off the day he felt fine. The following day he began to shake and sweat so he returned to bed with the aim of riding it out.

After approximately 48 hours Bill was sweating profusely and trembling violently. He got out of bed and put the TV on. After an hour he began to feel ‘odd’ in the head. It felt like his brain was buzzing and the TV stopped making sense. He felt that something bad was going to happen but didn’t know what. For some reason he placed his glasses on the table.

No sooner than he had placed his glasses on the table, Bill felt every muscle in his body violently  contract. The next thing he could remember was laying on the floor, unable to stand up. When he eventually made it to his  feet he was very wobbly and had no idea where he was. He began talking to a wall. He was aware that he was doing it but couldn’t stop. He then did the same with a light bulb.

Slowly Bill got his bearings (just) and sat down. As he put his glasses on he noticed a red stain on his jeans. He had been incontinent. It was then that he realised he had suffered an alcoholic seizure.

Contrary to common belief,  alcoholic seizures don’t occur when you’re drunk. They occur 48-72 hours after extremely prolonged, & extremely heavy drinking.

Bill had a shower & rang an ambulance. He was admitted to the ward immediately, due to the history he had given, where he was catheterised, put on IV H2O at a rapid rate and had blood samples taken.

His blood samples were rushed back. Bills kidneys were in really bad shape. The kidneys regulate Potassium  which in turn regulates the electrical conductivity of the heart. The normal Potassium level is 5.0-5.5….a very narrow window. Bills Potassium was 7.2! He was a heart attack waiting to happen.

Bill was immediately placed on fluid tablets and his IV H2O was speeded up in an attempt  to flush his kidneys. He was also placed on a beige toothpaste-like substance called Resonium which bind Potassium to the gut. Resonium is not a cure but it would buy Bill time. If he didn’t respond ti the IV therapy & fluid tablets, his only option was dialysis; either that or kidney failure.

Bill got the fright of his life when a nurse he knew quite well came in and placed a mobile defibrillator by his bed. “That serious?” asked Bill. The nurse said, “This is as serious as it gets.”

Slowly, over 3 weeks, Bill responded to the treatment and when his Potassium levels were normal for 3 days, he was discharged. No referral to detox. No referral to an Alcohol Counsellor. No leaflets. No support group. Bill was left to his own devices.

On returning to his empty flat, he cried as he looked around. There was nobody there. Bill sought solace in alcohol again. Within 6 months he was back to drinking his usual amount. He tried to quit again, this time in stages. It didn’t work.

Bill became morose. He would suffer another seizure. This time he didn’t call an ambulance. This time Bill committed suicide.

Perhaps had he been given some guidance from the hospital Bill may be alive today.

Bill died when he was 46.

 

 

 

 

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The Interview

As he made his way out of the building after winning Best Screenplay, Bill Lawson was still being hounded by the press, chasing comments and photos. Through his prescription Ray Ban sunglasses and through the crowd Bill spotted a short, plump lady with the most beautiful face he had ever seen. His sunglasses prevented her from knowing that he was staring at her.

The woman was simply standing there holding out a business card atnd not jostling for a position. Bill made his way towards her and took the card. He paused as he looked at it. It read ‘Cheryl Maynard, Journalist,’ and her phone number. He looked at her & said “I may be seeing you later Cheryl.”

When Bill returned to his hotel he changed into a t-shirt & jeans then ordered a cab to take him home. Bill was very much a homebody & didn’t go much on Hollywood or accolades in general. He was actually better known as a beat poet and had won several awards so tonight was just another night for him.

He was also known for not giving interviews. He hadn’t given a single one. He was once heard saying to a fellow author, “Why should I give an interview? People are buying my books & getting the message. People are writing about it. Why waste my time talking to a half-baked journalist whose literary skills probably leave something to be desired?” He had a point.

He arrived home an hour latter and rang Cheryl Maynard who was still at the awards ceremony. “Mr Lawson?” she said. “When do you want to do the interview? Now? Certainly!” Bill gave her directions & Cheryl dropped everything. She arrived at Bills 45 minutes later. She was composed & ready.

Bill, still deliberately sporting his sunglasses, warmly invited Cheryl in. He invited her to take a seat as he made them a coffee.

Bob 50th

He produced an ashtray, put a cigarette into a short holder and lit it. He said to Cheryl, “I know you don’t mind me smoking. You smoke yourself.” Cheryl replied, “How do you know that?” Bill said, “Well apart from the fact you’ve just admitted it with that statement, you’re sitting with you legs crossed, left elbow resting on your leg &your  left hand is in the air as if holding a cigarette. You also have very slight nicotine stains on the fingers of your left hand.”

Cheryl was impressed. “You should be a detective Mr. Lawson.” Bill replied, “None of this Mr. Lawson business. Bill will do. As for being a detective, that would mean danger. I’m out.” Cheryl rolled back on the couch laughing then lit a cigarette, holding it in her left hand.

Bill went on to point out that Cheryl was ambidextrous. Cheryl said she was but asked how he knew. You’re drinking your coffee with your right hand & you have slight pressure points from writing on your right fingers.

The pair spent an hour chatting, mainly laughing about  how fake the industry was. By this time the Sun was up.

Cheryl then produced a digital tape recorder and sat it on the table. She asked Bill if anything was off limits. Bill said, “Not that I can think of. If I hit a stumbling block I just won’t speak & shake my head. You can edit it out.”

The interview went for 2 hours. Bill thought it went well. Cheryl asked all the right questions & covered his work as a poet in depth as well. What he didn’t know was that Cheryl had the scoop of the decade sitting in front of her in real life & time.

When they had finished Cheryl asked if a photo would be okay. Bill agreed. Cheryl asked if he would mind putting the cigarette out. Bill did mind. “They’re either going to print it  or they’re not,” he said. Cheryl took the photograph.

As Cheryl was about to leave, Bill took his sunglasses off. Cheryl melted & Bill knew it. He invited her for a coffee the next day. “How about  I bring the morning edition around?” said Cheryl, her voice shaking. “Hot off the press. 7am.” Bill said, “Sure,” as he was normally up at 5am anyway.

bob-cig-2017

Cheryl arrived right on time. Bill hadn’t slept. He was too nervous about seeing Cheryl again. He invited Cheryl in who promptly put the paper on the floor, lay down next to it & began rifling through it. As Bill waited for the kettle to boil Cheryl yelled, “Here we are!” Bill made his way to the newspaper & lay across the paper from Cheryl. She had secured Bill a 2 page spread in the ‘Arts’ section. They both read the lengthy article word for word then Bill laughed. “They printed the photo,” laughed Bill. Cheryl said, “This article is a scoop, Bill. It’s a big deal.” Bill asked why. Cheryl said, “You don’t do interviews.” Bill nodded, “I guess.” Cheryl asked Bill if he was happy with the piece. Bill was quietly delighted.

He then asked Cheryl if she would interview him again. Cheryl was taken aback and said, “Of course, Bill. What about  though?” Bill said that he wanted to talk about the resurgence in beat poetry. It was  actually just an excuse to see Cheryl again. Cheryl was a step ahead of him. “How about we do it as a series?” Bill replied, “Great idea. You’ve got that much pulling power?” Cheryl joked, “If you read the papers you’d know how much pulling power I’ve got. I only deal with the best.” Bill said, “What about  me?” Cheryl said, “You’re a big deal, Bill.”

As Cheryl left she turned and went to shake Bills hand Bill held her shoulders and kissed her. Cheryl blushed. “Can we start the interviews tomorrow Bill?” she asked. Bill said, “Any time will do. Just turn up. I’ll be here.

As the series of interviews began they became more laughter-filled as they found out more about each other. Their farewell kiss soon became obligatory.

During one interview Bill moved over to the couch and sat close to Cheryl. She knew what was coming next. Bill leaned towards her & they kissed. It wasn’t long before they were going out to restaurants and became known in literary circles as a couple.

During one such outing Bill suggested that Cheryl move in with him. Cheryl almost choked on her chicken. “….but I’ll be coming and going at all hours,” said Cheryl. Bill replied that he was awake at all hours. 2 weeks later Cheryl moved in with Bill.

Bill continued his writing and Cheryl continued to review his material between her normal job.

 

Revenge

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Motorbike

Bill was the new night-shift Sister at an Aged Care facility. His  carer was Dianne. She was 3 years younger than Bill, who thought she was beautiful. Little did he know she thought the same of him. They hit it off straight away & formed a strong bond….so strong that they had a fling. The fling developed into an affair after work at Diannes house.

One morning Diannes husband Gary was off work with a cold. He heard the laughing downstairs, put on his dressing gown and made straight for Bill. He took a swing at Bill who rocked back and missed the punch, allowing him to punch Gary, sending him to the floor with a broken nose.

Gary unwisely tried to get up. Bill kicked him hard in the ribs. Gary didn’t realise that Bill was Scottish & Scotsmen don’t have rules when they fight. They keep going until the opponent can’t move. Without this knowledge Gary kept trying to get up. Bill kept kicking him hard in the ribs. The sound of breaking ribs made Dianne wince. When he couldn’t move, Bill told Dianne to call an ambulance and left.

Bill was living with his parents. 2 days later a heartbroken & sore Gary rang his house. Bill was asleep but Gary had a heartbroken chat with Bills Mum. Bill lied (as did Dianne) but they both remained skeptical.

The affair continued for 2 months when Bill was offered a better position in a different city. Although heartbroken they emailed each other at least daily.

Then, over a period of 3 months, Bill noticed Diannes emails were inconsistent. One day he emailed, “Out with it.” Dianne spilled the beans. She had been feeling down sing new neighbours moved in. When Dianne went for a walk one day she noticed used syringes on the footpath and was instantly met with a loud barrage of verbal abuse. Then cars were coming & going at all hours & loud music blared across the field all night. She asked Bill what she could do. “I’ve tried the police,” she said,”….but they’re hopeless.

Bill said, “Leave it with me.” He had acquaintances with a bikie club. He made a call from a phone box, giving the new neighbours name & explaining the situation. “Call me at 6am,” he was told. He rang at 6am & was told, “They’re into ice and heroin….but not from us. Want us to visit them?” Bill said, “Yes please.”

That night, 6 bikies went to the house and broke the door in. They restrained the 2 occupants and injected them with cocaine & heroin. A ‘speedball.’ Once they were unconscious they were untied and flopped on separate chairs. A sizeable amount of ice was placed under a couch cushion. One of the bikies rang for an ambulance and hysterically said, “I think she’s overdosed. Here’s the address.” He gave the address & left, passing the ambulance on the way.

As narcotics were found in their system the drug squad were called. They found the ice that was planted by the bikies. Their behaviour was subdued when they arrived home as their court appearance was only 2 months off. Both were charged with using heroin & cocaine and possessing a trafficable amount of ice. They were both sentenced to 12 months in prison.

At 10pm on the night of their court appearance Gary & Dianne noticed a glow from the addicts house. They looked out the window and saw the house fully engulfed in flames as motorbikes left the scene. Gary looked at Dianne and said, “Bill wouldn’t have anything to do with this, would he?” Dianne cheekily replied, “Scotsmen tend to do the job when they do the job.”

Bill & Dianne continue to email each other to this day.

 

Get Off Of My Cloud

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Bob 50th

I do not condone cigarettes. I am pointing out hypocrisy.

The above photograph was placed on my Facebook page the day after my 50th birthday for no other reason than I could think of nothing worthwhile to bloody post and I had this spare photograph hanging around doing nothing.

You would not believe the preaching that I received. I have over 3,600 alleged friends on Facebook and the ear-bashing that I received I found offensive and I will explain why shortly.

The comments and inbox messages were extremely aggressive because I’m smoking a cigarette. I know that cigarettes are bad for you. Any fool could tell you that but to be chastised en masse by literal  strangers was too much. I spent the day after my birthday deleting comments and even blocking some people who would return over & over again with overly aggressive comments.

Cigarettes are a legal product.

As a Registered Nurse of over twenty two years I lost count of the amount of cancer patients that I looked after who hadn’t so much as touched a cigarette. Bowel cancer. Lung cancer. Brain tumours. Leukaemia. All without a cigarette and at any age.

As mentioned, there is no doubt that cigarettes are bad for you. What about the petrol fumes that we are forced to inhale at service stations and on busy streets.

I don’t know about other countries but alcohol is actively promoted and encouraged in Australia. The damage done by alcohol isn’t mentioned in graphic television advertisements as is the case with anti-smoking advertisements which are graphic to the point of scaring young children and may as well say, “Touch a cigarette and you will die!”

Smoking is confined to a few seedy pockets of society. As long as smoking is legal, people aren’t  going to stop. Foolhardy or not. It is  almost to the point where you  can only smoke in your own home. Some rental properties even prohibit it.

Here’s the picture of me that I posted the on my birthday. Congratulations and compliments were flowing left, right and centre. Go figure.

bob-cig-2017

Hang on! Is that a cigarette in my hand?

Hypocrites.

The Money Game

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Money

Like their respective parents, John Durham and his wife Alice worked on the on the Wall Street stock market & as an accountant respectively. They had one son, Andy, who lived nearby and was studying Art at university.

The Durhams lived well. They had an expensive house and 2 luxury cars. They awoke at 4.30am in order to get to work on time. They would both arrive home at around 7pm. Their weekends were spent networking with Johns colleagues, finding out information, trends and predictions while other friends would ask Alice for tax advice. Their lives revolved around money.

As if this wasn’t enough, John had a gambling problem. Each Friday night he would tell Alice he had a meeting to attend. He was actually gambling at the Casino. It had been going on for years.

One night John overstepped the mark. He placed $90,000  on 1 hand at blackjack. The croupier called for his supervisor due to the amount. The supervisor let John proceed as he had been a regular & loyal customer.

John lost the hand.

He arrived home & told Alice straight away. Alice told him he was to be out of the house first thing in the morning.

John had nowhere to go except his sons, Andy. Andy welcomed him in. The house had art equipment everywhere and reeked of cannabis. As Andy cleared a seat for John, John commented on it. “You can get used to it or leave, Dad,” said Andy. John put the TV on and John told him the full story. “There’s always a bed here,  Dad. Not ideal, I know but it’s here.” John thanked him.

The following week a letter from the bank arrived for John. It was on behalf of Alice requesting she be re-paid half of their savings forthwith. $45,000. Johns head started spinning. How could he raise that sort of money fast? A month to be exact.

He ran the letter past Andy. His creative mindset came up with an instant but  illegal solution. “How well do you know your friends & how much do you trust them, Dad?” he asked. John replied  that he only knew them professionally but trusted most of them. Andy continued, “Find out which ones are into insider trading & stick to them.” John said, “Insider trading! Are you crazy?” Andy replied, “You’re looking at jail as it is, Dad. I’d try anything if I was you.”

John continued at work and attending his weekend meetings where he hooked up  with 2 inside traders. He trusted them. He had to. He raised the $45,000 within a month and hand delivered a cheque to Alice. “How did you get that?” she said sternly. “Gambling?” John said nothing and left.

He stopped insider trading after the money  was raised. He had enough money left over to set himself up in his own apartment near Andy who he visited frequently but not enough to check up on him. He cut back working to 3 days a week. He didn’t need that much money any more.

He began to  dress more casually. When he first visited Andy in the presence of his friends they thought he was cool as he passed no comment about the fact they were  smoking cannabis.

John was no longer governed by money.

My Grandmother

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Tombstone

My Grannie was a bohemian before the title existed.

She worked in a knitwear factory but in her spare time she was an artist. Her specialty was painting birds. She painted the most detailed birds by  eye on fine china plates. She even won awards and accepted them gracefully. She wasn’t one for airs and graces and didn’t hang out with the ‘hip set.’ She was too busy raising my 4 uncles & my Mum. My Grandfather worked at the local coal mine. (So did most men back then in Ayrshire in Scotland).

She was raised by her blind Grandmother. I don’t know the details surrounding this.

As my younger brother and I grew older we would take week about staying at my Grandparents house. When it was my turn, my brother would cry his eyes out. When it was his turn, I just accepted it, Different personalities I guess.

My Grannie thought nothing of me turning chairs upside down in the living room, draping them with sheets and pretending I was in a tent or a rocket or a submarine.. She always slept in her chair & would let me stay up until well after midnight watching ‘Hammer Horror Films.’ During the day she would let my friends play football (soccer) in her frront garden.

As I grew older we would have great conversations. She was always open to the opinions of others, would gladly change her opinion if she felt it was warranted but also had very strong opinions of  her own. Up until I was in my early 20s I would drive 90  minutes just to  talk to her. She even got to meet my future wife.

As she grew older I could tell that her health was deteriorating. She  was constantly downing painkillers for headaches but she had been doing that for  as long as I could remember. I put it down to the meticulous painting that she did. It was this painting that indicated to me her health was on the decline. I was a Registered Nurse by now so I noticed different things in people. Her lines were slightly shaky and her tones were more obvious. Her paintings were more bold and less subtle.

One day my ex wife & I received a phone call. Grannie had fallen in the bathroom. She had suffered a stroke. We went to see her. I knew she had suffered a brain stem stroke from  her behaviour. I knew she wasn’t  going to survive long. I left her room. My upset but optimistic family asked me what I thought. I burst into tears & shook my head. They now had an indication that things weren’t good.

My ex wife & I returned home. There was nothing we could do but wait. One morning at 6 the phone rang. My ex wife wasn’t long on the line. She returned to the bedroom & simply said, “She’s gone.”

My Grannie died at 4am on her birthday. My only regret is that she never got to  meet my children. She was very fond of children and I’m sure my children would have been fond of her as they are with their own Grandparents.

I was lucky to have her for 26 years.

 

 

On Approaching Fifty

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bob-cig-2017

Greetings dear reader. I turn 50 next Friday. A year ago I didn’t give it a thought. It was too far away.Over the last week, however I have found myself being rather reflective. The good, the bad and all of the bits in the middle.

I’ve read a rather unorthodox life to say the least. I have done & seen things that not many people my age have seen or done. I emigrated from Scotland in 1979 at the age of 12 years old. I assimilated easily by adopting an Australian accent. Recently I reverted to my Scottish accent.

I played in many rock bands from the age of 16 to 22. I am a retired Registered Nurse of 22 years. I was an alcoholic for 20 years. I’m divorced with 2 children, have played the acoustic circuit and was diagnosed with bipolar one year after getting sober. I am now a recording artist and writer. I live alone and rather enjoy it for the best part. I’m not much of a social creature but when I’m forced, I’ll go through the motions.

Of all of my exploits, I have narrowed down my way of living to one word. Act.

Playing in rock bands and doing the acoustic circuit, you’re acting. You put on the enthusiasm that you had the previous night as you’re playing to a different crowd. You act grateful for the same sorts of accolades that you received the night before.

When you’re nursing you pretend to care when you enter a ward full of sick & dying patients & relatives when all the while you’re wondering if your load of wood will be delivered on time as you’re almost out.

Being an alcoholic you’re acting big time. You want to be drunk without being noticed. That’s a tricky one….& you will get tripped up at some point, one day or another.

Having bipolar makes you a great actor by default. If you’re feeling low, you don’t want people to know so you ‘force’ yourself to appear normal. If your running high you have to reign yourself in and shut up. Added to this is the fact that I find most people boring, hence I wear prescription sunglasses a lot so they can’t see my bored, glazed eyes. This may sound arrogant. It’s not. The problem lies with me, not them.

So what I have been doing most of my life is acting. Why? Easy. I have no idea who I am. It’s all very well to say, “Just be yourself.” I have no idea who ‘myself’ is. I know he’s likeable, intelligent & isn’t evil but I haven’t got a clue who I am.

I act.

My Eric Clapton Dream

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clapton

I had such a vivid dream last night that I had to write about it. I had to share it. I can remember every detail….& I know what spurned it. I am currently reading the Eric Clapton biography. I also have a large book of his on my table. It’s been there for weeks.

Back to this dream. I dreamed that I got claustrophobic and had to  get out of the house. I went to the nearby park & was watching the ducks, thinking of what a peaceful life they led. I felt a person come close to me & lean on the fence. “What a life,” they said.. I knew the voice straight away. Before I turned around I knew it was Eric Clapton. My initial reaction was that he was shorter than I.

“Eric Clapton!” I exclaimed, trying not to draw attention to us. I held my hand out & said, “I’m Bob Findlay. A big fan, Mr. Clapton.” Clapton said, “Call me Eric.” We shook hands. He was wearing a leather jacket, jeans, sneakers & a black t-shirt. He asked me what I was doing at the park. I told him about the ducks and claustrophobia. “That’s a great idea Bob. What made you think of it?” I didn’t have an answer.

“What brings you here Eric?” I asked. He said he had property in the area and was killing time until he flew out. I chanced my arm. “Eric. Would you come to my place for a coffee? I only live 5 minutes away.” Clapton said, “Sure.” We walked back to the car park & Eric followed me in his rental car.

When we arrived at my place I offered him a seat and made us a coffee. I knew he didn’t smoke so I asked if he minded if I smoked. “It’s your house, Bob. Smoke away. I’m around the stuff all the time anyway…..& not just cigarettes smoke as he laughed.

For an hour we talked about music but not about him. I noticed that he was very direct and really looked you in the eye when he spoke & when you spoke. I would ask him about this musician and that musician and got quite a few surprises. Eventually I had too ask him the inevitable….but first I had to grab my neighbour (who didn’t know who he was. I asked Eric to check out my guitar, a Fender Stratocaster Plus. “Sure,” he said. He was very impressed with it. “That’s one nice guitar you’ve got there, Bob.” He then asked why I bought a Strat. I replied, “You.” Clapton replied, “Well it’s lucky I play the most versatile guitar ever made.” I said, “I soon found that out.”

I got my neighbour to take a photo of Eric playing my guitar with me sitting next to him then vice versa. I then, got a photo of just Eric & I standing together with our arms around each other smiling.

Eric then looked at his watch and said, “I’d better go Bob and catch that plane.” We shook hands and with that he was gone. When I turned around my neighbour was gone too but I noticed on my shelf, the 3 photos that were taken were sitting upright in pewter frames.

I awoke & sat bolt upright. So convincing was the dream that I had to get up, put the lights on and check where my guitar was. It was in its usual place.

It hadn’t moved. Especially by Eric Clapton.

Analgesia

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Please note that names have been changed for confidentiality reasons.

cancer

I am a retired Registered Nurse (R.N. hereafter) of 22 years. For this entry I shall be giving real examples and my personal opinions on pain relief for terminal patients only.

My first complaint re. analgesia came very early on in my career. I was working with a senior R.N…..lets call her Sister Cullen….and we were looking after a patient called Mr. Smith. He had days to live. He was in agony and his family were deeply distressed. The Doctor had written him up for a dose  of Morphine that could range from 1mg to 10mg. 1mg of Morphine wouldn’t touch a mouse.

Sister Cullen decided to give Mr. Smith 2mg of Morphine. I voiced my professional displeasure. “He might get addicted,” was her excuse. I’m normally calm but  I blew a fuse. “Addicted? He’ll be dead in 3 days…..in agony going the way you’re talking!” 2mg of Morphine was given with nil effect. Sister Cullen didn’t go near the room again. She made me face the distraught family. I swore to take the initiative next time & told the family.

30 minutes before his next dose was due, I called the specialist and asked him to review Mr. Smiths analgesia. 15  minutes later the Doctor arrived and was furious with Sister Cullen. He saw the condition of Mr. Smith and his family and wrote him up for a whopping dose of 25mg of Morphine. He also wrote a scathing report in his notes.

When Sister Cullen and I collect Mr. Smiths drug chart for his next dose, she tried to chastise me.I winked at the family on the way out of the ward. I then showed her the scathing report that the Doctor had written about her pain management perspective. She  couldn’t say a work as we drew up the massive dose.

I administered the dose IV as ordered. On assessing Mr. Smith 30 minutes later his observations were fine. He was pain free, lucid and even joking with his family who thanked me. I told them that I was only doing my job. Mr Smith died in his sleep 4 days later. Addicted? Not enough time and besides, who cares? His family had the peace of mind knowing that he was pain free, had time to share memories and say his goodbyes.

I was a 20 years old.

Then there’s Pethedine. It’s a narcotic akin to Morphine but less effective. So why are they still giving it? Easy.  Drug companies. I will reserve my views & knowledge about how drug companies work for another entry. They are too complex to extrapolate here.

Pethedine can be given into the muscle or the vein. Into the muscle takes it longer to work  with less effectiveness. Into the vein gives a quicker, more effective result. It is always written up by Doctors to be given 4 hourly as required. I’m confused and annoyed. Any Pharmacology book will tell you that its effect is only 2-4 hours. What if your unlucky & only get 2 hours of pain relief? It is also notorious for causing vomiting, requiring  a drug called Maxolon be given to relieve the nausea. Oh, goody! A few bonus dollars for the drug companies. Let me re-phrase that. A LOT of bonus dollars for them. We’re talking about a trillion dollar industry here.

My other complaints also relate to analgesia for terminally ill patients. Heroin. The best general analgesic known to man. Why is this drug not available in the hospital setting for Mrs. Huggit who is writhing constantly in agony from ovarian cancer that will kill her in a week  As sh is pumped full of massive amounts of Morphine with nil effect, the cancer continues to grow and move under her skin. I’ve seen it happen and am sickened.

Why not give Mrs. Huggit heroin? it may make her groggy but would YOU want to see a close one with moving skin from cancer in intractable pain? It’s not much of a question for anybody with a heart.

Then there’s the outrageous debate about the possible legalisation of medicinal cannabis. I don’t smoke the stuff recreationaly & am undecided on legalising its recreational use. For medicinal use, however, I find it a crime in itself that the drug remains illegal for medical use.

Cannabis has been repeatedly been proven to be an excellent pain killer for terminal patients. 3 independent U.K. surveys have discovered that cannabis is actually a better pain killer specifically for bone cancer than heroin.

As well as it’s pain relieving qualities, cannabis is an excellent appetite stimulant; a major factor in cancer treatment.

Cannabis has now been proven to kill cancer cells. This has been proven in independent surveys globally. If you click the prior link, strong evidence is  provided that an element in cannabis called  THC actually kills cancer cells.

So why is medicinal cannabis being treated like a narcotic or written off as nonsense?

Simple.

Drug companies haven’t found a way of making more money from cannabis than they are currently making  from their largely unsuccessful (& expensive) contemporary treatments.

Speedball

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CAUTION: This entry contains occasional drug use.

heroin

Dan went to a party with his wife Beth. Beth wanted to have a few drinks so Dan said he’d drive. Beth wasn’t much of a drinker. Dan worked for himself as a lawyer. Beth was his secretary.

Shortly after arriving at the party Dan was  approached by a tall man who was obviously stoned. Dan noticed something different about him. He was a ‘different’ stoned. His eyes weren’t red. They were glassy. He also spoke slowly & quietly. The man introduced himself as Derek. He produced a small joint and handed it to Dan. Dan wasn’t much of a smoker but after a few puffs he felt a different high than he remembered.

By the end of the joint, Dan  was experiencing a high like he had never experienced. He figured that it wasn’t strong cannabis or had been dipped or sprayed with anything or he’d be passed out. He was too clear and the high was phenomenal. Dan figured that the joint was probably laced wit powdered Valium or Serepax. He looked around for Derek but he had already left.

Dan and Beth  left the party a few hours  later. Beth was drunk but Dan was still high and clear. The following day Beth woke up hungover. Dan felt fine and remembered the high that he experienced the night before.

A few days later Dan and Beth had one of their friends visit. They told him about the party. Beth couldn’t remember much as she was drunk but Dan raved about the high he experienced. Their friend looked suspiciously at Dan and asked who gave him the joint. Dan said, “Derek.” His friend said, “You were smoking heroin. He’s a dealer and an IV drug user.  Cocaine &  heroin. He shoots them up both at once. It’s called a speedball. The coke lifts you up & the smack brings you down. He deals to keep his habit up.”

Dan blew a fuse Beths hangover vanished instantly. She had never seen Dan angry before, nor had their friend. Dan picked up the asked car keys and headed for the door. “Where are you going?” asked Beth. “To find a phone box,” Dan replied. Beth said to their visitor, “Things are going to go bad for this Derek character.”

Dan had a college friend who was now a member of a bikie club. His name was Steve. Steve told him that if he had any trouble to call him. Dan still had his number memorised and he was to call him from a phone box to avoid being traced. Dan found a phone box and rang Steve. He simply said, “It’s Dan. I need an address. A hard  drug dealer & junkie called Derek.” Steve said, “That scum. He gets kids addicted. His address is 459 Dodgin Street. Need any help?” Dan replied. No thanks. I’ll be fine. Thanks again Steve.”

That afternoon Dan went to the address and knocked for 15 minutes. Finally he shouted,”Police! Open up!” Within a minute Derek opened the door. He was obviously stoned.” Hey. How’sit……” At that Dan punched Derek in the face, breaking his nose and laying him flat. Dan turned and drove home.

Once home he told Bet what had happened. There was a knock on the . It was the police. Derek had charged him with assault. Dan knew the officers and laughed. “This should be fun,” he said to them. The officers laughed. One of them said, “Yeah. It’s a bit of a joke.” The court date was 6 weeks away.

When proceedings began, Dan looked straight at Derek who looked stoned but was wearing a tattered . Dan hastened proceedings by pleading  guilty before a question was asked. “I punched that gentleman in the face your Honour.” Then the Prosecution would ask a question that they didn’t know would make all Hell break loose.”Why did you punch my client in the face?” Dan calmly replied, “He offered me a cigarette laced with  heroin.” The courtroom gasped.

Daniel was slowly becoming the Prosecutor. He said, “If it pleases your Honour, under section 3, subsection 45 of the Stat Drug Act I hereby request that the complainant be drug tested immediately & his premises be searched for drugs forthwith.”  Without raising her head the judge said, “Granted. Clerk, see that these points of law are applied forthwith.” She concluded by saying, “We will reconvene at 2pm.” Derek was led from the court in handcuffs looking petrified.

When the court reconvened the judge was wielding a  fresh manilla folders. She immediately addressed the court. “As requested & under relevant  legislation, the the complainant is found guilty of the possession of a trafficable amount of narcotics and also of being under the influence of the aforementioned narcotics, namely heroin and cocaine. The judge lifted her head, looked at Derek and said, “I hereby sentence you to 5 years imprisonment.”  Dan didn’t even lift his head as the shaken Derek was led from  the court. He whispered to the court clerk, “He’ll do it again when he’s out.” The judge overheard it and went, “Hhmmm,”

5 years later Derek was released. Dan rang Steve and asked him to keep an ear out. 6 months later Dan received a call from Steve from a phone box. “He’s back at it. Want me and the boys to have a word?” an said, “Yes thanks. He’s going to kill young people….if he hasn’t in the past.” Steve said, “He has. We’ll have a word, if you know what I mean.”  One night  Steve and 5 other bikies broke into Dereks house and bashed him to within an inch of his life. He spent 6 weeks in hospital where he underwent severe withdrawals.

After Derek left hospital he was clean but wanted to use again. He would borrow drugs from another dealer to feed his habit, ‘cut’ the rest and pay the dealer back. He was never the same since the beating. Dereks nerves were shot and his drug use was spiraling out of control.

Between the fear of a police, keeping up with drug dealers, the beating and maintaining his astronomical drug habit things got too much for Derek. One morning at 2am he opened his front door, went back inside and had a massive speedball and hanged himself. He was found by someone who had arrived to score at mid-day.

No more young lives would be threatened.

 

My Scottish Accent

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tartan

I emigrated to Tasmania with my family  in 1979  when I was 12 years old. This is an awkward age at the best of times. Every kid wants to fit in. I was a ‘novelty’ for local Tasmanian kids as it was. I figured that they didn’t need any more ‘ammunition’ with a Scottish accent.

Overnight I adopted an Australian accent. It was hard work but it was convincing. This accent would stay with me for well over 30 years. People knew that I was Scottish as I would tell them if it came up in conversation. When I got ‘Scotland’ tattooed on my right forearm I was about 40 (I’m almost 50 now) it became an instant talking point. I rather enjoyed this, not for the attention but for the break from the mundanity of normal small-talk. I enjoy talking to interested parties about Scotland as my memories are vivid and pleasant….and surprising to some listeners.

Two months ago, maybe it’s an age thing, I decided to revert to my Scottish accent after all of these years. I got sick of ‘trying’ when I spoke. I also felt that I was cheating people. I put a post on my Facebook page saying this and went back to writing my novel, so I didn’t know what I had unleashed. I was soon to find out.

Minutes later the phone rang. “Hi Bob,” an excited voice said. It’s XXXXX here. Say something Scottish.” What could I say? I replied, “Hello, how are you on this fine day?” The phone ran hot for an hour. I barely got to sit down. I’m not hard to find, after all. I’m the only ‘B Findlay’ in the phone book in my city. The penny eventually  dropped. I went to my Facebook page & their were comments galore. That, I can only assume, was the source of the phone calls. I instantly took the post down and and took the phone off the hook for the rest of the day.

Now I had the rest of the world to face. I’m lucky on that front though. The places that I go to know me pretty well. I went to the Pharmacy. I was asked by the Pharmacist about the accent. I told him the truth. I got sick of having to concentrate on my Australian accent. He and the other staff took it onboard without batting an eyelid. At the corner store where I buy my cigarettes, Cindy who works there didn’t flinch. Nor did Chris as the petrol station. I find myself very occasionally having to repeat myself. I have also found myself swearing a bit more. I keep it under control. The supermarket is not a problem as it’s usually a stranger who serves me and All I have to say is “Hello,” and “Okay thanks.”

Too easy.

The Meeting

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CAUTION! This entry contains frequent coarse language.

meeting

Mick Harper was a Registered Nurse with 22 years experience. His record was spotless. He was very good at his job. For the past 2 years, however, Mick wasn’t feeling right mentally. His moods were swinging so he began to drink heavily to quell these swings. His work remained unaffected.

Mick made an appointment with 3 Psychiatrists. All 3 Psychiatrists diagnosed Mick with what he had in a discussion with the Director Of Nursing (D.O.N. hereafter) on the matter he couldn’t voice as nurses in the state aren’t allowed to diagnose. Bipolar Affective Disorder. They all prescribed medication. Mick took the prescription sheets home  & made another appointment with the Psychiatrist who prescribed the least medication. He began taking her medication & stopped drinking. He returned to the Psychiatrist & said that he should retire.. She wholeheartedly agreed & said she would post an appropriate letter out.

Mick rang the D.O.N & told her his diagnosis. “We both knew that, didn’t we Mick?” Mick replied, “Yes. Yes we did.” He told her of his decision to resign & that he would have the relevant documentation to her in a few days.

When the Psychiatrists report arrived, Mick photocopied it along with a letter of resignation. He rang the D.O.N. who said  that he could drop the papers off any time that day. Mick took them to her that afternoon & was asked to wait. The D.O.N. took him to a seminar room which was filled with his former colleagues. He was a round of applause while streamers flew everywhere. Mick was asked to  give a speech during which he broke down several  times. His medications hadn’t started working yet. Nobody had seen him cry in 22 years through thick  & thin. He left a pile of his old music business cards on the table. The nurses scrambled to grab one. “You lot better be sure to bloody ring,” joked Mick.

Mick left the building in tears. What can I do? How will these pills affect me? Mick was lost until someone suggested he resume his online recording career. It would be several weeks before he did so as the medications began to work. He took to the recording scene easily.

6 months later he received a letter from the Nursing Board requesting a meeting saying that they wanted a meeting with them in their offices regarding the timing of his resignation. ‘I’m not driving to the other end of the fucking state and  why 6 months later?’ Mick got his Psychiatrist to write a letter prohibiting him from driving such a distance.

A month later he received a letter from them demanding that he attend a meeting at the local hospital in a week. ‘This should be fun,’ thought Mick. He spent the following week  scouring their precious guidelines & he didn’t have a case to answer.

He turned up  at the D.O.N.s door. She greeted him warmly & took him to a boardroom. As he entered the boardroom he felt the D.O.N. pat him on the back. He casually entered the boardroom wearing jeans, sandshoes, a Bob Dylan t-shirt and prescription sunglasses. Without looking up he took a seat at a ridiculously over-sized table. He sat down a Mars bar to his left & a packet of cigarettes to his right. He then produced from his pocket a small tubular ashtray and a small cigarette holder.

Mick then put his elbows on the bench, looked across at all 5 women, reeking of  cheap perfume & said, “Okay. What the fuck am I doing here?” The board members looked aghast & looked at each other before one of them said, “Firstly, Mr. Harper, I find your language inappropriately & secondly would you kindly remove your sunglasses?” Mick replied, “My normal glasses are being repaired  so I’m afraid these prescriptions stay, secondly I’m here of my own  free volition so shall speak as I please & thirdly, your ”Mr. Harper doesn’t exist. He retired 6 months ago so I’d prefer to be  called Mick. Everybody else does. I don’t see what makes you any different.”

The board were flustered. One of them said, “Mr. Harper……” At this Mick said, “Fuck this. I’m gone.” He collected his bits & pieces & made his way to the door. He could hear then one of the board members said, “Mick.” Mick turned around & said, “What polite person complied with my humble & simple request?”” One member raised their hand. “Thank you,” said Mick who returned to his seat with his bits & pieces.

“Excuse me, Mick. Why do you have a Mars bar with you?” Mick replied, “That’s easy. Your  guidelines said that I could bring a support person who can’t talk & I can’t confer with. I was almost bring  a puppet but I thought a Mars bar  might come in handy.”

Another board member stated that Micks resignation didn’t fall outside of your stress leave. Mick opened fire “That’s the problem of the D.O.N…..not me. I’ve got a psychiatric condition  for fucks  sake & you’re sitting there like the puffed up nobodys that you are trying to scare me. Sorry ladies. I’m not scared of you. Never have been. I’ve read few of your fucking expensive flyers with parts in bold print. That’s attempted intimidation. It’s also a sign of insecurity. An Psychologist can tell you that. Any Psychologists in the room?” Mick looked at them all as they all sat uncomfortably. “Didn’t fucking think so,” said Mick.

Mick hadn’t finished. “So you’ve dragged me her for fuck-all, yeah? I bet your using taxpayers money are staying at a flashy hotel & will have an upmarket meal, again, at the taxpayers expense.” Mick then took a cigarette from its pack, put it into his short holder & lit it. 3 board members yelled, “You can’t smoke in here!” Mick leaned  back and slowly exhaled. “Well fucking arrest me. I’ve seen the specs for this  hospital. That tiny smoke detector would take the towering inferno to start.” He paused before continuing, “If you  examine the sign it reads You ‘May’ Not Smoke In The Building. ‘May’ being the operative word. My lawyer would have a fucking field day with it.”

The board moved uneasily. They knew that Mick had them. He was asked to move the room while they discussed the matter. Mick leaned forward & blew smoke over all 5 members. One of them then asked if he would mind leaving the room while they discussed the matter. Mick replied, “I don’t  like people talking about me behind my back. It’s fucking rude. You’re either going to fine me or not. That fucking simple. Fine me & I’ll tear you to bits in court because even you know you’re in the wrong. This is fucking harassment.” One of the board members said,  “We really would prefer that you left the room.” Mick replied, “If I walk out that fucking door, the next time you’ll see me is in court with a team of vicious lawyers.”

Mick calmly opened his Mars bar as the board members passed noted between themselves. After 10 minutes a member said, “We’ll write to you with our decision.” Mick had finished his Mars bar &  lit another cigarette. “No you won’t,” Mick said. “You’ll give me the obvious conclusion now.” The board members passed more notes amongst themselves. One board member stood up & said, “We have decided to take no further action.” Mick sarcastically said, “Yay!” He continued, “See it wasn’t bad, now, was it? You fuckers had no case to start with….& you knew it. You were hoping I was some fucker who scares easy. You’ve just passed the day for yourselves and will no doubt enjoy the rest of it. I’m gone.”

That night Mick took his children out to tea. He treated them to a nice restaurant. They sat down and shortly afterwards the board-members sat at a pre-booked table quite close to where Mick & his children were. Mick kept his language clean but he made countless derogatory remarks about the bard, who looked increasingly uncomfortable. Mick knew 3 of the waiters. He had a word with them. “I’ll explain later.” Drinks were spilled & watered down, drinks were confused, ‘accidental’ elbows to the head were aplenty. Meals were confused & under-cooked.

Mick continued with his remarks whilst grinning menacingly at them, just adding to an already miserable evening. When Mick & his children left he gave the car keys to his son  & hung back. He got to their table & loudly said, “I hope you enjoyed your meals. Meals provided by the taxpayer  for a meeting that tried to frame an INNOCENT FUCKING MAN!!!

He continued, “Oh, I do hope you enjoy your trip  back to the other end of the state at the taxpayers expense and  that your taxpayer funded hotel is to your liking!” He leaned  over to address all of the table. “I’d hate your car to be tampered with & I hope nothing goes wrong in your hotel rooms. You’re all cunts & should be ashamed of yourselves.” All of the board members faces were bright red. They didn’t stay long in the restaurant and went back to the hotel room, all of them wondering what Mick meant by referring to the car & hotel.

He meant nothing by it. He just wanted them to experience  the fear that they had instilled in so many innocent nurses over the years.

 

 

 

 

Dear Landlord

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landlord

I live alone in a secluded 2 bedroom apartment on at dead-end street. It’s perfect for a recording artist & writer. Every few months the real estate people send someone up to inspect the place. I’m tidy by nature so they don’t phase me. The inspections  are brief affairs. They take a few photos and engage in some superficial chat. It’s over & done with  in a few minutes.

A few months ago I had finished a cigarette on my back doorstep as I’m not allowed to smoke in the house (!). 20 minutes later a young girl arrived. She got to the back door area & asked if I had been smoking inside. I told her that I hadn’t but had recently had a cigarette on the back doorstep. She suggested that I shut the door whilst smoking. I didn’t give it a thought & did as she requested.

Things changed for the worst a few weeks later. My daughter took ill and needed transport home. Her Mum, a State Registered Nurse, was at work. I was outside having a cigarette with the door closed. I didn’t hear the phone. Luckily my parents were home and bought her to my place. She was pale & holding her stomach. It was period pain. I put her to bed and tried a hot pack on her abdomen with nil effect. I take 2 Panadeine Forte (codeine) for long-term lower back pain.As a retired State Registered Nurse I gauged that half a tablet would be appropriate (I’m a retired State Registered Nurse of 22 years).

I sat and wrote at my laptop where I could see her in the spare room. After an hour her pulse was no longer racing, her respirations had slowed to 14 per minute and her colour had improved. I took her back to her Mums a few hours later.. On the way home my blood started to boil.Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’m not the angry type but when I do get angry things end badly for others.

I got straight onto the phone to the Tenants Union & my lawyer & explained the situation about missing a very important phone call because I had been advised to close the door whilst smoking. They got back to me within a few days with the same news, namely that once I set foot out of the door, lighting a cigarette with the door closed or open is breaching no guideline & breaking no law. I can smoke 6 inches or 6 feet from the door, open or closed.

From that day on I have smoked with the door open & have actually received phone calls, so I may have missed more than my daughters in the past.

Last week a vaguely similar event occurred. I had just finished 2 cigarettes (with the door open) and had put the ashtray back in the cupboard. I then sat down at my laptop. I wouldn’t have been there 10 minutes when someone presented at my door. It was another house inspection. She was young, attractive & pleasant. The inspection took less than 5 minutes. I was waiting for something to be said about cigarette smoke but not a word was uttered.

Two days later I received a letter from the real estate people regarding the smell of smoke. Armed with the Tenants Union &  my lawyer I wrote them a patronising letter. Why wasn’t I notified of the inspection? I wrote that as an ‘opener.’ Why didn’t the young girl doing the inspection mention any smoke to me so that I could explain the situation & why? Was it inexperience? Was it fear? As a former State Registered Nurse of 22 years you learn to ‘read’ people & I suspect it was a combination of both on the part of the young girl.

In my letter I also mentioned that they were splitting invisible hairs & wasting their secretarys time by getting her to type the letter to me; the letter that included bold print which is a sure sign of an intimidatory move and also a sign of insecurity. Any Psychologist can tell you that.

I couldn’t help but annoy them. I offered them to come to my house any time and invent a flaw to evict me. I know full-well that this  won’t happen  but advised them my lawyer would have the case dismissed in minutes & the judge would frown upon such a frivolous and wrong accusation. I would then take the matter to the press.   I also pointed out that if I was falsely accused and a third time that I would take legal action. The matter would, without doubt, go in my favour.

As I said, on the few times I get angry, things end badly for others.

Favourite Songs

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music

I’m about to write about some of my favourite songs. I have a Top 20 list which varies in order. I will only address a few for reasons of avoiding tedium. I will address each song from a musicians perspective. To view any song for further insight simply click on the song title. A decent listening device is required for maximum effect.

The songs are listed randomly & I will no doubt re-think my decision once published. I do hope that you enjoy my selection and what hear & see.

  • ‘It Makes No Difference’  This song was written by Robbie Robertson, a member of The Band who released the song but it really belongs to their bass player Rick Danko. The track is a ‘love gone wrong’ song & is one of the saddest songs that I have heard. I can’t listen to it if I’m feeling down. The song has no chorus but it flows from one change to the next seamlessly. To me it’s the combination of the lyrics & Dankos soulful vocals with timely falsettos almost make the music vanish. Every clip I have seen of this song,  Danko puts in a 110% effort.

Danko suffered many addictions throughout his life. They caught up with him in his 50s when he became very bloated. This led to his tragic death in 1999 of heart failure at the age of 56. As much as I love his work, this musician feels that Danko had already given his best.

  • ‘Highway To Hell’  This song by AC/DC became the swansong for their frontman,  the late (Ronald) Bon Scott. The opening chords are almost reminiscent of Keith Richards but nobody can miss the tone off the Gibson SG of Angus Young. It starts off with just the guitar then drums then Scotts vocals as he screams wildly through the song. The rest of the band don’t come in until the first chorus. Scott steals the show as he sings about “….no stop signs. Speed limits,” & sings of when he gets to Hell, “….my friends are gonna be there too.”

It was as if the song was written for him as he was drinking himself to death. On viewing, to say Scott was mischievous is a gross understatement. Bon Scott  looks dangerous!!! He looks like he really means it. The song ends with singing in a quiet quivering voice, “I’m on a highway to hell.” Ironic as this would be the last we would hear from Scott, Contrary to popular belief that he died of asphyxiation from excessive alcohol, he died of hypothermia whilst passed out in a car in England aged 33. Many close to him said that he wasn’t going to make old bones due to alcohol abuse. It was almost as if the song was written for him. “Hey mama. Look at me. I’m on my way to the promised land.”

  • “What’s Up” This track by  the ‘4 Non Blondes’ is about self realisation, maturing and how confusing & frustrating it can be. Musically the song is very basic. There are only 3 chords. It relies on musical dynamics but the key to the song is the vocals of Linda Perry. I have chosen a live version so that you can hear the raw talent of the band, Perry in particular, without added studio effects.

Perry’s vocals rise & fall dependent on the lyrics that she’s singing at the times. She can go from silky smooth & mellow to falsetto to screaming highs in 3 breaths, again, all dependent on what part of the song she’s singing. When she’s  being philosophical her silky smooth  voice, combined with excellent falsetto are excellent such as when she reaches parts in the  song where she sings, “I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed,  just to let it all out. What’s in my head.” She goes on to add, “I must say, I feel a little peculiar.”  When she reaches parts where sings, “I scream at the top of my lungs, what’s going on!” She REALLY screams it. Note perfect.

Perry went on to record a successful solo album & today dismisses the album from which ‘What’s Up’ as being “….shiny, glossy (expletive).” She has produced albums  for Pink & Lady Ga Ga & has directed a movie. She didn’t know that she could sing until she was quite old by musicians standards. Prior to  this she has admitted to abusing every drug except heroin & being an alcoholic. She was born in 1965 & I suspect we will hear more from her.

  • ‘Jumping Jack Flash’  This track by The Rolling Stones was released as a single in 1968 & to my mind is the first classic rock song. I think it outshines Dylans ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ as it is more raw & more guitar based. The combination of  Bill Wymans soaring bass, the raw & raunchy guitars of Brian Jones  & Keith Richards, all driven by the drums of workman-like drums of Charlie Watts. The in comes Mick Jaggers cat-like vocals purring out what can only be called mythical lyrics.

The song was released between albums as the band felt that it was too good for an album. I think that they got it right. The only album that the song can be found on are a multitude of compilation albums. To me, a Stones fanatic, the song came out about 6 years before the band peaked. I think Mick Taylor gave them a fresher sound. When he left & Ronnie Wood joined, it wasn’t long the band became samey. After several decades I imagine it would be different to remain fresh.

  • ‘Without You’  This song is by Harry Nilsson & like ‘It Makes No Difference’ I can’t listen to this song very often. I actually threw the CD out whilst drunk many years ago….shortly after my divorce. Before doing this it initially  made me cry. I guess it was a stupid move playing the song but alcohol & logic don’t know each other. Then I became ‘numb drunk’ and began to analyze it (for hours). It’s a masterpiece. The arrangement & orchestration is ahead of its time. Then there”s the voice of Harry Nillson. It apparently took many attempts to get Nilsson to do it. Several versions were attempted when Nilsson finally settled for the released version. I can’t imagine anyone else singing it.

On first or casual listening both verses sound the same. They are far from it. The prominent piano fades to the background and the vocal harmonies in verse 2 are drastically different. Not only are they drastic. They are not standard harmonies. They are quite unorthodox & quite difficult to do but Nilsson does it in spades. It was a masterstroke. I re-visit the song occasionally on Youtube.

  • A Thousand Miles Away This song is by Australian rock band ‘The Hoodoo Gurus.’ about a travelling salesman working for himself and how he needs a 30-hour day & is always on the move.

The song begins slowly with singer & guitarist Dave Faulkner describing the start off the mans day. “Estimated time off arrival 9.30am. I’m up before the sun & now I’m tired before I even begin.” At this stage it’s only Faulkner and a keyboard, to me signifies the mans loneliness & tiredness as he enters yet another busy day. Then enters subtle backing vocals with a clever use of flanger singing “When you’re flying,” reinforcing his impending plane flight. The clip goes on to show the man trying to sell his wares during the elongated intro.

Faulkner goes on to sing about the amount of time the subject spends a lot of time in airports or in bars to kill time between flights. Then, “Now you’re flying,” is subtly reinforced. The man needs to find a  room for the night. “I’d rather be 1,000 miles away,” sings Faulkner. The song then kicks off, full steam ahead with a sharp series of chords by guitarist Brad Shepherd who interestingly uses a Gibson Sunburst guitar as opposed to his trademark Fender Telecaster. I suspect this is to give the song a sharper, more cutting, feel. It works. The song is pumping.

The song goes on to describe the pitfalls of working for yourself. “Now you’re flying,” continues as a theme. Irony me thinks. During footage  of  his wife, Faulkner sings, “I might arrive but I’ll be gone the very next day. I must bee on my way.”  As the song pumps along the theme of yesterday being a thousand miles away & I’d rather  be a thousand miles away, the band adds recurring flanged vocals, “A thousand miles away.” By this point the song has reached its crescendo at exactly the right time. Each band member is giving their all and the song is like a runaway train telling a story.

  • Strawberry Fields Forever  There are so many songs by The Beatles that I took an age to decide which one to pick. Actually, although not a fan of theirs, I don’t think the releases a bad song. I went to bed last night & went through all of their songs. On waking, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ jumped straight into my head.and that was that.

I gave it quite a few listens with a musicians ear & was surprised at how basic it is musically. Lyrically I suspect that it is LSD inspired. There’s the occasional normal line but for the best part it is non-sensical or ‘trippy’ (man). If you take away all of the special studio effects and unorthodox orchestral arrangement by producer George Martin, you’re left with very basic instrumentation except for the drums (I’ll address them last). The guitars and bass lines are rather simple. The knack that The Beatles had for instrumentation was phenomenal. Where to play and more importantly where not to play. George Harrison & John Lennon weren’t particularly outstanding, or even that good, guitarists but the knew when not to play. Paul McCartney was a phenomenal bass player. The song also has a catchy melody. Lennon & McCartney had a knack for writing ‘catchy’ tunes. There were very few of them deep but  they were catchy. Maybe that’s why I’m not that big a fan.

Finally the drumming. My brother has been a drummer for well over 30 years & even he can’t get it down exactly like Ringo Starr (the most under-rated drummer in the world). I watched a doco on the recording of the song & producer George Martin, who previously worked with orchestras got the orchestral part together as easily as he got the effects part down. The guitars & bass were well rehearsed & they too were done in no time. Ringo was the only one with hard work to do. After 30-plus takes, George Martin remained undecided on what take to use. He asked Ringo what take he thought was best. Instantly Ringo said, “Take 2,”…..& that’s what listening to today. What a memory. What a mind.  Probably the hardest song ever to drum to & Ringo picked the best take instantly.

This Wheel’s On Fire

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wheel

If you’re a writer, I don’t know about you but I can’t just sit down & write. Firstly I have to be in the mood. Secondly I must know that I’m going to be free of interruptions, thirdly I need to know what I’m writing about to an  extent & songwriting is a cakewalk. I’ve been doing it since I was 16. I’ll be 50 in a fortnight..

I say to an extent  in that I’m fortunate enough to be able to write novels, blog entries & poetry. I have too wake up thinking about a novel that I’m working on. The gist of where I’m at won’t grip me during the day.

Writing a blog entry is different.. The idea for that can come to me at any given time. It may be an overheard conversation or it may be due to observing people in the street. I wonder where they’re going or where they have been, what their name are, what their job is. I can run a mile with that. It’s all purely fiction. I try to avoid factual blog entries.

I’m lucky with poetry. I find that it comes to me easily. My poetry is free form and sometimes warped butt if read closely it all makes sense. It is usually 100% imagination. Having said this my poetry makes sense as I take people into my imagination. I also aim to occasionally make the  reader think. Even though I’ve written a trilogy of humorous novels I find writing humorous poetry difficult because I don’t know when to stop.

Songwriting is  easier than poetry. 3 verses & a catchy chorus. Job done. Rock lyrics are generally superficial and not many actually listen to the lyrics, particularly in the live setting and particularly with certain genres of modern music which are nothing more than rapid spoken word pieces put to a bass drum & kick drum. Some of it I can work out but I don’t have the time to sift through it. I’m afraid my genre is classic rock..

On  any given  day I can write for up to 14 hours. These days happen about every 2-3 weeks. I don’t plan them. They just happen. Blog….poem…..Novel….song….& so the cycle continues on days like these. I stop to eat & to have an occasional cigarette. I don’t pay attention to what I eat & I smoke my cigarettes at double-speed. I get annoyed when I look at the clock & it’s time to take my medication. One of the tablets knocks me out cold. No more writing for this lad. I tried to beat the tablet once. I woke up at 2am in the same writing position that I was in when I took my medication. I had to stagger to bed, propping myself up against the walls. I awoke fully clothed. Never again shall I do this. I  could have done myself a mischief.

Even though I don’t like noise when I’m writing, I have the television on at low volume  for fear of dying from sensory deprivation. The strange thing is….every now  & again a song will pop into my head. It can be mine or somebody elses. If it’s mine I’ll go to the relevant site & put it on. If it’s somebody famous I go to  Youtube. Despite not liking noise when I write, I have to don my studio headphones. To me there’s nothing worse than a tinny computer sound. I like the full stereo sound for maximum appreciation.

This only happens on 14 hour days for some reason.

What about  you?

He Drank Himself Sober

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Neil Ramsay was 35 years old & was pondering retiring as a lawyer as he felt that he was burnt out. He was also a raging alcoholic, which wasn’t helping him. One Saturday morning caught a bus to the bottle shop and went to a secluded spot on the beach and drank the entire bottle in 2 hours whilst pondering life, as alcoholics do. In an alcoholic burst he went to the local library and typed out a letter of resignation for ‘personal reasons.’ He drunkenly figured he would get a good payout which would give him time to work out what to do. Did he want to remain a lawyer? Did he want to return to University? What would he study? He went to the post office and sent the letter. He remained confused. Would he regret resigning? ‘Would they ever take me back? They don’t know about my drinking & I’m at the top of my game.’

He had enough money to feed himself and to drink until his work money came through. The money came through the following week. After 6 months Neil was drinking 2 bottles of vodka a day. Friends steered clear because he couldn’t be warned and was incoherent.

With his days & nights filled with vodka, all he wanted to do was talk. He took to going to the pub next door to the bottle shop and chatting with the locals there. Most of them were drunks but they were someone for Neil to talk to. Before long, he was drinking 12 pints of Guinness before going to the bottle shop for his 2 bottles of vodka.

Something had to give.

After a year of each drunken day rolling into another year of 12 pints of Guinness & 2 bottles of vodka  Neil began vomiting blood occasionally. He paid little attention. He paid even less attention the the fact that he wasn’t passing water very often and when he did he was passing blood. Dark blood. He became bloated, reaching almost 100kg.

In a moment of drunken clarity that only an alcoholic can  know, Neil decided to stop drinking. He lay in bed shaking and sweating for the first day. On the second day he got up & was mindlessly watching TV, still shaking and sweating.

Then the inevitable happened.

He came to on the floor without a clue how he got there. Initially he couldn’t stand up. Eventually he made it to his feet but he was very wobbly. He looked around and didn’t recognise his apartment. He didn’t know where he was. Neil then walked to a wall and began talking to it. He was aware that he was doing it but didn’t stop. Then he began talking to a light bulb. Eventually he got a little clarity. He sat in his chair and noticed that his glasses were neatly folded on the table by his chair. He then noticed a red stain on his jeans. He had been incontinent.

Neil realised that something serious happened. He  had a shower and changed his clothes before calling for an ambulance. Before he got to the hospital, the ambulance crew determined, from Neils information, that he had suffered an alcoholic seizure. Alcoholic seizures occur after lengthy periods of excessive alcohol intake and occur 48-72 hours after cessation. Neil fitted the bill. Alcoholic seizures can  be fatal.

When he hit the hospital the staff hit panic stations. He was immediately catheterised, was given IV Omeprazole for gastric bleeding and had bloods taken. 3 worried Doctors entered Neils room 30 minutes later. They informed him that his kidneys were only working at 30%. The kidneys regulate your Potassium levels. Potassium regulates electrical impulses in the heart. It has a narrow window. Depending on what book you read the normal range is 5.0-5.5. If you hit 6.0, you have moderate impairment. Neils level was 7.2! He was told that he could have had a heart attack any time in the last 6 months without warning.

They placed ECG leads on  him where he was monitored from ICU. Occasionally a worried looking nurse would run in & ask if he was okay. Neil eventually asked a nurse what was going on? “You’re throwing off funny beats,” she said. This scared Neil. He was scared even more when a set of mobile paddles were bout to his bedside. He said to the nurse, “That serious, eh?” The nurse casually replied, “Yup. That serious.” They then ran IV water through his right arm at a rapid pace to flush out the Potassium. He was also given Resonium, which looks like beige toothpaste. Resonium binds Potassium to the gut. It is not a cure it was only to buy Neil time. If being flushed out by water didn’t work he would be placed on fluid tablets. If this didn’t work it was dialysis. Extremely inconvenient and sometimes painful.

After two weeks Neils Potassium returned to normal levels. When he arrived home he rang Drug & Alcohol situations. Luckily he got to speak to the boss. Neil told him his story, scars & all. The boss said, “You need rehab and soon. I’ll ring you back today.” Neil sat by the phone all day. When 4.45 came he thought, ‘Typical. He’s not going to ring.’ 10 minutes later the phone rang. It was the boss. He said, “You’re booked in for a 6 month programme. Are you ready? Neil replied, “I’ve never been more ready, Sir. Thank you so much.”

Neil successfully completed the programme. On returning home he wrote to his old legal firm. His old boss was more than happy to have him back. “Would 2 weeks be okay, Neil?” Neil replied, “That sounds perfect. Thank you.”

Neil returning to work was like putting  a hand in a glove. The staff welcomed him warmly & commented on well he looked. When they asked what he had been up to he would smirk & say, “You don’t want to know.”

 

Slices Of Life

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I went to bed last night with the aim of writing another blog today. I woke up just after 1am with the same thought. Bing! What could I write about? I  spent the next 5 hours, wide awake, thinking of ideas. I couldn’t think of a solitary idea but I did think of the notion of writing a blog comprising of snippets of things that had happened to me, had witnessed, had heard and so forth. Therefore, dear reader, as the title dictates this entry will comprise of snippets of life. In my case it is in Burnie, Tasmania.

I was walking down the street the other week. It was practically empty. I noticed a kid in his late teens walking towards me. I thought, ‘Here we go.’ Instead of any trouble he said, “Excuse me. Could you tell me where the bank had moved to?” I gave him directions. He was ever so thankful and polite. What a pleasant change from a youngster. It got me thinking, ‘That’s how easy it is to be civil.’ I’m a pacifist. Violence is hard work.

I can’t work out people who get aggressive when they drink or take illicit drugs. They know what’s going to happen. They must enjoy it or get some kind of kick out of it. In my opinion the laws should be tightened on offences involving not only violence but  illicit drugs, racism, sexism and homophobia.

Gormless people bring me down. I consider myself an upbeat person but talking to a gormless person brings me down. I feel myself sinking, as if I’m melting into Mercury. There’s no point trying to pep them up. Goodness knows I’ve tried. They must have been born like it. You don’t just wake up one day gormless. At least they’re easy to get away from and often they shuffle past you in thee street with a glum “Hello.”

I find over-enthusiastic people annoying. They seem fake and they tend to ramble on ad nauseam about things I don’t care about. Thank goodness I wear my Ray Bans a lot. They.can’t see my eyes glaze over. I just hope that they don’t ask me a question….because I’m not listening. I simply say “Pardon,” if they do ask me a question. They’re also very hard to get away from. I’ve been known to cross the street if I see them before they see me but they  have a knack for seeing you first….and talking you into a corner.

Small shop owners are different. If they’re busy then you just get in and out. If they’re not busy, from my experiences, they’re always up for a quick chat. I go to my corner store early so it’s usually quiet. One girl in particular, she’s a few years younger than me, talks music a lot with me. Even though it’s different genres, it’s music. We talk about other things too. She’s very objective and straight to the point. I try to time when I get my cigarettes for the days when she’s working.

Neighbours an important part of our lives. Most of us have them. They can have a profound effect on our lives, good and bad. Man, have I  heard some bad ones. Most pertain to noise. Some are worse. 2 years ago a placid guy I know  was set upon by his neighbours. They were  hard core drug addicts. My friend  was watching TV. The neighbours were high on goodness knows what but sneaked into his living room and took to him with a crowbar and pipe, breaking his arm in 2 places and badly bruising his face and head. The case went to court and the addicts were let off. Go figure(!).

I’m lucky. In the apartment there’s a 23 year old (I’m currently 49) and to my right is a guy and his wife who look to be in their early 50s. The young guy and I only see each other when we’re both leaving our apartments at the same time but we always stop and have a chat. The guy in  his 50s is a smoker like me so we encounter each other on the veranda more often. Being that bit older and with more life experience our conversations are longer and deeper. We solve the worlds problems in a humorous way. None of us are unruly or loud. I consider myself very fortunate in this department but sadly my older neighbour is moving soon due to work. I guess then It’ll be a nervous wait to see who moves in next..

I don’t know about the rest of the world but in Australia (maybe it’s just Tasmania), the news coverage could do with a good hard looking at. You watch the morning news and find out what happened yesterday. At each newsbreak throughout the day it’s the same thing, right through to the end off the day. The following day it’s the same thing. From dusk until night-time it’s yesterdays news. Shouldn’t they be updating the news as it breaks on the day? Is it  that difficult?

Henry The Genius Tramp

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Phil Hardwick was a 30 year old college Psychology teacher who had lived comfortably alone since becoming a teacher. He was a gentle man & was well liked by students and teachers alike.

For many years, when he was in town he would see a tramp sprouting off Psychology theories. Phil would always throw a few coins in his had. The tramp would always thank him before continuing his speech. Most people would ignore him. Some would walk past and give him a look of disgust. Some even cursed at him. Nothing stopped the tramp who Phil Phil would see on different street corners on  his trips into the middle of the city.

For some reason, after all these years, Phil decided to have a chat with the tramp one Thursssday after work. They introduced themselves and proceeded to speak Psychology and  were on the same planet. The tramps name was Henry. He was an old looking 45 year old. Their talk became so intense that Phil invited Henry to his home. “We could grab a pizza,” Henry said, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly.” Phil insisted. Henry reluctantly agreed.

They walked to where Phils car was. Henry said, “This is so kind of you.” On the way to Phils, he figured out that Henry was well educated. He was polite, his grammar and diction were perfect. Henry was a genius and a gentleman.

Phil rang and ordered a pizza which they shared. While doing so the found out about each other.. Phils story was pretty straightforward but Henrys story blew Phil away. Henry used to be a Psychology lecturer but fell on hard times. The drink got to him. He got away with it until he was caught drinking in the  staff toilets. He was sacked on the spot without a single reference from  any of the other lecturers  despite his top notch and up to date first class methods, his knowledge and his excellent rapport with students and staff alike. He was unemployable.

Due to the nature of his dismissal Henry wasn’t eligible for redundancy so after 4 weeks he had to vacate his apartment. He was homeless and penniless. He packed what  few clothes he could into a rucksack and took  to living on the streets. He told Phil how he cried himself to sleep up an alleyway on his first night on the streets. Phil choked up. Henry  then told Phil of how he quickly came up with what he calls ‘street lecturing.’ Henry said, “I make enough money for one decent meal a day & a packet of cigarettes for the week.”

Phil asked Henry if he had any plans. Henry said, “No plans but I dream of teaching. I know that it can never happen but dreams  are free and they pass the time.”” Henry also told Phil that he occasionally went to the library and used their computer to keep up to  speed on Psychology trends.

Just prior to  retiring at 2am, Phil said to Henry, “I have a Psychologists meeting to go to tomorrow night. I’d like to invite you. Henry replied, “That’s too kind of you Phil but I couldn’t possibly impose.” Phil replied, “You wouldn’t be imposing. You’d be my guest. I think you’d  have a lot to offer to he others.” Henry reluctantly agreed.

The next morning around 6am, Phil heard Henry in the living room. He got up to find Henry about to head out the door. “Where do you think you’re going?”” asked Phil. Henry replied, “It”s time for me to head into town and make some money.” Phil  replied, “How about you stay for a while? I enjoy your company,” he said almost pleadingly. Henry reluctantly agreed. Phil  said to him “While I’m at work, help yourself to whatever’s here. When your my guest, my house is your house.” As Phil headed to the door to go to work he casually said, “We’ll go out to tea first. My treat.” Henrys’ eyes welled up. What He didn’t know  was that Phil had already formulated a plan for Henry…..but it would take a little time. He started up his  laptop for Henry to use for the day.

Phil arrived home late for work. He startled Henry who had his head buried in the laptop. He had been on it all day, researching. Phil said “We’d better make a move. It’s Friday night & the restaurant will get busy real quick.” Henry said, “Give me a moment and I’ll put some decent clothes on.” He reappeared from his room in clothes that were ragged at best. Phil tactfully said, “I don’t mean to sound offensive Henry but how about I get you a suit of mine? It’s a highbrow affair we’re going to afterwards.” Phil added, “Oh! Grab a quick shower and give that long hair a brush.” Henry said, “Right you are.”

Henry did as Phil suggested and appeared sheepishly from  the bathroom. “Do  I look alright?” Phil said, “You look a million dollars.” Phil was right. The suit was a perfect fit and Henrys long, clean hair and beard gave him a debonair yet bohemian air. They had their meal. Henrys table manners were immaculate. He said to Phil, “What do I tell these strangers what I do?” Phil already had it worked out and said, “Tell them you have a private practise in New York.” Henry replied, “You’ve got this worked out, Phil.” Phil winked.

After their meal they immediately caught a taxi to the Psychologists meeting. As Henry didn’t drink he stuck to orange juice. Phil led him from one group to the other,introducing him to everyone. Henry blew every group of Psychologists out of the water with his knowledge. Meanwhile Phil was making a mental note of who Henry had spoken to.

When they arrived home, Henry was high on adrenaline. “It was great to speak to people on the same planet again,” he said. “Same planet?” exclaimed Phil. “You’re in a different stratosphere Henry. You’re light years ahead of them….& they knew it.” This was the prefect time for Phil to try & push his plan for Henry forward a step. “Henry. I could learn a lot from you. Would you consider staying here for a while?” Henry leaned forward and lit a cigarette. He inhaled deeply then slowly exhaled. As he did so he leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees. He looked piercingly at Phil. Phil felt uneasy. “What are you up to with me, Phil? Tell me please.”

Phil was still feeling uneasy. It was more guilt, actually. He had to tell Henry. Firstly he couldn’t go behind the back of such an intelligent gentleman and secondly he was going to have to let Henry know at some point. Phil then lit a cigarette and pulled his chair  closer to the table with the ashtray. He looked directly at Henry and said, “I’ve just started on getting you a job.” Henry did the same with his cigarette as he did before. He was unphased. He was cynical. “How do you plan to do that Phil?” he calmly asked.

Prior to giving the full answer Phil diverted tried to Henry again and Henry knew it. Phil said, “So would you consider  staying here for a while? Not only for me to learn from you but I get lonely sometimes. Not many people interest me. You’re the most interesting person that  I’ve met….by light years. Please?” Henry could read the genuine sadness in Phils eyes and agreed. Phil jumped up, grabbed Henrys hands and made him do an Irish jig with him. An excited Phil said, “You pay for nothing. We both go shopping on Tuesdays and you grab what you want. They pay me good money Henry.” Henry broke down and had to sit on the couch with his head in his hands. “Don’t be sad, Henry. We’re both happy.” Henry said, “I am happy. I just didn’t know genorosity like yours existed.”

Phil then changed the subject and replied that, as mentioned above, he went to several different Psychology meetings. He wanted to get Henry ‘known’ at each one. Phil would then approach the highest ranking Psychologists and ask them for a character reference. Henry asked, “Why a character reference?” Phil replied, “You’ve always been in private practise and want to go public so the best you can do is character references….from the best.” Phil winked. Henry sat back and said, “For a college teacher, you’re not a bad Psychologist.” Phil was humbled and told Henry so. Henry laughed. “Don’t be humbled by an old drunk.” Phil leaned forward and said, “Henry. You’re a genius. When are you going to realise that?” Henry leaned forward, had a puff and philosophically gazed out of the window and said only half out loud, “When I can share it.”

After a dozen meetings, Phil went to them all alone. People all asked where  Henry was. Phil said he was unwell. He approached the highest ranking Psychologists and explained Henrys mythical dilemma and asked for a character reference. All 12 were more than happy to oblige. Phil asked if they could address them to Henry at Phils address. Nobody asked any questions.

The next month was agony  for Henry. He would check the mail box up to 4 times a day. Phil stayed up late but Henrys mind was running riot with Psychology and the prospect of teaching again. The nights were long but the days were longer. Then the references started coming in. In the space of 5 days, Henry had all 12 character references, complete with letterheads all from the citys top Psychologists.

Henry had been scouring the country online and found 4 positions vacant so he emailed a word  perfect response with 3 references attached to them. He was granted an interview for all 4. They were all in different states so Phil gave him 4 suits for the interviews.

Henrys immaculate diction, presentation and knowledge saw him sail through each interview. When asked why he hadn’t  taught he lied and said he had bipolar but it was now under control and that he knew within himself he was ready to teach. Each university told him he would be notified within 5 days. On returning back at Phils he was exhausted. He casually told Phil about the interviews. He excused himself and went to bed early where he slept for 14 hours.

Henry received 4 letters from the universities. Phil had just arrived home to see 4 pieces of paper on the table and Henry grinning widely. “You’ve got a job, haven’t you?” said Phil. “I’ve got a choice of  4,”” replied Henry. Phil asked which one he would take. Henry told him that he’s take the one closest to where he was. Phil asked why. Henry replied, “So I can be close to my best friend.” Phils eyes welled up Phil asked when he started. “Four weeks,” said Henry. “Right,” said Phil. “We’re going shopping on Saturday.” Henry asked, “What for?” Phil said, “You’ll need some things to get you started.” Henry replied, “I know I’ve said it before but you’re too kind, Phil.”

That Saturday they hit  the town. Phil bought toiletries, an electric razor, hair ties and so forth. They then went to a clothing store and Phil bough Henry 5 suits. “Put them on my bill,” Phil said to the assistant. He turned to Henry and said, “Don’t worry. I’m a regular here.”

When the day came for Henry to leave both men were very quiet. Driving to the train station not a word was spoken. Standing at the station they made small talk and jokes to cover their sadness. Phil handed Henry an envelope. “What’s this?” asked Henry. Phil tried to deflect it and said, “It’s a thank you.” Henry said, “Don’t try to deflect me. What is it?” Phil sheepishly said, “It’s a thousand dollars.” Henry  tried to hand it back but Phil wouldn’t have it. “It’s to help set you up. You can’t start with nothing.”

When the call came and Henrys train arrived the pair went pale. “This is it, the,” said Henry. “Not quite,” replied Phil who handed him his email address.’t want to let go. It was time to board the train. They hugged each other tightly and didn’t want to let go.  Both men were sobbing. Henry boarded the train and deliberately sat at the far side from Phil. He was too upset to see him.

It would be 6 weeks before Phil got an email from Henry. Henry was in his element. He was flying. He kept thanking Phil  for all of his help. Phil had a touch of sadness about all of the years that such a mind was ostracised for having a medically diagnosable disease. All of the nights that he spent  sleeping in alleys. All the abuse he would have tolerated by the ignorant.

Phil then looked at the couch where Phil sat. His apartment looked empty. It never looked empty before…nor did it feel empty but it did. Phil was lonely. All  of the Psychology meetings didn’t mean a thing. He was alone. His job even soon became a drag. There wasn’t a damn thing that he could think of to change it except wait for Henry to visit during term breaks like he said he would. Phil would count the days down on his calender.

When Henry returned for the first of his many visits, Phils house came to life. Phil came to life.

Who would have thought a so-called tramp could change a life?

 

Living Alone

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What defines a relationship? It’s a pretty standard question but to me the answer is  an unorthodox one. I was divorced 15 years ago and have lived on my own for the majority of the time ever since. I am almost 50 years old at time of writing. I’m a retired Registered Nurse, recovering alcoholic who has not had a drink for many years, I have two teenage children, I am an author, a poet, recording artist and played in a rock band for several years. I could blog each of these facets. Let’s just say  I’ve lived a bit.

Occasionally I get asked, usually by women, if I have a partner. When I say “No,” they seem surprised. “How can you not have a partner?” they say. “Quite easily,” I reply.  They think I’m joking but I’m deadly serious.

Firstly my main activities are recording music and writing. Hardly conducive to conversation or any other interaction for that matter. These activities also allow me to come and go as I please. I can be sitting writing then suddenly decide to go do my shopping. You can’t do this in a relationship.

This  brings me to my next point and it’s a point that I have a ‘thing‘ about. I would have to adjust my day to my partners day. The aforementioned grocery shopping would be a nightmare. It would take twice as long and we would be buying certain things that I don’t like. Do I pretend to like it or not? It’s a decision that I  don’t have to make. Other shopping would be a task and a half. I am in no way a sexist but women are known to take ages shopping….often arriving empty-handed.

Conversation would soon dry up. It already does. I have an eclectic and abstract mindset. I also have an IQ of 142. Many’s the time I’ve found my eyes glazing over and my mind drifting elsewhere whilst my current company are gossiping about the man who lives across  the road.

I am sometimes asked if I get lonely. I have never felt lonely but I have felt alone. There is a big difference between the words. ‘Lonely’  evokes thoughts of sadness….well….to my mind it does. ‘Alone,’ on the other hand evokes solitude/peace. I occasionally wake up in the middle of the night & go out to the veranda for a cigarette. On really still nights I feel ‘alone.’ There’s not a sound. It’s just me and the stars. Were I to feel lonely I’d do something about it….most likely go to a place where there are people and conversation. Luckily I don’t feel this way when I feel alone. Alone is fine.

I see and hear of so many dysfunctional, unhappy relationships it baffles me. “Get out of it, then,” I’ll say if it’s a female. They’ll respond with a meek, “….but I love him.” This annoys me and I can’t help myself. I despise domestic violence. There is no place for it. I don’t generally interfere with other peoples lives but when it comes to domestic violence, I will. “You love wearing extra makeup to hide the bruises? You like walking with a limp? Get out and get onto the phone.” These women inevitably go back. How can you call that a relationship?

Then there are the men who are having affairs. Their wives know but come out with the old, “….but I love him.” How can I help people with this mentality? How can we call this a relationship?

No, I’m quite content being single….even if my only company is my imagination and the stars.

Life, to me, seems too complicated for a relationship anyway. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day but to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t know how to go about it.

 

Legal Farce

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Bill Fieldings brother, Harry, was arrested for assault. It was a case of mistaken identity. Firstly he was a pacifist like his brother and secondly he was drumming at a gig 50km away at the time of the alleged assault. The complainant was well known around town as a her use of hard drugs, namely ice, and noisy parties.

The judge knew that Harry wasn’t guilty but obviously had to go by the law books and handed him the lowest possible sentence. A low fine and Apprehended Violence Order (AVO hereafter) and to stay more than 100 metres away from her residence. He paid the fines and took the long trip to his brothers and parents house for 12 months.

Several months later, Harry had the police on his door. The complainant alleged that she saw Harry driving past her house more than once, thus breaaching his AVO. It simply wasn’t true. The out of hours judge looked like a tramp and bailed Harry to appear in a few months. In the past, Bill had been in her house briefly and knew that the road couldn’t be  seen from within. There was a 3 metre solid wooden fence. He actually commented on how private it was. The complainant cheerfully agreed. She wasn’t the brightest star in the sky.

She would later allege that Harry was sending her threatening text messages. The police can check both phones for such activity. They didn’t bother. They knew that she was lying. This would work in Harrys favour. She never stopped to think that the phones could be checked? Drugs? Alcohol Stupidity? Who knows? Who cares? This write suspects a combination of the lot.

It was obvious by her behaviour and appearance in court that she was on the drug ice. She was dressed shabbily and looking around grinning as if the case was already won. She was in for a slap in the face. The judge looked at the documents for the case and said, “Is this it?” Harrys lawyer said, “Yes ma’am.” She rolled her eyes. The judge then briefly flicked through half off the documents and flippantly brushed them aside as if they were a waste of  time.

Bill was now getting the feeling that the judge had dealt with the complainant before for similar matters. She was chasing Victims Of Compensation money. In order for this to happen, Harry would have to be convicted of a crime. Bill was feeling ever-confident.

Harrys family and 2 middle-aged friends were called to the witness stand. Bill went first. He refused to swear on the Bible. The judge asked if he was an Atheist. Bill said, “I am, ma’am.” The judge asked him if he swore to tell the  whole truth and nothing but the truth. “I do, ma’am,” said Bill. The Prosecution began by asking if Bill was Harrys brother. Bill couldn’t help himself, “You’ve got the paperwork,  Einstein. Of course I am.” Bill  noticed the judge smirk to herself. ‘Gotchya!’ he thought. Bill kept up the academic tone, answered the questions and nothing more. The Prosecutor had to prompt him a few times as he asked presumptive questions. Bill would patronisingly ask, “Could you complete the question please, Sir?” He often caught the judge smirking to herself.”

The rest of Harrys witnesses weren’t as eloquent as Bill but very credible nonetheless. Harry’s lawyer, Bill felt, had well & truly established ‘reasonable doubt.’ In reality this was a cakewalk for Harrys lawyer as the complainants claims simply didn’t happen. Court was just a formality…..but the wait was extremely stressful for everyone except Bill. Bill was now sure from word on the street about the complainant and reports from her neighours that she had been before the judge before chasing Victims Of Crime money and the judge was sick of her. This would explain the judge flicking aside flippantly documents from the folder.

The complainants witnesses looked to be in similar shape with one of them even  changing their statement half way through. They were scruffily dressed, high and kites and fidgety. The complainant sat erect, looking around the courtroom with her nose in the air with an air of narcissistic arrogance and confidence. Obviously high.

Herr bubble  began to burst when the first witness inadvertantly changed his half way through. He was arrested for perverting the course of justice. The next witness was so high that he couldn’t speak. The judge ordered he be arrested, searched for drugs and drug tested. Thee rest of her witness promptly got up and left the court, leaving her high and dry. The Prosecution had nothing to run with now; not that they had anything to run with before.

The judge asked Harry to stand. It was showtime. Harry & hiss family were nervous but Bill wasn’t. Harrys original conviction was overturned along with the conviction. For the second complaint he was found not guilty, given no fine and no conviction was reccorded.

Sometimes the law works. It just takes so long.