Double canasta was the game. The cards were so flimsy, we powdered them before every marathon. Sweet tea and cigarettes fueled our competition. At some point, mother and aunt fixed supper for all. Males occasionally subbed but they were placeholders for the female energy that ruled and they knew it. I learned unimaginable lessons at that card table.
You wanna know what’s sad? I’ll tell you what’s sad.
It’s sad knowing that your cosmic twin, thirty years younger and fifty pounds lighter, is
sitting in an apartment in a giant, never sleeping city
feeling just as alone and isolated as you are, but she
still has hope. She thinks she’s jaded, but she’s not. She thinks she’s weary, but
she doesn’t know yet of the soul-crushing exhaustion of chronic empty bank accounts and crummy lovers and shitty food
She has no idea what despair is, and that’s a good thing because her still pure soul would disappear with the realization that nobody cares. Not really.
Imma tell that girl, my cosmic twin, to make friends with her isolation because it’s gonna be there for good. Imma tell her that despair isn’t so bad when it’s a catalyst. Broken dreams pave the way to reality. Imma tell her to…
Shame. The running narrative has always begun with white-hot embarrassments of random memories.
The ice pick of shame starts tapping into hidden corners, chipping away at the carefully constructed brick walls around those things I cannot forget, nor reconcile.
It drives me to write, to rage, to sit inside the storm until it passes. My instinct no longer compels me to flight but to let it flow until the inevitable occurs – a blessed numbness of sleep.
By the light, I can see how to put up the walls again. All day, silent activity consumes my emotional energy.
Ah, but sunset comes slinking back and brings a terrible sadness with it. The horrible, weeping, random grief is not as often as in my younger days, but when it comes, it comes with layered complexity.
What I had thought was wisdom has turned out to be merely decades of experience in dodging that dreaded ice pick.
Plan to add at least 1.5 hours to prep, startup, and cook times.
Invest in meat probes with a wireless system.
Prepared rubs are good, but homemade rubs have more meaning.
Charcoal burns differently from brand to brand. High end charcoal lumps burn hotter and longer. Don’t use lighter fluid. Get a chimney starter and use paper.
Don’t be tempted to peek at the meat! If you must peek, be prepared to lose temp, especially in smaller grills. Also, don’t be tempted to fiddle with the coals or the air vents. Cheap grills are like cheap cars: quirky, need TLC, and prone to unusual swings in temp. If you know your cheap grill well, and like it, use it. I have a cheap grill and a competition grill. I use them both, sometimes at the same time.
Wood smoke is flavorful. Cut your pieces ahead of time, so all you have to do is feed the fire. Cut more than you think you need. You’ll likely use all of it.
Patience is a virtue, especially when smoking meat. Low and slow is the key to tender, juicy pork that tastes like heaven. Don’t pull the meat just because it’s close to the right temp. It will not be nearly as tender.
Trim the butts. YouTube has tons of videos on how to do it.
Good tools are a must. High temp gloves work well, but keep them dry. Wet gloves conduct heat.
I use a good grill tool with the slinky end. I heat up the grill, scrub it down and then rub half an onion on the grates.
Last, but not least, nothing will go according to plan. Make a backup plan.
I don’t know about this low grade depression anymore. It’s more like physical suppression of all creativity and energy.
Brain: check the mail
me: screw the mail
Body: but I want to go outside and at least sit for a while
Me: are you high? It’s hotter than the devil’s crotch crickets out there, and my skin itches all the time, anyway
I’ve more or less stopped watching TV except for baseball. Social media is my go-to for mindless entertainment. I think so little of myself anymore that even when friends engage, I feel unworthy of their attention and hurry to brush them off. Writing even this much feels more intrusive than a pap smear and just as uncomfortable.
So, procrastination is a symptom. I have endless creative tools at my disposal, and I sit. Or sleep. I did start working on my retirement goals, and one of them is to have an extra hundred dollars a month. I started two small investment accounts that in five years, will yield about two hundred dollars a month if I continue to set aside money now. Passive income has become the mantra of the retirement world. I’ve come to embrace it myself, even though my funds are extremely limited. Anything I do creatively is just gravy-or casino- money. My soap is still here, my body butters are waiting to be made, and it comes down to willingness. Writing this down serves myself notice that I literally have my dreams at my fingertips and to just do it.