Wednesday, January 03, 2007

a ken bruen christmas

still clawing out from under the holidays. went for a ride yesterday, and did i feel those extra pounds? did i fuck. what floats me in the pool does not float me up the hills of southern chester county PA.

one of the unfortunate side effects of getting older is that the holidays lose their magic. you learn santa’s just a construct and it’s all downhill from there. every year you stress a little more about all the shit you have to buy for other people and all the crap you’ll get from them in return. D’s mom gave me earrings. In the 15 years she’s known me, she’s never noticed my ears aren’t pierced. i nodded & smiled, content to let the thing ride, but D had to bust her chops, at which point she did her damnest to try to convince me i was wrong and went into great detail about a pair of earrings she’d seen me wear at some point in the imagined past.

you see? yer holidays demand herculean mental effort and levels of diplomacy not seen since carter's days in Camp David.

then old people you care about grow infirm and delicate, but they manage to hold on by their scrabbly, peeling nails ‘til the holidays; then they go forth and pop off right around Christmas, adding yet another dimension of bleak misery to that time of year. w0rd to the doddering folx: if you think you’re doing us a favor by eking it out to the holidays, you’re not. don’t bother. if you’re doing it because you want one last round of figgy pudding that’s entirely different, and i can dig it.

in sum, dim sum, it was not a Charlie Brown Christmas this year. It wasn’t a Very Special Christmas, nor was it a Bee Gees Christmas. it was more like a Ken Bruen Christmas:

The first two weeks of December I was dry. Gearing up. I knew I’d never get through the whole fiasco sober so I was putting in time for good behaviour. It’s just another delusion that alcoholics practice. These lies are nearly as vital as the alcohol. You hug them close as prayer, and they are twice as heartfelt…

I had a calendar on the wall. The Sacred Heart was on the front, and the days were marked with pithy sayings to uplift your day. I can’t say they much uplifted mine. In red, the 18th stood out like a beacon. It’s my father’s birthday. That was the day I’d drink again. Just knowing the very time when I’d lift a glass got me through so many other impossible hours. I’d planned well. Had four bottles of black Bushmill’s, twenty-four pint cans of Guinness and an ounce of coke. I kid you not, this was just for openers; and for the lock-down days of Christmas, I thought it was a fairly decent plan.

The day came and I lashed in with a vengeance. Managed a week till I got a blackout and ended back in a hospital. They were not pleased to see me and read me a minor riot act. Their hearts weren’t in it, as they knew I’d drink again.
The Magdalen Martyrs
that bruen and his crusty, broken heroes. doesn't it make you feel better.


Theo said...

"I'll have a booooooze Christmas, without youuuuuu..."

Subhangi said...

Oh, and I finally had vodka on Christmas Day, and whiskey on New Year's. (Not neat of course, but still.) I'm now guilty of double felony! Yay! ;)

finn said...

as a wise fatmammycat once said,
come sit next to me.

fatmammycat said...

Ken Bruen...I read The Guards and almost burst my stitches-that I also had at the time- laughing at his punk singer singing Mary fucking Black.

fatmammycat said...

Oh, and there better be more room on that bench for the sitting. I swear to God, christmas day I could feel my thighs sucking the fat out of the food and rubbing their thigh hands together while looking for obvious places to store it. And that was before I hit the wine...

finn said...

there's still room cat, but barely. according to the scale at the Y, i've gained another pound since tuesday, but i think that's all in my tits and o they ache. hormones really fuck a girl up sometimes. need gummy rats.

bruen's one of those rara avis who's bleakly depressing and stitch-burstingly funny. he's one of my fave authors, and when i was in galway i wanted to find him in a corner of kenny's or tigh neachtain but alas.