Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lost Or Stolen


Khuk Khak, Thailand - I lost a new baseball glove when I was a kid in Little League. And I lost a brand new birthday bat, a Ted Williams Louisville Slugger, at the game that same night. The glove was taken while we were batting. The bat was taken while we were in the field, by a guy who later became a good friend, and one night twenty years later in a drunk, told me so.

That’s just for starters. My freshman year in college, I lost a game early in the second inning, giving up seventeen runs before we could produce the third out, the visitors laughing and ‘high-fiving’ as they batted three times through the lineup. I lost several tennis matches at the high school and collegiate level, playing number five on a six-man team.

In high school, I lost a home basketball game in the final three seconds, missed the shot, my parents in the stands. Walked home, the coach’s locker room rage ringing in my ears.

I lost a couple good friends in the ‘Nam. I lost my virginity in Nuevo Laredo. I lost a wife, some girlfriends, money, several bets, many arguments. I’ve lost my folks and a sister. I lost a brother when I was one-year old, and by two, I’d lost two mothers. My 'real' mom, the one who raised me, was the third, but I can remember the other two who didn't. I’ve kept most of my friends, but a couple are questionable, maybe in the lost column.

I lost a lot of possessions in three robberies. In a war I lost, I lost that slug the doctor cut out of me and kept for himself, removing it from the tray and placing it into his pocket, and lying about its whereabouts later. I lost some weight back in the 90s.

How can a new graph begin without this repetitiveness, or an essay filled up with ‘I’s?

Among other things lost were my hair, for sure, ain’t coming back, a tooth, for sure, unless you do the bridge or implant, he said, the VA dentist. They can do the bridge, but not the implant. I’d have to go ‘outside’ for the implant. And that can be expensive. He said.

Back to shaping up to be ‘a loser’ story. Lost some kites. Several, in fact. Almost always to high-power lines. That’s why it says, usually, on the packaging, not to fly around electrical lines. They’re like a magnet to kites. These were homemade, so there wasn’t any packaging. The power lines I had to learn the hard way.

I lost my pride after being busted for two joints. Lost my job on that one, too, the people being real chickenshit about it. Lost some acquaintances that I thought were friends. Lost my footing, lost my bearings, the drift of the conversation, the keys, the dog, my train of thought, my way to the outhouse, lost touch, flexibility, my grip on the surfboard, the stretcher handles, the ladle to the soup pot, the split decision.

I lost my dignity in the South China Sea, feeling really small, helpless, and insignificant in the water as a friend drowned a few meters away. I lost my shit one time after a nighttime mission. I’ve lost my temper, my composure, my patience, my sense of equilibrium, and my understanding of reality on a blotter acid trip.

In a peyote meeting, I lost the sense of being clothed, and once while weeding carrots in the twentieth century, I lost the sense of not being able to talk to them.

There are a great many memories that others can easily recover that I have lost. I lost some hearing from a helicopter’s turbine and another ten percent later at a Johnny Winter concert, for sure.

I lost my fear of picking up anybody on the road. I lost a fear of success or failure. I lost a fear of not being there on time, of losing a job, of many lesser fears and anxieties, but I’m still paranoid about the men in black.

And the aliens. Nearest possible life-supporting planet is how many billion trillion light years away? So, to get here, their shit has to be pretty much advanced, wouldn’t you say? And if so, then, this is all they’ve got to do? Come across from the other end of vast emptiness to come here and fuck with us?

So I haven’t lost my fear of them yet.

This went from the serious gut-wrenching stuff to the flippant, didn’t it? I’ve lost a lot of water in sweat lodges. I’ve lost some valuable artwork, and lost in court. I’ve lost my balance on a tightrope, a bull’s back,* a trampoline. I’ve lost face and perspective, desires and appetite, some hopes and dreams, and reasonable doubts.

You know, just to think of some of the stuff you’ve lost, if you’ve ever thought about it. You could probably make a list, too. Just a story idea and where it can go. Just an exercise. But after looking at it, it looks like this guy is a real loser, doesn’t it?


A person could also write about what they’ve found, gained, or held onto. You could write positively about growth and abundance, focusing on all that feel-good happy shit that comes around in parties and forwarded email attachments during Thanksgiving and the holidays. Like faith, for instance. Found faith. Held onto a sense of fairness and decency. Held onto hope, the end of the rope. Write about things like faith, justice, and trust.

Faith in what? Surely not people. People will continually disappoint you. Justice. Where? The heroes have all been martyred, the kings slain. Trust. The word even looks strange when deceit and betrayal rule. Trust who, what? Naivety was lost, innocence, stolen.


*some of you may be saying, 'You never rode no fucking bull,' and you'd be right if you're thinking rodeo. She was a Taurus.