Accident at Second and Union

I was holding my daughter’s hand, waiting for the traffic lights to cycle, at the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street, downtown. It was a clear and all to sunny day, the reflecting light from the store windows making me squint and wish I was enough of a jerk to not have given my sunglasses to the little darling when she asked for them; still sacrifice is the cornerstone of good parenting, so I’m led to believe, and she looks more adorable than me in them. Accepting my fate I lifted my free hand to my forehead to shield my vision as I impatiently scanned east and west along  Union. There was a break in the traffic and I was debating to myself whether or not to continue being a good example or just cross the damned street, walk signal be damned. The rest seemed happen all at once.

A bicycle, complete with helmeted rider jumped the stop light and flew into the section. From my blind spot I heard the sharp blaring horn and I snapped around, instinctively and most likely futilely attempting to yank my child away from the side of the road as I did so. A pick up, wheels screaming through the intersection the burning of it’s brake pads filling the streets with the aroma of death, or something close to it. It was a dualie, an F350 extend cab, Wedgwood blue; covered with dents and scratches, like hash marks, tallying up its previous victims automotive and pedestrian alike. Today it was out for blood and claimed one more. My sunglasses clattered onto the sidewalk as I pulled her face into my stomach, trying to prevent her from seeing his inevitable doom.

A dull thunk, barely audible over the behemoth’s horn and skidding tires, was almost anticlimactic; or would have been if the cyclist, his red and black jersey pegging him as a deliver of sandwiches, had not flown up off the seat of his fixie and rotated ninety degrees; then, as if in a tribute to Gregg Louganis, folded in half, spun backwards before hitting his head on the hood of the truck before sliding sideways to bounce from the bumper to the pavement. With the last of his momentum his body rolled onto his back, moaning, his helmet cracked and scratched the plastic falling away along the rear right side  where he made impact with both vehicle and street, exposing the gray foam padding beneath.

The F350 veered left, skidded and came to a halt, and by some small miracle managed to avoid crushing the prone cyclist; thought I have doubts as to the fate of his bike, or the sandwiches. The door of the truck creaked open and a large woman with the type of build you get from dealing with livestock on a daily basis, half fell out of the driver seat. She was hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand to steady herself while the other clutched the cellphone, from its speaker could be heard another woman’s panicked voice, “Louise? Louise, y’all alright? Answer me girl.” Louise was too dumbfounded to answer, she just stared at the glowing screen on the device and making a slightly inquisitive whimpering noise. Her temple and the driver’s side window both had small smears of blood, the one on the side of her head getting slowly larger as the seconds ticked on.

It being middle of downtown, and lunch hour, there was no shortage of gawkers and rubberneckers gathering around for a good ogle at the carnage. A few of them, not clutching a six-year-old protectively while she tried to peek at what was happening, pulled out their phones; some of them even called 9-1-1 instead of instagraming the event. A few onlookers with quicker brains came to the apparent aid of the fallen bicyclist. “Don’t try to move man, don’t move.” chanted one dreadlocked African american youth, as he stood over the man. One budding paramedic was waving his hands in front of Louise’s face. “How many fingers am I holding up lady?” he kept asking of the stunned woman.

Soon the intersection was a tangle of emergency vehicles as, thankfully, the police arrived. Statements were taken, which confirmed the fact that none of the witnesses had seen the same accident happen and soon my daughter and I were on my way home. We walked a short distance to a bus stop where I sat down shakily. As I tried to steady myself to phone my wife and tell her what happened my daughter hugged me and asked, “Is the man dead?”

“No honey, they took the man to the hospital.”

“Is he going to die.”

“I don’t know Kate.” I replied still rattled

“He’s probably going to die.” She stated calmly, her eyes clear and innocent. She reached out and handed me my now extremely scratched sunglasses.

Sometimes kids are kind of creepy.

This fictional account was inspired by a Weekly Challenge.

Pointing in the Right Direction

Recently I was reading through the work of other bloggers and came across a post by Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger. In an article from January 12th, he specifically cites the Murder of George Moscone and Harvey Milk by Dan White in 1978 and  White’s attorney using expert testimony to shift the blame of the killings from the defendant to his dietary habits, which aided in White being convicted of the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter. This later became known as “The Twinkie Defense” in the reporting of the trial. It is a very well written piece and I highly suggest reading his full editorial, The Dissection of Blame

It was this passage from that article that gave me pause for an introspective moment:

“When our decisions and our choices, wreak havoc in our lives, we may tend to become more defensive, angry without knowing why. We are challenged in getting back on track, everything we do derails, and everything we try does fail. So we begin the dissection of blame, assigning each disappointment to a family member or friend.”

One of the things I find about my sobriety, is going back and facing all of the things that I had previously blamed on other people in my life. I walked away from the rest of my family when my parents died and later was angry at them for not being there; I watched my business fail from my inattention to the details and claimed my would be associates were accountable for not doing “their part”; I would hurt my friends and loved ones and blame them for being so fragile; I would shut people out and it was always their fault because, “they didn’t get me.”


On and on I shifted guilt for my short comings and failures onto others and eventually, as I fell into my alcoholism, I would cite job stress, relationship problems, and social aspects of bar life as the reasons why I drank. When all of that fell away I wound up blaming the alcohol for why I was so miserable all the time. It was, of course, very easy to claim that I couldn’t stop drinking because I was addicted.

Time has proved all of these notions to be utter crap and now, living sober and relatively clear-headed, I am left to take hold of the responsibility for my faults and mistakes. I have to say it is a liberating as well as, at times, frightening prospect.

Image Credit: ThePointer by Gabe Austin CC-BY-2.0
Thanks To: Kendall F. Persons for inspiring this post.

I Have Christian Slater to Thank for This.

I heard this song for the first time in the early nineties as it played over the opening credits of Pump Up the Volume.

Dark, brooding lyrics dripping with depression, anger, and subdued outrage, all wrapped up in poetical honesty and a heavy synth intro; it had it all. As soon as the first lines were sung the tune became an essential part of my teen angst bullshit. I ran out a bought the soundtrack the next day and was slightly disappointed that the cassette1 only included the Concrete Blonde2 version that was used towards the end of the movie.

For some reason I never got a hold of a copy of this track until I found Leonard Cohen’s, I’m Your Man in a used CD store a few years later. After hearing that entire album I became more than a little bit obsessed with Cohen’s music, the man is an amazing poet who has proven himself capable of many style changes over the years. “Everybody Knows” still remains to this day one of my favorite songs of all time. Sadly the truth of the lyrics are still relevant and also sadly I understand that truth on an adult level now. In all this song and many of Cohen’s other works have shown me that sadness and pain, are not inseparable from truth and beauty, but do help us appreciate the latter having gained proper perspective. 

I hope you took the time to give it a listen. If you haven’t heard much oh his work I highly recommend getting on Spotify, or YouTube, or however you get your music and check out more of his catalogue; I promise that even if this track isn’t your cup of tea there is something there that will speak to you. If you are familiar with Mr. Cohen’s songs and poems I would love to hear what your favorite ones are.

Also if you can you should check out the movie Pump Up the Volume, it’s not half bad3.

  1. Yes I am that old. 
  2. Only slightly disappointed because I happen to also like Concrete Blonde and there are other good tracks on the album. 
  3. I’m also a Christian Slater fan. (Don’t tell anyone) 

I Don’t Think We’ve Been Properly Introduced

Cynical bastard stops drinking, rides a bike and starts writing about it.

That seems to be the gist of this blog based on the posts I’ve made in the few months it’s been up, but there is just a little bit more to it.

I quit drinking a little over a year ago and as I have sobered I began thinking about what I would have rather done with the time I spent under the bottle, I began to remember how much I enjoyed writing both creatively and keeping a personal journal. In the years before I allowed alcohol completely take over all of my free time I had even started letting other people read some of it, I thought I was starting to get good at it.

Then one day I just stopped writing.

I can’t exactly remember when I stopped, I am fairly certain that I was in the middle of writing a story that I was becoming quite proud of. Then one night, I decided that I’d rather get drunk  than work on the story; I set it aside and never came back to it. I don’t really remember much about that story anymore. Writing isn’t the only thing that fell by the wayside while I was a drunk, but I think it may have been the first casualty. Now I am getting my head space back in order and this has just been nagging at me so I have decide to return to writing.

I chose blogging because I want people to read my works, to give me feedback, and to help keep me inspired; besides making it public keeps a little pressure on to produce something from time to time.

I want to get back to writing fiction eventually and have done two very short pieces to date. Hopefully soon there will be more, once I feel a bit more up to it, until then I’ll be writing about what I know, just to keep my hand in.

Incidentally, my name is Doug. Pleased to meet you.

When I held her

This was the moment that I been waiting so long for. We had arrived at five o’clock in the morning and for hours I had waited nervously. I was so anxious I got asked to leave and go for a walk at one point. Why was I so nervous? I had the easy part in this, all I had to do was wait. I just couldn’t help it though I was too excited. Finally, after all the waiting, and hours of being witness to my wife’s pain and discomfort it was time for me to hold my little girl for the very first time.

She was the most beautiful, fragile thing I had ever held in my hands. The feeling of her in my arms was wonderful and nerve wracking. Never before had I felt so complete and happy. I felt so much love for my wife for bringing this wonderful thing into my life. I was shaking all over, afraid that I was going to lose my grip and drop her, but I never wanted to put her down. In the midst of all the joy I was experiencing feelings of my own inadequacy crept in and filled my soul.

How was I going to do this. Me and under educated line cook, barely able to scrape out a living for my wife and I. How could I have been so stupid as to think it was a good idea to bring this wonderful, innocent, gorgeous tiny life into this mess I made for myself. How was I going to raise her when I barely took the time to be an adult myself. I was going to fail her I knew it. I was never going to be the dad that she deserved. She was too good for me.

But, here she was. She was mine and in my arms, and I was all the dad she had. We’d make it work her and I.

This post was inspired by a Daily Prompt