An Old Stager

bottle-street1

I just drank ’til my heart would be too drunk to dream

-Whiskeytown

A friend of mine passed away today or maybe yesterday. I hadn’t spoken to him for over a year, but in many ways I always felt connected. One drunk to another. The same language kind of thing. Like everything, there’s differences between drunks. One of my bosses is a sloppy, ugly drunk, who at some point after midnight turns -poof- into a sad sack. Tom, was a funny, clever drunk. His humor was slightly sardonic. Sly and under the breath and took no prisoners. What the professionals would refer to as a lush.

Here’s Tom at the Tractor Tavern laughing his ass off while Steven Segal sang the blues. No good reason to be there, but worth every copper penny. Some entertainment isn’t always intended after all.

Here’s Tom coming to work at 4am, just dry, with a warm hello to everyone who walked through the door. He taught me to learn people’s names.

Here’s Tom taking care of his dying father. There’s a lot beneath the surface of a man.

I don’t know what Tom’s dreams were, if he had them. We didn’t talk about such things and I won’t offend him now with speculation. Dreams are fleeting and shallow things that slip away and can only be looked on with pity at the end of a life. The tangibles are the things worth saving. Those square glasses. His school boy snicker. That gut. Truly a physics defying, time-space bending, old world globe. The way he would swear. Fuck would become a two syllable word and favored as punctuation. English was his second language after all, obscenity being his first. I will only stand on my soapbox long enough to say this, I’m not interested in teetotalers, shrews, or deacons of purity who look down upon the wickedness of life. They stand in the way of art, and humor, and mischievousness, that abounds in the rest of us. They are bridles in our mouths and should be spat out onto the ground and trampled underfoot.

Tom was my friend, and fu-uck he made me laugh.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

-Oscar Wilde

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About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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