Chapter 12: The Glow Faded



Chapter XII: The Glow Faded

Ideally, a person could remain in their natural state at all times for the entire duration of their lives. There are some people who actually have this ability. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. There are numerous occasions when I have to compromise my accustomed characteristics in order to adapt to various surroundings in which I feel my natural persona would be considered undesirable. Due to the fact that certain individuals have openly expressed harsh criticism towards my general behavior, I often feel as if I am not liked by anybody. Therefore, I will withdraw from my natural state in an attempt to appear more congruous at it pertains to the present environment.

The amount of people in which I can comfortably be myself around is limited to a select few. Naturally, these select few remain my dearest friends. My goal is to find that place in the world where I can be my natural self without anybody being offended or even taking any sort of profound notice. I often cannot be myself around people I genuinely like because I feel as if I am not nearly as cool as they are.

I am rarely in my natural state when in the presence of people I hardly know. As the New Year was quickly approaching, and I was evaluating all of the prospects required to find that place in the world in which I truly belong, I could not make any determination as to why I rescind my natural persona in certain company. Perhaps it is because I am ashamed of my own personality…  I have notice that in my experiences, the times in which I have held the most appeal to others were the moments in which I was behaving in my natural state; the times in which I had no appeal was when I intentionally trying to become what I consider ordinary.  …perhaps it is because that I have put too much effort in attempting to appeal to the wrong type of people.

Perhaps I have no fucking idea what the hell I’m even talking about; perhaps I don’t know the difference between anything.

This was a subject that obviously needed further investigation. However, I was not on my home court and there were a number of elements taking place preventing me from educing my natural personality.

One aspect of noteworthy concern was the fact that we were not in my home. Never in my entire life has a holiday family gathering been conducted at my house. Should I ever propose holding Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner at my house, that notion would be ultimately ignored and subject to severe ridicule. These people act as if they have some sort of moral issue if they were to eat Thanksgiving Dinner on a paper plate… Hello!!! It’s nearing 2013 now; some of these paper plates are pretty fancy these days.

In fact, nobody comes to visit me period. For some reason, the thought of me cooking really bothers people and the very image just rubs people the wrong way. One person pictured me in the kitchen preparing a 12 course Thanksgiving banquet for 25 people, and then jumped down an open elevator shaft shortly afterwards. Fuck! I have a fucking microwave you know! You can make some really good meals in the microwave. It’s not frozen either. Again people, it’s almost fucking 2013… get with the fucking program! They have two full aisles at every grocery store devoted to box dinners, and trust me, the shit is NOT frozen. With today’s advanced technology, the ingredients in the seasoning packet are pretty God damn close to gourmet; at least as gourmet as you can get for $1.19.

A recent survey was conducted in which 743 respondents were asked if they would rather have Christmas Dinner at my house or Christmas Dinner at my home’s house. The score was lot closer than most people even realize.

My mother takes great pride in this notion and fulfills all of the requirements necessary to satisfy all accommodations. When we went to the grocery store, there were times when I felt like I was in a foreign country. She purchased some strange ass shit that I would never even think to bring into my home; items such as milk, eggs, and weird shit in the produce section. We didn't even go down the boxed dinner’s aisle. I habitually headed for that aisle first, and she looked at me as if I had developed some sort an acute psychological impairment. “Now you know why I keep an excessive amount of wire coat hangers in my closet.”

Oh yea, well I don’t have any room for extra hangers in my closet; I just throw all my crap on the floor. Hangers are so overrated… you can wear clothes for up to three weeks after they’ve been lying around scattered in various piles; they don’t stink that bad. Furthermore, I take great pride in the fact that my mother is the most devout Pro-Choice Republican on the face of this Earth. Thanks to me, she protests maternity wards by carrying signs with pictures of me profoundly displayed on them; along with the warning: “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.” A recent survey was conducted in which people were asked which image was more revolting: the signs showing my photograph, or the signs displaying a mutilated fetus… the results were about 50/50.

My family members were cooking food in pans (???), making hors d'oeuvre (whatever the fuck those things are), performing various other procedures such as decorating the house (I’ve never in my entire life purchased a Christmas decoration), and my mom assigned me to a few tasks.

By this point, I was tired of watching TV and decided I was playing music because I needed to at least have something from natural environment present. Since the targeted audience was a bit older, I opted to play my top 100 songs of 1965 and before (although starting at #21 with Walk on By sung by Dionne Warwick) assuming that would be the most appropriate playlist available on my I-pod… and it proved to be a good choice. Each song that came on, they asked who sang it and declared they liked it.

I have often stated that “Gloria” by Van Morrison and Them was one of the first pure punk songs ever recorded. It turned out to be one of Ginny’s favorite as well and related how she first heard it. They were shopping at the store, and their older brother Bill, but a young teenager then, asked if he could buy a new record.

My grandparents were funny people, especially my Grandmother. They were reluctant at first, but were extremely pleased to find out that it was “Gloria” a song that they knew… although they were assuming it was a patriotic Glory Glory Hallelujah song. When they returned home and he played the song, they abruptly realized the almighty terror known as Satan had bestowed upon them, right in the comforts of their own home. Gloria wasn’t the old time patriotic anthem they had hoped. Anticipating cheerful happiness, my grandparents were stricken with abhorrence as they glared at the record player as if it were possessed. My mom even remembered that incident… more evidence that music is timeless.

No Christmas gathering is complete without excessive alcohol consumption to make family members appear more tolerable. I always dreamed that someday our family would resort to marijuana usage and make special brownie treats for the gatherings, but instead we have punch—mother fucking yummy ass punch that can intoxicate amateurs quickly. My mom gave me a long detailed explanation of how to make this punch (I prefer short versions over explanations).

Despite all the joy, I had been suffering the displeasing belittlement that accompanies the notion that my mom and step-dad felt I was incapable of doing anything. They even stooped so low as to converse amongst themselves (right in front of me nonetheless) about how the dishes would be disastrously unorganized if I was the one who put them anyway.

What was it about my image that gave them this impression? Do they not realize that I cut my own hair? Ever since performing this highly skilled task I feel completely independent and capable of achieving anything. I do not even need health insurance because I can perform my own surgical procedures, thank you very much. It’s not that difficult. All you have to do is Google cardiovascular surgery and it’ll have the step-by-step instructions on Wikipedia. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on this.

They believe that there is no brain activity whatsoever in my head, and should I attempt even the most trivial of tasks, this would jeopardize the safety of the entire Universe. It led me to wonder whether or not I had been diagnosed with some unknown disorder that I had never known about.

That notion was dismissed because I had endured countless anomalous difficulties my entire life and have repeatedly resolved complex issues ever since my life began spinning wildly out of control the moment I was conceived; shit went downhill fast around age 5 and mysteriously I’m still alive. Having survived an entire existence of unsuitable environmental circumstances, I felt as if I could handle putting dishes into a cabinet. It’s not as if the storage of dishes was a perplexing riddle that required a perilous adventure while searching for clues; and I am not so eccentric that I would just place assorted dishes in random places throughout the household.

I pictured my mom and step-dad searching for dishes as if it were an Easter Egg hunt: “I found a bowl! Underneath the couch cushion!” As I was picturing various places to hide dishes, I accidentally laughed out loud. It wasn’t New Year’s yet; therefore, I was still permitted to behave in this manner.

They frequently stood over my shoulder while I made the punch, examining my actions, and specifying more instructions. While I was trying to maintain a positive image, the constant analyzing finally reached the point where I lacked confidence and became extremely cautious with every move. That’s when the voices kicked in… you know, the voices in my head… those mother fuckers.

“Fade” by Calexico entered my head without warning at the line “The glow faded!!!” This is my theme song for situations in which I had once scintillated The Universe with awe-inspiring enchantment, but the fire had been extinguished by elements outside my personal control.

Did I not just tell you that I am fully capable of giving myself a liver transplant? All you have to do is go Barnes and Nobles and skim through a couple chapters of Liver Transplants for Dummies… it’s not that difficult, trust me on this one. I’m a bartender; and I perform my own cavity fillings, I can definitely mix alcoholic beverages which is what my occupation naturally consists, and something I’m damn good at. A vision in my head appeared of a group of girls taking shots at my bar and then declaring that they were the most awesome shots they had ever taken… that I was awesome.

Immediately, I stood straight up, shoulders back, perfect posture. A wave of confidence raced over me. I’ll make this fucking punch my way and it’ll be the best damn punch anybody has ever had. So, I started pouring all the ingredients in with a swagger. My Aunt insisted that I had do something a certain way; my voice of reason responded, “Tell her you’re not going to do it that way in a manner that is funny.” So I just said something totally outrageous that didn’t pertain to anything; I wished I snapped a photograph of her because it would have been the definitive image for the now popular abbreviation “smh.” Once I added limes to the mix, my behavior became infectious as my Aunt assisted with slicing the limes—which the recipe originally did not call for—this was my addition.

In my opinion however, the punch was a little too strong; but I acknowledge that I am a pussy. I had to keep sampling it in order to perfect the taste, taking into consideration that the targeted demographic might prefer it a bit stronger. It was so good though, that I took several samples and next thing you know, I was a tad bit inebriated.

People flocked to the punch bowl the moment I was finished—many of them had not even been in the house for 30 seconds. Some of these people did not even greet anybody; they just went straight to the punch bowl as if it were the featured attraction. I told them that if it was too strong that I could add more Sprite or something; but also told them that I am occasionally accused of being a pussy. After I said that, I was worried that I had offended somebody by accidentally blurting out the word “pussy” for I normally do not curse around my mom. This side of the family has never heard me cuss—for all they know, I am a proud member of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Without sticking around for what potentially could have been an adverse reaction featuring a long lecture about shit in The Bible that suggests mother fuckers shouldn’t be saying certain words, I walked away and pretended to go to the bathroom. When I returned, the two women who I was worried about offending were drinking the punch stating how good it tasted. They had no idea that I was standing in their proximity, and I overheard one of them whisper, “Yea, its perfect how it is. I think Tony’s just a pussy.”

That instantly made the list of the Top 10 Best Instances in Which I Was Called a Pussy. Not only were they not offended, but they say the word “pussy” too. That provided a marvelous feeling; akin to actually getting some real pussy. I had never seen this side in any of them. Plus, I was slightly buzzed, suffering from cabin fever from being inside my mom’s house for nearly a week; all the while I had been deciphering an entire new meaning of life on an evening in which I vowed not to pretend to be anything that I was not.

I loosened up quite a bit actually. This night was going to be a test as to how my natural persona is perceived by people in which I generally kept this side of me concealed. Offend anybody? Nope. It was contagious and everybody shared stories of wild behavior. The highlight of the night actually came from my step-dad. He was in Las Vegas with a group of friends in his younger days and one of the members of the group opted to stay in at the hotel with his wife one night; just as a cruel joke to get him in trouble, they paid for a prostitute to show up at their hotel room.

A lot was realized on this night: Bill’s youngest daughter was only a few years older than me—she seemed old back then. And their kids were all close to my age now—they seemed so young and annoying back then. Wow, we were all in the same age bracket all of sudden—it’s amazing how perceptions change when you get older. One was married to somebody almost the exact same age as me and he and I had several similar interests… this marked the first time A Tribe Called Quest was discussed at the family gathering. People even stayed after bar close.

My mom actually seemed the most entertained, and she’s somewhat the reason I tend to be reserved. This is nothing against her; it is common for people to withhold certain aspects about themselves around their parents. However, this might be yet another common misconception. Moms know everything and she requested that I share stories that I had no idea she even knew about; the other family members appeared as if they had heard various rumors pertaining to my lifestyle and had been eagerly anticipating confirming this declaration. It was the first time this group had ever heard some of the stories that have become popular favorites in some circles, such as when I was pulled over in Texas for suspicion of hauling illegal firearms while I happened to be transporting a dead body. Even the  personal displays of aberrational behavior were joyfully applauded, such as the time I got too drunk, vomited in trash can, and nearly passed out on the ground… this was in a New York City Subway station while dressed as a sexy nurse on Halloween.

The mission to simply be myself proved to be a major success. I should probably be this way more often and not attempt to completely delete this characteristic from my personality altogether… which was something I had been considering.  (Topic to be continued)

Index: Chapter List

Chapter 12 Soundtrack Listing:

1. Cornershop
"Heavy Soup" 3:23

Handcream For A Generation

2. Echoboy
"Kit and Holly" 5:04

Volume One

3. Dionne Warwick
"Walk on By" 2:56

Make Way for Dionne Warwick

4. Them
"Gloria" 2:38

Here Comes the Night

5. The Long Winters
"Prom Night At Hater High" 4:06

When I Pretend To Fall

6. Calexico
"Fade" 7:44

Hot Rail

7. Slammin' Watusis
"Let It Out" 1:25

Slammin' Watusis

8. Adam Ant
"Goody Two Shoes" 3:30

Friend Or Foe

9. Jorge Ben
"Ponta De Laca Africano" 3:52

Africa Brasil

10. A Tribe Called Quest
"Push It Along" 7:42

People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
11. Vince Guaraldi
"Linus and Lucy" 3:07

A Charlie Brown Christmas
12. Eskorbuto
"Cuidado" 4:07

13. AC/DC
"Back" 3:46

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
14. Kiss
"Mainline" 3:51

Hotter Than Hell
15. Sweet
"Fox On The Run" 3:25

Desolation Boulevard
16. The Close Lobsters
"Mother of God" 3:46

Foxheads Stalk This Land
17. New Order
"Temptation" 3:46

18. Masters of Reality
"Moon in Your Pocket" 3:29

Sunrise on the Sufferbus

All Sections Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal

Ass Image from Facebook
Hole in the wall image from Sara Stoff.
**Disclaimer Notice** My mom never said/did any of the aforementioned pertaining to abortion.


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