with everything else

my brother and i were sitting on a ledge way up high on some cliff on some streetside in front of the colisseum. in rome, that place. i don’t know how to spell collosieum. it’s one of those things that just you realize you’ll never get it one day, and it happens and you go, “it’s fine, there are no spelling tests in the apocalypse.”

anyway, this was in 2003, so fifteen years ago around this time. or a month and fifteen years ago. or whatever. not important. what was important was that we’re sitting there with a, like, three-euro jug of wine and paul mccartney is playing hey jude and we’re all stupid in the crowd watching paul mccartney sing hey jude in front of the colloseum, and it was free? i don’t know how, because it was 2003 and twitter didn’t exist then so i couldn’t figure this out. like maybe he said something bad on twitter and this was a goodwill tour — which hasn’t happened on twitter yet but c’mon it obviously will. anyway. but my brother and i had just been wandering around rome being broke and like, ‘okay parents this is the part where we get money and guidance from you,’ and parents were like, ‘ya i don’t think you planned this too well.’ and so we wandered around rome and the collisseum was free that day for some reason that is also inexplicable, and we were just strolling back to a hostel near the train station when i was like, “someone is doing a soundcheck outside of the collossseumm,” and literally there’s paul mccartney playing ‘let it be,’ and it was just like, ‘that’s interesting.’ and so, as you do, we sat down and some people tried to sell us stuff and paul mccartney said, ‘see you tonight for my free concert arrivederci,’ and we were like, ‘okay, that works. that sounds like a plan.’ we went to the hostel and ate food and waited around. i think my brother took a relatively decent photo of me looking blase and weathered that i’ve always liked and that i’ll never see again. then it was just, ‘okay. probably now or so, right?’ ‘yeah, probably.’ ‘okay, so some wine, and a baguette.’

‘terrific.’

and then paul mccartney played some music that night, and my brother and i were sitting on the side of the road on this cliff drinking and smoking weed in front of a shrine to death and its malcontents, and paul mccartney’s just like, ‘fuck it time for hey jude’ and we’re like, ‘fuck yeah, dude, na na na na na na na is the universal language!’ and they go ahead and do it. they do it and it’s fun as hell to sing a bunch of nas in rome in may in front of the collissuem in 2003 when you’re me. but also other people seemed to be having fun, too

*

Other people seem to be having fun. Which is in itself a mystery. I went to the dual diagnosis place to treat my whatever. I am an alcoholic, so one was addressed-ish. Which is a problem, because I’m also an idiot, but as I said, whatever. I went to this AA meeting where I absolutely did not give a fuck anymore about anything but the next five minutes, and I said “Look, I’ve done it all, I’ve lived an interesting life, I’ve collapsed and stood back up. I can hustle. That’s the problem, I can hustle. I’ve never really had to because it came so easy. It comes so easy. And now I’m doing all this shit to deny myself and sabotage myself because all of this is ridiculous and fleeting. I came to rehab and beat the system with smoking — seriously, you can ask these people, I’m the fucking cigarette smoking guru around here, scouting spots and doing recon and shit… it’s ridiculous. And then I get the hot chick because why not? It’s a mission and something to look forward to. And so it happens, and whoop-dee-do. Now I’ve got another week in here to do what? Sit here and live. There’s nothing sexy about sobriety. There’s nothing sexy about being basic.”

No one really listens because c’mon it’s AA.

*

a friend of mine once said this to me:

You’re a special creature. I admire your adventurous nature. There’s something about your calm presence that draws me to you. You march to the beat of your own drum, and in turn I think you will continue to be a leader, whether you like it or not. I like your subtle humor and your philosophical take on concepts. Your [sic] way too intelligent to let yourself drown in alcohol. Harness that shit and I think you can make beautiful things happen. Come jump in the ocean with me sometime.

You’ll always be my rehab boyfriend,

xoxo [redacted]

i have it in a folder with everything else

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3 responses to “with everything else

  1. It’s good to hear from you Tom. I can relate to the “I’ve done it all, it’s easy” part. I feel that way and it’s depressing.

    >

  2. Hang in there, Tom

  3. Thank you, Tom.
    I’ve been waiting a long time to read some of the details of the McCartney at the Koliseeyum story.

    I’m not the friend who wrote those lovely words to you, but I wish I had been.

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