Archive | October, 2012

Gettin’ Jacked

23 Oct

Some of you are aware that I’m into powerlifting, so I’m always looking for new insights into techniques that will help me increase my lifts.  Men’s physical strength for this type of lifting typically peaks at around age 45, so I have a few more years to do something excellent.

This young man has got me fired up.  Although, with the typical callowness of youth, he sees perfecting his clean-and-jerk technique as a way to pick up girls, I have to admit that he’s pretty successful at it.  Just remember, that which goes up, must come down.

The Empire of Jeff Bourbon-Cast: Episode 5 – Watch Your Fucking Tone

13 Oct

The Empire of Jeff Bourbon-Cast returns with a new episode outlining just how ugly things are getting this election season.  Below are the links to the stories I quote during the podcast.

Episode 5 – Watch Your Fucking Tone

If you want to go to my main podcast page and listen to them all, go here:

Let Me Put My Audio In You.

I hope you enjoy it, and as always, this Bourbon-Cast is NSFW.  I can’t believe I have to keep telling you people that.

Note 1:  Voter fraud is some funny shit, isn’t it?

Note 2:  Romney starts with “R.”  Racist starts with “R.”  Coincidence?  This bitch doesn’t think so.

Note 3:  Pro-choice? Only if I can choose to smash an overhand right into this old broad’s suckhole.

Note 4:  Some bitches just be ignant.  And gross.

The Garbageman Trilogy – Episode III: A Blur of Misery

2 Oct

I arrived at Truck 42 only to find that there was already a driver and two garbagemen on board, which was one person too many.
“Hi, I’m assigned to this truck,” I said.
“That’s bullshit!” an angry, yellow-eyed black man barked at me from the right-hand seat. “I always ride this truck!”
“Yeah, The Man With The Clipboard needs to see you about that,” I said, gesturing over my shoulder with my thumb. He jumped off the truck and stormed over towards The Man With The Clipboard to register his displeasure. I grabbed hold of the door handle and swung myself up into the cab of the truck, slamming the door behind me.
“Okay, let’s go,” I said to the driver. He looked at me, shrugged, and pulled out of the yard.

I sure hope he’s not waiting for me when we get back, I thought.

As we rode towards the beginning of our route, I shook hands with “Shorty,” who would be my fellow Garbageman on the back of the truck. On the way, I asked him to teach me the finer points of garbage collecting.

“Goddamn, white-boy! Just put the fuckin’ trash in the back of the truck! Shiiiit!” he told me. I explained to him that my name was Jeff, not White-boy, but that it was okay, since I apparently closely resemble somebody named White-boy. “Happens all the time,” I assured him. That got him laughing, and we had no more tension after that.

We arrived at the start of our route and I was relieved to see that we were in Fat City, a section of town I was well-acquainted with, being comprised mostly of cheap apartment buildings and drinking establishments of the variety that stay open 24 hours a day. Shorty and I dismounted from the cab of the truck and hopped onto our perches on the rear of the truck.

Then we were off! I was doing it – I was standing on the back of a moving vehicle! Unfortunately, it was 4:30 in the morning and there was no one on the streets to witness my triumph.

Three minutes later, we backed up to an apartment building and we got to work, slinging bags into the semi-circular well in the back of the truck. It had rained the night before, making the bags heavier than they appeared. I smelled the familiar odor of crawfish, beer, and red beans and rice. Someone had obviously had a party the night before.

“Since you new, Jeff, I’ll work the blade,” Shorty said.
“Blade? What’s that?” I asked.
“It pushes the bags back in the truck. Watch,” he said.
I watched as a gleaming panel of steel lowered down into the well on two hydraulic arms. Cool, I thought walking around the back to get a better look. I arrived just in time to see the scything blade cut into the middle of the pile of trash bags…

and got squirted from the knees up with crawfish guts, stale beer, beans and other susbstances too foul to identify.

“Hey man, don’t stand behind the truck when I’m workin’ the blade,” Shorty said. I just nodded and tried to clean myself off. We got back into our rythm, slinging bags into the truck, then trotting to the next pile. I was starting to work up a sweat.  Even just before dawn, the heat and humidity on an August morning in New Orleans are oppressive.

This continued for about twenty minutes until we pulled up in front of one of Fat City’s 24-hour bars.  I was puzzled as to why we were stopping, as there were no bags or garbage cans lined up at the curb for disposal.

The driver and Shorty dismounted and started walking toward the entrance. I grabbed Shorty’s shoulder.
“Shorty, don’t they have to put their trash out?” I whispered.
“Just shut the fuck up and watch,” he said. Following his cue, we went inside the bar.

The place was empty except for a hard-eyed female bartender and a single patron, passed out face down on the bar.  It was a rough joint – dimly lit, dirty.  The kind of place that never sees a mop, with perpertually sticky floors, buzzing neon beer signs,  a dozen or so angry red hot-dogs lazily spinning on a rolling grill behind the bar, and a giant jar of pickled eggs maintaining its dusty vigil from the end of the counter, its murky contents a metaphor for all the bad decisions you had ever made.

Shorty and I emptied all the trash cans inside, heavy with beer bottles, and made trip after trip to the truck with cases of empty liquor bottles. After ten minutes of this, I was getting pretty annoyed. This was going to take all day!

Then I spied Shorty and the driver at the bar and it all became clear. I walked up to the bar and Shorty handed me a Long Island Iced Tea – 24 ounces of it – in a big plastic cup. The bartender also put six hot dogs and a six-pack of Budweiser in a plastic bag.
“For lunch,” she told us.  I gave her a smile and a knowing nod, raising my cup to her in an appreciative toast.

I remounted my Garbage Steed a hero, taking a mighty chug of my extremely potent drink, draining about half the cup as the truck pulled off, me hanging on with my left hand. What an awesome job!, I thought as we rode down the street, enjoying the view and my fresh buzz.

And then the smell from the truck hit me.

I immediately leaned forward and threw up into the back of the truck. I tried to wash my mouth out with my drink, but the smell and taste of it made my nausea even worse and I pitched it, along with the rest of my cookies into the garbage well.

I am the scummiest piece of shit alive, I thought to myself, weakly gripping the handrail. Shorty was furious at my waste of a perfectly good drink.
“I’d of finished that, why’d you throw it away?!”

We pulled up to our next stop. Shorty quickly ran to the cab and retrieved the hot dogs and beers. He offered them to me; I shook my head, feeling my gorge rise again. He wolfed down three hot dogs and four beers in five minutes – “Gotta finish these off ‘fore anybody see us.” I stumbled over to my side of the truck, where I witnessed the painful death of…

Garbageman Myth #2:you get to ride on the back of a truck. Although I didn’t know it yet, I had taken my last ride on the back of the truck. For the next ten hours, I would be running alongside it. We had reached the residential neighborhoods, miles long streets lined with thousands of garbage cans.

The rest of the day was a blur of misery, staggering from house to house, trying to keep up with Shorty’s merciless pace. He may have been only 5’4″ tall, but he was built like a little black action figure. And he seemed to be enjoying himself! He was singing songs, and I was struggling to lift giant trash bags full of wet grass clippings over the lip of the truck. The dispatcher radioed us three separate times with complaints that I was carelessly hurling empty trash cans onto people’s lawns, instead of replacing them neatly at the curb.
Good, maybe I’ll get fired, I thought, praying the misery would end soon.

I was getting furious at how cheap people are when it comes to garbage bags, especially those used for grass clippings. More than once I would lift a clear, two molecule-thick bag stuffed with grass until it was about the size and weight of a Shetland pony, only to have it split open at the bottom, leaving a perfectly formed bag-shaped pile of grass standing for a brief second before tumbling apart. This was when I learned what the brooms and shovels on the side of the truck were for.

The only brief respites came when the truck had to be emptied. Fortunately, this was the driver’s responsibility and he dropped us off at a McDonald’s near the landfill. I watched in horror as Shorty ate the rest of our hot dogs, drank the remaining cans of beer, then devoured two Big Macs inside.

Not once did I see him wash his hands. He also put paid to…

Garbageman Myth #3:you get to keep all kinds of neat stuff. People don’t throw away neat stuff – they throw away GARBAGE. If there’s any neat stuff, it must be under the dirty diapers, coffee grounds, rotten fruit and eggs and used tampons. You can look for it yourself.

Shorty did keep some stuff, though. He kept a mostly used stick of deodorant – “Hey man, there’s still some in here!”, a discarded comb – “Now I don’t got to buy me one!”, and the remnants of a bottle of ketchup – “It’s still good.” I won’t describe the horrors I saw him sift through to procure these treasures.

Like all good things, all bad things must come to an end as well, and finally we were through. I wearily looked at my watch, which confirmed the death of…

Garbageman Myth #4:you only work in the morning. I had been running behind that truck for over twelve hours.

Exhausted and smelly, I made my way home. All of the windows in my 1977 Dodge Aspen were cranked open, and yet I still couldn’t get away from the smell of myself and my stupid decision.  When I got home, it was dusk.  Pulling into the carport, I decided to leave my car windows open.  There was no way I wanted to come back to that smell again.

Standing in the carport, I pondered my clothes.  Where they weren’t stiff and crusted over, they were wet and thick with an unspeakably fetid gravy of humanity’s foulest leavings.

Fuck this, I decided.  I stripped off every stitch of clothing, from my baseball cap to my shoes.  Everything went into the garbage can – shoes, hat, socks, underwear…  EVERYTHING.  Opening the side door, I walked into the house, intending to head straight for the shower, when I saw that my mom was waiting for me, way too amused about the whole thing.

“HOW WAS YOUR DAY AS A GARBage…  man…” she trailed off, obviously not expecting me to walk in the house stark naked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I muttered, stalking toward the bathroom, slamming the door and cranking the shower up as hot as I could stand.

The Garbageman Trilogy – Episode II: The Wages of Stupidity

2 Oct

The hour was ten ‘o clock. The ad said to report to the main office at 2 a.m. Judging that I would benfit little by attempting to get a couple of hours’ sleep and sensing that I would need my strength for the ordeal to come, I started ingesting carbohydrates, notably barley and hops. They say there’s the nutritional equivalent of a fried pork chop in every can.  I sipped my breakfast and left home at 1:30 a.m. to meet my destiny.

Senses and judgment properly dulled, I arrived at the office. It was on Airline Highway, the same seedy stretch of road that saw the downfall of Louisiana Senator Earl Long, portrayed by Paul Newman in the movie Blaze. A generation later, we would see television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart brought low by a $35 hooker at the Sugar Bowl Courts, a “No-Tell motel” located a mile down the road, which was also used as the set in Newman’s movie.

I had no idea what a garbage company’s headquarters would look like.  Looking around at my shady surroundings, it was obvious I had come to the right place.

Once in the empty office, the manager, a pudgy, bespectacled troll in a tie and dirty short-sleeve shirt blinked at me with a puzzled look, and asked me if I was sure I was in the right place. I assured him that I was. The interview completed, he gave me the standard tax forms to fill out. After I had completed them, I inquired as to how much per hour I would be making on this job. It was then that the office troll shattered…

Garbageman Myth #1:Garbagemen make lots of money.
I would be earning MINIMUM WAGE!
“But, but… garbagemen make good money!” I sputtered. He laughed and explained that this was a temporary agency – if I was still on the job after 30 consecutive days, the garbage company would hire me on at union scale, which combined with the amount of overtime required, would indeed amount to a princely sum. To add insult to injury, I was informed that I was to report for assignment at 4:00 a.m., further down Airline Highway. He also told me that if I didn’t get assigned to a truck, to report back to this office for another possible job. Fuming at myself for being so stupid, I drove off.

When I arrived at the address I was given, I found myself in a large fenced-in yard, populated by a lone black man sitting on a bench, smoking a cigarette. I asked him if this was where you go to be a garbageman. He eyed me up and down for a full five seconds, his face expressionless, before replying, “Yep.”

I sensed an instant rapport between us and sat down on the bench. I asked him if he thought I would get assigned to a truck. He glared at me for another five-count and said, “Hell, no, white-boy.”
My new friend explained that when “The Man With The Clipboard” came out of the building, you had to “get in his face” and get him to write down your name. Unspoken, and yet plainly expressed, was his doubt of my ability to assert myself and land one of the limited spots aboard a truck. Over the next hour, as the yard filled up with over 100 burly black men, I began to think he might be right. The new arrivals looked at the skinny white kid like you might view a parrot in a supermarket: sure, you’ve seen one before, you know what it is, but what the hell is it doing here?  The context is all wrong.

And then, pandemonium erupted as The Man With The Clipboard strode into the yard. Swept along with the crowd trying to “get in The Man’s face,” I was jostled from side to side like a soccer mom in a mosh pit. Lucky to keep my feet, I finally broke free into some open air. A hush fell over the crowd as they realized that they had inadvertently pushed me directly in front of The Man With The Clipboard (later I began to suspect that they had done it on purpose). Time stood still as The Man, an overweight, middle-aged white man,  blinked with astonishment at me from behind thick glasses.

“Write your name down here, son,” he said finally, handing me the clipboard. I scrawled my name in one of the few empty slots left on the sheet, next to Truck 42. The crowd parted silently as I went to meet my crew. Well, mostly silently.  There was some more pushing, shoving, and polite entreaties to “get the fuck out the way, white-boy!” But I barely noticed, as one thought repeated itself in my mind…

Oh my God, I’m a Garbageman.

 

Next Episode:  A Blur of Misery

I, Garbageman – Episode I: The Calling

2 Oct

The recent Obama ad in which Mitt Romney’s garbageman laments that all he ever wanted from the ex-governor was a hug, stirred up some old feelings in me.  Feelings I thought I had put behind me.  Now it can be told, nay – must be told.  I too, was once a garbageman.

When I was a young boy, my mother would continually ask me and my brother what we wanted to be when we grew up. We always replied, “Garbageman!”

This frustrated her to no end, and no matter how many times she asked, our answer was always the same.

Think about it – this was in the days before car seats, iPods, satellite radios, Nintendo DS, in-car DVD players or anything else that could keep you quiet in the car.  To kids who were constantly bombarded with shouts of “Sit down!”, “Put on your seatbelt!” and “Pull your brother back in the window!”, it was like riding with a North Vietnamese POW camp commandant.  Brutal.  Stifling.  What rambunctious boys want more than anything is freedom of movement.  Elbow room.

And what could be more liberating than standing on the back of a moving truck, perched on a one-foot square platform, one hand lazily gripping the grimy handrail, the other giving jaunty little waves and salutes to kids like me, imprisoned in the back seats of drab brown Oldsmobuick station wagons with imitation wood-grain paneling? That was the life!  And what did mom know about anything?  Sure, you were picking up garbage, but garbagemen make lots of money, plus they only work in the morning, you can keep all kinds of neat stuff that people throw out, and most importantly, you get to ride on the back of a moving truck! How much ass does that kick?!

In August of 1993, I was twenty years old, had just joined the Army, and would be leaving for OSUT (One Station Unit Training) in a month.  I had quit college a few months before, frustrated at my inability to decide just what in the hell I even wanted a college degree for.  With no idea of what to do next, I punted to Uncle Sam.  If you don’t know what to do, join the Army.  They’ll tell you what to do.  Good and hard.

To physically prepare myself for the rigors of Infantry training, I was chain-smoking cigarettes and consuming large amounts of alcohol nightly. One night, while sitting on my parents’ couch in a semi-soused stupor, I was cruelly jarred from my meditative state by my mother’s snickering as she shook the newspaper under my nose, an ad in the employment section encircled and underlined boldly in frenetic slashes of blue ink. To this day, I can still close my eyes and see what sent a cold spike of fear through my heart that night: a help wanted ad for Garbageman.

My mom had just called me out.

“DO IT! DOOOO IT!!!” she cackled with evil glee, her hands clapping in sadistic joy.
This was her moment, and she would not be denied. After twenty years of my stock smart-assed reply to her every inquiry concerning my career plans, my day of reckoning had arrived. My brother, traitorous bastard that he is, had conveniently joined the Army and gotten himself stationed in Kentucky two years earlier, leaving me to face the music alone. I was outgunned, outnumbered, scrawny and half-drunk, staring into the eyes of a woman who wanted JUSTICE.

It was go time.

“All right, Mom, I’ll do it.”
Prince Valiant style ending -

Next Episode: The Wages of Stupidity.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers

%d bloggers like this: