Tuesday, November 29, 2016
It has been a pretty good year.
I feel like writing now and feel a ramble coming on. It is one of those moods I fear I might slip into drink. There is only a half-bottle of bourbon in the house so it is not worth it. I think I'll write. A half-bottle is not worth pulling the cork off in this mood. Better I write. Yes, please tune up your sarcasm meters. It has actually been years decades since I have done anything that serious.
I have the books almost balanced and have done a pretty good job of living up to my code of always repaying a kindness or settling a slight.
Actually the settling of slights isn't really that bad. You truly have to work at getting me upset. I will let just about anything guided by ignorance, stupidity or accident sluff of of me like water off a duck's back.
Malice is another thing altogether. That is never allowed to slide. I won't get into things here because it is very possible that what I did may or may not be out and out criminal. Whatever. The matter is now settled unless he wants to continue things. I doubt he will. He's not buried in my back yard. He's very much alive and now thinks that if he does cross me again he will be buried in my back yard.
If you are so damned curious that you just have to know, I will say that I actually didn't do anything illegal as such. I just simply didn't do something and let them do the damage to themselves. It is not really physical. It's mental.
I also managed to chase down another person I owed a thank you a few months ago. It was a woman I met during my travels about 30 years ago that helped me along in life. She is about 15 years older than I am and back in the 80s we had a brief affair of sorts. She taught me a lesson I have never forgotten. We both managed to keep an eye of sorts on each other via mutual friends.
I heard she was going to be in Ohio so I called her and we spoke person to person for the first time in about 30 years. We agreed to meet for lunch so I drove to Ohio. Actually I found out that my debt to her was not one way. I never knew it but I had helped her out in the process of being helped.
It's rather funny how things all seem to come out in the wash. We had an enjoyable lunch and swapped notes. Shortly after she and I parted ways she met someone and while they never married, they have been together for damned near 30 years.
It seemed she gave me the gift of confidence and I inadvertently introduced her to her mate of the past 30 years.
The other two are debts I can never repay because both of the people I owe are dead. One I did manage to settle up with in a way after he was gone. I found out a year after the fact and arranged to have a bottle of Remy Martin cognac dumped on his grave which is to say dumped into the Pacific Ocean because he was buried at sea.
The other is a rather odd debt. I didn't find out who I owed for a few years until I ran into someone a couple of years later in Ketchikan.
Just before I left Kodiak in my sailboat for the last time I came aboard and found an envelope on the galley table. It contained a $100 bill and a note that said, 'Follow your dreams!'. I didn't find out who left it for a a couple of years.
The man that left it was simply another liveaboard in the small boat harbor. He was basically unemployed and the $100 represented one hell of a lot of money at the time. Why he did that I will never know.
A couple of years later in Ketchikan I ran into a mutual friend who let me know it was Rob that had left me the note and the money. He also let me know that Rob was no longer with us. A few months after I left he was found dead. No details save that it was possibly his own hand as he had been diagnosed with a health issue a few months beforehand.
Still, the debt had to be repaid and I repaid it simply by passing it on. Over the years I have helped a number of total strangers continue their adventures with a quick unsolicited donation so in a way I suppose that evens things up.
As things stand now I've pretty much cleaned out that part of my bucket list out with one exception. I owe an old high school classmate a face to face thank you. I would really like to clear that one up.
Actually there is another that comes to mind as I write this. It is truly strange. I managed to track this one down after all these years.
A few years back when we were cleaning out the family manse I found a letter addressed to me through my mother. It was post dated September, 1986. The return address was in feminine handwriting and my address was written on it by yet another long dead friend. I recognized the handwriting.
The man that addressed it was killed in a skiff accident off the coast of New Jersey. A year later I was in the area he was killed and returned a Zippo to him by throwing it over the side of the boat I was on, hence returning it to his owner via Davy Jones.
The return address on the letter, in feminine handwriting had no name on it but the letter was signed with a name I did not recognize. It was from a city on Oregon and that provided me with a clue. It was a simple thank you letter for something I didn't remember doing. I put it aside for a while and forgot about it until several months later when I had some enforced time off from an injury.
I went digging on line and figured out who she was. I did remember her, but not by the name she signed the letter with. I had known her by her alias. She had worked in Kodiak as a hooker for several months.
If you are reading this and did not spend any time in Kodiak in the '80s it will likely wonder. If you did spend time there in the '80s you will grin. At the time it was quite possible to see the mayor, a fisherman, a hooker and the guy that ran the dump sitting at the same table having breakfast together. Kodiak was that kind of place. Racial, social and financial equality at its finest.
Anyway, the hooker that had written me was the same one I had taken to midnight mass a Christmas or two earlier. I wrote about the incident in Piccolo's Hash a few years ago. It's there. Google 'Piccolo's Hash' and dig around. Here's a cut and paste link: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/last-night-someone-said-to-me-that-hes.html.
I thought of not answering the old letter. Sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. On the other hand, the woman was living in an Oregon fishing town and the fishing community is small. I was certain that in that town her career in Kodiak was pretty likely well know in town. I sent her a letter to the hair styling place.
A couple weeks later I got one back. She was amazed to hear about the 20 year old letter. She also reported she's doing quite well with both her hair styling business and a number of rental properties. She is one of the very, very few woman to survive prostitution. Most wander into drugs and die young.
It's nice hearing that someone is still alive and doing well.
I have to put this epistle down for now as it is getting late and I want to get my mind away from this sort of thing. I will explain in the morning.
I bagged this last night because it was getting late and I did now want to start drinking hard liquor to avoid getting a visit from the ghosts.
Yes, ghosts. Not to be mistaken for the demons that I have exorcised long ago. I have not had a visit from the demons in over two decades since I returned a Zippo to a friend of mine via Davy Jones. Before then a visit from demons in the night was a very, rare occurrence unlike a friend of mine I roomed with for a while.
Vietnam had been less than a decade earlier and he was carrying something from it that he never shared. I was sensitive enough not to pry. It finally came out one night over a bottle of Glenlivet and while it was somewhat ugly it clearly was not his fault. He was carrying the blame for someone else.
He later said that things got a lot better after he told me about what had happened. Actually he had done nothing wrong. Someone else had stumbled into a Claymore mine he had set after being specifically told to stay clear of the area. He felt responsible.
While I do not have demons that come in the night, I generally get a brief visit from the ghosts of the old gang of '78 along with a few others. The guys from the winter of '85-6 sometimes appear, too.
More often than not, at sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas I get a visit from the ghosts. It is not really a fearful experience. It's actually both a warm and sad experience.
The truth is there are only two of us left and the other one is living in a small cabin in eastern Washington. He's scratching out somewhat of an impoverished living doing odd jobs.
The rest of us are dead.
Commercial fishing misadventures seemed to be the cause of the bulk of it. However, there were airplane accidents and a myriad of other causes including a murder, a couple of suicides and a number of overdoses.
A couple of years ago I really pissed off a policeman that was working narcotics and trying to bust a heroin dealer. I asked him why he was wasting his time on a self-solving problem.
When hes aid he was trying to save lives I pointed out that they really didn't want their lives saved. If they did want to live they would either have checked into rehab or avoided heroin in the first place.
Someone once said that I survived because I avoided a whole lot of winter commercial fishing. I disagree. I attribute my survival and longevity to having avoided the drug scene.
He countered that commercial fishing snuffed more lives out than drugs. I pointed out that a lot of fishing activity was actually based around drugs. Drugs cost money and drug users generally took more chances and as a result suffered much higher casualties.
I had only fished with family types and avoided druggies. Family types tended to run for cover in heavy weather faster than druggies did. They had wives and kids to come home to. Druggies only had dealers to come home to. They generally owed them money. As I sit here writing I can think of a half-dozen boats I refused to fish on that have since gone down with all hands. Of the half-dozen, five come to mind as having had crews that were in one way or another involved with hard drugs.
Strangely enough, the reason I avoided the drug scene was not because of fear of addiction or the crap the stuff the establishment ragged us with.
At an early age I noticed that most people that wound up getting beaten up, ripped off or were suffering major financial woes shared hard drug use in common. It was either that or heavy alcoholism.
The fact that I have been under DOT drug testing has not really changed things for me. I don't have a thing for drugs and actually look forward to going to work because there is no temptation to even have a drink there. I used to kid the guys that I came to work to dry out. I know of some guys that really DO come to work to dry out.
I recently told this to a young man of about thirteen in front of his parents. The mother looked quite alarmed, the father not so much. The father later questioned me about my attitude and I defended myself by explaining that the truth steels a person. I also pointed out that the lies the government told us back in the day only served to weaken their arguments.
Anyone that has ever been treated to a "Marijuana: Teenage killer' type of thing knows that it is nothing but a complete, total crock based entirely on lies. If they lied to us about pot then they are most likely lying about everything else, too. When I pointed this out to the kid's father he admitted my argument made a lot of sense.
The paradox here is the guy that smokes an occasional joint here and there has fewer headaches than a drinker does. Back in the day I was known for being able to conjure up a bottle of excellent scotch and a pack of Camels out of seemingly thin air. I will say that I learned early to avoid gin and tequila.
I suppose I should avoid alcohol use entirely. I have had my moments while using it, although it has never gotten completely out of control. I occasionally wander in and out of periods of hard drinking. As things stand right now, I have wandered out of it simply because I have stopped smoking cigarettes about three weeks ago and a beer or a snort is a cigarette trigger. I do have to stop smoking cigarettes.
Someone once told me that I seem to casually wander in and out of places where angels fear to tread and maybe they are right, maybe not. I am proud of the fact that I have little to hide. I feel comfortable telling anyone about my life.
While it hasn't been straight out of 'Leave it to Beaver', it hasn't been out of 'Helter Skelter', either. It has been at least interesting. Had it been like the Beav I likely would have just jumped decades ago.
The guy that I returned the Zippo to a couple of decades ago taught me a lesson. We were sitting in the middle of a terrible mess of halibut gear we had to get in repair overnight. He said to me, "If you don't have a sense of humor and an imagination you might as well jump."
The man that is living in a cabin in eastern Washington was with me whet the passenger wheel fell off of my pickup on I-5. As it went whistling by he folded his arms and looked at me. "Well, Stanley, here's another fine mess you've gotten us into," he said.
I did manage to mush it into the breakdown lane and a few hours later we were back on the road again.
Sometimes I have stories that even make ME wonder but I guess it is what it is.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY