Let’s Call This The Half Way Point

This year, I’m going to be 45 years old!
I figure, with advances in medical treatment and technology, this is probably a safe year to call half way.

So, I’m going to be 45 years old…. THIS year!
Which is crazy to me, because, and maybe everyone feels this way, but I’m still 25.
See, I made this promise when I was 21 that since 25 was the perfect age (Old enough to know better, young enough to get away with it still), once I hit that age, I was never going to get any older, and I really haven’t.

Looking back, what a weird trip my life has been.
Walk with me now, while I reminisce.

My Childhood
As a kid, I was cluelessly sheltered by my Mom, who was struggling herself to deal with my baby brother and the deterioration of her marriage.
Fortunately, my Grandparents intervened and let us move from suburban (Buffalo) Kenmore, NY into the flat over their garage in rural Alden, NY.
We stayed in that little one room hovel for five years!! And because my only real upbringing was at the hands of my nerdy, frugal and overtly Catholic grandparents, I had little knowledge of the outside world, other than cheap clothes, the outlawed field behind their house, their friends and Church. My brother and I were raised as if we were twins, dressed and treated alike.

My Teenage Years
When I was ten, in an effort to get her kids into a better school system, we moved to upscale Amherst, NY, but the place we moved to was not exactly upscale. It wasn’t a ghetto either, but it WAS a great place for a kid, with the seemingly endless woods, paved bike trails, pool tennis courts and no shortage of other kids and ongoing adventures.
Now, by ten, my personality was already somewhat developed, and it was not ready for the ever present peer pressure and competitiveness of Amherst. I really just never did fit in and as I grew older, but never grew bigger, my life collapsed into a routine of running, hiding and dodging the other bigger, popular kids that loved to fuck with me as mercilessly as possible. I was a total victim in high school, and I still, to this day, wonder why that was allowed to happen.
It was bad and it shaped some bad traits in me that have lasted my entire life.
Knowing that all my blogs show up on my Facebook page, and that there are people on my friend’s list that I went to high school with, I have no problem talking openly about what I went through back then, knowing that most will simply “not remember”.
But names like Chris Guercio, Monte Brown, Tim Bub, Scott Greene, Larry Fineburgh, Jack Armitage, Hank Warden, Michelle Phillips, and other, still light a burning rage in me.
Hell, my friends were all kids my brother’s age. I could take them in a fight, and I had a bully mentality with smaller kids, too. Definitely a result of the abuse I took from bigger kids.
Girls? Oh hell no. Girls did not see me and if they did, I couldn’t utter the “excuse me” if I had to step out of their way.

When I graduated, I weighed 109lbs. Today, I weigh 200. That is insane to me, that I got this big.
I wish I was this big or had the “fight-to-the-death-attitude” I have now while I was in in high school. Monte Brown would have been eating lunch through a straw….
I’m just convinced he’s a big fucking pussy now. I know Chris Guercio had a nightmare for a teenage daughter. Jack Armitage is probably in jail with Scott Greene.

My Twenties
Anyhow, I graduated and was already enlisted in the Army, knowing that the first thing I needed to do after High School, was grow up and get a spine.

So I ended my teens and started my twenties in the Army.
I got that spine, along with a killer’s “take-no-shit” attitude, and an endless class-clown type sense of humor.
I also learned about heavy drinking, acid, cocaine, and living on the edge.

Now, looking back, I should have just stayed in. Where would I be now?
This was the first really, life-changing, terribly wrong decision I ever made.
I actually still regret it to this day.

My twenties were the way your twenties should be. Wild!
I partied, rocked, traveled and lived for the moment throughout the entire time.
I learned new trades. Iron Worker. Business Owner. Pool Builder. Mechanic. Steeple Jack and finally truck driver.
I sang in bands that were pretty big in Buffalo. I lived in California, Texas, Washington, DC….
In San Diego, I sang in a band that had the Bass Player and Drummer from Krokus.
That is major! I wonder if Michelle Phillips from high school would make fun of me if she saw me on that stage! (Ha ha)
I lived 100 years in that decade and when it ended, my life was transitioning.

My Thirties
I started my thirties in the midst of a long term relationship with a girl that was just turning 19.
Not my first big relationship, but my first real love, which I managed to screw up.
Actually, it was screwed already screwed up, just due to the age difference.

Anyhow, in my thirties, I evolved more. I began to eat super healthy. I worked out religiously. I threw myself into my work. I dealt with the heart ache of that relationship ending and learned to move on. I found spirituality, began thinking deeper and I found myself back in the music scene, promoting bands and clubs.
Once, I almost booked Fuel and Tonic at 3600 seat Shea’s Theater, which would have sent me on the way in that profession, but my front money never came through and the Concert Promoter dream died.
Instead, I worked in production for Clear Channel, hanging out with rock stars at the 6 Flags Amphitheater outside of Buffalo for 5 years.
My thirties was about growing and learning every and anything I could about life, the world, and trying to discover all of life’s secrets.

I was at a concert for a band called Donna The Buffalo, a jam band from the Ithaca area, that I really dug a lot! I was stoned, dancing and losing myself when a friend of mine confirmed how much I loved that band and then shook his head, questioning “But you listen to Death Metal!”
That one statement described the vast, multi-layered person I had become. My thirties were just an extension of my twenties and towards the end, while down at one of my shows in the city of Buffalo, someone began a game guessing my age. The average answer was 28!
I lived in a great apartment in the greatest neighborhood in Buffalo (North Buffalo on the Hertel Strip), I was financially sound and my future looked great.
I couldn’t be more pleased.

My Forties
My forties rang in with the birth of my first child. My life took another hard turn.
All of a sudden, things began going wrong. I lost the bar tending job that I loved, because the owner wanted the girl he cheated on his wife with to have my coveted Saturday nights.
I started and lost my own trucking business. A cop in Tonanwanda targeted me and wrote me bunches of bunk speeding tickets, costing me my license (Which I still haven’t gotten back) and my livelihood. My kid’s mother and I were at each other’s throats. I took on roommates, who fucked up my way of life. I lost my cool apartment and everything I owned.

You now those records you still have from when you were a kid? GONE! The furniture you collected? GONE! The clothes you still had from when you were a kid that you can’t throw out? GONE! Awards. GONE! My Dad’s stuff I got when he died, my Army medals, TV, stereo, computers, PA System, bedding, photo albums, important documents, everything… .GONE!!!
And Bridget, too, lost everything. As did my infant daughter.

Having lost my license, and needing to maintain that type of income I was used to, I learned how to sell Home Improvements. At first, I couldn’t sell. I became depressed, and then, just as I worked my way up to the top of my office, I was forced to pick up and move to Peoria, IL.

Since I’ve been here, we’ve struggled, bad. I haven’t stayed as healthy, or worked out. I look and feel like shit. I had to learn telemarketing, selling advertising. I hated it, but I excelled at it, working my way up to the top of the office in sales.
When a better opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it, worked my way into the Layout Department as a Graphic Designer and was starting to feel happy again, when that fell apart.
Now, I’m making ten fucking dollars an hour, as a graphic designer, the going rate in this shit-hole town, but some things still remain.
I have two little girls and my kid’s mother and I are still at each other’s throats, but we strive to make things work out, and provide the kind’ve love to our children that we both feel we lacked, growing up.

First, I feel optimistic again for the first time in some years, like something big is going to happen. The same way I felt through my twenties and thirties. That greatness may not have eluded me after all.
I’m working out again, slowly, to start, but I can feel the old musculature in there, working it’s way out.

And, I’mstill 25.
When we can get away with playing music in the office, we take turns, and for me, it’s always extremely heavy metal. I still headbang and thrash.
Another designer, he’s 22, listens to classic rock.
I can’t get across to him how repetitive that is to me, having listened to it for over 30 years.
The other designer, she’s a biker, and listens to classic rock, too.

But me, I’m still 25, in a mosh pit, losing myself to the savage beat.

I look to the future and in it, I still see myself the same at 55, 65, 75….
Eternally young, and insistent on never giving in.
My hair flying to the heaviest music, lost in the thrash.

I’m going to be 45 this year?
No fucking way!



From June 20, 2009


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