February 8, 2007
"If My Uncle Mark were an Action Figure..."/Going All Live Journal
It feels like I don't have anything to blog about anymore. So, I'll post this piece of writing I did for class that I like. IT WON'T INDENT!
If My Uncle Mark were an Action Figure, He would come
with an Electric Guitar, Homemade Guitar Picks,
and cases of Miller Beer.
His body rocks side to side. His glassy eyes wobble as they try to focus on mine. He takes the piece of a plastic credit card, in the shape of a guitar pick, out of his mouth.
“Do you…know this one...?” he trails off.
He hunches over, trying his best to connect; to become one with the instrument, like the great guitar gods he idolizes. But, it’s no use. His fingers miss the notes. Strange plucks and plinks resonate out of the amp. Just like the rest of his body his hands are drunk.
“Come on, you can play to this! Give me a 4/4 beat!” he commands.
I pick up the sticks, and tap the cymbals, the snare, the toms, and the bass. I try to keep steady time, but his fingers fall out of sync.
“You’re pretty good.” he tells me.
I’m not a drummer, nor do I aspire to be one. The set is my brothers, and he can play circles around me. But, even if he is missing the compliments, he is the lucky one; he’s upstairs. He has escaped Uncle Mark for now.
“What about this one?” he smirks. Iron Man. “What about this one?” Smoke On The Water. “This One?” Stairway to Heaven. T-N-T. Back In Black. Bark at The Moon.
The basement has become a classic rock radio station.
Distorted power chords, and electric noodling reverberate off the concrete walls. Between these bursts of noise, Uncle Mark tells me stories, and gives me “great” advice.
“You just got to go all the way, Man.” He advises.
Uncle Mark is positive that, like him, I dream of becoming a Rockstar. But, I believe Rockstars are passé, and worse, MAINSTREAM.
Yes, we both play the guitar, but the way we view the instrument is entirely different. Uncle Mark looks at it as if it’s a beautiful woman, with luscious curves, which have the ability to save a life. He once explained to me about the curves resembling a woman. I laughed, but in the way we have been taught to laugh at Uncle Mark, inside.
Uncle Mark is a drunk, and likes Heavy Metal music. Unfortunately, that is the one-dimensional character he has become to most of the family. My cousins fear him. My Uncle scolds him. My Stepfather teases. My Mother asks spiritual questions, which usually end up littered with heavy metal lyrics about hell being “a party”, or how the devil is a “cool dude”. My siblings and I simply pretend to listen, and understand everything he says. Whatever Uncle Mark says and asks, “yeah” or “okay” usually will answer the question, mostly because every statement eventually becomes a question. Every declarative ends with “do you know what I mean?”
It may sound like we have no compassion for him, and it’s true. We had compassion. But after almost 30 years of alcoholism it’s hard to feel sorry. He has been in rehab dozens of times, been homeless (by choice, he brags), and hospitalized. Recently, the doctor informed him if he continues to drink, he will die, and his dying has started.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
His eyes are closed. Saliva dribbles over his ham, mashed potatoes, and small garden salad. I watch it form into a small puddle on his plate. He coughs. A milky white liquid oozes from his lips and on to his black t-shirt. It drips down over the green dragon’s necks, and on to the word “Savior” of his thrift store t-shirt.
“Do you need to go outside?” He raises his head, and smirks.
“No, I’m just not feeling well right now. Some people say it’s the alcohol, but I don’t believe it...” he pauses, and a giant smile forms on his face, “well, maybe it is the alcohol.” He laughs with his distinguishable crusty laugh, that if you had to compare it to anything it would be the voice of “Krusty, The Clown” from The Simpson’s. Oddly enough, my Uncle’s favorite television show.
None of us laugh. We already know it is the alcohol. We all know his body is on its way out. Months ago it was his bladder, now it’s his esophagus. This is usually how an alcoholic dies. Their organs slowly fail, and create a chain reaction in the rest of the organs.
“I should really start my homework.” I say.
“Not now, lets play a few more songs.” he says, with my guitar still strapped over his shoulder.
“How about later?” I ask.
His stare increases, and there is a fiery glare in his eye. Immediately, I believe he’s going to stab me with his pocketknife. He’s shown it to me numerous times, advising me to get one myself, because “you never know”.
“It was a grotesque scene yesterday in the home of this 17-year-old boy, as his drunken Uncle stabbed him to death with a small pocketknife”
“Okay, but before you go, I have something for you…”
He reaches into his pocket. My heart quickly beats; my head pulses.
“I want you to put this on your keychain.” He hands me a Sacagawea Dollar with a small hole through it.
“Thanks.” I say. I go to put it in my pocket, but he quickly forces me to put it on my keychain in front of him.
“You know. You’ll never know when you’ll need that. You can always use a dollar, you know what I mean?”
I walk up the basement steps to the soundtrack of a clumsy renditionSmoke On The Water, knowing that I have escaped death and Uncle Mark.
Posted by cory at February 8, 2007 8:05 PM