Dead Chickens, Blind Boys and a Light in the Darkness

I think it was 1995, I can’t really remember.

I was in college and traveling from Waco to Chicago to see my parents for Christmas.

Along the way I had to stop and pick up a kid in Denton, Texas. He was a the son of my parents’ friends, going to North Texas, studying music and totally blind.

Things got strange before I even left.

While I loaded up my truck my dog suddenly bolted across the street after a chicken. Yeah, this is Waco. The hippy across the street from me had pet chickens roaming around his yard. He loved those birds. My dog had been eying them for 6 months and, well, she finally snapped.

The flock scattered. She zeroed in on a plump leghorn and chased it under the hippy’s porch. I yelled at her to come back. I heard a loud squawk and then nothing but silence for the next 5 minutes. She finally emerged with her face plastered with white feathers and stomach extremely extended.

I quickly threw her in the cab of the truck and got the fuck out of there before the hippy awoke and engage me in some peace, love, harmony and passive aggressive anger.

When I picked up Blind Boy he was sitting in his dorm room with his guitar and an over stuffed duffel bag. He dressed like, well, he was blind so shit didn’t look right at all. He had a long greasy pony tail hanging down his back and pasty skin. I knew my dog wouldn’t like him.

The three of us were chugging along in the single cab of my truck. The dog rode between me and Blind Boy. She was pissed she didn’t get to sit by the window and every once in awhile she would look at him and growl. I’m sure it scared the shit out of him.

We were almost out of Oklahoma when I stopped for gasoline. The air, while chilly in Waco when I started, had turned icy and windy. The cold sliced right through me while I refueled.

I walked the dog around while Blind Boy stayed in the truck.

“You need anything to drink or want to take a leak?”

“I’m fine,” Blind Boy said.

“Are you sure? After this there’s nothing until Missouri.”

“I’m good.”

Yeah, sure enough he had to pee 15 minutes later. I pulled over at a historical marker and had to guide him over to a bush and guide him back. As he got in the truck I could hear the passenger side rear tire hissing.

Fuck me. Changing a flat as the sun started to set was not part of my plan.

I told Blind Boy to get out of the truck and sit on the picnic table while I changed the tire.

I crawled under to unlock the padlock on the spare tire. The lock was frozen shut.

I struggled to get the key to turn but it wouldn’t budge. I rummaged through my tool box looking for a solution. The only thing I could find was 5 inches of a broken hacksaw blade.

I was back on my back in the cold under the truck. Night was starting to settle in. I had to hold the blade in my hand with out a handle. My hands were bleeding as I slowly cut through the lock with short 1 inch strokes.

It’s dark. I’m stranded with a murderous dog and person that, while nice, is no help at all. I’m bleeding. I’m tired. I’m freezing and cutting through this lock is an exercise in futility that seemed like it would never end.

I felt so alone and frustrated, but I had to keep pushing through. People were counting on me.

And there are times that I feel the same way. And there is this part of me that gnaws away from the inside that tells to just give up.

I have this impossible set of problems and they are something that I will slowly work through alone, as I always have.

But then I tried the lock again. The key turned and the spare came off and everything was fixed and better.

That’s how life goes.

Be patient.

Do not give up.

Work at it.

And everything will be fine.

The Suburban War Lord Prayer

“After all these years of believing in Jesus, After all these drugs, I thought I was Him.” — The Clash

The problem with religion these days is that all the world’s great minds have been abandoning God ever since Edison invented the light bulb. It’s not hard to see the connection.

In the beginning, there was darkness and shit stayed pretty dark until Edison stuck a filament in a vacuum and applied an electrical current. Voila. Man re-created God’s work.

Pretty soon thinking about the nature of God was left to dolts and simpletons. Seems like the meaner and less imaginative someone became, the more sway they had over the flock.

Regular people just stopped believing. They stopped thinking about God. They stopped trying to be love. The whole idea of thinking about God became embarrassing.

I still believe in God. I am, however, a man without a church. Basically, no one wants me (sniff, sniff).

That’s fine. It’s just me running around like a lone wolf in the wilderness and it’s probably how I was meant to be. (although I’m a total sucker for the communion.

So I believe in an all powerful God. I talk to him all the time. I try not to ask him for much. I tend to assume he’s a little too busy to worry about my petty problems.

I also firmly believe that he’s given us the greatest gift ever — each other. If men and women would just work together to help each other a little more, things would be a lot better here on Earth.

I think Jesus of Nazareth was probably a real person. I doubt he was literally the Son of God. That just doesn’t seem to be God’s way. Knocking up single girls and then leaving them with some other dude is, frankly, tacky. If you combed through the Gospels a few times you will see that Jesus is shockingly vague about whether or not he is the Son of God. He does get really explicit regarding people using the church to create wealth, judging others and generally being assholes.

Did Jesus rise from the dead? I don’t know. Does it even matter? Is Christianity suppose to revolve around Jesus rising from the dead and teaching rabbits how to poop out colored eggs or is Christianity about a guy from a messed up childhood trying to show the world a better way to live? He spent a lot more time talking about how to live than how he was going to die.

But I’m rambling now… This post is suppose to be about prayer.

In general, this is the official Suburban War Lord Prayer:

“Dear God, you are the greatest ever. You made everything. All I have I owe to you. Thank you.

I also want to thank you for my family and my friends.

God, please watch over XXXXX. They are awesome. If anything bad happens to XXXXX I’m going to be really pissed at you. You know they are a good person. This shit they have to deal with isn’t fair.

I would really like it if you could shift a lot of their worries and concerns over to me. I don’t have much going on right now so the extra work would actually be a nice break.

Yes, we both know I totally want to bang them but that doesn’t mean I’ve got bad intentions. Seriously, God, you KNOW I wanted to help them long before I wanted to get it on with them.

Just, throw me a bone here and watch over them extra close.

In fact, here’s the deal. Stop watching over me at all.

Any time you are spending watching over me, watch over XXXXX instead. You gotta watch over their family too. XXXXX has done a great job with them and I’d hate to see someone come along and screw that up.

We gotta a deal or what? If I’m off base here, make the bed float in the air (long frightening pause). Sweet. Thanks God.”

I typically say I’m sorry for all the crappy things I did during the day.

I don’t ever ask for anything for myself. I know I don’t deserve it.

I don’t ever ask for salvation because it’s either going to happen or not. And, again, I don’t deserve it. I’m sure I’ve got friends in Heaven and Hell.

Normally at the end when my mind starts wandering I’ve got to refocus for a grand finale about soldiers or orphans or soldier orphans.

Just for good measure I throw in the Lord’s Prayer cause that basically covers just about everything.

In a pinch, a simple “Thanks” probably covers it. He knows everything any way, right?