Monday, November 7, 2011


I’ve been in a funk for the last month or so. Doldrums, ennui, whatever you want to call it. It’s something I’ve dealt with off and on most of my adult life. I’m beginning to come out the other end of this one, hence more energy and ergo, this blog post. You may or may not have noticed, but I haven’t written much lately, nor kept up with my internet buddies. Sorry, y’all.

I found out after my dad passed away that he suffered from depression. Funny, the things your parents keep from you. He had severe arthritis from when he was in the army, back in WWII. Before he was due to go overseas, he hurt his back and the army doctor sent him to a quack-chiropractor (redundant?) who ended up almost paralyzing him, at which point he was given a medical discharge and declared 100% disabled. He was so messed up, the vertebrae in his neck and back became calcified together to the point where he couldn’t turn his head or bend his back.

When I was a kid, he would periodically have to go to the VA hospital in Temple. I had always assumed it was for his back. Well, let me rephrase that: that’s what I was always told. But when he had passed away 15 years ago, I found some paperwork from the hospital where one of the doctors had noted his struggle with depression, and that my dad often mentioned in his sessions of wanting to kill himself. I asked my mom about it, and she confessed that it was really the depression he had had to go there for.

Whenever I get depressed, it never gets so bad I think about offing myself. Nor does it keep me from getting out of bed and going to work. But I do find it difficult to accomplish much more than that. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm thinking more about getting back to working on my novel. And I think I'm finally ready to start losing the weight I've been wanting to, and start getting into shape again.

I suppose I really shouldn’t even be thinking about losing weight now. I mean, isn’t that something you do to get ready for the summer? I should be looking to put on fat for the winter, right? Although, if I gain any more weight, I’m going to have to ask my daughter to tie my shoes for me.

And I especially shouldn’t be trying to lose weight since my wife and daughter just ganged up on me yesterday, and talked me into being Santa Claus for Christmas school pictures next month. I asked my wife, who is the PTA president, why me? Is it because my big round belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly? Of course not, she said. It was my rosy cheeks. Actually, it was because they knew no one else would agree to do it. Why not get the guy who did it last year, I threw in, as a last ditch effort to extricate myself. He moved, my wife said. I began to wonder if that was the reason he moved. But in the end, I broke, and agreed to do it. Dumbass. What is it, 720 kids in my daughter’s elementary school? I have to sit there all day long, while 720 kids take turns tormenting me about what they want for Christmas, and I have to be jolly the whole time? Santa will be dragging his fat ass home, and slide down inside a bottle of Bourbon as soon as it is over.

Speaking of my daughter, we went to the school track on Saturday. She loves to run and I thought I would try and give her a few pointers, as I used to do quite a bit of running many, many moons and about a hundred pounds ago. This was our second time doing this. The last time we went, I forgot just how much I had let myself go, and she smoked me on the track. Hell, I don’t think I ran more than a few yards before having to stop before keeling over. But this time was different. She beat me easily the first lap. But I actually beat her the second. It took everything I had, but I did it (Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I’m beginning to think she let me win.)

I’m also back into reading, and have picked up The Recognitions again. Gee, aren’t you getting tired of hearing I’m still reading it? Simply preposterous, I know. I should have finished it weeks ago. But at least I’m not reading it out of a sense of just wanting to finish it. It really is a wonderful book, and I am still enjoying it immensely. Actually, when I first picked it up, I figured I wouldn’t finish it until the end of the year anyways, which would be just in time to do a re-read for when Dalkey Press puts out its new edition in January. I've already decided it would be a belated Christmas gift for myself (that and the audiobook version of “The Tunnel,” unabridged and read by Gass himself! Gawd, I love The Dalkey Press!)

Well, that’s all I feel like writing now. Oh, I almost forgot. I finally got to watch “The Big Lebowski” the other night. What a wunnerful flick! I can’t wait to watch it again. But not before seeing “Blue Velvet,” another cult classic I haven’t seen. I recently watched an interview with DFW, where he said watching that movie really helped him out in his own work. High praise, indeed.


  1. WOW.

    You know, Bubba, I came over here the other day just to say hey, you doin' okay, but damn if I didn't! Next time I will. I've experienced some of what you've written about (not about Santa Claus, the stuff at the beginning of your post) and I know how sluggish and difficult it can then make life be.

    I'm thrilled you're back, and I'm impressed you're writing honestly about this stuff. Writing can be a good way out.

    Blue Velvet is the bomb. I've never seen The Big Lebowski, though. Suppose I should.

    I've got a surprise for you. Give me a few minutes (or hours or tomorrow in case I get distracted after posting this) and I'll show you ...

  2. Yeah, I second that emotion. Good to hear from you again, Bubba, and to read your clear, unpretentious, journal-like entries. But what a bummer you'll be as Santa Claus if you have to pretend to be happy.

  3. What would Santa be without the Maker's Mark?

    Melancholy is a daily reality. Some days depression, especially when the stress is flying.

    A year and a half ago my step-son totaled my wife's car. The insurance wasn't enough to get us anywhere close top a replacement. Wer bought bikes and she started riding to work. Then she started doing triathlons. She's lost 90lbs. She's gotten first place in her category twice now.

    Me? I started riding to work three times per week. She still smokes me, and I've not lost much weight, but those mornings I ride the melancholy is almost gone and I feel good and energetic. It was a fight to get out and ride for the first several months. Now it's a habit, though it still takes some effort of will.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better.

  4. Inspiring stuff, Tuirgin!

    Bubba, I watched a documentary not long ago that was as inspiring as what Tuirgin just wrote about, called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, about an Australian corporate head honcho who goes on a vegetable juice diet and meets a truck driver in the States whom he inspires and who eventually loses like 250 pounds. Very very inspiring, even if you're not interested in such a hardcore weight-loss regimen. I teared up several times during it.

  5. So right, Rique! I haven't been able to stop thinking about T's story. Truly amazing!

    And thanks for the recommendation on the documentary. I just reserved it at my library.

  6. Anytime Man. I hope you have a chance to maybe comment on the documentary too sometime. I'll be very curious to hear if it was as impacting for you as it was for me.