There’s a town down in the mountains, where I had a series of unusual experiences happen to me. That town has a college campus in it, and I went down there, theoretically, to get an education, straight out of high school. There was a girl down there who tried to steal my heart, and I wasn’t accustomed to having such things as that stolen from me, since I’m just about as independent as to be somewhat level headed about such matters in the first place, at least, that’s what I thought I was, in the first place. She proved me to be wrong about that pretty quickly.
But she was quite the girl, and I found out I was in the process of doing whatever pretty quickly. I found out I was not nearly the master of my own behavior I thought I was. I became more of a wild man than I ever expected of myself. I joined a fraternity as a freshman, and found out how to get drunker than hell, whenever I drank anything intoxicating, like any self-respecting frat rat ever does. I owed it to them, since they were drinking all that booze at all those parties.
When I wasn’t getting drunk, I learned how to cut class and hang out at the Rathskeller on campus, drinking coffee all night, instead of meeting any of my academic obligations on campus, by the time I was finished with my first couple of semesters as a college Freshman. A couple of years later, I found my fraternity brothers laughing me right out of their secret meetings, but it’s a Symphonian Forever alright. Long live Symphonia. Sure. I owe it to them.
I tried to solicit the help of the “music fraternity” many times over the years, but they weren’t impressed with the fact that I was composing my own music and starving as a drunk on the streets of Baltimore City, as a Brother in Good Standing who was an alumnus of the college and the fraternity. I’ve often wondered what they did with all those dues I paid them, semester after semester, while I was in the process of drinking my health away. I must have called their central office many times, getting the same version of the word No so many times I gave up asking.
There was a lot of scenery around that old college town, and I was always exercising my eyes while I was down there. That girl and I would drive around in her Daddy’s car, all over the place, and he was far enough away from either one of us, as to be exempt from ever knowing what the heck we were up to with his old car. Add it all up. Two eighteen year old kids, a free car, and a college campus, as well as Daddy’s house and car, to play in. We constructed our own little Utopia out of being two young people in college, with no parents anywhere nearby to offer us any semblance of structure.
She had all the silliest jokes to tell, and wouldn’t let me be when I was trying to be busy. It was no use. I couldn’t get her to leave me alone until I broke up with her altogether. I had another relationship at that school later on that was a lot more respectable than the one I’m referring to, but I could never seem to pull out of my tailspin while I was on campus. You’d have to drive eight miles to get the local alcohol, but that never stopped me.
I eventually learned the old Southern expression, reckless eyeballing, but that wasn’t the way I was looking at things in the first place. It was quite awhile before I even understood that manner of speaking in the first place. What I did was look at all that nature around us there in those picturesque mountains, ever since I found I loved the mountains, and especially enjoyed the nature of one or another particular girl, until they all convinced me otherwise. I might have married one of them, if I wasn’t so allergic to marriage, and if the draft for the Vietnam War hadn’t been going on at the time.
I think it was the war that saved me from a fate worse than death in that situation.
I was finding that I only had a student deferment from the draft, contingent on my academic standing at the school, and I was getting wilder by the minute, while I developed party habits that were nearly impossible for me to eradicate, even half a lifetime later. I found out that my drinking was, in fact, thoroughly out of control, and my only viable recourse was to get sober and stay sober. But it took me a long time to reach that conclusion. In the mean time, I had to go through all sorts of trials and tribulations to learn that me and alcohol don’t mix.
I was fascinated by the mountains and the babbling brooks of the area, and that girl knew all the best scenery in the neighborhood. She knew how to get more of a bang for my buck at any eatery on campus, and we lived like royalty until the game was over between us about a year later. She petted me half to death, with all her trying to have a baby with me, while doing her best to avoid allowing me understand that was what she was up to. I might have gotten the telltale signs from her behavior sooner, but I was such a kid at the time. I was very naive.
I had no idea what to believe was wrong with my own outlook, and I proceeded without caution, as I tripped the light fantastic for my entire, disjointed college career. I developed the habit of being a die hard party animal, and pretty soon there were no behaviors that were out of bounds for me, as far as I was concerned, and that one particular girl became the least of my worries, as my wild behavior simply generalized into a complicated spiral of perpetual wildness, that got even more and more out of hand the longer I remained a party animal.
How it is I survived at all I’m not really quite certain.
I had been quite the young man up home, making a name for myself as a local singer and musician in my old home town. When I went 500 miles South to go to college, I was far more concerned with misbehaving altogether, than I ever was at making the grade academically, or finding out how to live a healthy lifestyle in any way. When I would come home on holidays, I would find that I was not nearly as dynamic as I had always been in high school. I found out that my health suffered from my careless treatment of my own body, and eventually had to drop out of college altogether.
The US Draft Board didn’t seem to mind at all that I dropped out of school, and issued me a classification of Unfit for Military Service, as I found myself to be clueless about how to do anything that would result in my own financial stability or my own good physical or mental good health in any manner, shape or form. I even floundered at my own mother’s house, where I was now a young adult drunk, incapable of succeeding in accomplishing much of anything, except getting kicked out of the house for my perpetual drunkenness.
That girl proved to be far more interested in marriage than she ever was in anything else. She kept on doing all sorts of things that only married people are supposed to do, according to all the ways I’d been taught growing up, and I was baffled by her boldness in the make-out room of that old college dorm of hers, as well as with her behavior at her own parent’s home, way down the way from that old college town. Her parents were very conveniently away from home, while we were soon in the habit of practicing a lot of things we had no business doing, and I didn’t care about any rules all of a sudden.
She obviously had the idea that if she were generous with me, I’d want to get hitched, quick.
I was not so generous that I wanted to join a combat unit and go face the Yellow Man in a place that didn’t mean a hill of beans to me, especially because I’d always been an accident prone individual. I thought it might have been too bad if all the soldiers pulled out of the place, and all the locals were executed for treason against the North Vietnamese government, but I couldn’t see how that was any business of mine. I was just some young Yankee, from Pittsburgh, who wanted to explore all the wonder and wealth of the mine in the mountains of North Carolina, while the sun shone brightly through the window.
I was doing all the prospecting I could get away with, while expecting I would be happy and healthy for a lifetime, like I was at the tender young age of nineteen. I wasn’t doing anything ole Christopher Columbus hadn’t already done a long time ago, the way I figured it. The difference between me and the guy who married the girl’s sister, was that her sister got pregnant and the dreaming girl didn’t. In fact, I found the dreaming girl to be such a case, that forty years later, she was stalking me on the internet, and told me, as an older lady over my email account, that she had buried three of her five husbands.
I wrote her back, and frankly asked her if she’d been investigated by the Police yet. I thought it was a pertinent question. Well, the next thing I read over the internet was that she and her new beau had taken time off to go to Hawaii, and then I heard he married her, making him husband number six. I can’t help but suspect her of compounding life insurance policies in some kind of elaborate confidence game I can’t even begin to describe. Anyway, she and I had spent one of our early Thanksgiving Day’s in her parent’s house in North Carolina, sleeping in, and she burned the whole turkey to a crisp, so that none of it was the slightest bit edible when she was done with it.
The girl was nothing but a clown. That’s all she was. She had no inhibitions whatsoever, and I had to blast her out of the water altogether, when she was hanging around at my mother’s house, uninvited, trying to get me to do the fifty yard dash down the isle of the church, in record time, by the time we were nineteen. Between her and some of the other women I’ve dated, I find I have no idea, whatsoever, who to trust and who not to. When I was a die hard party animal, I found myself having to become a confidential informant for the Police Dept, just to keep my freedom at one point.
I’ve spent plenty of time wasting a lot of emotional energy on women who weren’t the least bit worth it, and I think relationships are another facet of my very complicated pathology altogether. While one is tallying up all the debilitating results of having had as abused a childhood as the one I’ve been through, one has to explore this area of my incapacity carefully enough. Whenever I write about marriage, or relationships, it’s inevitable that I’ll make some women very angry at me, and they write heated responses to my blog that are openly hostile, where I’ve regularly used the King’s English, and avoided objectionable comments, in my own opinion.
I’m not attempting to offend anyone, but it seems to me that if I only have to worry about the social condition of being alone, with all of the wind up and the pitch to go with Christmas, only once a year, I think I’m doing pretty well to have survived so admirably, and have even learned how to prosper a little bit, well into my elder years. I’ve finally begun to learn some of the clues to living a healthy lifestyle, and none of them include having a woman around to complicate things immeasurably. Maybe if I’d have had more of a normalized upbringing and a little less of a rebellious spirit, I might have succeeded in having some of those trophies around the house, like children and grandchildren to make a lot of noise in my life that I don’t have as it is.