Jack Douchebag

Hi, my name is Jack, and I'm a douchebag.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Parting from the Nest Is Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

I counted on Mom hiding the car keys. That was why I kept them in my pocket the night before I left. I slept in my clothes so I could just wake up and pack my suitcases, start the car and leave without even telling her that I would be off. I left at four-thirty in the morning and she was sitting there in the living room, her placid look on her face.

"I'll call," I said.

In one swift movement, she reached for the phone and pulled the cord strait out of the wall.

"You think so?" she asked. It was more surprising than a slap.

"When you plug the phone back in, I will," I answered. I wasn't sure whether or not I was telling the truth; it was really more of a situation where I would have to see if I could remember in order to find out. I figured - at least - that I would remember at some point in time.

"You don't know what this is about, Mom," I said, finally. She looked at me, really bothered to glare. "I can't find a job here, is why."

She shrugged, as if to acknowledge the fact that she finally realized that she wasn't going to hold me back.

"I love you, Mom," I tried. It was a shameful attempt. She clearly didn't buy it because she didn't say anything back. For some reason, though, she helped me carry my large duffel bag to the car. She shut the trunk. And then she picked up a rock and chucked it at my door.

Thankfully, it didn't hit the window.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I suppose the fact that I grew up in a small town is supposed to justify for something. But it doesn't, really. Theoretically, anybody worth anything interesting always comes out of a small town. I'm sure I'm among several other "small town" people who could easily band together to disprove that point altogether. Small town residents are virtually like residents who would reside elsewhere, just with a lot less to do. Ironically, though, people who live in smaller areas seem to get along a lot better, at least from what I've witnessed. With fewer things to do, more people have the same interests, the same hobbies, which seems to justify why the only real "hobby" the kids in the small town that I grew up in was bowling.

I had plenty of bowling trophies before I moved out. I thought about packing them with me until I realized that they wouldn't have proved much about myself to anybody else, aside from the fact that - at some point in time - I loved bowling. People would think that I was a low-life kid who had nothing better to do. Either that or they might have figured that I'd bought them all from a thrift store in an attempt to make it seem like I'd at least tried to do something with my life. But I didn't like either assumption, so I boxed them up and sent them over to the local thrift store so some other low-life could fake his own achievements. I scratched into the bottom of one, "Your true dream is to realize why the hell you ever bought this piece of shit."

It seemed like a funny thing to do at the time.

When I told Mom that I was leaving she called me the "forbidden word" and assumed that I would never come back again just like my father, the son of a bitch. She even went as far as to make an attempt to slap me on the face. It wasn't until I backed away that I somehow regretted it.

"What is this really about, Jack?" she asked.

She thought she knew, but I didn't have an answer to prove her wrong. To me, there didn't seem to be any underlying reasons to "want to leave" other than "wanting to leave". But I knew that she wouldn't buy that. Mom always liked to believe that there was always a deeper issue behind everything.

"I'll come back," I said.

"No," she said, "You won't."

"I'm already packing," I told her, "So you can just assume whatever the hell you want. Just sit and wait and see."

"Do you even have any plans?"

"I plan to leave," I said.

"Where the hell are you going to stay?"

"There's a guy I know down there. I'll just crash at his place for a while until I find my own. Or something."

"You're so irresponsible."

"Yeah, well, nobody ever told me how to act otherwise," I said.

She did slap me across the face that time. I let her. The sting felt familiar; it was something that I'd grown accustomed to, being a disobedient son to a single mother. The look on her face somehow gave me the sense that she'd knew she'd lost me, as if twenty years of failed "parenthood" was what made it official.

"I'm taking the car as well," I said. She never said anything when I turned my back to leave the room. "You never really use it much, you know?"

I heard her muttering. It wasn't a Yes, but it was the only thing I could consider as a real answer.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


It was my first memory, first clear memory at least. It was five minutes after three in the morning. The digital read-out on the clock looked pretty omnious then, the five turning into a six, porch light on, and Mom standing there with her arm slung around me, protecting me from the sting of the engine roaring away.

"Where Dad go?" I asked, and even though I was three years old and couldn't form a proper sentence, I could still understand her answer.

"He's not coming back," she said. Then she called him a bad name and told me never to say it. So I don't. At least not when I'm referring back to this memory. But when the orange lights turn the corner and gun out of sight, I always remind myself that it's okay to say it again.