To Alaska

The light flickered off Frank’s alarm clock. He had been awake for an hour watching the minutes slowly pass. He smiled as his alarm finally went off. While he turned it off he gently pushed aside his blankets. His wife was still asleep and he didn’t want to wake h hr.

He put his feet on the ground and both hands on his knees. As he took a deep breath, his body instinctively started stretching. His mind was racing, and he couldn’t stop a fist pump as he pulled his arms down.

He stood up and walked to the calendar. There were a hundred red X’s counting up to today. Today was the last day he would be working in that damn mine. He started watching shows about chasing gold in Alaska, and thought he would try it out for a year. His kids were finally old enough to leave the house, and he had been saving for years. He couldn’t believe it was finally here.

He turned around and stared at his wife. She was everything to him, and he couldn’t believe she was going with him. She had never left this city, and it was hard to convince her but she wanted to be there with him. Experience something new and different. He walked over to her and kissed her forehead. He softly whispered, “I love you honey. I’ll see you when I get home”

“I love you too, Frank. I have something special planned for when you come home tonight. I hope your last day is wonderful.” She was falling back asleep as she finished last word. Mary was never a morning person, so Frank didn’t say anything else.

He hurried downstairs to grab a bite to eat. He normally had an apple, but today he thought he would go with a banana. He peeled it as he walked outside to pull off his overalls from the line. He loved to leave his clothes out overnight, the cold shock to his body woke him up better than coffee. It was warming up also, so it helped him stay cool until it dried. He slid the pant legs up and pulled the straps around his shoulder. This was going to be a great day.

Frank walked back inside and threw the banana peel in the compost bin. His socks and boots were laying by the couch so he walked over to put them on. These boots had taken him through a lot of years, and they are probably happy to finally get some rest. Standing up from the couch his eyes caught a couple pictures of his family. He walked over and grabbed one of the 5 of them camping. It was cold and rained all but one hour of the trip. You would have never guessed it, because the sun was shining and they were smiling in the picture. It was a great trip.

He walked over to the counter and grabbed his car keys phone. This was it. His last drive to work. His car fired up and roared as he put it in drive. In a few short hours he would be done with work. In a few short weeks, he would be up in Alaska.

When he arrived at the mine everyone was out waiting for him. He had made a lot of friends in the 30 years he worked there. Even his retired friends came to celebrate the occasion. Jeff, the foreman, walked over to Frank holding a long wrapped box. During the walk he extended his hand to shake Frank’s. As Frank started to shake, Jeff bear hugged him saying, “Damnit Frankie. We sure as hell are going to miss you. All the guys got together and we got you a present. We hoped you could use it then display it on your fireplace. Here…”

He handed Frank the box. “You didn’t have to get me anything. The only thing you’ll be missing is my terrible work ethic. Once I’m gone, you might actually get something done around here.” Frank unwrapped the box, and then pulled off the lid. It was a brand new pick axe. The handle had been made out of solid oak and the head was the prettiest titanium he’d ever seen. There was an inscription, “You may leave the coal, but your soul is mine”

Frank was beside himself. This was a perfect present. “Thanks everyone, this is perfect.” He walked around and gave a couple people hugs thanking them until the whistle blew.

Electricity

Tonight. Darkness arrives and where have my senses gone. I stand up and aw crap, I ran into the coffee table. Stupid wood. My shins hurt, and I have no idea what is going on. I put my hand on the wall and slowly walk along the hallway. PRICK. Where in the hell did that cactus come from? Remind me never again to buy exotic plants off a street vendor. I finally grab a candle and matches. With a quick action I light the match and the candle and head down the hallway.

The bedroom has to be around here somewhere. I see the door and slowly open it. I blow out the candle to keep the light low for my wife. It has to be safe to enter. I was wrong as my face gets caught up in wet clothes. Laundry. Ugh, it takes so long to dry when you hang it up. As I pull the clothes off my face and place them on the string I realize I need to wake up early for an appointment.

The only way for me to do that is to set my rooster. I feel along the ground for it, and OUCH. It bit me. Oh well he is in my hands now. I twist the roosters legs and turn it’s head 90 degrees to set the alarm for 9 am, when I realize the twist of the rooster’s head actually killed him. Looks like I have no idea what time I’m waking up in the morning. I finally put my head to rest, and hope for the best.

I wake up to the sun shining into my room and look at my mechanical clock. Unfortunately, I haven’t wound it so it stopped working and I am just going to have to wing it. I walk out to the kitchen to get some fantastic food. I open up my cereal and pour myself a bowl. Cheerios, my favorite! I love the sound the little pieces make as they clank against the bowl. I reach for my milk when… yep curdled. It goes bad before I am ever able to finish my box of tasty breakfast treats.

I have to get going, judging by the shadows on the ground I am going to be late. I grab my trusty map and head to work. I pull open the map to see what route I should take this morning. Walking to work is never easy when you have no idea where you are going. Fully spread in front of me I see I should take Main Street to High Avenue. Then I need to.. NO COME BACK. I reach, holler and grab at the map, but the wind has taken it. I run after it bending to pick it up on multiple occasions only to have it pulled away from me like a dollar on a fishing string. No worries I can ask around to get to work.

After asking multiple people I am finally guided to my office. As I walk to the front door security stops me and asks for my ID Badge. Well, in my hustle and bustle I must have left it at home. This doesn’t go well with the person at the front desk so they call in an investigation team. Let’s just say, I will leave parts of this story out. When all is said and done, I make it to my desk and sit down. Time to do some engineering. I pull out my trusty pencil and slide rule and get to work.

Then I realize how my life would be different if I had electricity.

I would have had lights turned on so I didn’t hit my shin or run into a cactus.
The laundry would have been in a dryer instead of smacking me in my face.
I wouldn’t have killed my rooster because I would have set my alarm clock.
My milk wouldn’t have been spoiled because I would have used a fridge.
I wouldn’t have gotten lost on my way to work because I would have GPS.
I would have easily been able to ID myself at work with a fingerprint scanner.
I would be able to do awesomely complex and super detailed computations 5000x faster with the click of buttons and swipes of mousestrokes with a computer and Excel.

Yea, the typical day of a person without electricity was probably pretty meaningless. It just took so much longer to do anything I’m surprised they lived a fulfilling life. Electricity, the greatest thing since sliced bread, unless sliced bread was invented with an electric cutter then it’s the greatest invention since beer!

A Life Wasted Away

I’m comfortable.  I know what is coming, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  I am motionless. Waiting. He holds my life in his hands. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, and I can’t force him to do anything.  If I could I would fly away from here, fly away from this life I’ve lived. 

I feel another lost soul right next to me.  Was she doomed from the beginning like I was? Is she thinking the same things I am?  When life hands you a hot plate you can’t help but touch it.  What plate did she touch that has her here next to me?

It doesn’t matter, I can’t speak to her.  I can’t plead my case. I can’t beg for an extended chance.  He peels off my mask, to let me see my final moments.  Part of me wishes he didn’t.  I don’t want to know how it goes.  But I am horrified to see my fate is water.  A long drawn out process… I guess I deserved this.  I couldn’t get out of this life.

He is finally ready, and I’m tense.  I thought I could take this, but no one wants to go.  Not now at least.

I’m falling. Down. Down. Down.  The fall feels like it is eternity.  My body spinning, my eyes watching.  Nothing seems appropriate for my final view, until she comes into it.  Our eyes meet. Beautiful. I feel like our beings were connected or created together.  Only now do I get to see her.  I close my eyes, because I can end with that.

My back hits the water and I start sinking.  I can’t stop it now. It’s cold. Lonely.  I feel it coming slowly.  The end.  My mind growing weaker. My body feels like it is melting away.  I try to glimpse at her, but it’s too late.  She is gone. I close my eyes one last time. I wonder how many souls have been lost this way before me or how many will after me.  I can feel my ghost cloud the water as I slowly drift away into a warm welcoming.

“Mmm, nothing like Alka-Seltzer for my stomach, right honey?”

Ignoring the Light

The candle flickered waking him up from his train of thought. It was giving off just enough light for him to see the empty pages in front of him. It felt like he had been staring at these empty pages for eternity. This was supposed to be relaxing, but he couldn’t help but think about everything that was wrong.

The weather was colder than expected, covering his firewood with ice. The cabin had rats that scurried across the floor. He thought about burning the place down, after all the owner had to be an idiot for keeping it in this condition.

A shadow caught his eye and brought him back to reality. His head was buried in his hands staring at the blank pages. The paper had a yellowish tint to it, as though it had been aged or burnt. The feather in the inkwell danced in the wind that blew between the logs of the cabin, begging him to pick it up. Why couldn’t he get her out of his mind?

She was the first person to break through his barriers, and made him vulnerable. She pushed him when he was stuck, grabbed his hand when he was down, and showed appreciation when he succeed. She loved him, but lost her because he was unwilling to give up a kidney and risk his health.

The light was starting to lose its strength. Hours had passed and the papers were still blank. His glass had another swallow or two of whiskey, it had kept him warm in this cold world. He reached for the glass and pulled it to his face. As the whiskey sat near his eyes he wondered if he should quit the habit, but his mouth dried and he had to wet it. He put the glass down and stared at it.

He knew he had fond memories of whiskey, but nothing could come to his mind. He recalled driving after too many glasses and crashing into a doghouse injuring the neighbors poodle. There was a time where he was at his best friend’s wedding and the alcohol made knock the bride into the cake. Did he really only have tragic memories of his favorite drink?

The light finally went out and it startled him. The cabin creaked as the wind grew stronger and he grew lonely. The darkness was getting to him and he decided to let his mind rest. He closed his eyes hoping to escape into a different world.

Thoughts flooded his mind about how he spent his life. Did he have any memories of being a good person? Or did he just leave a path of depression and sadness behind him? His mind went blank, wondering if the afterlife was real. If it was would he have a chance to get in? Then out of the darkness of his thoughts she handed him paper, an inkwell and a half burning candle. This was his chance to write the good he had done.

The candle flickered waking him up from his train of thought. It was giving off just enough light for him to see the empty pages in front of him. It felt like he had been staring at these empty pages for eternity.

The Greatest Week of All

It has recently come to my attention that this is indeed the greatest week of all.  Many of you who are not ‘in the know’ are probably wondering to yourselves, What?…PARDON?!? This obscure, off the beaten path seven day string in the middle of May has no importance whatsoever.  No holidays, no national days of work, this gentleman must have lost his proper mind.

PSHAW I say to you!  Let me enlighten you as to what makes this the most wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, May 12th, 2013 – Mother’s Day

What a wonderful day for the most important women in our lives.  Whether they be our own mums, our wives, sisters with kids, women friends with kids, mothers all over the nation get to celebrate with this day made just for them.  After becoming a parent, I am of the belief that there should be not just a mother’s and father’s day, but perhaps a mother’s and father’s week.  During this week, the parent whom is celebrating gets to do whatever they please and have 0 children responsibilities unless said parent wants them. I hope you all took the time to let your mother know how important she is to you.

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 – My Birthday

Friday, May 17th – Sunday, May 19th – MAN WEEKEND

Madness...THIS. IS. MANWEEKEND!

Madness…THIS. IS. MANWEEKEND!

Man Weekend.  Man Weekend! MAN WEEKEND!  Man Weekend is a camping trip to the middle of nowhere, KY.  It is in between Falmouth and Berry where Aaron’s grandpappy owns a bajillion acres of land.  During Man Weekend this land is overrun by all that is man.  Drinks are drank, cigars are smoked, frogs are gigged, memories are made, and Man Weekend bonds of brotherhood are forged stronger than that of The One Ring.  This is quite possibly my favorite weekend of the year, every year, and it is this weekend!  This is our fifth consecutive Man Weekend, the event originally started as my bachelor party.

Monday, May 13th – Sunday, May 19th – American Craft Beer Week

Oh craft beer…the nectar of the gods. Craft beer means so many things to so many people; it’s a past time, a hobby, a delicious beverage, an eye-opener, an art form, a science, a lively hood, and so much more to so many people around the United States and the world.  This week is the time to celebrate those who broke out of the chains of Coors, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, etc. way back in the 70’s and 80’s and really started what is now the craft beer boom that we are experiencing.  I thank my lucky stars that I did not have to grow up in a society in which the only beer I would be able to buy at the store was Budweiser, Coors, and Miller.  I intend to support some of my favorite craft breweries this week, many from Ohio.  Probably my favorite brewery in the world resides in my own state in Cleveland…Great Lakes Brewing Company.  If you haven’t tried their offerings, they are a must.

And so now you know why this week is so glorious.  Go out, help me celebrate, grab yourself a craft beer and cheers to somebody sitting next to you!

Prost!