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21. The Road To Good Intentions Is Paved With Self-Righteous Shit Heels

I'm going to stop from recounting the shit I've done in the past and really get to the scab of how I feel about a couple of things.  No matter how I spin it or try to make it funny, prison is a horrible place filled with swine and murderers, child molesters and monsters.  This is a place I wouldn't send my worst enemy, let alone a friend.

I want to talk about the situation that got me here or mostly I'd like to talk about the people who would have gladly taken a hand in it if they had gotten the chance first.

Now, we know that in a fit of anger my wife showed my father-in-law a picture of me holding a pistol.  Based on that photo, my father-in-law lost his shit and went to my probation officer, "to see if he'd straighten me out." i.e. throw me in jail.

Who gives somebody the right to judge what I'm doing with enough authority to take away my freedom?   Whether it be 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 fucking years?  This is the question I will discuss.  There is never any shortage of people who think they know how best to deal with or save somebody who isn't them.  The same people who get into or on their vehicles after a long night at the bar or smoking weed or whatever else in their homes and cars.  These sanctimonious fucks who, under the justification that they've got their shit together enough not to get caught, think that they have everything put together enough to judge someone else.

I want to explain my big crime that I seemed to have committed previous to my coming in here that tempted others to want to call the law on me before my father-in-law did.


I was working full time.  When I was around my children I devoted my time to them.  I became a member of a motorcycle club that I had wanted to become a part of for years.  I spent a lot of time with the club, I admit, but because every tubeworm likes to just assume, they failed to understand why.  I'd also like to mention that "a lot" consisted of Friday and Saturday nights and a couple of hours on Wednesday after work.

I have a brotherhood that can't be explained.  We don't make any money doing illegal shit but you know what, when push got to shove it was my club who paid for an attorney for me.  It's my club who has money in the safe for whenever I need it.  While I have a couple of friends who would do this to an extent, it was the club who, when my bike wasn't working and I couldn't afford to get it fixed (because of all the drugs I wasn't selling), gave me a custom Softail  to ride, indefinitely if I needed it.  All with nothing owed.

Nobody would know this because nobody cared to fucking ask.

One visit up here Alison said to me that before her dad had done anything there were people who told her they were going to do the same thing - call the law.  BECAUSE THEY WERE WORRIED ABOUT THE DIRECTION I WAS HEADED!  Are you fucking kidding me?  You people act like I'm out on a corner shooting dope and robbing old ladies while walking around in shit-soiled jeans.  Who the fuck are you?  Who the fuck is anyone to judge how my behavior is effecting me based on whatever Alison has told you?  I'm sure she was upset when I'd finish work, give the kids a ride around the yard on the motorcycle a few times, do what needed to be done and then go up to the club house for meetings or to get shit together for an event.

Now, I'm talking about the club a lot here because I know it was Alison's biggest bitch so I'm sure that's what the people she bitched to (the ones who also wanted to call the fucking law) heard the most about.  I told Alison before I even probationed that they first year or two would be very busy.  I don't have to go into detail about why to you, but she knew and agreed.  She knew how bad I wanted it.  But just like anything else people are agreeable to, something once said can quickly become untrue.  The transparency of people or at least the translucency of people disturbs me.

I know a lot of my friends only want me around them tentatively.  I can tell none of them ever really feel comfortable around me.  I sort of interjected myself into their lives and they, more than anything, tolerated me.  The only real and close accepting friends I've ever had were Matt and Jessica and Mikey.  A third of that group is dead.  Before them I had some close friends but due to circumstances within my control they accept me around in a 'hows everything going' kind of way.

I live my life the only way I know how.  I don't do anything just because I think it might be impressive or with any regard to how it will look to other people. I haven't written any fiction in this blog.  I am really and seriously uncomfortable all the time.  Getting through the days are a struggle for me.  I have to live life in a way that I'm not so banged around that I can't bear it.  It isn't up for debate and it certainly isn't anybody's fucking decision to take my freedom away because of it.

THAT IS NEVER AN OPTION, person who has never spent a day of life in a jail cell.  Who is the person who thinks it's ok to take a father from his kids because you perceive that I'm "going downhill"?  How do you do that without even consulting me first?  It never once ran through anybody's head to talk to me about how you felt?  No, that would put a wedge in your prejudiced mind.  I am hardly speechless.  Who gets to do these kind of things?  I am here because of a woman's vengeance and a father's (you know, I was going to call it love, but it's not) fury.

Alison talks too much.  We all know that.  I have never laid a hand on her.  When I got pay checks I signed them over to her.  I got through the week on a $20 bill here and there.  If I was living a miserable existence, what business is it of yours?  Alison wasn't the only one unhappy.  If I had come bleeding my feelings all over the fucking floor, would the answer have been to "man the fuck up you cry baby"?  I believe it would have.

Whatever happened or happens in my marriage is not anybody's concern.  I didn't abuse my wife.  I did things that my wife didn't like.  Just like in any young marriage, she did things that I didn't like.  So fucking what?  If anything was going on that needed immediate police action, me having a picture with a pistol isn't it.  The picture wasn't even for Alison, she broke into my phone to find it because she thought I was banging everything with a pussy.  Even if this was true, IT STILL ISN'T ANYONE BUT MINE AND ALISON'S BUSINESS.  YOU DON'T GET TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR ME.  Especially when it comes to my freedom.  They wanted to give me five years minimum for that picture.  I got 30 months.

I sit in this fucking place and I hate.  I am stuck in a cattle lot for another year as of this writing.  You, on the other hand, have a hard time relating, doing whatever Summer time demands.  You go to the beach and drink beers, I constantly have to look over my shoulder for flying locks and shit in public.

I've only been in here for nine months and if Alison's phone rings her mother says, "You don't have to answer that." and if she's going to bring my kids to see me, her dad says, "You don't have to go up there."  I don't know who the people are who would have been the ones to "do this for my own good," but I'm certain I'd never hear from them because it wasn't for my own good, it was just a good way to get rid of me.

Out of all my friends and family, I converse with four people on a regular basis.  Besides Alison, Jeff (when I can get him to answer a phone), Alexa, Meghan, and John.  My club brothers also answer the phone anytime I call.  I know it's tough out there, there's lots going on.  It'll be tough when I get out, too.  Real tough.

I also want it to be known that the excuse, "I didn't think they'd give him that much time," won't fly.  Taking away two days of my  freedom is unacceptable.  I have to say these things.  I'm not sorry if it hurts feelings.  I don't want anybody thinking that doing that is ever ok.  If that the way you think, then call the police the next time you see one of your friends smoking weed.  The next time a drunk friend argues with his wife, make that call.

I just need to reevaluate some things.  If this was ready to happen before, it will most certainly happen again. They were never my friends nor were they enemies.  They were simply another pig-masked face in the crowd.  I'm not sorry.  I can't just change my being and be you. I can't and I won't.  The way I live my life is hard even for me.  I have terrible short-term memory loss from repeated skull poundings.  I don't think or act in commonplace ways.  I act and think and live to excess.  I've lost too much and gained too little.  I try to make my way forward every day and sometimes I just don't get anywhere.  I have weeks of lucidity that are always followed up by storms of madness.  I am always uncomfortable.  I miss and I hurt and I live the only way I know how.  Some people know that and I do not ever bind anyone to me unwillingly.  Anybody is free to go at any time without the threat of violence.  At any time.  After years of having my freedom taken because of myself I will not have it taken by others.  EVER.  I don't care how high the horse it, how sharp the chip may have gotten.  As I write this, my grandfather is recovering, tentatively, from brain surgery.  I can't touch him and on the phone he asks me, "Where are you?  Why aren't you here?"  I can't tell him that somebody thought this was in my best interest, that the way to fix somebody is to place them in a cage with monsters and hope he come out better for it.  I spit on your faces.  I've made amends with the people that deserve it, it's nobody's business.  I know few people lose sleep but believe me, sleepless nights will be had. If my grandfather dies while I'm in here for your righteousness, Hell will be your haven.

Me And The Jailbird

I first met Ryan sometime around the Summer of 2005.  We are from the same hometown and have a bunch of mutual acquaintances, but had never formally met.  That isn't to say I did not know who he was.  The first time that I remember seeing him was probably during the Spring of 1997, the end of my freshman year of high school.

During the time that I was in high school, the late nineties, our hometown had a thriving music scene.  Well, it was about as thriving a scene as a town of 10,000 could support.  Young people took it upon themselves to rent halls, book, and promote concerts featuring local bands and acts from around the state.  This still happens there to a certain extent, but with the same recklessness that it did 15 years ago.  It was at one of these shows that I first saw Ryan.  Back then he was Kemo.

My friend put on an outdoor concert in his backyard which happened to be on the same street that ended with that terrible trailer park that Ryan described earlier.  This was about ten years before the place was bulldozed.  Some of my older acquaintances were playing in a band called Deaf Child Area and their 'singer' was this guy that everybody called Kemo.  My band had already played so I was free to watch the spectacle.  Kemo was shirtless and quite drunk with long hair that was reminiscent of Chris Cornell from Soundgarden.  He looked dirty as fuck.  I'd heard about this guy many times, mostly stuff like, "Kemo beat up my dad," or,"I was just skateboarding along when all of a sudden Kemo. . ." but this was the first time that I'd ever seen him in person. He was screaming and ranting and taunting the crowd.  I'm pretty sure he roughed up this tiny mohawked kid named Mark that everyone used to call "Hair Boy" because he was like five feet tall but had a massive 14-inch liberty spiked mohawk.  I stayed away from him.  It was probably a good choice.  At that point I was a pretty soft kid.  I don't think that I had it in me to try to not get trampled in the stampede that Kemo seemed to be.

Some short time after I graduated from high school I went with my friend Marc to a music venue in Ypsilanti, Michigan to see a bad local band.  A few of my friends from school and past jobs were there and Kemo was there, too.  Only I think that by this time he was probably 'Ryan.'  He ran up to my buddy, Scott, and picked him up in a big bear hug.  He was wearing a driver cap, had short hair, and I noticed a spider tattoo on his neck.  He kinda gave off a Mike Ness vibe.  I didn't talk to him.. Still intimidated, although less so at this point.  By then I was getting drunk and picking fights with people who wouldn't fight back out of boredom.  It would be a couple more years until I actually met Ryan and figured out that under that rough exterior is some more roughness but plenty of thoughtfulness, genuine curiosity, and fierce loyalty.

Eron, baby Joseph, Ryan, and Me, shirtless for some reason.  2007
I met Ryan at a party at a place that we call, "The Ranch."  The Ranch is our good friends' parents' house on the outskirts of our home town.  Jan and Steve are really great people who gave their daughters' friends a safe place where kids could be kids.  I'm sure they still do it, even though the kids are approaching thirty and have kids of their own.  Ryan was camped out in an rv on their lawn, for some reason, and had started hanging out with one of my best friends and the singer in my band, Eron.  I guess they would get really drunk  and possibly otherwise intoxicated and write song lyrics, which is what they did for most of the night when our bad played at the Ranch.  In the morning when we went to say goodbye to Ryan, there was a pair of cowboy boots and a quarter of a bottle of whiskey sitting on the step to the rv, getting hotter in the early morning Summer sun.  He wasn't really happy to be woke up only to say goodbye.

In early 2005 we all started listening to a band called The Hold Steady.  I won't really get into the band itself because I could write on for pages about them.  We all got tickets to the show when they came to Hamtramck that year and we were all crazy excited to see them.  Around this time, Ryan was having a hard time with drugs.  At the last minute before the show, Eron managed to wrangle Ryan a bed at this free detox in Ann Arbor that was notoriously hard to get into.  It meant that Ryan wouldn't be able to go see The Hold Steady, but we knew that his health was more important.  Eron picked him up and drove him to the detox place himself because he knew that if he left it up to Ryan, he would skip out and go get high.  You can't trust an addict.  Ryan went in to the building but came out shortly and told Eron that they said that since he was already starting to have withdrawal symptoms, he would need to go get high and come back and that Eron should drive him to where he could get one last fix.  This didn't sound right to Eron so he said that he would go in so they could tell him what they told Ryan and then he would do it.  Ryan was like, "Goddamnit, fine.  I'll go."  And he went back in.  He was getting clean while we were watching the Hold Steady for the first time.  The crowd for that show was really small, but the most obvious void was created by Ryan's absence.
Me and Ryan at The Hold Steady concert in Pontiac, MI.  2008

He has been clean since then.

I'll only speak to things that I know.  I'll leave the rest up to Ryan.