The SYM! Anger, Fear, Pain, and Alcohol!

Hello there, my old friend
Not so long ago it was ’til the end
We played outside in the pouring rain
On our way up the road we started over again
You’re livin’ a dream….as though you’re on top
My mind is achin’….Lord it won’t stop
Thats how it happens….Livin’ life by the drop

Up and down that road in our worn out shoes
Talkin’ ’bout good thangs and singin’ the blues
You went your way and I stayed behind
We both knew it was just a matter of time
You’re livin a dream….as though you’r on top
My mind is achin’….Lord it won’t stop
That’s how it happens….Livin’ life by the drop

No waste of time….We’re alive today
Turnin’ up the past….There’s no easier way
Time’s been between us….A means to an end
God it’s good to be here walkin’ together my friend

You’re livin a dream….
My mind starts thinkin’….
That’s how it happens….Livin’ life by the drop
That’s how it happens….Livin’ life by the drop
That’s how it happens….Livin’ life by the drop

SRV-Life By The Drop

The young man that became the SYM, had seldom traveled much outside of the East Texas/NW Louisiana area, that was home for him and his extended family. When the day came for him to travel outside of the U.S.A. for the first time, it was a long journey. The SYM took with him his personality, that was an amalgam of all of his limited experiences and training. One of those experiences was learning what alcohol had done to his dear grandfather, a decent, kind, and sensitive man, that had tried to drown the pain of losing his father and only son. The grandfather who drank large amounts of bourbon everyday for thirty two years, causing harm to his family that he couldn’t see, until one day, he just quit…cold turkey! All of his family were so very proud of him, and he was the happiest and healthiest he had been all of the SYM’s life, but the ravages of alcohol and time would have their revenge for his actions, and his body revolted due to the withdrawal.
The SYM loved his grandfather, he was named after him, and resembled him in many respects, which is why the profound effects of alcohol on his grandfather were not lost on him.
As the SYM arrived in the Philippines, he made some new friends that were going through the processing in procedure together, and of course when the sun went down, young men often find themselves looking for entertainment, and a cold beer, which began innocently enough by visiting the NCO Club on base, before getting the courage to venture into the local town, with it’s six hundred plus bars and clubs.
After the processing in was over, they were assigned jobs within their respective career fields, and soon the SYM and his new best friend found themselves working at Town Patrol(a.k.a. Tri-Agency Patrol). A stranger in a strange land was now his newest experience, and not just the title to his favorite science fiction novel. The SYM experienced fear unlike he had ever known, as he had no experience to prepare him for his new role, and every approaching person and every shadow was frightening, especially after hearing tales of some of the various crimes and disasters that had befallen other Airmen. However, fear had never had the effect of preventing the SYM from doing what needed to be done, it never paralyzed him, as it does some, and was most often a motivator. As he dealt with his new fears, he slowly came to accept and embrace them, and muddled through.
One thing the fear of his new environment had done, was delay his emotional reaction to the anger and pain he felt about his divorce, just prior to departing the U.S., and the fact that his two little girls were now in the hands of a woman he was very angry with, and that he worried deeply about them and their well being was also set aside, as he acclimated to his new surroundings, job, and new co-workers and friends. As he became more familiar with his new life, the anger and pain of the life he had departed, only months before, started to reemerge.
The SYM’s unit, Town Patrol, had decided that a unit party was in order, and everyone agreed it was a great idea. A date was set, a caterer was contacted, the site was selected, and all of the members of the unit contributed equally for the costs. It was to be an all day/all night party, so that everyone that had to work that day would be able to attend. It was to be a luau type party, with the roasted pig(yes, it had an apple in it’s mouth), along with copious amounts of fried rice, lumpia, and other goodies. The SYM was one of the lucky one’s that had a scheduled day off, the day of the party, so he and several friends started the party very early, at about 8a.m., first with San Miguel beer, as they ventured onto the base to the NCO Club, where the SYM purchased a fifth of George Dickel Black Label, a fifth of Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7, and a quart bottle of Smirnoff’s 100 proof Vodka, to contribute to the party. The party actually started about 10a.m., with many playing basketball, before moving to the swimming pool area, and the banquet began. It was most excellent! The pig roasted in the ground was amazing, as it’s flavor and texture were simply indescribable, and they all ate too much, and laughed often. In the SYM’s case, it was a laughter created by his inner demons, his stress and tensions from his unresolved emotions, numerous beers, and now fueled with Jack Black and coke.
As the co-workers and friends now frolicked in the pool, and enjoyed the care free day of food and partying, the SYM was now working on the bottle of George Dickel, as well as some of the other beverages that were available, such as the hourly cheer his friend Joe offered with 151 proof Rum. As it became night, the party was still going strong, as others had left for work, and those who had been at work, joined the feast and party. SYM was now completely alcohol fueled, and with his waning control over his inner demons, a quart bottle of 100 proof Vodka in one hand, and a quart bottle of orange drink in the other, he was a walking screwdriver time bomb. In this state, he was standing on the steps leading down from the pool area, and talking with two of his friends, and their wives, when suddenly, his knees unlocked, and he fell face first down the inclining steps As the SYM reached out to catch his fall, he realized that the hand he was using still held firmly to the quart bottle of Vodka, and was unable to do anything other than land with the glass bottle, shattering on impact, as the SYM slid through the shards of glass. As the SYM tried to pick himself up, his friends rushed to his aid, and upon standing, everyone, including the SYM, noticed he was covered in blood from the multitude of cuts. As they tried to render aid, the large and strong SYM broke away from their grasps, and against their protests, ran for the pool and jumped in to wash the blood off, and after doing so, looked at all of the tiny gaping slices on his upper body. The refreshing plunge into the pool reinvigorated the SYM, and he started issuing a challenge to any of those who were beseeching him to get out of the pool, to come in and get him. A couple of his friends came in the pool to talk to him, and try and convince him he needed to leave and get his cuts taken care of, but only one dared get close enough so the SYM could get his hands on him. The others had to jump in to keep the SYM from drowning that person, and still with the numerous other men, they couldn’t overcome the SYM’s besotted demon strength. They now chose to wait the SYM out, and as he became tired, the SYM exited the pool, and sat down, and after a brief conversation with some friends, agreed to let them give him a ride home, as it was now nearly 11p.m. at night.
The next thing the SYM remembered, after being dropped off at home, was the sound of men banging on his front door, yelling for the SYM to wake up, and to not light a cigarette. The SYM was aroused by the banging and yelling, but it didn’t make much sense, as he didn’t feel very well, and his orientation times three(time/place/date) was missing. The SYM tried to yell back at them, that he was getting up, but his mouth was too dry, and his voice was inaudible. So he started to get out of bed, but the sheet was stuck to his upper body, as he tugged on it. WTH? Finally the SYM yanked on the sheet, and it came off with a tearing sound, and the hundreds of tiny cuts started to ooze blood again. As he stumbled to the door and opened it, his three friends came bursting into the room, and rushed to the stove, which had the oven, and all four burners on….unlit! They lingered for a little while, to see if he was alright, and answered his questions about what had happened the night before, and the SYM became aware that it was early afternoon. As the SYM listened to all of this, and surveyed his wrecked apartment, he realized that this wasn’t who he truly was, and he became very embarrassed. The SYM asked them to leave, as he needed to clean up his home, get a shower, and go to the ER and get his cuts dressed. At the ER, the med tech that worked on him said that there was nothing he could do, that there was no inflammation, and the 100 proof Vodka had actually done a good job of sterilizing the cuts, and none of them required stitches, but only barely.
The SYM left the hospital and took public transport back to the office, where the looks he got from his colleagues only added to his embarrassment, and he went home, to ponder what had happened to him. The SYM came to the realization that there were some things troubling him, why else would he behave that way? That was not who he was, he knew that! The SYM first decided that he would not ever let himself get to the point of losing control, ever again, from drinking alcohol, and the pain from the cuts and muscle soreness was an acute reminder of his loss of control. The SYM would still party with his friend’s, but not allow himself to get out of control. While he couldn’t make his emotions of anger and fear go away, he could acknowledge them, and the pain he felt, and not get ambushed by them again. The SYM then charted a course of self-improvement, and got involved with a number of hobbies and interests, which gave him new found confidence, and enthusiasm for life.
The SYM never got out of control drunk again, after that.
The man that came from the SYM doesn’t really drink at all now, other than an occasional beer or wine with friends, it just doesn’t have the appeal it once did. That is as much a result of his own experiences, his grandfather’s, as well as a class he took in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas, where he learned that, alcohol, in it’s essence, is microorganisms drowning in their own feces and urine.
The SYM would have liked to have had that information, much earlier.

Obama on racism, circa 1990

From Free Republic


TEXT: (July, 1990) Photograph: Robert Lieberman,The Chicago Reporter,Issue 221

The last thing that Barack Obama will have to worry about next year when he graduates is job offers. Obama finished his second year at Harvard Law School this spring and has been elected to lead the Harvard Law Review, a prestigious position traditionally reserved for a top student.

“It’s a great time to be a young black law school graduate – if you’re from Harvard and in the top quarter of your class,” said Obama. “But the point is that there are a lot of talented young minorities who may not have been able to go to the top schools. For example, a lot of minorities go to state schools due to financial constraints.

“Until the minorities who are going to the good but not the most prestigious schools, those who are doing a good job, who are highly competent and have the intelligence and the energy to do terrific work – until those people are looked at and hired in significant numbers – I think you are going to continue to have serious recruitment and retention problems.”

Before going to law school, Obama spent four years in Chicago, working at the Developing Communities Project on the South Side. Currently, he is a summer associate at the firm of Hopkins & Sutter in Chicago. Last summer he worked at Sidley & Austin.

“Certainly, a lot of large frims are interested in hiring more minorities,” he said. “The issue you confront is: What kind of minorities are the firms looking for? I certainly wouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in Chicago. I have all the right credentials.”

Even firms that are making an effort to recruit minorities – and there still are not many of them, Obama said – are reluctant to take a chance on students who do not have the top credentials. It has been said, Obama noted, that it may be time to ask if minorities are getting the same right to be “mediocre” as white males.

Made your travel plans for summer?

Lou Minatti has a suggestion:

“Stay out of Denver this summer”

On a national level, Obama’s political career is over. However, he may still go into the DNC convention in Denver with more delegates. These are delegates received before Obama’s close ties to racist hate mongers (what other word is there to describe Senator Meeks?) was fully known.

The DNC has two choices:

  • Make Obama their candidate and watch him lose in a landslide of epic proportions in the November election, or
  • Make Hillary their candidate and watch the riots.

By riots, I am not necessarily referring to disappointed black folks. I am referring to them. They will lose their collectiv(ist) minds.

Liberalism is a spiritual disorder

Optimism is the key driving force of conservative America, and in the face of impending disaster, it has become clear that America — the one from the stories of your childhood and from your civics textbooks — is a colossal lie.

It truly sucks to live inside such a defeatist mindset. I’ve been there, done that, and don’t ever want to go back.

Is it primrose-path-rose-colored-glasses thinking to finally understand on a basic, personal, and spiritual level that I, as an individual, am responsible for my decisions, as well as the consequences which inevitably follow? It took me almost 40 years to get it. Right behavior is not the product of right thinking — instead, right thinking is the product of right behavior. It’s a simple concept, but it is most certainly not an easy one to internalize.

My AA friends tell me that my responsibility is simply to carry the message. What someone does with the message is their own business. Sixteen years ago, on March 19, 1992, I finally got it. Living life in sober reality is a choice, and man-o-man, what a difference that choice has made for my loved ones and me.

It’s the first day of Spring, 2008!  Have a good ‘un.


Sercan Ondem

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