Saturday, December 11, 2010

Worst Christmases ever

1) After they repealed the blue laws in New York, I used to work in my record store from Thanksgiving until New Year's without a day off. It was always the week before Christmas that "interesting" things happened, like the time I woke up in my bed with three Suffolk County police officers standing around me, asking if I wanted my license back. It seems I'd broadsided a car in the parking lot at Jack in the Box and left the scene. When my dad heard the knock on the door and saw the spinning cherry, he had the presence of mind to look and note that my car was in the driveway, indicating that I probably wasn't dead. He then poured a glass of Scotch, which he pointed to when the cops asked if I'd been drinking. I wound up paying a fine and having to make good with the other motorist's insurance company. Shortly thereafter, leaving the scene went from a minor offense to a misdemeanor. I'm a lucky asshole.

2) Then there was the time I almost got in a fistfight with a guy I worked with, on the sales floor, in front of customers. Instead of firing us, our boss sent the other kid to the store to buy some beer. "You two -- go in the back and drink this! NOW!!!"

3) The last Christmas before I left home, my parents got back at me for all those Christmas mornings when my sister and I had barged in and woke them up hours before dawn. I'd gone to sleep with my foot on the floor to stop the room from spinning, and at 6am, they busted into my room and started jumping up and down on my bed, yelling, "IT'S CHRISTMAS! IT'S CHRISTMAS!" It took everything I had not to vomit all over them.

4) Then there was the time when I was living in Benbrook with my daughter and one of her friends wanted to take us out for Christmas dinner -- a nice sentiment, but the only place you could eat sitting down on Christmas Day in Benbrook was the Waffle House, where they ask you how you want your steak done and then when they bring it to you, it's a quarter of an inch thick, so basically looking at it makes it turn grey.

5) The year after Lady Pearl Johnson passed away, her brother Ray called and asked me if I wanted to play a gig with the B.T.A. Band on Christmas Eve in Midway, TX -- halfway between Dallas and Houston. I said sure. On the drive down, we noticed how many big fields there were in Midway (located near the state prison in Huntsville) and wondered what on Earth we'd gotten ourselves into. It turned out that the guy who'd booked the gig forgot to go open up the venue (a big community center-type hall) the night before and turn on the heat, so it was actually colder inside the hall than it was outside, and anyone who showed up for the event soon thought better of it and left. We were drinking coconut flavored rum, and Quincy the bassplayer (R.I.P.) and I would go out to the car periodically to warm up our hands. When it became evident that no one else was coming, we decided to play to fulfill our obligation, and played to maybe eight people for about 30 minutes, wearing coats. Drove back to Fort Worth and made it back to my house around the time the sun was coming up.


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