About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Greetings on April Fool's Day


The Great Omi was a fine, strapping figure of a man, standing about 7'5" and weighing 315 pounds. He was well employed by a thriving sideshow, boasting a fine health plan and a 401k that would see him through retirement. Omi was stable and reliable - his word was his bond. But Omi was missing something in his life. He longed for the company of a stalwart wife and perhaps even a sideshow child or two.

Lu was the most popular dame in the kissing booth, eyes of dark fire and lips like ripe fruit. The carnies called her Abracadabra, for Lu knew how to get what she wanted (at least what she wanted for awhile) and then - like magic - she was gone down the road to the next traveling show. Yes, Lu was fickle. Omi was captivated after one look at Lu, ignoring the cries of the men who knew her longer and better: "Omi, she'll take you for a fool." When he thought about it later, Omi recalled it didn't take them very long to obtain their own tent and settle down forever.

Omi did not want Lu to work in the kissing booth after their marriage, but she was a strong willed woman. "She's playing you for a fool, Omi!" But Omi wasn't having it. He thought it took longer for babies to arrive, but Omi wholeheartedly welcomed his new son, Utitinga. The boy soon showed promise as a future contortionist. Lu worked extra shifts at the kissing booth and the saloon, tucking away money, she said, toward Utitinga's expected chiropractic and massage therapy bills. Omi thought that was admirable. The boy's work was going to render him achy.

And then came the day that the reliable, predictable Omi arrived home at the tent calling out for Lu and Utitinga. They had left, along with the household possessions, the family income, Lu's extra money, half of Omi's 401k and a health insurance card. Omi keened loudly for the loss of his family, his home, his possessions, his hopes and his future. Running up the lane, Omi called out, "Gone! My Lu is gone. Utitinga, gone! Whatever shall I do? My heart is breaking. How can this be?" For Omi was a fool.

The End

Special thanks to my esteemed sister blogger, Erin O'Brien for inspiring me to post some of my favorite vintage images.


By 2010, I was not 7'5", but I had good employment and my retirement was predictable. I had a nice living situation and was not looking for a stalwart wife or any sideshow children. I was relatively stable and reliable.

Like Omi, I was captivated by an intoxicating presence. Mine was called alcohol. Like Lu, I was fickle about what mattered: my alcohol or my life, my employment or my assured fall from grace? Like Omi, I was counseled by those who knew more than I did. I ignored my advisers, too.

Like Omi, I ran down the lane crying. "Gone! My life is gone. Employment, gone! Whatever shall I do? My heart is breaking. How can this be?" For I was a fool.

This post is to have a happy ending. I am healing in every way. I am active in a program that shows me the way to find serenity. I am being hit in the head not by rainbows, but by the pots of gold that are supposed to be found at the end of the rainbow. Good things are finding me. Yes, it's hard work. I'm earning my way back and beyond.

Part of my program of recovery calls on me to reach out to support other alcoholics who may still be suffering. It also recommends that I keep in close, honest touch with my truest self. To both of those ends, I will write a couple of paragraphs per April post on the subject of my alcoholic journey. Remember, this is to have a happy outcome. I simply want and need to tell my story.

The End So Far

April Alliteration - Alcohol
Installment 1
As far as I am concerned, it is not a secret. Not any more. I have tried to bring it out gradually and gently, saying more to people who seem to need that or able to take it, and less to the more delicate. Perhaps some people think it is shameful, a commentary on my moral fiber. I know it is a disease, and illness doesn't typically land only on the "bad". I've learned something important across my years - to maintain sanity, I have to talk about things. I had a terrible post-surgical wound once. My doctor spoke very plainly: "Keep this clean, dry and packed - nurture it every day. If you let this bottle up, you will be in very grave danger." Boy, howdy. I understand that, and analogous situations.

I am an alcoholic. Nothing in all the world, in all my life, has been as shocking as that realization. For, you see, I didn't intend to be one of those. I refused. I repeat: I am an alcoholic. I came as close as one wants to come to ruining myself physically. The mental and emotional toll is unfathomable. The wreckage and carnage in my rearview mirror is some days tolerable and some days almost not. I was a lucky drunk. I knew where to go seek help. When I got serious about it because I had no other choice except death, I learned I owned all the books and had read them cover to cover many times. They hold good, solid truths and they show "the way" for alcoholics. I knew that. I just didn't want to stop drinking. And then I did. I wish I could share some of the stories, some of what I have learned in the rooms of AA. I can't. For then my fellows would not be anonymous, would they? Here is my truth: I meet for an hour a day with people who are unlike me in 175 demonstrable ways. But they are exactly like me in the only way that really matters. I learn from them. I'm a good, lifelong learner. I like to learn new things. That may give me a very slight chance to be successful.

Something that charmed me: That picture of Utitinga charmed me, the little fool!


  1. Wonderful post. Loved every word of it. You inspire me. My drug of choice may not be alcohol, but my addictions have had me by the throat for long periods of time.

    I hope to catch up on all your other wonderful posts, but it may take a while. I've been absent far too long.

  2. I like the story. And I *really* like the happy ending.

  3. @ Kass ~ I'm probably not very inspirational, dear. Just another stranger on the bus trying to make my way home. But I may now have the route properly figured out and all the necessary transfer slips needed. There is something wonderful about AA that I love. All the little buzz phrases they use, the little one liners that some people dismiss as lame are actually profound. A simple program that is not easy.

    You HAVE been absent too long! I was going to send the Mounties AND the Texas Rangers out after you. <3

  4. @ CramCake ~ You like my Omi and Lu and Utitinga! Thank you. Shall we toast to happy endings? Oooops! Never mind. I can't. Let's just eat a piece of toast, instead.

  5. I loved the bit where she was stashing money for Uttingas chiropractic bills .....but of course she wasn't ....I enjoyed that story Leslie .......and your honesty and openness...with much love my friend ..xx

  6. @ Artymess ~ You've got it just right, Lorna! Lu was a hard-hearted, deceptive woman, just like demon alcohol. Why, she'd even use a tale about her son to make herself look good while she planned for her future escapades! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. ;~}

    You have already been so good to me about my recovery, but I will happily take good wishes whenever they are offered me. I'm doing SO well . <3 <3

  7. This was a brilliant post, Les - and you really know how to pull at me - all the light, what is this, beginning, then right in and swimming up my arteries.

    Just one thing...

    April Fool's was yesterday, people! - Not kidding!

    Ah well, I am destined to die half a day sooner as well.

    I'll have a slice of toast for you! (That made me snort tea out my nose, btw)

  8. @ Rachel ~ I'm glad you enjoyed it, Rae. I am compelled to talk about it. Funny (to me): putting up my first attempt at fiction scared the bejesus out of me. What would anyone think? What if the collective comment was polite silence? This topic didn't scare me. I just have to tell it. I'M all right with it and that makes it OK ~ a new kind of strength and attitude for me. It shows growth. Even I can see it.

    The time difference makes me snicker! Remember on e-mail when we each said what time it was and I thought we were only 3 hours different? Geez! I'm not REALLY stupid. I went to school (once in awhile). But I spent a little while bubbling on how you could be half a world away and only 3 hours different. Don't die for a long time, please.

    Put on the toast and, please, coffee for me, not tea. I'm on the way.

  9. Reading that story, I was reminded of the 1930s movie FREAKS, which takes place in a sideshow. I know, I know, I'm always referencing movies. I guess that's my (current) addiction.

  10. @ Kirk ~ I think yours is what's considered a benign addiction, Kirk. I might recommend you keep it in place of any others that might be malignant.

    I pictured Omi, Lu, Utitinga, et al in a setting like those of HBO's Carnivale. Do you know it? It appeals to me for many reasons, not the least of which is its film sepia (vs. film noir) flavor.

  11. Leslie,

    RJ over from Erin's blog. Friend of Bill. Thanks for sharing.


  12. @ RJ ~ Hey, how fun to see you here! You wouldn't even have had to say "from Erin's blog", probably. I'd likely have recognized you. I appreciate you dropping in, and you might find some of my story of alcoholism interesting as it plays out across April. Just trying to do the next right thing. And I find I HAVE to share. I don't have a lot of choice. I simply can't carry it alone.

  13. Oh Leslie, this is a wonderful post. Thank you for this. It's sort of like a three-legged stool--and I love that: fiction/nonfiction/commentary.

    You keep finding the hidden gifts, lady. There out there, but I guess you already know that.

  14. @ Erin ~ "3 legged stool" - OMG, I love that! So much more imaginative than, say, "tricycle, triceps or triangle".

    You've got the picture - I pick up a rock and find a diamond beneath it every single day.

  15. I've heard of Carnavile, but haven't seen it, as I don't get HBO. I'd like to, though, as I usually find movies and TV show about seamy side shows and carnivals entertaining.

  16. @ Kirk ~ I'm going to go out on a limb, here, but it feels pretty sturdy beneath me. I believe you'd really like Carnivale and I'm not going to give any hints about it. I suspect that by now you could check it out right there at the library. I LOVED it, and it's not really even my type of thing.