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“That doesn’t mean that being there so close to Christmas…..on a Saturday….with the sun out and temps creeping into the 40s….is in any way enjoyable for somebody who munches benzodiazepines like Chicklets….”

December 16, 2014 1 comment

This past Saturday I was in NYC. With my family. Bus trip. Dropped off at 9:30am on 50th and 8th avenue. Nine hours to kill. I swear the driver was laughing at all of us as we disembarked. It was a swell ride in. Watched “The Bells of St Mary’s”. Timed perfectly. Ending credits…..we arrived.

For the first 15 minutes I was thinking…..”it’s not too crowded.” Walked past Hugh Jackman’s current Broadway home. Quaint.

An hour later I was paying $10 for a beer and wondering why there wasn’t dead bodies strewn all over Manhattan.

famI remember crossing the street. A street in the high 40s. It was like an alternate universe. All of a sudden….there was maybe 1000 people crossing with me. Coming towards us were another 1000 people. We met in the middle. Two brick walls. It wasn’t that nobody wanted to move, although that was probably true, It was that there was no room to move. A single NYC cop was there to sort this out, egged on by bleating horns from crazed taxi drivers. Merry Fucking Christmas. It’s amazing what you can get used to. In a few hours I went from extreme jay-walking paranoia at every corner to staring cabbies down and daring them to run me over. Next block? Repeat. And so it went. After a while you literally don’t care if you live or die.That’s New York for you. It’s positively charming in a horrifyingly flippant way. Being Blasé is your best option.

Yes. This was me….a crowd hater who thinks the Viewmont Mall is crowded on a Saturday afternoon. Here I am at Rockefeller Center trying to get a picture of the tree (from Danville PA I’m told) without having my family ripped from my grasp by a busload of maniacs from Toms River. I have to say that while I noticed many folks growing a bit…er….testy….nobody truly lost it….a Christmas miracle in my book. New York gets a bad wrap in the attitude department. All in all….I’ve met more dickheads in Dickson City bars than on the streets of Manhattan.

That doesn’t mean that being there so close to Christmas…..on a Saturday….with the sun out and temps creeping into the 40s….is in any way enjoyable for somebody who munches benzodiazepines like Chicklets. I am simply saying that it could have been much worse if everybody there felt that same way I did. That is, murderous.

The main reason? I had to piss.

Hey…don’t we all eventually? Two $10 morning beers will do that to a man.

New York may be the greatest city in the world. The city that never sleeps. Whatever. What it isn’t is a good place to be for somebody who has to pee. It’s easier to get a free cab on 42nd street than it is to find a place to piss on 42nd street. Urinals are guarded like bomb shelters. Even McDonald’s has a combination lock on the loo. We made our way up to Bryant Park, which had outdoor stalls. The problem? The line was literally 300 yards long. I wasn’t the only one with bladder issues. “Go to Macy’s” somebody suggested. Macy’s was 8 blocks away. By the time I got there I would have exploded.

Hotels you say? Ha! Doormen have them locked up tighter than a virgin’s prom dress. I finally snapped and barged into some sort of whacked out vegan bakery……ran down the only steps I saw…..and stood outside locked bathrooms (again…those ghastly combination locks) and waited for the door to open. A woman and her young daughter came out and I grabbed the door (a ladies room…but time had officially run out) before it snapped shut. By the time employees noticed….I had locked myself in and spent the most glorious 45 seconds of my near half century of earth dwelling. Arrest me. I really didn’t care anymore.

So yea. That’s New York. Twenty dollar cheeseburgers and no place to urinate. Positively medieval.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (my daughter kept asking “is this the Vatican?”) and Saks 5th Avenue (where we were followed like drug dealers….my wife reminding me the entire time that “you dress like a homeless person”) and Radio City Music Hall and NBC studios. Christmas trees and ice skating rinks and Salvation Army volunteers forced to continuously dance while soliciting (the better to distract from the charity’s blatant homophobia, perhaps?). Surly cops and surlier waiters and drunken Santas and peering up at the ball in Times Square and thinking…”I thought it would be bigger”. I’m told tens of thousands of people were marching and protesting around Rockefeller Center the day I was there. I saw nothing at all. All you were aware of was the wall of people surrounding you. Fifty yards away? A panzer division could have rolled down the Avenue of the Americas without being noticed. It was bizarre. It was sublime. It was surreal. The sheer mass of it all made you dizzy. I loved it. And I hated every minute.

I nearly wept when I found our bus at 6:45pm amidst the carnage of shopping bags. The first thing I did was pee. Then I probably popped another pill. Then we watched “White Christmas” on the way home. A Bing Crosby double feature.

The war was over. We had survived. Somehow.

Never again. Until they want to go again next year.

In a bit..

–tf

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Where My Daddy Died (an Iphone demo)

December 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Where My Daddy Died

You say you gotta move and can’t sit still
fall asleep…wake up and take a pill
say you want to be alone
but won’t leave the house without your cellphone
I watched you freeze and I watched you melt
and still I never knew just how you felt
but I got hope in place of pride
laying here where my daddy died

Once knew a woman about 10 foot tall
took a christmas tree nailed it to a wall
she loved me hard scared me half to death
sold baby clothes and crystal meth
but she lived before she went away
always laughed when she ran out of things to say
so judge me not your God lied
laying here where my daddy died

dying ruins living
that’s all I got to say
best that we can do
it look the other way

I got no kids but I got a car
drive around the world to chase a fallen star
then Detroit fell like it was supposed to do
before the price of oil made a fool of you
so now all I got is walking shoes
and a new appreciation for the blues
I got nothing but this time to bide
laying here where my daddy died

dying ruins living
that’s all I got to say
best that we can do
it look the other way

I got nothing but this time to bide
laying here where my daddy died

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What’s It Gonna Take To Leave It All Behind (new demo)

December 5, 2014 1 comment

Found these verses in my lyric tablet. Maybe a year old. Maybe more. Most of the time I write the date on the corner of the page….but not for these. Such is the life of one who prefers pen and paper.

Decided to bang this out late last night…

What’s It Gonna Take To Leave It All Behind
(Tom Flannery)

Driving on a road I’ve seen too many times
trying to dry out and stay between the lines
nothing waiting home ‘cept “where the hell were you?”
and window watching what I wanna do
All I had is hers I guess the rest is mine
what’s it gonna take to leave it all behind

Met her in a bar back in 1964
she answered my letters when I went off to war
came home said ‘son well what do we do now?”
so we rounded up a preacher and took ourselves a vow
by the summer of love things started to die
what’s it gonna take to leave it all behind

40 years with nothing left to say
and a house owned by the bank on Oyster Bay
take a train to the city get home 6:59
what’s it gonna take to leave it all behind

You are who you are when you do what you’re supposed to do
questions for the shrink on 7th avenue
put it all on the card pay for that gravestone
and hope like hell you never die alone
watch it unravel like a solid piece of twine
what’s it gonna take to leave it all behind

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