Living With An Alcoholic I would love to begin this column: In the land of Las Vegas, on a street called Morning Splash (which always sounded like a sex act you would see in a dirty movie to me), there lived a man whose name was Trevor. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. But there are times in my life that I was neither blameless nor upright, and moments I invited evil to sit down on the couch and put its boots on the coffee table. A better way to begin is the police officer rapping on the driver’s side window in the middle of the night, awakening my future roommate from a Bud Lite and Patron induced stupor at a stoplight, the car still in drive, his foot resting on the brake. This was not the first time he would get arrested for drinking and driving, nor the second, nor even the third time. If he got caught one more time, he was going to prison for a year. This would have been good information for me to have had before we became roommates. Yet, this story really begins with me signing a renter’s lease tying myself to an alcoholic for two years. Less than six hours later I realized my mistake when I was awoken to the sound of an SUV crashing through the garage door. Turned out it was the garage door’s fault and not his. At least that is what he informed me. It must have thrown itself in the path of his backing vehicle.  Any thoughts I had of breaking the lease were dashed quickly when the landlord informed me that, since I was the only one with good credit, I was the one he was going to sue if I tried to break our contract. His credit and history of bouncing checks were so bad he could not even get a bank account in his own name. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a world where all men are equal. A tipoff that there were problems ahead should have been when he told me his dream in life was to own a beer frig, a refrigerator devoted to just the storage of beer, and he had finally achieved that quest thanks to me. In a few weeks, my dream became the vision of my couch without him passed out on it. In all fairness, he was a great roommate when he was sober. I just never saw him sober. There are two sides to every story, but mine is the only one not fueled by an alcoholic haze. I must admit I became abrasive as time wore on. I learned to loath the Food Channel, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and the Christian television channel, which were the only things he watched on the cable that I was paying for. If I had bumped into Rachael Ray or the old guy with the big bushy beard in military fatigues that sat behind a desk smoking a cigar and quoting Bible passages, I would have choked them to death. I still cannot stand the smell of $2 Walmart wine that seemed to seep from his every pore, which became his drink of choice when he could no longer afford Bud Lite, I voiced my displeasure about the fines from the homeowners’ association because he could not do basic things like screw a sprinkler head in the ground correctly or pull a weed. When you are around crazy, hour after hour, day after day, you become a little crazy yourself. I don’t know the exact moment that I became a jerk. It could have been when I woke up in the middle of the night to his brother and him putting my dog’s shock collar around each other’s necks, drinking a beer, and then turning up the current to see who would give up first. I just shook my head and went back to bed. The smartest one in the room that night was my deaf dog. Even though it had only been used on her on the lowest setting and only to keep her from getting in trouble when she could not see me, she waited until they both passed out and chewed the extremely expensive shock collar to shreds. It is not a good thing when the smartest one in the house is the dog. It could have been a month in when he lost his job. When the economy is good, a business is willing to put up with an employee showing up late or not bothering to show up at all. A company needs as many skilled craftsmen as possible.  When the economic bubble pops, bosses are less understanding, especially when other employees were clocking him in. Seems he was constantly battling the flu and had car trouble.   It might have been when I discovered that a couple members of his family and he were putting their cigarettes out in my expensive new gas grill that I had just bought. A person has never had a good steak until he or she has experienced one with that wonderful Marlboro flavor and yummy tobacco goodness. “What is the rub you are putting on your steaks? It really has a different flavor.” “It is cigarette ash. Just shut up and eat.” It could have been when I came home from work to discover my $200 bottle of Dom Pérignon, which I had hidden in my closet, half drunk and sitting in the refrigerator going stale because he forgot to put a cork in it. I was saving it for a special occasion like meeting Ms. Right or some big career advancement. Turns out, unknown to me, the special occasion was his nephew showing up at my door and they deciding they needed something to wash their Taco John’s burritos down with. I would love to believe that I had remained level headed at least until I got the call from the bar asking me to come pick him up. There are words I thought I would never utter in my entire life and one sentence was, “He came in here with pants, and I am not leaving until we find them.” (They were in the logical place where anyone could misplace their pants, the ice machine.) My personality was not the best the night I awoke to the sounds of another nephew and him screaming in pain, first one then the other, over and over again. In the fog of being woken up at 3 a.m. in the morning, the last thing I could remember was they had set off to a nearby pawnshop to recover some items he had pawned. While there, they had purchased a BB gun. Rubbing my eyes, I walked into the living room. There they were, pants around the ankles, shooting each other in the backside at point blank range with their newly purchased BB pistol. Jackass is a wonderful movie and television show, but you don’t expect it to be playing out in the middle of the night in your living room. I looked at the dogs, the dogs looked at me, and even they knew they were watching stupidity unfolding in front of us. I asked my roommate and his nephew, whom I began to call Tweedledumb and Tweedledrunk after that night, what they were doing. Just like the shock collar, they wanted to see who would give up first. I knew the emergency room nurse would find this an extremely interesting story in a few hours. I asked my roommate if he knew that he was in his mid-thirties and if I could see the gun. He handed it to me. Looking over the orange tipped BB pistol, I asked how much it cost. “$20, man,” they both replied. “We got a deal.” I smiled at them, then smashed the BB gun to bits against the wall, and said, “I guess I owe you $20. DON’T EVER WAKE ME UP, AGAIN. LET ME REPEAT, NEVER, EVER WAKE ME UP AGAIN.” I then trudged back to bed, the dogs following behind me. I was certainly uncaring a few weeks later. He accidentally set himself on fire in the street in front of our place. It seems he had several cans of gunpowder for some muskets he owned. He owned several guns, which legally he could not have in the state of Nevada because of a domestic violence charge against him. Again, information that might have been helpful before I signed the lease. He was going to show me how bright this musket powder burns by spelling my name with it on the street and setting it ablaze. I don’t know why this is something he wanted me to see, but it was. As he started pouring the powder out of the can, I was picturing one of my neighbors saying to me, “Are you thee Trevor? Oh, how I wish someone would burn my name into the asphalt like yours.” Instead, he fell into the powder as he struck the match. He was right; musket powder does burn extremely bright.  As he called for me to help him up, I did the Christian thing, turned around, and walked back into the house, leaving him a human sparkler. For some unknown reason he had taken up sleeping in his SUV in front of the house at nights.  I was told by his brother that it was punishment directed at me because after three months of not making his end of the rent I had informed him that he was going to have to give up the master bedroom and the garage. How was this a punishment towards me? I don’t know.  He had a giant loan on the vehicle and had not made a payment in several months. I truly never noticed he was gone until some kids rolled him for his cell phone, watch, and various other items as he slept in his SUV. Making our neighbors proud. I was short-tempered when he stumbled through the house after an evening at the bar. We didn’t speak as he slammed his bedroom door and passed out on his bed. Ten minutes later, I did speak to the young lady knocking at the door that he had picked up in the bar and had forgotten in the car a relative had lent him to drive. To all the young women out there, if a man thinks so little of you that he totally forgets  you, he is not Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now.  I paid the cab fare so she could get home.  He also did chemicals. By the time he left the house, I was battling sciatica and had a kidney stone, a wonderful combination. You’re not sure where that kidney stone is going to go. You just know it is not going to be good and you will end up in a sweaty, agony-ridden heap on the floor. This would be worse than viewing an episode of The Amazing Race. I was a nervous wreck. Every time I drove across a nearby bridge I would think to myself that living under a bridge would not be so bad. He looked amazing. So good, in fact, that he met a beautiful makeup artist in the movie industry on the ski slopes of Utah. They married and now live in scenic Europe, where he does not have to worry about his bad credit or spending a year in jail. Alcoholism is an accepted part of the culture. He now works with some of the biggest cinema and television stars in the world.  The Moral of the Story: Sometimes there are no morals to stories and you just have to find the humor to get through them.
Living With An Alcoholic I would love to begin this column: In the land of Las Vegas, on a street called Morning Splash (which always sounded like a sex act you would see in a dirty movie to me), there lived a man whose name was Trevor. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. But there are times in my life that I was neither blameless nor upright, and moments I invited evil to sit down on the couch and put its boots on the coffee table. A better way to begin is the police officer rapping on the driver’s side window in the middle of the night, awakening my future roommate from a Bud Lite and Patron induced stupor at a stoplight, the car still in drive, his foot resting on the brake. This was not the first time he would get arrested for drinking and driving, nor the second, nor even the third time. If he got caught one more time, he was going to prison for a year. This would have been good information for me to have had before we became roommates. Yet, this story really begins with me signing a renter’s lease tying myself to an alcoholic for two years. Less than six hours later I realized my mistake when I was awoken to the sound of an SUV crashing through the garage door. Turned out it was the garage door’s fault and not his. At least that is what he informed me. It must have thrown itself in the path of his backing vehicle.  Any thoughts I had of breaking the lease were dashed quickly when the landlord informed me that, since I was the only one with good credit, I was the one he was going to sue if I tried to break our contract. His credit and history of bouncing checks were so bad he could not even get a bank account in his own name. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a world where all men are equal. A tipoff that there were problems ahead should have been when he told me his dream in life was to own a beer frig, a refrigerator devoted to just the storage of beer, and he had finally achieved that quest thanks to me. In a few weeks, my dream became the vision of my couch without him passed out on it. In all fairness, he was a great roommate when he was sober. I just never saw him sober. There are two sides to every story, but mine is the only one not fueled by an alcoholic haze. I must admit I became abrasive as time wore on. I learned to loath the Food Channel, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and the Christian television channel, which were the only things he watched on the cable that I was paying for. If I had bumped into Rachael Ray or the old guy with the big bushy beard in military fatigues that sat behind a desk smoking a cigar and quoting Bible passages, I would have choked them to death. I still cannot stand the smell of $2 Walmart wine that seemed to seep from his every pore, which became his drink of choice when he could no longer afford Bud Lite, I voiced my displeasure about the fines from the homeowners’ association because he could not do basic things like screw a sprinkler head in the ground correctly or pull a weed. When you are around crazy, hour after hour, day after day, you become a little crazy yourself. I don’t know the exact moment that I became a jerk. It could have been when I woke up in the middle of the night to his brother and him putting my dog’s shock collar around each other’s necks, drinking a beer, and then turning up the current to see who would give up first. I just shook my head and went back to bed. The smartest one in the room that night was my deaf dog. Even though it had only been used on her on the lowest setting and only to keep her from getting in trouble when she could not see me, she waited until they both passed out and chewed the extremely expensive shock collar to shreds. It is not a good thing when the smartest one in the house is the dog. It could have been a month in when he lost his job. When the economy is good, a business is willing to put up with an employee showing up late or not bothering to show up at all. A company needs as many skilled craftsmen as possible.  When the economic bubble pops, bosses are less understanding, especially when other employees were clocking him in. Seems he was constantly battling the flu and had car trouble.   It might have been when I discovered that a couple members of his family and he were putting their cigarettes out in my expensive new gas grill that I had just bought. A person has never had a good steak until he or she has experienced one with that wonderful Marlboro flavor and yummy tobacco goodness. “What is the rub you are putting on your steaks? It really has a different flavor.” “It is cigarette ash. Just shut up and eat.” It could have been when I came home from work to discover my $200 bottle of Dom Pérignon, which I had hidden in my closet, half drunk and sitting in the refrigerator going stale because he forgot to put a cork in it. I was saving it for a special occasion like meeting Ms. Right or some big career advancement. Turns out, unknown to me, the special occasion was his nephew showing up at my door and they deciding they needed something to wash their Taco John’s burritos down with. I would love to believe that I had remained level headed at least until I got the call from the bar asking me to come pick him up. There are words I thought I would never utter in my entire life and one sentence was, “He came in here with pants, and I am not leaving until we find them.” (They were in the logical place where anyone could misplace their pants, the ice machine.) My personality was not the best the night I awoke to the sounds of another nephew and him screaming in pain, first one then the other, over and over again. In the fog of being woken up at 3 a.m. in the morning, the last thing I could remember was they had set off to a nearby pawnshop to recover some items he had pawned. While there, they had purchased a BB gun. Rubbing my eyes, I walked into the living room. There they were, pants around the ankles, shooting each other in the backside at point blank range with their newly purchased BB pistol. Jackass is a wonderful movie and television show, but you don’t expect it to be playing out in the middle of the night in your living room. I looked at the dogs, the dogs looked at me, and even they knew they were watching stupidity unfolding in front of us. I asked my roommate and his nephew, whom I began to call Tweedledumb and Tweedledrunk after that night, what they were doing. Just like the shock collar, they wanted to see who would give up first. I knew the emergency room nurse would find this an extremely interesting story in a few hours. I asked my roommate if he knew that he was in his mid-thirties and if I could see the gun. He handed it to me. Looking over the orange tipped BB pistol, I asked how much it cost. “$20, man,” they both replied. “We got a deal.” I smiled at them, then smashed the BB gun to bits against the wall, and said, “I guess I owe you $20. DON’T EVER WAKE ME UP, AGAIN. LET ME REPEAT, NEVER, EVER WAKE ME UP AGAIN.” I then trudged back to bed, the dogs following behind me. I was certainly uncaring a few weeks later. He accidentally set himself on fire in the street in front of our place. It seems he had several cans of gunpowder for some muskets he owned. He owned several guns, which legally he could not have in the state of Nevada because of a domestic violence charge against him. Again, information that might have been helpful before I signed the lease. He was going to show me how bright this musket powder burns by spelling my name with it on the street and setting it ablaze. I don’t know why this is something he wanted me to see, but it was. As he started pouring the powder out of the can, I was picturing one of my neighbors saying to me, “Are you thee Trevor? Oh, how I wish someone would burn my name into the asphalt like yours.” Instead, he fell into the powder as he struck the match. He was right; musket powder does burn extremely bright.  As he called for me to help him up, I did the Christian thing, turned around, and walked back into the house, leaving him a human sparkler. For some unknown reason he had taken up sleeping in his SUV in front of the house at nights.  I was told by his brother that it was punishment directed at me because after three months of not making his end of the rent I had informed him that he was going to have to give up the master bedroom and the garage. How was this a punishment towards me? I don’t know.  He had a giant loan on the vehicle and had not made a payment in several months. I truly never noticed he was gone until some kids rolled him for his cell phone, watch, and various other items as he slept in his SUV. Making our neighbors proud. I was short-tempered when he stumbled through the house after an evening at the bar. We didn’t speak as he slammed his bedroom door and passed out on his bed. Ten minutes later, I did speak to the young lady knocking at the door that he had picked up in the bar and had forgotten in the car a relative had lent him to drive. To all the young women out there, if a man thinks so little of you that he totally forgets  you, he is not Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now.  I paid the cab fare so she could get home.  He also did chemicals. By the time he left the house, I was battling sciatica and had a kidney stone, a wonderful combination. You’re not sure where that kidney stone is going to go. You just know it is not going to be good and you will end up in a sweaty, agony-ridden heap on the floor. This would be worse than viewing an episode of The Amazing Race. I was a nervous wreck. Every time I drove across a nearby bridge I would think to myself that living under a bridge would not be so bad. He looked amazing. So good, in fact, that he met a beautiful makeup artist in the movie industry on the ski slopes of Utah. They married and now live in scenic Europe, where he does not have to worry about his bad credit or spending a year in jail. Alcoholism is an accepted part of the culture. He now works with some of the biggest cinema and television stars in the world.  The Moral of the Story: Sometimes there are no morals to stories and you just have to find the humor to get through them.