G - Gold or Silver: Like I could afford either. But probably silver.
H - Height: 5’10½”
I - Instruments you have played: Trumpet, trombone, tuba, piano, guitar (sucked at all, least sucky at tuba, played trumpet most)
J - Job title: Unemployed loser
K - Kids: None, thank goodness
L - Living arrangements: I’m the loser son that keeps moving back in with Mom when life falls apart. It’s me, her, and stepdad #2.
M - Mom’s name: I’m not really comfortable giving that. It’s nicer than Dad’s name, though.
N - Nicknames: I don’t have any that are valid anymore. When I was a kid, I was Skinny Kenny (I’m no longer skinny). The local bicycle gang called me Radical Rick, because I took my Schwinn Beach Cruiser off the BMX jumps that they built. I was known as Lifer at Disneyland (everyone thought I’d be working there for life, including me), and my last girlfriend called me Panda. My last boss would sometimes call me “The Most Functional Alcoholic I’ve Ever Met.” Not sure if that qualifies as a nickname, but I can’t afford to be an alcoholic anymore anyway.
O - Overnight hospital stay other than births: Surgery when I was (I think) 4 years old. My right testicle was halfway down the inside of my thigh, and they had to go fishing to bring it back up to where it should be. Then the car wreck several years ago, where I spent the night in the hospital getting the head X-ray at the top of my tumblr page. Thank goodness an old friend picked me up…remember hospitals in L.A. getting in trouble for dropping patients off at Skid Row? That’s where I was going to be taken if she hadn’t taken me in.
P - Pet Peeve: People who gain satisfaction or position based on the misery of others
Q IS MISSING! DISCRIMINATION! - Well then I’ll make one up. Quantum: A good Scrabble word
R - Right or left handed: Right
Siblings: One older sister, one younger sister who has a different dad (but call her my half-sister and we’re going to have words).
T - Time you wake up: Between 3pm and 6 PM
U- Underwear: Boxers. I grew up on tighty whiteys…the first time I got some boxers I wondered why I never had them before.
V - Vegetable you dislike: Did we ever decide whether a tomato was a fruit or a vegetable? Because I don’t like them. Or onions or peppers.
W - Ways you run late: If I miss a bus (back when I was taking buses) or oversleep
X - X-rays you’ve had: My left hand (broke a finger when I was a kid), my left collarbone (broke it in 3rd grade), my skull, there may be more that I can’t think of.
Y - Yummy food you make: Anything that comes in a box and has directions on it that is yummy
For those of you who have just joined us, here’s a quick version of what’s been going on with him before the call.
Parents divorced when I was a little kid. Dad moves away. I would visit him (and his foster kids and the three he adopted permanently) once a month or so in Santa Barbara.
Lived with him for half of my 6th grade year. Went back to Mom.
Saw him at my high school graduation in 1992.
Then nothing. For years.
Least year he gets in touch, he wants to come visit. He visits in December, and tells us that he’s got cancer (he’d actually already told us, so I was expecting to see him looking like a mess but he looked fine….just an older version of me as far as looks go…he just went into more detail this time around). It’s in his blood stream, it’s in his bone marrow, it’s all through his body. But he feels fine. He says that if a doctor hadn’t told him that he had cancer, he wouldn’t even think he was a little sick.
So, after struggling with how to feel about him coming back after feeling like he abandoned me (if you feel like going back through all of my posts to get there, it’s on here somewhere), I let him back into my life thinking it’s my last chance to not wonder “what if;” to not be thinking after he died that I should have made the effort.
It was a good visit (although him talking about his adopted son so much had me a bit uncomfortable…I barely know the guy and feel like dad had time for someone else’s kid but not his own for all those years), he tells the same old jokes that I remember from when I was a kid, tells mostly the same stories, preaches to me a lot about God, then leaves.
In January, we talk on the phone a few times. We exchange a couple of emails. Since then, nothing. He called my mom one day and told her to have me call him. I did, no answer. Left message. I call again the next day. No answer. Left message. A couple days later, I try again. No answer. My emails wouldn’t get replies.
And nothing since. No email, no calls, nothing. Dad’s abandoned me again. I got to remember what it felt like the first time.
Yesterday my mom says “your dad called, and he really wants to talk to you. But only on Facebook, not on the phone or in email.” I asked why, and she said she doesn’t know.
Fuck that. I don’t know what is going through his head, but this won’t be happening. If I’m not good enough for him to talk to me one on one, then he’s not good enough for me to go publicly crawling to him in front of family that I’ve never even met.
Part of me thinks he just wants extended family to see him talking to me so they can talk about what a wonderful father he was at his funeral. I’m not going to play along. He was a shitty father, and I’m done with him.
Besides, he’ll most likely just start ignoring me again before long anyway.
What is a moment in your life where you are proudest to look back upon? Something that when you think about it you smile and feel good about yourself?
I’ve had this text box open for hours, trying to think of an answer. Well, one that isn’t “when I worked at Disneyland,” because that’s pretty much a given with me.
I know, I’m pathetic.
I finally decided that I couldn’t narrow it down to a moment. Yes, I talk about my Disney past a lot. I do consider that my proudest time, but it’s hard to look back and smile because of how it ended. Most of the major moments in my life aren’t things that I smile about when I look back.
But one thing I do enjoy looking back on, which was reinforced a bit tonight (as my earlier post alluded to), are times when help people out. Just doing something…anything that makes someone else’s life easier, if only for a brief moment in time.
I don’t care if it’s something as simple as telling someone where the bathrooms near the Haunted Mansion are or replacing a balloon that popped at Disneyland, or if I’m trying to be a sympathetic ear when someone needs a marriage counselor or trying to convince a teenager that nobody will give a fuck about whether they were popular in school once they get out into the real world; I just really love when I can make somebody else have an easier time of things.
Maybe it’s just the connections with other people, maybe it’s just that I’m such an attention whore that I want to be involved somehow. But it’s these moments that I can look back on years later and be happy that I served a purpose, that I made a difference, sometimes big and sometimes small, but a difference nonetheless in someone’s life.
Ever have a conversation and get a strong feeling that the other person is about to make a life-changing decision that will be at least partially based on what you say?
I’m hoping I don’t say the wrong thing. I don’t want to just keep my mouth shut and therefore not say the right thing. I’m not exactly a natural advice-giver. I’m not usually the guy who’s going to say “Oh, well you should definitely do this” or “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Especially if I don’t know the full situation.
But hopefully I can ask the right questions for the other person to answer themselves, and I will give any experience that I’ve had with similar situations, and how it worked out.
I get nervous when I have these conversations. I really want to be there for anyone who needs a hand…the trouble is that I usually don’t have a clue what to actually do.
I forgot to do one of these yesterday, didn’t I? Oh well.
Today’s song is one from an old 8-track I used to listen to as a little kid called Dumb Ditties. It also kind of describes my fashion sense through high school. I wasn’t actually wearing tan shoes with pink shoelaces, but I was wearing the baggy, loud weightlifter pants (not quite Hammer Pants, but not far off) and loud shirts to clash with them. I’m not exactly a fashion guru, but I’m much better than I was (sometimes I wonder why I wasn’t beat up daily…it only happened every couple of months).
I’ve now been awake for 38 hours straight, and thought of an interesting weekend where I stayed up WAY too long. I thought I’d share.
Back in 2004, I spent one weekend as a meth head.
From Friday afternoon to early Monday morning, the guy who had been my best friend since 4th grade (so about 20 years at that point), whose futon in the living room I was crashing on after my parents sold my grandma’s house that I had been in when Grandma finally got too sick for me to be able to care for her by myself, got his paycheck for being a college professor.
He was (and still is…I just looked him up) a shitty professor. On ratemyprofessors.com, he was rated as being “hot.” Not surprising since during the few months I was crashing in his pad, he brought home at least three students to fuck. I actually graded most of his students’ papers when I was staying there.
Anyway, this weekend he bought a ton of meth. He, his student/girlfriend, and I spent the entire weekend smoking it, getting drunk, refraining from eating, playing Dance Dance Revolution, and dealing with his paranoia.
The downstairs neighbors weren’t exactly thrilled about the dancing, and nobody in the apartment complex appreciated the loud music. My friend would get very belligerent with people about it, and I got him out of quite a few fights by apologizing to neighbors and pulling him away.
There were ecstasy pills taken as well, and a lot of glow sticking by my friend and his student (they considered themselves a couple, but it still bothers me that he was her teacher even if she was 19 and legal, so I’m just going to refer to her as his student). I’m not a dancer. I’d play with the glow sticks, but even under the influence I felt dumb trying to dance around with them. For the record, I sucked at Dance Dance Revolution, too.
Sunday night came around, and we came to the realization that we hadn’t eaten all weekend (we hadn’t slept either, but that’s probably a given). My buddy decided to make us all a “gourmet dinner” by heating up some prepackaged couscous.
He went into the kitchen and his student and I sat and watched TV. Every few minutes, he would stick his head around the corner and stare at us. We didn’t know why. We would ask what was up, and he’d just give us a weird look and then go back to cooking.
On about the 5th time he stuck his head around the corner, he claimed to have caught us. “Doing what?” we asked. He was convinced that when he was in the kitchen, I was making out with his student. And that we were stopping and sitting innocently at the exact moment he would look at us. The girl and I laughed at it, since that wasn’t happening, until we realized that he was dead serious.
For the next couple of weeks that I was there, he was constantly letting me know that he didn’t trust me. He would ask if I’d watched the tapes that he’d made with her (I had not…she was pretty good looking, but I had no desire to see him naked, especially after he described what he thought I had seen). He would invite her over, but make her stay in his room. He told me that she had chlamydia and that now I had it too (which for obvious reasons I did not).
None of what he accused us of actually happened. But that whole weekend, whenever he and his student would get it on, they always did it with his bedroom door open. A door that I would have to walk by to go to the bathroom. I just held it until they were done. Like I said, I didn’t feel the need to watch. But I wonder if he was trying to get me to do something so he could get mad?
There was a time that she and I joked that if we were in trouble for it, we could just do it and it wouldn’t change anything, but even though our friendship was falling apart I just can’t do that to someone that I’ve been friends with for 20 years. I don’t know if I could do it to a guy I’d met earlier that evening, or seen across the room.I It’s just not my style.
Anyway, it was just a couple of weeks later that he came home from a weekend away, bragging that he had spent $500 on the drugs he took to party that weekend, and was mad at me for “making him go broke” by not paying more rent.
I reminded him of how long we’d been friends and told him I’d help him any way I could, but he had to decide if the drugs were more important than me. After a while arguing, I ended up handing him my key, packing my shit, and living in my car for a while (until I moved to Huntington Park, where I was later robbed at gunpoint…but that’s another story). It was a lot less stressful than being in that apartment. I haven’t seen him since.
Well, on this long weekend I had as a meth head, I lost 50 pound between not eating and Dance Dance Revolutioning. Not exactly a healthy diet. I do NOT recommend it. I felt like shit for a week afterwards. I swore never to touch the stuff again, and I haven’t in the seven years since. It was enough to learn my lesson.
A quick addendum…I have no problem with marijuana. It’s like booze; use it responsibly and you’re fine. But stay away from the hard shit, kids.
If you couuld be another person for a day, who would you be?
That’s a really tough question.
I mean, do I be somebody really awesome and enjoy the crap out of one day, just to come back to this and be depressed? Or do I live a crappy life for a day so I appreciate the one I’ve got?
Nah, screw that. I’ve had enough hard times. Why choose to go through more?
It would have to be someone who is well off, but not too busy. I don’t want to spend the day in meetings. It would have to be someone who knows what love actually feels like, too. I know I’ve said that I’ve been in love only once, but what if real love is actually better than what I felt?
I know that there’s no fail-safe option where there’s an absolutely perfect life that I could lead for a day.
So you know what? I’m going to keep it simple. Nothing too drastic either way, but a life I already know and love.
I want to be a Disneyland balloon vendor again for a day. Whoever the balloon vendor is on Main Street at Disneyland that day, that’s who I want to be. I want it to be all day though, not just the day shift or the night shift.
I miss posing for photos, signing autographs, playing with the kids, even answering the dumbasses who ask if I’m going to fly away. I miss walking in front of the parade, doing a terrible dance for pity applause if the mood strikes. And I miss seeing the kids asleep in their strollers as they are wheeled out at the end of the day, imagining that they will wake up and wonder if it was all a dream.
It’s kind of a simple answer, and maybe not the one you were expecting, but those were the happiest days of my life. I’d love to have them back, even just for a day.
Truthful Tuesday (or How Kenny May Have Avoided an STD)
Since I can’t sleep, and the parents are away, I figure I may as well do this early. And don’t worry, I don’t plan on this going where last Tuesday’s did. I won’t need a twittervention after this. This won’t be an “aww, Kenny, it’ll be OK” post, but a “wow, Kenny, I didn’t expect to hear a story like that from you” post.
Back when I was homeless and working at Universal Studios, I slept in a small retail warehouse that I was in charge of, or in the management office above the candy shop on New York Street (the main drag when you walk in). But a few days a week I would stay at one of the motels at the bottom of the hill on Ventura Blvd. There were two that I would frequent: There was the semi-nice one with cable next to Subway and Fatburger which would run me about $60 a night, or there was one down the road closer to the Ralph’s supermarket that would run about $40 but had no cable, broken air conditioners, leaky sinks, and on one visit a dildo in the bed (and an owner who liked to ask me for relationship advice, since I obviously had my life so well under control).
Both places had refrigerators in the room, so I would get two or three nights and then walk to Ralph’s to stock up. Obviously I wasn’t drinking when I stayed in the theme park, so these were my party nights. I would get myself a bottle of vodka and a bunch of Dr. Pepper, plus a bag of ice if I was in the one room where the fridge didn’t work so I could chill everything in the sink. Then I’d head over to Fatburger and get a Kingburger with cheese, bacon, and egg and an order of chili cheese fat fries. I would be set for a fun night, and have plenty of booze left over for the next day.
One night in Ralph’s, a lady was buying a bottle of vodka in front of me when she dropped a dollar. I picked it up and handed it back to her, and she looked at me like I was an angel, and marveled that I had given it back. “Most people wouldn’t have done that,” she said.
Now remember, I was working at the time. I was in my Universal Studios Management Team shirt, clean shaven, also clean (even when I didn’t have a room, Universal has showers)…I didn’t look like a homeless guy. Even if I did, maybe it’s just my Disney-fied past but it’s second nature to do that (not so much the time when I found a roll of $20s in a rubber band on CityWalk and had no idea whose it was…on that occasion I hung around for a couple minutes in case someone saw me pick it up or came around looking for it, and when nobody did I pocketed it and got a room on a night I thought I’d be spending in the theme park…there ended up being $240 in that roll…but I digress).
So the lady left, and I paid for my own booze, and I happened to catch up with her on the sidewalk as I walked back to the motel and struck up a conversation. That’s when I found out that she was homeless too. Long story short (or as short as I’m capable), I invited her to spend the night in my motel room and she agreed. This was in the $40 motel, but not the room with the mirror over the bed (that’s not a joke, they had one).
We drank, talked, watched TV, and yes, to be quite honest, I was trying to put the moves on her. She would say no, or push my hand away when it found its way onto her thigh, or she would back away if I leaned in. So I stopped. I figured we’d share the bed, and I would just be happy for the company and to have given her a nicer place to sleep for one night.
Finally at one point, she looked at me and said “Do you really think I’m going to say no?”
I thought she HAD said no. But even I can pick up on a hint once in a while, so I moved closer. Her hand ended up on my lap (yes, there), and she made a comment that made it clear that it was intentional.
Then she said something that changed the whole mood for me.
"Do you know what the best part is?" she asked. "I don’t have any cold sores or STDs or anything."
At that point alarm bells started going off in my head. Why would she even bring this up? I mean, she had taken a condom from her purse, but even so, now she’s planted the seed in my brain, and I just didn’t trust her anymore.
Yes, Virginia, it’s possible for the brain to win a fight with the penis. I ended up not doing anything with her, and she swore at me a bit because if there’s a female version of blue balls, she had it.
Sure, I would have gotten laid that night if I hadn’t stopped things. But who knows what price I would have ended up paying. Maybe it would have been fine, but maybe it wouldn’t have been. That’s a “what if” that I can live with.