I have been thinking about writing another book. Well, actually, I've been thinking that since 2005, since the first, and only, book I ever wrote came out.
It was a terrible book. I hope I can write a better one next time... Then again, on second thought, a third grader could probably write a better book than my first one. It was crappy.
Mike Rogers (me) self-portrait of what I looked like while in Austin, Texas
I've been inspired to write a new book by three things. One was my new favorite blogger, who wrote a post entitled; Why and How I Self-Published a Book. (If that link doesn't work, try this one: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/05/why-and-how-i-self-published-a-book/)
In that post he explains why and how he wrote the book. I like the ideas. Actually, I hate publishers and I hated dealing with those people who published my first book and never want to do that again. I also want to publish the book and give it away for totally and completely free.
I want to tell stories and I think I am good at it. And, at this time in my life, I am not so interested in doing it for money. Maybe someday, but not now.
My biggest problem was how I was going to tie up all these bizarre stories I have in my mind (all true stories, too!) and all this crazy sh*t I've done (and lived to tell the story about) into one coherent book....
Now, I realized how to do it... Hence the title of this post.
Another thing that has inspired me is that, since coming back from that hellish trip to the USA, I think my writing has, for some inexplicable reason, improved by leaps and bounds... Not that you could tell by my readership which sits where it always has.
The third thing that inspired me was I met a lady today who was an acupuncturist trained in Austin Texas. She didn't look like she was from Texas. She was either Korean or Japanese and studied in Austin. That seems strange to me. Doesn't that seem strange to you? I mean, here was this pretty Asian woman who learned acupuncture in Austin Texas? How does that work? Doesn't there seem like there is something strange about that?
Anyhow, when she told me she studied in Austin I told that I had been there before and that I thought people in Austin Texas were crazy... (As if anyone from Southern California has any right to call anyone else crazy! Southern California has the craziest people in the world, I think... Excepting for, maybe, New Yorkers...)
She laughed and agreed with me. Maybe she thought it were true or maybe I still have that killer charm with the ladies. Probably the former since I was at acupuncture and an 85-year-old man probably could turn their neck farther and faster than I could. I couldn't turn my neck at all.
JELLO BIAFRA & MOJO NIXON -
ARE YOU DRINKIN' WITH ME WITH ME JESUS?
I started telling her and the other doctors about the one time I went to Austin Texas in 2005... Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protestor mother whose son, Casey, had been killed in the war, was having a protest near the Bush ranch in Austin. There were people from around the world gathering there to see her and to support her protest against the Iraq war. Since I was a regular columnist for the well known Libertarian site Lew Rockwell.com, she asked me to come and show support from Japan. I accepted the invitation. Hence... I told the acupuncturists about how I flew to the USA to join this protest.
I might call this episode:
Austin, Texas, USA, 2005: the Land of the Free
I had heard that the US authorities were frowning upon people going to Austin so, in order to hide my intentions, I flew into Atlanta Georgia and transferred there to a flight to Austin. In my twisted mind, I figured that if I flew into Atlanta first, and not Austin, the immigration and customs authorities wouldn't think twice about my intentions. I thought they'd definitely give me trouble if I flew in direct from Japan.
To make sure I had a good cover story, I created a fake google email account and sent myself an email claiming that it was from my cousin and that 110-year-old "Aunt Emma" was dying and that the entire family was waiting for me to hurry up and visit before it was too late. I printed that email out and it was good that I did. It seemed the immigration and customs agent was suspicious of me and when I showed him the letter and acted like I was about to cry, he let me go by immediately.
I grabbed my Oscar award for best acting, er, I mean my connecting flight boarding pass and off to Austin I went.
I finally arrived at Austin International airport after about 24 hours of traveling from Japan. I was exhausted. My great friend, Steve (not his real name) picked me up in his dirty pickup truck. He needed gas money, I gave it to him and we headed off to his place as that was where I was staying.
Like I said, I was exhausted and my brain was fried to a crisp. The last thing I needed was loud, fast, hard-core thrash punk rock music blasting in my ear. Steve gave it to me. He delivered it at pretty much full-volume all the way to his apartment.
I laugh now, but it was hell at the time.
Once arriving at the apartment, I told Steve that all I wanted was to take a shower, have a drink and go to sleep. The shower was no problem. The drink and sleep were another story.
Since it was a Sunday, Steve told me that Austin was a "dry" city and that alcohol sales were prohibited on Sundays. Christian nation and all. I couldn't believe it. Didn't Steve at least have a beer in the fridge? Nope. He didn't drink. Neither did any of his friends he proudly informed me.
Snorting cocaine and smoking marijuana were another story, though. Steve began lighting up joints immediately as we entered his abode.
Steve coughed and snorted as he to tried to hold in the puff as he handed the joint towards my direction..."Mike, you can't buy any beer on Sunday's, it's against the law. So why don't you smoke one of these?" (As if smoking marijuana wasn't against the law!?)
I put my hand up in a 'no thanks' gesture... "No. Really, Steve. I don't do that anymore. Seriously. I can't just go and buy a beer?"
"Nope. Not on a Sunday." He gasped as he lit the spiff again.
"But what about that convenience store I saw around the corner? I can just go there and buy one, can't I?"
"Nope." He said as he concentrated on his new friend in his right hand...
Not being the kind of guy who takes "no" for an answer, I changed clothes, got up and headed out the door. I figured that money talks and that I could bribe my way into a beer or two. I walked into the convenience store and said to the clerk,
"Look. Here is my passport. See? I don't live in the USA. All I want to do is to buy a beer and go to sleep. I just came in from Japan and I'm exhausted." The clerk said,
"Wish I could help you but alcohol sales are illegal on Sundays."
"Yeah, I know that. How about if I give you $20 to sell me just one beer?" The clerk shook their head, "No!" I kept upping the bribe,
"$50, $80, $100!" No deal. The clerk said,
"I'd love to sell you a beer but the cases are all locked." I went to look, sure enough, they were all chained and padlocked closed. The chains were huge and the padlocks looked like something you'd see at Fort Knox.
I couldn't believe it. This was the USA. Texas of all places. Supposedly the hot seat of freedom and the land of the free. In Japan (a nation that was supposedly not nearly as free as the USA), I could buy a can of beer anytime I wanted to at anytime of the day or night (24/7) and walk down any public street drinking it anywhere I wanted. Not being able to buy a can of beer in the Land of the Free? In Texas of all places? "Alcohol sales illegal on a Sunday"!? What rubbish. I'd never heard of such a thing. Must be impossible. These people were joking.
I went back to my friend's apartment. By then another of his friend's had already shown up to meet me. My friend, Steve, laughed as he lit up another joint and said, "See? Told you that you couldn't buy any beer! Have a hit of one of these. This is good stuff!"
Still, I didn't want to get high on dope, I just wanted a drink to calm down and go to sleep. I asked Steve to call his friends and ask if they have anything to drink.
"My friends don't drink alcohol, Mike. This is pretty much a dry county and my friends just smoke. Sure you don't want none of this?" He handed the joint to me.
"No. Really. Seriously. I don't do that anymore. It just makes me paranoid as hell and I'm already paranoid enough as it is."
Steve called around to his friends. Sure enough, no one had any drinks at home. One friend, though, suggested that he knew a "Speakeasy" where I might get a drink.
Speakeasy's were popular in the 1930's during Prohibition when the idiots in control of the government made drinking alcohol illegal across the United States. Underground bars, posing as tea and coffee houses, began popping up everywhere where people could get in, knowing a secret password, and have a drink. Here it was 2005 America and they still had them in Texas operating on Sundays. Steve's friend tried to get me into one.
After several tries, he gave up. No dice. The bosses of the Speakeasy's were very strict about who they served alcohol to. I understood. My friend told me that if they were caught serving alcohol on a Sunday, they would go to prison. They didn't served booze to anyone they didn't know for years personally. You never know when an FBI sting will be setup to bust one of these operations (a FBI sting that will have cost millions of dollars over a few years just to bust some old guy serving whiskey to ten people....Good deal for the taxpayers, eh?)
What a wonderful country!... I'm sure the Taliban would approve.
Unbelievable. Sunday in Austin Texas and there was no way one could buy even one can of beer. Like I said, compare that with unfree Tokyo Japan where one could buy a beer anytime of the day, 24 hours a day, and drink it anywhere they wanted too, even on a public street! So much for the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Finally, one more friend of Steve's came over to meet me. He was a fan of my scribblings too. He felt sorry for my not being able to get a drink.
A typical Sunday's entertainment in
"God's country!" He laughed and cynically proclaimed as he poured out lines of cocaine onto the glass table top.
Steve kept smoking marijuana, and this new friend kept chopping up cocaine. They both kept offering me some and I kept declining.
"All I wanted was one little drink, yet I couldn't have it." I said as I lay down on the sofa. The friend snorted the cocaine and rubbed his nose. Through his gasps he looked at me and said,
"Mike! This is a dry county in a Christian country in the Land of the Free. Why is it you have a problem with that? Why do you hate the baby Jesus!?" He laughed sarcastically at the absurdity of it all and handed the straw towards me. I refused. After a 24 hour flight, snorting cocaine was the last thing I needed.
On the left of me, here's a guy breaking the law by smoking marijuana. On the right of me, a guy breaking the law doing cocaine. Me, in the middle, I cannot even buy a glass of wine or a beer just because it is a Sunday? What is this? Enforced Christianity? Didn't Jesus drink wine?
In the country that is supposed to be the Land of the Free, I can't even buy a can of beer on a Sunday? And this is the nation that is supposed to bring freedom and build democracy to people's in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East?
Lord, help us. And please give me a drink.