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Best Part Of Waking Up

I’ve given up drink for a week. Not sure if I will continue for another, through the evening, or beyond the end of this sentence. (OK .. made that last deadline.) Initial observations haven’t been life-changing and the benefits few outside of confirming that I can last this brief stretch. My sleep is shit (as usual) and I’m noticing neither increased energy nor lucidity. Part of my problem is tolerance. This isn’t a macho brag and there are many who put away far more than I do. But I could always inflict a sizable dent in a bottle of single malt without much slurring, stumbling or stares. My tendency to fly under the radar extends to all areas, inebriation included. This may be what got my attention. Nobody was going to notice but me and the same likely applies to sobriety.

I’ve been watching this ex-con motivational speaker on youtube .. Wes Watson. He’s a majorly ripped, tatted-up dude who speaks hard truth at high volume with spittle flying from his mouth. Wes seems a caricature at first glance, easily dismissed until you give him an extended listen. Then you realize that he’s gained more wisdom at 36 than most guys gather by 70. His ability to articulate rivals his muscles, once you get used to the frequent use of ‘motherfucker’ and the sensation that he’s about to jump from the screen and rip your head off. Ol’ Wes is rather straight-edged when it comes to substance use, save his indulgence in Folger’s coffee (served black, of course) when he wakes at 2:45 a.m. It seems penitentiary time has guided his philosophy and greatly expedited life lessons. The more severe the conditions, the faster and greater the wisdom. Fourteen months in solitary equates to three graduate degrees and all the Tolstoy one can consume. At the core of his preaching is the simple principle that serving others is the key to being released from internal suffering. Dude makes Joe Rogan look like Rip Taylor.

Not sure where Wes Watson and my brief flirtation with sobriety cross. I’m already up a lot at 2:45 a.m. but not by course of discipline and I’d have to do too much body shaving to pull off his tattoos. But I do find interest in his “Zen of rage” message even if I don’t subscribe to the method. I was listening to Wes speak about his Folger’s coffee habit around the same time somebody sent me a piece that Warren Zanes had written about Tom Petty. Zanes was Petty’s biographer and wrote some revealing bits about Tom’s heroin habit and personal relationships. The book was OK’d by T.P. but still caused a stir and the article was the first Zanes had written about Petty since his death a few years ago. Coffee again figured centrally; Tom was a Maxwell House man. He arrived at this choice with some serious thought on the matter. He didn’t see the point in fancy coffees or espresso and instead longed for something that would take him back to Gainesville, Florida, sitting in a diner for six hours with a never-empty cup and talking music until the alligators came home. In essence, the coffee was his link to the past; to a purer less complicated time. It all resonated as I’ve been thinking about this myself lately. Not having arrived yet seems less a problem than not being able to go back; not being able to re-set our brains to a time when there was less in there. Not sure how Tom and Wes might have gotten along, but both seem and seemed to know a lot about the same things.

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