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  • by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, July 5, 2016

“They go flat,” she said.

“What goes flat?” I asked.

“The cats,” she said and motioned to the old black cat laying on its side on the deck. She sucked on the crab leg she was pointing with and continued, “They go flat in the summer.”

I looked over at the cat and it did kind of look flat. Like someone had a let the air out of it.

“Yup,” she said, “Darndest thing.

We were on the back deck of her house, eating crabs. The table was covered in newspaper. A few dozen blue claw crabs, smothered in old bay and steamed so that now they shone bright red, lay scattered amongst the headlines.

Sea Isle City’s Annual Baby Parade to Be Held July 19

She tossed the remains of crab she’d been working on and picked a fresh one from the pile.

“So, you hear from Sam lately?” I asked.

She pulled one of the claws off the crab and whacked it with a small wooden mallet and pulled out the meat in one piece.

“Looky there, will ya?” she said. She turned her attention back to the crab at hand and said, “Nah. Haven’t talked to Sam in awhile. Last I heard she was bartending down at Jake’s in the Villas.”

“She still with that guy?” I asked.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, July 13, 2016

“So she looked at it and said, ‘What the fuck is that supposed to be?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, this was your idea,’” said Dave.

The guys laughed.

Dave, Frank and Carl sat together at Fred’s on a Wednesday afternoon. They’d known each other since grade school. Sometimes they met for lunch and even though it was the middle of July, Fred’s was cool and dark. Frank had always complained that it was like a cave but in the summer when you worked outside all day, it could be a welcome relief.

The guys continued to chuckle as the bartender walked up.

“You guys need anything?” she asked.

“I’ll have another,” said Carl.

“Yeah, me too,” said Frank.

“Might as well make it three,” said Dave and he finished the beer he’s holding.

The bartender pulled three beers out of the cooler, knocked the caps off and put them down in the center of the bar. Each guy reached in and grabs their own then sat quietly as she cleaned up the empties and walked away again. Bob and Claudio both watched her walk away.

“Dude, you’re sister is still smokin’,” said Carl.

“Yeah she is,” said Frank.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Dave. “She has good genes.”

“We’re not just talking about her jeans,” said Frank.

“No, we are not,” said Carl.

“Mm-mmm,” said Frank.

“I still can’t believe she’s a lesbian,” said Carl.

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 by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Back before the accident we’d always go surfing on Sunday mornings. He called it going to church.

“Come on, let’s go to church,” he’d say. “I’ll call you in the morning. We don’t want to be late.”

Then he’d laugh and slap his knee like he hadn’t said that a thousand times before. He was big knee slapper.

I can still see him, riding along in the passenger seat of my old pickup, drinking a Red Stripe, the wind in his hair, the wrinkles in his face from years in the sun even more pronounced when he smiled and he was usually smiling. He always said Red Stripe was a breakfast beer.

“It’s a little fruity,” he explained. “You know what I mean?“

The thing is, I did know what he meant. It is a good breakfast beer.

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 by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You see the sign before you see the motel most times. It’s a big neon one of the type of place that still advertises air conditioning and television as if these are recent inventions and worthy of bragging about. The Shady Palms Motel is not the worst place I’ve ever stayed, but I can see it from here.

The carpet has cigarette burns and the hangers don’t come loose; the televisions are bolted to the wall, the Spanish guys blast their music till all hours some nights. People fight and scream. Drunks vomit. Truth be told, the place could use a decent scrubbing and a coat of paint, but it’s cheap and quiet in the offseason, plus the owner lets me live rent free so long as I handle the handyman work. I’m not quite sure who’s getting the better deal, but I suspect it’s not me.

This town used to be quite something back in the day. The boardwalk was the place to see and be seen, with rich folks walking the boards in their finest duds. It was a quaint seaside resort for the rich. I’ve seen pictures over at the Convention Center. A real fancy place it was.

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 by David Todd McCarty | Monday, July 11, 2016

Whistling Gopher: A mark who departs with a whistle of disbelief after he hears the price of your ride or show or product.

I was a showman on the Midway. People said I had sawdust in my blood. An honest to God ass man, yessiree. That’s an A&S Man in the trades. Stands for ‘Age and Scale.’

I could guess the month you were born within two months, or your age within two years. I never cared for guessing people’s weight. Especially with the ladies. No way to win that game, especially if you win.

Started as a backyard boy. This and that. Run errands. Cart boxes. Basically doing whatever they told me to do. Entry level shit.

They never would let me be a talker and I never really had the goods to be a strong agent on the skill games. I kept to the simple games like screw pool, poster joints and wheel of fortune type games.

First real job was in a bendover store, one of those games where you had to bend over a couple of hundred times a night to fetch the balls. Not much skill to that being an agent at a bendover store. But the game pretty much takes care of itself. The guy wins a stuffed animal. No problem. He paid more than it cost for the toy, just to play. But most guys don’t win. Or if they do, they paid for that toy so many times over you don’t care.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, July 5, 2016

He sits in a booth in Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. The corner one near the window. He gets there early before the crowds and gets the same thing every time. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just that it’s the same and that there aren’t many people. He doesn’t like the people. He doesn’t even really like Uncle Bill’s. It’s overpriced flour and water, he thinks. Still, he doesn’t have the will to make them himself, and the waitresses are cute. Mostly.

He flirts with them sometimes, when he’s feeling full of piss and vinegar as his wife used to say . Mostly, he just orders quietly and minds his own business. Drinks his coffee. Says thank you when they refill his cup.

It’s hot, even for July. Oppressively hot. It was good to get out of the apartment above the sunglass store. There were already a lot of people at the restaurant. Not like it would be later, when they’d line up outside, but for 7am on a Tuesday, it was still pretty crowded. He would have had to wait if he hadn’t been the first one there. If his booth wasn’t available, he’d turn around and walk away. The girls were pretty good about waiting for him. If he didn’t show up by 7:30, then they’d sit anyone there. But when he came first thing, they’d hold it for him.

He reads the paper. He’s not sure why. It’s all bullshit. Cops killing blacks. Blacks killing cops. Heroin overdose. Drug busts. Drunk driver. Hillary is a liar. Trump is a liar.

They’re all liars he thinks. Everyone lies. Everyone is full of shit.

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by David Todd McCarty | Saturday, August 22, 2015

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed. I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday’s my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.

– Silver Linings Playbook

When I was a kid, Sundays were always very special days in my house. First, there was always church. My father was an elder and we were involved in Sunday school and youth group. My parents held small groups and Bible studies. We recruited kids to go to Vacation Bible School in the summer and participated in Christmas Pageants in the winter.

But after church, we rested. My parents were serious about the Day of Rest. And rest we did.

We would all have lunch together, usually something fairly light, and then it was free time. We rarely did things as a family on Sunday outside of church, unless you consider napping together on the coach, family time. We all kind of went our separate ways. Read a book. Watched TV. Go outside to play.

It was glorious.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, August 10, 2015

 

I’m an inside guy. I like being inside. Everyone wants me to go outside—especially my wife. But almost everything I want to do is inside. Inside is nice. It’s warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. I have wireless, my computer, my books, a nice chair, ice, alcohol. It’s all right there in one convenient place. Isn’t this why we moved out of the wilderness and built homes in the first place? It’s nice inside.

I wasn’t always this way. There was a time where I was much more of an outdoors guy. Golfing. Surfing. Hiking. Camping. Fishing. Biking.

I used to mow my own lawn. I liked it. There is a lot to be said about mowing your own lawn. I found it very therapeutic. Very organized. Nice sense of accomplishment. But now I have a service and I complain about how they mow my lawn. It’s not the same.

I just don’t feel the pressure to be outside like I used to. I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that I no longer give a shit if I’m tan. This is why I don’t really go to the beach anymore. I haven’t been surfing in awhile and I really don’t care if I’m tan. I just sit there, sweating, thinking, “Man, it’s really hot. How long until we can go home?” I swear the best part about going to the beach was coming home.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, August 5, 2015

 

I’m sure that should just be the title of my blog. You People Are Pissing Me Off. Also the title of my autobiography and the inscription on my tombstone, two things my father likes to point out when faced with an undeniable self-truth: “That’s should be the title of your autobiography.”

Another recent revelation came in the form of an email I wrote to said father, in response to an email he sent out to the family where he explained that he had struggled his whole life with being a success. How important it was to him. How much pressure he put on himself. How he too often felt less than perfect. I replied that while I didn’t think I was any healthier than he was, I was, in fact, my own favorite person. We’re not sure where that came from. Some would call it egocentric, maybe even selfish, but it’s much more complicated than that.

I’m an introvert. Not many people actually knows what that means. Most people, or at least most extroverts, think it means you’re shy, or quiet. It doesn’t. It also doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. But in a nutshell, it means I don’t like crowds, loud noises, small talk, parties, lots of stimuli or more or less anything that doesn’t interest me. I prefer writing to speaking. I prefer to work on my own, not in a group. I need time to think and expand on topics before I have an opinion about them. I prefer to spend time alone than almost anything. Yes, I know, it sounds very anti-social.

The fact is, most introverts are highly intelligent, very sensitive, emotional beings. We just don’t have any patience for your bullshit and we need a lot of down time.

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