Totally reorganizing everything…there were far too many words to keep on one website and even I was getting confused. So I set up a new site called brickpicks.com that covers broadly cultural things. It’s me in my critic persona. There’s another new site called brickspolitics.com that is my shill site, in Bernie-speak, though I thought shills got paid. Brickshistory.com is about the past. Bricksscience.com is about (or vaguely about) things scientific. Bricksbrain.com is about brains (mine, yours, anybody’s). There might be another site to come. Meanwhile, this here old site, brickwahl.com, will emphasize my usual storytelling and pretty writing that makes the ladies roll their eyes.
Fifteen years ago, I worked for about thirty or so people, from executives on down, and I handled all their expense reports and purchases and you name it. I was so good at it that I was one of the employees that others would come to when they were stumped trying to figure out how to expense something. Executives from outside my department would come and ask for help. That was at Disney and I knew my shit. I was also, for a year or two, the one man purchasing department for Disney Online, when it was a start up. Millions of dollars of purchases went through me, I drew up the purchase orders, I figured out to set up the accounting for each, I got them approved. I remember setting up a database on Access to keep track of them. A schedule on Project. I had that purchasing down, too. Later, I was told by accounting that I processed more accounts payable invoices than the rest of the Walt Disney Internet Group put together. Tens of millions of dollars every couple months. That is in addition to all those expense reports and getting purchase orders processed–though I was no longer the purchasing department. There were several people by then doing what I had once done. I was a master of details and process and numbers.
This occurred to me a couple nights ago as I stared at our bank account and tried to figure out if we had enough cash on hand to cover rent. (We did.) I couldn’t remember what charges were outstanding. I couldn’t remember what we had paid or not. I had definitely forgotten to pay the DWP, I knew that, as they were threatening to shut us off. Time Warner Cable too. All these numbers swimming, these things I have no ability to calculate or schedule or understand. An infinitesimal fraction of what I was once a master of at Disney. It’s all beyond me now.
Losing your executive functions is a bitch. Abilities just disappear. Things everyone can do I can no longer do. Basic human being things. Those neurons burned away a long time ago. My temporal lobe, where all these things lie, is a beat up mess. A life time of small seizures, thousands of them, have done their damage. It’s like someone reached into the hard drive of the computer I’m writing on and 0-949uj1/’p23fh13wcde’p9dcalkjaZXA. Just like that.
A couple days ago was our wedding anniversary. The day before I was looking up at the digital sign above the bus driver, charmed, and it said November 28. November 28? Oh wow, November 29th is our anniversary. I said that aloud. She said yes it is and smiled. I said I had completely forgotten. I had never forgotten before. Not even almost forgotten. I always remembered. She smiled again. That’s OK, she said, we’ll have a nice dinner. You live with a husband long enough and you can see that his brain has been zapped away, and that he forgets things, but he means well.
I had never forgotten our anniversary before. I wondered what else I was forgetting. What else I would forget. And I sat there, as the bus lurched along, with the cold hollow suspicion that I was not going to able to take care of us by myself much longer.
(This is also posted on bricksbrain.com)
My Yahoo email account has degenerated into a mass of depressing political headlines and frantic press releases for bands I have never heard of. In the middle of all this, gleaming like a very cheap rhinestone, is news that Norms is open on Thanksgiving. Better than Dennys, I suppose. An ad a few years ago that Dennys was open on Christmas sent me into a spiral of despair alleviated only by binge watching the Hallmark Channel. An entire alternate universe of bad Christmas movies. Happy ending after happy ending after happy ending, plus no one ever gets naked on the Hallmark Channel. You notice things like that after a week. By then I was sick to death of Christmas and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving. I brought this up to the waitress at Norms as she served my turkey dinner. A lovely thing, she asked me if I wanted more coffee. I made a joke. She sighed loudly. I fell madly in love with her and tipped too much. Two weeks later this story wound up as a plot on the Hallmark Channel. Either I plagiarized it or it plagiarized me. Digital multiverses. No matter how stupid a post I write, it is reality in another space and time.
Fortunately, we are having Thanksgiving at home this year.
Back in the 80’s we had one of those answering machines that used ordinary cassettes. I was quite the archivist then and of course saved them. There’s three. I just listened to side A of the first tape. Appears to be 1988-89. I must have been deleting messages as I went along and saving the good ones. If you were hanging with us then you’re on there. Wild times, man, and a lot of smart asses. Some of this stuff is hysterically funny. And damn, there were a lot of shows back then. Also sounds like we threw a party or two. No more than one a week, anyway. I’ll have to listen to all three tapes eventually, but it’s a little overwhelming to relive your life of a third of a century ago. I cannot believe that we’re still hanging with almost everyone on there. It’s amazing how lifelong friendships are. Especially considering who those friends are. Sheesh. No wonder I never got rich. Well, one of them did. Must be a jillionaire. The one we all lost touch with. He knew better. He and his dinosaurs.
My latest celebrity sighting. Being mistaken for an actor at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. A stage actor, though. That was new. The mistaken guy was an actor. Thought he knew me. I said no, I’m not an actor. You’re not just saying that? No, I’m not an actor. You sure? Yes, I’m sure.
At least he didn’t hound me for an autograph. But then he was in the business. It’s the tourists who want the autographs, especially in Hollywood. I’ve signed a couple there to get them to leave me alone. Wrote simply Brick. Brick! I knew you were him. Look, honey, it’s Brick. Who? You remember. The guy on TV.
I’ve never been on TV.
I’ve been mistaken for movie actors, television actors, a guy in a commercial, a porn star (in younger, far better looking times) and the bass player who’d just been on stage at the Playboy Jazz Festival five minutes before. Man I played good, the guy said, pumping my hand. Just like Jaco Pastorius. I thanked him.
I could have gotten laid by a woman at a jazz club who was convinced I was the bass player there, too, but she fell off her bar stool. The actual bass player, behind me, fled.
Now back to rehearsal.
For a couple weeks now all the people Facebook thought I might know were deeply cleavaged babes of enormous pulchritude who would never, in fact, know me or admit they knew me. Today, suddenly, I am getting all these dangerous looking types the first of whom, either coincidentally, eerily or providentially, is a dead ringer for Rasputin. Either Facebook read my last post, or Zuckerberg is trying to tell me something. In any case, that is one fucked up algorithm.
I’m getting bombarded by ads on Facebook for women who want to marry me or date me or just fool around. And not only Facebook, it doesn’t matter what the website is I’m looking at, there’ll be ads with smiling ladies who want to marry me, right next to news about massacres and plagues and billionaires gone wild. It began as mostly Russian women but now the Chinese have joined in. There are a lot of lovely mature Chinese women looking for love, they tell me. They smile sweetly. My Facebook page shows me as married so I have no idea how I slipped into a lonely aging male database. Or an aging my wife doesn’t understand me database. Actually, though, I think they only want me for my money. But I don’t have any money, I’m a writer. And charm only goes so far.
Whatever happened to the charming Filipina girls who were dying to meet me? And for a while it was hot blooded Latina women, I remember. They looked fiery and exciting, but they must have gotten tired of waiting because it was back to the Filipinas soon enough. Filipinas are much more patient, apparently, than those hot blooded Latinas. In the meantime, though, I must have crossed some magic age line and now they’re all Russians and Chinese. No matter, I just went into Google and found a profile I didn’t know I had and put down my status as married. Way married. That should take care of all those girls. Now they don’t have to get all hot and bothered.
Michael Feinstein’s interviewing Barry Manilow on the radio. He introduced him as the man who wrote the songs that made the whole world sing. A minute ago they were playing Thelonious Monk. Now they’re playing Barry singing Nature Boy as a five year old.
It was shit like this that turned me into a punk rocker. But I’m old now, and sophisticated, and all I can do is turn grumpy. So get off my lawn, Barry Manilow.
But I don’t have a lawn. It’s one of those days.