Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stevie Joe and Road Construction

Now, putting one's life back together takes some work. And sometimes, that work requires a bit of automotive travel. So, the big blue wagon and I have been tearing up the local highways and byways of late. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

You might remember those folks back in Washington DC talking up various stimulus packages when we were smack dab in the heart of this most recent recession. The idea was to put folks back to work by borrowing some dough from the Chinese and having the government spend it. Much of that spending went to improve our transportation infrastructure. There is no doubt that our transportation infrastructure is in some dire need of repair and upgrade. Sounds simple, right?

Here's where the problem comes in. Politicians know that most folks have short memories so they wanted to spend money right away. Unfortunately, upgrading our mass transit, freight rail, airports, and crumbling bridges requires engineering, and engineering takes time. Sure, you can spend money on engineering, but that's not visible to folks until you have a completed project.

So, they decided to limit spending on projects that already had completed engineering work and projects that required minimal engineering. Number one project requiring little to no engineering? Resurfacing existing roads.

Hence, my problem. The Feds doled out lots of cash to the states to resurface roads. The states, not wanting to appear ungrateful, set about resurfacing as many roads as possible whether they needed to be resurfaced or not. So, all about the Greater Junebug Holler Metro Area, roads are all torn up. Perfectly good roads. Roads that didn't have so much as a single pothole or frost heave. There are also lots of giant, orange signs reminding folks who is paying for all this.

You would think that if a road is under construction, hence a delay is to be expected, one might take another route, a detour. Unfortunately, all the alternate routes are also being similarly resurfaced. So, there ain't no way out of the Holler for ol' Stevie Joe. I'll just have to sit back and down some beers with Junior. Nothing else I can do.

I'm thinking about writing a letter to those folks in the state DOT. Perhaps, they need some reminding that the "T" in their name stands for "transportation" and there ain't much of that going on right now.

There's Stevie Joe, he's movin' kinda slow at the Holler, Junebug Holler,
Stevie Joe Parker

p.s. You know those "flaggers" who hold the "Stop" and "Slow" signs whenever there is a lane closure? I'm sure you already know that due to the enormous physical toll on those poor workers these signs now have a rotating base. The flagger need only turn it from one side to the other every few minutes while the base holds up the sign for them.

Well, apparently even with such a modern marvel, too many flaggers were struck down in their prime with "flagger's elbow." So, they've got a new device. I swear to JC this is true. The signs are now motorized. So, the flagger can now sit back and simply push a button on a remote control while the sign spins itself. Of course, you and I both know that sooner or later, all that button pushing is going to give someone a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome. You read it here first.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stevie Joe On Pain

The last few months, I've had plenty of time to ponder pain. As many an amateur philosopher has uttered, "Life is pain." Buddha knew this, and I know it. So, is it any surprise that when the pain of life becomes too much to bear, we search for the painkillers?

Yet, we have made the most effective painkillers taboo. If we feel happy all on our own, all is good. If we feel happy because of a pill, a drink, or a toke, all is bad. Why is this so? Why is it so wrong for a substance to make us feel good?

Of course, allowing a medication to take away the pain is usually accepted as long as that medication doesn't go so far as to make us feel good. Ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are just fine even though they are toxic to our bodies. Morphine, which is not toxic to our body, is used only as a last resort because it provides a feeling of euphoria. Eegads. Not that. Of course, too much morphine (or any other opiate) will eventually stop you from breathing, but it won't fry your liver or kidneys.

Take a look at this here chart. Look long and hard. Some study might be required to really take it all in. Then, tell me why LSD and pot are illegal but caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are not. I'm not saying that these LSD and pot should be legal. Just that it seems fairly arbitrary. Why shouldn't we be allowed to decide for ourselves?

As you probably know, many folks who are in pain, either physical or psychological, wind up self-medicating. They might use legal drugs or they might use illegal drugs, but let's not pretend that it doesn't happen. How about having an open discussion about how to handle it?

Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stevie Joe's Descent

Loss brings many emotions and even more actions. Depression alone can manifest itself in a nearly complete Hunter S. Thompson novel. In my case, I didn't sink into the drugs like Raoul Duke en route to a desert motorcycle race. Maybe I would have done so had I known where the heck to buy them. I mean, there's a lot of drunks around Junebug Holler, but those other drugs are mostly something done by someone else somewhere else (unless you mean stuff like caffeine, nicotine, prescription opiates, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and various ED remedies).

So, I took to White Russians and Stingers depending on the state of my liquor cabinet. On those truly desperate nights, it was straight tequila. Cuervo Gold. I blame it on Steely Dan. The one indulgence that differed considerably from those of my fellow Holler citizens was a powerful Kava tea made from root imported directly from the island of Vanuatu. Good stuff. Do not mix with alcohol.

As you may have already deduced, while such behavior might result from loss, it does nothing to get one beyond it. In fact, the booze just led me down the dark path to an even deeper hell. Sure, there would occasionally be a party or slot machine along that path, but it led to hell nonetheless.

More soon,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stevie Joe Is Back!

I arise from deep in the muck. So deep that you must claw away at the filth above your head for hours and days and weeks and months. All in a desperate attempt to catch a glimpse once again of the sun.

Mrs. Stevie Joe is gone. Finally fed up with me and who can blame her except for that constant voice way in the back of my head that searches for someplace, any place, to point the finger except right back here at ol' Stevie Joe.

I've resorted to living with Junior and his dog, Junior Junior. I have often made light of Junior, but he is a true friend. He alone was there to take hold of my hand when it finally emerged from the ooze. I suspect he believed that I had a beer in my other hand, but I want to push that from my thoughts and focus on the good.

I've yet to cleanse myself of all the debris and negativity that has pulled me down these past few months, but I'm looking forward. This here will be my testament.

Stevie Joe Parker