the big quit

For those of you who read this blog, I should tell you that for the most part, I write for the sake of my family. Should I ever get famous (highly unlikely since two people subscribe to this blog), I have an over-arching plan to write a book, which will effectively be a compilation of the posts you see here. Funny? Sometimes, but mostly if you know the deeply disturbing history behind the name that is Carsey. Carsey, you ask? Yes, the maiden name that preceded Beaulieu. Before I entered into the uber-fucked up world of Beaulieu (oh yes, there is a family with more fuck than mine), I was a Carsey. A family rooted in daddy issues, mommy-never-watched-me-play-little-league issues, and I’m-not-good-enough-issues. Between the Carseys and the Beaulieus, I’m glad I have a job. And that I don’t eat poo.

Until 2002, I dont think that anyone in my circle thought my life would ever get more interesting than it was. I, as a person, was colorful, medicated, and oddly brilliant. I did have Charlie, which helped. Would he ever stop squeaking? Barking? Yelling bitch at my mother or fag at the random realtor? Not so long as his tourettes continued to be somewhat immoderate. And then there is David. Oh, David. Oh, oh, oh David. But for the most part, there wasn’t anything in the air that indicated that in a very short period of time, strange things would start taking place. You know, corruption, destruction, and the cancellation of Gilmore Girls after what can only be referred to as a disappointing post-Sherman-Palladino run.

But there, lurking in the years to come was Pirate Captain John’s plunge off the deep end. We saw it coming with my mom. When she stopped drinking, we knew the Titanic was iceberg bound, but dad? No! Never. Even, cool, confident, and able to ignore even the most annoying of people and situations so long as there was food to distract. No one ever thought Dad would jump ship. Wasn’t he the glue? Rut roh.

Oh, 2002. Those were the days of milk and honey. 2005, now that was an iceberg. The fam fell apart, the shit hit the fan and here we are, huddled like rained-on monkeys, waiting for someone to tell us which way is up.

It was the year of the (divorce) that we were all gathered and drunk, standing around the last family Christmas tree, talking about years gone by, when father declared that when he imagined his children–his brood– that he never imagined they would be such a gaggle of fuck ups. Who, us? The tic, the smoke, and the sigh? Apparently.

Quitters, he called us. A group of children (now adults) who tried hard, but like the silver medalists at the Olympics, couldnt push ourselves to be better than the rest. The fruit of a great man’s loins, and all we ended up to be was quitters and whiners. Charlie, well, he isn’t so much a quitter, but more of a never-really-starter. It’s a loophole, a technicality, but something that Charlie lives by. Now, David. He is a quitter, but he has excellent reasoning skills. “It was really fucking hot.” “It was really fucking cold.” “It was really fucking rainy.” Right on, dude. I wouldnt have done it either.

As for me, I didn’t quit. I simply didn’t commit to seeing anything through. Always a trier, never a quitter.

When Dad called us quitters, we all laughed, but there was an eerie silence that fell over the group. Quitters? Us. Oh no. It occurred to me that we should immediately blame the parents.

Well, if we’re quitters, it’s because you let us quit.

When ballet led to blisters, my mother (lips rimmed in purple) declared that ballet was for anorexics and Ruskies. Who the fuck wants to be either of those? At least be a bulimic. You can have your cake and throw it up too. Soccer? For Latinos and poor people. Baseball? Fags, clearly. All of them.

But then we realized, standing around the last tree, in the last house, at the last family gathering of our lives, as the last family meal ended, and we would all go our separate ways that the Big Quit was upon us. The next morning we’d board planes; we’d pack up; Charlie would ask everyone for a few bucks (and get it); David would ask for a few bucks (and not get it); and mom would ask for us to stop swearing (and we’d tell her to fuck off). And we’d start to find out what life after divorce is about. Because the truth is that you can quit a sport, quit a pastime, quit eating meat, but one day you’ll throw a ball and lie to your kids about how you played D1 ball–first string, or do a pirouette in the kitchen like you used to dance for the Russian ballet, or accidentally eat an entire Happy Meal in the basement of your apartment building, wasted. But when you commit to the Big Quit, you’re not going to call each other for a cozy role play of The Way Things Were.

As a matter of fact, The Big Quit is actually the biggest commitment of all. Now how is that for a mind fuck?

So we said goodbye to the woman who helped us be crazy, and the man who taught us to be the best quitters around.

Here’s to the Big Quit. The one that makes ballet look like practice, and soccer seem like a big fairy-fucking waste of time.

From a group of gold medalist quitters.

don’t ask for it.

When I was sixteen, my parents bestowed upon me an entirely undeserved (and by now, probably regretted) Toyota 4Runner. It was the car of my dreams. I had asked for it by name for almost a year, making sure that everyone knew which color I wanted (black), which years were acceptable (’96-’00), and how good I would look driving it. Unfortunately, in all that time of begging and pestering, I never bothered learning to drive. When I was given the keys, I jumped in, put the car into drive and looked ahead to the circular drive. Then I realized I was going to have to pretend to drive off. There was a chance I would take out the brick columns if I tried to squeeze what–to me–was a HUGE car through the tiny, thirty-foot-wide space between the columns.

Needless to say, it was months before anyone was ever able to get into the car with me. I was that notorious fast driver. I drove too fast, shot the gap, I had no respect for my transmission, or the delicate braking system. And since my mother didn’t really love us, naturally the only people I was allowed to drive with were my brothers, usually Charlie.

I would drive around with what my mother sometimes referred to as “her precious cargo” and “teach” him things about driving. Knowing so little about driving, I would usually make things up. At 8:30PM I would look out into a sea of red lights and remark to Charlie “See, all those people are riding their brakes. It’s really bad for your car.” It was years before I learned that the lights on the back of cars are red. . . all the time. Charlie humored me, though. He asked enthusiastic questions about shooting the gap, and how to best maneuver around trucks and use a hydroplane to your advantage.

What I loved most about having Charlie in the car, though, was not our driving lessons. By some strange means, Charlie had become somewhat of a social anthropologist, commenting with great insight about the state of our community. At 12 and 13 he would even give considerate contribution to a political conversation. His vernacular wasn’t exactly eloquent (“Rick Perry was often referred to as simply ‘penis'”), but he kept up with the social ongoings, and it was through him that I developed many of my perspectives on society.

As the years have passed, Charlie and I have not lived within 3000 miles of one another for some great period of time. We generally do not speak on the phone, or even when we are face to face, but prefer to communicate via the unexplainable. Black out drinking at Christmas means we agree that someone in our presence sucks and we’d rather be watching Roseanne in a tree fort than enjoying his or her company. Same goes for checking the exits, or ordering more food than a person can possibly eat while maintaining polite conversation. Since the fam fell apart a few years ago, it’s been all drinking and exit checking, a language Charlie and I are fluent in.

However, I digress. Recently, when walking back from a Starbucks run– two coffees in hand– I was reminded of one of Charlie’s great social commentaries. On Homelessness. (Like Locke and Hume– On Liberty, On Freedom.) One afternoon, after pulling recklessly off at our exit, swerving to miss passerbys, we made our way down the ramp off MoPac (the Missouri Pacific highway, for those of you who are not familiar with “MoPac”) and came to a brake pad-replacing halt at a red light. There standing on the concrete median was a gaggle of homeless men with signs. Having clearly not thought enough to organize themselves, and trying only to be more pitiful than the next, they were each holding a sign. “Homeless Vet. Please help. God Bless America.” “Homeless Vet. No legs. Please Help. God Bless America.” “Hommlus Vit. No eyz. Cant spel. God Blis Amerucu.” “Homeless Vet with Rabies. Shot at by Japs. God Bless YOU and America.” Or something.

Charlie, who has always been a touch of a pansy, immediately elbowed the locks and then looked over at me. “The problem with homeless people is that they dilute the market. If they split up, they are much more likely to get more money.”

Yes, Charlie, that is exactly the problem with homeless people. With their MBAs and dissertations in market analysis of commonalities and functions, they are unable to devise a sufficient business plan. . .

That’s not to say I disagreed. Quite the opposite. I just thought it was funny that at 12 (and I at 16) he realized the basic business of being homeless. What I didn’t know was that Austin, Texas is a sweet fucking gig for homeless people. Travel to the far East (Boston) and what you have is a West Side Homeless People Story. They are absolutely everywhere. Not a handful, but every block, dozens. And it gets really, really cold here in the winter. Go South!

So while walking with my two cups of coffee, in heels, on cobblestone, in the mist, with my wallet tucked in the depth of my questionable pits (not where Marc– my wallet–wanted to be AT ALL, or where I wanted him), a homeless gentleman with a fake limp asked me if I had any money.


1. What do you mean by do I have any money? In general? Sort of. I’m employed. I get my lazy ass out of bed every morning and go and sit and engage with people for a stipend. I understand that you have “circumstances” that keep you from being employed, but if you think I’m not hiding a circus of crazy under this tent of a blouse, you’re mistaken. I just hide it to keep my paychecks. Step of, dirty man.

2. Did you mean to ask me if I had any money for you? Because that is a totally different question than do I have an money. For me? Not really. For you? Most certainly not. Here is why: Let’s consider for a moment my current enrollment in the Bank of America “Keep the Change” program. Just like those little pennies add up to dollars a month, throwing you a silver Washington every time I buy my lunch means I have to walk those Louboutins across the Common after dinner. You’re not asking for change, you’re asking for my cab fair. And it’s misting, fucker.

3. With which fucking hand did you want me to retrieve that change?

Here is the thing, I understand that helping my fellow man is part of my charge on this planet. I believe that lifting others to a place that helps them care for themselves is important, but I thought that wass why I became a Democrat. I thought that was why I support public health and welfare projects. I thought that was why I was paying taxes. I thought that was why I bought fair trade coffee.

So when I’m teetering back to my office, preparing to give a few more hours of my day to work, when, quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind hanging out on the sidewalk making music with a Dunks cup, flashing some tit for tips when the moment calls for it, trying to get inside before God pees from the clouds, dont ask for my change. Because then you’re just asking for it.