Lee Breaux, RIP

Lee and me
Me and Lee, circa 1972.

Lee was 46.

Of all the people I know, barring parents and grandparents, I knew Lee the longest. We “met”, photos and family say, when we were infants/toddlers. A few of my earliest memories include a starring role by Lee.

We didn’t see each other often, but we made the most of the time we did spend together:

  • We won the Battle of Gettysburg for the south many times in Meme and Pawpan’s backyard
  • Whacking the ever-loving crap out of each other with wooden swords made by Pawpan
  • Climbing on the roof when Meme wasn’t watching
  • Being fed the best fresh bread made by Ms Plauche, his grandmother. And listening to his grandfather talk about being a Marine fighting in the Pacific
  • Watching thunderstorms rolling in
  • Indulging in a love of Pizza Quick Sauce pizza – the best invention of my early childhood
  • Weeks at Toledo Bend swimming, walking in the woods, reading, lighting fires (in approved places), and seeing how long we could go without going outside to pee at night since we were both scared of the dark.
  • Most times when I open a jar of jalapeno slices, I remember watching him guzzle the juice from the jar on a dare. Other than a slight redness in his face, no effect. Though I like to think I heard muffled screams from the bathroom later that night.
  • The second time I got drunk (that I remember – apparently I had a habit of hiding under tables and reaching up for unattended beer cans as a small child) is that we found a bottle of “blue shit” in Meme and Pawpan’s camper that was parked in the extra lot next to their house one night that we slept in there. I since found out that that must’ve been Curasau. I still don’t like that stuff much.
  • We learned early on not to poke too hard at each other’s phobias – spiders (me) and roaches (him) – because retribution was harsh and brutal

It was a good, free-range childhood. I’m lucky in that I’ve got a lot of a happy childhood memories. He’s in a lot of them.

As we got older, we matured – a little – and changed a bit but our enjoyment of each others’ company didn’t. He introduced me to tons of bad 80s movies – I still can’t watch About Last Night without thinking of Lee. Camping on Holly Beach. We made pathetic attempts at hitting on chicks in bars. He was proud of his service in the Berlin Brigade – I still have the piece of the Berlin Wall he brought back for me.

Lee was one of those annoying “I’m from Texas” fuckers who think being from Texas is some super, wonderful thing. I remember him telling me once that when he was stationed to Berlin, he’d always say “I’m from Texas.” After a few much as a soldier in a foreign country, he said he started to say “I’m from the US.” He was proud of his service and country.

We once super-pathetically attempted to get drunk in Texas on $10 bucks between us. Since we were under 21, was hard to find a spot in Texas to sell to us. We finally found a spot that took Lee’s military I.D. (and we both got pissed off at the idea that he could serve as Russian cannon fodder, but couldn’t buy a beer in the States). We ended up buying a 6 pack of Black Label and one of Pearl. I don’t think we finished either 6-pack.

We even had the occasional deep conversation about life, love, and the future.

Then we sequed into cliché – between college for me and he lived in New Hampshire for a while with his Dad, then moved back to Texas and I moved to Maryland, then families, and with both of us being mostly phone-allergic, we didn’t see much of each other or talk often over the last 20 someodd years.

But it was always easy to fall back into that easy friendship when we were together. Fatherhood changed him – for the better in many ways, I think – and he adored his kids. But he still had a laugh like a hyena on helium and is one of the few people I’ve known who actually cackled with laughter.

And even though we didn’t talk much, I thought of him fairly often. And one of the benefits of a possibly moving to Houston in a few years was being able to drive up to Dallas now and then and visit a little more often.

I would’ve enjoyed that. I like to think he would have too. I would’ve enjoyed making fun of his inability to listen to any piece of music published anytime after around 1988 – I still don’t understand his Lita Ford fetish (Samantha Fox, that one I got). And there’s plenty enough ammo for him to have returned fire on me.

Now I’m about to leave to visit him for the first and last time where he made a life for himself with his wife and children.

Service at 11:00 on Friday.

He was 46.

A Boy Named Sue #atozchallenge

johnny-cash-fingerA Boy Named Sue is one of the first songs I can remember. It launched a life-long love of Johnny Cash music. And that memory is wrapped up with my Mom, 8-tracks, and a green car.

Now, my Mama is not a huge music person. This was great when growing up because we could put the radio on whatever we wanted (I remember me and Bobby both leaping to hit “eject” from the back seat – of a different car, red Buick – as we both realized the heavy panting in Bon Jovi’s “Love is a Social Disease” was coming up. Even she would have noticed that and been perturbed.)

Funny though as I was jotting down songs yesterday how some of the music that I love the best, came from her (Girls! Girls! Girls!; Big Iron). Go figure. Though Ann Murray will not be making an appearance other than just those few words ago. Continue reading A Boy Named Sue #atozchallenge

Buzzwords Suck

Businessman running away from angry bees
Run, run as fast as you can from buzzwords — and those who use them to bullshit you.

I like words. A lot. Probably more than the next guy. But I like my words to add clarity, not confusion.

That’s one of the reasons why I HATE buzzwords.

I have to be careful here because not all buzzwords are bullshit. New stuff happens all the time. Sometimes we need a word or phrase to describe this new concept. I’m good with that. Take content/inbound marketing; not entirely a buzzword. However, it’s a concept I now make a living making reality for our clients so’s I could be slightly biased here. It’s not new, but “inbound” is a good enough phrase to describe a break – well, a shift – in marketing focus. Not a huge fan of the phrase, but it works.
Continue reading Buzzwords Suck

Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer

typo-assholesTypos (and grammar concerns) terrify folks into paralysis when it comes to writing. What if I make a mistake? Use the wrong word? I don’t know where the commas go. Semi-colons?!?!? OMFG, kill me.

This fear keeps many folks who would otherwise be fantastic contributors to blogs, social media sites, and elsewhere from sharing insights and knowledge that others would find useful. I’ve seen people who successfully started and then ran large IT implementations run in fear from the idea of writing a 500 word blog post about their experience.

In so far as you only get better writing by writing (a lesson I’ve lived this past 18 months), fear of making a mistake is bad enough.

Worse is some pedantic ass munch pointing it out to you. Continue reading Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer

Wood, Would, Chucks, and Woodchucks — Stream of Consciousness Saturday

socsbadge2016-17How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the “wood/would” prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda Hill.

I’ve always wondered WTH that tongue twister means — what is “chuck wood.” When I was a kid, I always thought of woodchucks as beavers, gnawing away. Sorta like coal miners, but in the forest. With wood. Well, so many not like coal miners at all.

I also had a image of woodchucks hurling wood through the air. A woodland version of the Scottish kaber toss.  Continue reading Wood, Would, Chucks, and Woodchucks — Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Ha: Stream of Consciousness Saturday

ha ha Nelson from Simpsons

Ha.

That’s the prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda G. Hill. At first, I sat here with my consciousness decidedly not streaming. Possibly that’s because I switched over from doing some work in an attempt to begin to catch up after being sick for the better part of 7 days. The very opposite of “ha” as in “happiness.” Continue reading Ha: Stream of Consciousness Saturday

This or That: Your Weapon of Choice #SoCS

 

Earworm_character.Spongebob
As with many things Spongebob, oddly appropriate.

This has been annoying.

 

You Can Go With This, Or You Can Go With That

Ever since I read the prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday yesterday (“this or that”), I’ve had “You can go with this, or you can go with that,” sometimes accompanied by dance scenes, as an earworm.

It’s a lyric from Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice, Continue reading This or That: Your Weapon of Choice #SoCS