Friday, May 17, 2019

Divorce Almost Finalized

So here is the thing. My divorce is finalized on June 3 or so. I had a most fantastic marriage/love affair for 6 or 7 years, and then a good love affair for another 7 years, and then 12 years of friendship but real separation. I am not gonna regret being the happiest man on earth for the first six or seven years. Yes, I paid with a lot of pain, but that is dwarfed by the happiness I was allowed to share in during that time. Still, my back has been bothering me for the first time in my life--I've got a really strong back, built by carrying and inserting a few thousand Sunday papers for years as a 13-14-15 year old. And that bothers me. But I know the back is also where we carry the weight of things that affect us. And today it hit me that I'm okay with the divorce but not totally happy, because it means that someone who really loved me is throwing me in the garbage. And that's okay because people change, but there is some part of it that hurts to my soul. How did I fuck this up? What did I do wrong? How come I couldn't fix it? What's wrong with me? And the answers to those questions have to come from me. This was my screw up. I messed up and I didn't check myself before I wreaked myself. And for the first time I'm letting myself cry about it because it really sucks. We promised forever and that didn't even last 10 years. I am going to have to go into this some, and hopefully, come out with, if not answers, which I don't expect, at least some letting go, even if that proves harder than I expected it to be.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Note about My Brother and Becoming a Pro Baseball Player

This post involves my older brother, Mike. He is seven years older than me, the oldest of six. He is three years older than my recently deceased and wonderful sister Pat (who designed the MTV logo and did design work for the B-52s, Sting, Billy Idol, and a host of others), five years older than my sister Peg, seven years older than me, nine years older than Barbara, and 11 years older than Reg. We were a great family with a lot of laughs, sometimes not enough money, a father who was a Broadway actor and a mom who was a radio star. We did a lot of reading as kids.
But my brother wanted to be a professional baseball player. He worked at it and worked at it and made the famous Archbishop Malloy High School team and then a half-scholarship at national powerhouse St. Johns University.
He worked his butt off. Exercises, running, fielding, swinging a bat with a 5 or 10 pound weight at the end. And he played with the Queens Aliance teams, a semi-pro outfit that made him gas money every week, until he was older than 50 and got Bell's Palsy--which he's recovered from. He was a street cop in NYC, made his way to Lieutenant without connections, became a lawyer and is now a freaking judge in NYC, part time. He's 75 and going strong. He just busted his knees while running up to the 10th floor courtroom he presides over in NYC last year, but is better from that as well.
Growing up he gave me rules: If I wanted to be a pro base ball player I could not eat cheese, could not listen to rock and roll, and could not be interested in women. I got that the rock and roll and women would distract from the work to be a pro baseball player, but I never figured out the cheese. As a kid I though it was probably because cheese eaters were slow and fat; as a grown up I think he just didn't like it.
But not all music was banned. I could listen to r and b, and I could listen to certain songs without endangering my future career: "That's the sound of the men, working on the Chain Gang", and "Going to Kansas City", and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons", and whomever's "King of the Road", and "Love Potion #9", and "Walking to New Orleans" was cool too.
And those are songs I sing almost daily, now that I have my real voice, a deep baritone. I don't sing no damned sissy Everly Brothers, or damned Elvis. But Nat King Cole is okay, are Muddy Waters, and BB King.
Can you imagine? They made that guy a judge!!!!
I love you Mike. I never had the skills to be a pro ballplayer, but you gave me a great sense in music!!!!!

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Gave my first talk in Texas

Tonight was the first real movie house screening of More Joy, Less Pain, a movie made by James Michael McCoy about me, the Amazon I introduced him to, and her rivers, people, and medicines. It was screened at a fancy-dancy place called the Alamo Draft House in Dallas, and the theater sat 70. It was sold out, but because of some really heavy storms earlier in the day, about a dozen people didn't show up. Still, about 35 people came for a meet-and-greet with Michael and myself for an hour prior to the screening, and the audience was great when Mike asked me to speak for half-an-hour prior to the screening. I love to talk in public. I love telling stories. I loved telling the audience that I thought they all looked weird when I looked at them naked. I think I gave everyone a lot of attention during the meet-and-greet, and I think I gave a good, succinct talk about jungle medicines and their value in my life, physically and emotionally. I didn't go into the spiritual part because that would have taken more time than I had. But I hope I gave generously, directly, and honestly.
I know I get nervous before public speaking. I kid about it but it is real. I went over what I wanted to say half-a-dozen times to myself, to my kids, and was still nervous. And I know my emotions were high. That proved itself when, on the ride from Joshua to Dallas, in Texas, Janis Joplin sang Me and Bobby McGee and I burst into tears. Without drinking wine.
And then hell, I started to cry telling a medicine story at the theater. Oh well, if people don't like it, there is nothing I can do. I'm a freaking open book for the most part.
For those who came, thank you. I hope you liked the movie.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Speaking Tomorrow, First Time in Texas

Okay, so I am scheduled to be at a bar tomorrow at 5:30 to talk with people about my work in the Amazon Jungle with plant medicines. Just for an hour. Then I have an official talk to people who have bought very expensive tickets to see a movie someone made about me and how I live between the worlds of Amazon medicine and regular dadsville in Texas. Then the movie will be shown. I will not see the movie. Cannot bear to watch/hear myself. Worse, I have gone over the salient points of my half-hour talk 20 times and am still nervous. I remember speaking at New York's Open Center several times, 30 years ago, and each time my friend who booked me had to drag me out of the bathroom where i was retching into the toilet prior to my appearance. For a guy who thrives on talking a lot, I am one nervous Nellie!!! Wish me luck. I hope I make sense.
Oh, the bar is in the Alamo Draft House in Dallas, and while tickets for the screening are sold out, the bar will be wide open. So if you are in the neighborhood and want to see p gorman sweat just for giggles, come on by at 5:30!

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Finished Antibiotics

Dear All: For the heck of it, this morning I finished the last of the antibiotics for the flesh-eating bacteria today. All looks good, with only one tiny sore not closed up. Pain gone, my voice has come back, and all I am waiting on are my taste buds. I'm really hoping they have not abandoned me. For half my adult life they were my gift of gifts from the universe: I cooked, I chef'd, I had a small catering company, I had my own bar-restaurant in Iquitos, Peru for a couple/few years. I fed my kids good, healthy food every day of their lives and still do--swordfish with a sauce of garlic, scallions, red peppers, and capers tonight, served on a bed of sauteed spinach tonight. But the taste that had me put just the right spices in the meals; the touch that had me knowing just when to pull the pan from the stove, well, that stuff, which starts with taste buds, is out of whack.
Still, that's the only complaint. Medicare took care of more than $90 grand in bills (leaving me just a few thousand to pay, whew!) for the initial 8 day stay in the hospital, including the three in the Intensive Care Unit, as well as a several hour stay in the emergency room two weeks ago, and all of the doctor visits since, as well as home nursing, medical supplies, and so forth.
The doctors, the nurses, everyone at Huguley Hospital was fantastic. Thanks all. And thank you all for the good wishes. Now it's my turn to start singing for other people again.