Let's call today's mofo Drago. He's from a slum town in Indiana. He's my same age and tried marraige for a year or two but it didn't work out. He was able to work simultaneous shifts as a firefighter for the city and a steel mill and had a pretty good thing going. He had A LOT of paid time off (over two months per year), money in the bank and he was also good friends with an older man at the steel mill. He soon became smitten with his friends daughter and the three of them were almost like a family.
After a few years of dating, Drago's girlfriend told him she wanted to plan a ski weekend in North Carolina with some of their friends. Drago's response was like, "Skiing? North Carolina?" but he sighed and was like, "Whatever, Babe." He could barely remember how to ski and wasn't too thrilled about the craggy mountains of North Carolina but he told his girlfriend he would make the most of it.
So they went and when he got to the snowy mountain and went sailing through the trees he got a strange feeling and admitted to the girl that the weekend had completely changed his life. He had found his new purpose in life. He checked around and found that Utah had some of the best skiing the world had to offer. He spent winter after winter here in Utah. But, if anything, it only made his hunger worse.
Just a few years ago the economy was not so bad as it is today and he realized how easy it is to get a job in Utah and share a house with others who have devoted their lives to sliding down mountains.
He told his girlfriend he was moving to Utah. It was something he had to do. She said she would come with him. But when he loaded all of his stuff into boxed and his boxes into his truck he found that she hadn't packed anything. She told him she couldn't move to Utah. He just told her, "You ended this, not me." And he drove to Utah.
He's one of the mofos that comes to the Waffle House on the weekends. He tells us crazy stories about his experience as a firefighter and an EMT. He told us how they were attending to one guy who had all kinds of stuff messed up on his insides. They were loading him into the ambulance when a deadly blast of diarreah came out and all the life left the man's face. They were convinced that he was dead and not coming back but they were required by law to perform CPR. He says it was horrible because when they would press on the man's chest, more of his guts would come gushing out of his orifices.
He said one time they had discovered a dead body in a bathtub but it had sat for days and became so bloated that the bathtub had to be cut into pieces to remove the body. It was a pretty gruesome mess but the real twist came when they realized the deceased was an old fire marshall they used to work with. They remembered him as a tall, thin man and not as someone who was so big that a bathtub could not contain him.
He said one time they were dealing with a burning building and he needed to get a window open for some reason. They were on an upper floor and he couldn't just smash the window because people were entering and exiting the building several floors below and he didn't want to shower them with broken glass and debris. He was wearing all of his fire garb and struggled to get the window open. He was still in a frenzy when another fire fighter came up behind him and motioned to his feet. There was nothing he could do but sigh and curse when he realized he'd been stomping on a barbecued human body while he'd been fighting with the window.
The stories he tells are pretty rough but I figure it's good for him to get them out of his system. He gets a season pass to Snowbird every year and spends the warm months hiking through all of Utah's scenic parks. He says that moving furniture feels like a vacation for him. Yesterday he shared some girlscout cookies with me and asked if I'd like to go hiking with him in Zions or Canyonlands this summer.
Speaking of dead bodies, I've been working the last couple of weeks at a facility where they perform nearly all of the autopsies for the state of Utah. It's actually been a pretty good job aside from the occassional smells. Every once in a while they get what they call a "stinker." It's not the worst smell ever but it seems worse when you know that it comes from a dead person.
It seems like it would be a depressing place to work day in and day out. We tried to make jokes about the place to keep our spirits up but everything comes out seeming inappropriate. It is strange, though, to see an endless stream of trucks and vans rolling in with lifeless bodies.
I go back to the indian reservation in California every spring and the past three springs each included a funeral. It was bumming me out. This week I'm driving out to California with Rogi (of Cow Country fame) for my brother's wedding.
I'm excited about this. I never expected my brother to actually get married. I'm happy for him. It also makes me feel like I'm driving out there to witness a beginning rather than an ending. I'll put up some pictures later.