Money, Part 5- Enter Waverly

2014-09-28 11.36.15

So things looked pretty bleak. I was suspended from The University of Alabama. I had failed to make my grades as a second semester pledge so bright idea of redefining myself as a rich frat boy vanished like a bong cloud. Plus, I was looking at about $40K in credit card debt. How the hell  did that happen. I might have known if I was sober enough long enough to notice. But I was too busy pretending what I so desperately wanted to be. Wreckage aside, I had brief moments where I felt liked and accepted before the fiddler started whining to get paid.

I have to be honest, whenever I talk about this part of my life, whether it be to focus on money or something else, there are a few years there that are pretty foggy. There is a succession of places I lived and friends I had that more or less swim together in a alcohol-infused bog lasting several years and if I really need to know where I lived or in what order, I usually have to ask someone who knew me.

Somehow during this time I found myself on the outskirts of town at Tuscaloosa’s only gay bar on the arm of a sexy-thick classical pianist named Mike with eyes like liquid denim. Mike liked to drink and smoke like I did and he also loved to eat. He showed me the trick of how to eat past feelings of distress because “blowing a fatty” in the car after leaving the restaurant made the stomach pain go away. (“Blowing a fatty” isn’t a sexual allusion, it means smoking a joint. Most of my readers probably knew that.) It was also Mike who introduced me to a man that would play an important role in my life.

One night when my piano player and I were leaving the bar, we passed and elderly gentleman in horn-rimmed glasses. “Why Waverly!’ exclaimed Mike, feigning astonishment at seeing the aging professor exiting such an establishment. “Why Mike Taylor! I would have never guessed!” returned Waverly, mimicking Mike’s tone. They were both full of shit because in truth they’d probably tossed back a many a “scotch drink.” Waverly was, in fact, Waverly Wilson Barbe, a retired professor of Library Science from The University of Alabama. “To whom have you attached yourself now?” Waverly asked Mike. (He meant me.) “Waverly Barbe, I’d like you to meet Jeff Key.” Waverly extended a skeletal hand covered in onion-papery skin. “You should mind your associations more closely, Mr. Key. One is judged by them.” Waverly and Mike exchanged bemused smirks. They played this Crawford and Davis routine often but loved each other deeply. Waverly considered me top to bottom again and said in his thick Tidewater aristocratic drawl, “My, this one sure is a tall drink of good looking! You’ll have to bring him around to Audubon Place sometime.” ” Yes, well, if you’re finished drooling over my friend, we have places to go and people to do.” That was Mike and he steered me away by the elbow and toward the car. “It was nice to meet you Mr. Barbe!” I shouted over my shoulder. “Oh please, call me Waverly! Don’t forget to come for a visit, Mike!” Mike stopped and we pinwheeled around to face Waverly as he started to enter the bar. “How’s tomorrow night at ten?” Mike asked. “Perfect! I’ll see you then. I have plenty of liquor but bring any other party favors you think we might need.” I wondered for a moment if he meant me and asked Mike as much when we got to the car. “Oh no,” he assured me,”Waverly likes to ‘imbibe’ a little” (making the hand gesture for smoking marijuana) “but he considers it far beneath him to procure the stuff himself.”

Just before the bar door closed with Waverly inside among the young gay rednecks I heard him yell out, “You’ll be there too Mr. Key!” The door closed before I could answer but after all it was more of a statement than a question. All this formal speech seemed odd as we were standing by a large aluminum “Butler Building” in the weeds along a dark highway in rural Alabama– but I can play affectation olympics with the best of them:

“Oh please, call me Jeff!”

1) List ten things for which I am grateful. YES!

2) Meditate ten minutes morning and evening. NO

3) Read spiritual literature for ten minutes each morning. NO

4) Keep a record of every penny that came in and every penny that went out. YES

5) Work out (CrossFit or lift, Sunday is my off day). YES!

6) Be true to my sexual reboot program. NO

7) 25 minutes of Mobility WOD (Google it if you don’t know what this is). YES!

8) Pray for Adam Nelson. YES!

9)  Tithe 10% where I’m spiritually fed and invest 10% for the future. start now on every penny that comes in, no matter how large or small the amount. NO

10) Write for four hours each and every day. NO

11) drink 1 gallon of water YES!

12) Spend one hour per day working for the Mehadi Foundation. NO

See y’all tomorrow.

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