Monday, June 14, 2004

An addict and his enabler

Every good addict has an enabler. I guess mine would be Paulie.

I remember the day I met him. It was the first day of kindergarten, and he walked up, put his arm around me, and said, "Hi, I'm Paul! Wanna be best friends?" I said, "Yeah!" and we've been best friends ever since. Twenty-eight years, man!

We've had our fights, but he's always been there for me when I needed him. Late-night rides when I was stranded, money when I was broke, a place to stay if there was too much crap going on at my house. You name it.

I had made plans to go to Paul's house this past Saturday. (Yeah, I told Kelly a little white lie that I was "doing work around the house" that day). So, after I dropped Kelly off, I headed down to Paulie's.

His girlfriend Theresa answers the door. I had never met her. She is cute! About 5'2", maybe 120, short black hair, early 30's.

"STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVE!!" she cries as she opens the door. "My god! I feel like I know you!"

Then Paulie comes out, still in his boxers. "How ya doin, guy?" He hugs me.

We all sit around the kitchen table, drinking coffee. "So," Theresa says, "I hear you are hot and heavy with a certain young chickie!"

I shoot Paulie an evil glance. He knows all about Lila, but he's not supposed to blab.

"It's no big deal at all," I say.

"She works with you, though, right? You gotta be careful about that."

Fuck. Is there anything Paul DIDN'T tell her!!? And by the way, when did I ask advice from THIS bitch?

"It's under control," I say derisively.

So the two of them decide we are going hiking. Wish I had known that when I ran 4 miles this morning!! But it was a nice walk, and at the top of the hill we stopped for lunch.

Paul is different around this girl. Normally, he thinks the passing of gas is the funniest thing in the world. Today, he drinks a Snapple, lets out a little burp, and excuses himself profusely. WTF?

"I want you to know I am going to leave you two alone for some guy time later," Theresa says. "Just no girl chasing! I know what you two used to do." Goddamn that Paulie, spilling the beans again.

Back at home, Theresa was not even out of the driveway when Paulie jumped out of his seat and ran over to me. "Show me the pictures, man! Come on, I wanna see them!!"

"I don't know, man, you'll probably tell THERESA all about them! What the FUCK, Paul, do you tell her EVERYTHING??!!"

"Not everything, man. I didn't tell her she works for you."

"Gee, thanks."

"Come on, man, I am DYING. Show me!!"

So I pull out my digital camera and show him the pictures of Lila and me fucking. I have to admit, they are really hot. Every position imaginable. Me on top. Her on top. Doggie. You name it.

His mouth hangs open, and he goes Pale. "HO........LEEEE........SHIT. This girl is INCREDIBLE. Look at those TITS!"

"Look at those EVERYTHINGS," I say. "She is fuckin' perfect, I tellya!"

"THIS is my favorite," he says, and shows me the closeup of Lila's face. With my dick in her mouth.

"Yuck, man," I say. "Now I feel fuckin' gross. Gimme that camera back."

"That bitch Rosie is in love with you, man. Always has been. That's why she got so pissed when she found those pictures."

"Yeah, right," I say.

"You shoulda seen Rosie's face when she found out you and Angie were engaged," Paul says. "So, you fucking anybody else besides Miss Hottie?"

I tell him about Kelly. "Sounds hot," he says.

That night, we went out drinking and talked for a long time. When Paul gets drunk, he tends to spill the truth about anything that's bothering him. After 5 or 6 beers, he starts staring off into space, and I know some soul-baring is on the way.

"I'm not happy, man," he sighs. "I mean, I'm happy, but, I look at you, and....."


"You got your big-time job, fancy car, hot girlfriend. I'm a fucking electrician living in an apartment."

"Fuck you, man."

"I mean it. I feel like such a failure compared to you."

I tell him about the therapy, the sex addiction, the inability to commit or even to care about someone.

"Sex addiction?? You know the only reason I'm not addicted to sex?"

"What's that?"

"I can't get laid enough!"

We both had a good laugh over that one.

"Look, man, I know you. I see the way you talk about Lila. You LOVE her."

"Paulie. She's SEVENTEEN."

"I don't give a fuck HOW old she is. You look different when you talk about her. Something in your eyes. You're in love!!"

I am reminded of the scene from "Splash", in which Tom Hanks is telling John Candy how bummed he is that all his life, he has waited for someone, and when he finally found her, she was "a fish". John Candy basically tells him to stop complaining, because most people in the world will never be that happy, no matter what the girl's "flaws" are.

"Ahhhhhh, come on," I say.

"Don't you fuck this up," he says, slurring. "Don't let her go. This real estate chick, fuck her. She's just another girl. But this Lila...."

"It's a sad day when I take girl advice from you, Mr. Pussy-whipped."

The next morning, after he puked a few times, Paulie and I went to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee. We talked a lot about the old days.

Paulie and I lived together for awhile after college. If you think I am bad now, you should have seen me - us - then. We were constantly on the make. And we did ok, too! After I lost all that weight, I was hitting on just about everyone, and doing really well.

We used to play pranks on each other. Once, while Paulie was in his room, hooking up with some girl, I slid one of those stink-bombs under his door, and they both ran out of there choking, holding clothes over themselves. And one day, when I had a girl in MY room, Paulie lit off a pack of firecrackers right outside my door. Talk about breaking my concentration!

My nickname back then was "Motts", because one day, Paulie walked into my room while some girl was jerking me off with applesauce (Don't ask). And his nickname was "Mayonnaise", because one night, a girl whacked him off in his car, and he came all over the dashboard. He was too lazy to clean it up, so it just sat there, congealing in the hot sun for weeks. When he finally did clean it, there was a permanent stain.

These days, Paulie is just about the only one who knows most of what I am up to. It's not like it used to be, when he was covering for me when I was two-timing, or helping me avoid people I wanted to break up with. But he is always "cheerleading" me, encouraging me to continue my deviant behavior, living vicariously through my sexual conquests.

Of course, I don't blame Paulie at all for my mistakes. But if there is someone out there "helping" me in some way, it's him.