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Joey Somebody

The Life and Times of a Recovering Douchebag

Joey Somebody: The Life and Times of a Recovering Douchebag is a memoir about a lifetime of insecurity and self-loathing told through the lens of self-deprecating humor. 

 

The very real stories collected are the consequences of a father without feelings, remarriages, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, suicidal loss and ultimately, resilience in the face of it all.

 

You will smile before it's over. 

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Prologue

I’m running late. Five-hundred-and-eighteen snorting horses nudge my two-ton sports sedan down the busy Ninth Street off-ramp into San Francisco, twin car seats framing the back row, Cheddar Bunnies and Cheerios smashed into my quilted leather upholstery. My liquid dashboard announces two incoming calls: the boys’ pre-school headmistress, whose impending tardiness reminder would include admonishments in Mandarin; and my wife, Debbie, whose words carried by cell towers from an Or-lando hotel room would arrive solely in English. Sorry, babe. On my way. Completely my fault. Yes, the boys come first. Yes, I am driving carefully. Won’t happen again. Have fun in Florida. Love you, too. 
By the time I respond to both calls, I’m roaring down Ninth toward Russian Hill. I bypass Van Ness and cut into the Tenderloin district, San Francisco’s proverbial grease trap, infamous for its brackish sea-level buildings with cracked windows and spray paint, padlocked Porta Potties, weak streams of piss flowing over shit-smeared sidewalks, ironic shopping carts, wheeled walkers, Rascal scooters, clicking canes, cigarettes, and addicts in over-coats shuffling in circles attempting to eat their own mouths. Tourists avoid these streets.


I accelerate up the potholed pavement of Larkin Street while avoiding the stoned jaywalkers popping out like shooting gallery targets. But as I cut around a braking Uber driver, intending to accelerate through the intersection, the stale yellow light flips to red, causing me to stomp on the brake pedal like Fred Flintstone. My low-pro tires shriek and spit stones at people near the crosswalk, the stink of burnt carbon and middle-aged arrogance now commingling and ascending with the scuffed dust of the street.


“WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” I look over my left shoulder to see three men, each twice my mass and masculinity, now approaching my car with the slow confidence of magma: large-knuckled meat hands, tattooed fingers with thick metal rings, spotless Timberland boots, and the smell of low-grade weed and alcohol trailing their exclamation like thunder stumbles after lightning. I slowly lean out my open driver’s side window, tilt my head upward to meet their riled eyes, and say, “I . . . AM A DOUCHEBAG, AND I’M SORRY.” Which immediately causes the leader to laugh out loud while stomping his big boot twice. I burst out laughing too—with relief— because two seconds prior, I was expecting to be ripped out of my intact seat belt, spiked to the pavement, and pummeled like a Russian protester. Instead, this very large young man extends his open palm and says, “That was awesome, dude . . . You are awesome!”


In male speak, a douchebag is an overreaching tool—two insults in a single word. A tool is a low-functioning person who by definition is unaware of his limitations. The douchebag, on the other hand, is a tool laboring under a transparent facade of arrogance and grandiosity, like a spoiled media executive who frightens his neighbors by driving like an asshole. My wife hates the word douchebag. My mother would call it dirty. My therapist told me it was a breakthrough.

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