The summer before my senior year of high school (the same summer I saw the Black Crowes and took the most insane marijuana trip of my life) I was working at a local amusement park. That's what high school kids did in those days. We got minimum wage, which in the state of Ohio in 1995 was $4.35. You believe that shit?
Anyway, I had a friend a few years older that was already in college and he recommended a book to me that he had to read for class. It was called "Where I'm Calling From." It was a collection of short stories by a guy named Raymond Carver. I'd never heard of him. Turns out he's just about the best American short story writer ever, and was a notorious drunk that died of lung cancer at age 50. His stories are beloved by many, especially the artsy crowd, and several of them have been turned into plays or movies.
I remember sitting in the shitty little ticket booth at that amusement park, sweating my nutsack off in the humidity, and just devouring the book whenever I had a few minutes with no customers around.
The stories were mostly sad...just slice of life kind of stuff. The don't really have beginnings or endings....a lot of them just leave you hanging. But they felt very real and emotional to me.
I was right at the climax of perhaps the most gut-wrenchingly tragic of the stories, called "A Small, Good Thing" and I fucking lost it. Just burst into tears right there in the shitty little wood booth. I was so overtaken by the emotion of the story I couldn't help it. The girl that came to relieve me of my duties arrived just in time to see me wiping snot and tears off my face. She was hot as hell, a few years older than me, big time stoner....if I'd known then what I know now, I bet I could have fucked her, but I was inept as shit when it came to women back then. I told her I was crying cause I just read a really sad story and I don't know what disgusted her more....the fact that I cried, or the fact that I was actually reading a book for pleasure.
There were a few more stories that made me cry. I can't help it. Call me a pussy or fag or whatever, but sometimes shit just hits my buttons and I lose it.
I've read and re-read the whole collection of stories over the years and like clockwork, when I get to certain lines or phrases, the waterworks hit. It's crazy that 25 years later, these stories still hit me that way.
I was super depressed this summer...as usual. Fat, lonely, haven't got laid in years. Really feeling sorry for myself. I started thinking how if I just started drinking again it would kill me and I'll go sleep forever and all my problems would go away. Yeah yeah. I'm so emo it fucking hurts.
So it was like 3 in the morning and I was thinking about drinking and loneliness and the nature of being a drunk and I remembered the story "Where I'm Calling From" which is the story the collection is named after.
I started re-reading it....and then, I have NO idea why....I started recording myself reading it. I just did it. No reason. Then after a few minutes I thought...shit....I'll record the whole thing.
Like clockwork, I got to the part that makes me cry and my voice cracked and I started crying. All alone on an August night at like 4 in the morning, recording myself crying while reading a story. What a FAGGOT. What a HIPSTER faggot.
Anyway.....I like you guys, so I thought I'll post my recording. One thing I figured out when I played it back: I talk too fast. If I ever wanna be an audio book reader, I need to slow the hell down and enunciate more clearly. I have no idea if anyone would even be able to make out what I'm saying if they're not reading along. Also, it's recorded on a shitty old phone so it's not exactly quality.
So after that long-ass preamble, here's me reading "Where I'm Calling From" by John Carver. When I finished cutting out all the mistakes, it was 35 minutes long. That's pretty long. But I thought hey...maybe one of you guys wants something different from the usual podcasts to listen to on the way to work. Or maybe you're like me and you sometimes have to take a bad shit and sit on the toilet for a half hour. I actually haven't even listened to the whole thing read back at once, so there may be some mistakes. If you have the time and actually want to listen to this, here you go. If not, believe me, I get it. It's pretty gay isn't it? For a fun bonus, try and find the exact moment I start crying, cause it's still in there.
And here's the story if you just wanna read it yourself without listening to my dumb ass: